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Everton 2 - 2 Leeds United

Half-time: 1 - 0

Leeds United Logo
FA Carling Premiership 2000-01 – Game #26
8 pm Saturday 7 February 2001
Goodison Park, Merseyside
« Manchester United (a) Ref: N. S. Barry Leicester City (h) »
[ Matchday Calendar ] League Position: 15th [ Results &  Table ]

Ferguson walked of injured...

By Paul Garrity

After a good start by both teams, Everton took the lead against the run of play when Duncan Ferguson's scuffed right foot shot squirmed it's way in on 23 minutes.  It was thought Ferguson should have been substituted before he scored, after he fell whilst trying to get a shot on goal, and he seem to have aggravated his arm injury.  Gary Naysmith was then booked as he miss timed his challenge on Leeds midfielder Lee Bowyer.  Scot Gemmill was also booked shortly after.

Five minutes into the second half Leeds hit the post, as the away side turned the pressure on.  Richard Gough at this point was winning everything that came his way.  The majority of the problems came about, because the side was being out numbered in two main areas, up front and in midfield, as we sat back in our own half of the pitch.

It was clear that Everton lost there shape after Ferguson was taken off in the first half.  That was then confirmed after Leeds equalized through Ian Harte, when he shot past Paul Gerrard on his weaker right foot from 30-yards.  Joe Max-Moore was then brought off and David Unsworth came on to try an stop Leeds having so much possession.

Momentarily it seemed to work as Kevin Campbell had two bites of the cherry to score, after some good work from Idan Tal.  That though was short lived after our luck came back to haunt us, and Everton old boy Oliver Dacourt's 30-yard shot deflected in to the back of the net.

New England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson left with five minutes to go, and would have been impressed by Michael Ball.  That was possibly all, as the too sides battled to a stale mate.  This performance wasn't as good as the one at Man Utd, but the point gained could make all the difference come the end of the season.



EVERTON: Ferguson (22), Campbell (74)
Leeds United: Harte (66), Dacourt (76)
   LINEUPS  Subs Not Used 
EVERTON: Gerrard; Weir, Gough {capt}, Ball; S Watson, Gemmill, Moore (67' Unsworth), Gravesen, Naysmith; Campbell, Ferguson (35' Tal).
Unavailable:  Alexandersson, Cleland, Degn, Gascoigne, Nyarko, Pembridge, Pistone, Xavier (injured).
Simonsen, Hughes, Jeffers.
Leeds United: Martyn; Ferdinand, Radebe, Matteo (76Wilcox ); Mills, Bowyer (Bakke 79), Batty, Dacourt, Harte; Keane (75' Smith), Viduka. Robinson, Burns.
   Playing Strips  Formations
EVERTON: Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks. 3-5-2
Leeds United: White shirts; White shorts; White socks. 4-4-2
   Yellow Cards  Red Cards
EVERTON: Naysmith (21), Gemmill (24), Gravesen (71)
Leeds United: Radebe (43)
Sports.Com Detailed Match Stats and Full Match Commentary  

Steve Bickerton Some brief notes
David Catton Feel the Progress
Richard Marland What a peculiar game
THE INDEPENDENT Old boy Dacourt deprives Everton of victory
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Ferguson makes first impression
by William Johnson
THE TIMES O'Leary takes trials and tribulations in his stride
by Oliver Kay
THE INDEPENDENT Link to Match Report
THE GUARDIAN Link to Football Unlimited
DAILY POST Link to Daily Post Report
LIVERPOOL ECHO Link to Echo Report
EVERTON FC SITE Link to Official Match Report

BBC SPORTS Link to BBC Sports Match Report
SKY SPORTS Link to Sky Sports Match Report
SPORTING LIFE Link to PA Sports Match Report
SOCCERNET Link to SoccerNet Match Report
FA PREMIER Link to FA Premier Match Report

 Some brief notes
Steve Bickerton
Every credit to the team tonight, looked as good as Saturday. 

Duncan went in on the 'keeper unnecessarily and seemed to dislocate his shoulder, but judging by Martyn's efforts to apologise there was some sort of foul there.  He played on and the clever Everton tactics meant that the ball was continually put up in the air even though it was plain he couldn't jump at all.  Then one sweet move on the ground, his shot was true and found the net.  Exit stage left.  The critics should hold their judgement not his glass groin again is all I'm saying.  

Bally played himself into the England team tonight words cannot describe his form that kept Viduka extremely quiet and pushed the team forward for most of the night. 

Watson is the new Beckham. Sort of. 

Tal gets better by the week. Full of enthusiasm and showing real class. 

Campbell looked sharper once Dunc left, but was tiring badly at the end, as was Naysmith who is a bit of a liability in the late stages of the game. 

Unsworth should've replaced him, not Joe-Max, who played his heart out and, with more confidence (or different orders) to go forward, would've caused havoc. 

Final word to Gerrard.  See my match reports from earlier in the season.  He was supposed to be at least a "good shot stopper".  Not a save that I can remember tonight, but 2 shots from way out and he was stranded.  Appalling performance.  

Gough was heartbroken at one point they had a row when he shouted at the Scot for heading towards him whilst making an interception at full pace.  He failed to leave his line again and put the defence under unnecessary pressure.  The second goal particularly was bad with a long time to see the shot he failed to get across to his far post and two points were lost.  This is going to break the hearts of the rest of the players.  Enough is enough.  

Walker can't get a game at Spurs and if there was 3.5M for Lomas it can be found for him - neither he nor Myhre are any good and a fully fit squad will be no use if the 'keeper gives the game away, week in, week out. 

Man of the Match Michael Ball.

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 Feel the Progress
David Catton
Sitting in the traffic on the East Lancs Road at about 7.20pm last night, I switched the radio onto Radio Merseyside to catch the team news. Evidently Everton were going to play in the (blunted) Blue Arrows formation:

Watson Weir Gough Ball Naysmith
Gemmill Moore Gravesen
Campbell Ferguson

Mind you it could equally have been the Cross of Lorraine:

Weir Gough Ball
Watson Gemmill Gravesen Naysmith
Campbell Ferguson

Either way, it appeared that the narrow pitch would be to Evertons advantage and the likely route for attacks would be the diagonal ball or straight down the middle from deep defence towards one or both of the target men up front.  Leeds, on the other hand, were going to play 4-4-2. 

Bowyer, that most unpleasant little man, had been helicoptered to Liverpool from court in Hull in time to appear for Leeds alongside Dacourt, Batty and Matteo in their midfield.  They would have Viduka and Keane in attack and Mills, Radebe, Ferdinand and Harte at the back, with Martyn in goal.  

The depth of the Everton defence made it likely that possession would be surrendered in midfield with the hope that the Leeds attack would falter against the weight of numbers manning the Everton back line.  And so it proved.  

Leeds pressed forward and Everton absorbed their efforts. Weir and Gough were excellent; Ball merely imperious.  While Weir and Gough did their work, often at full stretch, Ball had time and composure and never appeared to break sweat.  But then I like him and his almost cocky attitude to the game and have done so right through his apparent contretemps with the management and coaching staff.  To me its not a question of giving in to youngsters with the talent that the likes of Ball possess but mentoring them to maturity.  

When I were a lad, respect came with a strap and was resented; nowadays its a more a question of equality and respect, on both sides, has to be earned, irrespective of the age gap.  Whether by accident or design, Ball appears to be traversing that gap and hopefully the manager and coaching staff are doing so with him.  This is a sublime talent and could be crucial to Evertons fortunes over the next ten years.  There, that should guarantee hes transferred to another club at the end of the season!

Early in the game, Ferguson suffered yet another injury, this time to his shoulder, in a clash with Martyn, and was obviously unlikely to recover sufficiently during the game for him to be effective. While I, along with many others it has to admitted, was screaming at the bench for him to be replaced, as Leeds were in the ascendancy at the time, he went and scored a simple goal.  

Ferguson remained on the field for long enough after the goal to show that Campbell and Ferguson alongside each other have some way to progress before they complement each other.  They were often less than 10 feet apart and looked as if they were about to compete with each other for the same ball.  The substitution, when it finally came, was a surprise to me.  Tal came on rather than the defender who would have indicated an attempt to shut up shop and win by the single goal.

As it turned out, with Moore willing but playing Cadamarteri-style no idea what to do or which way to run football and all five pulled back to defend in depth, the four in Leeds' midfield ran Gemmill and Gravesen ragged.  Both were booked as they tried to impose themselves physically on their opponents.

Early in the second half, Leeds equalised when Moore sprinted out of the penalty area and committed himself to a wild lunge that Harte easily avoided.  This opened space in front of him and he hit a cracking right foot shot that swerved inside Gerrards far post.

Surprisingly, Everton contrived another goal and we all hoped that now they could hang on for the desperately needed three points.  It was not to be; Dacourt, who despite the views of others, had, in my view, no more than an adequate game considering Leeds numerical superiority in midfield, took a dink from way out and the ball, probably taking a deflection, left Gerrard helpless yet again for the second equaliser.

Leeds grandstanded all the way to the end but Everton held out for a valuable point that could easily have been lost if Hartes header had gone in rather than rebounded from the post.

In summary, Everton played with commitment if not much style or skill.  I cant help wondering if the Campbell Ferguson combination has any future as they are so similar in functionality.  In fact, I wonder if either of them has that much future because neither has any speed and their goal- scoring is more due to positional savvy than pace.  Its to be hoped that Jefferss injuries do not limit his manoeuvrability as he, too, is no sprinter even if he is much much faster than either Campbell or Ferguson.

And so, the creep towards the magic 40 points continues...  It was an absorbing if not entertaining match and we can all look forward positively to even better things on Saturday.

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 What a peculiar game
Richard Marland
Completely overrun in midfield, we couldn't string two passes together, yet we deprived them of any real goal-scoring chances and managed to score two goals against the run of play.

The degree to which we lost the midfield skirmish really was quite alarming.  Dacourt was superb and he was ably supported by Batty they always seemed to be first to the ball, and when we did have the ball they closed us down incredibly quickly.  From this platform, Leeds were able to keep possession and play the majority of the match in our half.

The fact that they had so much possession and yet created very few chances was due almost entirely to the defensive trio of Gough, Weir and Ball.  They occasionally got beaten by the likes of Robbie Keane, but if they did then someone else got in a covering block or tackle.  Whatever the rights and wrongs of 5-3-2 against 4-4-2 the current form of Gough, Weir and Ball almost demands that we play those three together at the back.

Our biggest problem was in midfield: Gravesen and Gemmill were clearly second best, they undoubtedly worked hard and had some bright moments but they lost the battle.  They weren't able to offer service or support going forward and they didn't provide much of a buffer for the defence.  Joe-Max Moore, despite some eager running, looked all at sea.

Having been ahead twice and conceded the second equaliser to another deflection, you could look at it as two points lost.  However, when you consider the possession advantage Leeds had, and, if you concede that we were fortunate to be in the lead at all, then it is probably a point gained.  Leeds will doubtless argue they deserved the outright victory, but possession is nothing unless it is backed up by incision up front.  That wasn't there for them and on actual chances created we matched them, so a draw was probably a fair result.

A final word on Alan Smith: he was on only five minutes and he'd put in a shocking studs-up challenge on Gemmill (fortunately, he failed to make proper contact) and caught Richard Gough with an elbow in an aerial challenge.  Both Gough and Weir, on both occasions, could be seen talking to him letting him know, in no uncertain terms, that he had crossed the line.  The guy is a thug.

  • Gerrard  Not convincing.  I felt he should have done better with the first; he had a clear sighting of it and, despite the fact that it dipped and swerved viciously, he still should have stopped it.  His kicking was pretty woeful and he wasn't exactly exuding confidence and security.
  • Watson  Couldn't get forward as much as he did against Middlesbrough but still a decent, hard-working performance.
  • Naysmith  Did OK but still not really offering anything going forward.
  • Weir  Another excellent display.
  • Gough  Excellent what a player, what a leader.
  • Ball  Continues his wonderful vein of form.  Sven can't fail to have been impressed.
  • Gravesen  The comparison with Dacourt didn't do him any favours.
  • Gemmill  Not as productive against a midfield like this which closed him down so quickly.
  • Moore  With our attacking movements almost non-existent, he looked somewhat lost.
  • Ferguson  Battled on bravely, something he has done for us frequently without much credit, but in all honesty never looked fit from the start.
  • Campbell  His form and fitness seems to have taken a step backwards. Did score but should have had another.
  • Tal  Another lively, energetic performance; wonderful ball to put Campbell through when he should have scored.
  • Unsworth  With the midfield overrun perhaps should have been brought on earlier than he was. Did a decent job of attempting to stem the tide.

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 Old boy Dacourt deprives Everton of victory 
by , The Independent
A deflected shot from their old boy Olivier Dacourt deprived Everton of all three points, and a game as full of graft and endeavour, if not of attendant quality, a watching England manager could hope to see. 

Dacourt's hopeful effort from outside the area took the nastiest of thick edges off a defender to spin beyond Paul Gerrard and into the corner of the net, but it was a piece of good fortune Leeds deserved on the balance of play. 

Only three minutes earlier they had gone behind when Kevin Campbell followed up when his first shot was blocked but a rough sort of justice was done when Dacourt found the net. 

A match Everton needed to win to keep them above the relegation zone marked the first return to Goodison of Olivier Dacourt, a signing from a more optimistic phase of the club's history who was sold on when financial reality began to bite. 

In a rare attack of stability in a season that has seen both sides struggle with injuries, Leeds were unchanged while Everton's only alteration was to bring back Duncan Ferguson in place of Idan Tal. 

On the bench for a potential first appearance since September was Francis Jeffers. His six goals in the early weeks of the season made him still Everton's joint top scorer and a player who could be of some future interest to the watching Sven-Gran Eriksson. 

The Swede would not have been much impressed with Everton's early defending as they backed off to invite a sweeping move that ended with Lee Bowyer almost getting a touch to Ian Harte's cross. 

Robbie Keane also looked elusive on a couple of sorties, but the first 20 minutes produced no clear-cut chances. 

So it was out of the blue when Everton took the lead midway through the half. A good ball in from Steve Watson their most effective player in recent weeks began it.  Kevin Campbell's effort was blocked and the ball cleared to Thomas Gravesen, whose header was punched out by Nigel Martyn. 

It only reached Ferguson, unmarked and largely immobile on the edge of the area, who steered it into the net almost as an after-thought. 

Mark Viduka came close to an equaliser when he brought the ball down on his chest and saw his shot deflected past the post.  Viduka had another effort blocked at close range by Paul Gerrard. 

By that time, Everton had lost their main striker with Ferguson, struggling even before his goal, limping off to be replaced by Tal. 

Even with the game's most expensive defender on the field, Richard Gough often looked a class apart, showing why Walter Smith wants him to continue next season. 

Leeds continued to put Everton under heavy pressure in the second half, until the inevitable goal arrived. It was Harte who made up for his earlier miss with a swerving shot from the left-hand angle of the penalty area, always going beyond Gerard's fingertips and inside the post.
Report © The Independent

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 Ferguson makes first impression
by William Johnson, Electronic Telegraph

EVERTON unashamedly fought a determined rearguard action to claim a precious point to aid their on-going campaign for Premiership survival.  Goals by Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Campbell enabled them to hold a more stylish Leeds United, who twice equalised through Ian Harte and Oliver Dacourt.

Ferguson is probably worth more than his weight in gold to Everton, considering what the big Scottish striker has cost in signing-on fees and wages compared to his fleeting appearances.

It seemed his fourth start of another troubled season would last only 15 minutes when an unnecessary attempt to win a loose ball left the 6ft 4in striker nursing the left hand he fractured recently repelling an intruder at his Merseyside home.  He then spent the next seven minutes gesturing at Archie Knox, Everton's assistant manager, who was seeking some indication as to whether the player could carry on.

Everton were on the brink of withdrawing Ferguson when his talismanic qualities came to the fore.

After a Campbell shot had been blocked, Thomas Gravesen chipped the ball back into the penalty area, enticing Nigel Martyn into what proved an unwise punch.  It went straight to Ferguson, who simply rolled the ball into the empty net.  The exhilaration of his first goal since August persuaded Ferguson to soldier on for another 13 minutes before giving way to Idan Tal, who almost immediately set up Kevin Campbell, only for the striker to volley over.

A second Everton goal at that stage would have been a serious misrepresentation of the first-half balance of play.  Leeds, for whom Lee Bowyer made another dash from the courtroom this time by helicopter enjoyed the bulk of possession and Dacourt shined as bright as any.

Leeds continued to look more like the home side in the second half and came close to the equaliser their supremacy merited. 

Harte headed against a post from a Leeds corner, but then more than atoned for that when a hurried Everton clearance found its way to him 30 yards out.  He threaded a sweet, low shot past a diving Gerrard and just inside the far post 

Somehow, Campbell, asked to fight a lone battle up front, snatched an unexpected reward when forcing the ball over the Leeds line at the second attempt but Everton's fortunate lead lasted barely a couple of minutes, Dacourt beating Gerrard from long range, his low shot deflecting home off a defender.

Report © The Electronic Telegraph

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 O'Leary takes trials and tribulations in his stride
by Oliver Kay, The Times

JUST as it appeared that his luck might finally be changing, Walter Smith was left to reflect on a match that epitomised the sad tale of Evertons season.  All the old symptoms were there from an injury to a key player, once again Duncan Ferguson, to a deflected equaliser from the opposition in a match that had previously suggested that the manager and team were about to get a deserved break.

The script suggested that the match would be about Lee Bowyer, the Leeds United midfield player, who was flown from his court case in Hull to try to impress Sven-Gran Eriksson, the new England coach, but Bowyer was peripheral after an impressive start.

Ferguson gave the home team the lead midway through the first half, after an error by Nigel Martyn, but had succumbed to injury long before Leeds equalised through Ian Harte in the 66th minute.

Everton were unfazed, reclaiming the lead in the 74th minute when Kevin Campbell wriggled free and scored at the second attempt, but Leeds levelled again with a deflected goal from Olivier Dacourt, a former Everton player.

Only three points had separated the teams when this fixture was originally scheduled, on December 30, but an impressive sequence before last night had seen Leeds extend that gulf to 11. 

During the opening stages, which were littered with wayward passes, Bowyer looked the most likely to make light of yet another troublesome pitch.  He started and almost finished Leedss most promising move of the first period, but, stretching to reach a cross by Ian Harte cross, ended up requiring treatment after a collision with Paul Gerrard, the Everton goalkeeper.

Injury is never far away where Ferguson is concerned, and it was to the surprise of no one that the forward, starting a game for only the fourth time since his return to Goodison Park from Newcastle United in the summer, was the next player to find himself in the wars.  This time it appeared to be his shoulder, an injury picked up in innocuous circumstances as he chased a flick-on.

He fought through the pain, and it was a good job for Everton that he did. Having walked around gingerly for several more minutes, insisting that he would be able to fight on a little longer, Ferguson gained his reward.  A penetrative run and a dangerous cross from Steve Watson in the 23rd minute presented a half-chance to Campbell, whose shot was blocked, before a weak punch by Martyn fell straight to Ferguson, who shot through a crowd of players for his first goal since August.

He lasted only another 12 minutes, making way for Idan Tal, but the former Scotland international had done his job.  By that stage, though, Leeds could have been level as an instant shot from the edge of the penalty area was deflected narrowly wide via the boot of David Weir. That incident might have persuaded Walter Smith that his teams luck was finally in after a similar incident led to their unfortunate defeat away to Manchester United on Saturday.

Further evidence came in the 36th minute, when an under-hit header by Richard Gough was not punished by Mark Viduka, as Gerrard rushed out well, but the comfort that an extra home goal would have offered did not materialise.

Things continued in a similar vein after the interval.  Gough deflected Hartes header onto the foot of a post, Thomas Gravesen went unpunished for an apparent late tackle on Bowyer in the penalty area and the Everton goal seemed to be living a charmed life until Hartes goal began to change matters.
Report © Times Newspapers Ltd
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