<% 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 [Summary$] ORDER BY Pos ;" Set oRs = oCs.Execute(strSQL) %> ToffeeWeb: Everton v Newcastle United, Premiership Season 2002-03
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 FA Premiership (32); Goodison Park, Liverpool; Sunday 6 April 2003; 4:05pm
  Rooney (17')
Unsworth (pen:65') 
Attendance: 40,031
Halftime: 1-1


Robert (40')

Referee: Neale Barry

Match Report

While the media will no doubt focus on the controversy surrounding the penalty that ultimately decided this battle between two European hopefuls — particularly because it effectively ends Newcastle's faint Championship hopes — the truth is that Everton were worthy winners.  Very little will be said about Andy O'Brien's blatant handball in the first half that didn't even warrant a booking in the referee's jaundiced eyes despite the fact that it prevented Wayne Rooney from having a clear run on goal.

There was also the matter of Jonathan Woodgate using his arm to stop a Joseph Yobo shot from distance that also went unpunished by the officials.  The result that lifts Everton back over rivals Liverpool was well deserved irrespective of the furore over Gravesen's accidental challenge on Bernard, the players' decision not to kick the ball out of play so that the defender could receive treatment, and the circumstances behind the penalty award.

Having come up short against West Ham and failed the Highbury test because of poor starts, Everton began this crucial encounter with Newcastle in positive fashion.  The man of the moment, Rooney, was handed his expected start and was almost in within 40 seconds of the whistle but he was correctly ruled offside — in any case his toe-poke was hit straight at Given.

Newcastle, looking slightly off the pace in the opening exchanges, tried their luck through Laurent Robert from 20 yards out but his effort was comfortably saved by Richard Wright at the near post.  At the other end five minutes later, Rooney and Given collided in mid air and collapsed in a tangled heap which left the 17 year-old requiring anxious treatment by the physio but he eventually got up to carry on after an examination of his back.

In another collision between striker and goalkeeper, Alan Shearer went in on the advancing Wright and left his mark on the Everton No 1 by shredding his shorts and cutting his thigh with his studs.  He was probably entitled to go for the loose ball and the referee awarded a free kick without the booking that the Goodison faithful would have preferred.

David Moyes's side remained purposeful and were displaying a greater tendency to use the flanks than has been the case recently.  Joseph Yobo made a few raids down the right and after a quarter of an hour made enough space to unleash a 25 yarder that was blocked by a combination of Jonathan Woodgate's arm and chest, something that, unsurprisingly, went unnoticed by the officials.

From the same position a couple of minutes later, Mark Pembridge, playing wide left of Thomas Gravesen and surprise inclusion Lee Carsley, fired in a direct free kick that bounced awkwardly in front of Given but the Irishman managed to stay behind it and keep the ball out.

In the 18th minute, though, Everton made their deserved breakthrough.  From a Pembridge short-corner, Thomas Gravesen crossed from the left touchline, Weir flicked it on and Rooney was on hand and definitely not offside to nod the ball home in off the post to make it 1-0.  And it should have been 2-0 not long afterwards when Campbell swivelled onto a nicely-placed cross from the right but crashed his shot straight at Given.  A yard either side and he would surely have scored.

The goal spurred Newcastle's dynamic midfield into action and they became ever more threatening.  Gravesen was harshly booked for catching an opponent late and then Shearer broke quickly down the right but he took it too wide from his perspective; when the ball came out to Bryan Kerr, he shot high and wide.

In between, however, referee Neale Barry made another error when he failed to appropriately punish Andy O'Brien for a blatant handball to prevent Rooney a clear run on goal.  On another day with another official, he might have seen red.

With Campbell playing deep, Rooney remained the Blues' chief attacking threat and the two combined on 34 minutes when the No 9 chipped a throughball for the No 18 but Rooney's fierce shot from the angle was saved by Given at the post and the danger was cleared by Newcastle.

Five minutes later, the scores were level.  Just as at St James' Park in December, Everton were left to marvel a sensational Newcastle goal.  Robert, occupying the acres of space left by Yobo's complete absence in the right-back slot, took one touch into the corner of the area before smashing the ball into the roof of the net.  Wright got a touch on it but couldn't keep it out.

And as the Magpies finished the half the stronger side, Wright had to save Bellamy's effort from distance and then watch as a Woodgate header off a corner hammered off the crossbar and bounced a yard off the line before being hacked to safety with the Everton defence rocking.  The half time break was welcome when it came.

Although the Blues started the second period with Rooney stinging Given's hands with another shot from the angle to resume proceedings, Newcastle appeared more composed and threatening in the opening quarter of an hour.  However, it was Everton who had the most clear-cut opening when Alan Stubbs's diving header went straight at Given and the 'keeper was able to hold on to prevent the home side retaking the lead.  Stubbs got a boot in the face for his trouble but was able to continue following treatment.

Just after the hour mark, Everton were handed the opportunity to go ahead again in controversial circumstances.  With Woodgate in close attendance and an arm around Campbell, the striker went to ground and Mr Barry pointed to the spot.  Following a delay while Campbell had treatment on a hand injury and Bernard was attended to for an knee injury, David Unsworth stepped up to ram it past Given.

Unlike the first goal, Newcastle looked a little rattled by going behind and Everton kept up the attacking momentum.  Rooney broke through the middle and fed Pembridge when he might have gone on his own but Kerr took it off the Welshman's toe and the chance was gone.

Not to be outdone, the Barcodes did remain a threat and with 13 minutes to go, Stubbs had to make a great saving challenge on Bellamy as he tried to wriggle though on goal.  However, Newcastle looked a shadow of the side that has been so impressive in recent months.  As Moyes used up time by bringing Naysmith on for Pembridge in the last 10 minutes, the Blues were able to keep them at bay and take the opportunity to counter-attack.

A few times they could have extended the lead but Rooney was starting to tire slightly from his exertions in midweek and Campbell's first touch let him down on a few occasions.  It was left to Wright to be the hero twice in injury time.  First, Jermaine Jenas latched onto Bellamy's clever backheel in the area but Wright was well placed to smother the shot.  Then, with the last chance of the match, Bramble connected with a corner from the right but the Everton 'keeper made a fantastic point-blank save to palm it over the bar.

Overall, this was a pleasing return to form for Everton who demonstrated their intent from the first whistle, unlike their last two Premiership outings where they failed to really get going until after half-time.  The decision to start with Rooney — given the need for the three points, it was the only sensible choice — was vindicated and the combination of Campbell and the young star continues to be a good one despite the former looking a little ponderous at times.

Elsewhere, Pembridge looks the better bet on the left of midfield than Naysmith.  Although Steve Watson had a poor game by his standards on the right, the width he increasingly provides along with the marauding Yobo gives the Blues more attacking options.

Wayne Rooney: capped a memorable week with the first goal and another rip-roaring performance

Everton v Newcastle:
Prior League Games
 Everton 36
 Newcastle 19
 Draws 13
 Everton 3
 Newcastle 4
 Draws 2
 Last Season:

Everton 1-3 Newcastle

Premiership Scores
Saturday 5 Apr
Bolton  2-0 Man City
Man Utd 4-0 Liverpool
Aston Villa 1-1 Arsenal
Charlton 1-6 Leeds
Middlesbro 3-0 West Brom
Sotton  1-1 West Ham
Sunderland 1-2 Chelsea 
Tottenham  2-1 Birmingham
Sunday 6 Apr
Everton 2-1 Newcastle
Monday 7 Apr
Fulham 0-4 Blackburn

Match Facts
 Everton   (4-4-2)
 Blue shirts, white shirts, blue socks
 Newcastle United   (4-4-2)
Black & white shirts, black shorts, white socks
Weir (c)
Pembridge (84' Naysmith)

Subs not used:  Gerrard, Li Tie, Ferguson, Gemmill

Yellow Cards: Gravesen (24')

Red Cards:


Injured: Hibbert, Pistone, Radzinski
Recovering: Rodrigo
On Loan: Clarke, McLeod, Nyarko
O'Brien (78' Griffin)
Kerr (77' Ameobi)
Shearer {c}

Subs not used: 
Hughes, Lua Lua 

Yellow Cards: Woodgate (62')

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
Richard Marland Match Report
Links to Other Media Reports
Electronic Telegraph Match Report
BBC Sport Match Report
4 the Game Match Report
Sky Sports Match Report
Sporting Life Match Report
SoccerNet 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 67
2 Man Utd 67
3 Newcastle 61
4 Chelsea 57
5 Everton 53
6 Liverpool 52
7 Blackburn 49
8 Tottenham 46
9 Charlton 46
10 Middlesbrough 45
11 Southampton 45
12 Man City 41
13 Fulham 38
14 Leeds 37
15 Aston Villa 37
16 Bolton 35
17 Birmingham 35
18 West Ham 31
19 West Brom 21
20 Sunderland 19
After 8 Apr 2003

Match Preview

Given Wayne Rooney's superb full debut for England on Wednesday, how would David Moyes have handled team selection if Radzinski was fit?  Would he have benched the world's new wonder boy?  I would reckon he probably would but, given the unavailability of the Canadian speedster, Rooney has earned his starting place  and he should probably keep it until the end of the season.  He's been protected enough now, David; a critical time for him to be unleashed as our season comes to its climax.

Alongside Rooney, Campbell should surely keep Ferguson on the bench again for now.  By the end of this season the Dunc and Rooney Show should be well in harness.  If it works, we are in Europe; if not - we're not!

Elsewhere in the team, we are still awaiting the players to return from international duty but assuming no surprising blows the Pembridge, Gravesen, Li Tie, and Watson The midfield that competed surprisingly well against the English Champions shall be locking horns with another Champions League side.  Yobo will be retained at left-back as Hibbert is still unfit.

Newcastle's midfield actually had a bad weekend and Bobby Robson the loudest of Rooney's supporters, as he should be having foisted Ronaldo and van Nistlerooy onto the footballing world lost Gary Speed and Hugo Viana.  Speed, the elder statesman of a stunningly young and vibrant midfield, will be sorely missed.  But, as their midfield will still read: Solano, Jenas, Dyer, Robert, I wouldn't feel too sorry for those Toonies!

That midfield murdered us towards the end of last season when we ran out of energy in the last 20 minutes and they galloped away 6-2 winners!  But Moyes has been learnt some lessons from that and given the Toons a tough fight in the last two games (both in Newcastle): a draw 3-3 (win on penalties) in the Worthington Cup, and a sickeningly close 2-1 loss, thanks to a superb goal from Shearer in the last 5 minutes and with us reduced to 10 men.

Robson has done an impressive job since suffering a slow start to the season that saw his team wallowing in the Premiership basement for the first month.  Under the old man's guidance, Newcastle have become a class team and one that will challenge in the Premiership and in Europe for the next few years.  Upfront, Shearer and Bellamy are world class and the signing of Woodgate immensely improves a previously fragile backline.  Bernard is also constantly improving and is now an accomplished and attacking left-back.

To get anything we again will have to punch above our weight but the confidence of the last two games against Newcastle gives us a great chance.  The game may well hinge on whether Rooneymania urges us on or proves to be a burden.  I'm strongly going for the former and expect Rooney to once again deliver.  If he does then we should be able to keep a point and prevent Newcastle matching Chelsea as the only team to have so far left Goodison with 3 points.

A blistering 2-2 draw is my prediction don't blink this is going to be a classic!


Lee Doyle


It's the final throes of the season.  Now is the time to see whether we're good enough to hold our position in the table, or whether we're going to fall away at the death.  The stage was set perfectly: a beautiful spring day, a 40,000 crowd, an in-form Newcastle as the opposition and, of course, Master Rooney's return home after his mid-week exertions on behalf of England.

The midfield selection was a bit of an eye-opener, but merely highlights our struggle to find our best midfield combination.

From first to last this was a cracking game which both teams played a full part in.  I felt that we edged the first part of the half.  Rooney, naturally, was at the heart of most of our best moments, and it was no great surprise when he put us in front.  He did it via a poacher's goal (and about time too!!), a short corner routine between Gravesen and Carsley saw Gravesen deliver the cross, Weir flick it on and Rooney, standing on the 6-yd line, come between two defenders to head the ball home.

Alas, we weren't able to hold on to the lead till half-time.  At about the half-hour mark, Newcastle claimed the equaliser they always looked capable off.  Laurent Robert, left criminally unmarked just outside the corner of the box, scored with an absolutely thumping drive which left Wright with no chance.

The wheels then fell off somewhat.  Buoyed by the goal, Newcastle really came at us; half time couldn't come soon enough.  It very nearly wasn't soon enough, Woodgate connecting with a header from a corner, which Wright did brilliantly to tip onto the bar.

Fortunately, wise words from Moyes settled us down for the second half, and it was back to being an intriguing game, which either side may have won.  Fortunately, for us, it fell our way, but not without a little controversy.

Olivier Bernard went down in a heap midway in our half (we now know that it was a rather crude challenge from Gravesen who was already on a yellow card).  The referee played on but most expected him to stop the game as Bernard stayed down.  Several players, from both sides, were in fact waving him to stop play.  Play went on, though, as we mounted an attack through Rooney.  He ran across the front of the penalty area before slipping a delicious little pass through for Campbell.  Campbell's run was checked by Woodgate, he went down and the referee pointed to the spot.

Cue pandemonium.  The master whinger, Shearer, led the protests to the referee.  His chief apprentice, Bellamy, decided to have a go at our Wayne, like as if Bellamy would have put the ball out in similar circumstances.  We had a long delay whilst Bernard, Gravesen and even Campbell received treatment.  Throughout, it all Unsworth stood at the penalty spot with the ball under his arm, with Robert, mysteriously, standing a couple of feet in front of him.  Eventually everyone was ready and Unsworth thumped it straight down the middle.

There was still time enough for Newcastle to drag themselves back into it.  At times, they made it pretty torrid for us.  As usual, though, we defended with grim resolution, and when they did get a rare sight of goal, another header from a corner Wright produced another excellent save.

All-in-all, a hugely significant victory for us.  The furore over the winner shouldn't disguise all the good things about our performance.  We  move back above Liverpool, and perhaps crucially, open up a gap to the team in seventh place.  It looks like we are going to cement our place in the top six.

  • Wright 7  His kicking game went a bit awry, and there were a few moments of hesitation and indecision.  But, at least two blinding saves as crucial times of the game kept us alive.
  • Yobo 7  Defensively he did very well, he also did OK going forward.  But, sometimes his positional play isn't the best.  For their goal, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted Robert all alone on the right.  Yobo was following Bellamy into the middle; I don't know where Watson was.  To my mind, Robert was Yobo's responsibility, and he should have left Bellamy to the centre-backs.  I think he's an OK right back, but an excellent centre-back.
  • Stubbs 7  His usual resolute self.
  • Weir 7  I spotted at least 2 or 3 crucial and timely interceptions late in the game to keep Newcastle at bay.
  • Unsworth 6  Distribution failed him a couple of times, but never let it bother him.
  • Watson 6  Not as effective as recently, but did OK.
  • Gravesen 7  One of his better days but what was he doing with that tackle on Bernard.  If the ref had seen it clearly it would probably have cost us the match.
  • Carsley 6  Did OK.
  • Pembridge 7  Worked hard and had a number of good moments.
  • Campbell 7  Some evidence of an understanding with Rooney.  Played him in a couple of times, and of course read the pass that led to the penalty.
  • Rooney 8  What an end to a glorious week for the boy.  Everything he did had the hallmark of quality.  From his goal, to his shooting (he is always on target), to his crossing, to his passing.  A truly exceptional talent.
  • Naysmith 5  Did nothing wrong.

Team 7  We seem able to rise above our limitations.  On paper, that midfield shouldn't have had a cat in hell's chance against Jenas and Dyer.  On paper, that central defensive pairing should have been taken to the cleaners by Bellamy's pace.  Somehow, though, it doesn't happen.  By sheer effort, discipline and nous, we thwarted them.

Man of the match The boy Rooney.

Richard Marland

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