Hammered Toffees Suffer 90th Minute Defeat
Posted by James Jones | Published on March 6, 2016
Everton 2 – 3 West Ham
R.Lukaku (13) A.Lennon (56) M.Antonio (78) D.Sakho (81) D.Payet (90)
Slaven Bilic’s West Ham showed great team spirit and character to come back from two goals down, scoring three goals in twelve minutes. Everton have not lost to West Ham at Goodison Park since December 2005, their ten-year undefeated record gone, in a dramatic 90 minutes. Five goals, a sending off, numerous bookings, hint of diving, a penalty save and broken records is just a handful of what went on in Merseyside.
Everton started the game strong, controlling and creating chances from the early stages. It didn’t take the hosts, or more importantly, Romelu Lukaku long to find the back of the net and put The Toffees in front. Romelu faced up against 17-year-old Reece Oxford in this clash following James Collin’s absence due to a recent injury. Making easy work of turning the youngster, he fired home a low shot past Adrian into the far corner in the 13th minute. Lukaku just loves scoring against West Ham, making it 8 goals in 8 games. I fear the only way we’ll stop the Belgian international scoring against us, is to simply cough up £35-40 million and sign him in the summer.
A few minutes after taking the lead, a decision that went on to be a controversial moment in this dramatic clash occurred, referee Anthony Taylor issued Kevin Mirallas a Yellow card when he deemed the Belgian to have thrown himself forward to earn himself a free kick. Replays show there was very minimal contact, but Mirallas did throw himself in an attempt to win a free kick. Considering their position on the pitch at the time, it was a very harsh decision to book Mirallas for diving.
West Ham came into the game more following the opening goal, creating chances of their own but failed to make the most of them. Everton continued to attack, keeping Adrian on his toes on a number of occasions, Ross Barkley setting himself up on the volley after chesting it forward then firing hard dipping volley to the keeper’s left-hand side. 30 minutes on the clock and West Ham had the first penalty appeal of the afternoon, this time, waved away. Angelo Ogbonna arrived at the back post for a cross, only needing to make minimal contact to find the back of the net but a push from Funes Mori disrupted the chance.
Just over ten minutes left of the first half and Everton go down to ten men, Mirallas picking up his second booking of the afternoon. Following a late challenge on Aaron Cresswell, after the ball had already been cleared, along with the booking for simulation, there was no chance Anthony Taylor would be keeping it a level playing field.
Emenike came agonisingly close to making it 1-1 before the half-time whistle. An excellent low ball into the box from Cresswell on the left, Emenike beats his marker before stabbing it towards goal, only for the keeper to make a save with his legs.
Second-half kicks off, with Slaven Bilic replacing the young Reece Oxford for Andy Carroll while Roberto Martinez brought on Besic for Stones. Aaron Lennon’s pace was stretching the West Ham defence all afternoon, then 10 minutes into the second period, he made it 2-0 to The Toffees. Some brilliant link-up play between Lennon and Lukaku, cutting in from the wing, rolling the ball into the box for Lukaku, who then flicked it into Lennon’s path with only the keeper to beat with a tidy finish.
Having gone 2-0 down, Slaven decided it was time for a double change. Emenike and Obiang off, replaced by Diafra Sakho and Alex Song. Little was going West Ham’s way until things went from bad to worse, when Besic wriggled his way past Song approaching the penalty box, who then tripped the Bosnian outside the box. The referee who was not having the best of games from many fans points of view, awarded a penalty to Everton. Lukaku stepped up but his attempt to make it 3-0 and grab his second of the game, were denied by Adrian San Miguel. Minutes later Lukaku had another chance to put the game to bed, this time, a deflected pass found its way to the big Belgians feet, cutting his way through two defenders with only Adrian to beat, again saved by the Spanish keeper.
Everton will be fuming with themselves for not taking some vital chances, when minutes later after the penalty save at 2-0, the in-form English forward come right-back Michail Antonio found the back of the net for the fifth time in seven games. Payet’s corner failed to beat the first man only reaching Ross Barkley, whose poor clearance fell to Mark Noble before he whipped in the perfect cross to find Antonio’s head in the box.
At 2-1 West Ham were full of confidence, having an extra man was starting to show after Everton handled themselves very well for 70 minutes or so. Two crosses, two goals in three minutes making it 2-2. This time, it was Diafra Sakho who had only just returned as a substitute mid-week from a three-month thigh injury. Dimitri who came alive in the second-half put a ball in from the right-hand side, perfectly into the six-yard box and onto a plate for the Senegalese striker to head home.
Both sides continued to attack in an attempt to find the winning goal, but the momentum was with the visitors when in the 90th minute Cresswell played a long ball from the halfway line towards the box, which Carroll headed down towards Sakho, with a back heel found a lurking Dimitri Payet who only had to place the ball into the back of the net. What a vital touch it proved to be and what an incredible come back from 2-0 down for Bilic’s West Ham, who had gone ten years without a win away at Everton.
Three wins in a row in the Premier League, keeps West Ham in the top 5 and still sniffing around those precious Champions League places. Europe League football looks on the cards for The East London outfit, but why not push for bigger and better competition while teams around them are dropping silly points.
Following the 90th minute goal to complete the comeback, Slaven Bilic was left in a passionate and emotional situation.
“I didn’t know what to do. I went down the tunnel to calm down and came back straight away, It was a great comeback, a great game. To do it like this is unbelievable. Of course, they are going to cause you problems with Lukaku, Lennon, Barkley but when we had the ball I always had the feeling we could do it.”
“I said at half-time ‘We are one down but we are going to do it. We have to be less sexy and more lethal in front of the box’. We knew it was not going to be the one-sided match when you have a player like Lukaku. When they had the ball, he makes that one-player lossless visible. He creates mayhem. To come back like this nobody can deny we didn’t deserve it. We showed our quality, we showed our stubbornness and we got a great win.”
Adrian’s penalty save in the 68th minute proved to be a huge moment in the game to keep it at 2-0. Slaven went on to say:
“If they had scored that penalty they would have won the game maybe 3-0 or 4-0, What I am pleased the most about – apart from three points – is we never lost our composure or our patience.”