Banana Boyís Away Day Antics Ė Everton
With this being a special game for us, a stepping stone to Wembley and also the fact Iím skinter than Rangers I thought it was best for everyone I stopped in Friday night. Now stopping in was weird, I was sober, watched things like ĎCoronation Streetí and went over every possible outcome of the match at Everton. Were flying at the minute, itís a massive game but on the other hand our form in recent years against Everton has been rubbish.
So Saturday morning arose, I was up before me alarm and I was sober. Strange feeling but a very good one. Quick shower, get some cans, grab me scarf and were on our way to Merseyside. The trip to Everton was great, very little traffic and no roadworkís. What was brilliant about the journey down was almost every car you saw on the motorway had the red & white flags proudly hanging from the window. The F.A Cup has lost a lot of its appeal to clubs in recent years, but it just proves if our club can get there, weíll treasure/respect it just as we did back in 1973. It means so much to the people of Sunderland, and yeah we have a crap record at Goodison but itís the belief that has turned Sunderland on its head since Martin OíNeill took over.
We arrived up at Liverpool and went to the Arkles pub on the corner. Always a popular pre match boozer with the travelling red & white army. And this was no different. The pub is very close to Anfield, and this made it 95% Sunderland, if not 100%. So the beer was flowing, chants were going and the fans were very optimistic. Itís only a short walk through Stanley Park to Evertonís ground. Walking through and there must have been about 25-30 coaches all lined up. As Gareth Southgate announced on TV, ď6,000 mackem....lunatics were here.Ē
Got into Goodison Park and itís a proper old fashioned ground you very rarely get now. I love it, wooden seats, and the tradition of the place. The pillars blocking everyoneís views I did not love. A few fans think of it as a blue & white Roker Park. I disagree like, Roker Park is one of a kind, thereís nothing that can or ever will come close to it.
We lined up with no real surprises, a few thought Vaughan might have started in a 4-5-1 formation but he went 2 up top and it was unchanged from the win over Liverpool. Everton on paper didnít look too strong but we all know by now how dangerous they can be. Some strong players and a fantastic manager.
First 10 minutes were tight, couldnít call it until we got a free kick on the right hand side of the pitch. Colback quickly knocked it to Bardsley, Everton didnít realise it, the fans didnít realise it, and Tim Howard definitely didnít realise it. Bardo unleashed an absolute rocket to send us 6,000 lunatics into scenes of utter joy. Scarves were waving frantically, the stand was rocking and another smoke bomb got set off which must have looked mad on the tele.
Everton got straight back into the game and that man, the man who ALWAYS scores against us got what looked more like a deflection than a header to equalize. Iím talking about Tim Cahill, not Ade Akinbiyi.
The match was very tight, both teams really going for it. There werenít many talking points but Iíll tell you all one thing. Simon Mignolet has kept us in the cup. There are a lot of Mignolet knockers out there and even they will have to admire his double save in the second half. Kept us in the cup no doubt and boosted the players. At full time the celebrations in the away end were like a win. It was a great performance by the lads, and a great result. The confidence is back.
So now what we have to do is take Everton back to the Stadium of Light, and the winner will face Liverpool at Wembley. I think both Sunderland and Everton fans will be very pleased with that future semi final draw. Liverpool are not the great side they once were.
Man of the match: Jack Colback. My player of the season. No opponent fazes him, looks for the simple ball, proved he can battle with big lads like Fellaini and got an assist. He was excellent. And as one of, obviously Iím going to say how great our fans are. We were fucking brilliant.
And if anyone is bothered about anything wacky happening to me , the cans of lager took there toll, I was absolutely mortal coming back and the last thing I remember is jumping about Arizona in town to ĎCotton Eyed Joeí early hours in the morning. And Iíve been rough as hell all day at work and Iíve fell over somewhere as my ankle looks like Gerry Francis ball sack. You don't want pics, honestly.
We are Sunderland, letís go for it!