In a game that held slightly less promise for us than Theresa May's Valentine card list, we were well beaten, but not pezzled by any means. Mainly "cos Everton did what they had to and no more.
It's a long train journey to Liverpool, but I have a good guide when I get there. Burnsy might be a mag, but he’s been in Liverpool for yonks and thus knows where's worth going to, which included Ye Crack, where the Beatles used to hang out. Amongst the reminders of this was a bearded Teddy Boy with sunglasses sitting in the corner mumbling about being a creative genius and calling Lennon and McCartney arty-farty tosspots, all the while playing with a blue toy steam engine. My brief cultural tour over, it was on board the Goodison Express to find that, despite it having pelted down for most of the afternoon, they were watering the pitch.
Loads of changes, as you'd expect, with Galloway and Browning ineligible for obvious reasons.
Love Kone Jones Matthews
Rodders Ndong Gibson Gooch Honeyman
With both sides wearing shirts bearing the logo of the Bradley Lowery foundation, we kicked off away to our right. My seat was so low all I could see was the stewards' backsides, so I shifted a few rows back in time to see Vaughan break through the middle after winning a tackle. It should have been a goal, but Everton managed to get in the way and our man couldn't trouble the home keeper. Damn.
While most of our game was about Vaughan chasing things as if his life depended on it after we played it out of defence, the Toffees had a real threat in youngsters Davies and Calvert-Lewin (about time we got a double-barrelled surname) and the pair were instrumental in winning the home side several corners. Steele had to make a couple of saves - nowt spectacular, but showing safe hands, especially when stopping a free kick - as Everton got on top.
With seven minutes of the half left, the inevitable happened. After passing and moving like a very expensive side should, Everton opened us up and Calvert-Lewin popped it past Steele.
That was about it for the first 45, as Vaughan continued to chase anything that Gooch, Honeyman, and Ndong could get his way, but we didn't really cause any real problems. A solitary added minute and the whistle went.
No changes for either side, and we had an early bit of excitement as we broke out of defence and Rodwell carried the ball down the right and almost set something up, showing that there is a decent footballer in there somewhere. Mind, we'd only had five minutes of the half when that young 'un with the fancy name was played in and he gave Steele no chance. 0-2, game over.
Rodwell was replaced by McManaman to give us a natural winger on the right, and he had a couple of decent runs, one of which ended with a cross into Vaughan's head - but the header went past the post. That lad hit Steele's left-hand post with a header as he forced us onto the back foot again. Getting the ball onto Vaughan's head seemed to be our best hope of getting something, and Williams, on for Honeyman, did just that, but the header was just wide.
Steele had to save well from sub Lookman before another sub, Niasse, volleyed high into the net to finish things off. There was a comedy pitch invasion, as a twelve-year-old escaped the attentions of the massed ranks of sleepy stewards to get into the grass, followed by an even younger miscreant. They basically left the bigger lad to run out of breath as the smaller one got a clip round the lug off his dad.
Wilson replaced Vaughan, who was warmly applauded by the home fans, with a few minutes left, and in the two added minutes we had a chance to salvage something from a free-kick 25 yards out.
Gibson's free was perfectly placed but carried less venom that an adder that had been through yer ganny's mangle, making it an easy save for Stekelenberg.
There you go, then. Out of the League Cup, and no more than we deserved. We tried, they didn't have to, and we can't have many complaints.
Man of the Match? Vaughan, for his tireless efforts and having a couple of attempts on goal.
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