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  (0-0) Stubbs (53') 
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FA Cup Record The FA Cup 2001-02 FA Cup 4th Round
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Stoke City v Everton:
Prior Cup Games
 All Cups  
 Stoke City 3
 Everton 2
 Draws 1
 FA Cup
 Stoke City 3
 Everton 2
 Draws 1
 Last Match:
 Stoke City 0-2 Everton
 1st Division, 20 Apr 85

Please Note: The FA, in their infinite wisdom, are not allowing internet broadcast of live match commentary.

With some of the recent pressure removed from Walter Smith's old and sagging shoulders by the recent if somewhat ambiguous statement by Bill Kenwright, a slightly less desperate Everton line-up took the field at the Britannia Stadium before ITV's feature-match cameras.  You can't have helped wondering why they were there... other than to of course witness another great FA Cup upset.

And the chances seemed high at least before kick-off, with Everton suffering a run of five straight league defeats and eight first-teamers out injured.  And Stoke flying high at the top of the Second Division... but it wasn't to be.

Everton contrived to play their current brand of abysmally poor football, with the same litany of basic errors that are seen each week: poor use of possession; dreadful balls out of defence (straight to the opposition); lousy passing in general; limited movement off the ball; rare use of the wings; little penetration in attack; woeful delivery from corners... and so on, and so forth...

However, it was enough to contain a plucky but clearly limited Stoke City side who tried hard and often outplayed the laborious Everton midfield, especially in the first half.  Stoke appeared to have a good height advantage in the area but probably gave the match away by playing only one true striker.  They crossed the ball in reasonably well from the flanks, but never created any half-decent chances, with Simonsen awake to everything that came his way including a few scary mistakes by Xavier!

Everton's own lumbering giant, Duncan Ferguson, looked fractionally more useful that he has done recently, and deserved a goal for a lovely turn and shot in the first half that was deflected onto the post.  Jesper Blomqvist had the same post in his sights a little later but drove hard the wrong side of it. 

Everton looked slightly better in the second half open changing-room window? and it paid off when Ferguson was awarded a dubious free-kick for falling over on the Dee...  It looked like the usual Everton muddle as six players argued the honour while Stoke built their wall.  But a short sideways ball caused the end of the wall to break early and an excellent drive from Alan Stubbs curled around the remaining bricks and past the outstretched arms of the keeper.   Such joy for the 6,000 long-suffering Evertonians packed in the stand behind: the first Everton goal in over 7 hours of depressing football.

The goal livened the game up for a while as Stoke tried to press Everton harder, but they were toothless in attack.  And Paul Gascoigne was starting to enjoy himself after having a quiet first half.  Everton held off the Potters and even looked like adding a second, Weir, Moore, Blomqvist and Gazza all coming very close.

In the end, one goal was enough and the slavering wolves of the press who had circled the ground, baying for an upset that would (in their eyes) increase the pressure Walter Smith, went away empty-handed while the Everton ball was placed firmly in the hat for the 4th Round draw. 

M A T C H    F A C T S
 Sports Match Info  
  FA Cup 2001-02, 3rd Round
3:00pm  Saturday 5 January 2002
Britannia Stadium, Stoke
Referee: Eddie Wolstenholme (Blackburn)
Att: 28,218
TV: (overseas)
Line-ups Subs not used
Stoke:  Cutler, Rowson, Thomas, Shtaniuk, Clarke, Gudjonsson, O'Connor, Henry (70' Dadason), Vandeurzen, Goodfellow (64' Hoekstra), Iwelumo (70' Cooke).  Owen, Ingham.
Everton: Simonsen; Stubbs, Weir, Unsworth, Xavier; Naysmith, Gemmill, Gascoigne, Blomqvist; Moore, Ferguson
Gerrard, Tal, Cleland, Hibbert, Chadwick
Unavailable:  Alexandersson, Cadamarteri, Campbell, Gravesen, Pembridge, Pistone, Radzinski, Watson (injured); Nyarko (loan)  Final: Xavier
Playing Strips Formations
Stoke: Red & white shirts; white shorts; red socks 4-1-4-1
Everton: Royal Blue shirts; blue shorts; blue socks. 4-4-2
  Yellow Cards Red Cards
Stoke:   --
Everton: Gemmill (35')  --

FA Cup 3rd Round
Saturday, 5 Jan
Barnsley  1-1 Blackburn
Burnley  4-1 Canvey I
Brighton  P-P Preston
Charlton  2-1 Blackpool
Coventry  P-P Tottenham
Crewe  P-P Sheff Wed
Dagenham 1-4 Ipswich 
Darlington  P-P Peterbro
Grimsby  0-0 York 
Leicester  2-1 Mansfield 
Liverpool 3-0 Birmingham 
Man City 2-0 Swindon 
Millwall  2-1 Scunthorpe 
Newcastle  2-0 C Palace
Norwich  0-0 Chelsea 
Portsmouth  1-4 Orient 
Rotherham  P-P Sotton
Sheff Utd 1-0 N Forest
Southend  P-P Tranmere
Stockport P-P Bolton
Stoke  0-1 Everton 
Sunderland  1-2 W Brom
Walsall  P-P Bradford
Wimbledon P-P Middlesbro
Wolves  0-1 Gillingham 
Watford  2-4 Arsenal
Wycombe P-P Fulham
Sunday, 6 Jan
Cardiff 2-1 Leeds
Cheltenham 2-1 Oldham
Derby 1-3 Bristol R
Macclesfld 0-3 West Ham
Aston Villa 2-3 Man Utd
Tuesday, 8 Jan
Southend 1-3 Tranmere
Wimbledon 0-0 Middlesbro
Wycombe 2-2 Fulham
Tuesday, 15 Jan
Darlington  P-P Peterbro
Brighton 0-2 Preston
Crewe 2-1 Sheff Wed
Fulham 1-0 Wycombe
Middlesbro 2-0 Wimbledon
York  1-0 Grimsby 
Monday, 21 Jan
Peterbro 2-0 Darlington 

M A T C H     R E P O R T S
Everton Web Sites
ToffeeWeb Match Summary Match Report
When Skies Are Grey Match Report
From The Terrace Match Report
Blue Kipper Match Report
Everton Fans' Reports
Jonathan Martin How Walter thinks
Julian Cashen Stubbs throws Smith a lifeline
Links to Other Media Reports
Electronic Telegraph Match Report
BBC Sport Match Report
FA Premier Match Report
Sky Sports Match Report
Sporting Life Match Report
SoccerNet Match Report
The Sunday Times Match Report
The Observer Match Report
The Guardian Match Report
The Independent Match Report
The Times Match Report
Liverpool Echo Match Report
Daily Post Match Report

Match Preview

And so to Stoke; what joy ...

Well, Happy New Year to all Evertonians!

If the last fortnight hasn't convinced you that a winter break is a good idea for football then nothing will.

Do you know I have been dreading writing this preview.  I have always maintained an optimistic outlook to the Blues despite all their efforts to defeat me and up until Charlton I had managed to.  But how do I stay positive now?

The litany of players out of position, players making mistakes, players showing no commitment, players being injured and players being downright crap has brought this club to its knees.  Watson upfront, Unsworth in midfield, JMM on the bench and Cadamarteri starting his first game for months when it is a must-win situation.  Gravesen wanting out and then, against Boro, three more injuries before we have got to the 50th minute.

What the hell did we do to deserve this?  Support Johnson's success in buying us?

What is so galling to the Optimist in me is that, only three weeks ago, we were in a solid 9th position, looking up the table, talking about InterToto positions and stupidly harbouring hopes of a European place by merit.

Then we met Fowler and Leeds.  A 3-2 loss away to Leeds is not an embarrassment particularly as they sit proudly at the top of the league.  Unsworth gifted Sunderland their goal and United arrived in the middle of their best league form for 12 months and we held them for 77 mins just long enough for us to begin to believe that a point was there for the taking (which it was) but there went the three consecutive defeats the fixture list had surely predicted.

It was the effect of those three defeats that shows the fragile confidence of the team, squad and perhaps more importantly the support.  It's almost as if we have all been waiting for this crisis and indeed certain sections of Goodison are delighted to scream "knew it, knew it".

As Radzinski limped off which I must admit I only heard over the radio as family demands had called the game was up.  "Goal at Goodison" five minutes later could only be followed by "Graham Stuart gives Charlton the lead".  I never believed for a minute that we would come back... and neither did the team.

And so, expectedly, the calls for Smith's head began well, became louder anyway.

Shall I bother defending him when the jury has already wholeheartedly condemned him?  Very difficult after the Watson and Unsworth decisions.

What of his buying record?  Well Materazzi, Dacourt, Weir, Campbell, Gravesen and Naysmith are all in the credit column, as was his rejuvenation of Barmby.  I suppose anybody who is forced to sell and then rebuy his team every summer is eventually going to buy a Nyarko and, should Barmby run and now Gravesen show himself to be disenchanted with the lack of funds, do you blame the Manager?  Some would.  I call it human nature to want to play at the highest standard and anyone without blue-tinted glasses can easily see that without the funds to even purchase Brighton's young striker Everton are going nowhere.

Desperation has been the result of few funds and gambling the reaction.  Gazza, Ferguson, tying Campbell to a long-term deal when Villa were sniffing these have all been gambles that have frankly failed.  Blomqvist is the final gamble that has not yet played itself out and frankly is unlikely to do so with Walter at the helm.

On New Year's Day we went to Boro.  Oh the human nature of the League's fixture machine.  We worked hard.  We started with Dunc and Danny another front line partnership that was to be broken up by injury.  The right-hand side of the team (Alexandersson and Watson) both injured before 49mins are up and before Hibbert can find his feet a corner and then goal conceded down his flank.  And that was that.

And so to Stoke.

One defeat in their last 18 games leaves them sitting top of the 2nd Division in their very impressive Britannia Stadium.  Would you believe that they are favourites to repeat the feat of their near neighbours, Port Vale, and knock us out?  Of course you can, because you expect them to.

Their 2-2 draw at Prenton Park will have allowed the Scouts a comfortable journey to watch them but what will they have learned?  Nothing.  Stoke will just go for it.  They will fully believe that they will beat us and claim top spot on The Premiership.  After five blank games, can we do anything about it?

Well, let's look at our team: Watson, Pistone, Gravesen, Gazza, Alexandersson, Pembridge, Cadamarteri, Radzinski and Campbell would make a decent fist of the game... apart from the fact that they are all out injured.

Dunc and JMM upfront?  A midfield central partnership of... Gemmill and, well, who?  Oh, of course, Unsworth!  At the back...? Ah, a slice of sunshine and perhaps the one area that I can cling to: Weir, Stubbs, Xavier, Naysmith.  Simonsen in goal.  Hibbert will probably play right-back to one of the first three.

If the midfield work hard and match Stoke's midfield in workrate, then we really should come away from this game undefeated.  I ignore the Charlton game as a blemish: just one of those games.  I ignore Leeds and United as we did compete but were beaten by better teams who are now 1st and 2nd in the wealthiest league in the world.

Against Boro and Sunderland we lost 1-0.  They are both better than Stoke.

Dunc is getting fitter and JMM just loves the Cup! (Honest).

WE CAN WIN THIS GAME.  Of course we blinkin' well can!  We've beaten Villa and battered Newcastle, hammered West Ham, trounced the Saints and gave Leeds and United damn good games.

If the players can rise above the media campaign to damn us, and Walter can somehow ignore the frenzy to sack him, then this is a game that we can pinch 1-0 and use as a new start as Sunderland come to Goodison next week.

We will still have a batch of internationals on the pitch, some of whom will be going to the World Cup later this year.  I harbour hopes that Gravesen will play and Watson has often come back from injuries that have caused him to be substituted.  Dunc must score in open play soon and this should be the game that he does it.

Please believe that we can win!  A hint of desperation?  Of course, but not without basis.  The FA Cup is magical.  Many fightbacks have begun with it as the starting point.  We were worse when Royle began his journey and Kendall was hanging on when he eventually arrived at Wembley.  If I offered you our players against Stoke's man for man you would choose ours every time (...almost!).

1-0 and Walter to stay.


How Walter thinks

by Jolly Martin

The day was horrible - mist swirling around and blowing into the ground all match.  The pitch was extremely slippery on top, presumably having defrosted completely since last week.  The blues were down to their last 8 fit players.... well, those that Walter bothers to pick anyway.  No doubt about it, Stoke were clear favourites to walk it.   But somehow, somewhere, it all went awry (thank goodness!).

Gascoigne, Ferguson and Blomqvist clearly were nowhere near fit.  Despite my efforts to get Walter to read my mind, he chose to ignore the likes of Hibbert at full-back and play four central defenders strung across the back.  Blomqvist started on the right with Naysmith on the left, the 2G's in the middle and Joe-Max starting a game for once. 

Stoke started predictably they flew at us.  Amazingly, Gascoigne got injured within about 20 seconds of the kick-off honest.  It took him a good 10 mins to run it off and another 20 to really begin to spray the ball around.  Xavier looked completely out of it at full back and got caught numerous times early on.  

We looked scared of what Stoke might do to us and consequently they looked far more likely to score.  But they didn't and, as the half wore on, we came more and more into it.  By half-time things were reasonably even Duncan had hit the post with a good shot and Blomqvist had put a shot just wide but neither keeper had been unduly troubled.

Then Walter decided it was time for one of his total reshuffles: Blomqvist to the left, Naysmith to centre midfield (?) and Gemmill to the right.  Amazingly, we suddenly looked much better going forward.  Blomqvist is very one-footed and was pretty average down the right but on the correct side, he looked totally different.  

Suddenly, Duncan goes down like a sack of potatoes just outside the box, the wall disintegrates and Stubbs belts it into the net - and at our end as well! 

Walter quickly panicked at this example of flowing Blues football and switched the midfield back to what it was before.  Blomqvist still saw a lot of the ball and could have had a couple.  Gascoigne and Joe-Max combined beautifully to set Gazza through but the keeper saved well.  

Stoke had a lot of the ball but actually rarely threatened Simonsen in goal the ball flashed across the goal a couple of times but I can't remember him making a serious save all game. 

Stoke actually disappointed me top of the second, I expected them to be a lot more of a threat than they were.  Playing one up front and flooding the midfield was a big mistake by them I suspect 3 or 4 in midfield would have competed equally well and they would have posed more of a threat. 


Simmo had nothing to do; Xavier looked out of it at right back; Stubbs and Weir were solid as was Unsworth at left back (is he the new Mike Lyons?  He's played at least four positions this season watch out for him in goal at some point...). 

Gemmill was as industrious as ever; Gascoigne played some lovely passes but tried to elaborate too much at times.  Naysmith is great going forward and cutting in towards the penalty box.  He looks a much better at wide midfielder than as a defender.  

Dunc did little; Joe-Max ran his heart out all game without too much effect.  But my man of the match was Blomqvist.  First time I've seen him and he looks to have bags of skill but, at the moment, little pace.  Whether the pace comes back is doubtful.  I don't see how you can be out for that long and pick up the pace of a league that gets quicker every year.  However, I'd have him in the team every week for what he can do now with the hope that more will come. 

So, overall, a much better performance than I'd expected I really did think we'd lose.  Orient in the next round shouldn't be a problem.... I'm away in the States so I'll be glued to my mobile for the text messages!  

One thing interested me towards the end of the game - when Duncan was so clearly struggling with his fitness, why not take him off with, say, 15 mins to go and put Chadwick on for a game?  We were 1-0 up, Duncan was hardly moving by then (as if he ever moves very far!) and, given the state of our strike force at the moment, he's likely to be unfit come next week.  So why not give the lad some more experience? 

But then, we've no idea how Walter thinks... 

The Jolly Martian

Stubbs throws Smith a Lifeline

by Julian Cashen

The Brittania Ground.  Of all the new stadia, surely the coldest, most soulless, most characterless...  and stuck out in the arse end of nowhere.  Researching my route to the ground it appeared that a major landmark was the Waste Incineration site - how appropriate this was; I only realised on my arrival, when it became apparent that the whole ground should be carted off to Waste Incineration.

Still, there was a pretty good atmosphere in the ground, and not many empty seats.  Stoke fans in good voice in confident anticipation of an 'unexpected' victory over supposedly superior opposition.  Evertonians in good voice to conceal their nervousness at the prospect of another humiliating early exit from the Cup at the hands of a Nationwide League outfit.

For the line up, with so few to choose from, no real surprises.  Papa Smurf at right back replacing Watson with Stubbs at centre half alongside Weir.  Rhino at left back.  A start for Gazza alongside Gemmill with Blomqvist on the right and Naysmith left, Dunc and Joe-Max Moore up front.  Much as my heart always drops to my boots at the sight of Unsworth on the pitch, it's probably the line up most fans would have picked given the resources available. 

For once the shock team selection came not from Wally but from his opposite number, an unpronounceable Icelandic gentleman, who elected to go into an eminently winnable cup tie against goal shy opposition short on confidence, with just one up front.

The First Half

Memorable for not a lot, rather to my relief.  I think players and fans alike were expecting an early storm, which never really came.  Certainly Stoke had their share of territory and possession, but Simmo and the back four remained remarkably untroubled.  For us, Duncan was unlucky in hitting the woodwork for the second match in succession, while Blomqvist hit a daisy cutter narrowly wide.

Second Half

It would be an exaggeration to say the game exploded into life after the break, but certainly the boys in Blue came out with a lot more purpose, perhaps actually believing that the game was winnable.  Whatever; after God knows how many goalless minutes in over four matches, we finally got a breakthrough.  

Dunc collapsed in the D under a powder puff challenge - TV showed there was no contact made, but Evertonians will take all the lucky breaks they can get.  We take an age arguing about who is going to hit it.  They take an age lining up the wall.  A little tap to Stubbsy who belts it low to the keeper's right, through some hapless defender's legs, into the bottom corner!!!!!!!!

And really from there we should have gone on to win comfortably.  That we did not was due to some half decent saves from their keeper, but mainly to rank bad finishing.  Gazza in particular will have been disappointed after really rolling back the years with a surge into the box, that he gave the keeper a chance to save with his legs.  

Towards the end Blomqvist ought to have done better.  But come the final whistle the overriding feeling was relief at not slipping on the ceremonial banana skin, and delight at being in the hat for the next round.  Next up, Leyton Orient at home surely we can beat them?!? and then one more kind draw in the 5th and we can be through to the 6th round, when suddenly the dreams of a trip to.... er... Cardiff, begin to seem a lot less fanciful.

What does it mean?

Although the match itself wasn't a lot to write home about I don't think I've left anything meaningful out in the two brief paragraphs above the result just could be a significant one.  To base a manager's sacking on one result is absurd, but on the other hand, the drip drip drip of bad results, like Chinese water torture, eventually becomes unbearable.  An early cup exit, effectively ending the season other than the perennial struggle to achieve the safety mark of 40 points, would however valid the excuses of injuries and lack of cash have tried the patience of supporters and board alike.  Instead, there is the genuine feeling that the players in the dressing room have found some real determination to see things improve a pity it needed a 'crisis' to bring this about.

On the field, Blomqvist has been a revelation and can give us the best penetration down the flanks that we have seen since the days of Kanchelskis (or am I being unfair to John Oster? ...only joking!)  The belated establishment of Simmo between the sticks has also effectively strengthened the team at no immediate cost. 

Xavier and Pistone at the back have both performed excellently (until the latter's injury), as has the ever-dependable Weir.  If we can just get the forwards fit and Smith uses the money supposedly to be made available, to get a decent midfielder or two, I do think we are an upper mid table side.  

We are by no means the only team short of cash.  No surprise that Derby and Leicester are on their uppers but even a team like Newcastle cannot spend money, and this despite or perhaps because of their 50,000 seater stadium of just the kind to which Blue Bill aspires...! 

Blackburn, despite their recent purchase of Cole, lost 31M last year.... 31M!!!!!  So being one of the first to learn to work within a budget may stand us in good stead in the longer term.  Where Bill's 9M is to come from remains a mystery, and though it is the price of one or at most two decent players, it will be welcome if it proves more concrete than the fabled media deal.

Let's not kid ourselves that we have turned any meaningful corner.  But we seem to have acquired a determination to turn things round and this of itself ought to avoid any repeat of the insipid performance against Charlton.  Could we at last be showing signs of some limited progress?

Next up - The Black Cats

Peter Reid will have been kicking cats of every colour following his team's recent form a 5-0l reverse at Ipswich followed by a humiliation in the Cup.  Here's a man many supporters would like to see in the hot seat at Goodison, having a torrid time at the hands of his own supporters an underachieving team and a manager with apparently no cash despite a state-of-the-art 50,000 seater stadium of just the kind to which Blue Bill aspires...!!!

We either slaughter them to compound Reidy's misery, or suffer the backlash.

Sunderland, against Ipswich, were by all accounts a disorganised rabble.  I don't see them picking themselves up, and go for us to win and Blomqvist to get his first for the Blues!!!

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