Everton v Middlesborough

FA Carling Premier League, Tuesday 26 December 1995

Previous Match: Coventry City v Everton Next Match: Everton v Leeds United

Boxing Day Bonanza

Everton (2) 4 Middlesborough (0) 0

Short 10; Stuart 45, 60; Kanchelskis 68.

Everton: (3-5-2) Southall, Unsworth, Watson, Short, Kanchelskis, Horne, Ebbrell, Parkinson, Limpar, Stuart, Rideout. Subs not used: Hinchcliffe, Amokachi, Kearton. Booked: Horne, Short, Limpar.

Middlesborough: Walsh, Cox, Vickers, Pearson, Whyte (Morris (Moore, 63), 17), Pollock, Fjortoft, Hendrie, Fleming, Liddle, Juninho (Moreno, 74).Booked: Morris, Cox, Fleming, Pollock.

Attendance: 40,091.
Referee: P Jones (Loughborough).

The Christmas Stuffing

Guy McEvoy: Everton's defeat at Coventry was sufficiently serious to require a significant shake-up. Middlesborough have been a class team this season: they had a reputation for being steady at the back, and their five-man defence was supposed to be a tough nut to crack.

The change that Joe decided on was a positive reshuffle, switching us to the 3-5-2 formation. Jackson and Amokachi were the victims, neither having done themselves justice at Coventry, and with Amo on his way to the Africa Nations Cup anyway. That meant Horne was back in the starting line-up after a long spell of bench warming, and Rideout also returned as a starter.

Middlesborough had brought their full allocation of fans which meant that Goodison had it's first full house of the season. Pre-match speculation was about how the Brazilian would cope with the freezing conditions.

Straight from kick off though it was clear that Juninho would have more than the weather to cope with. Within a minute Joe Parkinson had hit him with such a hard challenge he had to be stretchered off the pitch. He was back on in about 5 minutes but I suspect that by that point he'd already been unnerved enough that he would not show his full potential that afternoon.

We started off extremely brightly, Middlesborough seemed unable to deal with our passing game. A trademark break by Limpar was followed by a sound cross which met the head of Craig Short and floated into the top left corner. A well worked goal. Short has for the past few weeks been listed variously between 66 and 40-1 by the book-makers as the first goal scorer. All those who attend regularly know that they are generous odds given his presence at corners. Ladbrokes (according to the Echo) lost 40 grand on that goal and I was extremely grateful for my 60 quid Xmas present off them!

As the half progressed we always looked likely to increase our lead. The midfield were magnificent. They refused to let 'Boro get into any sort of rhythm. Limpar and Kanchelskis both probed, Stuart also caused a lot of problems.

Although it resulted from a spell of conserted Everton pressure, our second goal must be marked down as a defensive error. A poor left sided corner was mis hit by the clearing defender. The ball bobbled about in the box for a moment as contact was made by a number of players, but it was Graham Stuart who slid in to send it into the net.

The score-line was a fair reflection of play at half time. Nev had very little to do with the exception of our one major defensive lapse of the game which allowed Cox an unchallenged header from about 8 yards out, a top drawer reaction save from Nev was required to ruin 'Boros hopes of a revival. This move came about, incidentally, from a tragically unjust free kick which picked up a yellow for Anders.

The second half was a case of more of the same. Middlesborough made no obvious attempt at any serious reorganisation; as a consequence Everton were able to continue with the pressure.

The third goal came after hard work from Kanchelskis allowed Stuart to pick up his deserved second, but it was our fourth goal that excited me most. Kanchelskis on the break taking it all the way and drilling it home (the kind of chance he squandered three times at Coventry - must have had some practice in the week!). Boro by this point knew they were beaten, Juninho came off to save his legs, and Everton knew they had won - our feet came noticeably off the pedal for the last 10 mins.

It was a convincing victory just the tonic needed after the defeat at Highfield. It was great to see us playing an adventurous formation, though we must be careful who we choose to employ it against in the future, I look forward to us playing 3-5-2 again. The best aspect of our game was our closing down and tackling in true "dogs" style, we marked Juninho out of the game. It's not often you get to chant "4-0 without Ferguson" and we should take full enjoyment from a deserved result.

Individual Performances

Southall 8 - A quiet afternoon, but a top-notch save when required and the all-important clean sheet.
Short 9 - A wonderful performance. Didn't miss anything all day. Scored a goal to top everything off. As close to a 10 as I've seen this season. My man of the match.
Watson 7 - Strong and steady as always.
Unsworth 7 - Looked comfortable in the role, a couple of trademark demonstrations of his pace.
Kanchelskis 8 - Great goal, can also claim an assist, always a handful when in this sort of form, exciting to watch.
Ebbrell 8 - Missed an absolute sitter, but mustn't grumble because he'd worked hard and been everywhere.
Parkinson 8 - Another very good game for Joe (incidentally, his confidence at shooting is obviously on an up -- could be a good outside bet for first goal-scorer for the next few matches).
Horne 8 - Good to see Barry back, his reluctance to shoot is annoying but you can't fault him for commitment. Got the assists for Kans goal.
Limpar 8 - His work rate in the first half was outstanding. It was not so much a question of his runs causing the problems (which they did) but he was getting stuck in with the tackles too. Looked tired toward the end though.
Stuart 9 - Looks vital to the team at the moment. He's all over the pitch, in the thick of the action, supporting well, passing well and knocking them in too. Invaluable.
Rideout 8 - I normally moan about his all round play, but I have to be fair, he got well stuck in, gave the defence a headache, held the ball up well and showed some good skills.

The Mince Pie Retrospective

Dave Shepherd: Everton played 3-5-2 but this was no big deal, just a variant on Joe's 5-3-2. The Boro played with no wingers worthy of the name. Everton's three-dogs & 3 CD (central defender) formation will not keep clean sheets against winged teams unless the wide covering system is both cunning and infallible.

Rhino can cover the left side, but what about the right? I shudder to think what would happen if it was e.g. Giggs v Short or Watson. Or Horne!!!

That said, the highlight of the Day was the form of Our Dogs! All of them played superbly, and this is the first time I can say that for a Looong time. So often it's a case of Parki played well but Barry being low profile, or Ebbs having a good one but Parki having an off one.. well this time all three looked like they'd spent Xmas in the yard on raw Turkey scraps, and were fighting for their very lives.

They won almost everything in midfield, and that was enough to make sure the Sad Sambamen lost interest very early and lay down like relegationists who are already doomed.

The Ratings

Southall 7 BRRR! What a night to have to stand out with no work! Boro's only decent first half shot was from a Free Kick after a Pollock dive (his second). Nev reaction saved at face height, punching over a free header.

The CDs 8 For their clean sheet, and their concentration throughout despite an obvious and comfortable win being on.

The Dogs 9 Nine each for a memorable display of ball-winning WITHOUT resorting to foul play. Nearly died of shock when Ebbs charged the defence, slipped the ball, then ran on through & collected the return pass and was alone in the box!!! He missed from a tough angle, but the way he got there was pure Santa magic. Great to see Barry playing at top form after a long absence.

Diamond 9 OK OK I will give him credit. Lucky though I think he is to be scoring so many at the moment, I will not complain, I'll just keep giving him good scores.

Rideout 7 Is doing more than enough to justify his place even though it is not his turn to be on a goal-roll. I think he's a bit fed up having to be 'target man' when the two wingers are only interested in shooting though..

Kanman 8 Needed very little to look good against a hopeless Boro. the Left back in particular was lousy. I swear AK beat him 3 times in one possession just for the hell of it. His goal was absolute textbook. I've never been more convinced that a goal was going in once the break happened!

Limpar 8 Although AL faded as usual, he showed enough to be able to walk off and dare the press to claim Juninho was more talented if he'd wanted.

Team Performance: 8 A crushing win was at least 50% due to dire opposition. Great Individual performances, but not enough team work.. i.e. yes, it can get even better than this!

Ref: Peter JONES: On the whole OK; especially good was that he got a grip of Boro's Shirt-tugger defence, but he got suckered by two 3rd-rate dives by Pollock, one of which nearly cost a goal and put Boro back in the match.

Everton's power play freezes out Juninho

By William Johnson, Electronic Telegraph

THOSE who feared that the ray of sunshine brought into the Premiership by Juninho's arrival from Brazil would disappear in the first flurry of winter snow were given ample evidence at Goodison Park yesterday as his Middlesbrough side were swept aside by a rampant Everton.

Bryan Robson's Boro arrived on Merseyside to be informed that a win would take them to the dizzy heights of second place behind their North Eastern rivals Newcastle but from the moment Craig Short headed the opening goal after only 10 minutes, the destiny of the three points never looked in doubt.

By the time Short was celebrating his first goal since his summer transfer from Derby County, Juninho was already wondering about the wisdom of his latest English excursion.

Having again taken to the field in gloves - Jan Fjortoft, brought up in the rugged Norwegian winters, came out in similarly-attired sympathy but quickly removed his - Juninho was welcomed with a crunching tackle by Joe Parkinson which required a departure on a stretcher and prolonged touchline treatment.

To suggest that Juninho did not warm to the occasion after that is understating in the extreme and after what must be his most uneventful performance in a Boro shirt, he was released from his misery 17 minutes from the end of an embarrassingly one-sided battle.

"He took a bad knock early on but with us being 4-0 down I thought it was best to save his legs for Saturday," explained Robson, referring to another difficult assignment at Nottingham Forest. "We are hoping that this result is a one-off; we'll know that when we go to Forest."

Robson did not attempt to disguise Boro's inadequacies. "It is a young side and some of the lads were a bit stand-offish today," he said in an admission that the prospect of moving above faltering Manchester United led to an attack of stage fright.

"We are all in a learning process here and the lads have certainly been given a kick up the backside today. Maybe when the same opportunity comes around again we will be able to take it."

All of which matters little to the vast majority in Everton's first 40,000-plus crowd for more than three years. Deflated recently by a brave defeat at Newcastle and a less creditable reverse at Coventry on Saturday, Joe Royle's team regained the kind of form which has seen them surge away from the relegation zone to record their best win since the manager's appointment over a year ago.

It should have been by an even more emphatic margin. Graham Stuart, who scored two of the four goals, missed from inside the six-yard box, while Andrei Kanchelskis, who rammed home the clinching fourth in typically crusading fashion, could easily have added a couple more.

Royle, who said it was difficult to single out an individual in an impressive Everton team performance, would have plumped for Anders Limpar if pushed. The Swedish winger began the rout by crossing accurately for Short, one of three central defenders, to head home powerfully.

Stuart's first close-range stab was in stoppage time at the end of the first half, a goal unnecessarily conceded by a Boro defence reshuffled after Derek Whyte's early calf injury. Limpar's corner had been cleared only for Jamie Pollock to put his colleagues under pressure by slicing the ball back into the penalty area from where Parkinson's header set up Stuart.

Stuart was alert again 14 minutes into the second half to profit from more sloppy defending, this time from goalkeeper Gary Walsh, who, under pressure from Paul Rideout, failed to reach a right-wing cross from Kanchelskis.

Walsh could not be blamed, however, for the fourth goal, the goalkeeper doing well even to touch a low drive by the Russian international who had been sent scampering away from Curtis Fleming by Barry Horne's astute pass.

Boro's only serious threat at that stage had come from Juninho's only meaningful contribution to the affair. The Brazilian's free kick landed on the unmarked head of Neil Cox 10 yards out but Neville Southall produced a vintage reaction save to push the ball on to the roof of the net.

The only other occasion when Southall was troubled came in the closing stages with Everton coasting and Boro resigned to their worst Premiership defeat - by a margin which equals the worst under Robson at Luton last season.

Fjortoft, missing the cultured assistance of the injured Nick Barmby, for once got away from his markers but his flicked attempt was matched by another instinctive stop by Southall.

Electronic Telegraph is a Registered Service Mark of The Telegraph plc

Everton Inflict Boro's Heaviest Defeat

CarlingNet: Graham Stuart scored twice to condemn Middlesbrough to their heaviest defeat of the season. The Everton striker struck either side of half-time and helped complete a comfortable victory.

Middlesbrough arrived on Merseyside boasting the best defensive record in the FA Carling Premiership - only 14 goals conceded in 19 games. But they left Goodison Park baffled and bewildered after the walls came tumbling down.

Stuart was the architect on a day when Juninho was replaced by Jamie Moreno with 16 minutes to go. The Brazilian ace struggled to find any fluency and missed the influence of his midfield partner Nick Barmby, again sidelined with an Achilles tendon injury. Middlesbrough suffered another injury blow after 17 minutes when central defender Derek Whyte limped off with what appeared to be a hamstring strain.

Everton went ahead after 10 minutes with Craig Short's first goal for the club. The £2.5million summer signing from Derby climbed above Whyte to deliver a powerful header from a cross by Anders Limpar into the corner.

Middlesbrough carved out only one real scoring opportunity throughout the game - and keeper Neville Southall was equal to it. The veteran Welsh international made a marvellous block to turn over a header from Neil Cox after Juninho had floated in a free kick.

Stuart put Everton further ahead on the stroke of half-time after a mistake by Middlesbrough midfielder Jamie Pollock. His attempted clearance fell to Joe Parkinson, who headed it back in for Stuart to steer the ball home.

Everton nearly added a third just after the break when Steve Vickers carelessly lost possession. John Ebbrell released Stuart but his shot finished safely in keeper Gary Walsh's arms.

Everton continued to dictate the pace and Stuart got his second on the hour after a dreadful error by Walsh. He failed to claim a cross from Andre Kanchelskis and Stuart was able to steer the ball into an empty net.

Kanchelskis got the fourth goal in the 66th minute when Joe Parkinson won the ball and headed to Barry Horne, playing his first game in two months. His incisive through pass set up Kanchelskis and he raced on to beat Walsh with a fine finish.

That completed a black day for Middlesbrough and manager Bryan Robson. It was one of the heaviest defeats the club has suffered since he took charge, although they lost 5-1 at Luton last season.

The Mangers' Views

After Middlesbrough crashed to their heaviest defeat of the season at Goodison Park Robson said: "We have come down to earth with a bump. We didn't put in the work today and our defenders didn't do the basics. "I hope it is a one- off. We will find out when we face Nottingham Forest on Saturday. "Wehave a young set of lads and I am sure they will learn from this lesson. Everton put us under a lot of pressure."

Everton manager Joe Royle said: "It's nice to beat one of the top sides. We were as good today as we were bad on Saturday. It's hard to pick the man of the match." Royle saluted Anders Limpar, even though he did not appear on the scoresheet. Graham Stuart (2), Craig Short and Andre Kanchelskis got the goals. Royle said: "I thought the little Swede was terrific. When you see what he can do, there is no greater talent in the British game." Everton striker Daniel Amokachi, who was on the substitutes' bench today, sets off on Thursday to represent Nigeria in the African Nations Cup.

Juninho Outclassed

Daily Mail Soccernet: Just two minutes shaped a Boxing Day of highs and lows at Goodison Park where Juninho was replaced for the first time since his first taste of the rigours of the English game.

Little was seen of his magical skills after the Brazilian was carried to the touchline for emergency treatment after buckling under a forceful tackle by Joe Parkinson. It was a freezing day which the gloved Juninho and Middlesbrough, who began the match with the flattering chance of moving ahead of Manchester United into second place, will want to forget.

It was Everton's biggest Premiership win since Joe Royle took over and the margin of defeat equalled Boro's biggest setback (5-1 at Luton) since Bryan Robson's arrival 18 months ago. The turnout, despite the conditions, of 40,091 was Goodison's biggest for over three years.

'We were as good today as we were bad at Coventry on Saturday,' Royle said. 'It was hard to pick a man of the match, but the mid-field three marked their territory out early on and supplied the front line well.' Juninho was replaced by Bolivian Jaime Moreno 16 minutes from the end, Robson saying afterwards: 'Juninho took a hefty knock and at 4-0 down it was best to save his legs for Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

'We didn't do the basics in defence and were punished. We came down to earth with a bump. We didn't meet our standards today and it was a kick up the backside. I'm just hoping this was a one-off like the defeat at Luton last year. We'll find out at Forest on Saturday.'

Graham Stuart struck twice to become Everton's leading scorer with a modest eight goals and Craig Short and Andrei Kanchelskis went on to punish what was the best defence, on paper, in the League with only 14 conceded in 19 games before this game.

Middlesbrough's problems began when Short was allowed to reach a cross by the admirable Anders Limpar and head Everton's first - and his first for the club - after 10 minutes. Stuart tapped in the second after Parkinsons' cross to the far post and Stuart calmly picked up the third thanks to Kanchelskis.

The Ukrainian himself breezed through for the fourth in the 67th. minute of a one-sided match that clearly did not please Robson. 'You have to work to achieve things and we didn't put the work in today,' added Robson. Juninho's only serious contribution came from a free-kick. Neil Cox was unmarked, but Neville Southall made a spectacular save.

After that he was in danger of getting frostbite. Chris Morris (thigh) and Derek Whyte (calf) could be unfit for several weeks, joining Nick Barmby and Craig Hignett on a growing casualty list.

Next Match: Everton v Leeds United

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