<% Dim oMRTCs, oMRTRs, strSQL set oMRTCs = server.createobject("ADODB.Connection") oMRTCs.Open "Driver={Microsoft Excel Driver (*.xls)}; DBQ=" & Server.MapPath("/season/05-06/data") & "/premtable.xls;" strSQL = "SELECT * FROM [Summary$] ORDER BY Pos, Team ;" Set oMRTRs = oMRTCs.Execute(strSQL) %> ToffeeWeb: Everton v Portsmouth, Premiership Season 2005-06
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 Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool Premiership  Saturday 10 September, 2005; 3pm
    Half Time: 0-0 Ferguson (og:60')  
 Attendance: 36,831 (Fixture 4) Referee: M Atkinson

Match Summary

Nuno Valente: Makes his debut despite an ankle injury picked up on international duty

It's a senior debut for Nuno Valente, the highly rated left back whom David Moyes picked up a few days before the transfer deadline.

A real scare in the 10th minute when Martyn had to make a fantastic reaction save twice from Dario Silva, who was also making his debut. 

Portsmouth started strongly with Lua Lua and Silva causing the Everton defence some real problems.

Valente was doing well going forward but there was no movement, support, or opportunity being created from midfield, with too many of the Everton internationals looking tired and jaded, Cahill being particularly poor.

It seemed to be only a matter of time before Portsmouth would take advantage of a very lacklustre first-half performance from Everton as the visitors took the initiative.  The ref was turning down decisions and appeals on both sides, including a couple of strong penalty shouts that could have gone against the Blues.

One of the really disappointing aspects was Arteta's set pieces, which were invariably poor.  Meanwhile a fluid move saw Diao fire a sharp volley fortunately over the bar.  After 40 minutes, Everton finally put something of a move together, with Valente, and Cahill combining to set up Duncan but he was just too slow in pulling the trigger and the chance was gone.

Arteta finally pulled out a better free-kick, forcing Ashdown to save very well, earning Everton a couple of important corners before the break.  But the counter-attacking from Portsmouth was still very threatening, with Lua Lua given far too much time to turn and hit the bar as Everton clung on to keep it goalless at the break.  Bent had a great shot on goal that forced a good save from Ashdown.

The half-time pep-talk from David Moyes seemed to have the desired effect, with Everton showing much more intent.  A quality corner from Arteta met Duncan's head to beat Ashdown but it was cleared off the line by O'Brien.  Stefanovic brought down Cahill but that too was waved away as the pace of the game stepped up a few notches, with both teams giving it a go.

Portsmouth finally took the lead, with Robert cross that beat Martyn and Stefanovic scored (although Ferguson could have had the final touch for an own-goal), just as Everton had started to play a lot better.  A triple change: Beattie, McFadden and Osman replacing Bent, Davies, and Kilbane.

Osman and then Beattie had good half-chances following good quality balls in as Everton, but Portsmouth took off Silva and then Lua Lua, on Viafara to shut up shop at the back.

Everton huffed and they puffed but the job of defending their lead was all Portsmouth were interested in.  Ferguson got on the end of another Arteta corner but it was straight at Ashdown as Everton piled everything up front in the last few minutes in a desperate attempt to salvage something from the game.

For those watching it was a good lively game, well played by the referee, but the only thing that will matter to Evertonians is the result, and it's another dreadful one to underline the extremely poor start the Blues are making to the season. 

No doubt David Moyes will tell us again that the players gave their best and did everything he could ask of them, which will be sounding far too much like Walter Smith for my liking.  Too many Everton players returned with an International hang-over; the lack of ideas and execution going forward again proved to be Everton's downfall. 

Everton sink into the bottom three.  Get those knees a-jerking!

Michael Kenrick

Match Preview

After wailing and gnashing of teeth — well, by some of us anyway! — the Premiership season resumes following the closure of the transfer window with Portsmouth's visit to Goodison Park.  It's only the Blues' second home league game and comes almost a month after Manchester United came to Goodison and left with all three points.

So much water has passed under the bridge since then — the club has been eliminated from the Champions League, drawn Dinamo Bucharest in the Uefa Cup, and gone through a hectic end-of-month transfer spree as David Moyes sought to bolster his squad before the deadline.

Of those most recently added to the squad, only Nuno Valente was expected to go straight into the starting line-up without having even trained with his new team-mates.  The Portuguese international left for international duty straight after signing in a £1.5M deal from FC Porto; with both Alessandro Pistone and Gary Naysmith facing lengthy lay-offs, he is a much-needed addition at left back. 

Although he's already 30, Valente promises quality in that position the like of which we haven't seen at Goodison in far too long.  Really only Andy Hinchcliffe can lay any genuine claim to having been a good left back for the Blues since we lost Pat van den Hauwe — Michael Ball is fondly remembered by Evertonians but his best displays were almost always at centre back. However, the latest news is that he picked up an ankle knock playing for Portugal, and is "doubtful".

Matteo Ferrari enjoyed an exciting start to life in the Royal Blue jersey when he turned out for the reserves at the end of last month and scored a magnificent volley, hit the woodwork and had another goal disallowed... and all that from a centre-back!  Despite that, Moyes is unlikely to risk breaking up the defensive partnership of David Weir and Joseph Yobo just yet, but any kind of goal threat he can offer can only be a good thing.

The third and final of the newest recruits, Andy van der Meyde, is unlikely to see first-team action until next month which is a shame given the fact that the Blues have struggled for creativity going forward.  It's a problem compounded by James Beattie's continuing battle to overcome a niggling toe injury — he only has an outside chance of being fit for this one.

If Everton's striking woes are going to change, much depends on the work Moyes and his players have been putting in on the training ground in turning the controversial five-man midfield system into a more attacking 4-3-3 formation when the team is going forward.  So far this season, the Blues have shown a reluctance to commit sufficient men forward to support the lone striker and have battled to create chances and score goals.

Many will have hoped to see James Vaughan thrown into the fray but that will have to wait as he becomes the latest addition to what is becoming a massive injury headache for David Moyes.  The lad twisted his knee, damaging cartilage that will need surgery to fix.  Don't expect to see Vaughan play until November at the earliest...

When you're struggling for form, however, the likes of Portsmouth, who have made an even less impressive start to the campaign, represent ideal opposition against which to get things right.  Alain Perrin's team have managed just one point from a possible 12 so far and are early candidates for relegation.

Not only that, Everton have a 100% record against Pompey home and away since the south coast side gained promotion two seasons ago.

My views on the Blues' striking prowess — or lack thereof — are well known and the talent that exists in the rest of the side, coupled with the comparative inferiority of the opposition, means that I can probably lay off beating that dead horse for a week in the expectation of a victory in a must-win game.

Lyndon Lloyd

Nowhere Near Good Enough

Having arrived at Goodison today so full of optimism, we couldnt quite believe how we left feeling so deflated.  A simply awful performance by Everton spoiling our day.

We arrived a little after 2pm for a quick pint in The Spellow before heading to our seats in the Lower Gwladys.  I think everybody was predicting a comfortable home win.  Well I should think so for a team who have Champions League qualification aspirations against a team as crap as Portsmouth who only have one point to their name this season and that coming at home to Aston Villa who had ten men for 80 minutes!

There were no surprises in the line-up, with Moyes practically forced into a 4-4-2 system due to injuries and a suspension to Neville.  Nevertheless, I was happy with this anyway.  Weve played 4-4-2 many times before and with experienced players like the ones we had in midfield youd like to think theyd be OK.  What unfolded was simply a nightmare.

From the off, Portsmouth out-passed and out-played us and when we had the ball they pressed and pressured us until we cracked.  It seemed that only Arteta had any sort of idea how to keep hold of the ball and find a man but even he couldnt do it too well.  It really was poor.

Portsmouths two strikers were a handful, particularly in the first half and they had plenty of early chances to go in front early on.  Pompeys new signing, the Columbian hot shot John Viafara, missed a great chance early on from close range which Martyn saved well.  Lua Lua was always a threat with his pace and looks twice the player he was at Newcastle United.  We realised early on this was not going to be an easy game.

Shortly afterwards came two decent openings for Lauren Robert who I felt generally had the beating of our new left back Nuno Valente for most of the game.  Once when he cut inside of him before snatching his shot wastefully into Martyn; the other when he fizzed an effort from 18 yards which whistled past the post.  We then survived a penalty claim when Viafara threw himself to the ground when chasing with Weir but the ref saw it as a dive and waved play on.  Should Viafara not have been booked then?

Everton got into the game slightly as the half wore on and created a few chances but still looked second-best.  A clever free kick by Arteta created an opening for Bent whos snap-shot was impressively saved by Portsmouths impressive young keeper Jamie Ashdown.  From the resulting corner Kilbane flashed a header wide and over. 

Another free kick from Arteta this a trademark one like the ones he scored against Crystal Palace and Villarreal was well saved also.  Not much else happened down that end of the pitch for the rest of the half in what was an ugly, scrappy affair and not much fun to watch.  Portsmouth then looped a shot onto the bar, I think through Lua Lua which would have beaten Martyn who seemed certain the ball was going over.  At half-time they got booed off.  Something you dont see often.  Weir shaking his head.  We thought wed do better in the second half.  We were wrong.

The second half was probably even worse and that says something.  The football was as bad as anything ever dished up by Walter Smith.  We had an early chance from a Cahill header well saved almost on the goal-line before being cleared but I still felt Portsmouth were keeping the ball much better than us and winning it back better than us.  From an Arteta corner, the closest we came to scoring was when Ferguson rose and powered his header goalwards only to see it cleared off the line.  Unlucky.

We sorely missed a holding player in there to give us a bit of bite.  Lee Carsley cant come back soon enough for me.  The first main problem was that the players couldnt play in that formation.  Arteta and Cahill are both so attack-minded that neither knows when to go and when to sit.  It was Kilbanes first game with Valente and it showed as they simply had no understanding whatsoever; and Davies is looking very much like a new player trying to fit in.  Add this to Hibberts woeful distribution and Bents sheer inability to read any sort of Ferguson flick combined with Fergusons lack of movement and youve got problems.

We really did look clueless and the goal said it all.  A badly defended corner got the ball out for another one.  Portsmouth were going to take it short but didnt which distracted TWO Everton players out of position and towards the corner flag,  one in no-man's land.  The corner was whipped over and someone nodded it cleanly into the corner.  Maybe it was Stefanovic I didn't care.  I just couldnt believe how crap we were.

There was still 35 minutes on the clock or so and hence still plenty of time to get back in it.  What you ask for is a bit of patience and calm here.  You want players to use their heads.  What we saw was sheer panic as for 40 minutes including stoppage time Everton did nothing but hoof it up to Ferguson.  Ferguson did his job.  He won EVERY header.  But Bent, Kilbane, Arteta, Cahill and Davies are all guilty of not once gambling on a ball or anticipating a flick.  Bent in particular.

Bent's attitude started to become a bit petulant as he got more frustrated.  At this point the crowd were very frustrated which didnt help the players at all.  Every time a pass didnt reach its man the groans got louder and louder and the players lost their bottle.  The result another long ball for the big man.  Then ex-red Vignal went down in a heap from a 50-50 challenge with Davies.  This got Davies into the book.  Once this had happened he was straight up again.  Shithouse.  The frustration grew.

Moyes had seen enough and with about 25 minutes still to play he replaced Kilbane, Davies and Bent with McFadden, Osman and Beattie.  This suggested we were keeping it to a 4-4-2. I thought we should have just gone 4-3-3 such was our gung-ho approach anyway.  Just sticking Beattie on for Davies.  But we kept our shape which in reality just meant another player was wasted in midfield as the ball kept going long.  Credit though to McFadden who at least did try to play and ran at his full back.

We still had a few more chances but it wasnt going to be.  We didnt really get any breaks but didnt deserve them either.  Beattie had two good chances which he should have scored with but the keeper saved well from one and he headed wide for the other.  Valente had two long-range efforts one comfortable for the keeper and one that went comfortably wide.  Portsmouth wasted time and made some substitutions.  The frustration grew.

The aerial bombardment continued with the same result and it wasnt going to happen.  A few more penalty box melees and some creative time-wasting by Portsmouth resulted in no end product.  In fact Portsmouth came closest to scoring with a free kick which was well held and saved by Martyn.

That was that.  They got booed off the pitch and rightly so.  It was simply nowhere near good enough.

We met up outside the Park End box office for a pint afterwards and headed for the Blue House.  On the way Kenwright drove past with his missus. T he Blue House was shut. Fuck it. Lets go home someone said.  We just werent in the mood.  Football does that to you sometimes.

I had a quick pint when I got back to the Wirral though and a mate said to me in the pub How did Dunc play? and he smiled. I felt sorry for Dunc today I said.  He won every ball but nobody was reading his flicks.  Even the own goal he said. It was only then that I realised wed lost to a Dunc own- goal.

Im starting to worry.  What you want after a performance and a result like that is a nice easy home game.  We dont have that.  We have to fly to Bucharest for a tricky game in a crazy place.  When we get back, we have Arsenal away and then Wigan Athletic at home (followed by Bucharest at home).  After today Im not even confident of winning that.  We have to have you seen October?  Three aways to Man City, Spurs and Birmingham City and one at home to Chelsea.

Oh dear!

Player Ratings:

  • Martyn: Not at fault for the goal but kicking not good. Made some decent stops. 7
  • Valente: Got into the game more as it went on but didnt look anything special. 6
  • Yobo: My man of the match. Kept things solid at the back and probably even did more in midfield than the others as he charged forward towards the end. 8
  • Weir: Blameless. Defence isnt the problem. Weir and Yobo are doing just fine. Its a striker we need. 7
  • Hibbert: Its becoming repetitive now. Solid defensively. Woeful distribution. 6
  • Kilbane: Did better than most of the others in the first half but got worse as the game went on and passes went astray. Maybe he needs a break? 6
  • Cahill: Definitely needs a break. Is just a shadow of what he was last season. I think he should be given a week or two to go and rest. Remember when Alex Ferguson did that for Schmichel? He came back better than ever. 5
  • Arteta: At least seemed capable in the first half but it was a pretty abysmal second half showing with some woeful free kicks to boot. 6
  • Davies: Struggled throughout. Strange how his two best performances have been against Villarreal. Maybe he needs time on the ball. 5
  • Ferguson: I dont know how much of a cock-up the own goal was cos I didnt see it but he did well in the second and wasnt to blame. Unlucky not to score with that header. 7
  • Bent: Chased well in the first half but was clueless in the second. Looked very frustrated. 5
  • Beattie: Did alright. Chased back when he had to as well. Should have scored I think although it was a good save. 6
  • Osman: Was not really in the game but what he did do was quite good. 6
  • McFadden: At least tried to take players on unlike the rest of his midfield. Got some success. Should he start next game? 7

Paul Traill


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Key Links
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Match Reports
2005-06 Reports Index
< Fulham (A) Bucharest (A) >
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EVERTON (4-4-2)
  Davies (64' McFadden)
  Kilbane (64' Osman)
  Bent (64' Beattie)
Subs not used
  Neville (Suspended)
  Carsley (injured)
  Naysmith (injured)
  Krøldrup (injured)
  Van der Meyde (injured)
  Vaughan (injured)
  Pistone (injured)
  Beattie (unfit)
  Li Tie (unfit)
  Silva (66' Viafara)
  Robert (72' Vukic)
  Lua Lua (76' Karadas)
  Subs not used
Premiership Scores
Saturday 10 Sep 2005
Birmingham 0-1 Charlton
Chelsea 2-0 Sunderland
Everton 0-1 Portsmouth
Man Utd 1-1 Man City
Newcastle 1-1 Fulham
Tottenham 0-0 Liverpool
West Brom 1-1 Wigan
Middlesbro 2-1 Arsenal
Sunday 11 Sep 2005
Bolton 0-0 Blackburn
Monday 12 Sep 2005
West Ham 4-0 Aston Villa
Premiership Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Chelsea 15
2 Charlton 12
3 Man City 11
4 Man Utd 10
5 Bolton 8
6 Tottenham 8
7 West Ham 7
8 Middlesbro 7
9 Arsenal 6
10 Wigan 6
11 Liverpool 5
12 Blackburn 5
13 Fulham 5
14 Aston Villa 5
15 Portsmouth 4
16 Birmingham 4
17 West Brom 4
18 Everton 3
19 Newcastle 2
20 Sunderland 0
After 12 Sep 2005

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