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 Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester Premiership   30 August 2004; Noon  
    Half Time: 0-0
 Attendance: 67,803 (Fixture 4) Referee: Dermot Gallagher

Match Summary

Tim Cahill: Makes his
Everton debut in the
cauldron of Old Trafford

Under the heavy shadow of the impending transfer of Wayne Rooney to arch rivals Manchester United,  Tim Cahill went straight into the Everton team, with Campbell and Ferguson both on the bench as David Moyes did a Walter Smith by pushing Steve Watson up front with Bent... or were we playing 4-5-1?

The match was to have been played last week as part of Round 3 in the Premiership but United were playing in Europe, hence the rearranged kick-off at lunch time on August Bank Holiday.  Yobo (knee) and Gravesen (dead leg) were out injured, not a good omen, with Weir taking his place while Naysmith was on the bench.

The widely held expectation was that Everton would crumble before the might of the Red Devils, confirming the common 'wisdom' of Wayne Rooney's soul-destroying transfer, that he was moving to the bigger and better club.  But Everton put up some stern resistance and even carried the game to their illustrious hosts on a number of occasions in the first half.  But it has been a long, long time since awe gained so much as a point in this fixture, so a tall task stood ahead of the Blues...

Watson was the first with a strike at goal, his volley flying just over the bar as Everton showed firm intent from the off.  Kilbane stole the ball and dashed on goal to get past Howard but Spencer just got to it.  Osman also played his part and was linking well to push United back.  Then a great move with Cahill, Bent and Osman combining well for Osman to fire across Howard, just wide.

Hibbert then picked out Cahill with a great ball after good work from Osman but Howard was equal to his excellent shot on goal.  A very encouraging start by Everton this.  Bent stole the ball off Sylvestre and set up Osman again for a fierce shot but it was over the bar. 

Alan Smith went in on a ball with Martyn, feet up, but only a free kick as Everton continued to resist the increasing pressure from United before half-time.  Cahill looked bright, energetic, and determined to get involved a good debut.

The second half was a bit difference, with Ronaldo hitting the post, Kleberson firing over after a fast United break.  Penalty appeals after Sylvestre clearly handballed... nothing from Dermot Gallagher.  On came Ferguson and then Naysmith to help get Everton back into it as the back four kept United at bay.

A great chance developed with Watson and Ferguson but the shot just wouldn't come as Everton held on tenaciously.  A brilliant run from Osman followed but he couldn't get Naysmith in.  Ronaldo was subbed by Bellion and unhappy about his inability to change things for United.

Stubbs nearly gave United an own-goal, heading back to Martyn who made a great save.  As the United attacks continued to strengthen, another great save from Martyn and another United corner with just 2 mins left...

A very well-earned point for Everton, and another dent in United's chase for the Premiership.

> Match Facts
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Premiership Scores
Tuesday 24 Aug 2004
C Palace 0-2 Chelsea
Birmingham 1-0 Man City
Wednesday 25 Aug 2004
Arsenal 3-0 Blackburn
Charlton 3-0 Aston Villa
Fulham 0-2 Middlesbro'
Newcastle 2-2 Norwich
So'ampton 1-2 Bolton
West Brom 1-1 Tottenham
Monday 30 Aug 20004
Man United 0-0 Everton
Portsmouth -v- Fulham

Premiership Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Arsenal 12
2 Chelsea 12
3 Bolton 9
4 Tottenham 8
5 Middlesbrough 7
6 Aston Villa 7
7 Everton 7
8 Charlton 6
9 Man Utd 5
10 Man City 4
11 Portsmouth 4
12 Liverpool 4
13 Fulham 4
14 Birmingham 4
15 West Brom 3
16 Southampton 3
17 Newcastle 2
18 Norwich 2
19 Blackburn 2
20 Palace 1
After 6 Sep 2004

Man United v Everton:
Prior League Games
 Man United 42
 Everton 15
 Draws 18
 Man United 10
 Everton 1
 Draws 1
 Last Season:

Man United 3-2 Everton 

Debut: Tim Cahill made his Everton debut in this game after missing the first three games of the season through a suspension carried over from last season and his 17(!) yellow cards at Millwall. While serving the suspension, he was able to play for Australia at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

Match Facts
Red shirts, white shorts, black socks
 EVERTON (4-4-2)
Blue shirts, shorts and socks
G Neville {c}
Ronaldo (82' Bellion)
Kleberson (61' Giggs)
Fletcher (61' Djemba-Djemba)

Subs not used:

P Neville, Carroll

Yellow Cards: 

Red Cards: —

Stubbs {c}
Cahill (70' Naysmith)
Bent (55' Ferguson)

Subs not used:
Wright, Campbell, McFadden

Yellow Cards:
Osman (40'), Cahill (55')

Red Cards: —

(Injured:) Rooney, Tie, Yobo

Match Reports
West Brom (H)      2004-05 Match Reports Index     Manchester City (A)
 Everton Websites
 ToffeeWeb Match Summary Match Report
 When Skies Are Grey Match Report
 Blue Kipper Match Report
 Everton Fans' Reports
 Lyndon Lloyd Depleted Blues make heroic stand
 Paul Traill Determined grit
 Rob van Dijk Absolutely brilliant
 Links to Other Media Reports
 BBC Sport Match Report
 4 the Game Match Report
 Sky Sports Match Report
 Sporting Life Match Report
 SoccerNet Match Report
 The Guardian Match Report
 Liverpool Echo Match Report
 Daily Post Match Report

Match Preview

The Premier League couldn't have planned better timing of this match-up as Manchester United look poised to sign Wayne Rooney before the transfer deadline on Tuesday.  It's the story that has Blues fans divided and open recriminations, accusations and innuendo muddying the waters considerably.

It's a situation that will add unusual spice to a fixture that has become a ritual of defeat for Everton since the inception of the Premier League.  While the players managed to put the Rooney saga out of their minds with victory over West Bromwich Albion, the press will no doubt be dwelling on the off-the-field controversy of the moment.

Everton's record against United over the past 11 years is nothing short of embarrassing but, while Walter Smith always seemed to go into this fixture intent on defending for a draw, under David Moyes the Blues have at least had a go in recent games.

And as we prepare for this Bank Holiday match-up, Moyes is leading the rallying cry for his players to take the game to United which the Blues did in both fixtures against the Red Devils last season (albeit belatedly at Goodison), losing 3-2 and 4-3.

With 60-odd thousand (and usually the referee as well) behind them, there really is no other way to approach the former Champions than to just go at them early and hope to score a couple of first-half goals.

Everton have Gary Naysmith back in contention following his one-match suspension but left back really is Hobson's choice right now, with the Scot appalling in his first two outings this season and Alessandro Pistone having turned in a truly awful display against WBA.

Up front, Moyes is likely to stick with Campbell and Bent but the most attention will be directed at Tim Cahill who could be in line for his debut having returned from the Olympics in Athens and finished a three-match suspension carried over from Milwall in the process.

There is no getting away from the fact that this is going to be another very difficult game.  Without belittling Everton's two well-deserved wins so far this season, there is a large gulf in quality between the two teams.  United, however, have not made the best of starts to the campaign; if the Blues can get amongst them early and restrict their hosts' flowing passing game, they have the chance to pick up a point.  That would be almost as big a victory as earning three points!

Lyndon Lloyd

Matchday Stats

This will be the 169th meeting between Everton and Manchester United in all competitions, and the 85th at Old Trafford.  It is also the 25th meeting in the Premiership and the 13th at Old Trafford.

Everton's full record against Manchester United is:

  P W D L F A
Premier League 24 2 2 20 20 54
'Old' Division One 126 49 33 44 204 178
FA Cup 9 5 0 4 8 6
League Cup 3 2 0 1 5 3
Charity Shield 2 2 0 0 6 0
Fairs Cup 2 0 1 1 2 3
Screen Sport Super Cup 2 2 0 0 5 2
TOTALS 168 62 36 70 250 246

Our record at Old Trafford is slightly one-sided in favour of the Manchester team:

  P W D L F A
Premier League 12 1 1 10 10 28
'Old' Division One 63 14 17 32 64 107
FA Cup 5 1 0 4 1 4
League Cup 2 2 0 0 5 1
Fairs Cup 1 0 1 0 1 1
Screen Sport Super Cup 1 1 0 0 4 2
TOTALS 84 19 19 46 85 143

The last match between the two sides was on 7 Feb 2004 when Everton came back from the dead to tie the game 3-3 only for United to grab a last-minute winner.

United are currently enjoying an 18-game unbeaten run against Everton with the last defeat being the 1995 FA Cup Final, when a Paul Rideout header gave Everton the trophy. Incidentally, Everton's last league win against United was the league game at Goodison Park three months earlier when Duncan Ferguson headed Everton to another 1-0 victory.  Everton's last victory at Old Trafford was the very first Premier League meeting between the two sides on 19 August 1992, when goals from Peter Beardsley, Mo Johnston and Robert Warzycha gave us a 3-0 victory.

Since that victory, United have won 10 of the 11 matches at Old Trafford, with Everton getting their only point at Old Trafford at the start of the 1996-97 season.

Everton's biggest victory was a 6-0 win at Goodison Park in the very first meeting between the sides in 1892.  The biggest victory at Old Trafford is shared between the 3-0 win in the Premier League (above), the 3-0 win at Old Trafford in the League Cup run of 1976-77, another 3-0 win in 1894 and a 5-32 victory in the 1957-58 season.

Everton's biggest defeat against Manchester United was a 5-0 reversal at Old Trafford in April 1960.

The most common margin of victory at Old Trafford is 2-1, whilst United's most common victory is also 2-1!  The most common drawing score is shared between 0-0 and 1-1.

Steve Flanagan

Depleted Blues make heroic stand

If Everton's players could be accused of lacking the stomach for the fight last season amid rumours of squad disharmony, this performance went a long way to asserting that Moyes is working his motivational magic again.  His side put up a determined rearguard action to frustrate a below-par Manchester United and earn their first point at Old Trafford since 1996-97.

The odds on Moyes's side getting anything from this game were stacked against them at kick-off based on their previous record against United and the news that both Thomas Gravesen and Joseph Yobo were ruled out through injury.  The loss of those two key players might have forced the manager's departure from his weekend pledge to go out to win as he selected a 4-5-1 formation that managed just one shot on target in 90 minutes.

It's disappointing that a club of our stature has to come to the home of any team and set their stall out to defend but it underlines the reality under which Everton now exist and it would be churlish to dwell on the negatives of what was a terrific defensive stand.

And it shouldn't be ignored that, for the first half an hour, Everton carried the greater attacking intent even if their hosts carried the greater threat.  Kevin Kilbane had the first chances of the game when he headed over the bar in the fourth minute and then gave United a heart-stopping moment as he chased a through-ball, drew Tim Howard well out his area but was foiled by the 'keeper's tackle.

The home side, who despite a typically strong line-up began poorly, didn't have their first effort until the 13th minute when Gary Neville curled a left-footed effort high and wide from the right flank.  A minute later, though, Leon Osman engineered a shot of his own with the first of his afternoon's many examples of clever footwork but his effort flew narrowly wide.

United were struggling to find their rhythm through the Blues' packed five-man midfield which boasted Tim Cahill who made a very impressive debut before he ran out of steam with 20 minutes to go.  Apparently undeterred by the cauldron of Old Trafford with it's baiting chants of "Rooney" and "Stand up if you hate Scousers," the Australian was enterprising alongside the industrious Lee Carsley, strong in the tackle and a welcome aerial threat.  And he had Everton's only shot on target in the 18th minute when he ghosted in behind the defence but was denied by Howard's save from a tight angle.

Osman then saw another effort miss the target from outside the area after Marcus Bent had stolen the ball off Mickael Silvestre's toe before Tony Hibbert somehow escaped a booking with a dreadfully late tackle on Christiano Ronaldo.  The Portuguese winger lashed the resulting free kick at Martyn who did just enough to block the shot.

United then began to get a grip on the game but without really threatening Martyn's goal until Pistone was skinned by Kleberson on the right touchline.  The Brazilian found Saha at the near post with cross but the French striker made a hash of the close-range header which dropped inches wide of the post.  Kleberson tried his own luck in first-half injury time but his effort was comfortably saved.

Neither side made any changes at the break in terms of personnel but Sir Alex Ferguson's side came out with renewed vigour.  Within 7 minutes of the restart, Ronaldo skipped past two Everton challenges before unleashing a left-footed drive that smacked off the post.

Moyes did make his first substitution a minute later, though, curiously removing Bent's pace from the attack in favour of Duncan Ferguson.  A minute later, though, came the first of two genuine penalty claims for the Blues: Ferguson and Silvestre challenged for a ball just inside the area; although it clearly struck the Frenchman's hand, referee Gallagher waved play on.

Four minutes later, the same player jostled Ferguson to the ground just outside the six-yard box but, again, the referee turned a blind eye, following the now time-honoured tradition of not giving penalties against the home side at Old Trafford.

Either side of that incident, Saha was denied by a good save by Martyn, Kleberson came within a couple of feet of looping an own goal past his goalkeeper and Paul Scholes whipped a shot into the side-netting when he might have done better from the angle.

By this time, Everton's attacking threat had gone almost completely, the focus now on keeping as many men behind the ball as possible.  So it wasn't all that surprising to see defender Gary Naysmith replace Cahill in the 70th minute, albeit in a roving role on the left side of midfield.

While the Reds were getting closer and closer, however, they couldn't make the breakthrough; Alan Smith advanced and crashed a shot off the far post to which Martyn may have got a crucial finger-tip, and the former Leeds man glanced a Ryan Giggs chip narrowly wide not long afterwards.

With five minutes left, Everton nearly put through their own net when Stubbs looped a header that Martyn did well to tip behind for a corner and United had the last real attempt at breaking the deadlock with three minutes left when Scholes's shot also found the woodwork to preserve a valuable point for Moyes's valiant men.

  • Martyn 8 - Made some crucial stops but time and time again his kicks from goal ended up with possession turning over to the home side, though this was due more to the lack of attacking support from midfield.
  • Hibbert 8 - It spoke volumes that Ronaldo switched flanks after about half an hour of frustrated toil against the young Everton defender.
  • Stubbs 7 - A solid display
  • Weir 8 - Played most of the game with his head bound in bandages after suffering a cut to his eyebrow but remained resolute throughout.
  • Pistone 5 - Easily the weakest link on the day, perpetuating both his dismal start to the season and Everton's problems at left back
  • Osman 8 - Another star turn by the diminutive midfielder who at times tormented Silvestre and Proctor down the right flank with some tight control and determined running that was let down only by the final ball.
  • Watson 6 - Committed enough but looked conspicuously off the pace. Is the speed of the Premiership proving too much for him in his dotage?
  • Carsley 7 - A real dog of war performance that was short on style but long on industry.
  • Cahill 7 - Looks to be a good signing based on this display. Linked well between midfield and defence; it will be interesting to see him and Gravesen playing alongside each other.
  • Kilbane 7 - Carried much of our attacking threat, particularly during the first half
  • Bent 6 - Ploughed a lonely furrow up front and struggled to make much headway due to being out-numbered. It was surprising to see Moyes remove him so early in the second half.
  • Ferguson 6 - Without having either the speed or work-rate of Bent, he was largely ineffective except when the ball was in the air and was unfortunate not to have one of two penalty decisions go against him.
  • Naysmith 6 - Came on to bolster the defence and help preserve a point.

Lyndon Lloyd

Determined grit

The short coach journey up the motorway was quite a sombre one as me and Gary recollected what has been and what could have been with the Wayne Rooney affair.  My actual belief was that we had a chance of winning this one beforehand.  Particularly so with Keane, van Nistelroy and Ferdinand out for Man Utd and we had just had two wins under our belt.  I felt we had a chance.  There was nothing I wanted more, anyway.  Just to stick two fingers up to the world and win there as everybody has had a kick at us this summer.

We were there at about 11:00am.  We asked the bizzie where the nearest pub was for a quick pint and he said there was two different ones — but our best bet was to go straight into the ground and get one there.  So we go in and were then told that there not selling any more beer 'til half time.  Great!

So we got to our seats and thought Old Trafford looked pretty special.  An excellent stadium from the outside with the facilities inside being fairly woeful and cramped.  Just as we were sitting down, somebody told us that Yobo and Gravesen were both out but with no indication why.  This lead to all sorts of conspiracy theories that Yobo had been sold to Newcastle — unlikely I thought with Bobby Robson just being sacked. 

And Gravesen had been sold to Villa for £3M — again I figured it was unlikely and they were both injured but my thoughts were more focused on the match in hand.  I thought we'd have a chance of winning with those two in the team but then figured we'd get a beating without them.  My feeling was that Scholes would rip us apart and Weir and Stubbs would get caught out for pace at the back.  Well it's great to be proved wrong!

Not long after, the teams came out.  I was actually curious as to what sound Man Utd came out to and was sickened when it was the Dandy Warholes hit "I Like You".  Nothing against the song just that it's Vodafone's song for the advert.  I cannot believe what sell-outs they have become.  Sick.  Then the teams had to do that Champions League handshake thing before they kicked off.

We started very well and were probably the better team in the first quarter.  Cahill made a fine start on his Everton debut: a good little player.  Always looking forward and always looking for the through ball.  He will play well along aside Gravesen and will be a threat to most teams, I reckon.  Everton were working it well with five in midfield as they battled and stopped United from playing while creating a few half-chances themselves.  Bent was impressive up front as he harried the opposition and all of the midfield did their jobs.

The best early chance was when Cahill released Kilbane.  The ball was just a bit too far ahead of him and Kilbane and Howard went in for a 50/50 ball.  Kilbane won it but unfortunately O'Shea had got back to pick up the pieces.  We had Man Utd rattled for a while there.  As the half wore on, United inevitably came into the game more but they couldn't break us down as Stubbs and Weir were in the way of everything at the back.  Hibbert was doing well at right back, not making it easy for Ronaldo; he got skinned a few times but stuck to his job well.

I reckon Man Utd might have played better with a bit more atmosphere from the Prawn Sandwich brigade.  Woeful support by them but the Evertonians truly were top notch and helped their team a lot.  Tim Cahill had a half-chance well saved by Howard before Man Utd seized control in the last 10 minutes of the half.  We let them play for a while and were fortunate not to be behind when Saha inexplicably headed wide from a Kleberson cross.  That was a bit of luck, which you need at Old Trafford.  Everton held firm until the break and me and Gary wondered if we could maybe, just maybe sneak a point here as we enjoyed our half time bevi.  At least I did.  Gary nearly got crushed to death queuing to get them.

The second half yielded no changes and we were absolutely fantastic in defence.  Everybody did their jobs and can be very proud.  The away support to.  I'm convinced we urged the players through that and we really were the 12th man.  The back line was solid throughout and everybody in midfield was terrific.  Watson, Cahill and Carsley made a few similarities to Joe Royle's famous Dogs of War with a, well, dogged display in the middle.  Kilbane done his job to but the real star was Leon Osman.  Was never intimidated, was never scared, was always confident, and worked very hard.  We've got a cracking little player there.

We should have had a penalty in the second half for a blatant handball, which had substitute Dunc fuming at the ref, but you don't get these decisions at Old Trafford.  Another one springs to mind when Osman won the ball and Everton had an opening but the ref bought play back for the 'foul'.  "You can't win" Gary said and he wasn't wrong.  Little you can do at Old Trafford.

The final quarter of the game was real backs-to-the-wall stuff as we now decided to hold out for the point.  Man Utd came at us.  Saha was through once and Martyn saved well.  Ronaldo skinned three players then flashed his shot wide; the biggest scare of all was when Smith's shot had Martyn beaten but came back off the inside of the post.

Giggs was bought on for Ronaldo to take on the knackered Hibbert.  He didn't let us down and stuck to Giggs like glue.  Brilliant stuff from Hibbert.  After that, Scholes hit a half-volley, which was well saved by Martyn, and Stubbs nearly scored a freak own-goal with his head but Martyn tipped it over well. 

The ref found three minutes of stoppage time from somewhere (Sir Alex Ferguson?) and everybody defended our box with their lives.  The fans, again, played their part and were the 12th man.  Kilbane half-volleyed the ball out and the whistle went.  Full time!  Great stuff from the blue boys.  Those five minutes at the end were superb as we sung our hearts out.  The players came over and lapped it up and we were delirious.

That's what you're giving up, Wayne Rooney.

Player Ratings

  • Martyn — Solid and was there when it mattered. Kicking could have been better if you want to get picky. 8
  • Pistone — Was usually disinterested first half but second he stood up to the task well and didn't let Everton down. 7
  • Stubbs — Great job as captain and was solid and dependable at the back. Nearly scored an own goal but Martyn saved it. Solid. 8
  • Weir — Fantastic to see Weir back to his best after last season. Excellent defending thought. Played most of the game with his headband on after a nasty gash in the first half. 9
  • Hibbert — Did what he had to. Was exposed for space a few times but did his job very well. 8
  • Kilbane — Was knackered at the end and his passing got sloppy but he never stoppedworking and did his job. 7
  • Carsely — Maybe just the sort of player you need for this sort of game. Just get stuck in and stop them from playing. Played well. 8
  • Watson — Was great for about 75 minutes before he lost the plot a little bit and passes started to go astray. Good performance. 8
  • Cahill — Impressive debut from the Aussie. Always looking forward and always looking for the killer ball. Got booked for a reckless tackle though so his reputation is still intact. 8
  • Osman — Cracking performance from Ossie who never stopped running and never gave their left back a minute's peace. Looks the part. Not scared. My man of the match. 9
  • Bent — Was good for a while before getting a little bit of an injury. Was useless from then on and was replaced early in the second half by Dunc. 7
  • Ferguson (for Bent) — Didn't cover as much ground as he should have but was isolated up front. Always a threat though I guess. 6
  • Naysmith (for Cahill) — Did what he had to, as we needed fresh legs. Worked quite hard. 6

Paul Traill

Absolutely brilliant

A magnificent result today and precisely what we needed more than beating shite like Palace and West Brom, this is the one result that will help ease the pain of Rooney’s exit ( and if we can get James Beattie and/or Robert Earnshaw for him, we’ll be more than alright this season).

That said, who the hell the hell were you vying for today, Wayne Rooney?  A fantastic performance by all the lads involved, working their socks off to earn a great result against Alex Ferguson’s team.  Steve Watson, Leon Osman, David Weir and Nigel Martyn deserve special praise; Alan Stubbs was pure determination personified and how about that for a debut take your hats off for Tim Cahill!  His first few touches were enough to convince me that David Moyes has once again brought a real class act to the club, the lad was outstanding today.

With Joseph Yobo and Thomas Gravesen missing we could be excused for fearing the worst but Cahill, Stubbs and Weir were simply terrific today.  Mind you, we should have had a clear penalty as well!  Not that I’m that bothered about it right now as a goalless draw was well worth taking the day off for.

As opposed to last season’s fixture at this ground, David Moyes send out a team trying to take the game to the Mancunians.  Leon Osman, Kevin Kilbane and Tim Cahill (after brilliantly controlling Tony Hibbert’s long ball) had early sights of goal and we were very solid at the back.  Alright, Louis Saha should have scored with a free header but you won’t get anything away from Old Trafford without a bit of luck.

Only when our lads seemed to tire a bit, Man U were finally able to put us under the cosh for the last 10 minutes of the first half.  Still, Nigel Martyn was never called into action, apart from throwing his head at Alan Smith’s right boot.  After the break it was mostly Man U, also because Marcus Bent seemed unable to continue leading the line up front on his own, a thankless task indeed.

Moyes brought on Big Dunc who was straight away involved in the action.  Unfortunately, Dermot Gallagher didn’t have the balls to award us a penalty after a 100% handball from Michael Silvestre and gave a free kick against Ferguson for a nothing little nudge. 

From then on it was all hands to the pumps.  Man U hit the post twice and were denied by outstanding goalkeeping from Nigel Martyn on three other occasions.  We hung on for a great point credit to everyone involved today!

For It’s A Grand Old Team To Play For …
For It’s A Grand Old Team To Support …

Rob van Dijk

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