There were 5000 Evertonians that made the trip to Elland Road on a cold, wet night in Yorkshire and once again we have been let down big time. This is or should I say was a cup we had a great chance of winning if we took it seriously. Unfortunately we didn’t.
David Moyes made six changes to the team that started against Swansea, the most notable being Francisco Junior and Bryan Oviedo. The biggest thing I noticed upon reading the team sheet was that we had no Englishman in the starting eleven for the first time in the modern era.
While I admire Moyes for giving fringe players a chance to shine, a rain soaked pitch at Elland Road on a Tuesday evening is not when to do it, especially with foreign players and this proved to be the case.
The horror show started as early as the 4th minute with sloppy exchanges from the woeful Naismith and Junior left a gaping hole in the Everton midfield. Rodolph Austin captialised upon this and set free Aidan White who dutifully burst through the static Everton defence and slotted a well placed shot beyond stand in keeper Mucha.
I expected Leeds to score on the night and I thought Everton had their wake up call and would now get at Leeds. The team sheet was still bugging me. Too many inexperienced players, no Englishman with a desire for midweek cup games equalled a side that had never played together competitively and the writing was on the wall.
The rest of the first half Everton continued to struggle with Leeds’ physical approach and desire to win every ball. The only noticeable chance we had was a wayward shot by Anichebe; how we miss Jelavic with his first time strikes.
Half time came and went. 5000 travelling Toffees expecting Moyes to plug the hairdryer in and turn it on full blast. He made the necessary change and on came Pienaar and Neville replacing Junior and Gueye. Experience replaced youth.
The impact was almost immediate. Pienaar started to get Everton going but for everything he did right, Naismith seemed to undo. Leeds were by no means on the back foot. They were still pushing forward and proving threatening.
Moyes had finally lost patience with Naismith after he somehow missed a glorious chance six yards out and planted his header in the wrong direction. Off he came and Jelavic came on (what a relief to have him back so quick after injury).
Jelavic didn’t have a chance to make an impact as Leeds grabbed a second from a free kick. Austin getting the telling touch, firing low through a crowded penalty area.
Everton eventually pulled one back through Distin with a looping header but it proved too little too late. Leeds ran out worthy winners and there are no complaints with the final score.
I can only think by the selection due to the excellent start in the league, Moyes has made that his priority and rightly so. Still, I feel there is a massive chance missed here yet again. The chance of long awaited silverware for the fans and a place in Europe guaranteed go begging in this competition at least for another year.
Looking forward to the weekend Everton host Southampton where they are heavy favourites. The likes of Howard, Baines, Jagielka, Pienaar and Jelavic will be expected to start. I just hope Moyes doesn’t pay the price for his tinkering and upset the momentum they have worked so hard to keep going.
It’s easy sitting in our arm chairs or in the stands criticising a manager but in Moyes we trust. If we have a decent run in the F.A. Cup and more importantly secure a European place via the league, then this night will be long forgotten about. The life of a Toffee can be testing to put it mildly.