<% Dim oCs, oRs, strSQL set oCs = server.createobject("ADODB.Connection") oCs.Open "Driver={Microsoft Excel Driver (*.xls)}; DBQ=" & Server.MapPath("/season/02-03/data") & "/premtable.xls;" strSQL = "SELECT * FROM [OldSum$] ORDER BY Pos ;" Set oRs = oCs.Execute(strSQL) %> ToffeeWeb: Everton v Middlesbrough, Premiership Season 2002-03
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 FA Premiership (6); Goodison Park, Liverpool; Saturday 14 September 2002; 3:00pm
  Campbell (33', 76')
Attendance: 32,240
Halftime: 1-1

Nemeth (11')

Referee: N Messias

Match Summary

David Moyes is firm in his convictions.  He believes he knows his best line-up from the players available, and he is sticking with it, despite their abject inability to score goals.  The only change in the line-up that played so well at Southampton, but failed to score from a plethora of chances, is the return of Stubbs in place of Li Wei Feng.

Everton again started well, moving the ball around nicely and getting some great moves into the Boro area.  But it didn't take long for the attacking prowess of Steve McClaren's men to take the advantage.  A fierce shot by Maccarone was only parried by Gerrard and Nemeth nipped in to score.

Gerrard kept Everton in the game with a key save from Maccarone who was clear through, and Everton went back up the other end to level the scores after the half hour.

A lovely cross from Pembridge was headed back by Alexandersson won the ball and Radzinski's header hit the post before Campbell could not fail to score.

Another superb from Gerrard off Geremi's rifled shot after more questionable decisions from another lousy referee, who booked Stubbs for dissent.  As half-time loomed, Alexandersson's excellent first-time shot flew fractionally wide.

At the other end, more good 'keeping was required from Gerrard to keep Nemeth out as Everton continued to live dangerously in a lively end to the first period.

Despite some excellent work from Niclas Alexandersson, he was the one who (as usual) had to make way for Wayne Rooney at half-time.  Some silliness from Schwarzer led to Rooney getting his first yellow card.

A quick break by Middlesbrough had Everton hearts in mouths but Gerrard got the ball finally after Nemeth had hit the post as Boro came forward strongly.

Gravesen won an excellent free-kick, but Rooney curled it just over from a great position, when Stubbs might perhaps have crashed it in.  The tension built in the last quarter as Everton tried their best to score again, with Campbell again going close.

Then a brilliant corner form Thomas Gravesen and a fabulous glancing header from Kevin Campbell!  2-1!!! 

Then Rooney runs the full length of the pitch and won another corner that Pembridge took poorly but Campbell nearly scored again.

Tremendous pressure from Boro put Everton under the cosh in the last few minutes, with all sorts of tense excitement as Everton clung on grimly for their first home win of the season  and a vital three points secured just as it seemed one of the wheels on the Moyes Magic Bus was beginning to get a bit wobbly.

David Moyes: no need to make changes...

Everton v Boro:
Prior League Games
 Everton 34
 Boro 5
 Draws 10
 Everton 3
 Boro 2
 Draws 2
 Last Season:

Everton 2-0 Boro

Premiership Scores
Saturday 14 Sep
Leeds  1-0 Man Utd
Bolton  2-3 Liverpool
Charlton  0-3 Arsenal
Chelsea  3-0 Newcastle
Everton  2-1 Middlesbro
Sunderland  0-3 Fulham
West Brom 1-0 Sotton
Sunday 15 Sept
Man City 2-2 Blackburn
Spurs 3-2 West Ham
Monday 16 Sept
Brum 3-0 Aston Villa

Match Facts
 Everton   (4-4-2; 4-3-3)
 Blue shirts, white shirts, blue socks
 Middlesbrough  (4-4-2)
Red & white shirts, red shorts, red socks
Alexandersson (46' Rooney)
Li Tie
Radzinski (85' Carsley)

Subs not used:  Simonsen,
Li Wei Feng, Linderoth

Yellow Cards: Stubbs (39'), Rooney (48')

Red Cards:


(Injured:) Ferguson, Moore, Pistone, Rodrigo, Wright, Yobo.
Southgate (74' Whelan)
Job (81' Marinelli)
Maccarone (81' Boksic)

Subs not used: 
Crossley, Wilson

Yellow Cards: Schwarzer (48')

Red Cards:
Match Reports

Everton Web Sites
ToffeeWeb Match Summary
EvertonFC.com Match Report
When Skies Are Grey Match Report
Blue Kipper Match Report
Everton Fans' Reports
Steve Bickerton Match Report
Richard Marland Match Report
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 Observer Match Report
The Guardian Match Report
The Independent Match Report
Liverpool Echo Match Report
Daily Post Match Report
Premiership Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Arsenal 14
2 Tottenham 13
3 Leeds 12
4 Chelsea 12
5 Liverpool 12
6 Fulham 10
7 West Brom 9
8 Middlesbrough 8
9 Birmingham 8
10 Man Utd 8
11 Everton 8
12 Man City 7
13 Blackburn 6
14 Bolton 6
15 Aston Villa 6
16 Charlton 6
17 Southampton 5
18 Sunderland 5
19 Newcastle 4
20 West Ham 1

After 16 Sep 2002

Match Preview

After another encouraging start, two straight losses at Man City and Southampton and a draw against Birmingham is not exactly what we were expecting.

Long term injuries to Pistone and Ferguson is something we have got used to but, now that Wright and Yobo seem to be joining the party, it is verging on the ridiculous again.

Perhaps more concerning is the apparent profligacy in front of goal.  Decent team performances are being undermined but sub-standard finishing.  Despite being by far the better team against Birmingham and Southampton and outplaying an admittedly 10-man City team, we have come away with 1 point.

If we are to avoid our increasingly draining and disheartening flirt with the Nationwide then that has to change.  Moyes has to get annoyed.

What then of our upcoming game against Steve MacClaren's Middlesbrough?

Boro are coming to Goodison off the back of a morale-boosting 3-0 derby win against Sunderland.  If they had not gifted Fulham two very very late goals then they would be sitting very nicely towards the top of the Premiership.  As it is, they are still happily placed and far more confident than we are likely to be.

Stubbs's suspension is over but, whilst Yobo is still unlikely to be available, will he replace Wei Feng?  I imagine he will and, as Boro are not bursting with pace, he shouldn't be too found out.

In midfield, I cannot understand why we are not seeing more of Rodrigo.  A return to 4-3-3 would surely be a mistake but understandable given the lack of confidence that Moyes must have in Radzinski and Campbell.  As we all feared, with a bad start to the season comes the pressure to give Rooney a real run in the team, in his genuine position up front (in a front two) must be increasing.  Can Moyes withstand that pressure and persevere with his failing front duo?

Boro will come with a very stable defence of Ehigou and Southgate with Boateng in front protecting them (yes we are playing Boro not Villa!).  They will then look to catch us on the break using Boksic's undoubted ability and Nemeth's perseverance.

We have got to be careful.  Another loss and we all know what the headlines will be screaming.

4-4-2 must be the option and please Moyes give Rodrigo a go on the left flank.  Rooney or not?  Personally I'd give Rads 45 minutes but if he fails then I'd like to see Rooney given the chance to use the greater space that two upfront would afford him, rather than be stuck to one flank in a 3-man attack.

Sorry but I'm not too confident.  The possible retirement of Ferguson means we are stuck with Campbell for the foreseeable future and that is a worrying proposition.  He's finished, past it, kaput.

0-0 if the back four manage to avoid the individual mistakes we've been making recently... otherwise, get ready for the bottom three just as Arsenal and Man U arrive on the horizon.

I'll try and finish with a touch more enthusiasm: Boro are inconsistent.  Boateng apart, their midfield is not strong and Li Tie is improving and Gravesen still capable of controlling a game for short periods.  They both need to take control for long spells and perhaps Alexandersson can show us flashes of his form from the end of last season.  An early goal would do us all the world of good but can we get it?

Prediction: 0-0


Match Report

Two home draws and countless chances squandered along the way.  Public criticism of the stand-in captain by his international manager.  An opposition that had spent millions on squad strengthening which made the pauper's pouch that David Moyes had been forced to dip into hardly worth a mention.  Not the stuff that made unbounded confidence a thing that was in great supply before the game.  But Everton's a strange club in that respect, almost as strange football's a "funny old game".

A 4-4-2 formation was probably as much as was expected.  Moyes didn't surprise me with that, especially against a 'Boro side that expected to be able to hit us on the break with a 5-3-2 formation, feeding front men who didn't lack pace.

The match started with us on the back foot.  In fact if there was going to be a side that was going to dominate this game, early on it was Middlesbrough.  They passed the ball well, they were first to the 50-50 ball, they seemed to understand where they were all supposed to be playing.

Contrast that with an Everton back line that looked all at sea, with Stubbs the one who seemed to be more at sea than most.  Maybe the comments of Berti Vogts were playing on Davey Weir's mind; maybe Alan Stubbs was worrying about the useful midweek display of Li Wei Feng or the thought that Yobo would possibly be available soon...

We'd played well going forward without really threatening but we really did seem to lack any direction.  So when we went 0-1 down following a Stubbs-Wier mis-communication it looked as though it was going to be one of those days.  Once Maccarone was through it was always going to be a goal.  Paul Gerrard made an excellent save from the Italian marksman that deserved a better result, but in keeping with them being more lively it was Middlesbrough who were the most alert of the two teams and Nemeth stepped forward to prod the ball into an empty net.

Unlike the last time the two teams played each other, though, this Everton side does seem to be made of sterner stuff and sniffing the coffee of defeat seemed to galvanise them.  Alexandersson seemed to develop a sense of purpose and Campbell started to get stuck in up front.  His efforts twice saw him need attention from the physio, but on both occasions he got up and got on with the job.  This revitalisation of Everton, if it didn't swing the game Everton's way, it certainly evened it up.  Middlesbrough still moved forward quickly but they suddenly seemed to have less of an edge, although they still possessed enough of a threat about them to see Maccarone force another good save from Gerrard.

Almost immediately came the equaliser.  Pembridge picked the ball up on the Everton left as it was cleared by the visitors' defence and lifted it into the box.  Alexandersson nodded it on and Radzinski, of all people, beat his marker, rose to meet the ball sweetly, but was forced to watch in horror as the ball bounced off the inside of the post, across the gaping goal.  But this time Campbell was there to tap the ball home for about 5 yards.

The match swung from end to end for the remainder of the half.  Nemeth brought another fine save from Gerrard and an Alexandersson attempt at curling the ball around the keeper didn't quite come back enough and went beyond the post.  At half-time it was honours even, but both sides might have felt they had done enough to have edged ahead.

The second half was so different it was untrue.  The introduction of Rooney for Alexandersson gave Everton a bit more composure going forward and saw Middlesbrough struggling to cope, even with five at the back.  We played with more composure and more desire, but were never completely on top.

Middlesbrough never really threatened much but Gerrard still had to pull off another fine save as the ball came back off his left-hand post from a Maccarone strike.  But most of the pressure was at the other end, with Wayne Rooney just failing to open his account as he sent a free kick fractionally over the bar with Schwarzer well beaten.  The pressure eventually told as, after a series of corners which had been easily claimed by the 'boro keeper, Gravesen put one in short and Campbell was able to glance the ball into the net, just inside the undefended post.

Middlesbrough changed to 4-3-3 after that but, even after they'd replaced all three front men, they didn't really threaten the Everton defence.  David Moyes reverted to 4-4-2 late on as Tomasz Radzinski made way for Lee Carsley, but by then the game was over as an event.

Man of the Match: Tomasz Radzinski

Referee: M Messias a generally very poor display from this new face at Goodison Park.

Steve Bickerton

Match Report

Despite the season only being five games old, and despite the tightly packed nature of the middle part of the table, a descent to 16th place is always a cause of mild concern.  It's easy to start thinking in terms of what-if's and fretting over worst-case scenarios.  The sixth game of the season could never be described as a must win game, but this did have the feeling of an important one to win, if only to fend off some unwelcome attention.

The only real decision in terms of team selection was to stick with 4-4-2.  This meant a place on the bench for Rooney.  Simonsen was fit enough to occupy the bench, Gerrard's display at Southampton meaning we didn't have to rush Simonsen back. 

First half we were crap.  Passing game was non-existent, we looked shaky at the back and Middlesbrough were able to pass it around us with embarrassing ease.  Maccarone was lively and pacy and caused us lots of problems.  Opportunities came Middlesbrough's way not gilt edged chances but opportunities nonetheless.

That Middlesbrough took the lead wasn't a huge surprise; typically though we contributed to our own problems.  A slightly panicky punt forward by Weir was intercepted by the Middlesbrough midfield who immediately released Maccarone, his shot was parried by Gerrard but only as far as the lurking Nemeth who found the empty net.

Middlesbrough continued to play the better football. We undoubtedly tried but didn't seem to have the necessary cohesion to get ourselves back into it.  When we did equalise it came as a bit of a surprise.  A cross came in, the ball looped up for Radzinski to get a clear sight of goal, his header came off the inside of the post (he should have scored) and Campbell was lurking to convert the rebound.  An equaliser we didn't really deserve but we didn't complain.

Half-time brought a change as Rooney came on for the disappointing Alexandersson, and we went to 4-3-3.  It brought about a distinct improvement; we still weren't particularly good but we were playing with more purpose and you could actually imagine us scoring a goal.  Middlesbrough were never out of it though something we were reminded of when Maccarone got through yet again and this time managed to find the inside of the post with the resulting rebound falling close enough to Paul Gerrard for him to divert the ball away.  A big let off.

Throughout the game we forced a lot of corners.  For the most part, we didn't get the delivery quite right.  Finally though it came right, a good Gravesen corner and Campbell timed it right to get a glancing header into the far corner.

By now Middlesbrough had lost their way a little Southgate had gone off, presumably injured, and they had also withdrawn the dangerous Maccarone.  We were therefore able to play out time with undue alarm.

This was a result that was chiselled out.  In the first half we looked like also rans, we certainly didn't deserve to be level.  The second half brought a distinct improvement but even then I can't recall Schwarzer making too many saves.  Middlesbrough have a strong case for getting something from the game.  They didn't, though, and although this wasn't a total steal we should think ourselves fortunate.

  • Gerrard 7 A number of good saves, but also some uncertainty with his defence.
  • Hibbert 6 Did OK for the most part but has a worrying tendency to get caught out by the ball over his head.
  • Unsworth 6 Committed and hard working didn't let us down.
  • Weir 7 Got better as the game went on.  Gave the ball away cheaply for their goal.
  • Stubbs 6 His defending bordered on the desperate at times, but largely got away with it.  Not having the best of times as evidenced by his poor passing.
  • Alexandersson 5 Some good moments but there is a palpable lack of urgency and dynamism about his game.  Time must be running out for him.
  • Gravesen 6 A better, more consistent performance than of late, but still had his headless chicken moments.
  • Li Tie 6 Still doing OK but really needs to bring his game on a notch or two.  Very impressed by the way he keeps possession in tight corners.
  • Pembridge 7 The usual battling, effective performance.
  • Radzinski 7 Worked very hard without the ball ever quite falling for him in the penalty area.
  • Campbell 7 Made up for him. I thought he did OK throughout, linked the play well.
  • Rooney 7 Thought this was his best display yet definite signs of him calming down and settling into things.  Brings the urgency and directness which Alexandersson doesn't.  A couple of excellent runs and one sublime pass to Radzinski which hints at a superior football talent.  Is he really only 16?

Team 6 Deserve credit for hanging on in there and ultimately snatching the victory that looked very unlikely in the first half.  But the football was largely prosaic and we desperately need Yobo.

Man of the match - Super Kevin Campbell.

Richaard Marland

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