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Burnley were beaten 3-0 by Everton last night at Goodison Park and we could have no complaints at the result and the exit from this season’s League Cup.

It looked a difficult task once former Claret James Tarkowski headed in former Claret Dwight McNeil’s cross in the 13th minute and a second goal early in the second half just about ended our hopes with Everton adding a third in stoppage time.

I arrived at Goodison early and went to meet with friends who are involved in Fans Supporting Foodbanks, the first group in England to set up such collections. Back in the fanzone at Goodison, they work alongside Liverpool fans with this joint venture that has gone from strength to strength with them receiving wonderful support from both clubs.

Whilst there I met a gentleman of Everton persuasion who was a good few years older than me. We chatted about the days in the 1960s and he amazed me that he could rhyme off the Burnley team who won the championship in 1960.

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Eventually, I made my way to Bullens Road and the away turnstiles with my paper ticket. I don’t know what it was like for the e-ticket holders but there were no queues and I was in within no more than a minute.

I expected there would be changes from the team that had lost at Bournemouth and that number totalled seven with all of Arijanet Muric, Hannes Delcroix, Sander Berge, Mike Trésor, Nathan Redmond, Jacob Bruun Larsen and Jay Rodriguez coming in to join Vitinho, Ameen Al-Dakhil, Dara O’Shea and Josh Cullen who had been in last Saturday’s team.

I found my seat. Did I have a good view? Not particularly but I’ve certainly had worse at Goodison and I could see most of the pitch with an unobstructed view, something that won’t have been afforded to a lot of our fans there.

It’s still the most traditional of grounds and atmospheres. They played Grand Old Team and then came the siren before the teams came out to the Z-Cars theme. It was a special, but sad night, for the home club as they paid their respects to chairman Billy Kenwright who passed away twelve days earlier.

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The players, lined up on the centre circle, were joined by his partner Jenny Seagrove, his daughter Lucy Kenwright and former Everton striker and manager Joe Royle, the three all carrying wreaths, ahead of a minute’s applause that was accompanied by the playing of Elton John’s I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues.

The Burnley fans were fully supportive during the minute; they weren’t of one of the former Burnley players on the pitch. We defended the Park End of the ground in the first half which meant Dwight McNeil was playing right in front of us. With his very first touch the booing started which really surprised me. I understand that he didn’t want to leave back in the summer of 2022 but a good business decision by the club given the figure Everton, then managed by Frank Lampard, had made for his services.

I’m not sure how many times he’d had contact with the ball, but when it was played out to him in the 13th minute, he got in the perfect cross for Tarkowski to head home virtually unchallenged. I’m not sure Dwight’s reaction in front of the Burnley fans was anything other than ill advised but I remain baffled now at the vitriol aimed at him from the start.

A goal behind early in the game was just not what we wanted and with us struggling to get any foothold in the game, it could have been worse with McNeil himself probably coming closest with a shot over the bar.

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Eventually we did find that foothold and we had a spell towards the end of the first half when we did at least look capable of getting back into the contest. Much of the good play was through Berge and Redmond but we couldn’t find that goal with Everton generally defending well and on one occasion we did get in, they got in a really good block to deny us.

Still, although behind at half time, there was hope that we continue our better showing in the second half to give ourselves a chance of getting back in. Those hopes were soon dashed. We conceded one goal that was ruled out for offside, thankfully with no five and a half minute wait for VAR which was not in operation, but a couple of minutes later they won a corner and once again we found a way to concede from a set piece. The two former Clarets were involved again; this time Tarkowski headed down McNeil’s corner and it got a touch off Dominic Calvert-Lewin before Amadou Onana scored from close range.

There were only eight minutes gone in the second half but that was it. We were a beaten side and at no point at all did we ever look as though we might come back. Just past the hour we made three substitutions but it didn’t make a jot of difference.

Our fans weren’t waving flags or banging drums but there was real disillusionment from many and anger from others. As a friend of mine said: “It’s a difficult watch when you know you are beaten.” I couldn’t agree more.

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That second half was awful and it went even worse in stoppage time. Beto got the better of Al-Dakhil down their left with ease and his low ball into the box was met by 38-year-old Ashley Young who got between the static O’Shea and Delcroix to score from close range.

We did then get in our first on target effort from substitute Wilson Odobert although he should really have been looking to cross the ball. It summed up our night.

That was it, for a fourth successive season our League Cup run has come to an end in the fourth round. Maybe we did go into the game as underdogs but this was far, far too easy for a very average at best Everton side. They came up against an inept Burnley team who didn’t compete and really they didn’t have to offer much at all to beat us.

McNeil booed, but after the final whistle Tarkowski came over to applaud the Burnley fans and received the warmest reception from those of us still inside Goodison.

At least it was a quick journey home this time after the long trips to Brentford and Bournemouth but we need to be, we have to be, much better than we’ve seen in these last three games.

The teams were;

Everton: Jordan Pickford, Ashley Young, James Tarkowski, Jarrad Branthwaite, Vitalii Mykolenko, Jack Harrison (Nathan Patterson 80), James Garner, Amadou Onana (Idrissa Gueye 79), Dwight McNeil (Lewis Dobbin 90+4), Arnaut Danjuma (Abdoulaye Doucouré 68), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (André Gomes 68). Subs not used: João Virginia, Michael Keane, Ben Godfrey, Ramalho Youssef Chermiti.

Burnley: Arijanet Muric, Vitinho (Connor Roberts 83), Ameen Al-Dakhil, Dara O’Shea, Hannes Delcroix, Josh Cullen, Sander Berge (Jack Cork 83), Mike Trésor, Nathan Redmond (Anass Zaroury 66), Jacob Bruun Larsen (Wilson Odobert 66), Jay Rodriguez (Zeki Amdouni 66). Subs not used: Lawrence Vigouroux, Charlie Taylor, Han-Noah Massengo, Josh Brownhill.
Yellow Cards: Ameen Al-Dakhil, Vitinho.

Referee: Michael Salisbury (Preston).

Attendance: 38,841.

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