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Preston North End Logo

Preston North End 0 - 5 Everton

Half-time: 0 - 4

Everton Logo
Pre-season 2000 Friendly #3 
Monday 31 July 2000
Deepdale, Preston
Att: 13,331
« Blackburn Rovers (a) Ref: P Richards Tranmere Rovers (a) »
[ 2000-01 Matchday Calendar ]
Thomas "Mad Dog" Gravesen showed the other side of his personality at Preston with an outstanding display, complimented by those of midfield partners, Alexandersson and Stephen Hughes.  

Goals from two of those midfielders, with a couple from Franny Jeffers for good measure, put a whole different complexion on Everton's preparations for the new season following defeats at Dundee and Blackburn.  And Walter Smith avoided the temptation to roll the squad over at half-time, presumably as a reward for the excellent first-half performance.

David Unsworth limped off at half time with an Achilles problem, but Smith is hopeful the injury is not serious.



Preston North End:
EVERTON: Alexandersson (6', 28'), Gravesen (14'), Jeffers (23',79')
   LINEUPS  Subs Not Used
Preston North End: Lucas, Alexander (66' Parkinson), Edwards (66' Ludden), Murdock, Jackson, Gregan, Robinson, Anderson (66' Eyres), Macken, Gunnlaugsson (77' Wright), Appleton (66' McKenna). Parkinson, King,  Moilanen, Barry-Murphy.
EVERTON: Gerrard; Dunne, Unsworth (46' Degn), Weir, Pembridge; Alexandersson, Nyarko, Gravesen,  S Hughes; Jeffers, Moore.
Unavailable: Campbell, Cleland, Gough, Pistone, S Watson (injured); Myhre, Xavier (in limbo).
Simonsen, M Hughes, Gascoigne, Gemmill, Cadamarteri, Jevons, Milligan, Clarke, D Watson.
   Playing Strips  Formations
Preston North End: White shirts; white shorts; white socks. 4-4-2
EVERTON: Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks. 4-4-2
   Yellow Cards  Red Cards
Preston North End:

Rob Burns On the Wings of the Deepdale Duck
Steve Milne Just the job
Yozzer A Drowned Rat in Preston
Alex Langley A Statement from Smith
THE DAILY POST Link to Match Report
by Paul Joyce
LIVERPOOL ECHO Link to Illustrated Match Report
by David Prentice
SOCCERNET Link to Match Report
SKY SPORTS Link to Match Report
EVERTON FC Link to Match Report

 On the Wings of the Deepdale Duck.
Rob Burns
Everton finally started their stuttering pre-season campaign at Second Division Champions Preston North End last night with a comfortable 5-0 victory at Deepdale.

Walter Smith was keen to regain some shape and stability after Saturday's defeat at Blackburn and his revertion to a 4-4-2 formation made his intentions clear from the start.  Mark Pembridge took the unfamiliar role of left-back while Richard Dunne came in for the injured Steve Watson on the right. 

The most notable inclusion of the evening was the central midfield pairing of Thomas Gravesen and Alex Nyarko, expected to be the mainstay of the team for the coming season. Gravesen showed restraint, but combined effective tackling with agility, turn of pace and vision.  Nyarko's physical presence does not seem to affect his ability to turn and pass quickly, and his tendency to spread the ball low ahead of the wide players and switch the play from side to side was certainly reminiscent of Vieira and a continental ingredient sorely missed for some seasons.

Everton found themselves 4-0 up inside of half an hour and always coped well with North End's endeavours to play open and attacking football.  Pembridge coped well with the lively Anderson, his outlet was Stephen Hughes, looking inventive and sharp on the left flank.  On the right, Niclas Alexandersson started to show form although he showed more as a wide striker than a winger in last night's match.

Jeffers hunted with enthusiasm making the familiar diagonal runs to find space, unselfishly spreading the ball on occasions when last season he may have been criticised for taking the shooting chance. At the back Weir was solid and looked much more in tune with his position than against Blackburn, and looks as if he will be Walter's first real selection for the opener at Elland Road.

Joe-Max Moore shone particularly in a role which took him from central midfield, through wide positions to his preferred stage in the Preston box.  His crossing, holding up of the ball and slide rule passing complimented perfectly the off the ball movement of Alexandersson, Hughes and Co.  There have been several comments recently that Jeffers and Moore are too similar to play together; however; it seems that Moore has the flexibility to adapt to his partner and will provide for Jeffers given the opportunity.

Substitute Peter Degn looked to have grown mentally when he showed as a replacement for David Unsworth, combining with Alexandersson on the right and providing some good crosses late on in the second half, without demonstrating his renowned temperament to the crowd.

Everton showed touches of class, albeit against a lesser opposition; however, the successful and confident application of this type of football during the coming season will surely stand us in good stead to compete with the teams in the top half of the table.  Meanwhile, Preston supporters hope that their wake-up call has come early enough to prepare them fully for the step-up to a new division.

 Just the Job!
Steve Milne
Our second trip to Lancashire, a visit to the 2nd Division winners, and their first home pre-season game a near full house was expected.  Walter played Joe-Max Moore and Jeffers up front, and Alexandersson just behind the front two.  We played well tonight: 4-0 up after 28 mins also helped the team moral.

Stephen Hughes looked at ease on the left side, his crossing of the ball was a joy to watch.   Gravesen was patrolling the midfield like he has been at the club for a number of years, rather than a few weeks.

1-0 up after 5 mins with a well weighted cross from the left, Alexandersson was unmarked in the 18-yard area unmarked... with time and space, he headed the ball into the bottom corner.

14 mins: This time the move started with Gerrard, ball in hand, who looked up to see Jeffers.  A quick throw, flick on to Joe-Max.  One of the Preston defenders did try to close him down, but the luck was with the blues, as the ball fell into the path of Gravesen.  He in turn took on the keeper and, as he came out, Gravesen just lobed the helpless keeper.

23 mins: Jeffers, doing what he does best in the 60-yard box, on the end of a Stephen Hughes cross; side-footed the ball home hard and low.

Just before the half hour mark came Alexandersson's second of the night. 30 yds out, with the  keeper well off his line, he just looked up and chipped the ball; a simple but well taken goal.

Preston could only muster one attempt in the first 45 mins.

Our one and only substitution came on 46 min: Degn on for Unsworth.  This did not alter the team much unlike in the past couple of games when the large number of changes had altered the style of play.

With the game well won, we did ease off a little, but were in control the whole of the game  Our 5th once again involved Gravesen; he had the ball in midfield and ran at the Preston defence.  With Jeffers on the right of him unmarked, he laid the ball off, and Jeffers scored with a powerful shot hard and low that gave the keeper no chance

A 5-0 win will have done them the world of good.  Nice to see from our side of the fence too!

A Drowned Rat in Preston
A great win for the lads, brilliant performance from what should be our first-choice midfield come the start of the season.  Man of the Match was given to Alexandersson he played well but personally I thought Steven Hughes edged it: fantastic performance about time too!  Let's hope we will see him develop to his full potential this season. 

As I say a great performance overall.  First half was crazy, a great couple of goals from the new Nicky; a class finish from Mad Dog Gravesen, and a cool finish from Franny.  Second half very low key as, you would expect, but another good finish from Jeffers.

Great following again from the Blues around 3,000 I would say.  Most of us in a shitty open terrace getting soaked, but the performance more than made up for that!

  • Gerrard - nothing much to do really, although made a few decent saves (7/10)
  • Dunne - Usual dozy self! Looks solid enough defending but awful going forward (6/10)
  • Pembridge - Good performance again at left back, didn't do anything wrong and linked well with Hughes down the left wing (8/10)
  • Nyarko - First start for the big African, looked solid and linked up well with Gravesen. Looks a great buy and led the midfield majesticaly (9/10)
  • Weir - usually solid self, say no more (8/10)
  • Unsworth - Slotted in well at centre half, his best position IMHO, went off at half-time (7/10)
  • Alexandersson - great game, capped by 2 very well taken goals, especially the 2nd one, a peach! Again, looks another good buy, given MOM by Preston (9/10)
  • Gravesen - Mad Dog calmed down after Saturday's high jinks, and showed great skill in the centre, with tenacious tackling, the new Parkinson (8/10)
  • Jeffers - Full of running, and looks back to his old self, 2 well taken goals, nuff said (9/10)
  • S Hughes - MOM in my opinion. Absolute class, was involved in everything, will be a key player next season, always looking to take people on (10/10)
  • Moore - Solid display from Joe-Max, never stopped all night and a good foil for Franny (8/10)
  • Degn - Came on for Unsworth and went to right back with Dunne slotting in at centre half. Did nothing wrong and looked keen (7/10)

Other subs not used, which was a pleasant change from the 8 subs on at half-time in the previous two games.

To sum up, a VERY encouraging display, although it was only against a newly promoted First Division side, but nevertheless reason to be confident about the coming season.

I reckon apart from the defence, where Watson and Pistone will come in, this was our team for the opening game. Across the middle: Hughes - Gravesen - Nyarko - Alexandersson. Forward: Jeffers - Moore

With KC to come back, plus a possible new signing (... thought I saw Idan Tal on the bench....) to come, things are not looking too bad for the kick-off.

Yozzer (still soaking wet!)

 A Statement from Smith
Alex Langley
Walter Smith sent out a message loud and clear to the media, that Everton were not ready to drop a division quite yet.

It was obvious he had been having words and had warned the players not to come back in unless they could turn in a half-decent performance.  Bearing in mind Everton's recent dreadful record against 1st Division sides, this could have proved easier said than done.  Against a Preston team struggling to contain us for much of the 90 minutes, Everton controlled the game pretty much at will.

It could have been 7 or 8 if we had not taken the foot off the gas.  The game was pretty much over after the half-hour, with Everton 4 up and coasting.  So one-sided that substitutions were limited to a half time switch of Peter Degn for Rhino.  No need for extra players to get a soaking in the pouring rain! 

Smith, it appears, has decided on our starting line-up for the season, with the possible exceptions of both full back positions.  Gravesen was once again outstanding and has a lot more to his game other than the Mad Dog image.  Stephen Hughes, with his assistance both to the attack and defence, was undoubtedly Man of the Match.  He can pass forward after all.

Nyarko whilst I would not describe him as a Vierra (more defensively minded) looked confident enough in everything he did and will add steel to the midfield that was lacking last season.  Smith obviously knows the limitations of our attack without Campbell and his search continues for a target man.


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