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Sunderland 2 - 0 Everton

Half-time: 1 - 0

Everton Logo
FA Carling Premiership 2000-01 – Game #16
8 pm Monday 4 December 2000
Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Att: 46,372
« Chelsea (h) Ref: Peter Jones Manchester City (a) »
[ Matchday Calendar ] League Position: 13th [ Results &  Table]
Alex Nyarko With expectations once again strongly boosted this time by great wins over Arsenal and Chelsea Everton make the long journey to Wearside as the fans dare to dream of an unprecedented fourth Premiership win on the trot.  Thankfully, no Don Hutchison for the Mackems, but Gavin McCann was in the team.

Walter Smith decided not to break up a winning team in order to bring back some of his more favoured players Alex Nyarko, Joe-Max Moore, and Thomas Gravesen. 

There should have been two goals inside the opening two minutes, as firstly Quinn does a clever lob to beat Gerrard but not the post.  Then Tal, all alone after brilliant build-up work from Hughes and Campbell, misses it completely. 

The rest of the first half saw some great midfield football and top-class defending from Everton, but the spirit of the breakaway seems lost forever as the Sunderland back-line were cut apart time and again, but Everton each time failing to make it count. Cadamarteri, Campbell, Tal, Gemmill, Hughes and Watson were all guilty of painful mistakes in and around the Sunderland area as Everton failed to capitalise.  We really should have scored FIVE, but we never even troubled Sorensen....  

Then, just before the break, Ball pulls away from Quinn to defend deeper, but the flick-on ping-pongs among three Mackems before Alex Rae imposes himself on proceedings with a vicious strike on the lose ball.  Gerrard had no chance.

Tal had had a nightmare in the penalty area, and was rightly subbed by Gravesen.  However, Everton's shape deteriorated badly as a result, and Gravesen just kept doing the wrong things.  The impetus, and the match, inevitably began to slip away from Everton as Sunderland dominated the first 20 mins after the break.

The goal was scrappy when it came, a lose ball coming through to Phillips, who could not believe he was onside as he scuffed it past Gerrard.  And from there it was a question of coasting home for Peter Reid's side, as he had the final twist, bringing on former Evertonian John Oster at the close.



Sunderland: Rae (45'), Phillips (65').
   LINEUPS  Subs Not Used

Sorensen, Williams, Gray, McCann, Thome, Craddock, Kilbane, Phillips (90' Oster), Quinn (81' Varga), Rae (86' Schwarz), Arca.

Macho, Thirlwell.

Everton: Gerrard, S. Watson, Weir, Campbell, Hughes, Pembridge, Ball, Naysmith, Gemmill (70' Nyarko), Cadamarteri (70' Moore), Tal (46' Gravesen).
Unavailable: Alexandersson (ill), Cleland, Ferguson, Gascoigne, Gough, Jeffers, Pistone, Xavier (injured).

Simonsen, Unsworth.
   Playing Strips  Formations
Sunderland: Red & White shirts; black shorts; red socks. 4-4-2
EVERTON: Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks. 4-5-1
   Yellow Cards  Red Cards
EVERTON: Hughes (49'), Campbell (57'), Nyarko (84').
 Sports.Com Detailed Match Stats  


Mickey Blue Eyes The Clown Prince is dead. 
Long live the Clown Prince
David Shepherd Stadium of Light
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Rae shows way for Sunderland
by William Johnson
THE TIMES Phillips in mood to learn from dry run
by David McVay
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

 The Clown Prince is dead. Long live the Clown Prince
Mickey Blue Eyes

Len Shackleton some memories

How very appropriate we should play the Mackems in the week that Len Shackelton shuffled off this mortal coil.  If he had a choice, its a safe bet he went with a smile on his face.  Actually, I doubt if Len took anything seriously except what he was going to do next with a football.  Even then, he probably had to stifle an inner chortle or two.  He always looked like he was about to burst out laughing. 

I was lucky.  I saw Len playing at his peak.  And you know what, he always looked like Norman Wisdom and/or Dennis The Menace in footy boots: baggy shorts and tousled, unkempt hair.  Everyone who loves footy loved Len greatly.  If there's one man who didn't need "market branding" it was him.

After watching for a while you always know a unique talent when you see it.  He had all the sharp moves in a very small space.  He could make the opposition look hapless even when he wasnt trying it on.  In a different way, you can see a narrow version of the same kind of thing in The Ears when he plays well, but without the whimsy.

Difficult thing to define in a playing sense, whimsy.  Len had it because he made you smile or laugh outright when he wasnt trying to.  There were a few similar players at the time.  You couldnt imagine it now.  Theres too many people telling you who they hate instead of who they admire, too much loud-mouth jeering in place of genuine humour.  Whence and why has the smile dissipated?

Typically, he gleefully recounted a story of when he played a game against Fulham at the Cottage.  Time was ticking away, a draw was on the cards, and he went to take a throw-in near the Fulham goal.  As he picked the ball up, he said to one of the speccies, What time is it? and the speccy said, Two minutes to go, and Len said, for no particular reason, Great. Just time for a goal, threw it in, got the reverse pass, dribbled through the defence and smacked one in. 

If Segovia was right and Julian Breams brow was touched by God, then He must have smiled hugely when Len was born.  We all felt the benefit, especially when he left a blank page for a chapter entitled The Average Directors Knowledge of Football in his book, Clown Prince Of Soccer.  Now, the page would be full of spread sheets and other examples of the New Thieving Bullshit.

Rest in peace, Len. Players like you are why we continue to watch the game. When we can find them.

The Game

Ive always loved watching footy in the northeast, and I really looked forward to this fixture.  A nice day fringed by high, grey clouds with the odd dash of blue.  Alas, The Bus was only half full due to the TV broadcast... but it was lively enough.  

Straight there, no problem till the outskirts of Sunderland; the rush hour and a broken-down bin wagon.  We ended up in a pub called The Wheatsheaf across the road from the ground.  It was full of Thick Necks and Shaved Heads (why do so many DO that to themselves?) who glared a bit but were alright once you got talking to them.  If you could understand the dialect, that is.  I spent five minutes nodding and smiling amicably with one guy but Im fooked if I understood a word he said.  Well, except for a vigorous "Haway!" as we left.

The Stadium of Light isnt bad at all.  Now that theyre putting the second tier on it, it is easy to see it will be one of the better modern stadia when complete.  Its a straightforward design with no frills and all the better for it.  I liked it except for that infernal fucking wrinkly grey tin cladding.  On approach, a pleasing touch was four laser beams on the roof shining criss-cross into the night sky.  Couldnt help looking for a dodging Dornier or a barrage balloon...  I do wish the phony PA hype would fuck right off though.  You cant create atmosphere this way. Only the fans can do that and they wont be inclined to fight against zillions of decibels bouncing off every hard surface.

Speaking of fans, we had an excellent turn-out.  Almost a full complement in fact.  Given the time, circumstances and location, that is no small praise.

You probably saw the match on TV so theres not much I can add to your own impressions.  Theyre probably more valid than mine anyway.  I was glad Smiffy kept faith with the team who performed relatively so well over the last three games.

And for thirty minutes it looked like they might well deliver in an often raucous match with no quarter given.  Quinn hit the bar early on, another Mackem shot went narrowly wide and Paul produced a magnificent save from a looping Quinn header but otherwise the first third of the game was ours.  Idan Tal was again a constant nuisance.  Sadly, he missed two quite easy chances but on the other wing Danny too often fell back on his infuriating ways.  

Meanwhile, Scot Gemmill and Mark Pembridge were playing really well in midfield again and winning most of the fifty-fifties.  Davey Weir and Bally were giving no quarter against Quinn and Phillips, well on top of the job in fact.  Bally is on the way to making this his permanent position.

It was all going well until the Near Half Time Demon struck again.  A Mackem move down the middle was going nowhere in particular until a loose clearance bounced out to Alex Rae about twenty metres out, just right of the penalty arc, and he hit an excellent volleyed snap shot home.   Paul had no chance.  You groaned.  JaySUS, how many times has the half time thingy happened to us?  Probably not as many as we think.  Its just that when your wellies are leaking you dont remember having dry feet.

The second half was all Mackem, during which they hit the woodwork three more times.  Phillips got the inevitable second ten minutes into the half with a first class piece of opportunism, albeit from an untidy goalmouth mess.  In the end, they could have won it by more.  It was a complete reversal of the first half.

And so to the journey home: A silent, disappointed Bus escorted by those maddening northeast bizzies in their neo-fascist leather motor bike outfits.

As we went past the ground again I looked up at the laser beams and thought, I wonder what Len would have made of all this?  I know for certain there would have been a grin or a smile in there somewhere.  But I wasnt in that kind of mood.  I was pissed off and wanted to go home.  

Its like that when you lose, isnt it?

   Up to Reports Index ]
 Stadium of Light
Dave Shepherd
Sunderland.  Home of... um... Sunderland FC.  Head for Newcastle and turn right near Washington/Gateshead.

Armed with a third-rate city map and a lot of spare time for mistakes, I took the depressing and dangerous A1 north to cross another chalk off a shrinking collection of not-visited grounds.

Two factors made the expectation high that traffic would be terrible... a coastal location and a new stadium.  When the first queues started 6 miles out, it looked grim... but on the matter of location the Stadium of Light (SOL) is still within easy reach of established populated areas (unlike the Reebok), so street parking is plentiful.

New Stadium: a major topic for Evertonians.  In the ideal world all our voters should have been taken for a day out at this one before picking a box to X it would be a taste of things proposed for us.  Lets hope those who actually make the big decisions take that trouble rather than just staring at balance sheets and assuming people will buy any ground with our name on it.

The SOL location is not too bad although its access is strangled by being backed up against the river.  From a distance it looks OK.  Not spectacular, but not as ugly as some.  A giant miners lamp at the entrance is the only sign of originality or personality.

Inside, the impression is almost identical to the artists impression of the Kings Dock stadium (except in red) its one great big bowl identical on all sides except for a very long row of prawn boxes topped by a smallish oxygen-mask layer on the west side.  Backstage, breeze block walls and tin tray urinals betray the disappointing economy-above-all construction philosophy.

One major problem of building for capacity is that it can force the stands too far back from the pitch.  This ground is a medium example of that problem.  Near the back of the away segments of the bowl, the view is not as bad as from the upper deck of Bolton or Blackburn but dont expect to get more than a vague impression of what is happening in the northern half of the field... unless youve brought binoculars!

Sunderland FC have some underlying determination to be hospitable.  Blue fans in past visits have praised the Makem welcome in the pubs.  A webpage especially for visiting fans exists.  Even the gateman had a smile and a friendly greeting (better than the one I got for passing a fiver bribe at an all-ticket game once).

Behind the smiling facade, there are some less smiley and distinctly fascist aspects to Sunderland.  A fanatically enforced no-smoking policy in a concrete stand may be par for the course in a culturally cretinous place like California, but doesnt sit well in the North East of England.  

Stories of police raiding coaches are (sadly) not unusual, but more sinister was the phalanx of bizzies inside the turnstile who immediately ejected anyone who had clearly been drinking and that meant as little as two pints of mild.  Judging by the prolific trade done by the Roker Avenue pubs, we can assume home fans were not subjected to such draconian enforcement of the intoxication clause, nor did this enforcement seem to discount the sale of crap beer inside the ground.  Unless they later decided they didnt like your face, presumably?  Wonder if you got a friendly Sunderland smile when told 'we've had yer money, now F off'..?

On the pitch Everton managed to have their fourth very mediocre first half in a row.  As the half hour rolled by, reflection was that the only good sign was that Sunderland had only had one clear chance (very early) but Everton had somehow managed 4 or 5.  Also anyone whod expected to hear any significant noise at all never mind the fabled 'Roker roar' was reduced to discussing what had killed the footy atmospheres of yesteryear.

The pitiful home support wasnt for lack of bodies.  Paint it any way you want 46,300 on a TV-covered night game with both teams mid-table is a big crowd.  Evertonians did the turnout proud too though only 40 tickets were returned for the renowned nightmare of a North-East weeknight trip.

As 0-0 was once again looking probable, I stared around at the surroundings.  In a largely uniform bowl with a white oval roof hanging overhead and no atmosphere, I had the alarming feeling that this was be much the same view as a pube would get if it was stuck to the inside of a lavvy bowl.

It wasnt until 25 minutes into a second half in which Everton had not had one real attack that it was clear we were being skewered by coming second in a first goal wins match.  The clean Rea strike which fell like a dream just before the half gave the home side more confidence than hypnotherapy could reasonably have hoped for based on their performance up to then and it gave their fans enough momentum to scream almost every decision their way and boost ordinary players to a great second-half performance.  Indeed, unlike Chelsea, after the break the Sunderland performance was so full of gut-busting running and determination that there was some doubt if they would have done better against Newcastle had those sad sacks promised to dissolve the club if theyd lost.

Newcastle hatred on Wearside is so thick that they spent more time celebrating a recent 2-1 derby win than their goals on the night.  I even saw a '2-1' ironed on a home shirt.  Obsessive?   We love beating the RS but celebrations never went so far...

In the first half (when they could still be heard) the Everton fans were on poor form too.  Youve never won f*** all works well at Boro, but Sunderland have six titles and two cups.  Ah well, ...f***-all-since-37-not-including-the-Stokoe-final doesnt scan, and anyone who sings You'll Never Walk Alone to us deserves all they get.

Meanwhile, Evertons performance became as woeful as Sunderlands was determined.  They may have faked dogs of war against spoiled London playboys twice in a row, but had no idea what to do faced with dogs-of-war-style opposition.  They folded like soggy cardboard.  Even Tommy Gravesen couldnt make an impression.  Nyarko should have worn a tutu.

Our only highlights were a showcase of shot-stopping by Paul Gerrard, and an angled blast by Gravesen that made the loudest thump Ive ever heard off a boot (and that from near the back row). It was a wonder the ball didnt burst.

Afterwards, all the talk from the home fans was about wasted chances.  They were spot on with a general admission that the first half was ultimately dire, but there was no reason at all to believe that, if the first goal had been blue, the momentum could not had reversed the performance and the rout.

Oh and remember that great street parking?  Take my advice go to the pub for an hour after the game.  Youll still be out in plenty of time to enjoy queuing.  Even Maine Roads not THAT bad.

The SOL. may indeed be the best new stadium in the UK but it cant touch the developed and improved stadia all the big clubs have opted for so far.  Whichever way EFC go, lets hope they remember that Optimum means Best not Biggest.

   Up to Reports Index ]
 Phillips in mood to learn from dry run
by David McVay, The Times

EXACTLY a year ago, Sunderland maintained fourth position in the FA Carling Premiership by virtue of an emphatic win over Chelsea.  Given their inauspicious start to this campaign, doubtless they will settle for the sixth place that they occupy this morning.  Their unbeaten record at the Stadium of Light this season was seldom challenged last night and for the first time they recorded a league victory by more than a single-goal margin.  

There have been many false dawns witnessed by Everton supporters on Merseyside.  Clearly, their recent revival would seem to be another case in point.  Peter Reid, the Sunderland manager, expressed relief that he was now able to select from virtually a fully fit squad and, indeed, any side would have welcomed the return of Niall Quinn and Kevin Kilbane after injury.

The latters electric pace is a persistent menace to opponents, but it was Quinns deft touch, often an undervalued part of his game, that almost set the contest alight inside three minutes.

An instant control on his chest and an equally rapid turn and his marker was lost, but the tall forwards clever volley struck a post with Paul Gerrard, the Everton goalkeeper, beaten.

Kevin Phillips, pouncing on the rebound, carelessly sliced his effort wide, indicative of his profligacy of late, having spent ten weeks without scoring from open play.

Within 60 seconds, though, Everton could have been ahead themselves.  Kevin Campbell crafted the opening for Idan Tal inside the penalty area.  The resulting attempt by the Israel midfield player would have graced a Sunday morning park venue.

Nevertheless, Everton have discovered a resilience in their ranks, to which a sequence of three consecutive victories bears testament.

Scot Gemmill and Stephen Hughes have injected a passing fluency into their midfield and with a little more composure and assurance in front of goal, they could have gained a deserved ascendancy in the nineteenth minute.

Gemmill and Hughes kept it simple in the centre circle before the former Arsenal player threaded a pass beyond Jody Craddock that invited Campbell to impose his strength and finishing skills as he raced clear. His intention to lob Thomas Sorensen, the Sunderland goalkeeper, was good, but the execution was well short of the required standard.

In less than a minute another chance presented itself to Tal, this time through Gemmills tenacity and a neat cross from Danny Cadamarteri but, with a clear sight of goal, Tal dithered and Sunderland were able to retrieve the situation.

If Everton did not realise that they could not afford the luxury of such misses, they were well aware of it by the interval.  They could not protest that they had not been given sufficient warning as they retreated deeper into their penalty area, defending the familiar high-ball tactics that seek out Quinn.

However, with the sanctuary of the half-time dressing- room just a minute away, Gerrard was helpless to prevent Raes second goal of the season.  Again it was a pass delivered at altitude into the danger area that created havoc.  Quinn and Kilbane did enough to thwart Evertons efforts to clear their lines and, as the ball fell to Rae some 18 yards out, he struck a half-volley true and low into the bottom corner of the net.

Thomas Gravesen replaced the hapless Tal for the second half, yet the Phillips-Quinn alliance was steadily acquiring an ominous momentum.

The combination proved almost irresistible as Quinn released his partner in goals in the 63rd minute.  Phillips remained calm, skipped around Gerrard yet could hardly believe his bad luck as he side-footed against the post of what was an open net.

If the England striker believed Kismet was conspiring against him, it took only a further two minutes to persuade him otherwise.  Arcas woeful touch slithered through a beleaguered Everton defence where Phillips, stealthily positioned and marginally on side, was not found wanting from close range to record his seventh goal of the season.

Report © The Independent

   Up to Reports Index ]
 Rae shows way for Sunderland
ET-JWilliam Johnson, Electronic Telegraph

PETER REID, who was an Everton player the last time the Merseysiders won on Wearside, guided his Sunderland team into the Premiership's top six last night thanks to well-taken goals by Alex Rae and Kevin Phillips.

The Phillips strike midway through the second half of a highly enjoyable televised contest was particularly pleasing for the Stadium of Light crowd, the close-range finish ending a barren run for last season's top scorer whose confidence had slumped in recent weeks.

An action-packed first half looked like ending scoreless until Rae appeared on the edge of the penalty area to ram a first-time shot past the diving Paul Gerrard just as the fourth official was raising his board for stoppage time.

Sunderland barely deserved that interval advantage even though they struck the crossbar from their opening attack when Niall Quinn chested down a high ball and beat the goalkeeper with a dipping effort, Phillips failing to guide in the rebound from only two yards out.

After that early escape Everton looked the more threatening in a succession of sweeping attacks, the best of them coming when Stephen Hughes aimed a precise pass into the path of Kevin Campbell, who outpaced the covering Jodie Craddock only to shoot a foot or so over the bar.

Walter Smith's injury-hit side also went close when Danny Cadamarteri broke at speed down the right, Campbell cleverly leaving his low cross for Israeli international Idan Tal, who lost his footing with only Thomas Sorensen in his way.

Steve Watson then set up Campbell, whose shot was well saved, while a Cadamarteri shot across the face of the goal was only inches out of reach of the in-rushing Campbell.

Sunderland eventually came to terms with Everton's five-man midfield and began carving out more chances of their own.  They signalled their intentions when forcing Gerrard into excellent saves from Kevin Kilbane and Quinn and immediately after Rae's stunning strike they had Gerrard diving across his area again to block a fierce Phillips shot.

Sunderland maintained their momentum from the start of the second half and would have quickly gone out of sight if their strikers had been more impressive from clear-cut openings.

Quinn was through the Everton defence seconds from the restart only to blaze the ball wildly over and the big Irish striker wasted another more difficult chance shortly afterwards, shooting across the face of the goal.

Those misses paled into insignificance alongside the blunder that Phillips was responsible for just after the hour.  Quinn set him up by chesting the ball down as he had done in the opening minutes, the ensuing lay-off being superbly weighted for Phillips to go round the advancing Gerrard.

With the Sunderland fans already cheering the inevitable, Phillips somehow contrived to strike his shot against an upright from the edge of the six-yard box and he held his head in shame as a barren run was extended.

Fortunately for the morale of the England striker, the wait for a first goal in open play since September lasted only two more minutes.  A shot by the Argentine, Julio Arca, deflected to him 10 yards out and, with the Everton defenders appealing for offside, Phillips composed himself and then stroked the ball past Gerrard.

Everton, who may have felt aggrieved to have been in arrears at the interval, were stunned by the impending end to their recent good run but they eventually regrouped and came through the Sunderland onslaught.

They almost fought their way back into contention when Thomas Gravesen, one of their three second-half substitutes, forced Sorensen into a smart reaction save following a free-kick 25 yards out.

Phillips' restored morale was almost boosted further shortly afterwards when he let fly from the edge of the penalty area with a shot which was well blocked.  From the rebound, Phillips connected even more powerfully and Gerrard made what will go down as one of the best saves of the season to divert the ball against the crossbar.

Report © The Electronic Telegraph

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