Heading into the first international break of the season, Town fans finally have something positive to cling onto following an encouraging display at Goodison Park. The performance saw Town earn a well-deserved second point of the season.
Looking back at arguably Town’s best performance of the season to date, Talk of The Town authors Elliott Wheat-Bowen and Freddie Cocker reflect on a display which has given them much hope heading into the coming weeks and months.
The first point to make, hence the title, is that we’re back. The energy, desire and fighting ‘working attitude’ as David Wagner so frequently says, returned.
This was married with a much crisper passing performance. Philip Billing and Aaron Mooy excelled in lifting the tempo of our game, putting men into space quickly and making faster decisions on and off the ball.
From the outset, there was a different feel to the weeks that preceded it and Billing’s booking in the third minute – albeit a harsh one – suggested that Town weren’t going to passively allow the game to go by them.
Rather than not committing any fouls like in the first half of Town’s previous away game against Manchester City, Town showed ‘controlled aggression’ to press Everton and get in their faces. Thanks to a combination of efforts by Aaron Mooy and Philip Billing – it worked.
Coupled with this excellent off-the-ball work, it was Town who imposed themselves in a formation which initially appeared to be a 5-4-1 but purely by the application and positive attitude shown proved to be more of a 3-4-3.
That was the major difference and why it appeared to be much nearer to the Huddersfield Town of old. Whilst the final ball may have been lacking, there was a fearlessness and a fluidity to Town’s display.
With the shackles loosening, Town played with a freedom we hadn’t seen since the demolition of Bournemouth in February and the stats reflected that.
Whilst Town didn’t manage to secure their first win of the season, six shots on target compared to Everton’s one suggested that they were much closer to finding that decisive second breakthrough than their apathetic hosts.
Last season, heading into those final fifteen minutes, Town might’ve dropped exceedingly deep and potentially lost the game in the dying minutes. Yet we almost saw Town manage the game in a way which we hadn’t seen since our promotion season.
Despite a torrid record at Goodison Park, it became one of Town’s most comfortable games, particularly away from home, since gaining promotion to the Premier League.
Whilst the result is one that David Wagner will take encouragement from, the character shown to by his squad to put on such a performance after a difficult start to the season, was mightily impressive.
If David Wagner asked for a reaction following a bleak few weeks, he certainly got one on Saturday. It has breathed confidence not just throughout his squad but throughout the entire fanbase as well.
It is safe to say, we’re back.