Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool Premiership  Saturday 4 December 2004; 3:00pm 
 Ferguson (45')
 Gravesen (75')
 Jaidi (og:83')
 
Half Time: 1-1
  Davis (15', 59')

 
 
 Attendance: 35,929 (Fixture 16) Referee: Howard Webb

Match Summary


Tim Cahill: Quiet game for him; nearly scored;
avoided a card;
available for the
next week's derby!!!

David Moyes finally 'breaks' one of his cardinal rules, bringing in Duncan Ferguson for his first Premiership start, despite having played in 14 of the previous 15 games as a substitute, Leon Osman making way...

There were three crosses in to Duncan in the first minute alone!  Gravesen took an early pop too, but well wide.  Everton's gameplan clearly involved getting the ball forward early but effectively, using the flanks before getting in the crosses to the Big Fella.

But Bolton weren't going to lie down, Pederson and Giannakopoulos almost getting behind the Everton defence, the Bolton number 7 hammering a nice one just over the bar as Bolton pushed Everton back.  As the game settled, Cahill met a long throw from Gravesen, but his header was well over the bar.  Hibbert was forced to give away the first corner on 15 mins, with Martyn under a lot of pressure from Pederson, flapping the ball straight out to Kevin Davis who smashed it just inside the post,  David Moyes will be livid with that one!

Carsley got a bit of room for a strike, but his shot was well wide as Everton started to look a little stale and devoid of ideas, while Bolton visibly gained in confidence.  Okocha's shot was just over, and may have been deflected.

Everton were not playing well, with poor balls forward easily denied, dreadful crosses from Cahill given away, and the Bent-Ferguson double-header doing nothing while Bolton just got stronger.  Ferguson then clipped Hunt stupidly and was lucky to escape with just a stern lecture form Ref Webb. 

But a superb move down the middle of the park finally awakened the crowd, with nice interpassing between Bent and Gravesen setting up Cahill for a long-range header that just fizzed fractionally wide!  Giannakopoulos went down after a challenge in the middle from Stubbs as Everton's frustration with Bolton, the game, and the referee started to boil.  Davis finally went into the book after he retaliated on Weir, who's earlier rugby tackle had been waved on.

Everton finally got a free-kick off Jaidi in a nice central position that Kilbane hammered unsubtly into the wall after Carsley ran over it (why didn't he take it???).  Everton's attacks were poor at best, if truth be known, with Jaidi all over Ferguson.  A poor first half, with Everton making little impression on their opponents, was just fizzling out when, moments before half-time, Duncan Ferguson finally evaded Jaidi to connect superbly with a wonderful Pistone cross; Jaaskelainen got a hand to it but it was in the net and Goodison was screaming!

Soon into the second half, Bent got away, not really one on one, but finished poorly firing wide.  Gravesen and Bent looked like breaking again, but Bent was foolishly offside as the second half started to look a bit more promising.  But another Bolton attack had Davis nodding the ball onto the angle, beyond a fearful Martyn, as Everton lived dangerously n the edge... 

Then, a long and lazy cross from the right caught the Everton defence out, with Kevin Davis out-jumping Hibbo and looping a perfect header into the far side of the goal.  Oh dear!

Cahill very nearly got himself booked for protesting after a weird non-incident with Jaaskelainen, who slipped as he threw the ball across the Everton player's body, losing possession, and then stayed down when he realized his error could cost Bolton a goal.  Martyn was then forced to deny Speed at a stretch as Everton rocked. 

Kilbane got a run in through a packed defence but his shot was saved.  Time to change the game?  Moyes wisely removed Cahill and Kilbane — both on four yellow cards — to be replaced by Osman and McFadden.

Ferguson then won a free-kick right on the line of the penalty box.  Surely Carsley would have a pop with this one? No, a wild blast by Gravesen but the ref was not happy and the kick is retaken after Okocha goes in the book.  With lots an lots going on off the ball, it was a horrendous game for any ref to try and control with any degree of respect. 

On the second attempt, Thomas Gravesen repeats the trick, and a rocket ends in the net after Stubbs does a superb rugby rolling maul all on his own, taking out the left side of the wall.  Fantastic stuff!  As Bolton protested vehemently, Hunt's name went into the ref's book.

Bolton had plenty to complain about when Pistone blocked a Bolton free-kick well inside 10 yards; not retaken.  Who said the ref was a homer?  It all fed to create a great atmosphere inside Goodison as both teams went for the win in the last 15 mins.

McFadden won a free-kick wide left that led to a succession of corners; with little really happening the ball came out to Osman, who fired it goalwards, straight at Jaidi, but his sliced clearance bizarrely flew into the corner of the net: 3-2!!!  Fookin' hilarious stuff!!!

To add to the fun, on came guess who: Les Ferdinand, while Ferguson went off to a rousing ovation, Joseph Yobo coming on in his stead.  

Lots more silliness down in the corner in front of the old Boys Pen as Everton's delaying tactics really got up the Trotters' collective snouts, trying to run time out.  The clock read 94 mins when the ref finally blew for time, with Bolton players still protesting the time-wasting all the way to the tunnel, and a very, very important 3 points to keep Everton in third place.

Michael Kenrick

> Match Facts
> Match Reports

Premiership Scores
Saturday 4 Dec 2004
Chelsea 4-0 Newcastle
Arsenal 3-0 Birmingham
Aston Villa 1-1 Liverpool
Blackburn 0-1 Tottenham
Everton 3-2 Bolton
Man Utd 3-0 Southampton
Norwich 0-1 Fulham
Portsmouth 3-2 West Brom
Sunday 5 Dec 2004
C Palace 0-1 Charlton
Monday 6 Dec 2004
Middlesbro 3-2 Man City

Premiership Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Chelsea 39
2 Arsenal 34
3 Everton 33
4 Man Utd 30
5 Middlesbrough 28
6 Aston Villa 25
7 Liverpool 24
8 Bolton 23
9 Portsmouth 21
10 Charlton 21
11 Man City 20
12 Newcastle 20
13 Tottenham 19
14 Fulham 17
15 Birmingham 14
16 Palace 13
17 Blackburn 13
18 Southampton 12
19 Norwich 12
20 West Brom 10
After 6 Dec 2004

Everton v Bolton Wndrs:
Prior League Games
 Overall  
 Everton  36
 Bolton  8
 Draws  17
 Premiership  
 Everton  3
 Bolton  1
 Draws  1
 Last Season:

Everton 1-2 Bolton W


Match Facts
 EVERTON (4-4-2)
 
Blue shirts, white shorts, white socks
BOLTON WANDERERS (4-4-2)
White shirts, black shorts and socks
Martyn
Hibbert
Stubbs
Weir
Pistone
Carsley
Cahill (68' Osman)
Gravesen
Kilbane (68' McFadden)

Ferguson (87' Yobo)
Bent

Subs not used:  
Wright, Watson

Yellow Cards: 


Red Cards: —



Unavailable:

(Unfit:) Tie
Jaaskelainen
N'Gotty
Hierro
Jaidi
Hunt
Giannakopoulos (86' Nolan)
Campo
Speed
Okocha (86' Ferdinand)
Davies yellow card
Pedersen

Subs Not Used:
Poole, Barness, Julio Cesar

Yellow Cards:
Davis (37'), Okocha (74'), Hunt (75')

Red Cards: —

Match Reports
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 Lyndon Lloyd Blue blood and thunder
 Paul Traill Calmness Under Pressure
 Links to Other Media Reports
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Match Preview

Everton and Bolton, two teams with comparatively limited resources, were the two surprise teams during the first third of the season.  Both have made their best ever start to a Premiership season.

However, while Everton have continued their amazing start to 2004-05 and held on to third place going into December, Bolton have slipped a little in recent weeks.

Without a win in four games now since beating Newcastle 2-1 at The Reebok, Sam Allardyce's side have fallen to eighth in the table, seven points behind the Blues.

It would be a big mistake, however, to underestimate them and this will not be an easy match-up despite the confidence that still pervades among David Moyes's band of heroes — not least because Bolton did the double over Everton last season.

Revenge for that should be incentive enough this weekend, but there is the added incentive that, if Arsenal fail to beat erratic Birmingham at Highbury, the Blues could leapfrog into second place.  Not only that, but Chelsea entertain Newcastle, another difficult side to beat, so — far from losing touch with the expensively assembled leaders from London — Everton could gain ground this weekend if they can manufacture a win over Bolton.

Moyes can call once again on his first choice line-up.  Tim Cahill is eligible despite reports that the yellow card he picked up at St James' Park last week was his fifth.  The Australian will, however, be walking a tightrope — should his combative style earn him another booking this weekend, he would miss next week's derby.

Bolton will be without midfielder El-Hadji Diouf who lost his appeal against a red card this week and now serves a three-match ban.  Riccardo Gardner is also missing for the Trotters following surgery to repair knee ligament damage.

Lyndon Lloyd


Matchday Stats

This will be the 137th meeting between Everton and Bolton Wanderers in all competitions, and the 69th at home.  This match will be the 11th meeting in the Premier League and the 6th at Goodison Park.

Everton's full record against Bolton Wanderers is:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

10

4

4

2

15

11

Division One

112

57

25

30

190

151

FA Cup

12

3

5

4

21

19

League Cup

2

1

1

0

2

1

TOTALS:

136

65

35

36

228

182

Our record at home to Bolton is:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

5

3

1

1

10

5

Division One

56

33

16

7

105

64

FA Cup

6

2

2

2

10

9

League Cup

1

0

1

0

1

1

TOTALS:

68

38

20

10

126

79

The last match between the sides was on 8 May this year when Bolton registered their first Premier League victory at Goodison Park with a 2-1 win.  Duncan Ferguson got Everton’s goal that day.

There have been 5 Everton hat-tricks against Bolton Wanderers over the years.  The last was by Duncan Ferguson on 28 December 1997 in a 3-2 victory at Goodison Park.  This is Ferguson’s only hat-trick during his time at the club.

The most common victory for Everton is 1-0 which has happened 15 times in Everton's 65 victories.  Bolton's most common victory is also 1-0, which has happened 8 times in their 36 victories. The most common draw between the teams is 1-1, which has occurred 15 times in the 35 draws between the sides.

Everton's record for 4 December is:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

3

1

0

2

2

7

Division One

10

2

3

5

11

16

League Cup

2

0

0

2

2

8

Screen Sport Super Cup

1

1

0

0

1

0

TOTALS:

16

4

3

9

16

31

This is the first time these sides have met on this day.  The last match on this day was in 2002 when Gary Naysmith scored a consolation in Everton’s 4-1 defeat at Chelsea in the League Cup.  The last Premier League match on this day was in 2000, when Everton lost 2-0 at Sunderland.  The last victory on this day was in 1993 when Everton beat Southampton 1-0 at Goodison Park.  This was the last match on this day at home, and also, after the match Howard Kendall announced his resignation as manager.

Kevin Richardson was born on this day in 1962 in Newcastle.  Signed as an apprentice in December 1980, Kevin made 145 appearances and scored 20 goals before being sold to Watford in September 1986.  Kevin holds a unique record in English football history becoming the only player, so far, to win a medal in the three main English competitions with three different sides.  He won a League Championship medal with Arsenal, as well as doing so with Everton.  An F.A. Cup winners medal with Everton and a League Cup winners medal with Aston Villa.

Graeme Sharp was a substitute for Scotland in their 2-0 victory over Australia in a World Cup play-off on this day in 1985.

Peter Degn was a substitute for Denmark under 21 against their Paraguayan counterparts on this day in 1999.  Denmark won the game 2-0 with Degn getting one of the goals.

Milestones that can be reached in this game:

·          Having taken charge of his 100th League match as manager of Everton against Newcastle United last Sunday, David now takes charge of his 50th League match at Goodison Park as Everton manager.

·          If Duncan Ferguson starts the game he will be making his 150th start for Everton in the Premier League.

·          If Nigel Martyn plays any part in the match, it will be his 50th appearance for Everton in the Premier League.

Steve Flanagan



Blue blood and thunder

Everton's remarkable fighting spirit prevailed once again as they twice fought back from going a goal behind to conquer Bolton Wanderers in a bruising encounter that threatened to boil over at any minute in a tempestuous second half.  What started as a much-anticipated collision between the Premiership's two surprise teams of the season became a genuine fight to the finish as both sides thirsted for victory, not only over the opposition but also some controversial refereeing decisions.

This season is proving that David Moyes and his side are nothing if not adaptable.  For the first time since the end of August, the manager abandoned his 4-1-4-1 formation by choice, pitching Duncan Ferguson into the starting line-up at the expense of Leon Osman to counter Bolton's infamous aerial threat at set pieces.  But the shuffled pack at first looked all at sea with the change in strategy, the visitors finding their rhythm quickly after Thomas Gravesen had fired tamely wide with the first effort of the game.

First Pedersen sneaked in but the home defence did just enough to snuff out the danger, then Stelios Giannakopoulos was picked out superbly by a cross-field ball and he despatched a crisp volley that whistled over Nigel Martyn's crossbar.

Everton, meanwhile, were struggling to create anything of meaning at the other end, with Marcus Bent withdrawn deep on the right flank — and therefore unable to pose his usual threat on the break — and Ferguson double-marked and mis-timing his leaps to meet angled long balls from the back.  Nevertheless, Kilbane tried his luck from distance but missed badly and Tim Cahill connected yet again with a long Gravesen throw but sent his looping header onto the top of the net.

With Lee Carsley marshalling the lively Jay-Jay Okocha, Bolton's chief threat came in the air and so it was that, just after the quarter-hour mark, Sam Allardyce's men struck from a set-piece.  Martyn was impeded by the presence of Pedersen and could only flap at a 16th-minute corner, the ball falling straight to Kevin Davies who half-volleyed just inside the near post to make it 1-0.

The goal had an air of inevitability about it but although Everton responded with predictable urgency, they again lacked any fluency in the final third of the field until Cahill met a tempting Bent cross with a diving header that curved just inches around the post.  It would have been a fantastic goal and had he been another two or three yards out, the bend on the ball might just have carried it inside Jussi Jaaskelain Everton's post.

As the half drew to a close, the first niggles emerged as referee Webb failed to call a succession of fouls, mostly on Everton defenders, leading Davies to push the official one step too far when he scythed down David Weir in an apparent act of retribution.  The striker was rightly booked.

Things really burst to life on the stroke of half-time, however, when — having wasted the presence of Duncan Ferguson with some appalling distribution from the flanks for 45 minutes — the Blues equalised.  Alessandro Pistone delivered a perfect cross from the left and Ferguson peeled off his marker to head firmly back across goal and inside the far post via Jaaskeleinen's palm.  Goodison erupted and the teams went into the break all square.

Buoyed by having scored at just the right time, Everton emerged from the interval with more purpose and attacking drive.  Gravesen, who had been the most profligate with his distribution into the area during the first half, put Bent away two minutes after the restart but, under pressure from a defender, the striker pulled his shot weakly across goal and out for a goal kick.

Bolton, for their part, remained confident, powerful and a constant aerial threat every time the ball was delivered into the Everton box.  In the 54th minute came the warning bell when Davies rose to head off the angle of crossbar and post and Okocha thankfully scissor-kicked the rebound just over the bar from close range.  Four minutes later, a reverse of the same move saw Davies picked out by a deep cross to the back post and he looped a header over Martyn to restore the Trotters' lead.

Everton once again responded and were denied an almost certain goal by a truly abysmal refereeing decision just two minutes later.  Jaaskeleinen was in the act of throwing the ball out of his area to clear following an Everton attack as Cahill ran by him, the ball brushed against the Australian and fell at his feet.  Cahill didn't have time to fire towards the empty goal because the referee had already blown for the non-existent foul, leaving the midfielder to protest in vain at the linesman.

The sense of injustice added more fuel to both the Blues' desire and the atmosphere inside the ground, with Bolton continuing to create chances that kept the Goodison faithful on the edge of their seats.  Pedersen scuffed a great chance from 12 yards and Goodison old-boy Gary Speed forced a save from Martyn with a low shot from 18 yards before Kevin Kilbane stormed into the other box only to see his shot parried by the 'keeper.

Five minutes later, though, Everton were level in controversial circumstances.  Ferguson was felled right on the 18 yard line by Jaidi and while Carsley looked all set to try to repeat his peach of a goal from last week, it was Gravesen who hammered a shot into the wall.  Unfortunately for Bolton, Okocha was booked for encroachment — by the strict letter of the law, he and a teammate did jump forward a yard or two but how many players don't these days? — and the referee ordered the kick to be retaken.

Carsley looked menacing once again, but Gravesen again did the honours, arrowing a low effort into the bottom corner — thanks in very large part to Alan Stubbs who barged to the right, taking three Bolton defenders with him and clearing the path for the shot.  Bolton were incensed but for Everton, denied a correct decision by the officials in the Cahill-Jaaskeleinen incident, it was justice done.

By this point, the game had assumed a fight-to-the-finish edge that kept tempers running high and referee Webb forced almost constantly to verbally caution players, favouring leniency over cards.  Indeed, Andy Hunt, already booked earlier in the half, was fortunate not to see red when he hacked down substitute James McFadden in the 81st minute and again for dissent in injury time as the Scot and Gravesen were running down the clock by the corner flag.

By that point, Everton were heading for all three points, a reward that had seemed unlikely for much of the match.  Earlier, a half-cleared corner fell to Osman, he fired a low shot across the box that Jaidi flapped at uncharacteristically and turned the ball into his own net to send the home fans into delirium.  From 1-0 and 2-1 down, Moyes's indomitable heroes had turned the match on its head and pulled a victory out of the bag with seven minutes left.

This performance offered yet more proof, if any were needed, that Everton are very much a force to be reckoned with this season and are fully deserving of their third-place berth.  The transformation from last season's spineless outfit into the swashbuckling, never-say-die Blues that are confounding the critics and delighting the long-suffering fans is nothing short of astounding.  And long may it continue — especially next week, when Moyes's revitalised Everton host the season's first Merseyside derby.

Three words: bring it on!

Lyndon Lloyd

Calmness Under Pressure

We set off for this one anticipating a rather dull scrappy encounter. Both of us predicting a 1-0 either way. Was not expecting a match of that quality and that excitement. One of the best games I’ve seen for a long time.

We left about 9:30am from Huddersfield and had to go via Wrexham to pick up the tickets. Finally made it back and pretty much headed straight off. By the time we’d gotten to Goodison it was about 14:00pm and we were waiting in line to pick up some derby tickets. The PA system told us they weren’t selling any tickets for other games until after this one so it was straight to the blue house.

As I’d left it in my mates hands to get the tickets he decided to sit in the Paddock. Normally I sit in the Lower Gwladys. I thoroughly enjoyed it second row at the front, more or less on half way. Close enough to hear the players talk and to give the linesman a bit of well-earned stick.

David Moyes had decided to change things a bit from the draw at Newcastle United last weekend. Playing Ferguson from the start and sticking Bent out wide. At times Bent was pushed forward to make it a 4-4-2.

We started relatively well for the first five minutes without really creating anything. I was impressed with Bolton though. It didn’t take them long to get a grip of the game however and Everton could have been punished early on.

Nobody could get near Okocha such is his skill, control and trickery and it was his ball over the top of Pistone which found Stellios. The Greek hit it first time on the volley from about eight yards. It was at an angle but about a foot over the bar. He should have kept it down and scored I reckon. That was a warning.

It was a warning we didn’t heed however as Bolton continued to press forward. Kilbane hit an incredibly ambitious effort from 30 yards well wide and Campo copied him a minute later at the other end. Bolton were still on top.

I think Stellios played the ball in a few minutes later and Hibbert headed it behind. From the resulting corner several players followed the ball into the heart of the six yard box making it difficult for Martyn to clear it. Nevertheless he punched it poorly and straight to the feet of Kevin Davies. He didn’t hesitate and didn’t miss from about eight yards as he drilled it into the corner. Bolton deservedly 1-0 up.

We didn’t get any better and nothing really worked after that. In fact Bolton were playing better than any team I’ve seen this season (the Arsenal mauling aside) and hitting us superbly on the counter attack. We couldn’t get near them at times and they were knocking it round superbly. We just couldn’t get on the ball. Thomas Gravesen was just about the only player trying to put his foot on the ball and get it in the box but all his efforts were over hit. Kilbane just could not beet his man time and time again and nothing really worked. Carsley had a couple of long range efforts which didn’t trouble anybody and it just wasn’t happening. We couldn’t beat them.

Everton moved up a gear towards the end of the first half however. Tim Cahill came very close to scoring with a diving header from a Hibbert close which was just wide. Me and Gaz had had enough however and went downstairs for a pint. The fella behind me said “the ref’s shite in’ ‘e”. His mate said “wouldn’t be Goodison without a shite ref”. You had to laugh. Just as he said that we looked up at the TV screen and the very impressive Pistone played in the only good ball so far that day. Ferguson rose to meet it and leapt superbly to head it goal wards. Jaskerlinen got a glove to it but couldn’t keep it out. GOAL 1-1. Perfect time to score just before the break. Cue pandemonium in the queue. Very relieved to undeservedly get level. We couldn’t play any worse in the second half and simply couldn’t afford to.

No changes at half time and Everton were much better in the second half and took the game to Bolton a lot more. Everyone seemed that bit more glued on and worked that bit harder. Bent had a good opportunity when he ran from the half way line after good work by Gravesen released him. He made it into the box but his shot was dragged harmlessly wide. Should have put his foot through it I reckon. Bolton did have a good chance shortly afterwards when Davies headed goal wards and onto the bar. Somehow Okocha missed a good chance from the rebound with the goal gaping. Things were getting incredibly tense.

It was just when we really seemed to be getting a bit of momentum that Bolton scored however. Simply something out of nothing. Hunt played a ball in from deep towards Davies. He easily out jumped Hibbert and looped the ball high over Martyn and into the back of the net. I thought Martyn again might have done better really but I couldn’t believe we were 1-2 down.

Everton’s response was quite calm which was good to see. Not panicky like in the past. You never see Man Utd panic when there loosing do you? Bolton had another chance after that when Speed’s low drive was well held by Martyn. Everton kept on getting in good positions and trying but the final ball would always let them down. There was then a peculiar incident when Jaskerlinen caught a cross and looked to bowl it out. As he did so the ball hit Cahill but he was adjudged to have fouled or handled. I’m not really sure which. I didn’t see much wrong but didn’t get a clear view of it to be fair. Cahill seemed very angry and berated the linesman for a while as too did Bent. Good to see the two new players very committed.

Kilbane wasn’t having the best of games but he did manage to wriggle into the box and hit a shot which was well beaten away by Jaaskelinen. His last act was to put in a rather poor corner kick. He and Cahill were substituted after that. They were the right substitutions I reckon although they were probably made with one eye on next weeks derby as well. McFadden and Osman came on. McFadden appeared to have some sort of free role and excelled in it. He was terrific and Osman also did very well. We were still getting forward a lot and trying hard for the goal.

The ball was played on the deck by Gravesen up towards Big Dunc. He tried to turn Jairdi and was bundled over. Free kick on the edge of the box. I wanted Stubbs to smash it. Carsley ran over it a few Bolton players came out of the wall and Gravesen hit it against Okocha. The referee ordered a re-take and it took forever to sort everything out Stubbs this time moved into the wall. Gravesen again lined it up. The tension was unbearable and I could hardly watch. As Gravesen took his run up Stubbs bulldozed into the wall and took two players off the end of it. This created space for Gravesen and he smacked it low into the corner and out of the reach of Jaaskelinen. Goodison erupted. It was a foul by Stubbs and shouldn’t have been given but it would have taken a very, very brave ref to turn those cheers into boos by awarding Bolton a free kick. Don’t think I’d have had the balls to give that decision. Stubbs then did a marvellous job as captain telling everybody to keep there heads, particularly the delirious Gravesen. We still had a job to do.

Bolton were clearly rattled and felt hard done by. They were I guess but unlike Everton when they conceded they didn’t remain calm and threw away the game in my opinion. There manager Sam Allerdyce didn’t help matters by loosing the plot in the dug out. If your a Bolton player and you see your boss acting like that I think it would be a bit unsettling and I think this ill feeling was transferred into the players.

Everton won a corner Gravesen whipped it in and it was cleared to Osman. He hit it back in on the half volley. It was going well wide but Jairdi got a boot to it and woefully miss-hit his clearance and it bounced into the corner. Goodison erupted once more and if Bolton hadn’t already lost their heads they had now. Would Jairdi have scored an own goal if he was concentrating more?

There was still about 9 minutes on the clock I think and this wasn’t over yet. I didn’t even notice Les Ferdinand come on such was the intenseness of the atmosphere. Everton were playing it out well and getting it into the corner. Hierro and Campo lost the plot. As too did Nicky Hunt but my favourite was Gary Speed. He completely flipped out right in front of me. It was absolutely priceless. The ref gave a few decisions against him and Bolton which he didn’t agree with and he just went mental. It was hilarious. The fans around me, myself included, did a good rendition of “Gary, Gary, Gary, Gary Shithouse Speed” and he got even worse. Yobo came on for Ferguson to shore up the back line. Just as well as he made some important and decisive clearances from a few balls in and a Bolton set-piece.

Bolton’s frustration reached fever pitch when Everton had a few corners and free kicks by the corner flag which Gravesen made the most out of. This resulting in a spectacular two footed leap by Jaidi which had Gravesen grounded. Don’t think I’ve ever seen a team lose the plot like that. Gravesen then skinned about five players in the corner flag while trying to keep the ball.

One last ball forward by Bolton was cleared by Pistone I think and the ref blew for full time. A marvellous victory and were still third. I really can’t believe it. Just as well we won with Man Utd turning over Southampton and Arsenal doing likewise with Birmingham City. Chelsea are starting to look out of sight. When we first went third I took a lot of pleasure in taking the mickey out of my Man Utd friends up here, who co-incidentally are all from Bolton, but to still be able to say that almost half way through the season is just fantastic.

After the match we queued for an hour or so for our derby tickets and then saw Gravesen leaving. He signed some autographs and someone asked if he was staying. Some fella, presumably John Silveback, acted quickly – “Thomas won’t be answering any questions regarding his contract” and he silently entered his Mercedes to cries of “Stay Tommy!” giving us a thumbs up as he disappeared into the night. Sounds as though he’s off then, unless of course we can make the Champions League.

It’s starting to look possible now. Can we?

Player Ratings:

  • Martyn: Culpable for both goals but not a criticism we can regularly direct at Nigel. 5
  • Pistone: May have got man of the match if not for an inspired Gravesen. Playing with a lot of confidence now which is good because he was awful at the start of the season. Great cross for Ferguson’s goal. 8
  • Stubbs: Excellent performance again. Did his job as captain exceptionally well. 8
  • Weir: Exceptional. Good distribution also. Even sold Okocha a dummy once. 8
  • Hibbert: Neat performance against Pedersen who made life tricky for him. Got forward well also but needs to work on his crossing. 7
  • Carsley: Good defensive display and got forward well. Didn’t wear the same pair of shooting boots as last week however. 7
  • Kilbane: Never in the game really but he never gave up. Glad he didn’t get booked. 5
  • Gravesen: Absolutely awesome display by Tommy. Good goal and was the architect for almost everything we did. 10
  • Cahill: Did OK. Saw him pull out of a tackle though. Again with one eye on the derby. 6
  • Bent: Had a good second half. Won quite a lot of headers and showed some good pieces of skill. Should have done better with that chance though. 7
  • Ferguson: Great headed goal at an important time. Covered a lot of ground also. 6
  • Osman: Did well. That bit of fresh impetus was just what we needed. Played a part in the winner. 7
  • McFadden: His best performance of the season so far and showed us what he’s capable of. 8
  • Yobo: Shored things up well for the closing stages. 7

Paul Traill



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