Bristol City 0 - 1 Everton

29 January 1995

Everton: Jackson
Yellow cards
Bristol C:Welch, Hansen, Bryant (89. Dryden), Shail, Munro, Bent, Owers, Edwards, Tinnion, Allison, Partridge (76. Seal)
Everton: Southall 6, Jackson 8, Burrows 6, Unsworth 7, Watson 9, Hinchcliffe 7(32. Stuart 7), Horne 7, Parkinson 8, Limpar 5, Rideout 7, Barlow 7
Subs not used: Kite (Bristol C), Reeves, Ebbrell (Everton)
Referee: T Holbrook (Walsall)
Attendance: 19,816


Blues dodge bullets to restore cup 'luck' balance

Luckily I've been to Bristol many times before. Bristol is a nice city (or collection of villages would be more accurate), but suffers terribly from modern traffic density. Even the locals have trouble finding space for their own cars outside their own houses.

Armed with this knowledge I crossed the river by Temple Meads and parked half way along the riverside Coronation Road, long before the chaos I knew was ahead. (Ashton, Ashton Gate and Bristol City FC are southwest of the city centre, & south of the river).

Apart from it's auto(im)mobile location, Ashton Gate is quite a reasonable ground by low-division standards (apart from the pitch). Evertonians were given the imaginitively named 'Covered End' which is VAST - bigger than Blackburn's old Darwen end shed and only slightly smaller then the whole lower Gwladys Street.

[It's all seated (money which could have bought them some decent turf!), But Lord Justice Taylor would not be impressed at the 'safety factor' of Plastic backless tip-up seats with delerious fans standing on them.]

With a big raspberry to the r.s.s. turnip who last week said Everton never manage 5000 away fans, they filled this allocation completely. With another big raspberry to other r.s.s. turnips who say Evertonians never make a noise, the noise was deafening and had our players applauding impressedly when they came out. (I SAW a lot of Bristolians singing and waving and clapping but only HEARD them once all game).

We knew from heresay the Bristol C have a bad pitch, but after a very bad week of weather it was as bad as a playable pitch can be. The sand was not much problem - the divots were. At 3pm the pitch looked like Anfield would after 2 successive rainsodden derby matches - covered in holes, divots, stamped down cut up chunks etc. The bounce was almost non-existant.

It became clear very quickly that Everton would have to improvise a new playing style or settle for a 0-0 draw. Their usual passing game was rendered useless by the divots and any lofted passes were rendered useless by the lack of bounce.

Fortunately it was clear that Bristol C's position in the league was justified.. they could not complete 2 passes and their attempts at attack were as impotent as an octogenarian. They were useless, and good thing too or it might have been a similar result to our last visit to a BCFC.

..and in the middle of this circus of errors was...
Anders Limpar.

Mr flair. Mr flick and run. Mr superb-against-teenage-reserve-defenders. Mr give me the ball because in my mind i'm roy of the rovers. And incredibly he did not seem to mind a bit, he just tried to play his normal ;-) game and was therefore a complete disaster.

The stupidity of the selection was so immense that I did not even need to ask if Ebbrell had been injured, it was that or Joe Royle's on drugs. Knowing later that JE's jelly-belly happened 'at lunchtime' and that he had to sit on the bench makes it probable that it happened on the coach and too late to call in a replacement. Even so the selection of Limpar over Stuart was mysterious.

It was bad enough having the good midfield efforts of Horne & Parki dying on divots, but Limpar was a complete waste of time. His magic (such as it is) was negated. His familiarity working with his reserves partner Barlow was nullified by Bristol's reluctance to give him unlimited time on the ball and the excellent referee (no bookings despite many 'crowd bookings' by both sets of fans) Holbrook's reluctance to buy his lame diving and 'getting obstructed' tactics. Even before the loss of Andy Hinchcliffe, effectively using our last substitute, I was hoping Royle would remove Limpar.

As if it wasn't bad enough 'cheering' Everton corners with no Duncan around to convert (we could at least hope Dave Watson would convert!) Andy Hinchcliffe goes off. Oh man. Talk about a bad choice of luck. At least he's walking off, so maybe he'll be back quickly, but was it a coincidence that Everton suddenly got a LOT crapper??

If not, I must say this was unfair to Graeme Stuart, who made a better job of coping with the lunar surface than most. Limpar moved to the left.

Posts make good press.
Yes, we sure heard a lot about the two 'posts' Bristol C hit, but a lot less if anything about Rideout's great goal disallowed for offside (an unusual result from corners). Hinchcliffe had tested their keeper well with his fast corners, but BC always managed to beat them away, but on about the fifth attempt Rideout did the perfect 'nearside' glancing header into the net. The flag was up fast - long before PR connected - but that seemed to bode 0-0 even louder, and positively bellowed it when Andy went off and Limpar took over corner-taking duty.

Half time loomed. From the tea bar queue (fortunately well placed to watch the match) I saw Limpar was pratting around again. Losing posession in his wide position several times had not been enough to make him wary - he managed to lose it in Unsworth's position 24 yards from goal! Only one wallpass needed, and their dogged #9 Partridge had an ocean of time to pick his spot and beat the advancing Southall.... but it was a nightmare miss.. barely shaving the outside of the far post from well inside the box is not "the post saving Everton" it's a golden opportunity missed by a Division One centre forward.

The second half saw very little difference from the first half for the first 15 minutes, but then from somewhere, Bristol C found some self- confidence and turned on a heartstopping series of attacks.

Perhaps they realised that the aristocrats in all blue were playing as crap as they were. It was true. Everton were as bad yesterday as they were in the disaster of autumn. Apart from the lack of the lethargy at Southampton and the nightmare home to Coventry, this was easily their worst game of the season, divots or no divots.

City, fired mainly by the ability of Bent to easily beat Burrows in 50-50 chases and be clear to cross, caused as many as six penalty area panic scrambles, and you could have bet your mortgage that they would score. Each time a blue body got in the way, forcing 4-5 corners, all but one of which left Southall flapping at air, and red shirts queued up for rebounds and quickly set up new attacks every time the Blues 'cleared'.

Man that Bent guy was fast. He's unlucky it was not a TV match or he might be getting phone calls by now from Ipswich or Coventry.

At this time I started mentally writing my report:

    "Bristol City yesterday took the definition of 'Home Field 
     Advantage' to a new all time high level yesterday.
     They adapted better to their own bombsite better than
     their premiership visitors and ran out easy winners...

    "..In an uncanny echo of the Pompey game, the home team
     found their confidence late & from nowhere, and burned
     Everton down the wing to create the chances which eventually won.

    "The hazards of away cup games easily accounted for the shock
     because the reverse fixture against such journeymen would have been
     a toffee exhibition."

It's pretty sad that the last & worst of these chances made the most press. A free near post header (no, Unsworth was not challenging) by Allison from 5 yards out was so badly directed that it not only missed the open goal but nearly missed the post too, going out for a dead ball. To pressmen, this goes down as an escape or moral victory. In fact the error in directional angle was at least 30 degrees.

Unfortunately for Allison, this cost City not only the win, but the replay at Goodison. For the first time in ages, Everton could get out of their own box, take a breather, let Neville slam the ball upfield.

Limpar found his way into his left quadrant again, and was finding his way to another pitiful failure when a miskicked cross or deflected clearance fell prefectly for an advancing blue shirt, who hit a firm low shot and to everyone's surprise, scored. It was Matt Jackson.

The embarrassing small scale pitch invasion now accompanying every Everton 'miracle' was quickly dealt with by 2 advancing police horses. Not so quickly discouraged, but well intercepted by foot police was a pathetic group of 15 City skinheads who advanced along the remnant terrace towards the potty 5000 blue fans. Perhaps when one of your nearest neighbours is Cardiff makes having anachronistic boot boys seem necessary, but it was a disgrace to the club and the city.

City's hearts had been broken. This was not necessary, because their subsequent efforts again might have earned a replay, but they seemed to feel the injustice was going to rob them instead of trying to fight for the night at Goodison they deserved. In fact they panicked, throwing caution to the wind way too early, and suddendly every Everton ball was releasing attackers.

In the 5 minutes of injury time, Barlow twice and Limpar all had chances for an insulting second goal. Poor old Jigsaw. Unlike Anfield, it was Ashton gate's divots that laughed at him, and not an advancing David James. Dig a pitch full of holes. In the 90th minute, run at full steam with the ball and try to shoot. It can't be done. His first shot from the edge of the box sat up on a divot as he connected and flew way over. His second through similar adversity looked like an attempted lob but he slipped as he shot. Limpar fared no better, managing only to hit the defender attempting to pass to Barlow waiting as if for a bus near the spot.

Bristol City were robbed. They deserved to draw, not win, because in my opinion a 15 minute flurry of effort is no excuse for 75 minutes of 'hoping for a miracle'. But to lose was lack of the calibre that... well let me see...

I seem to remember writing a report about a team dominating a cup game but going out to a late goal earlier this year... Everton at Pompey. So there you are - luck DOES even out eventually!

Player by player


Miracle clean sheet. Terrible dealing with corners.


Solid 7 + 1 for The Goal :-]


Actually not bad. Got robbed once but his other problems were down to Bent's speed not his mistakes.


Better but not brilliant.


A gladiatorial defensive display. Dave at his best.


Failed to find target (Watson/Rideout) enough.


Coped OK, could have found openings if he'd got more of the ball.


Adapted quite well to the conditions


One of his best games to date. (One day he'll have one at home!)


A waste of space. Utterly ineffective + nearly cost us the game. Only got 5 because he tried so hard.


Best work in defence! Could not find good attacks (or rather his suppliers could not find him).


Only got good balls in the last 5 minutes, then the pitch proved too much for him.


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