Leeds United 1 - 0 Everton

22 February 1995

Leeds: Yeboah
Yellow cards
Everton: Southall 7, Barrett 4, Hinchcliffe 5, Ablett 7, Watson 7, Horne 6, Parkinson 6, Ebbrell 7, Limpar 6, Ferguson 7, Rideout 7, Stuart 6
Subs not used:
Attendance: 30,793


Leeds & Gypsy still United

Any Blues fans who went to the match last night not believing in the Everton's Elland Road gypsy curse must be convinced now.

Over the years Everton have played well and lost, played awful and lost, played average and drawn 0-0, led for as much as 20 minutes and had the glory snatched away. Even miracles like Bob Warzycha's miraculous debut stunner at the Gelderd End and a three goal haul have not been enough to greet the final whistle with more GOALS than the spectres in white, though leaving with more to be proud of is a regular occurence.

After peppering the Leeds goal with goalscoring chances for 80 minutes, Leeds took one goal and 3 points for their only effective shot in the game.

It was an unfair result of a proportion which would cause an appreciable loss of sanity if it were not for the fact that KNOWING the curse exists and never fails anesthetises you to the blow when it eventually falls. This time, for example, the injustice pales into obscurity behind last year's big hearted effort to save Premier status which deserved a 3-0 win but left with a 3-0 loss.

You can hope.

This year's new wrinkle was that as forecast, the 'Intimidating Elland Road Atmosphere' has indeed completely evaporated. The Gelderd End 'Kop' whose roar could dry your wet hair in the South Stand 100 yards away was silent. Putting the sardined masses in reserved seats has killed a notable part of soccer's regalia - we can be VERY thankful that GP's seating changes have actually improved our atmosphere.

Very few efforts of noise from the cavernous new Low Fields stand (aesthetically, the most pleasing of any new stand built anywhere in England this decade) and South Stand were even attempted. (Even the goal roar of a surprising 30,000 quoted attendance was meek). To the credit of any deliberate policy changes, the numbers of mentally deficient gloaters who surfaced from their silent broodings in the last ten minutes was drastically lower than last year. It's taken 15 years, but Leeds IS becoming the family club it keeps trying to become - except when the opponents are Man Utd.

Another change is the departure of the World's tallest floodlight towers, which illuminated the pitch, the sky and most of the valley for 5 miles around.

But all the changes had not lifted the curse. This was emphatically demonstrated in the first minute when Limpar had space and time to pick his spot 10 yards out but hit the post, reconfirmed with every wasted chance and sealed in familiar style when Barrett was AWOL on the right and three blue shirts managed not to incercept a poor low cross and Yeboah managed to do from 6 yards what he and his partners Masinga and Redebe(?) had failed to do half a dozen times from outside the box - hit the target.

At the end neither keeper had made a difficult save. Lukic managed to make one look difficult by dropping it (but 3 blue shirts played statues and didn't go for it).

But was it such a lucky escape? How total was Everton's dominance? Unfortunately the answer is that handed this depleted and demoralised and ineffective opponent, Everton managed to forget how to win balls, how to keep balls, how to dominate the midfield and worst of all, how to serve up those deadly crosses. It was 3/4 over before I saw Barry Horne win a ball with a tackle.

Add to this more bad news - Leeds despite their GP humiliation and their repeat performance on Sunday managed to figure out how to defend against corners and other high balls. Perhaps Everton could have bludgeoned a goal or two - they managed to win 7 corners to Leeds' 3, but of these three were scooped way over everyone & ended up on the opposite wing, and one went dead before reaching the box. Of the three good corners, only one was met firmly by a blue head. It went wide.

With this combination of bad omens, Leeds might have tidied up a big win, but they too had problems. The lightweight midfield, despite being gifted time, possession and bad passes, could not effectively release their forwards, or support them thereafter. They looked much like Mike Walker's Everton - get the ball to the front men then pray that they figure out how to beat 4 defenders and score. Unfortunately the thing they did do right was they closed down Everton's midfield, thereby snuffing out the work of Limpar, Ebbrell, Horne and Parkinson.. just like Norwich didn't.

Everton's wings were awful. Limpar thought he was possessed of the gifts of the gods, but unfortunately no-one in white was impressed. AL was reduced to 3 poor long range shots. Hinchcliffe played at Left back again and seemed to be under orders to stay put, because he rarely sortied forward, so Limpar was left alone and plagued by whites.

The right wing was diabolical. Whether there was anyone assigned to play there is a mystery. Certainly the only person appearing there regularly was Ebbrell, and as often Ferguson, chasing balls & making crosses instead of waiting for them to arrive. Add to this Barrett. After Jackson's display on Saturday, to drop him for Barrett had to be some kind of secret weapon.. surely? Well, I just hope JR is as pissed off as I am, because Barrett on this performance (as well as his 2 home ones so far) can neither cross better, tackle better, close down wingers better, nor pass better than Jackson. He gifted as much space to Leeds left wing as Burrows had to the Right under MW. He was robbed of the ball more often than he tried passes, passed to the wrong shirts, and had only one cross which was low weak and misdirected.

The cross for the goal came from his wing.. from a posse of three Leeds players who passed the ball around like a training drill whilst Watson and Ebbrell tried to cover and Barrett tried to get back from somewhere in the penalty area.. only to see the ball sail past him at knee height to Yeboah.

It's easy to get annoyed about goals, but my worries about Barrett run a lot deeper than that. His arrival surely heralds the end of Jackson's contract and his departure.. in my opinion the way to judge right backs is on productivity, not instinct, and Barrett makes Jackson look like a demigod. I pray JR sees beyond his pride (it's his buy) and selects the team and future squad with his brain.

Despite being dogged in the midfield, having no right wing, Hinchy off form and Limpar back to normality Everton STILL created more chances and should have won, though it looked less likely after Leeds successfully crippled our top scorer and the introduction of Stuart failed to help the right side.

It's hard to see why JR didn't try switching tactics, because things were clearly not going well. Despite their edge in skill, there was not enough of an edge to guarantee goals. By the time Stuart was on it was too late. Leeds were too stubborn to surrender midfield, so taking off Parki or Ebbrell and pushing the ball more to Stuart and getting Hinch to support was worth a go IMO and would not have compromised a comfortable defence.

The icy howling wind made Oldham seem quite clement, and you felt sorry for the people in shorts on the pitch, and guessed that they would not turn down a point each and a cup of cocoa if the ref had offered them it soon after half-time. Even under coats and scarves the supporters suffered, and the new stand PR coup managed to torpedo itself by not having any hot water for teas in the shanty hut away end tea bar. I compensated by leaving my hands under a hot air blower in the toilets for 3 minutes.

It was over. The subs had changed nothing. The chances were laughable. The 0-0 result was a certainty. A damn shame not to win for a change, but any point at Leeds is a good one for us....

But no. The gypsy had to have her pound of flesh. Everton had only made a play of the standard of their capability once all match - Limpar's post. But Leeds were to took their only serious attack chance and came away with the most undeserved win since.... May. Last Year. The last time Everton came to Elland Road.

Comments from home supporters heard outside the ground:

Man of the Match for Leeds was their groundsman, or whoever designed the drainage system - 24hrs of rain but a perfect surface.

Team Performance 5

It's hard to find an excuse for getting everything so wrong so soon after getting it so right.

Player by player


Troubled more by backpasses than Leeds shots.


A display of utter ineptitude


The well dried up, and looked under orders to stay back.


A good partner for Watson


A good partner for anyone


Failed to control midfield




A brave but poor attempt at being a winger.


A legend in his own mind.


Got fed up of waiting for the ball & went for it himself.


Ditto to a lesser extent.


It's going to be a long spring if he's going to be #2 striker.


All views & opinions in this report are deliberately presented from an Evertonian's point of view. If you want a neutral report, try somewhere else.

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