Everton Away Drew 1 – 1
A new broadcaster for the visit to Everton, Amazon Prime – surely they couldn’t be worse than Sky? Probably not, I don’t know; after firing up the computer at 5:30, Amazon presented me with a former Everton player and a former Everton manager as its two expert analysts, so back to The Chase on the telly. Returning to the game at kick off, though, there was Alan Shearer in the commentary box, and unless Newcastle are involved, Al does seem to have a soft spot for his first club. Pitchside, Ralph couldn’t see a problem with naming an unchanged team four days after a heroic effort against Manchester City. Indeed there wasn’t a problem after an awkward first couple of minutes – which I mostly missed, figuring out how to turn off the crowd effects on Amazon. Thereafter we were the only team playing in the opening half and even had the ball in the net early on, Ings doing the groundwork, Adams keeping things alive and Armstrong finishing the move off… an offside Armstrong, unfortunately. Ings got on the end of a corner and was only denied by a peculiar combination of Pickford and the crossbar, but no matter as moments later VAR couldn’t see anything wrong with referee Mason’s interpretation of Ward-Prowse’s contactless tumble that gave him an opportunity from the spot; TV cameras showed J W-P looking long and hard at the left hand corner but his shot found the top of the crossbar instead. Still no matter as it wasn’t long before Armstrong’s scuffed shot fell into the path of a just onside Ings who showed remarkable footwork and balance to force the ball home. Saints should have been well clear by the interval but somehow they turned round all square after a route two equaliser by Richarlison de Andrade which was actually another fine finish from an equally fine crossfield pass that found a gap between Bertrand and Bednarek. The home team improved after the break (they could scarcely have got worse) and a similar move to their goal almost set up Calvert-Lewin who found a gap between Walker-Peters and the centre backs – hope this hasn’t exposed a weakness in Ralph’s catenaccio. Bednarek survived a VAR review for a possible last man red card, which would have been harsh as the challenge didn’t even seem to be a foul, but as the game wore on, both defences seemed to be establishing more and more control, thus denying Saints that extraordinary rarity – a win at Goodison Park. Just like February’s Cup exit, in a way the disappointment isn’t necessarily a bad thing for those who would expect to witness the club’s special triumphs in person.
LSSC Man of the Match: Danny Ings, who was superb again.