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 FA Premiership (12); Ewood Park, Blackburn; Monday 10 November 2003; 8:00pm
   Babbel (6')
 Yorke (13')
Attendance: 22,179
Halftime: 2-0

Radzinski (49')

Referee: Phil Dowd

Match Summary

Absolute and utter abject shite.  There is no other valid description for this atrocious Everton performance in the first half, when they failed to muster a single challenge on Friedel's goal against a team two places below them, who have lost their last five home games in a row!  So, perhaps it was on the cards form the start that Blackburn would reverse their recent losing trend against everyone's current patsy: Everton. 

But this really was criminal, pathetic, dire, useless, abysmal....  give me the fucking thesaurus I'm not done yet!

It really was shocking.  Sadly, fans will say it was lack of effort from Everton.  It wasn't.  But what effort they put in was always half a second late, half a yard short, half a brain missing, as they stupidly wasted the ball with execrable passing on the rare occasion when they did have possession albeit briefly.

What has gone wrong?  Can we blame injuries (8) and flu (4 including Rooney), that accounted for fully 12 players missing from Moyes's already parlous squad?  Well, to give Moyes credit, he has never once wailed about the misfortunes that have befallen him as he has tried and this year totally failed to stitch together that silk purse out of the ugly sow's ear he inherited from Walter Smith (yes it really is all his fault!).

You've got to feel for poor Peter Clarke, whose first league start in two years saw him flick on the ball for Babbel (who else?) whose previous goal was also against Everton, all of 27 months ago to nod home after just 6 mins. 

And on 13 mins, Blackburn were two up and positively waltzing through the Everton defence after another cross was headed home this time by another Everton nemesis: Dwight Yorke.  The massed crowd of over 6,000 Evertonians who had made so much noise for the first 10 minutes of the game were ominously silent for the next hour. 

Half time seemed to take an age to arrive, and when it did, David Moyes must have gone apoplectic with his sorry band of travelers.  Nyarko, who had started to exhibit a level of commitment eerily reminiscent of Highbury 2001, was sacrificed along with Kilbane, making way for McFadden and Unsworth. 

And the move seemed to be a master-stroke inside just four minutes as McFadden danced along the bye-line and centered for Radzinski to nod home a simple goal, thanks to a slight deflection from Freidel.  Everton had finally scored in the Premiership, after more than seven hours of fruitless effort.  Plenty of time for a classic Everton comeback, eh?  Keep on dreaming....

To be fair, Everton were better in the second half, the football improving from utterly dreadful to simply rubbish, as they started to match an equally poor Blackburn side.  Beautiful game, my arse!  This was absolute crap.

This was the game in which Everton were to turn around their pitiful season so far.  Fat chance.  It's hard to pinpoint exactly what has gone so awfully wrong.  But maybe, just maybe, the Moyes Magic has been found out.  Everton's prodigious workrate was never going to compensate for the glaring absence of basic footballing skill that seems to be endemic in any side Moyes cobbles together these days. 

Poor Wayne Rooney.  Can we even begin to imagine what he feels like watching this shite?  Well, sadly, yes we can   many, many thousand-fold as each Evertonian painfully witnesses this latest abrogation of the School of Science and all our good name once stood for.  Nil Satis Nisi Optimum. Don't make me laugh.

Welcome to the bottom three and another relegation scrap.  Come on home, Peter Reid!!!  Next time we are on TV, I'm just not watching.


David Moyes: Facing a massive challenge to rekindle the winning spirit amongst his reluctant stars

Blackburn v Everton:
Prior League Games
 Blackburn  36
 Everton  16
 Draws  13
 Blackburn  4
 Everton  4
 Draws  1
 Last Season:

Blackburn 0-1 Everton 

Premiership Scores
Saturday 8 Nov
Wolves 1-1 Birmingham
Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham
Aston Villa 0-2 Middlesbro
Bolton 0-0 Southampton
Charlton 3-1 Fulham
Portsmouth 6-1 Leeds
Sunday 9 Nov
Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd
Man City 0-3 Leicester
Chelsea 3-0 Newcastle
Monday 10 Nov
Blackburn 2-1 Everton

Match Facts
 Blackburn Rovers  (4-4-2)
 Blue & White shirts, white shorts, white socks
Everton   (4-4-2)
 Amber shirts, blue shorts, amber socks
Jansen (79' Baggio)
Yorke (46' Gallagher )

Subs not used:  Taylor,
Tugay, Enckelman

Yellow Cards: Ferguson (58'),
Gresko(77'), Flitcroft (85')

Red Cards:
Naysmith (82' Jeffers)
Nyarko (46' Unsworth)
Kilbane (46' McFadden)
Campbell {c}

Subs not used: 
Chadwick, Simonsen

Yellow Cards:
Linderoth (56'), Campbell (79')

Red Cards:


(Ill:) Ferguson, Rooney, Li Tie,Stubbs
(Injured:) Carsley, Gemmill, O'Hanlon,
Pistone, Watson, Weir, Wright.
Match Reports

2003-04 Match Reports Index

Everton Web Sites
ToffeeWeb Match Summary Match Report
When Skies Are Grey Match Report
Blue Kipper Match Report
Everton Fans' Reports
Lyndon Lloyd Everton dig their own grave... again
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 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
Premiership Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Arsenal 30
2 Chelsea 29
3 Man Utd 28
4 Charlton 21
5 Birmingham 20
6 Man City 18
7 Fulham 18
8 Liverpool 17
9 Southampton 17
10 Newcastle 16
11 Portsmouth 15
12 Middlesbrough 14
13 Tottenham 12
14 Bolton 12
15 Leicester 11
16 Blacjkburn 11
17 Aston Villa 11
18 Everton 10
19 Wolves 10
20 Leeds 8
After 10 Nov 2003

Match Preview

We received more praise after last week's gutsy display and ultimately valiant defeat than we had after our two previous draws.  Such an irony is unlikely to be lost on a man as realistic as Moyes.  What will also not be lost on him is the simple fact that another gutsy defeat will see Everton slip into the relegation zone.  After last year's summit-threatening performances, a come down and an unpleasant dose of reality indeed.

Much has been made of the sparseness of creativity from the Everton midfield.  With that in mind, people should recall the two perfect passes Gravesen slid to Radzinski which put him through for two glorious chances against Chelsea; also recall the cross from which McFadden volleyed wide against Southampton. 

It is clear that, whilst Gravesen is the most frustrating Everton player I have watched for a decade, he is undoubtedly the most talented of the present midfield crop.  Perhaps moving him to the right to replace the injured Watson will allow him a touch more freedom and enable him to operate in a slightly less dangerous (for us) area of the park.

Elsewhere, Moyes's conundrum of Radz or Jeffers continues to be unsatisfied.  Pace or movement?  You do feel that he has to select one of them and let them have a good run for a full 90 minutes.  Both missed gilt-edged chances but both also troubled the excellent Chelsea defence.  Given the "respiratory problems" that are affecting Duncan Ferguson, and Kevin Campbell's injured toe, Moyes is likely to go with Rooney and one of them up-front again.

Elsewhere, Stubbs will replace the very unlucky Weir as the backline otherwise picks itself.  Little has been made of the injury list, which is now up to an amazing 10 players out of Moyes's already limited first-team squad.  Will we see youngsters Peter Clarke or Leon Osman given a chance?  Probably not; Moyes has proved to be persistently reluctant to blood these players.

Blackburn themselves are in the middle of a terrible run of form, having lost their last five games and failing to win in their last six home games.  Whilst they have a solid midfield, Barry Ferguson is still, er, settling in to the Premiership and the loss of Dunn and Duff has severely dented their creativity.  Upfront, Andy Cole is suspended and Dwight Yorke will carry the burden with either Jansen or Grabbi alongside him.

At the back, Blackburn are rather poor in the centre which may see Craig Short (!) rushed back from injury as Amoruso is out until the New Year.  They are desperately short of pace which should see any of our three aforementioned strikers enjoying themselves.

We had a great run against Blackburn last season, doing the double over them, and we owe them for pipping us to the last Euro place last May.  It will be tough but we can win this scary bottom-of-the-table clash and quite frankly we need to.  Everton slipped to 17th place on the basis of Sunday's results...

Back to 1-0 wins if you would please, Mr Moyes!


Lee Doyle

Everton dig their own grave... again

If the valiant nature of their defeat at the hands of Chelsea had served to breathe life into the dying belief that Everton were still under the effect of Moyes's magic, this calamity in a must-win encounter against fellow-strugglers Blackburn has surely dispelled that notion. After starting yet another away game in appalling fashion, the Blues found themselves 2-0 inside 13 minutes as Rovers made a mockery of their ability to defend telling crosses from the right by Brett Emerton.

The Australian ran Everton ragged in the opening 45 minutes, sending a dangerous ball into the area after five minutes that Peter Clarke, starting in place of Alan Stubbs who along with Wayne Rooney, had been struck down with flu, inadvertantly flicked directly into the path of Marcus Babbel who nodded past the stranded Nigel Martyn with an unchallenged header.

Eight minutes later, after Babbel had forced a tremendous point-blank save from Martyn, Emerton found Dwight Yorke with a free header in the six-yard box and he planted the ball past the 'keeper with ease. Deja vu for Everton's long-suffering supporters, all 6,000 of them who had made the trip to Ewood Park on a week night despite the match being available on television for free.

As is customary, Moyes's side woke up after a quarter of an hour with their grave already dug but they offered precious little in the way of resistance as Blackburn continued to be first to every ball and give their hapless opponents lessons in how to deliver a telling ball into the box and how to create danger from set pieces. Indeed, for such a noted student of the game, Moyes's team are remarkably inept when it comes to dead-ball situations. It's hard to remember the last time they actually threatened anything with a free kick or corner let alone actually score from one.

It took Everton 42 minutes to cause any sort of commotion in the Blackburn area when Radzinski was sent clear down the left channel but by the time he had turned inside and set himself for the shot he had been caught by the defence and his effort was blocked. That was the sum total of the Blues' attempts to break down the home defence in the first half.

Completey unable to keep the ball for any length of time, Everton deserved to go into the interval behind and they were fortunate not to be three or four goals in arrears, particularly after Todd had headed just wide of the far post 8 minutes before half time.

No doubt resigned to another miserable defeat on the road, Moyes made a double switch at half time, removing the dire Kevin Kilbane in favour of James McFadden and replacing Alex Nyarko (who at least had shown a willingness to pass the ball to feet) with David Unsworth. It was to be McFadden who transformed the team from a collection of directionless wasters into something resembling an attacking outfit and within three minutes of his introduction he had laid on Everton's goal.

Picking up the ball on the byline, he faked a cross, turned back and chipped a teasing left-footed ball across the face of goal that Brad Friedel could only palm in front of Radzinski who had the simplest of tasks to nod into the empty net. 2-1 and we had a game on our hands providing Everton could step up a few gears and rediscover whatever it was that spurred them to a 4-0 destruction of Leeds in September.

Unfortunately, the first response was for Yobo to make a hash of a header back to Martyn that broke kindly for Peter Gallagher but Martyn saved easily from the Scot. However, while Moyes's side were far better in the second half — they could hardly have been worse — Blackburn continued to have the better opportunities as the tension of the occasion brought the game to a simmer around the hour mark.

After McFadden had curled a 20-yard free kick over the bar, Barry Ferguson (who, of course, decided to choose the game against us to finally put in a decent performance in the Premiership) was chopped down by Tobias Linderoth and the Swede was booked. Then Ferguson himself was yellow-carded for a block on his compatriot, McFadden. On 62 minutes, Emerton watched another curling effort drift wide of goal before Martyn had to be at his best save well from Gallagher and parry the ball to relative safety.

With a quarter of an hour to go, Everton's desperation was becoming tangible, not helped when Unsworth finally produced an effective ball into the box that found Linderoth at the far post but he could only guide his diving header a yard wide of the post. Blackburn's frustrations centred around McFadden who was tormenting them first down the right, then the left so it was little surprise when Gresko was booked for poleaxing the Scot with a poor challenge.

Still, despite the industry off McFadden and Gravesen, the Blues failed to create enough chances to force a draw. Radzinski managed to engineer a cross that was flicked on by the boot of Campbell but Jeffers, on as a substitute for Naysmith, couldn't muscle his way past a defender to make contact. Jeffers also produced a moment of excitement with a sudden snap shot from the edge of the area that arrowed, unfortunately, onto the roof of the net.

The gilt-edged, served-on-a-platter chance, however, arrived four minutes from time when a dangerous ball beat everybody in the area except Unsworth at the far post but from a yard out he hoofed the ball straight up into the night sky, sending Everton's hopes of a point with it.

All in all, David Moyes's regime is in deep trouble. If he thinks the flu outbreak that robbed him of key personnel for tonight's match is contagious, it's nothing like the endemic Evertonian condition that destroys confidence with devastating speed and consequences. With this result, this grand old team are once again in the bottom three of the Premiership facing the kind of battle we had all consigned to history, at least for the next few years. The spectre of relegation is once again looming at Goodison Park and with rumours of player discontent doing little to inspire confidence, it's going to be another cruel winter.

Martyn 8 — Had to be at his best tonight and, for the most part he was, making some crucial saves to keep the score down. He could do little to prevent either of Blackburn's goal; the blame for those lies firmly with the defence

Hibbert 5 — Plenty of industry in defence but going forward he was poor, summed up perfectly by an absolutely horrible attempted cross that ballooned well back into the stand behind the goal.

Naysmith 6 — Continued his recent revival of fortunes with a middling display.  While he wasn't great, he wasn't as bad as some of the others around him.

Clarke 5 — Appeared to have a 'mare in the first half, flicking two crosses onto the heads of opposition players, one of which led to a goal, the other required a smart save from Martyn to prevent number two. However, he was noticeably better in the second half and made some crucial headed interceptions.

Yobo 6 — By his standards he had a poor game, despite making a slew of great tackles and interceptions and contributing in attack late on. Made a couple of howlers at the back that, thankfully, went unpunished but is still head and shoulders above any other defender at the club.

Linderoth 6 — Will no doubt be kicking himself for missing with a diving header but overall he was solid without being spectacular. Still displays little that suggests he will ever be the answer in central midfield.

Gravesen 7 — Despite giving the ball away far too often, he remains our most inventive and incisive player in the centre of the park.

Nyarko 6 — While he appeared to be the most willing to get the ball down and spray passes across the midfield to feet, he was rendered ineffective as Blackburn continued to maraud through the midfield and cause problems for the Everton defence. Was probably the right choice to be removed at the break, although Unsworth is not who I would have brought on in his stead.

Kilbane 5 — A cross from the byline midway through the first half was probably the only positive thing he did for the 45 minutes he was on the field. Overall had a poor half, giving the ball away at almost every opportunity and was rightly replaced at the interval.

Campbell 5 — On his day he can be a fantastic asset to the team as a target man to hold the ball up and lay balls off for his fellow attackers, but today he looked like an ageing player hampered by a history injuries. He no longer looks capable of scoring regularly.

Radzinski 6 — When given the service he at least tried to create something but although he was frustrated in his attempts to wreak havoc down the channels, he was well placed for the goal and took it well despite the fact that it was a routine finish.

McFadden 8 (MotM) — Quite simply, he transformed the team from the moment he first touched the ball as a second-half substitute. If he can find some consistency, he could provide part of the solution to Everton's dearth of midfield creativity. Far and away the best outfield player on the pitch despite only playing half the game.

Unsworth 4 — His time is up. It really is. How he has carved out a career in the top flight with such appalling distribution is mystifying... and why did it have to be Rhino one yard out at the far post when the ball came fizzing in in the 86th minute...?

Lyndon Lloyd

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