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 FA Premiership (8); White Hart Lane, London; Saturday 4 October 2003; 3:00pm
   Kanote (43')
 Poyet (46')
 Keane (49')
Attendance: 36,137
Halftime: 1-0


Referee: Dermot Gallagher

Match Report

So, even with the arrival of the Moyes revolution, there are a couple of infuriating phenomena that still surround Everton: first, the White Hart Lane hoodoo that condemned the Blues to yet another visit to N17 without a victory since 1985, and second, the propensity to fall apart after handing out a mauling the previous week.  Six days ago against Leeds, Moyes's side had the look of a team that had turned the corner (we've turned so many corners in recent years that we're still going in circles) as they meted out a 4-0 hammering.  Today, while the margin greatly flattered Spurs, the Blues lost any hope of getting anything from their struggling opposition in six minutes either side of half time.

The unfortunate effect of the victory over Leeds was that Duncan Ferguson came out of that game with so much credit, scoring the third and adding to another goalscoring outing against Stockport in the Carling Cup.  That meant that not only the fans but David Moyes were convinced that the Big Yin should form the nucleus of the attack despite so much history attesting to the contrary.

Today, despite Moyes's midweek warning that he didn't want the players resorting to route-one football by playing balls up to Ferguson's head, we were forced to endure a succession of long hoofs out of defence that by-passed the midfield and led Everton precisely nowhere, despite the fact that he was winning a fair amount of them.  Doesn't it just take you back to all those frustrating seasons under Kendall III and Walter Smith when all you wanted was for the "talisman" to just go somewhere else?  Oh yeah, that's right, he did go somewhere else for a princely sum... but Soundbite Bill thought it would be great to bring him back.

Anyway, I digress.  It's unfair to harp on about Ferguson when, in the air at least, he was doing his job — it was on the floor that he was pedestrian and slow to react, but there's nothing new there — and the game was effectively lost in the first couple of minutes of the second half when poor defending gifted Tottenham the two goals that put them beyond reach.  First, Gus Poyet was allowed plenty of space to get on the end of a cross from the right and glance home Spurs' second.  Then, David Unsworth, playing instead of Gary Naysmith for reasons known only to Moyes, dallied on the ball right in the middle of the area when he should have just put his boot through the ball, got it caught up between his legs and was robbed by Robbie Keane who easily beat the stranded Nigel Martyn to make it 3-0.

Six minutes earlier, Freddie Kanoute had given the home side the lead with the kind of goal for which you simply cannot legislate.  A clearance by Kasey Keller fell to the big forward midway inside Everton's half and he caught it beautifully, sending an unstoppable, dipping shot into the top corner past Martyn's despairing dive.

And yet, it could have been so different given the Blues' positive start to the match.  Indeed, Spurs had easily been the inferior team until Kanoute produced his moment of magic.  However, while Moyes's side had the better of the first 43 minutes, they never really looked like scoring.

12 minutes in, Ferguson knocked the ball down to Tomasz Radzinski but although he managed to wrap his foot around the ball, he didn't hit it right and Keller was able to make a routine save.  Four minutes after that, Anthony Gardner was booked for holding Radzinski back on the edge of the box but Duncan Ferguson's attempts to improve on his curling free kick that hit the bar against Liverpool were foiled by the wall which deflected the ball wide for a corner, the first of a handful that Everton wasted.

The best chance of the half thus far came from a good move down the left involving James McFadden who teed Unsworth up to cross hard to Steve Watson and the Geordie cleared the bar by mere inches with a powerful header onto the roof of the net.

Just after the half-hour mark Everton's defence was disrupted when Alan Stubbs was withdrawn with a leg injury; David Weir assumed the captain's armband and his place alongside Joseph Yobo.  Unsworth was at fault when Poyet got in front of him to almost score a second a minute after Kanoute's opener, but Nigel Martyn made a terrific stop down low to turn his header around the post.

After Spurs had blitzed Everton with those two goals in quick succession, the manager introduced Wayne Rooney to the fray at the expense of Tomasz Radzinski who had been forced to feed off Ferguson's scraps and some poor distribution down the channels.  The move was presumably an effort to grab a quick goal to reduce the deficit and it might have worked had Moyes not gone all "Walter Smith" and gone like-for-like by removing Radzinski and swapping McFadden with Kevin Kilbane.

McFadden had had a dreadful game although he had tried to be creative in the first half, everything he tried failed dismally,  so the move was hardly surprising.  To his credit, Kilbane did quite well in his 35 minutes on the field but was frustrated by a lack of support from the rest of midfield, particularly late on when he got to the by-line and crossed to an area devoid of blue jerseys.

Rooney, for his part, tried manfully to produce the goal that might have sparked a revival but his frustrations boiled over into the inevitable yellow card five minutes from time when he was booked for a torrent of four-letter words aimed at Dermot Gallagher after the referee had waived away claims for a penalty.  In fact, he was pretty fortunate not to see red for his continued blue-language chuntering after the official had flashed the yellow card.  That booking means he will pick up a one-match suspension, entirely avoidable if he could just manage to keep his temper under control.

Ultimately, Everton were found wanting yet again in all departments.  Lee Carsley, who seemed such a good fit alongside Gravesen against Stockport and Leeds, was badly exposed for his lack of enterprise while the Dane himself showed only flashes of brilliance instead of taking on the role of midfield dynamo.  Large question marks hover over the midfield's ability to cope with teams who drive forward quickly through the center, as Spurs did on a number of occasions.  In one such incident ten minutes before the break, Keane found himself on the edge of the area, nut-megged Yobo and placed a shot wide of the goalkeeper, but Martyn was on hand to palm it to safety.

At the back, Yobo was his usual combative self but Unsworth showed once again that his time is up.  With Pistone's season already threatened by a niggling long-term injury that will require his visit to a specialist in Italy next week, Moyes still only has Gary Naysmith as an alternative but on the evidence thus far this season, the Scot should get the nod.

Up front, Moyes still hasn't found the right combination despite an embarrassment of riches in that department.  Although he has explicitly told his team not to use Ferguson has the chief outlet, his players clearly haven't received the memo and you would hope that Rooney will be restored to the starting line-up, possibly alongside the now-fit Francis Jeffers.

Thankfully, he has two weeks to think about it because of the international break after which the Blues entertain Southampton.  Now, more than ever, there are no easy games in the Premiership and the Saints have plenty of potential to come away from Goodison with a victory so Moyes's battle plan had better be air-tight.

Lyndon Lloyd

David Moyes: Unlikely to change a winning team

Spurs v Everton:
Prior League Games
 Spurs 33
 Everton 14
 Draws 20
 Spurs 7
 Everton 0
 Draws 3
 Last Season:

Spurs 4-3 Everton 

Premiership Scores
Saturday 4 Oct
Fulham 2-0 Leicester
Leeds 2-1 Blackburn
Liverpool 1-2 Arsenal
Man Utd 3-0 Birmingham
Newcastle 1-0 Southampton
Portsmouth 1-2 Charlton
Tottenham 3-0 Everton
Wolves 1-0 Man City
Sunday 5 Oct
Middlesbro 1-2 Chelsea
Aston Villa 1-1 Bolton

Match Facts
 Tottenham Hotspur  (4-4-2)
 White shirts, dark blue shorts, white socks
Everton   (4-4-2)
 Blue shirts, white shorts, blue socks
Carr {c}
Taricco (73' Dalmat)
Kanoute (78' Postiga)

Subs not used:
Burch, Bunjevcevic

Yellow Cards: 
Gardner (17'), Konchesky (60')

Red Cards:
Stubbs (33' Weir) {c}
McFadden (55' Rooney)
Radzinski (55' Kilbane)

Subs not used:
Turner, Campbell

Yellow Cards:
Hibbert (68'), Rooney (86')

Red Cards:


(Injured:) Gemmill, O'Hanlon, Osman 
Pistone, Simonsen, Wright

(On Loan:) Gerrard, Alexandersson
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
Julian Cashen WHL Hoodoo continues
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 20
2 Man Utd 19
3 Chelsea 19
4 Fulham 14
5 Birmingham 14
6 Man City 12
7 Southampton 12
8 Liverpool 11
9 Charlton 11
10 Portsmouth 9
11 Blackburn 8
12 Everton 8
13 Tottenham 8
14 Aston Villa 8
15 Bolton 8
16 Leeds 8
17 Middlesbrough 7
18 Newcastle 6
19 Leicester 5
20 Wolves 5
After 5 Oct 2003

Match Preview

With our season at last beginning to move forward, we come to the last bastion of Evertonian heartache.  Last year's victory at Elland Road means that White Hart Lane stands at the head of the queue as heartbreak city.

Twice in recent years we have led going into the last 10 minutes but failed to secure victory (once losing 3-2 after leading 2-1 with 5 minutes to go).  Twice we have been 2 goals to the good but been beaten!

But Moyes likes nothing more than a challenge; buoyed by the morale-boosting victory over Leeds last Saturday, we go into the game confident that we can over-turn history.

The emergence of McFadden and re-emergence of Big Dunc has added more armoury to the team.  Creativity supplied by McFadden, power by Dunc, allied to Radzinski's pace means that the mercurial Rooney is once again the world's greatest SuperSub for the time being.

Lee Carsley also did his chances no harm showing an immediate understanding with Gravesen.  These two will again be operating in the opposition's weakest area and we need them to dominate the slow and cumbersome Poyet and Bunjecvic.  The injured Davis is sorely missed by them.

Upfront, in Kanout and Keane, Spurs have Premiership quality.  Keane's hat-trick in last season 4-3 defeat was exceptional (let's not mention the goal-keeping) but, starved of the ball, even the best strikers can do little.

At the back, Dean Richards is a good player and Carr an attacking outlet.  However, if Carr is pushed back by McFadden, then Richards will not cope with Ferguson and they have no-one to cope with the bundle of energy that is Radzinski.

A close game is likely but I can see goals hopefully just more of them to us.

3-2 in a classic!!


Lee Doyle

Hart Lane Hoodoo continues to haunt hapless Blues

My morale is at a low ebb this evening.  Following Everton but being based in Ipswich, I get to far fewer games than I would like but I seem to have been particularly unfortunate this year.  Ive not seen us win so far but instead have been present as we have shipped three goals to the horrible Reds and now to the equally unpleasant Spurs.  One point from nine in the three games I have attended is a pretty meagre tally.

Still, I have to be thankful that I had a relatively short journey home.  Were I travelling all the way back to Merseyside, I think Id spend the whole trip wondering whether this was the same team as played so well last week or a team of lookalike impostors with the footballing ability of the average Sunday morning side.

Because, make no mistake, this was a pitiful performance.  Its to be hoped that the real Everton will soon stand up and be counted because at the moment any sort of consistency is maddeningly elusive, with the reportedly excellent performance against Leeds sandwiched between two helpings of utter dross on our travels.  Indeed, were starting to look a soft touch again:

  • Liverpool struggled early in the season and then comfortably despatched us at Goodison. 
  • Middlesbrough were unable to buy a win before the visit of the Blues.
  • Now we capitulate to managerless and rudderless Spurs team.

Sides must be looking for us in their fixture lists for a guaranteed 3 points.  The backbone of our season last term was the succession of clean sheets and 1-0 wins through the autumn.  At present, were at panic stations whenever the ball is in our final third, and opposition teams seem to be scoring at will.  And to think that we went in to this one with confidence high and fully expecting our first win at the Lane since 1985.

First Half

It took Unsworth around 30 seconds to set the tone for a desperate performance by giving the ball away under no pressure whatever.  Luckily nothing came of this and to be fair not much came of anything in a half devoid of interest. 

We had a sight of goal from a free kick on the edge of the box, but Ferguson bashed it harmlessly against the wall.  Steve Watson headed an Unsworth cross narrowly over but this was as close as we got to the target all game and we failed to force their keeper in to any meaningful action. 

To be fair, Martyn was also a spectator, but Spurs undoubtedly had the best player in the pitch in Robbie Keane, who kept dropping deep and picking up the ball in the midfield, before turning and running at us. One such occasion, just after Weir replaced Stubbs, almost brought the breakthrough; Keane nutmegged Yobo on the edge of the box before bringing a fine save out of Martyn; the ball was half cleared and played back in for Keane to hit narrowly over from close range.

Just as we were hoping to go in level and regroup, a hoofed clearance was latched on to by Kanoute. With our defence as statuesque spectators, nobody attacking the ball, Kanoute played a bit of head tennis with Poyet before seeing a speculative effort fly unerringly into the top corner. One hell of a finish, even if 99 times out of a 100 it would have ended up in row Z. It could have been worse as well because with the last move of the half a downwards header from Poyet needed a brilliant scrambling save low down from Martyn to keep it out.

Second Half

The game was effectively settled within 4 minutes of the restart. Indeed only 45 seconds had elapsed before we found ourselves two down.  A horrible loose cross field ball, Im not sure who from, gave them a throw level with our box and put us under needless pressure.  My son distracted me at this point, so I mercifully missed the goal itself, but from the replays it seemed that a regulation cross came in that we failed to defend, and Poyet punished us with a neat glanced header.

Barely a couple of minutes later and Keane was played through, Unsworth seemed to have it covered but trod on the ball and Keane nipped in to finish confidently.  3-0; game over.

Id love to go on to say that we never let our heads drop, fought back bravely, battered them for 40 minutes, and were unlucky not to get at least a consolation.  That would be nonsense, however.

The substitutions of Radzinski and McFadden by Rooney and Kilbane made not a jot of difference and, while Watson could have had a goal late on, this would have flattered a dreadful performance and Spurs indeed could have added more.  We left the stadium with the puerile taunts of the horrible Spurs fans ringing in our ears.  There was remarkably little graciousness in victory shown and this made the defeat all the more difficult to bear.


Once again, in a winnable game, we just failed to perform.  The fact is that in 90 minutes of football we failed to fashion a meaningful chance. Nobody emerged with credit.  I was hugely looking forward to seeing the rejuvenated Ferguson and the new star McFadden, but both were hugely disappointing, especially McFadden who to me just looked tired out and made no meaningful contribution.  The usually reliable Radzinski looked leaden footed, Wayne did little after coming on other than earn another booking for petulance, while the defence just couldnt answer the questions that were asked of them by Keane in particular.

Im grasping at straws to try and find anything positive in this performance, but congratulations to Tommy Gravesen on being our first non British / Irish player to make 100 appearances, and he was one of the few who kept going; he was arguably the best midfielder on the day.  Joey Yobo looks back to something like his best form too.

But these are meagre crumbs of comfort.  We have a better squad than last year but as yet have not discovered any consistency or reliability.  Im sure we all feel that Moyesey will get it right, but things need to get better soon if we are to achieve the stated aim of building on last seasons relative success.

Julian Cashen

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