Everton Logo

Everton 4 - 1 Southampton

Half-time: 1 - 0


Southampton Logo
FA Carling Premiership 1999-2000 – Game 4
3pm Saturday 21 August 1999
Goodison Park, Merseyside
Att: 31,755
Tottenham Hotspur (a) Ref: Barry Knight Wimbledon (h)
[1999-2000 Fixtures & Results] League Position: 14th [Premiership Results & Table]
 MATCH SUMMARY
Mark Pembridge made his debut today Although the game got off to a poor start Everton gradually began to impose themselves on the match. It looked as though they might get another goal from a penalty kick when the ball appeared to strike Benali on the arm from a Barmby header after 13 minutes. The penalty claims were turned down and for a few minutes Everton struggled in what was developing into a scrappy game.

The first goal of the game came from the perhaps unlikely source of Richard Gough after 36 minutes. After one attempt on goal from a Gough header was turned away the ball was returned for Gough to make no mistake with another powerful header on goal.

A remarkable period after the half-time interval saw Everton score three goals within the space of eight minutes. The first came in the 46th minute when Claus Lundekvam put into his own net following a cross from Pembridge. A minute later Jeffers scored his first goal of the new season to give Everton a commanding three goal cushion.

In the 54th minute Everton scored a fourth goal through Kevin Campbell who drove the ball into the net following a scramble in the Southampton penalty area. The Saints got a consolation goal in the 70th minute through Pahars. Mitch Ward and Danny Cadamarteri were brought on in the last few minutes of the game to replace Pembridge and Jeffers.

 

 MATCH FACTS
   GOALSCORERS  Debuts
EVERTON: Gough (36'), Lundekvam (og:47'), Jeffers (48'), Campbell (54') Pembridge
Southampton: Pahars (70') Davies
   LINEUPS  Subs Not Used 
EVERTON: Gerrard; Dunne, Weir, Gough, Unsworth; Pembridge (78' Ward), Collins, Hutchison{c} (66' Gemmill), Barmby; Jeffers (78' Cadamarteri), Campbell.
Unavailable:
Myhre, Watson, Williamson, Parkinson (injured); Bilic, Branch, Grant, Farrelly, O'Kane (transfer-listed).
Phelan, Simonsen
Southampton: Jones, Lundekvam, Richards, Hughes, Davies, Ripley, Benali, Pahars (76' Bradley), Hiley, Kachloul (56' Bridge), Soltvedt. Moss, Almeida, Oakley.
   Playing Strips  Formations
EVERTON: Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks. 4-4-2
Southampton: Red & white shirts; black shorts; red socks. 4-4-2
   Yellow Cards  Red Cards
EVERTON: Hutchison (37')
Southampton: Hughes (9'), Davies (66'), Bradley (88').

 
 MATCH REPORTS
 REPORTS BY EVERTON FANS
Steve Bickerton Lambs to the slaughter
Paul Waring Keep the Faith
Richard Marland Still a very poor performance
 NEWSPAPER REPORTS
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Jeffers raises Everton's sights
by Derek Potter
THE SUNDAY TIMES Gough's joy as Everton run riot
by Dave Hannigan
THE INDEPENDENT
ON SUNDAY
Marching all over Saints
by Richard Slater
THE INDEPENDENT Jeffers and Campbell offer hope
by an Independent journalist
THE TIMES Everton savour golden goals
by Stephen Wood
 OTHER INTERNET REPORTS
EFC NEWS SITE Link to the Echo/Daily Post Match Report

THE OBSERVER Link to Football Unlimited Match Report
THE GUARDIAN Link to Football Unlimited Match Report
SPORTLIVE Link to SportLive Match Report
CARLINGNET Link to CarlingNet Match Report

 
 Lambs to the slaughter
Steve Bickerton
 
Sometimes the start of the season is worth the wait, other times not. This time it was the sweet, sweet fragrance of success which beckoned as I crossed the Goodison threshold for the first time in this campaign. True, we'd already played three games, but having been away during that period, for me the season started here. From my point of view it couldn't have been a better opener. Southampton, perennial Goodison fall-guys (a thick veil has been drawn over the debacle of the season before last) awaited us, lambs to the slaughter. Ah the joys of ignorant bliss!

The sun shone brightly during the build up and as I semi-dozed in the sub-tropical glow of a summer sun. I drifted back to that moment of madness as I launched myself towards the edge of a ninth floor balcony to roar at all who wished to hear that the demon Dutchman had netted on our behalf (of course, had he ducked the header, Campbell would have ensured a share of the points!). The season had indeed started and maybe, just maybe, I should take heed of the Saints' demolition of the Magpies last week. Or maybe not!

Acquaintances renewed in the Lower Gwladys Street, it was party time. The only fly in the ointment was Kevin Davies. Now (veil drawn back) much has been written about that "wonder" goal he once scored against us, but I still contend that it was due more to the lack of challenges from the Everton midfield and defence, than to any innate ability. But there's always something about Everton and debutants. I was suddenly nervous. Three o'clock arrived by my watch and still the teams hadn't arrived on the field. Then there was the fanfare. "Z Cars" blasted out, not some half-baked, Scottish anthem which has nothing to do with the history of the club and the game was on.

A pleasing opening period saw Everton press forward, with the ball moving about the park with ease. Yet we didn't really seem to want to take advantage the superior possession which we enjoyed. For all of our domination, Jones in the Southampton goal wasn't really troubled. True, Barmby headed narrowly over from a Jeffers cross and other efforts went unrewarded, but we seemed intent on walking the ball into the net - and no matter how you try, no Premiership defence, even ours, isn't going to allow that. It was pretty, but it wasn't effective. Moans of "same old same old" were heard around me. Then an innocuous clearance saw Jeffers harry a defender (albeit from all of 10 yards distance) and we had a corner. Nothing special, but there it was. Barmby crossed the dead ball, McCall (sorry, Pembridge!) leaped up and glanced the ball away from goal towards the Bullens Road touch line. Quick as you like, speedy David Weir was onto it. Now, how he did it I'm not quite sure, but he turned a man, made for the bye line and delivered a pinpoint cross to the far post. Campbell and Gough rose for the ball and the Scot touched the ball home. 1 - 0 - who said he was an old man. I didn't see any Stenna Stair lift involved in that climb at all. Good man Richard!

Apart from the odd, tug at shirts and a particularly obvious Kachloul dive, for which the referee gave a Southampton free kick, the referee had been Ok. Except, of course, for the hand ball in the Southampton box, missing which, he will no doubt attribute to staring into the sun at the time...ad the string of dubious offside decisions given by his assistant. Nevertheless, half-time arrived and we were 1-0 to the good.

The interval brought us one of those regular events at Goodison where we revel in the exploits of our Juniors. This, of course, is a reflection of the problems we've had in having any success at all at the highest level. Maybe, though, its an indication of success to come. Anyway, the Under 9's team was presented with arms full of trophies, which they had apparently won over the last twelve months. Long may their success continue.

Then came the second half. Nandrolone is a word that has been much used of late, with athlete after athlete falling victim to the rigours of testing regimes which have discovered traces of the steroid in their systems. Walter Smith obviously has a verbal version of this substance, as I can think of no other way to describe the change in the manner in which Everton played at the beginning of the second half. It all started with something out of nothing. A hopeful punt forward, Campbell chased it with Lundekvam and the ball was lobbed over the stranded Jones by his team mate and it was 2-0. I think, though, that Southampton were victims of their own success. In the first half they had regularly pushed forward, waved at the linesman and been awarded off side. This time the same ploy didn't work. Lundekvam's lob back was the result of a sudden realisation that the flag hadn't gone up this time, Campbell was on his back and he had to do something. What he did was panic and wasn't it a joy to see? What is the world coming to? Two home games and Everton pressure has brought two own goals - and Frank Spencer (sorry, Sinclair!) was nowhere to be seen in either game!

The best was left till next, though. How old is Frances Jeffers? How much did the tabloids suggest he asked for? I don't care, give it to him. This goal showed a natural desire to score, an inbuilt ability to develop the opening. Barmby had the ball, or was it Campbell? I can't remember. All I remember is concentrating on Jeffers in the inside left berth, running across field, eyes everywhere, watching defenders, staying on side. A nod was all it took and the ball was through the defence, at his feet in the inside right channel. He bore down on goal and blasted it into the net. 3 - 0. Can I see that goal again please!

Southampton were in disarray and it wasn't long till number four arrived. I didn't really see this one clearly, but what I do remember was the ball coming back off the cross bar, bubbling about a bit in the panic stricken Southampton area and then Campbell lashing a drive goalwards. At this point the crowd in front of me rose, to a man (and woman) and the ball was in the net. Franny was there, close to the post and I thought he'd tapped it across the line, but the goal appears to have been given to Campbell. Who am I to quibble? It was party time. 4 - 0.

Then the game pretty much died. Southampton regained a bit of composure, we stepped off the gas and they got a consolation goal (4 - 1) which ended up with the scorer, Pahars, going of injured and Gerrard receiving lengthy treatment. Hutchison had already been taken off as a protective measure - he'd already been booked and Walter no doubt wanted to protect him against a sending off (he'd intimated as much in the programme) and been replaced by Gemmill. Sensible tactics in the circumstances.

Later, Jeffers was replaced by Cadamarteri and Pembridge (there, got it right this time) was replaced by Ward. Things pretty much fizzled out, yet even then we could have had a couple more.

The full time whistle went and the players trooped off the field to rapturous applause. I'm starting to look forward to home games now. The last four have produced 15 goals for and only 3 against. I can live with that. But then again, the three victories in that time have been against such luminaries as Charlton, West Ham and Southampton - maybe I shouldn't get too carried away? Mind you West Ham might yet qualify for the UEFA Cup as a result of finishing 5th. Maybe there are some positive times ahead.

Attendance: 31, 577 - the attendance wasn't helped by a poor show from Southampton fans, who seemed to have snapped up less than 50% of their ticket allocation - despite the fact that a win today could have seen them top of the table!

Team performance: No more than competent, really, against a poor Southampton side, which found it difficult to compete in all areas of the pitch. But you can only beat the team you play and we did draw with the champions.

Man-Of-The-Match: Undoubtedly, in my mind, David Unsworth. A masterful defensive performance, which saw him covering for the defensive mistakes of others, all over the pitch. There were a couple of poor crosses and passes delivered, but in general his play was thoughtful, aggressive and commanding. In addition, he regularly found space up the left wing and linked up well with the midfield and forward players, in advanced positions.

Mind you he was hard pressed by a non-stop Nick Barmby and a rejuvenated Stuart McCall - doh!!! a revelation in Mark Pembridge. John Collins, too, had a productive game, a pity he'll be missing on Wednesday when the Dons come to town. Campbell and Jeffers seem to be getting it together again, too. It looks promising, but its early days. Yet, I can't help but think that the five goals in two, that we've scored so far at home this season, had we scored them in our opening seven games of last season might have given us a completely different end to 1998-99. Roll on Wimbledon.


 
 Keep the Faith
Paul Waring
 
Very subdued atmosphere from the crowd – a few gaps and very few Soton fans. Thought we'd be a bit more vocal – possibly contributed to what was a pretty uninspired first half. We probably deserved to be ahead at half-time: nicely taken goal from Gough who was sound throughout (apart from their goal – see later). I was actually a bit nervous at the interval, Soton had looked dangerous on occasions on the break and I felt we might struggle if they sneaked an equaliser.

Second half started and for fifteen minutes we were absolutely bloody fantastic. Kevin Cambell (possibly offside??) forced one of their identikit defenders into a classic own goal – ironic after Football Focus doing a 'special' on own goals earlier in the day (dredging up Sandy Brown's against Liverpool yet again).

Then Franny scored a lovely goal from a tight angle – extremely well taken effort followed by a lot of pointing and gesticulating at the Street End. Response to what was a pretty muted welcome for the boy when the team was announced?? Campbell then got the fourth from a similar angle although I initially thought Franny was going to claim the tap-in. Would have been a shame as Kevin deserved to get on the scoresheet for a busy game.

All of a sudden we'd gone from a deserved but tenuous 1-0 lead to a rampant 4-0. At this stage, 7 or 8 appeared on the cards, Soton were ragged and we looked dangerous every time we went forward. Inevitably though we seemed to take our foot off the gas and Soton got back into the game, without us ever looking in danger.

They got their consolation when Gough tried to be just a bit too clever by the touchline, slipped and let Soton in on the break. Silly mistake, but I'm sure at 0-0 or 1-0 he'd have buried the ball into touch. At 4-0 he could afford to fanny around a bit.

Despite this unsettling us a bit, we steadied and saw out the rest of the game easily. Overall view: eventually an easy win in a game that could have proven difficult given Soton's form v Newcastle last week, but really they looked poor and will struggle (again) on that display. Or perhaps we made them look poor? How much do I care - three good points and we're above Liverpool for once.

Individual performances:

  • Gerrard: One horrible moment when he dropped a cross he should never have gone for, but no chance with the goal and generally sound.
  • Dunne: Willing and full of running, but the lad's not a full-back.
  • Weir: Lost a lot of balls in the air and didn't impress that much. I'd have swapped Weir and Dunne around; both seemed out of position.
  • Gough: Pretty immense actually. Experience and vision showed, lots of time on the ball and generally safe. At fault for their goal but at 4-0 who cares?
  • Unsworth: I thought he was the steadiest player on the pitch today. Defended extremely well on the left, full of running and even gave us some comedy forays up front. All right, his distribution was not 100% but no-one got past him all game. I'd rather see him in the middle though.
  • Barmby: Again full of running all match and set up at least one of the goals. Just wish Nicky would be a bit greedier on occasion – he sometimes looked for the pass when he had an opportunity to go for goal himself.
  • Collins: Sometimes needs more time on the ball than he's going to get. You're not in France now, John! Obviously a class act – some lovely touches – but still to convince a sizeable proportion of the crowd it seems.
  • Hutchison: Captain today, not bad since he was off to Rangers two days ago. Steady game, booked for a somewhat reckless tackle on Hughes(?) and only taken off I think to avoid the inevitable second booking.
  • Pembridge: I thought he looked shaky, especially first half – lack of confidence more than anything else I think. Jury's still out. That was the view from the Main Stand – for what it's worth the rest of the family in the Street End thought he was excellent and Collins and Hutch were crap, so what do I know?
  • Jeffers: Looked a bit uninterested first half, took a bit of stick from Barmby, but took his goal like a real striker and perked up a lot after that. Taken off more to give Danny a run than as a reflection on his performance.
  • Campbell: Glad he scored – he deserved it. Not as impressive as at the back end of last season, but how could he be? Won enough in the air, and always seemed to direct it into the right spot, unlike the lanky Scottish pigeon-fancier. Led the line well and continues to link up well with Franny.
  • Subs: Gemmill looked very steady when he came on and looks a better pick than Pembridge to me. Ward still looks like a journeyman and Danny runs around a lot.

Overall I think we're beginning to look like a middle-of-the-table sort of prospect. There are a number of teams in the Division who can eat us for breakfast, and we know who they are. The encouraging thing for me is that we now (and at the back end of last season) seem to be in the position where there are a significant number of teams that we can now batter, who previously (2-3 years ago) we'd have struggled against. With Wimbledon on Wednesday to make a liar of me.

Keeping the faith


 
 Still a very poor performance
Richard Marland
 
The side was pretty much the same as that which played at Tottenham; Walter kept his tinkering to a minimum bringing in Hutchison and Pembridge for Ward and Gemmill. The line up in full was Gerrard in goal; a flat back four of Dunne, Weir, Gough and Unsworth; Collins and Hutchison in central midfield with Pembridge on the left and Barmby on the right; and Jeffers partnering Campbell up front. The bench comprised Simonsen, Ward, Phelan, Cadamarteri and Gemmill. Any rumours of a rift between Hutchison and Walter seemed to be dispelled by the fact that Don was given the captain's armband.

The fist half was a fairly low-key affair. We had the majority of the possession but didn't use it terribly well. Our passing game just wasn't functioning (as usual) and the supply to Campbell and Jeffers was almost non-existent. Despite this, we looked relatively comfortable at the back. It wouldn't have been Everton without a few scares, but the scares weren't too grave.

As our passing game spluttered, the natives started to get restless. Hutchison was coming in for a little bit of stick, and quite frankly, the way he was playing he deserved it. He gave the ball away countless times and looked somewhat off the pace. He also picked up a totally justified and also totally unnecessary yellow card by upending someone when he didn't get a foul he should have done.

Unsworth and Dunne were also on the end of the crowd's anger. This was basically because of the crowd's frustration at Walter's use of centre backs as full backs. Whatever the rights and wrongs of that particular argument it was wrong to take it out on Unsworth and Dunne. I felt that the problem today lay in midfield. Collins and Hutchison were struggling to provide any kind of platform and when that key area of the side isn't performing then nothing else is going to.

Just when we wondered how we were ever going to get things together enough to fashion a goal, a goal duly arrived. Naturally Southampton had a part in their downfall by conceding a totally unnecessary corner. The corner eventually ended up at Weir's feet, deep in their area. He had the easy option of pushing it out of the box to a blue shirt, but he ignored that option and instead took the ball to the by-line and dinked a ball back towards the far post where Richard Gough managed to force the ball home. 1-0 and relief all round.

Before we reached the comfort of half time we had to endure one major scare when Gerrard came for a cross and missed it entirely. The ball fell to a Southampton player in the box but fortunately Richard Dunne was alive to the danger and flung his considerable frame towards the ball. It was a bad mistake by Gerrard and he was lucky to get away with it.

The early stages of the second half saw us take control of the game. A few minutes in and a ball was played over the top straight into Campbell's path, Southampton were looking for the offside but it didn't come, as Campbell attempted to bring the ball under control Lundekvam attempted to rescue the situation but only succeeded in lobbing his 'keeper. 2-0 and the second own goal we had seen at the St. End.

Next it was Franny Jeffers turn to beat the distinctly ropey Southampton offside trap. He was played in by Campbell to the right of goal and from a tight angle finished emphatically. It was an excellent strike and judging by his reaction one he enjoyed immensely.

Southampton continued to be all at sea and it was Nick Barmby's turn to expose their offside trap. Like Jeffers before him he was played into the right of the box, his shot was parried by the 'keeper and hit the bar, a scramble ensued before Campbell took charge taking the ball wide of the 'keeper before finishing into the far corner. His first of the season and an excellent piece of finishing.

Within 10 madcap minutes we had put the game safe. The Southampton defence played a major part in our success but it was still a pleasure to see us convert the chances so emphatically, both Campbell and Jeffers had plenty to do but both finished in impressive style. After this the remainder of the game was something of a stroll.

Hutchison started taking command and was stroking the ball about quite nicely. There was no great sense of urgency to our play but we did continue to look dangerous. With the game dying on it's feet Walter took the opportunity to remove Hutchison from the fray. In a way it was disappointing as Don was starting to perform, but I suspect it was done to prevent him getting into any further disciplinary trouble, already on a booking he and Mark Hughes were starting to niggle at each other.

Gemmill came on in a direct swap and we seemed to lose our shape a little. So much so that Southampton managed to claw a goal back. For a while after this we wobbled a little bit, we even started to worry a little about what would happen if they got another (sad really, 4-1 up and still worrying about whether it's enough to be safe). Fortunately we got ourselves back together again and a spate of late substitutions seemed to kill the game off entirely. Full time duly arrived and brought with it the news of Liverpool's sad demise at Middlesbrough, what a way to cap a satisfying afternoon's work.

This had been a must-win game, lose it and we were under real pressure. It was therefore encouraging to see us win with something to spare, however, we shouldn't allow ourselves to get carried away, this was still a very poor overall performance with plenty of scope for improvement. The comfortable scoreline said more about Southampton than it did about us. Still a win is a win and it should give us confidence for the forthcoming games.

Individual Ratings

  • Gerrard 6 Not too much to do and what he did he did fairly competently. One bad gaffe missing a cross, let's hope that doesn't become habit forming.
  • Dunne 6 Came in for some stick, primarily for some wayward distribution. Personally I thought he did his job defensively and some of the stick he got was a bit harsh.
  • Unsworth 8 Excellent today. Kept Ripley in his pocket and produced at least 3 wonderful tackles. Distinct signs of a growing maturity as well, no bookings yet – a big improvement on past record. Got the usual stick for some dodgy distribution, but frankly when he defends as well as he did today I don't care too much about his distribution.
  • Gough 6 Not as commanding as he has been but still an OK performance and of course contributed a goal as well.
  • Weir 7 I reckon I'm in something of a minority for quite liking this guy. I reckon he's a decent defender who has always done a job for us. He looks even better at centre back and today he was very good indeed.
  • Barmby 7 The usual high energy performance from Barmby. Worked his socks off, always involved and deserved a goal.
  • Collins 6 Keeps me on the edge of my seat with some of his play but he's doing OK and if those around him start to play and pass better should be really good.
  • Hutchison 5 Thought he was awful in the first half. Constantly gave the ball away and just wasn't at the races. Improved in the second half and by the time he was taken off looked more like the Hutchison of old.
  • Pembridge 5 Not overly impressed. Looked a little off the pace, judgement deferred until he's got a couple of games under his belt.
  • Campbell 7 Struggled along with everyone else in the first half. Came alive in the second half with a hand in three of our goals.
  • Jeffers 7 The boy just oozes quality. His first touch is just brilliant and he has that happy knack of keeping the ball seemingly tied to his foot when running with it. Quality goal as well.
  • Cadamarteri 6 Came on fairly late on for Jeffers. Did his bit without really posing any great danger.
  • Ward 6 Did his bit to keep things tight.

Team 6 In all honesty we played badly today but with our goalscoring potential we can now get away with it. Hopefully we will use this as a springboard – we must start playing with some consistency starting with Wimbledon on Wednesday.

Man of the Match – David Unsworth for consistently excellent defending.


 
Jeffers raises Everton's sights
by Derek Potter, Electronic Telegraph
 
Though the club remain in financial limbo, this spectacular success suggested that after battling against relegation for five of the previous six seasons, Everton may be spared such embarrassment this time.

Even so, bruised Evertonians will not need reminding that one swallow never made a summer at Goodison Park.

After swamping Newcastle at The Dell, Southampton struggled against a bright and inventive attack and might easily have conceded at least two more goals.

The team who won only two away games last term and also struggled to survive in the Premiership, still need to take the travel sickness pills. Incredibly, a win would have put Southampton on top of the table.

A burst of three goals in seven minutes shortly after the interval emphasised the good and the bad in the teams. "We just switched off and didn't defend as a team," said David Jones, the Southampton manager. "It's the away-day blues all over again."

It was a disappointing anticlimax for Kevin Davies, back with the club who sold him to Blackburn Rovers, where he scored a mere two goals. "It's a rebuilding job with Kevin," Jones said. "He's no confidence and he's very nervous and desperate to do well. He needs time but he will be all right."

While Richard Gough's first goal for his new club in the 36th minute was an important breakthrough and calmed Everton's nerves, the third, scored by Francis Jeffers, was perhaps even more significant.

Jeffers was the local boy who dared to ask for a transfer after apparently demanding a ransom out of proportion to his pedigree to stay. All was forgiven when the talented teenager took a pass from co-striker Kevin Campbell in his smooth stride and drove the ball fiercely past Paul Jones.

The goal was followed by a first strike of the season by Campbell, after the crossbar deprived Nick Barmby of the goal he richly deserved.

"That has to be a pleasing result," said Walter Smith, the Everton manager. "We needed to get our passing right and get behind them in the second half and those three goals were a considerable tonic.

"We had months without a goal at home last season, so it was important for us to make a breakthrough and then score four today. "This is the start of an important week for us. The success was vital to us psychologically."

Wimbledon visit Goodison Park in midweek and next Saturday Everton go to Derby County. Though neither team are at the top of the tree, emphatic wins would go a long way to proving that yesterday's success was the real thing.

Southampton must have felt they were seeing things three minutes into the second half when a cross by the hard working Mark Pembridge was stabbed beyond the reach of Jones by Claus Lundekvam, being hustled by Campbell, from at least 10 yards. That was a candidate for own goal of the season, despite the successive miscues by Frank Sinclair of Leicester City.

Everton defended soundly but were never obliged to endure serious pressure, though in the 70th minute Marian Pahars punished a lapse by their defence to convert Davies pass.

Davies had a couple of fleeting chances, failing to find enough power with a back-heel and seeing Paul Gerrard easily stop a header, before Gough scored with his head following a needlessly conceded corner which Southampton naively failed to clear. Those lapses enabled David Weir to cross invitingly for the unmarked Scot.

Report The Electronic Telegraph

 
Gough's joy as Everton run riot
by Dave Hannigan, The Sunday Times
 
It was difficult to know just what to make of this. After a grim opening half, in which the two sides seemed evenly matched, Everton took full advantage of a fortuitous 47th-minute own goal and suddenly came over all superior.

As they mounted wave after irrepressible wave of attack, the problem was deciding whether their dominance owed more to their own prowess or the paucity of the visitors' defending. In any case, they managed to register their first victory of the season and Southampton received their first warning that they could face another potentially tortuous survival campaign.

If the game turned on a 60-second spell just after the interval, during which Everton somehow transformed a tense one-goal lead into a 3-0 romp, it belonged in part to Richard Gough, the gnarled Scottish central defender who, at 37, is deep into his footballing dotage. It was his goal that set Everton on their way to victory, not in itself remarkable, you might think, but since his last goal in English league football was more than 12 years ago, it was a special moment.

It came against Southampton, too, on February 14, 1987, for Tottenham Hotspur in a 2-0 win at White Hart Lane. A sweet coincidence.

Of course, at 1-0 Southampton were still very much in this match. Then Mark Pembridge took possession around halfway, clipped a neat ball through for Kevin Campbell to chase and Claus Lundekvam, having hesitated in anticipation of an offside flag that never came, panicked and guided the ball past his stranded goalkeeper.

And 2-0 became 3-0 almost immediately. Everton poured forward, Campbell found Francis Jeffers down the inside right channel and, as the defence backed off, Jeffers let fly, billowing the roof of Paul Jones's net from the acutest of angles. With 48 minutes gone, the game was over.

There had been no indication in an error-ridden first half to suggest that either side was capable of running away with the match in this fashion. As their ball-playing central midfield pairing of Don Hutchison and John Collins attempted to get a hold on the game, Everton's execution did not always match their ambition. Time and again, promising moves broke down near the final third of the field as routine passes went astray.

The breakthrough goal eventually came in the 36th minute. Having come up for a corner, Gough lurked around the six-yard box, and when his central defensive partner David Weir sent over a decent cross, he nudged it home.

That it was a tenuous lead was emphasised moments before the break when Trond-Egil Soltvedt spurned a great opportunity to equalise. Paul Gerrard had come and flapped at a cross, the ball fell to Soltvedt and, while his shot beat Richard Dunne, Nick Barmby was on hand to take it off the line.

Only after the turbulent and decisive opening minutes of the second half would the true cost of his miss become apparent.

Even after Jeffers's delectable strike for Everton's third, there was more drama to come. In the 54th minute, Barmby saw Jones turn his shot on to the bar and, from the rebound, there was a goalmouth scramble that ended when the ball broke to Campbell, whose shot across the goal somehow found its way into the net at the far post. By this stage, Southampton's defence had become so slapstick that the home side looked like scoring every time they attacked.

In the 68th minute, Campbell created one more gilt-edged chance. His half-volleyed cross was met by a superb diving header from Barmby and, with Jones beaten, Dean Richards did well to prevent a fifth. Even when he did escape the attentions of the Southampton defence near the end, Barmby drove narrowly wide.

Southampton did not go home completely empty-handed. Kevin Davies capitalised on a rare Gough mistake in the 70th minute, breaking away to set up a tap-in for Marian Pahars, which the Latvian completed without mishap. But it was scant consolation for David Jones, the Southampton manager and an Everton player in his youth.

"If you don't defend properly at this level, you will concede goals and that's what we did," he said. "It was the away-day blues again for us.

"We must get out of the habit of travelling up the motorway and throwing in goals. We didn't defend as a team and we got punished. There are no excuses for that, not at this level."

Report Times Newspapers Ltd

 
Marching all over Saints
by Richard Slater, The Independent on Sunday
 
The debut man Mark Pembridge's scuffed, sky-high corner for Everton in the sixth minute was indicative of the early timbre of the meeting. Constructive play was lacking and chances were sparse. But Everton managed to find a spark of inspiration from such drab foundations, and, though unconvincing as a performance, the final scoreline was not excessive flattery.

Equally, the score was its own comment on Southampton. Mark Hughes and the expensive Blackburn reject Kevin Davies, in his second Southampton debut, both veered shots acres from their intended targets and only the neat interplay between the home side's Kevin Campbell and Francis Jeffers, who seemed to find each other's runs by instinct, suggested any measure of quality. They combined to provide the nimble Nick Barmby with the game's first clear-cut chance - though a Francis Benali handball in the box, had it been spotted, may have proved otherwise - but his firm header cleared Paul Jones' bar.

While in the ascendant, Everton contrived, on the one hand, to take too many touches and over-elaborate; and, on the other, to flail hopeful clearances to a waiting ruck of on-runners. What was required, instead, was clean, incisive passes to the strike team. Southampton took this strategy to an ugly extreme, pitching balls forward to Davies, whose only on-target efforts were too feeble to trouble Paul Gerrard, and an indifferent Marian Pahars, both well marshalled by the elder statesmen Richard Gough and David Weir.

Gough it was who broke the deadlock and, to some extent at least, relieved the frustrations of the home crowd, though that honour should have fallen to Pembridge, who wasted a fine chance from the edge of the box. The goal came after a corner, when Gough's defensive partner picked up on a loose ball to cross for the Scot to head home. Southampton could have been on level terms at the break, but Trond Soltvedt failed to convert the opportunity afforded by a rare defensive mix-up.

Instead, Everton scored twice within moments of the re-start. The first was an own-goal by Claus Lundekvam who, assuming an offside flag would be raised against Campbell, lost concentration and then his man and tried to make amends by clearing high. So he did, in a way, booting it high over his keeper's leap and into the gaping goal. Minutes later, Jeffers followed up when, latching on to Campbell's neat pass, he drove in low from the right. A rout threatened and Campbell, with just 10 minutes elapsed since half-time added the fourth following a bout of pinball football in the Southampton penalty box. With confidence soaring, Everton pressed with ease while the visitors' heads hung down, their storming victory over Newcastle now but a dim memory.

Pahars added some sense of credibility to Southampton's afternoon work poking home after Davies had escaped his marker to lay the ball into his path. But it was Everton's afternoon and, in the Goodison sunshine, they continued to make a mockery of the early season league positions with Barmby and Campbell both close to adding a fifth. To ensure this good work does not founder, though, Walter Smith's men will need to retain the sense of confidence apparent in the second half when they face opposition of a more sturdy calibre.

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Jeffers and Campbell offer hope
by an Independent journalist
 
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times in this Goodison Park tale of two strikers.

The protagonists, Everton's Francis Jeffers and the visitors' Kevin Davies, have created, for contrasting reasons, enough column inches to warrant a serialisation as a Dickensian epic.

Jeffers showed why his manager, Walter Smith, has been so keen to retain his services, and now there are great expectations resting on his slight shoulders. His all-round play, particularly in tandem with his equally effervescent strike partner, Kevin Campbell, was incisive and, should the pair's team-mates adapt swiftly to their strengths, rather than dally, as they too often did, then Smith's assertion that they will prove dangerous and grab goals throughout the campaign is one to be taken seriously.

Jeffers struck the third of Everton's goals, a low drive from the right after being played in by Campbell, and claimed a touch on his accomplice's strike which had fallen kindly following a penalty box scramble.

Richard Gough had opened the scoring with a brave header and the advantage was doubled when, under pressure from Campbell, Claus Lundekvam clipped over his goalkeeper, Paul Jones.

Davies' single meaningful contribution to his team's sterile, if battling display, was to take advantage of Gough's slip and deliver a cross for Marian Pahars to stab past Paul Gerrard.

His return to Southampton, where, when free from injury, he had provided enough food for thought for the former Blackburn manager Roy Hodgson to shell out pounds 7m, has been glibly chuckled over.

No doubt the player and the manager, Dave Jones, who has come to his rescue, will be hoping for the last laugh. But, on the evidence of Saturday's showing, it could be some time. "He needs to rebuild," Jones said. "He has no confidence, he is very nervous and, if anything, he's trying too hard."

With the fans' favourite James Beattie, another former Blackburn misfit, due back from injury next week, Davies will have to prove he deserves a place in the side, otherwise his future may be as bleak as the unfortunates who litter the tomes of Mr Dickens.

Report The Independent

 
Everton savour golden goals
by Stephen Wood, The Times
 
Either it was unintentional or that infamous Scouse humour was too much to resist, but some witty soul in the Everton commercial department has replaced the half-time competition at Goodison Park with a "Golden Goal" draw this season.

A year ago, inviting the punters to guess the correct time of the first goal scored by their team would have been the ultimate insult, but, thankfully, the Everton players are now putting a smile on their supporters' faces. Even if the first prize is a season ticket.

Perhaps the team's unexpected prowess in front of goal is down to the power of positive thinking or perhaps to the settled nature of their manager, Walter Smith.

More likely, however, it can be traced to the forward partnership of Kevin Campbell and Francis Jeffers, the two strikers who are showing their team-mates that goals are, indeed, golden. So much so that they plundered three of them in a seven-minute period just after half-time of their FA Carling Premiership contest with Southampton.

The sudden nature of this goal blitz reduced the visiting team to something akin to a rabbit caught in a car's headlights. No, perhaps that is not strong enough: Everton were like a juggernaut, infused with confidence and dynamism and their display in the second half even had Smith, the master of understatement, admitting that he "enjoyed" it. Will someone please pass the tranquillisers, for this man is clearly in need of sedation.

Smith, as always, is wise not to get carried away. After all, Southampton, whose consolation goal through Marian Pahars after 71 minutes was the only clear chance that they created, will soon be relegation candidates.

The quality of football played by both teams in the first half was some of the worst seen, even at Goodison Park, for some time. The goals glossed over that, and understandably, too. To secure a breakthrough so early in the season, to know what it feels like to score at home, should have a positive effect on the players' minds.

Combined with the equaliser that they (or Jaap Stam, at least) managed against Manchester United, Everton have now scored more goals at Goodison Park than they did in the first five months of the last campaign.

After Richard Gough, the defender, had given Everton the lead with a close-range header eight minutes before half-time - his first goal in English football for 12 years - Jeffers and Campbell took over.

Campbell's presence was enough to force Claus Lundekvam, the Southampton defender, to score an own goal after 48 minutes; Campbell then supplied Jeffers, whose blistering shot found the roof of the net 60 seconds later; and Campbell, the 3 million buy from Trabzonspor, turned in the fourth through a ruck of players after 55 minutes.

"Franny and Kevin make a good partnership," John Collins, the Everton midfield player, said, "and they could certainly be the key to a better future here." The Golden Goal competition, therefore, could be a rip-roaring success. And they may even raise enough money for Bill Kenwright to buy the club.

Report Times Newspapers Ltd

 
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