Tuesday 24 October 2017

Everton stroll sparks mass Villa walkout

Everton's Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring their third goal with Aaron Lennon
Reuters / Andrew Yates
Everton's Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring their third goal with Aaron Lennon Reuters / Andrew Yates

John Percy

The only surprise was that some Aston Villa's supporters waited until the 74th minute to stage their walk-out protest. After five years of painful decline under owner Randy Lerner, Villa fans are now voting with their feet and thousands streamed out 16 minutes from time.

Lerner and chief executive Tom Fox were both subjected to abusive chants and this will have made grim listening for Villa's American owner on his live TV feed over in New York. The protest, in recognition of Villa's formation in 1874, was more severe than expected and came shortly after Romelu Lukaku had added Everton's third to become the club's leading scorer in a Premier League season.

Everton were irresistible at times and if this is new pressure for Roberto Martinez, after the club's decade-long search for investment was ended last weekend, all that was missing was a cigar on the touchline.

Villa have conceded nine goals in two games against the Merseyside clubs and this defeat leaves them still anchored to the bottom, eight points adrift of safety. While Everton are approaching an exciting new era, after Iranian businessman Farhad Moshiri bought a 49.9 pc stake in the club, Villa are hurtling towards the Championship.

Everton's new investment will have only piled on the frustration for Villa supporters, who are desperate for Lerner to sell up after five years of decline. Those fans also plan to protest in the home games against Spurs and Chelsea yet here the walkout extended to the Villa defence after just five minutes.

This time it was Micah Richards, who completely lost Ramiro Funes Mori in the penalty area and the Everton defender rose to head Kevin Mirallas's corner into the net.

Everton increased their lead on the half-hour. Ross Barkley was allowed to advance 30 yards from his own half before releasing Mirallas inside the area and his cross was turned in by Aaron Lennon. Lukaku added the third after the break - his 17th of the season.

Aston Villa 1

Everton 3

Irish Independent

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