|Venue: St Mary's, Southampton||Premiership||Sunday 6 February 2005; 2:00pm|
|Half Time: 1-1
|Attendance: 31,509||(Fixture 26)||Referee: Andy D'Urso|
David Moyes stuck with McFadden and Beattie upfront, while Yobo retained his right-midfield slot, with Osman and Watson absent through injury.
Le Saux was at it early on, leading with his elbow and arguing with the ref. From a great throw-in by McFadden, Cahill greats a great header in in Smith, who's parry is volleyed straight back into the roof of the net by none other than James Beattie, with barely 3 mins on the clock!
As Everton conceded possession to the bruised home side, Hibbert slipped and was skinned buy Camara but an excellent decisive lunge by Martyn prevented a dangerous cross reaching Crouch.
A dreadful error from Stubbs let Camara in on Martyn but he thankfully blazed over as the Saints showed the greater intent.
Beattie looked lively with a great volley on a superb dropped ball from Carsley that Smith acrobatically prevented from sneaking in at the top corner. Would have been a fabulous goal! But Southampton kept pressing back as the atmosphere improved, with the local yokels getting behind their team well.
A poor backpass from Lundekvam let McFadden in but he did not press his advantage against the advancing Smith. And Southampton attacked again, with Camara causing all the trouble, with Everton finding it increasingly difficult to get out of their half. Crouch finally got on the end of Delap's very simple long throw-in, and Martyn was helpless to reach it.
Everton's mistake had been a dismal failure to retain possession going forward through midfield, and now they were firmly on the back foot, having to do everything to defend, while being desperately poor in creating anything worthwhile in attack. Stubbs made amends for his earlier error however, clearing a certain goal from Delap off the line behind a stranded Martyn. Southampton's dominance by half-time was truly shocking, but Everton finally did break out, only to see another great headed chance created for Cahill, flying fractionally over.
Moyes bravely decided to change things at half-time, with every sign that this game was going to get away from the Blues unless they seriously bucked up their ideas. Bent came on, somewhat strangely in place of Carsley!
Hibbert went into the book for his 6th yellow card of the season , lunging in after a theatrical Camara, and yet more pressure on the 'beleaguered' Everton defence. Camara was again in on Martyn, who made a good save under pressure, there being no sign that Bent's arrival had changed the game one iota, as Southampton dominated play. Hibbert found himself playing in a plain (unnamed, unnumbered) shirt after getting some blood on his original.
And it was only a matter of time before Camara got in on Martyn again, and this time he drove home with confidence. Everton had no real answer to this.
Moyes decided another change was needed, with Ferguson on for Kilbane, and Mikel Arteta (wearing 6, for his debut) in place of Stubbs, moving Yobo back to address the pace of Camara.
Arteta looked very rusty (having not played in two months); hi's early interventions were simply dreadful, a poor free-kick quickly followed by a criminal give-away pass and a stupid challenge that saw his name go straight in the referee's book. The net result was a very close chance for Le Saux from Southampton's 16th attempt on goal, and Everton continued to be slaughtered in the middle of the park.
As the time ticked by, Arteta, to give him credit, started to exert more and more control as and when he had possession, but the rest of the Everton team were seriously flagging, having scored 'too early' and comprehensively having failed to carry the game to Southampton after that.
Everton huffed and puffed, but the initiative had really been lost during a vital period in the first half ? before Southampton's crucial goals ? when the visitors had been thoroughly outplayed, almost in spite of what should have been a commanding one-goal lead.
But Everton had the last laugh, with Ferguson and Bent pushing forward for one last effort in stoppage time. Marcus Bent pushed wide to beat his man and then fired in an absolutely unstoppable shot off the underside of the bar, over a thoroughly distraught Smith, who was totally dumbstruck by the power and accuracy of the big man's angled shot. So he can do it!
Moments later the whistle blew, and Everton had incredibly, undeservedly, done it again, rescuing a vital point ? although they really needed all three to stay comprehensively ahead of fifth-place Liverpool. The gap is down to just 5 points, with 12 games left to play...
The macth was summed up rather roo accurately by David Moyes: "We scored early and late, and the stuff between was dross." And a sign of the bubble having truly burst? Well, until today, Everton had won every game this season in which they had taken the lead. Go figure!
Having ground out their first win in a month against Norwich on Wednesday, Everton make the long trip down to the south coast to take on struggling Southampton.
The game will be notable for return to the St Mary's Stadium of James Beattie who left the Saints almost a month ago to the day in a ?6M transfer. The 27-year-old may not have set the world alight since joining the Blues, but his sharpness and fitness are improving with every game and David Moyes will be hoping that the familiarity of his old stomping ground will provide the spark for the striker to score the goals his side needs in their bid for Champions League qualification.
Mike Arteta is again likely to miss out on his first game for Everton as he overcomes a knee ligament injury and Leon Osman is also a major doubt with a knee injury of his own. With Steve Watson struggling with a particularly stubborn stomach strain, Moyes will probably have the same squad from which to choose as the Norwich game.
Whether he chooses the same starting line-up and formation is another question. His faith in the 4-5-1 formation this season makes it likely that he will but his chief dilemma is how to accommodate the resurgent James McFadden and Marcus Bent, both of whom have been deployed wide right in recent weeks. If he does decide to dispense with the five-man midfield, he could put Bent up front with Beattie and use McFadden in right midfield. Hibbert picked up his fifth yellow card of the season against Norwich, but will not be banned until next week's game against Chelsea.
Southampton could hand new signing Nigel Quashie his debut following a ?2.5M move from neighbours Portsmouth and veteran defender Graeme Le Saux is also back in contention. Loan signing Henri Camara and new-boy Olivier Bernard are set to make their home debuts for the Saints.
Southampton may be struggling in the relegation zone but they have always been difficult to beat at home where they are enjoying a 10-match unbeaten run. Despite their terrific away form this season, Everton haven't won on the road since beating Birmingham City at St Andrews back in November.
Results in Saturday's games all went against the Blues and with Liverpool now just four points behind and Chelsea visiting Goodison next week, a win here would be fantastic to keep the bandwagon rolling.
This will be the 86th meeting between Everton and Southampton in all competitions, and the 44th at Southampton ? the 4th at St. Mary's Stadium. This match will be the 26th meeting in the Premier League and the 13th at Southampton.
Everton's full record against Southampton is:
Our record away to Southampton is:
The last match between the sides was earlier this season on 16 October when a late Leon Osman goal secured a 1-0 victory at Goodison Park. The last match between the sides at Southampton was on 21 February last year when 2 late goals from Southampton saw the sides draw 3-3, with Everton's goals coming from Wayne Rooney (2) and Duncan Ferguson. James Beattie was one of Southampton's scorers that day.
There have been 7 Everton hat-tricks against Southampton. The last was on 16 November 1996 when Gary Speed got three of Everton's 7 goals that day. The only Everton hat-trick at Southampton was scored by Graeme Sharp on 3 October 1987. Sharp scored all four goals as Everton won 4-0.
The most common victory for Everton is 1-0 which has happened 10 times in Everton's 42 victories. Southampton's most common victory over Everton is also 1-0 which has happened 8 times in Southampton's 25 victories. The most common draw between the sides is 0-0, which has happened 7 times in the 18 draws between the sides.
Everton's record for 6 February is:
This is the first meeting between the sides on this day. The last match on this day was a 3-0 victory over Wimbledon in 2000 with the Everton goals coming from Joe-Max Moore and Kevin Campbell (2).
John Hurst was born on this day in 1947 in Blackpool. After signing as a professional in October 1964, John became a member of the FA Youth Cup winning side in 1965. He also won a First Division Championship medal and a Charity Shield winner's medal (both in 1970). John made 402 appearances for the club, and scored 34 goals before being sold to Oldham Athletic in June 1976. He was also the first ever Everton substitute when he replaced Fred Pickering at Stoke City on 28 August 1965.
Cliff Britton was in the England team on this day in 1935, registering a 2-1 victory over Northern Ireland at Goodison Park. Billy Cook, John Coulter and Alex Stevenson were in the Northern Ireland side that day, with Alex Stevenson getting Northern Ireland's goal. In fact, Stevenson's goal was the first known instance of a player scoring an international away goal on his club's home ground.
In 1991, Kevin Sheedy was a member of the Republic of Ireland's victorious team over Wales ? the final score was 3-0. Kevin Ratcliffe and Neville Southall were both in the Wales side that night.
On the same day in 1991, Stuart McCall was in the Scotland team that was beaten 2-1 by Soviet Union
Billy Wright won his second England u-21 cap on this day in 1979, in a 1-0 victory over their Welsh counterparts.
Milestones that can be reached in this game:
Marcus Bent scored with almost the last kick of the game to spare Everton's blushes and rescue the point their performance hardly deserved. Having taken the lead inside the first four minutes, David Moyes's side served up what must rank as one of their worst displays of the season, meekly surrendering their lead before equalising with a last-ditch, route-one assault on the Southampton defence.
With Leon Osman, Steve Watson and Li Tie still injured, Moyes selected the same starting line-up as he did midweek against Norwich but added new signing Mikel Arteta as a substitute. The Spaniard had missed out against the Canaries because of a knee ligament complaint.
The game had barely got going when the Blues took the lead. A James McFadden throw was met by a majestic, trademark header by Tim Cahill and while goalkeeper Smith did well to parry the ball, James Beattie was on hand to volley in off the underside of the bar to score his first league goal in Everton blue.
Having promised the Southampton faithful that he wouldn't celebrate if he scored, he momentarily forgot himself and pointed skywards in delight but then regained his composure and allowed himself to be mobbed by his teammates.
For a team lying fourth and harbouring Champions League aspirations, that should have been the platform for a convincing away win against a team struggling against the very real prospect of relegation from the top flight. But Everton surrendered the initiative in every department for the remainder of the first half, paying dearly for ceding possession to their hungrier opponents at almost every opportunity.
In truth, the Blues' inability to keep the ball was utterly embarrassing and it was exploited by the electric Henri Camara seemingly at will. The Senegalese striker, who scored against Everton for Wolves last season in their 2-1 win at Molineux, signalled his intentions in the ninth minute when he collected a quick throw-in and forced Nigel Martyn to dive to save his dangerous cross. Four minutes later, he should have scored when a horrific error by Alan Stubbs put him in the clear against the goalkeeper but he skied his shot high and wide.
At the other end, in rare forays forward for the visitors, Beattie forced a great save from Smith with a terrific volley on the turn and McFadden almost sneaked in on a bad Claus Lundekvam back-pass, but the Saints resumed the offensive shortly afterwards with Redknapp and Camara both trying their luck from the edge of the area.
And while Everton made notions of a challenge for European qualification look like a complete joke with diabolical passing, inept tackling and woeful defending, their supposedly inferior hosts kept on attacking with purpose. First Lundekvam nodded a Graeme Le Saux corner a yard wide of the upright, then Camara bobbled a half volley a similar distance wide on the other side of the goal when he might have done better.
A minute later, their persistence paid off. Rory Delap launched a typical long throw into the box which Crouch met with a determined run and he used all of his 6' 7" frame to head easily past Martyn to level the scores.
Seven minutes after that, the lanky forward capitalised on Pistone's dithering in the area to crack a shot across Martyn that Stubbs had to hack off the line to prevent the home side taking the lead. Down the other end, Cahill had the last word of the first half when he rose brilliantly to meet a Pistone cross but directed his effort narrowly over. Despite that chance, half time came as blessed relief for Everton.
At half-time, Moyes made the first of three substitutions, withdrawing Lee Carsley in favour of Marcus Bent. Tony Hibbert also had to change his shirt and for the second 45 minutes, he provided the curious sight of a Premiership player playing without a name or number on his back.
Southampton more or less resumed their attacking strategy after the interval while Everton had made no apparent attempt to change the pattern of their play either. Continually forced into errors, the Blues were lucky not to give away a penalty within six minutes of the restart when Weir appeared to use his elbow to control the ball. A minute later, Stubbs made another error to let Camara in once more but his shot across goal was palmed away by Martyn.
It was another warning of what was to come. A further minute later, Camara played a smart one-two with David Prutton on the right touchline before stepping inside Stubbs with ease and burying the ball past Martyn to make it 2-1.
Moyes responded by re-shuffling his pack, throwing Ferguson on for the uncharacteristically ineffective Kevin Kilbane and handing Arteta his first appearance for the club at the expense of Stubbs who was being murdered by Camara's pace.
Although Arteta brought a visible sense of calm and assuredness — one scare aside when he gave the ball away poorly to Camara and had to bring him down in the centre circle to prevent him from bursting clear — not much changed in an attacking sense. In fact, it was Harry Redknapp's team who nearly scored again when Le Saux flashed a volley inches past the post.
The sum total of Everton's efforts was a cheeky half-volleyed attempt by Beattie that dropped a yard outside the far post. That was until the second minute of injury time when Bent produced a goal out of nothing.
Crouch was allowed to run from the halfway line all the way into the Everton area but he elected to shoot tamely at the goalkeeper rather than square it for Camara. Martyn gathered the ball quickly and kicked downfield where Bent won it and hooked it towards Ferguson. The Scot laid it back off to Bent who went around the outside of his marker and with a final burst of pace whacked the ball off the underside of the bar with his out-stretched leg from a tight angle to break the Saints' hearts and send the traveling Everton contingent into delirium.
It was to be the last chance of the game and it earned Moyes's side a point they didn't look like getting, with their increasingly slender-looking lead over Liverpool in the Premiership reduced to just 5 points.
Make no mistake, Everton were as bad as they get for large portions of this match and, on balance, did not deserve the point that Bent so smartly rescued at the death. The quicker they consign this game to history, the better.
They can, however, take some positives, namely a confident first outing for Arteta and a confident finish from Bent who has looked good coming on as substitute in both of the last two games. And James Beattie showed plenty of reasons why he could very well turn out to be an excellent acquisition. He took his goal very well and was unlucky not to score with a wonderful volley midway through the first half.
Time to regroup for the visit of the Champions elect next weekend. One thing is for sure: if the Blues play as badly as they did today against Chelsea, they are going to get slaughtered.