Writer: J P Fear
Date:Sunday February 15 2009
Oh no, no, no, that was just horrible!
Lets face it we've had more good days than bad this season so this afternoon isn't the end of the world but it is a great shame to once again fall at an early (ish) FA Cup hurdle. Seems the pain of waiting since 1957 for anymore FA Cup success will just have to go on.
Right from the start Villa were on the back foot and to be fair, already being down to 10 men - (as John Carew who is clearly not fit was having one of 'those' days - flame suit on for all those who seem to hero worship him for little apparent reason - thanks Fabio Capello for playing Heskey whilst injured ruling out the big man from our match today) - we could have - should have - been another man down as Stiliyan Petrov handled the ball off the line. Luckily for Villa - not that it ultimately made much difference - the ref played the advantage as Everton scored from the re-bound. Would they have preferred the red card and a penalty? Probably as Petrov was for a period of the game as in control for us as the excellent Arteta was for them.
I'll leave the nitty gritty to Glensider's away match report later as mine was a view from the sultana armchair. A few minutes after going 1 down we were level with a penalty earnt by Gabby Agbonlahor and put away by James Milner. We had a period where we had plenty of the ball but nothing went for us at all, the play was sort of determined without it being threatening. The first half was certainly full of incident and for the neutral I'm sure it made good viewing. Must admit I just never got the feeling, even at 1-1, that we were going to get the result or even the draw today. Mostly probably down to feeling negative having man flu and still being depressed from England's rugby loss to Wales yesterday! After 23 minutes Everton got a penalty - and could have had a couple after that as well. 2-1 to the Toffee men.
On the 75th minute Everton went 3-1 up after we failed to make anything from a hatrick of chances to get back in the game, with Gabby missing a total sitter - he HAS to cut out these close to goal lapses where he seems to take his eye on the ball - John Carew having a deflected flick (or was it a shot, I can never tell!) very well saved by Howard and then Steve Sidwell through and clear heading the ball towards the corner flag.
Game over. Just a horrible horrible afternoon but - and here comes the cliché - as much as we'd love to see a cup run or even a win, maybe, just maybe, this will give us the break we need to perhaps push further in the UEFA Cup (yes, I know, I'd prefer the FA Cup over the UEFA as well) and more importantly according to several polls we've held ( Click Here ) getting in the top four of the league.
For those that seem to be blind to what Gareth Barry brings to the team, just look at what we missed today and for those who have any idea what Steve Sidwell is doing these days, please do let the rest of us know! I would have gone for Craig Gardner in the centre of midfield - mainly because that is his position - but hey, what do I know?!
So an FA Cup defeat which is a real kick in the teeth but overall you still have to look and realise the season - judging by the size of our squad - is going very well.
Hopefully onward and upward, it has still - to date - been a great season and maybe this will be a bit of a wakeup call not to blow all the hard work. Bring on Moscow and then bring on Chelsea!
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Date:Sunday February 15 2009
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