<% Dim oMRTCs, oMRTRs, strSQL set oMRTCs = server.createobject("ADODB.Connection") oMRTCs.Open "Driver={Microsoft Excel Driver (*.xls)}; DBQ=" & Server.MapPath("/season/06-07/data") & "/premtable.xls;" strSQL = "SELECT * FROM [Summary$] ORDER BY Pos, Team ;" Set oMRTRs = oMRTCs.Execute(strSQL) %> ToffeeWeb: Season 2006-07 - Watford vs Everton
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Venue: Vicarage Road, Watford
Premiership
 Saturday 24 February 2007; 5:15pm
Half Time: 0-2
Fernandes (23), Johnson (pen:25), Osman (90')  
Attendance: 18,761
Fixture 28
Referee: Lee Mason

Match Summary

So... what's in store this evening?  Revert to 4-5-1 with AJ back in the line-up?  Perhaps a "brave" team selection in recognition of Wednesday's sad debacle that would pair Johnson and Vaughan up-front?  Err.. no.  How's about giving Beattie and Johnson to start in the perennially failed 4-4-2 formation that should provide attacking football but only seems to expose Everton's midfield weaknesses? 

At least it avoids the pitiful sight of Beattie as a lone striker, but 4-4-2?  Away from home??  Against the basement club???  What are you thinking of, Davie????  Are you actually trying to WIN?????

Tim Cahill was welcomed back and could provide some positive influence from midfield, teaming with Fernandes. Osman is quite rightly removed to the bench after a profligate showing on Wednesday, while Stubbs is injured, allowing Lescott and Naysmith to play in their proper positions.  Although picking up a fifth yellow card against Spurs, Anichebe's one-match suspension does not kick in until next Saturday.

An open start to the game, with both sides attacking zestfully in the first minute. But it quickly descending into scrappy stuff, poor passing and the obligatory sessions of head-tennis.  Watford got an early corner that evaded the Everton defenders with Henderson beating Howard to the bobbling ball but thankfully heading wide. At the other end, a Neville long throw caused some panic but there was little fluidity with most moves coming to a scrappy end.

Cahills first attempted bobbled up far too high. Arteta had a good run down the right and Naysmith earned a wide free-kick that was straight out to Fernandes but the shot on 8 mins was delayed and wide.  Arteta picked out Johnson in the next attack but the ball was a little behind him; showed promise, though

Beatties first touch looks more and more reminiscent of Ferguson, with balls lofted up by the likes of Lescott(!) for Beattie to head on aimlessly.  Always looking for a free-kick rather than commanding the incoming ball and making something of it.  He really needs to show more guile in attack!

Watford came close with an aerial response on 14 mins, defence by head-tennis hardly looking convincing, with the Blues defence clearly missing the wisdom of Stubbs.

A scrappy formless broken Everton attack led to a good snapshot from Cahill that forced a bumbling error from Lee in the Watford goal but he recovered to grab the ball on the line.

Then amidst the dross, a splendid move from Arteta set up Cahill for a lovely drifted ball in to Johnsons head, but the header lacked power, Lee saved.  More Please!  And on the very next move, a great series of passing and movement speed, fluidity, accuracy, all along the ground!!! set up Naysmith for a shot Lee could not hold.  Johnson and Fernandes came running in, Manuel Fernandes had the final touch GOAL!

And not a minute later, a classic AJ run in, sandwiched down he goes PENALTY!  A card for Demerit, and an excellent execution straight down the middle with power from Andrew Johnson ... TWO-NIL!

A glorious chance for Cahill on the half-hour following an exquisite chip over the defence from Carsley and it was simply too easy for the third goal... so he contrived the most atrocious miss, spooning over from 5 yds out!  Time, perhaps, for Everton to sit back on the two-goal lead???

More attacking from Everton won a series of corners, but nothing came of then, other than confirmation of Blues' dominance.  But Watford responded with more aerial bombardment that Everton handled competently if not exactly with full confidence.  McKay got on the end of one Watford free-kick forcing an acrobatic save from Howard.  In possession on turnover, Everton were dropping back to the lofted hoof, and it continually led to lost ball and another Watford mortar attack Why dont the Blues play it on the ground again?

Everton attacked a little bit more before the break, but the conviction and confidence seemed lacking.  Johnson did brilliantly to chase another lost cause to set up Beattie whose miss from 6 yds out was simply laughable.  Talk about laid on a plate!  Still, a nice 2-0 lead away from home..  Much more like it!  But it really, really should have been 4-0.

Surely a great second-half to follow with Everton firmly putting them to the sword?  Yea, right Half-time subs by Watford would change the game, with Doyley on for Mackay, Priskin on for Henderson.  Everton began after the restart with an excellent attack down the right, started from a brilliant Arteta backheel straight to Beattie,  and a couple of corners that saw a snatched shot from Fernandes nearly hit the corner flag.

But Watford kept coming back with increasing strength and determination, Doyley and Bouazza firing well wide, this match by no means over despite Evertons obvious superiority.  Mostly it was scrappy bottom-of-the-league stuff as Everton seemed content with the scoreline, controlling the game from the back third.  Beatties football still astounded.  His control and read of the game poor, except in defence, where his headers out were excellent.  Time to retrain as a central defender?

Meanwhile, an excellent shot from half-time sub Priskin fizzed just past the Everton post and would have evaded Howards desperate stretch Wake up, Blues!!!  Another Priskin-inspired attack, and a great header again fractionally past the post who is this lad?  The next attack won Watford a corner, and a third attempt form the Hungarian floats just wide.  Moyes getting animated on the touchline and no wonder!

Beattie got on the end of a strong Arteta free-kick and it just needed a glance but his contact was too strong; it flew well wide. 

The Watford attacks resumed and Priskin was heavily involved in every one of them.  Everton were left to hoofing it in order to relieve the pressure.  One rare Everton attack saw some better football from Everton but Arteta could not execute the final shot well under defensive pressure.  Fernandes picked up a card for some questionable contact.

Whats this?  James Vaughan to get all of 15 minutes, ahead of Anichebe???  But only when Everton are under pressure, and not making much more progress against the burly Watford defence  Johnson had done his job, and was increasingly looking out of it. 

And the rest of the game descended into just blah until the final minute, when little Leon Osman (on as a sub for Johnson) scooped a beauty over Lee and into the net from the edge of the area to make the scoreline a little bit more respectable.  The right result against the bottom-dwellers, but only a small down-payment in recompense for the horrors Wednesday's game inflicted on long-suffering Evertonians.

The Moyes apologists will be rubbing their hands with glee but this display only underlines the stupidity of Moyess tactics on Wednesday against Spurs, and the irrelevance of any protests over lack of investment.  Everton do have the players to play attacking football, and they do have the ability to win by scoring more than one measly nicked goal. 

For gods sake, Moyes OPEN YOUR BLOOMIN EYES and please show some attacking verve at Goodison Park, when we (supposedly) have home advantage.

Michael Kenrick

Blues ease back to winning ways

David Moyes's Everton responded to the debacle against Tottenham on Wednesday night with a comfortable victory at Vicarage Road that moves them into seventh in the table, albeit possibly only on a temporary basis (Portsmouth play tomorrow), and puts their push for Europe firmly back on track.

Having attracted such criticism from the fans in midweek, Moyes sent out an attacking 4-4-2 line-up against the Premiership's bottom club and delivered the result and scoreline — if not the comprehensive performance — Evertonians would have demanded.

Despite missing the Spurs game and being rated as highly doubtful for this match, Andy Johnson again showed remarkable powers of recovery to pass a late fitness test on his knee and lead the line alongside James Beattie who was preferred to Victor Anichebe.

Tim Cahill returned to the midfield after serving a one-match ban, replacing Leon Osman who dropped to the bench, while Alan Stubbs was forced to sit it out with a thigh strain thereby restoring the Yobo-Lescott partnership in central defence and, in the continiung absence of Nuno Valente, giving Gary Naysmith another opportunity at left back.

The opening exchanges, characterised by more disjointed football from Everton, didn't promise the emphatic outcome that was to follow. Indeed it was Watford who made the very early running, forcing the game's first corner that Beattie sliced awkardly in the wrong direction, Tim Howard failed to deal with it and Henderson might have done better than head well wide from a narrow angle.

Unfortunately for Hornets fans for whom hope of escaping relegation from the Premiership were slim before the game kicked off, Watford are not where they are in the table for nothing and the visitors soon took control of proceedings, forcing half chances for Cahill, a half-volley that sailed well over, Fernandes, a left-footed effort that he hooked a yard or so wide of the upright, and then Cahill again who almost profited from a goalkeeping calamity from Richard Lee. Standing in for the injured Ben Foster, Lee allowed the Australian's speculative volley squrim through his arms but managed to scramble onto the ball before it crossed the line.

Cahill was involved again after 20 minutes when he finished a nice move by dinking the ball in for Johnson but his looping header was palmed behind by the 'keeper at full-stretch as the Blues began to turn the screw.

match photo
1-0: Fernandes gets the vital touch to put the Blues ahead
© evertonfc.com

No surprise then when, two minutes later, Everton went ahead. Great perseverence by Beattie in the centre circle allowed him to break free of his man and feed Arteta who surged towards the box, teased the defenders one way and then released Cahill to shoot side-footed from the edge of the box. Lee's parry fell into the path of both Johnson and Fernandes who were following-up well and although both wheeled away in celebration for having delivered the decisive touch over the 'keeper, it was clearly the Portuguese's first goal in the Royal Blue jersey.

Barely a minute later, it was two. Johnson capitalised on a defensive slip about 20 yards from the halfway line to pick up the loose ball and race goalwards with two defenders giving chase. The two yellow shirts converged on him as he burst into the area and although he tumbled under apparent contact, it didn't seem at first as though the referee was going to award the spot kick. After a moment's, though, Mr .... did indeed point to the spot and amid furious jeers from the home crowd, Johnson himself stepped up to fire straight down the middle and past Lee's dive.

match photo
2-0: Andy Johnson's now familiar celebration following his 25th-minute penalty
© evertonfc.com

Watford were shell-shocked, Everton were rampant and they would been 4-0 by half time were it not for two almost unforgiveable misses. First, Cahill collected Beattie's smart knock-down and needing just the deftest chips to lift it over the advancing 'keeper, he ballooned it over. Then, on the stroke of half time, Johnson served a first goal in open play on a plate for Beattie with a perfect square ball across the six yard box but the striker opted for power and he too blasted over the bar.

In between, McKay had the home team's best chance of the half with a header off a free kick from wide on the right but Howard was equal to it, palming the ball behind for a corner.

If the traveling Evertonians were hoping for more of the same in the second half, they were mightily disappointed. Instead of going for the jugular — or merely entertaining their vocal fans with a long-overdue rout — Moyes's side dropped down several gears and dared Watford to make a game of it.

To their credit, Adie Boothroyd's side did try but their lack of quality from front to back was painfully evident. It wasn't until striker Tabas Priskin was introduced that Watford seriously threatened Everton. In a five-minute spell either side of the hour mark the Hungarian had three good chances: a terrific 20-yarder that flew inches wide, a diving header that also went alarmingly close and a glancing header that had he been able to put more purchase on would surely have sneaked inside the back post.

He also had a weak penalty claim against Yobo rightly turned down but that was more or less the sum total of Watford's efforts. Everton, meanwhile, didn't manage a shot on target until the last minute — although Arteta almost gave a clever backheel by Cahill the finish it deserved with 17 minutes left but the Spaniard screwed his shot wide —when Leon Osman, an 81st-minute sub, swept a lovely shot into the top corner from 20-odd yards to seal a good win for Moyes's side.

Although from the perspective of wanting the Blues to really put on a show and mete out the kind of high-scoring demolition jobs that occasionally came long under Walter Smith's tenure the second half was disappointing, in the context of Wednesday's tactical nightmare against Spurs, it was a terrific response from all concerned.

Johnson's pace and workrate clearly made all the difference but the Blues' superiority told in all departments without anyone really having to turn in a five-star performance. It's unlikely they'll meet another side as impotent as Watford between now and the end of the season but the fact that they might have had half a dozen goals and managed to score three bodes well for morale going into another away game at Sheffield United next weekend.

Lyndon Lloyd

Match Preview

As the five-year anniversary of his appointment approaches, David Moyes is facing one of is biggest challenges as Everton manager: winning back what appears to be a growing body of fans who are dissatisfied with what they are being served up each week and, in particular, the clear majority of those in attendance at Goodison on Wednesday night who made no secret of their displeasure towards his negative tactics.

The fans' reaction to the manner of the defeat against Spurs will hopefully have come as a wake-up call to Moyes and have sent a clear message that fans of Everton Football Club deserve more than throwing on defenders to hang on to a 1-1 draw at home when there are Uefa Cup places to be won.

match photo
David Moyes: feeling the heat from the Everton faithful

The chief bone of contention was the decision not to introduce James Vaughan, a player who in his annoyingly limited amount of playing time in the first team has always looked likely to make things happen and has scored twice as many goals from open play in the last 12 months than has James Beattie, either at half-time in place of Victor Anichebe or mid-way through the second half when it was clear that Spurs had lost their way.

With Andy Johnson highly likely to be ruled out again due to a knee injury and Anichebe having been hauled off at half time against Tottenham, Moyes might be tempted to give Vaughan a real opportunity at Watford this weekend.

If the manager was sufficiently stung by the reaction from the crowd at the end of the Tottenham defeat, however, he may decide to go hell for leather ie, like the Moyes of five years ago — and start with Vaughan and Beattie together in a 4-4-2.

More likely, Moyes will start with Beattie as a lone striker spear-heading a 4-5-1 formation — no matter that he has proved time and time again to be wholly unsuited to that role — and explain it away with the excuse that Tim Cahill, who returns from a one-match ban — will play just behind him as an auxiliary striker.

That would mean a midfield of Mikel Arteta, Manuel Fernandes, Lee Carsley and, given Tony Hibbert's return to fitness, one of Osman or Neville.  A thigh injury to Alan Stubbs, however, means that Joleon Lescott will resume his partnership with Joseph Yobo in central defence and Gary Naysmith will start at left back if he overcomes a toe injury.

Leon Osman will also undergo a fitness test on a knock to his knee before Moyes decides on his starting line-up.  Phil Neville could find himself in central midfield, or either full-back position depending on whether or not Naysmith and Osman are passed fit.  Andy van der Meyde and Nuno Valente are still out with injuries.

Watford's chief injury concern is their goalkeeper, Ben Foster, who sustained a dead leg midweek against Wigan. Richard Lee is set to deputise.

Aidy Boothroyd's side gave Everton a real run for their money on the opening day of the season and narrowly lost 2-1 at Goodison Park.  A physical team who still hold out hope of mounting a late charge for Premiership survival despite being seven points off safety, they will not be an easy nut to crack.

The onus will, however, be on the Blues to be on the offensive from the first whistle and go out and win the kind of game we really should be winning.  After all, we have European aspirations, do we not...?

Lyndon Lloyd

Matchday Stats

The 20th meeting between Everton and Watford, sees the club hoping to return to winning ways following the tactical debacle against Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night.  This will also be the 10th meeting at Vicarage Road.  This will also be Everton's 184th match shown live on British television, and the 33rd on Pay per View.

Everton's record against Watford is:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

3

3

0

0

9

4

Division One

12

9

1

2

29

16

FA Cup

2

2

0

0

4

1

League Cup

2

2

0

0

3

1

TOTALS:

19

16

1

2

45

22

The last match between the sides saw Everton win 2:1 on the opening day of the season at Goodison Park, with Everton’s goals coming from Andy Johnson and Mikel Arteta.  The last meeting at Vicarage Road was in the 2001 season when goals from Stephen Hughes and Steve Watson ensured that Everton progressed to the FA Cup 4th Round thanks to a 2:1 victory.

The last League meeting at Vicarage Road, in December 1999, saw Everton walk away with a 3:1 victory thanks to goals from Nick Barmby, Don Hutchison and David Unsworth.  As well as leading the overall series by a considerable margin, Everton have also done quite well at Watford:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

1

1

0

0

3

1

Division One

6

3

1

2

14

13

FA Cup

1

1

0

0

2

1

League Cup

1

1

0

0

2

1

TOTALS:

9

6

1

2

21

16

Despite the overall record being very much in Everton’s favour, the record for 24 February is split evenly:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

2

1

0

1

3

2

Division One

5

1

1

3

3

7

Division Two

1

1

0

0

6

1

FA Cup

2

2

0

0

3

0

League Cup

1

0

0

1

1

3

TOTALS:

11

5

1

5

16

13

The last match on this date was a 0:2 defeat at Ipswich Town in 2001.

Also, the only other time Everton have played Watford live on television, in a League match, was way back in March 1987, when BBC cameras showed a 1:2 defeat at Vicarage Road.  Surely, with Watford’s current precarious position, history won’t repeat itself, will it?

Steve Flanagan

Match Report

May appear here later

Author

* Unfortunately, we cannot control other sites' content policies and therefore cannot guarantee that links to external reports will remain active.

Key Links
  Everton TV
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  Home Teamsheet
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  Premiership Table
  Match Preview
  Pre-Match Stats
Match Reports
2006-07 Reports Index
< Tottenham (H) Sheffield U (A) >
 Everton websites
 ToffeeWeb Summary
 Evertonfc.com Report
 When Skies Are Grey Report
 Bluekipper Report
 Everton fans' reports
 Lyndon Lloyd Report
 Paul Traill Report
 Other media reports
 BBC Sport Report
 4 the Game Report
 Sky Sports Report
 Sporting Life Report
 SoccerNet Report
 The Observer Report
 The Guardian Report
 Liverpool Echo Report
 Daily Post Report
WATFORD (4-4-2)
  Lee
  Mariappa
  DeMerit booking
  McKay (46' Doyley)
  Stewart
  Smith booking
  Francis
  Mahon
  Bouazza (78' McNamee)
  Kabba
  Henderson (Priskin 46')
  Subs not used
  Loach
  Williams
 
EVERTON (4-4-2)
  Howard
  Neville
  Yobo
  Lescott
  Naysmith
  Arteta
  Fernandes 71' (75' Vaughan)
  Carsley
  Cahill
  Johnson (81' Osman)
  Beattie
  Subs not used
  Wright
  Hibbert
  Anichebe
  Unavailable
  Valente (injured)
  Van der Meyde (injured)
  Stubbs (injured)

Premiership Scores
Saturday 24 February 2007
Fulham 1-2 Man Utd
Charlton 4-0 West Ham
Liverpool 4-0 Sheff Utd
Middlesbro 2-1 Reading
Watford 0-3 Everton
Sunday 25 February 2007
Wigan -v- Newcastle
Blackburn -v- Portsmouth
Tottenham -v- Bolton

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