“I never saw that coming”, “Shit happens” and “I don’t like losing to pub teams” were three of the first reactions from the stunned occupants of the car afterwards.
Turning a win to a draw in the final minute was bad enough but then to end up with nothing was a different level. Football’s ability to rip the hope and optimism from your heart in an instant encapsulated. The fact that the dramatic conclusion followed the spell in the match where we seemed most in control of proceedings was an added irony.
What was notable was the lack of criticism towards the side or the manager despite the events at the end. Maybe everyone was still in a state of shock. We should’ve cleared the ball before the first goal and picked some better options when breaking as Everton pressed but neither of these was mentioned more than in passing. I think there’s a realisation that everyone is pulling together/doing their best etc despite the injuries and squad deficiencies and most fans will forgive any player or team that is clearly giving their all.
The Everton DJ churned out the Christmas classics at half time, if he was looking for something appropriate to the game rather than the season then he’d have played Muse’s Supermassive Black Hole in honour of the gap on the left hand side of our defence and the space between Vertonghen and Dempsey. I lost count (ten? eleven?) of the number of times a simple ball down the right found Coleman or Mirallas haring towards our goal unhindered. A sequence of last ditch tackles (Jermain Defoe anyone?), some fleet footed keeping from Lloris and the witlessness of the Everton forwards all combined to keep the game scoreless.
We’d started the game playing some decent stuff and making good progress, we never actually created a proper chance though. Dembele hit a low shot from range and a couple of free-kicks were on target but Dempsey’s goal came out of the blue. We looked good for the win though, Sigurdsson’s effort that came off the crossbar definitely would’ve sealed it, as the home team’s attacks became cruder but it wasn’t to be as staying in fourth and opening a small gap quickly turned into fifth and back in the pack. Oh well, shit happens.
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