Last August, before the soccer match between EVERTON and Liverpool, I posted this paeon to “derbies”, matches between local rivals. With Liverpool struggling at the time, and the match being played at Everton’s Goodison Park, I thought my team might pull off an upset. Instead, we were taken apart 3-0.
Today, in the rematch at Liverpool’s Anfield ground, Everton managed a brave 0-0 draw. The Rocket Men of the world sometimes cite 0-0 draws as evidence that soccer is boring. But this match was a thrilling encounter that featured at least five world class saves (three by Everton keeper, Nigel Martyn) and two goal-line clearances (both by Everton).
Here’s an account of the match. To save Rocket Man the trouble of using the link, here’s the gist of it:
“Everton fans left Anfield singing after inflicting a serious, if not fatal, blow on their bitterest rival’s bid to qualify for the Champions League. For Everton the goalless draw was another precious point in their quest to haul themselves away from a possible relegation fight, and they showed tremendous desire and defensive bravery to withstand a near non-stop second-half Liverpool barrage.
“It was a tremendous match, full of all the good things in English football. And even though it only included one booking, the pride and passion was always there. So too was Everton’s tremendous defiance. They deserved their point.”
HINDROCKET capitulates: I’m convinced, Deacon, I’m convinced. I’m sure my great-grandchildren will be big soccer fans. Actually, your post reminded me of something I read many years ago in a column by Dick Young, a sportswriter for the New York Daily News. He was talking about the state of baseball, and bemoaned the fact that the people who were running the sport didn’t understand their product: “They think they’re selling entertainment, but they’re not. They’re selling religion.” If I were an Everton fan, the defensive plays that preserved the scoreless tie would have been as exciting as the 3-2-3 double play that Kent Hrbek initiated in the seventh game of the 1991 World Series to, likewise, keep the score 0-0. Being a sports fan is about faith. And hope. And love. And we’ll all be hoping that Everton doesn’t get relegated.
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