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Have you come down to Earth yet??? Still feeling on Cloud Nine??? No? Rightly so!!!
I did state that it would only be a memorable weekend for Evertonians if we actually won at Wembley. I hadn't imagined it would turn out to be that memorable!! I do however keep having to remind myself it was only a semi final. But so what, we did it!!!
Although nobody can ever really claim it's a satisfactory conclusion to a game of football, penalties do simply add to the drama. Win the shootout and it enhances the experience - lose and it's certainly a case of feeling down but not necessarily beaten on the day (that's the losers' excuse anyway!!)
For all Evertonians inside Wembley the pleasurable memories will remain for some considerable time (and hopefully extend into June and beyond). The noise, the colour, the passion, the tension and the drama will take some repeating. But repeat it we must.
Hands up, who'd written us off when that final, final whistle blew after 120 minutes? Me for one!!!
Penalties are not our forte (That's usually the domain of that lot across the park!!)
This time though the nerves held, boys became men (Leighton Baines and James Vaughan), the captain stepped up to the plate, and Jags banished the ghost of Fiorentina while demonstrating immeasurable bottle.
There was also a delicious irony for Tim Howard. The American was supposed to come on as a substitute in the dying minutes of extra time against Arsenal in the 2005 FA Cup final for the impending penalty shootout. He was considered the superior shot stopper ahead of Roy Carroll, but circumstances meant Sir Alex Ferguson couldn't make the change.
Much to his frustration Carroll never got close to any of Arsenal's spot kicks. Safe to say Ferguson must have feared the worst on Sunday. Maybe he got what he deserved for fielding the eleven he did, showing utter contempt for United's (quiet!) travelling support.
Wednesday nights performance at Stamford Bridge will also have given us great heart. Many had travelled to West London believing it may be a case of after the Lord Mayor's show. How wrong we were. Everton deserved victory on the night (Jo needs to work a little on that right foot of his though!!!)
Despite the defensive changes we looked assured at the back and in all my years of travelling to Stamford Bridge I can't remember a game where our keeper has been called upon to make so few real saves.
It was a performance that will give us real conviction heading to Wembley again. Chelsea haven't scored against us this season and although we may not have beaten them in 22 League and Cup games now, our time is coming.
As David Moyes has already said "this club is not far away from winning trophies".
Correct David. Ninety minutes in fact. Or possibly 120. Maybe even an additional five heart-stopping penalty minutes of pure passion and excitement. And glory, of course!
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