West Ham United Logo West Ham United 2 - 2 Everton 
Half Time: 1 - 1
Everton Logo
FA Carling Premiership 97/98 - Game 24
Saturday 31 January 1998
Upton Park, London
Att: 25,905 
« Chelsea (h) Ref: Mike Reed Barnsley (a) »
1997-98 Fixtures & Results League Position: 14th Premiership Results & Table
West Ham United: Sinclair (10, 48) Trevor Sinclair
EVERTON: Barmby (25), Madar (60)  John O'Kane
  LINEUPS Subs Not Used
West Ham United: Forrest, Breacker, Pearce, Ferdinand, Lomas, Lazaridis, Lampard, Berkovic, Potts, Sinclair (85 Hodges), Hartson. Sealey, Bishop, Mean, Coyne.
EVERTON: Myhre, O'Kane (69 Allen), Bilic, Watson, Ball, Ward, Grant, Farrelly, Barmby, Ferguson (c), Madar (80 Cadamarteri).
Unavailable: Parkinson, Branch, McCann, Williamson, Short, (injured); Tiler (suspended); Speed (declined to play); Thomsen (International duty); Southall, Barrett, Hills (on loan).
Gerrard, Dunne, Oster.
  Yellow Cards Red Cards
West Ham United:
EVERTON: Farrelly, O'Kane.

Guy McEvoy Up for the chase
THE SUNDAY TIMES Everton spoil Sinclair's day
by Adam Parsons
THE GUARDIAN Rio’s not so grand
by Ian Gibb
THE TIMES Ferdinand subverts Sinclair supremacy
by Brian Glanville

ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Madar spoils Sinclair's day
by Steve Curry
SOCCERNET Link to SoccerNet Match Report
CARLINGNET Link to CarlingNet Match Report

Up for the chase
Guy McEvoy
Having managed to miss my last trip to London, there was going to be no mistake this time. I set the alarm on my stereo as early as Friday morning and made sure the volume was such that there was no way I'd sleep through it. On reflection, I probably overdid the volume. I knew it would wake the bird up, but I hadn't planned to also get up the flats above and below and either side of mine too. Still, better safe than sorry.

So I got to Upton Park in good time and was able to digest the team news. The defence was going to look like a complete new unit. No Tiler or Short meant Watson, Ball and Bilic were centre-backs, Mitch Ward was given another run out and Kendall wasted no time at all in giving O'Kane his debut at wingback. In the middle of the park Tony Grant was working with Farrelly. Barmby, Madar and Captain Ferguson were leading the charge.

Gary Speed was famously absent and the crowd weren't going to let his departure go unmarked. "Oh Gary, Gary - Gary, Gary, Gary, Gary Shit-house Speed" was the repeated chant. If we were having a go at Speed then the Hammers fans were determined to have an even bigger go a Bilic. He got landed with a less than warm welcome. Every time he went near the line he was faced with Hammers fans waving tenners at him and shouts comparing him with a certain biblical character.

My concentration was focused on the debut of Trevor Sinclair in the claret and blue. The last time I saw him play against us was down at Loftus Road (in the days of the famous dreadlocks) about two seasons ago when he devastated us. The idea of him playing fired up was terrifying.

First Half

Needless to say, Sinclair did not take long to make his mark. The first few minutes had been unsettled for both teams but West Ham had managed to get a corner. Surely no team in the Premiership have conceded more goals than Everton from corner kicks this season? Well, you can add another to the embarrassing tally. Bread and butter stuff, no one kept with the man, Sinclair rose and stuck it in.

The measure of how much we progressed recently though was that there didn't seem to be any sense of 'that's that then' and the heads going down like we would have a few months ago. Everton kept playing football. It wasn't always pretty stuff, in fact during the spell between goals some of the play both teams were churning out was very poor. But you sensed we knew we were still in it. Confidence.

It was Tony Grant who started it. He was maybe only 10 yards into their half towards the right of the field with the ball. He looked up and saw Ferguson make a move into the box. The delivery was good and the header that Ferguson met it with was outstanding – he seemed to jump twice the height of his marker. The Scots' header guided the ball towards the advancing Barmby who managed a dive onto his own head to stick it in. Very well worked, well deserved goal.

Still, West Ham will have been frustrated with the level terms at the end of the half. Hartson had been clear through on Myhre but got too close to Tommy before releasing the ball, letting the Norwegian punch it out for a corner and a good let-off for the Blues. Sinclair also had a chance to give the Hammers a lead when he had a 'just me and you' chase with Bilic of all people. Sinclair looked to have won the battle when he was first to the ball and used his body to keep Slaven out, it looked like a sure one-on-one now with Myhre. Slaven though found that exceptional something else inside himself to somehow manage a blocking challenge when he had looked left for dead. It had to be seen to understand just how good that challenge was.

Second Half

The second half was in many ways a mirror image of the first. West Ham again got an early goal through Sinclair. This time though it was as a result of good football. A lightning one-two with Hartson tore apart our centre-backs. Sinclair was in quick, strong and sure. Everton were again chasing the game.

Again though, we looked up for the chase. Ferguson certainly should've levelled it when he stole the ball from Ferdinand. As clear cut a chance as he'll get all season. Thing with Duncan though is that for all his other talents his record in one-on-one situations probably makes Stuart Barlow look like Ian Wright. A tame shot, very easily saved.

Immediately from this West Ham steamed up on the attack we feared that Duncan's miss would prove costly but were let off, and from our ensuing counter-attack amends were made. Gareth Farrelly took the ball down the left, and managed his only significant contribution of the game with a vicious whipped in cross. It took a bit of a bobble on a defender but that only teed the ball up even better for Madar who'd run into the perfect position to smash home the volley.

You can, I am sure, imagine the scenes in the away end.

By the end of the game, with Allen coming on for O'Kane and Madar making way for Cadamarteri, Everton looked like we might even go the full way and nip all the points. Cadamarteri had a good chance for this in the closing minutes when he took the ball wide in the box. His choice was either a shot on the one side of the defender or to pull it back on the other. He decided on something in between the two and so the ball went into his marker and out for a corner as both Ferguson and Barmby looked around at the acres of space they'd been given.

In the end though a draw at 'Fortress Upton' was a good and a fair result.

Individual Performances

  • Myhre 7 - Usual confident, excitable display. Some good saves.
  • O'Kane 6 - One bizarre thing I forgot to mention was the O'Kane played at right back and Ward played at left back. I knew O'Kane could play both sides but didn't know that Ward could. O'Kane looks OK but there wasn't any instant understanding with team-mates (like say Sinclair managed) that'll be ironed out in training no doubt. Not a lot to judge on really.
  • Ball 7 - Confident and mature.
  • Bilic 7 - Chose the best way to answer the intimidation - played a good game of football. The challenge against Sinclair will stick in my mind for a while.
  • Watson 6 - The least noticeable in defence (not that that is always a bad sign). Did seem a yard or so too slow at times though. Glad he's still in the squad though, when missing both Tiler and Short it's great to be able to call on someone as experienced as Waggy.
  • Ward 6 - Spent the game on the left side. Again, didn't see much to get excited about or much to call for his head over.
  • Grant 7 - Can infuriate when he tries to take too much time on the ball and dumps us in trouble, but will then go and make up for it with those 'make things happen' passes – a case in point being the first goal. By the mid second half, he was fired up and even tackling like a man possessed. Grant is key to Everton's revival and shape. His obvious flaws are eclipsed by what he adds.
  • Farrelly 6 - Largely anonymous though put in a great ball for Madar's goal.
  • Barmby 8 - Everywhere. Engine never stopped. Tackling, creating, scoring, off-the-ball movement, defensive cover. This man was doing it. The press raved about Ferguson's performance, but in my mind Nicky was the clear man of the match.
  • Ferguson 7 - Run of form just keeps on going. Let's get him doing nothing but practising one-on-ones this week. What a donkey miss. Set up for the first goal was world class.
  • Madar 7 - His greatest asset is his positional play. Still unbeaten with him in the side. Can't say fairer than that can you? Good goal.
  • Allen 6 - Showed nothing O'Kane hadn't.
  • Cadamarteri 7 - Managed to get in a good position in his brief showing, perhaps could've made more of it though.

Everton spoil Sinclair's day
by Adam Parsons, The Sunday Times
IF DANNY CADAMARTERI has passed rather than shot in the closing moments of this game, Everton would surely have won. He made the wrong decision, though, held his head in embarrassment, and West Ham United held on for a draw.

Defeat would have been rough justice on the home team, for they had contributed just as much as Everton and, for long periods, looked the more likely winners. In Trevor Sinclair, making his debut after a £2M move from Queens Park Rangers, West Ham paraded a player full of twists, turns and pace. He scored twice and could have had more, leaving the field to a warm ovation from a crowd of new admirers.

Yet Sinclair was not the most effective striker playing in this game. Nor was his teammate, John Hartson. Instead, they were both eclipsed by Duncan Ferguson – inelegant, unlovely and outstanding.

Ferguson, captain in the self-imposed absence of Gary Speed, won every header that came his way, intimidating West Ham's defenders into near panic whenever the ball was kicked in his direction. After Sinclair had delighted the Upton Park crowd with an early goal it was Ferguson who helped re-establish parity by diverting Tony Grant's cross to the far post and into the path of the diving Nick Barmby.

Ferguson, who treated the attention of his marker, Ian Pearce, with near contempt, set up Mickael Madar for another good chance, which was wasted, and then panicked Rio Ferdinand into two bad errors in the space of a minute. The first went unpunished, thanks to Craig Forrest's save, but the second fell comfortably into the path of Madar and had an inevitable outcome – Everton drew level again.

Ferguson could have scored in the final minute if only Cadamarteri had passed. "Duncan is unstoppable if we can get quality balls to him," said Howard Kendall, the Everton manager. All they need now is consistent service to the striker.

A draw, though, was a fair result, for both sides contributed strongly to a fine, entertaining match. Eyal Berkovic and Stan Lazaridis dominated passages of play for West Ham, creating much and regularly tormenting Everton's new right-back, John O'Kane. Then the pendulum would swing and the visitors would take control, spurred on by the passing of Gareth Farrelly and the drive of Barmby, resurgent in his position behind Ferguson and Madar.

Whatever the League table may suggest, there is little to choose between these teams that cannot be ascribed to West Ham's greater confidence in recent months. If Ferguson carries on like this, though, confidence should not be Everton's problem for very much longer.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

Rio’s not so grand
by Ian Gibb, The Guardian
West Ham's supporters set out to crucify their Croatian former central defender Bilic for daring to leave and take the Goodison Park shilling. They wallowed in his discomfiture as he was embarrassed by Sinclair, West Ham’s £2 million signing, who headed a simple opener.

"One greedy bastard," they retorted to the Everton fans’ rallying call of "Only one Slaven Bilic".

But it was Bilic and Everton who had the last laugh when his former apprentice at West Ham, Ferdinand, committed a couple of howlers within a minute to ultimately hand the Merseyside club the point they thoroughly deserved. Bilic just got stronger, as did Everton, who finished at West Ham’s throats going for all three points.

It was a different scenario in the ninth minute when Berkovic swung over a corner from the left after Everton’s O’Kane had unluckily conceded the set piece. Sinclair, left isolated, headed the simplest of goals.

The formidable Ferguson, thriving on being Everton’s captain, posed more of a threat and he headed back across the West Ham goal from the left for the revitalised Barmby to nod into the net in the 25th minute.

Sinclair’s second made it prudent to ask if there should be a steward’s enquiry into QPR getting only £1.6 million plus some-time scorer Dowie and midfielder Rowland in exchange. He ran at Everton’s retreating defence, leaving three opponents in his wake, played a one-two with Berkovic and placed the ball deftly in the left corner.

Then came Ferdinand’s mental aberration, presenting the ball to Ferguson, who was in on goal only for Forrest to block. Though grateful for the let-off, within a minute Ferdinand sliced at a Farrelly cross. He teed it up so well for Madar that he might as well have moulded a little pile of sand to put the ball on. Forrest had no chance.

On this form, Everton will not go down, and manager Howard Kendall said: "We showed tremendous character to come back twice. Ferguson was outstanding — he’s unstoppable if we get quality balls to him."

West Ham manager Harry Redknapp couldn’t be too hard on his prodigy Ferdinand. He said: "Rio tried to clear and ended up slicing the ball. He’s a young lad and is still learning." Exactly. That’s why he should be in the England under-21 squad (coach Peter Taylor was watching) and not Glenn Hoddle’s yet.

Report © The Guardian

Ferdinand subverts Sinclair supremacy
by Brian Glanville, The Times
SINCLAIR Supreme, Ferdinand Disastrous. Thus might one sum up West Ham United's 2-2 draw with Everton.

"We showed tremendous character to come back from behind twice," Howard Kendall, the Everton manager, said. However, they can thank Rio Ferdinand, West Ham's elegant, erratic and promising defender, for their second equaliser. Sad to say, Ferdinand, for all his talent, constitutes a bad risk for England's potential World Cup team. His errors enabled Arsenal to win the recent Coca-Cola Cup tie at Upton Park and here he followed one tremendous gaffe with another in a minute.

Just short of the hour, Ferdinand, inexcusably casual, attempted to flick the ball away from the advancing Ferguson, a player always to be treated with the utmost respect. The ball bounced off Ferguson and put him clean through. No betting man would have given odds against his scoring, but he shot straight at Forrest, the home goalkeeper, and West Ham had escaped.

Not for long. Almost at once, Farrelly crossed from the left, Ferdinand made a hash of his attempted clearance, the ball reached Madar, Everton's new French forward, and into the net it went.

"I thought the second one was unlucky," Harry Redknapp, Ferdinand's tolerant manager, said. "It sliced off his foot. He's only young and he'll learn."

Quickly, one hopes.

Trevor Sinclair, by contrast, delighted Redknapp, as well he might – scorer of both West Ham's goals, author of a performance that made you wonder what had been restraining him in recent months at Queens Park Rangers.

Redknapp explained that West Ham had paid just £1.6 million plus two reserves for Sinclair, which seemed, on Saturday's form, a bargain.

"He had a spell when his game went a bit stale," Redknapp said, "but his pace and his strength and his ability, it's all there. Every time we went to QPR in the Premiership, he tore us to pieces. He can play several positions, his work-rate is tremendous, he got on the ball and he set a terrific example." It took barely ten minutes for Sinclair to score, powerfully heading in a left-wing corner from Frank Lampard. His second goal came at the start of the second half, when he exchanged passes with Berkovic to race through the Everton defence.

Everton's answer to Sinclair, that miss apart, was the giant Ferguson. "Our skipper today has been absolutely outstanding," Kendall said of him. "He's been in that form of late. The leap he's got!"

One such leap gave Everton their first-half equaliser. When Grant crossed from the left, Ferguson anticipated Pearce in the air perfectly, deflecting the ball to Barmby, who headed home.

Barmby delighted Kendall, too. "Nicky's been working tremendously hard. He had to get through a lot of work today, because West Ham are very strong in midfield and Berkovic is always a threat. We didn't always pick him up."

There could have been other goals, but Kendall's "all in all a fair result" comment was endorsed by Redknapp.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

Madar spoils Sinclair's day
Steve Curry, Electronic Telegraph
TREVOR Sinclair returned to the Premiership yesterday like a prisoner freed from captivity, only to be denied match-winning laurels by a rare indiscretion from World Cup aspirant Rio Ferdinand. Twice Sinclair gave West Ham the lead at Upton Park and twice the Hammers surrendered the initiative in a match they finished nervously under pressure.

There were debuts on both sides. Everton paraded John O'Kane, educated at Manchester United but given his chance of first-team football for a modest fee of £250,000 down, rising to £450,000. Sinclair, West Ham's new arrival from QPR, was a much higher profile transfer, with cash and players valued at £3 million and a chance for the 24-year-old striker to re-establish a reputation that won him an England summons.

With Paul Kitson still injured and Samassi Abou beginning a suspension, Sinclair partnered John Hartson in attack. The very public refusal of Gary Speed to travel with Everton and the sale of Andy Hinchcliffe to Sheffield Wednesday did not retract from a mini-revival in the fortunes of the Merseyside club.

They almost had the ideal start. West Ham old boy Slaven Bilic, jeered each time he touched the ball, delivered a long pass which Duncan Ferguson killed superbly on his chest before volleying the falling ball just too high.

Sinclair's first goal was a classic dead-ball piece, Stan Lazaridis landing a left-wing corner into the heart of the six-yard box where he had a free close-range header. It was the perfect start both for him and his team, but West Ham then found further penetration difficult, their approach play perhaps too intricate for an Everton team defending in depth.

Yet it was against the flow of the game when Everton equalised after 25 minutes, fine goal though it was. Tony Grant's cross was headed across goal by the towering Ferguson and Barmby had timed his run perfectly to head home, diving low. His rehabilitation continues.

West Ham's lead might have been restored when Hartson, the Premiership's leading scorer, muscled his way past Dave Watson but he was astonished when Thomas Myhre got his legs in the way of what looked a certain goal.

West Ham started the second half as they had the first, with another splendid early goal from Sinclair. This was a fine individual effort, his close control carrying him past two defenders. He then took a precise return ball from Eyal Berkovic to score inside the upright.

Ferdinand, watched by England Under-21 coach Peter Taylor, then contrived to hand Everton a second equaliser. Ferguson had just failed to punish one basic error when West Ham's young defender committed another, failing to clear a Gareth Farrelly centre, gifting a goal to Mikael Madar.

Report © The Electronic Telegraph

RESULTS  (Game 24)
Sunday 1 February 1998
Aston Villa
0 - 1 Newcastle United
Batty (58)
Saturday 31 January 1998
Bergkamp (62) Adams (67) Anelka (67)
3 - 0 Southampton
Bolton Wanderers
Sellars (21)
1 - 5 Coventry City
Whelan (26) Huckerby (58, 65)
Dublin (73, 79)
Vialli (23) Hughes (47)
2 - 0 Barnsley
Crystal Palace
0 - 2 Leeds United
Wallace (7) Hasselbaink (13)
Derby County
Sturridge (25)
2 - 1 Tottenham Hotspur
Fox (46)
0 - 0 Blackburn Rovers
Manchester United
0 - 1 Leicester City
Cottee (30)
Sheffield Wednesday
Pembridge (14)
1 - 1 Wimbledon
West Ham United
Sinclair (10, 48)
2 - 2 Everton
Barmby (25) Madar (60)

LEAGUE TABLE (after 1 February 1998 )
Club                          P    W    D    L   GF   GA   GD   Pts
Manchester United            24   15    4    5   51   18   33   49
Chelsea                      24   14    3    7   52   25   27   45
Blackburn Rovers             24   12    9    3   44   24   20   45
Liverpool                    24   13    6    5   39   19   20   45
Arsenal                      23   11    8    4   42   26   16   41
Derby County                 24   11    6    7   39   30    9   39
Leeds United                 24   11    5    8   34   27    7   38
West Ham United              24   11    2   11   36   35    1   35
Leicester City               24    8    9    7   27   22    5   33
Newcastle United             24    9    5   10   25   29   -4   32
Sheffield Wednesday          24    8    6   10   37   47  -10   30
Southampton                  24    8    4   12   26   33   -7   28
Coventry City                24    6    9    9   28   34   -6   27
Everton                      24    7    6   11   28   35   -7   27
Aston Villa                  24    7    6   11   26   34   -8   27
Wimbledon                    23    6    8    9   22   27   -5   26
Crystal Palace               24    5    8   11   21   34  -13   23
Tottenham Hotspur            24    6    5   13   21   41  -20   23
Bolton Wanderers             24    4   10   10   21   40  -19   22
Barnsley                     24    6    3   15   20   59  -39   21
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© Michael Kenrick 1998
Last updated: 1 Feb 98