Rampant Everton Return to European football in style.
Apprehensive Evertonians had there minds set to ease on Thursday 18/09/2014 as Everton returned to Europe with a bevvy of goals.
With the ground filling and the murmur of nervous Blues growing with every minute, the mesmerising flag waving of the German contingent was something to keep the fans occupied, it has to be a skill of some sort, the small but vociferous Wolfsburg fans were in the main, a great representation of their club and the two that were ejected from the stadium(for smoking and protestation for the other being removed ) did not spoil it for the rest of the 600.
The new lighting at Goodison made it seem like a summers day inside the stadium, I am sure that some supporters left with a better tan than what they arrived with, and the ground was lit up with elation on the quarter hour, a solid move from the left of midfield, culminated in a ball played into Naismith, who controlled and turned at the same time leaving the defender a couple of feet behind him, a lay off to McCarthy a side foot pass from him that sliced the defence landed with Baines who cut the ball back for Naismith to improvise a strike on goal, that strike ricocheted of the goalkeeper and defender Rodriguez ( yeah remember this name for later) to end up in the back of the net, still a Naismith goal though, it was on target,El Dubioso Goalo Comitteeo, may have to deal with it after the appeal. Wolfsburg did not lie down though,a Tim Howard save kept the score sheet in favour of the Blues.
The game became a battle of midfield possession and misplaced passes from both sides, on the stroke of half time Everton created another chance, good midfield work found Lukaku , who had not long before had a 40 yard free kick saved by the Wolfsburg keeper (Benaglio), control the ball on the edge of the box and lay it off to his compatriot Kevin Mirallas, Mirallas cut inside and laced a shot at goal, the keeper parried into the path of the irrepressible Baines, who put the ball across goal to the waiting Seamus Coleman, Coleman headed home with what can only be described as the laziest diving header I have ever seen, cue the celebrations, Goodison erupted and by the time the celebrations had finished the whistle was blown for the end of the half.
The start of the second half got off to a flyer, 30 seconds in and Aiden McGeady latched on to a sloppy pass at the back and powered toward the box where he was brought down by Robin Knoche inside the area, (according to the officials) resulting in a penalty.Inevitably Leighton Baines, who’s penalty record is phenomenal, steps up and duly dispatched the penalty sending the keeper the wrong way, thus ending Wolfsburgs hopes of getting anything from this game . The opposition then stepped up their game, wave upon wave of attack after misplaced passes and mistakes from the Everton defensive line helped this, but it did result in a string of saves from Tim Howard, most notably one from a free kick that was won after Olic went down under a shot from a sniper somewhere in the park end, the impressive Rodriguez, stepped up and brought the best from the American with a save from the top drawer,this brought Howards save tally close to his heroics in the world cup.
Everton held fast and the introduction of Samuel Eto‘o gave the team a lift, his first contribution to the game was a slide rule pass after great hold up play in the midfield, this was an apertif, late on Eto’o received the ball and in one turn he sent Mirallas free with a pass that dissected the wolfsburg team like a scalpel, Mirallas calmly slotted home to send the crowd into raptures and give Everton an unassailable lead, the clean sheet that the team wanted so badly was taken from the blues with the last kick of the game, after McCarthy made a goal saving tackle straight out of the John Stones book of slide tackles, the blues gave away a free kick around 25 yards out, Rodriguez put the free kick in off the post leaving Howard rooted to the line such was the quality.
Everton top the group after the other two teams played out to a draw, this could be the start of something special at goodison and the beginning of many more great European nights at the grand old lady.