Again, there was reasons to be cheerful prior to the game after big news on the takeover front earlier in the day, however we were let down once again, with an ordinary Everton coming away with three points after another costly Darlow error.
Here’s our thoughts and marks out of 10 following today’s 0-1 defeat to Everton.
NUFC XI – (4-2-3-1) – Darlow – Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Manquillo – Merino, Shelvey – Ritchie, Diame, Atsu – Gayle.
Darlow – 3 – Cost us badly, again. Parried what should’ve been an easy take and didn’t react quick enough, allowing Rooney to tap in. Good save to deny Williams in second half, but has to be dropped after that. Very poor and indecisive distribution too.
Yedlin – 5 – Combined well with Atsu in the first half, but looks a little more reserved than we saw him be last season. He looked a real threat when he burst forwards but did that all too infrequently. A good outlet, but decisiveness and delivery into the box needs to be better. He’s low on confidence.
Lascelles – 6 – The only NUFC defender who dealt with danger convincingly. Considering how poor we looked as a defensive unit, he did ok.
Manquillo– 5 – A few good bursts forward down the left in the first half. Looked quicker than I thought he was. He doesn’t strike me as a natural defender; especially not at left-back.
Merino – 6 – Kept it ticking first half and tried to get his head up and move it forwards, but so often had so little options ahead of him. Still looks a tad rusty, but saw a superb long range effort crash against the inside of the post in the first half. One of our better players in a toothless performance.
Shelvey– 3 – Very quiet first half with a few slack touches. Tried to get things going in second half but struggled to ever take a grip of the game. His mistimed tackle for second yellow was careless. Generally went missing and then got himself his second red of the season. There wasn’t much for him to work with tonight, but it wasn’t good enough.
Ritchie – 6* – Unsettled young Everton right-back Jonjoe Kenny early on and put in a few dangerous balls to no avail. Superb first half strike rattled the woodwork.
Diame – 2 – I don’t agree with it, but there was sarcastic cheers when he was substituted in the second half, highlighting just what the crowd thought of his performance. He barely did a thing right and could barely control the ball or make 5 yard passes.
Atsu – 5 – Had a go first half and tried to get things going with Yedlin down the right, but a lack of quality in his final ball let him down.
Gayle– 4 – Really struggled to get into the game and when he did his second touch was often a tackle. Didn’t get much support or service, but was well below his best tonight after a string of sharp displays. Isn’t suited to play the lone striker role and it showed again.