This makes a change doesn’t it? After having to evaluate some pretty shoddy League 2 grounds recently, I finally get a chance to talk about a Premier League stadium. I must admit, I’m not always a massive fan of the League Cup, or EFL Cup as it’s now called, for lower league clubs, because it sometimes brings around games that teams haven’t got the resources for. However, I wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity to go to Goodison Park for the first time.
These resources were well and truly tested for Yeovil, who were able to select just five substitutes, as oppose to Everton, who selected six quality substitutes, and Tom Cleverley. Obviously I didn’t turn up with much hope for Yeovil, given that our last two games have ended in defeat to Morecambe and Mansfield, and they were a Premier League side.
Ronald Koeman clearly decided that he wasn’t going to be embarrassed by little old Yeovil, so put out a full strength side. Yeovil started with Tom Eaves upfront, who at 24 still doesn’t look like he’s learnt how to run yet.
Given that I was only judging by things I’d see online, I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Goodison Park. Obviously I knew it was a bit old fashioned, and there were places in the away end where you got a shocking view. You could see places in the lower tier where there were some heavily restricted views. You could have been sat right behind a pillar, or at the back of the stand where you can barely see the pitch.
There were an impressive amount of Yeovil fans that had made the trip up to Liverpool, with 903 taking their place in the away end. Given that it was a 480 miles trip for those travelling up from Somerset, this was a very good turnout. To be fair to Everton, ticket prices were very generous, £5 for U18s and £15 for adults.
As for the game, there isn’t much to talk about in terms of competitive action. Everton’s class showed, and they totally dominated the first half. Romelu Lukaku had a number of very good opportunities, but never really came close, which led to chants of “Chelsea reject” from the Yeovil faithful. It was the same for Yannick Bolasie, who had just joined for a club record fee from Crystal Palace. He seems to be the sort of player who looks really good in Youtube montages, but in reality couldn’t get past Liam Shephard at right back for Yeovil.
Everton did take the lead through Aaron Lennon who slid home from close range after Yeovil ‘keeper Artur Krysiak was caught in no man’s land. The Glover held out until half time without creating any chances, and were lucky to be just the one down. There was an improvement after the break, but this was all gone when Krysiak was caught out once more, this time by Ross Barkley’s near post free kick.
If you had turned up at the ground after around 75 minutes, you wouldn’t have thought that it was Everton who were two goals up. The fans made no noise during the match, and all the chanting came from the Yeovil fans. This may have been down to the fact that most of the Everton fans weren’t regulars, and most of them school children making the most of the summer holidays. There was one Everton fan who was warned by police for abusing Yeovil fans, before sitting down and putting his arm around his son. God help that kid.
Tahvon Campbell came on for the third consecutive Yeovil game I’ve been to, and once again he made an instant impact. He didn’t get any chances, but he did pull off the finest piece of skill of the game, sending Tom Cleverley back to Manchester. I used to think Ronald Koeman was a good manager, but he was playing Cleverley in the first team, and he was playing him at right back.
Arouna Kone was the impact substitute for Everton, and he taught Romelu Lukaku how to finish. His first goal came from a good team move that led to him receiving a bit of space on the left, before cutting inside and smashing the ball past Krysiak, who again could have done a bit better. The fourth goal was the first one that Krysiak was pretty much helpless for. The ball dropped for Kone in the box, and some pretty lousy defending gave him a tap in from the edge of the six yard box.
That was just about that, and to be honest, a 4-0 Everton win didn’t come as much of a surprise, even if I was hoping for a cupset. It was a good day out, but I won’t be returning to Goodison Park any time soon, simply because it’s over a five hour round trip.
Rating out of 10: An excellent ground, and the Yeovil fans created a good atmosphere, but there was nothing from the Everton fans all night. 8/10