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A Tale Of Taking Chances - The Verdict

Martin O'Neill's post match verdict on the FA Cup clash against Everton boiled down to our failure to take our chances.

Speaking on the official site after the game O'Neill picked out specifically Tim Howard's 'world class' save in the second half from John Carew as a major turning point.

He also insisted that the 3-1 scoreline flattered Everton somewhat as the teams weren't that far apart on the day.

'We had a number of good chances and their goalkeeper made a wonderful save from John Carew.

'I thought it was a major point in the game. We were in the ascendancy at that time - driving them back. We were camped outside their box but we couldn't get the equaliser.

'We had a number of efforts in that second half - more than Everton.

'It was a frenetic start to the game but after that we were the more polished side.

'We settled down and we were the better side going towards the half-time break. I thought we could have equalised - Gabby had a great chance with that header.

'In the second half, we had the best chance but obviously they scored when we were still pressing forward. That kills the game with not long to go.

'Overall, we tried to win the game - as you could see - and I am disappointed. I thought we were unlucky.

'We should have got something out of the game. We deserved better.'

We may well have deserved better but if you don't take your chances you don't win games. Yes we were missing plenty of players but that's no real excuse when you consider Everton's injury problems.

Sidwell and Carew were pretty much non existant and although our options on the bench weren't fantastic, surely Harewood or Delfouneso on for Carew could've changed the game. Gardner isn't a right back so why not take Sidwell off for Shorey, put Luke back on the right and free Craig to get involved in the midfield battle?

The options weren't fantastic admittedly but we had options to try something different. Giving Delboy 8 minutes was just pointless.

That said, it's a blip in what has been a fantastic season and whilst it's easy to get carried away and remember the cracks in our team that the wins have painted over, we have to remember it's only a blip and we've had them before and bounced back.

If anything, following on from the UEFA blips when we've had the second string out, it serves as a perfect reminder to O'Neill that we aren't strong enough to compete on all fronts when injuries and suspensions hit, and our backup isn't good enough to step in and do a job when players are off form.

Treat the Everton match for what it is, a hard earnt lesson and reminder that for however well we have been doing so far, we are nowhere near the finished article yet.




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The Journalist

Writer: Mike Field Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday February 16 2009

Time: 2:24PM

Your Comments

A good article and couldn't agree more. I have a great deal of faith in MON, apart from one tiny factor: his abilty to make a decision in the 65th minute to change the game. To me, a sign of a great manager is to take a gamble at this stage and not leave it until the last 10 minutes. I realise our depth of squad does not give us many options - but we do have some!
claretandbluestu
With Davies out v CSKA (and possibly Chelsea) Shorey MUST step up to the plate!! Cuellar and Knight in the centre and Young and Shorey out wide is a must. We cant keep Gardner out right. Also, Carew NEEDS to play a blinder and get back up to par. Out purple patch came with him out of the team. I just really hopes he becomes his unplayable self soon. We need him big time. We are on such a run and I just pray we keep it up and get in the top 4!!
deano.avfc
on that basis Blackburn should have won, didn't see him suggesting that ?
avfc48
not totally sure we deserved better, if you don't take your chances then you get nothing. We've had our slices of good fortune this season, it won't always go our way though and we had too many players having off days to really expect to win. Everton were more up for it and got their just rewards, as much as it hurts to say!
The Fear
I'm pretty sure if that game had of been a premier league game Carew would have come off after 60 mins. Get the feeling the FA cup is 3rd on the list this season and getting Carews match fitness up so that he's better prepared for CSKA/Chelsea, was more important than bringing him off to improve the team. Top 4 has got to be our main aim this season and with our squad may we still can't compete on 3 fronts!
pjvilla
If only it had merely come down to just missing chances. Perhaps then the result/performance would have been easier to understand/take.
glensider
Agree with deano.avfc. Nicky Shorey surely has to start on Wednesday evening against CSKA Moscow. Even if only to get more balance spread throughout the team. The return of Gareth Barry will be a huge boost. He was very much missed at Goodison Park.
glensider
48-what?
gwyllum18
What, having a go at MON, 48? Not like you ... :o)
BobTheBuilder
 

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