Everton v Feyenoord

European Cup-Winners Cup, Second Round, First Leg; Thursday, 19 October 1995

Previous Match: Bolton Wanderers v Everton  Next Match: Everton v Tottenham Hotspur

First, the facts ...

Everton (0) 0 Feyenoord (0) 0

Everton: Southall, Jackson (Barlow 81), Ablett, Unsworth, Short, Barrett, Stuart, Rideout, Samways, Horne, Limpar (Holmes 81). Booked: Short.

Feyenoord: De Goey, Zwijnenberg (Heus 61), Van Gobell, Koeman, Witschge, Maas, Boateng, Van Bronckhorst (Iwan 81), Larsson, Obiku, Blinker (Trustfull 61). Booked: Boateng.

Att: 27,526
Ref: Hans-Jurgen Weber (Germany).

Everton played a 3-5-2 formation:

Barrett - Short - Ablett
Jackson - Horne - Samways - Unsworth - Limpar
Rideout -Stuart

European Cup Winners Cup: Everton still in the hunt for honours

By John Ley, The Electronic Telegraph

EVERTON went some way to restoring wounded English pride with a belligerent performance in their European Cup-Winners' Cup second round, first leg tie. Though they failed to score, their display suggests they can still progress to the next stage when they visit Rotterdam in a fortnight.

Everton began with confidence, not surprisingly considering the fact that they went into the match unbeaten in previous 11 European ties; after winning the competition in 1985 they were unable to defend the trophy because of the subsequent ban on English clubs.

They maintained their good record by overcoming the part-timers of Reykjavik, in the first round, and before last night's game had lost only twice at home in all European competitions, including a defeat in the Fairs Cup more than 20 years ago by Manchester United.

The only other visitors to fare favourably were, ironically, Feyenoord, who won at Goodison in the 1979-80 season - Everton's last defeat in Europe.

Feyenoord, for the first time, were in the charge of Arie Haan, who recently left PAOK Salonika to return to Holland and, tomorrow, will be in court over a claim that he broke his contract with the Greeks.

Everton were without Daniel Amokachi, Duncan Ferguson, Andy Hinchliffe, Andrei Kanchelskis and Joe Parkinson for varied reasons and manager Joe Royle used three central defenders to combat the mobility of Michael Obiku, the Nigerian striker, and winger Regi Blinker.

The early pattern of the game suggested that Royle had got his tactics right. Everton had Neville Southall to thank for a fine early save against Obiku but then they assumed control and with Vinny Samways, restored to midfield, determined to prove his worth, Ed De Goey had a busy first-half.

Everton's man-to-man marking unsettled Feyenoord, who gave their hosts a surprising amount of space in midfield, enabling Samways to shoot from 25 yards, an effort which flew only a foot off target.

Play was constantly, and frustratingly, halted by the fussy refereeing of the German, Hans-Jurgen Weber, but Samways was guilty of wasting another chance. Graham Stuart's short, precise pass gave the former Spurs midfielder a good opportunity but Samways' low attempt was well saved. Everton had a good claim for a penalty rejected before the interval when Matt Jackson was bundled off the ball by Blinker.

The pattern of this absorbing contest was similar in the second half and, after Southall had saved with his legs to deny Giovanni Van Bronckhorst, Everton went in search of a goal. In the 53rd minute a corner from Limpar was flicked on by Stuart and with Gary Ablett waiting to connect at the far post, Rob Witschge made a vital intervention on the line to concede a corner.

Everton had Craig Short cautioned, in the 62nd minute for a foul on Obiku, but still they attacked and an error by Ulrich Van Gobbel presented Stuart with a chance. His dangerous cross was eventually cleared off the line by Ronald Koeman, but only at the second attempt.

Electronic Telegraph is a Registered Service Mark of The Telegraph plc

Toothless Tigers

David Shepherd: Everton turned in a performance which sent a message to all the viewing European nations that, contrary to recent hype, English clubs are not automatically out of their depth as soon as they meet a 'big name' from Europe.

Dominating large portions of play, a half-decimated team played not with the bite of dogs, but with the majesty of tigers, only lacking the deadly teeth up front to put the tie well beyond doubt.

Joe Royle's unusual and makeshift formation featured two strange sights: recalled Dave Unsworth working up the left wing, and Vinny Samways popping up in goal-threatening positions more often than Graeme Stuart.

The rumoured Dutch passing skills never materialised, and most of the night the Red & White halves stood around looking as helpless as Everton's opponents in the 80's, and as Everton did against Newcastle recently.

The reason was a heavily manned but very open midfield; five defenders, with Jackson, Ablett and Unsworth pushing up the wings; and four midfielders, led by Euro-recalled Horne and pushing Samways forward.

Both sides created chances, but the final attempt count (had Sky been less stingy with their offer for TV coverage, and actually been there to count) must have been 3 times greater from Everton. But, although posts and bars were often scared, the goal itself only looked genuinely threatened by Everton-created scrambles from set pieces in the second half, and a five minute storm from Feyenoord which brought 3 diving saves from Southall to long but hard strikes, bringing the packed and animated away support to life.

Despite the stock-cupboard paragraphs of the professional press about dour hard tackling and unattractive football, neither team agrees - all tackles (bar one by Feyenoord that nearly got Ablett violent) were greeted by the participants with backslaps and handshakes, and both teams were separately warmly applauded off by both sets of supporters.

With Amokachi and Hinchcliffe probably 'available' for Rotterdam and no away goals, the tie looks on a knife-edge, unless Feyenoord have lethal force which they have not yet shown and are saving for the home leg.

Individual Performance Ratings

Southall 9 Several saves, more spectacular than difficult, but also great concentration and awareness as the last defender from backpasses.

Jackson 7 Not a repeat of his stormer at Bolton, but at least gave some impression that Everton had a right wing.

Barrett 7 Again looking comfortable at centre back.

Short 8 Did indeed dominate the high balls, but honestly the Dutch attack made him look good by their ineptitude.

Ablett 8 When nerves are fraying and a calm head is needed, there is none cooler than that of the experienced Ablett. I would like to see him overlap a bit more though, Joe.

Unsworth 7 Not a bad performance as (er) first-time left-sided-defensive-midfield-wing-backs go ... but he needs to learn how to cross a ball if he's going to play there.

Horne 7 Plenty of good work in his central domain.

Samways 7 Got forward into the box often (too few others did) and if he'd been taller he would have scored one or even two. Didn't produce any killer forward passes from midfield though. Nearly scored another chip in the first half.

Limpar 7 Disappointing. Went for glory too often from too far out in the first half, and didn't deliver crosses well in the second, to the frustration of Rideout.

Rideout 8 A great night of hard work as target holdup man, though effectively the lone striker. Got almost no service from the wings.

Stuart 7 His stats show his scoring rate in cup-ties is way above league rate, but tonight saw very little of the play.

Barlow (Sub) 7 The usual cameo of 2-3 touches and no attempt by the blues to use his pace to rip open the defence.

Holmes (Sub) 6 Looked uncomfortable and vulnerable.

Team Performance 8 Much better than recent matches, with the result that everything went their way except the scoreline.

Ref: H-J Weber (Germany) As good a ref as you can hope for from Europe, and perfect for Everton on the night since he did not allow Feyenoord's shove & shirt-tug tactics, yet knew the difference between fair tackles, mistimed tackles and bad cardable tackles. (I think the total was 1 for each team ... very low for Europe). Confusing because he waved one arm the same for 'advantage' as for 'free kick'. Needs to look up the rule about Obstruction. Tapped his watch a lot for timewasting but never stopped it.

Best Performance since the Semi

Mike Southworth: 27,526 turned up last night and created more noise than 37,000 against Man Utd. And rightly so. This was by far the best performance we have turned in since the Spurs semi final. NOBODY had a bad game and my friends and I all had different opinions of man of the match, which is unusual.

The 3-5-2 formation changed the character of midfield; Unsworth played almost as a wing back with Limpar an out-and-out Winger. I think that this could be Unsworth's best position, because it allowed him to go on some charging runs up the left wing, but his tackling back was still there.

Short was superb, so good in fact that they stopped challenging him for high balls because he won all of them. The whole back three looked excellent, Barrett on the ground and tackling, Short in the air, and the old head (Ablett) spraying the ball about like he was Andy Hinchcliffe (well maybe not, but he was excellent).

Joe will be pushed to drop any of this lot against Spurs on Sunday, because they showed what an Everton team are capable of, even if they didn't score. But there were some predicting a mauling a la Leeds (lost 3-5 to PSV Eindhoven), which didn't happen.

Wish I was Going ...

San Presland: Last night's match wasn't "One of the Great European Nights" .. .but it went damn close.

I thought an awful lot of Everton players were superb. Only the final ball into the box was disappointing. Limpar, although having a lot of the ball, tended to over hit his crosses and shots.

The best cross of the night was from Stuart Barlow (just thought I'd point that out). Nev was immaculate. Short looked like a young Dave Watson. Barrett kept Blinker shackled to the extent that the Dutch player kept fouling him (and should have been booked IMHO).

My Man of the Match: Gary Ablett. He defended superbly including one flying header in the first half out of the six-yd box, and a block on the line. Obviously enjoyed having Unsy & Limpar in front of him, some of his curving balls down the line were superb.

One of the interesting things about last night's match was how much more width there was with Jackson/Limpar/Stuart/Samways wide right and Rhino/Limpar/Ablett wide left. And the balls from the back going down the wings instead of straight down the middle as usual.

I said before the match that I thought 0-0 would NOT be an awful result for us. Now, ANY win for us and ALMOST and draw would do in Rotterdam. As JR pointed out, THAT was THEIR best team last night, whereas we have players who could be brought in for the second leg... Hinchliffe and Amokachi. I wish I was going.

I was very amused at the fact that almost all the Feyenoord chants (and there were a lot of supporters there) were the 'familiar' English ones that we know and love. Don't suppose WE'LL be chanting any Dutch ones out there...wish I was going.

Royle Fears Ref In Rotterdam

By Eric Brown, PA Sport

Manager Joe Royle fears Everton could be refereed out of the European Cup Winners' Cup when they face Feyenoord in Rotterdam on November 2.

Royle believes Feyenoord - fourth in the Dutch league - will present no great threat in the return match after holding Everton to a goalless second round first leg at Goodison Park.

But Royle said: "My biggest fear over there is the refereeing. It will be an Italian official and I thought there was plenty of diving going on here."

Germany's Hans-Jurgen Weber did not fall for it but Royle is concerned an Italian referee could prove more susceptible with nearly 40,000 Dutchmen baying for every decision in their favour.

Royle was delighted with Everton's much improved performance after they had won only one of their previous seven matches. He added: "I thought at Bolton on Saturday there were signs of things beginning to turn for us.

"I could not fault the lads. We tried a different system and they handled it well. We had our chances and cannot complain at the result.

"I fancy us strongly to go through now. I believe we can finish it off over there. They are fairly decent but nothing to be scared of.

"It was important we did not concede a goal - 0-0 is far better than 1-1. I think we can nick it over there."

Everton won the trophy by beating Austria Vienna in Feyenoord's stadium in 1985 while Aston Villa, Manchester United and Tottenham have also recorded English triumphs there.

"There seems to be a bit of a trend for English teams to do well away in European ties and we have nothing to fear," added Royle.

Everton, who produced one of their best performances of the season, could have established a first leg lead if Graham Stuart had been more accurate with two close-range headers or recalled Vinny Samways had shot more crisply when put through by Stuart.

But Everton, with David Unsworth and Matt Jackson operating as wing backs, had good cause to be grateful to veteran goalkeeper Neville Southall yet again. The Wales goalkeeper produced magnificent diving saves to deny Michael Obiku, Giovanni Van Bronckhorst, Rob Witschge and Rob Maas.

The extra belief and confidence restored to Everton's approach could have brought its reward as late as the 88th minute when top scorer Paul Rideout threw himself forward to meet a Stuart Barlow cross with his head, only to see the ball fly over the bar.

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