Premier League
West Ham United 2-3 Everton 

Saturday, 21st September 2013
by Gordon Thrower

What is it about Everton? It doesn't seem to matter how well or how badly we play against them the result always seems to end up depending on what the idiot with the whistle is up to. And invariably what the idiot with the whistle is up to ends up costing us dearly.

Team news was that Demel was the latest to become hors de combat which meant that Rat came in on the left with O'Brien shifting across to the right. Otherwise it was pretty much as expected with Petric being drafted in to the bench for the time being whilst he regains match fitness. Line up: JJ, O'Brien, Rat, Reid, Collins, Noble, Morrison, Diame, Jarvis, Nolan, Maiga.first time effort at glory

The early exchanges were pretty even. Maiga won a header from a goal kick that played in Diame wide on the left of the box. However, with nobody in the middle to aim for Diame's first time effort was horrible. Everton responded with what was their best ?EUR" if not only ?EUR" real chance of the half. Mirallas cut in from their left and unleashed a powerful cross shot that JJ did well to turn away even if he was slightly fortunate that the ball didn't fall more kindly for Naismith.

What should have been a clue as to how we should be playing came in Jarvis got a run at jagielka and left him for dead. Only a last ditch tackle from Distin saved the day. Jarvis took the resulting corner which resulted in a spot of back and forth. The chance to keep the ball live disappeaared when Barkley, in ful view of ref Mason, flicked the ball away with his hand. It was outside the box but was still a deliberate handball of the type thay the laws of the gme require for a caution to be issued. Mason can have no excuse for giving neither the free-kick nor the caution.

The visitors pounced on the ref's obvious incompetence ?EUR" since Barklay had gotten away with playing basketball they rightly figured that all sorts of blocking nudges with the arm were going to be allowed and a number of passes were cut out in this manner without any intervention from the officials.

Mason could do nothing about the opening goal. Jarvis came inside from the left running parallel to the goal. Jarvis squared the ball to Morrison who took a touch and shot. The effort took a small but vital touch off a defender, wrong-footing Howard to give us the lead.

Morrison then entered the book for a rash challenge on Naismith, which wouldn't have tken place had Mason given the foul on O'Brien by Barkley that had resulted in the ball running to Naismith in the first place.

Some nice passing then saw Nolan play in Diame only for a defender to get an inadvertent touch on to give away the corner. Nolan's shot from Noble's cross was blocked by Jelavic. Mason kept his hand in giving a corner when the ball had clearly come off Baines. Just to confirm that Mason shouldn't be allowed out unsupervised he then booked Barkley for a horrible stamp on Morrison that deserved stronger punishment just before the break.

Half time: West Ham United 1-0 Everton

We generally agreed that we'd been the better team in the first half though I commented that the ref was worrying me as it was looking like he wanted to be the centre of attention. It can be depressing being so right all the time.

The visitor made two changes during the interval Jelavic and Naismith failed to return after the break, being replaced by McCarthy and the inexplicably benched Lukaku. The Belgian caused immediate problems, turning Collins before feeding Mirallas whose cross was blocked.

Everton were forced into making their third change early into the half. Osman twisted awkwardly after a (perfectly legal) challenge from Reid. Oviedo replaced.

With the addition of Lukaku Everton were much livelier in the second half. Unfortunately this meant that there was all the more scope for stupidity from Mason who, aided by a brain donor of an assistant decided that a clear spot of chest control from Nobe was handball. Which was especially ludicrous in view of both Baines and Lukaku keeping the subseqquent Everton attack alive by deliberately propelling the ball past players with their arms, the eventual cross being just too high for Mirallas.

Everton equalised on the hour. Barkley was fouled by Collis in dangerous territory. That's the Barkley who shouldn't have been on the pitch. With Baines in the side it's a daft place to foul and Everton took full advantage of Collins' rush of blood to stick the free-kick into the top corner. This woke up the Everton fans who had sat in silence up to that point. Clearly the sing when you're winning habit must be a scouse thing.

We'd been waiting to bring on Petric for Maiga for a couple of minutes before the goal and the change was made at the restart. Mason continued to impress for the visitors even taking it on himself to ovrrule his assistants if the had the temerity to award us so much as a throw-in. Mason then booked Noble for a slight tug on Mirallas ?EUR" the same punishment as Barkley got for his stamp on Morrison you'll recall.

Baines then crossed from their left and his deflected cross required a JJ save but the corner was dealt with ?EUR" eventually. With 18 left Vaz Te replaced Jarvis who had spent the second half starved of the ball. With less than 15 mins left we then took the lead. Petricd did well to get any sort of control on to a ball played into the box and the ball looked to be running out. Petric did remarkably well to keep the ball in to play in Nolan who suckered McCarthy into giving away the spot kick. There were no complaints from the visitors ?EUR" let's face it for Mason to actually give us anything it was going to have to be more than nailed on. Noble sent Howard the wrong way to restore the lead. Silence restored in the away end.

The goal restored the spring to our step and Diame shot narrowly wide. Taylor replaced Nolan with ten left, the skipper having picked up a slight knock in the penalty incident.Tho=is was followed by Mason's most disgraceful decision of a dreadfully poor afternoon. Noble took the ball off Barkley. It simply wasn't a foul. This attered not to Mason who saw the opportunity to brandish a red card. Shame that it hadn't occurred to him earlier when Barkley was stamping on Morrison. It was an appalling dereliction of duty from an official who is simply not good enough. Depressingly Baines stuck the free-kick away in the other corner.

Well Mason managed to change the whole ace of the game. With ten men we simply weren't in it and there was a depressing inevitability to Lukaku's winner from Mirallas's cross a couple of minutes later. The only surprise was that Mason didn't put the ball in himself.

In scoring Lukaku headed the back of Joey O'B's head meaning lengthy treatment for both players, though I have little doubt that Mason would have blown up after six of the 7 allotted minutes had he thought there there been any danger of us equalising. There wasn't and Masoncould look back on his aftrnoon's efforts happy in the knowledge that it was he and not the players who had been the centre of attention.

Full Time: West Ham United 2-3 Everton

Here's a stat for you. An external review of matches refereed by Lee Mason in 2011/12 showed that he gets less than 65% of his decisions right. For context, the hapless Stuart Atwell was slung out of the select group with better figures than that and most countries in Europe start to take action when the stat drops down to 70% - in fact a display like that would probably trigger a look into the bank accounts of your average Italian ref. So it should come as no surprise to anyone with half a braincell (which excludes PGMOL and its officials) that Mason cost us this match with another of his guesses. Noble took the ball. It wasn't a foul. It wasn't a yellow card. When you consider the narrow margin between victory and defeat it's important that idiots like Mason are not allowed the scope to make such decisions. Unfortunately it's idiots like Mason who are in charge of the whole shebang and they're not about to allow anything to improve standards at their expense any day soon.

Overall this was a much better display than we put out against Stoke but we still have problems up front and, until someone explains to the players that you cannot rely on the honesty or competence of the match officials any more any challenge just outside the box is going to cause problems. Meanwhile Lukaku's presence on loan continues to bring the sanity of the Chelsea management into question ?EUR" Torres is a better player? Yeah right.

Time to sort a few things out Sam - this could be a tough season otherwise.

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Player Ratings

Jussi Jaaskelainen
I don't think he had much chance with any of the goals. Only ha two other saves to make which he dealt with well.

Joey O Brien
Not as comfortable on the right where Mirallas gave him a tough time.

Razvan Rat
Needs to link up better with Jarvis. There were a few promising positions which came to nothing because the two weren't on the same wavelength.

Winston Reid
Pick of the defence again and rightly given man of the match by the sponsors for once. Same here.

James Collins
Silly challenge allowed Everton back into the game.

Mark Noble
I'm not going to criticise him over refereeing dishonesty beyond his control. Yes the rash challenges on the edge of the box have been an issue but this weekend he took the ball cleanly enough. Thankfully he'll only miss the Cardiff League Cup match. Mason on the other hnd will escape punishment.

Mo Diame
Good in spells but I can't help but feel he's a bit wasted on the right. With Morrison in the side that's a necessity as he's a better bet than the youngster to provide cover to the full back on that side but it still doesn't seem quite right.

Ravel Morrison
The youngster's beginning to thrive on the responsibility occasioned by his selection. When Cole is fit again there'll be a nice decision to make.

Matt Jarvis
Looked good when we fed him and he set up the goal. So why did we starve him in the second half.

Kevin Nolan
A lot of hard work off the ball and clever feet for the penalty.

Modibo Maiga
Looked interested and disinterested at different spells during the game. I suspect that Petric's return to match fitness will result in our not seeing much of him.


Mladan Petric
Clearly short of match fitness but his hard work in the lead up to the penalty showed promise.

Ricardo Vaz Te
Might have done better late on with a free header.

Matt Taylor
Came on for Nolan. Apparently.

Did not play.

George McCartney
Did not play.

James Tomkins
Did not play.

Jack Collison
Did not play.

Match Facts

West Ham United: Jussi Jaaskelainen, Joey O Brien, Razvan Rat, Winston Reid, James Collins, Mark Noble, Mo Diame, Ravel Morrison, Matt Jarvis, Kevin Nolan, Modibo Maiga.

Goals: Ravel Morrison 31 Mark Noble 75                .

Booked: Ravel Morrison 37 James Collins 61 Mark Noble 68      .

Sent Off: Mark Noble 81    .

Everton: tbc.

Subs not used: tbc.

Goals: tbc.

Booked: None booked..

Sent off: None.

Referee: Lee Mason.

Attendance: 34,952.

Man of the Match: Winston Reid.