Everton win despite Roaring effort

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Everton defeated the Queensland Roar in an unconvincing display at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, winning 2-1.

Almost 20,000 people attended Suncorp Stadium on a chilly Brisbane night, to see Everton FC play the bewildered Queensland Roar.

The first half was fairly lacklustre. Inaccurate passing, miscommunication between players, and lost chances plagued both teams. Everton’s defence held strong, despite several attempts by the Roar to break through.

Everton’s Louis Saha fell to the ground again and again (one of which was hysterically mistimed) as he tried to milk a penalty from the referee. Unfortunately for him, football is played a little differently in Australia, and none of his ‘dives’ were successful. Instead he drew boos from the crowd, a majority of which were decked out in blue and white.

With players taking the initiative in the second half, the game opened up and it was clear the game was up for grabs for whichever team desired it most.

Queensland had some decent chances, testing Everton goalkeeper Iain Turner, but again, failed to finish strongly when it counted.

It took a curling strike from just outside the goal box in the 49th minute by Everton’s Jack Rodwell to break the deadlock. His accurate shot rattled the top right corner of the Roar net, putting the visitors in front, despite a flying attempt by the Roar’s keeper, Theoklitos.

Roar supporters then came alive with one man’s ‘Queenslander!’ cry, igniting cheers from fellow Roar fans.

Shortly after, the Roar finally managed to score a goal against the English side – the only team to have done so during Everton’s tour down under. Queensland’s Kosta Barbarouses equalised with an impressive strike from close range, catching the Everton defence off guard.

Play began to open up as the Roar found themselves in Everton’s goal box time after time, while Everton’s counter attack sent Osman, Coleman and Anichebe in Queensland territory.

Continued pressure from Everton resulted in Magave Gueve scoring from a tight angle in the 83rd minute, securing the win. It was the first goal for Gueve as a Toffee.

Everton’s 2-1 win sealed a clean sweep of their three-game tour against Sydney FC, Melbourne Heart and Queensland Roar. Though their performance against the Roar was far from convincing.

This was the very first time I had ever seen an English Premier League team play live. I expected a high calibre of players, with skills beyond that of any A-League team, and a supporter stand that would deafen the cheers of the home team. But what I got was slightly disappointing.

The players were not as polished as I thought they would be.

Everton made several errors, passes rarely stuck, they gave away possession cheaply and missed numerous opportunities right in front of goal.

I expected the Roar, in light of Ange Postecoglou’s appointment and the loss of Tommy Oar and Michael Zullo, to be thrashed 4-0. But they demonstrated some fight and ambitious play for a team which is very young and still finding their feet after a disappointing season last year.

The Everton fan base which I was sure would be just as entertaining as the football, barely made a peep! In fact it was the fewer Roar supporters that could be heard in chorus on at least five occasions, while Everton supporters barely put together one cheer.

The game as a whole, didn’t quite meet expectations.

I’m unaware how Everton performed in previous matches, but I did expect more. Perhaps this match lacked the unpredictable and potent attack of Cahill and Arteta, and as a result, the football was inferior to previous Sydney and Melbourne games? Or maybe we put the standard of the English Premier League on too high a pedestal? Maybe our A-League is not so bad?

One thing’s for sure. Australia needs more of these international, inter-club friendlies.

They bring out the fans from both clubs, as well as neutral supporters – fans of football. It provides much-needed exposure of football in Australia, it tests out our teams against the best in the world, and provides football lovers a taste of what we might come to expect in an Australia where football stands equal to AFL, Rugby Union and Rugby League. Just a taste.

Former Roarer, Jesse Fink, has released a new e-book, World Party, the story of the Socceroos' incredible run at the 2006 World Cup – 15 days every Australian football fan should never forget. Support a fellow Roarer and download a copy today.