Comebacks hide flaws

Everton 2-2 Latics
Saturday 16th September 2006

Last season, this was the fixture that really announced Latics’ arrival in the top flight following tepid results in the first three games of this one, Paul Jewell would have been hoping for a similar effect as he took his team to Goodison to face a revitalised Everton and an in form Andy Johnson, both of whom would be buzzing from the previous Saturday’s demolition of Liverpool.

Again Latics were taught a lesson on taking things for granted and whilst we didn’t see too much evidence of a lack of a finishing touch that was mainly due to an inability to get a foothold in the game. The Everton midfield ran the show and their one man front line caused no end of problems for the increasingly pedestrian looking Latics back line.

Not for the first time this season, a slip up between Boyce and Hall cost us the first goal and at that stage, with Arteta running the show and Johnson running the defence ragged, you’d have bet on Everton walking away with it. The Toffee’s second was down to nothing but stupidity, this time on behalf of Denny Landzaat. Both goals proving the old adage that you can’t get away with mistakes at this level.

With goals being thin on the ground this season, it has to be a boost that both goals came from midfield with Paul Scharner showing the strikers the right way to do things. A powerful header from Kilbane’s cross was followed by a difficult but tidy finish from Johansson’s pull back, both goals coming from the sort of late runs into the box that the Everton defence must see Cahill making everyday in training.

Whilst there was nothing lucky about either of the equalisers there were sighs of relief all round come the final whistle. At the end of the day, no one, barring the top 4 or 5 teams, should complain about a 2-2 draw at Goodison, but Latics should have been well beaten by what looked a much better side. That they managed to recover, not once but twice, showed that some of the resilience that they relied on for large parts of last season is still there, but we shouldn’t get carried away with that. If they hadn’t let Everton walk all over them in the first place, there’d have been no need for the extra effort at the end.

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