'Angry' Newcastle striker Demba Ba makes his point against Everton on an emotional night for Merseyside
Everton 2 Newcastle United 2
Tuesday 18 September 2012
There are various ways to react to being dropped to the bench, although having your brother go on Twitter to call your manager an idiot is probably not one recommended by the Professional Footballers' Association.
Newcastle had just handed in their team sheet when Hamady Ba tweeted: "So, Demba scored 17 goals since last year and Alan Pardew decided to put him on the bench. I think this guy is crazy."
The match itself was crazy and most of the madness came in the final few minutes when Victor Anichebe had a perfectly good goal disallowed, then scored what everyone at Goodison must have thought was the winner before Ba hit his second of the night.
Pardew had thought better of leaving Ba on the bench during what he admitted was a brutal half-time team talk. His first goal arrived within four minutes, the second came as the final moments dripped away and Shola Ameobi, another of Pardew's substitutes, expertly chested a long ball into his path.
Afterwards, Ba confessed that he had "not been happy with some of the things that have been going on," although his manager responded: "Some players perform better when they are angry."
He added: "But that first half was as bad as I have seen them play under my tenure. They simply lacked belief. We were fortunate to come in at only 1-0 down – very fortunate. We are lacking rhythm and fluidity but you can't fault us for character. It was probably that which nicked us a point."
That and football's refusal to accept video technology which more and more appears like Stone Age man refusing to accept the wheel. Pardew remarked that Everton's left flank, which boasts Leighton Baines, Steven Pienaar and Marouane Fellaini is as good as any in Europe.
The latter hit a second-half goal that probably should have stood but was ruled offside and with barely 10 minutes remaining Everton definitely scored when Anichebe met Phil Jagielka's header with one of his own. Steve Harper, still wonderfully athletic at 37, tipped it on to his bar but the ball was over the line when Mike Williamson cleared.
When the televisions in Goodison's press box confirmed it, the whistles told referee Mike Jones what technology should have done. When Anichebe found the net moments later, it seemed justice, that watchword on Merseyside since Hillsborough, had in its tiny way been done.
This was the first Premier League game staged on Merseyside since the release of the report that proved beyond the doubt that the dead of Hillsborough died as innocents.
Everton marked it beautifully. Two mascots, one wearing an Everton shirt, the other a Liverpool one, stood to attention in the centre circle, the numbers on their backs reading "96" while the scoreboard relayed the names of the dead under a banner of: "Merseyside United". In the background they played The Hollies' "He Ain't Heavy... He's My Brother". It might have been all rather mawkish; actually it was perfect.
Everton's play was not perfect but it was very good as successive shots from Kevin Mirallas and Jagielka fizzed past Harper's goal. Then came the breakthrough; a one-two between Baines and Pienaar that saw the left-back power between Jonas Gutierrez and Yohan Cabaye before driving his shot emphatically into the corner of the Newcastle net. Crucially, however, there were to be no more before Pardew corrected his error.
Everton (4-4-2): Howard; Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Mirallas, Neville, Osman, Pienaar; Fellaini; Jelavic. Substitutes not used Mucha (g), Heitinga, Naismith, Gueye, Coleman, Anichebe, Duffy.
Newcastle United (4-3-2-1): Harper; Perch, Williamson, Taylor, Santon; Anita, Cabaye, Gutierrez; Marveaux, Ben Arfa; Cissé. Substitutes not used Elliot (g), Gosling, Ba, Bigirimana, Shola Ameobi, Obertan, Tavernier.
Referee M Jones (Cheshire).
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