How bloody ridiculous. Football is entertainment, it is about joy and celebration and spontaneity, it is about huge outpourings of emotion. So how the hell can you collect a red card for celebrating a goal you have just scored? I don't care what the rule book says, what matters is common sense, what matters is exercising judgement as a referee. Common sense? Judgement? What am I saying? We can't expect this from Premiership referees!
What do the details of the game matter after this? The result had very little to do with the 22 professional footballers who started the game and those who came on as substitutes. It has little to do with the managers either. Or the fans who paid to watch the game. The result is down to one man, Mr Walton who, in an act of supreme jobmansworth, reduced West Ham to 10 men because of celebrating what should have been the winning goal. Of course Piquionne was stupid. Of course by the letter of the law, Walton was within his rights. But if the letter of law was applied as rigorously in every walk of life, none of us would have driving licenses! What a twat! Dear God, since when has being happy and sharing that happiness with others been a crime? Not apply the letter of the law? More than Mr Walton's job's worth!
And what a shame! Piquionne's goal was a beauty and worthy of dancing naked through Liverpool. It was a lovely cross from Bridge and a wonderful header. To take the lead again after being pulled back to 1-1 so late in the game was a fantastic tribute to the spirit of the team, and for Walton to burst that bubble was so so so brutal.
Of course, going down to 10 men does not mean that conceding is inevitable and we SHOULD have dealt with the ball into the box that eventually led to Fellani scoring - and we KNEW it would be that hateful son of a bitch didn't we? - but when the luck is going against you, a blow like that inevitably knocks the stuffing from you. And the terrible thing is that we DESERVED to win. Apart from picking the ball out of the net twice, what did Green have to do exactly? Well, there were two saves in the second half, one of which set Coleman up with an open goal! Our first goal was well worked, with a lovely pass from Noble, a superb cross from Boa to Spector and an excellent finish from the born again American, and the second merited winning the game. We had more shots than Everton, we had more shots on target too, we hit the post, had a "goal" disallowed for offside and were denied a penalty. But step forward Walton to level things up with the perfect handicapping system!
That sending off could relegate us. It could result in us going out in the semifinal of the League Cup because Piquionne is now suspended. Was Piquionne cheating? Did Piquionne's actions endanger anybody? The rule is stupid and Walton is even more stupid for applying it stupidly. A great day turned sour in the very moment of joy. Thank you Mr Walton, please collect your Jobsworth award on the way out of Goodison Park, along perhaps with a pair of tickets for a holiday of your choice anywhere in the world courtesy of Everton Football Club!
Player Ratings: Green 6; Faubert 6, Tomkins 7, Upson 6, Bridge 7; Spector 7, Noble 6, Parker 7, Boa 7; Piquionne 8, Hines 5 Subs: Not on long enough to rate!