Everton v Milwall

Coca Cola Cup, 2nd Rnd, 2nd Leg; Wednsday 4 October 1995

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Does it get any wore than this...

Everton (0) 2 Millwall (0) 4 After Extra Time; at 90 mins 2-2

Hinchcliffe 47 pen, Stuart 55; Rae 66 pen, Savage 120, Taylor 63, 110.

Everton: Southall, Jackson (Unsworth 86), Barrett, Short, Ablett, Limpar, Horne, Grant, Hinchcliffe, Rideout, Stuart (Barlow 78). Subs Not Used: Kearton. Booked: Grant.

Millwall: Keller, Newman, Thatcher (Taylor 41), Bowry, Witter, Stevens, Savage, Rae, Malkin (Webber 94), Fuchs (Dixon 98), Van Blerk. Booked: Bowry, Thatcher, Savage, Van Blerk, Rae.

Agg: (2-4) After Extra Time
Att: 14,891
Ref: M Reed (Birmingham).

Taylor and Rae secure lifeline for Millwall

By William Johnson, Electronic Telegraph

MILLWALL fought back bravely from what looked like a certain Coca-Cola Cup exit last night after Everton had scored twice in the opening 10 minutes of the second half. An opportunist effort by substitute Scott Taylor followed rapidly by an Alex Rae penalty cancelled out an Andy Hinchcliffe penalty and a neat Graham Stuart finish for the Merseyside club.

The empty seats all around an imposing stadium conveyed the message that Everton in their present form and with their present personnel are not worth watching, even though the cup competitions - the FA Cup holds pride of place in their trophy cabinet - provide the Merseysiders' most realistic route to glory.

The Lions of Millwall looked the hungrier for an extended run along the Wembley trail in what was a dreadful first half with Rae - one of a quartet of visiting players booked in a 10-minute flurry by fussy referee Mike Reed - rattling Neville Southall's crossbar. To be fair to Southall he got the faintest, but most crucial of touches to the 25-yard effort and the veteran Welsh international was equally alert to gather a fierce, low drive by Jason van Blerk.

Everton never seriously tested Kasey Keller before the interval, a Paul Rideout shot from a difficult angle being comfortably gathered, but Stuart might have embarrassed Millwall's American goalkeeper if he had been more accurate in meeting Rideout's high cross to the unguarded far post. The feeling at half-time was that penalties would be needed to break the depressing deadlock.

The spot kicks came early but failed to separate the two teams for long. Few could argue with the referee's first adjudication in favour of Everton. Van Blerk realised he had blundered in going in for an unnecessary challenge on Anders Limpar. The Swede needs no second invitation to capitalise on such a situation and his headlong tumble preceded Hinchcliffe opening the scoring in the 50th minute.

The second penalty award, after 65 minutes, took some believing even among the ecstatic Millwall players. Earl Barrett's challenge on Taylor, wide out and near the goal-line, looked a clean one but Reed viewed it differently and a grateful Rae rammed the ball home. It completed an unlikely recovery for the Londoners, who had fallen two goals behind when Stuart, pouncing on Rideout's flick to a Hinchcliffe free-kick, shot confidently past a helpless Keller.

Substitute Taylor had begun the revival by making Everton pay for carelessness in their own penalty area, beating Southall with a low left-footed drive after seizing upon a missed clearance by Craig Short.

Where we all at the same game?

Mike Southworth: The ET report isn't a fair reflection cos I (and those around me) said the first half was really good. Rideout's control and turn to shoot made a difficult chance look a lot easier than it was, and Milwall's only real chance in a first half marred by some cynical fouls was the shot from outside the box that Nev tipped onto the bar.

The blues played some excellent football and created plenty of opportunities, with Rideout and Stuart running themselves ragged, the latter getting a bust lip for his trouble. Limpar was dazzling them with his skill and Horne was first to everything. The three man defence worked a lot better than I had expected, with Hinchcliffe covering back well and getting forward as often as possible.

Matt Jackson looked out of sorts and didn't really get involved, but it was only his second start. Ablett, Barrett and Short all seemed comfortable with the system, and I thought they all played very well, Barrett in particular (ducks).

The second half continued in the same vein as the first, with Everton having most of the possession and creating chances mainly through Limpar and Hinchcliffe on the right and left respectively. The penalty was conceded unneccessarily after around 10 minutes. A through ball along the ground, (which Joe had been advocating earlier on radio Everton) from Grant I think, split the defence and allowed Limpar to get through. I thought the ball was going away from him and he wouldn't reach it, but it was a blatant trip, and the defender's reaction as soon as it happened, was there for all to see. I actually thought he was crying! The penalty was despatched coolly and clincally by Hinchcliffe and the geeral opinion was, we're away.

Shortly after, Stuart had a chance on his left foot, which he hit straight at Keller, but he soon made up for it. The move started from a throw, as I recall. The ball came to Rideout, who headed down superbly into the path of the onrushing Stuart, who controlled it, shook off a defender, and drove it past the keeper right footed, beating him at the far post.

It was looking comfortable now. Millwall were attacking on the break and brought a sub on but didn't really look like scoring. Then they got the ball to the edge of the box. It looked a bit scrappy and Short couldn't clear properly, although he did well to even get to it considering he was being pulled away from the ball by one of them. The ball fell for an attacker who beat a stationary Nev.

This seemed to give them new life and they started to win more in midfield. A few minutes later, one of their players collected the ball and went running for the penalty area shadowed by Barrett. He had forced him away from goal and then slid in from the side taking the ball about as cleanly as you possibly can.

The Millwall player got up to collect the ball and take it, hopeful for a corner, and then the referee blew for a penalty. No one had appealed, the player involved, any of the other players, even the Millwall fans at that end. The spot kick was put away and we were now tecnically behind with only a few minutes remaining and extra time looming. Limpar had a deflected shot from about twenty yards go just wide of the left angle just before full time.

I can't remember whether the chances for Rideout and Barlow came in normal time or in the first period of extra time, but Everton had to chase now. The first came from down the left started by Hinchcliffe. Rideout took the ball into the area, and shot straight at Keller, when Barlow and Limpar were both better position, effectively in front ofan open goal. But such was his desperation to score, he tried it himself and the save was made. The second was very dificult: the ball was crossed at pace at about knee height by Rideout. It came across Barlow who got his left foot to it but couldn't steer it on target and it screwed wide. I've seen better players miss easier chances.

The crowd was by now getting very abusive, mainly through frustration. We were creating the chances but not scoring them, and after dominating the first period of extra time lost our way in the second. With everyone bar Ablett and Barrett pushing forward, the gaps began to show in midfield and defence. Both the goals were well taken and were typical of a side conceding whilst chasing the game.

I went home feeling that we'd played well and been unlucky, and although I can understand the booing, I think it wasn't deserved because they gave everything last night, and shouldn't really have had to play 110 minutes.

We wuz Robbed!

Harold Somers: Well, the score is misleading. I saw the highlights on telly, and judging from them we wuz robbed.

At 2-0, Dave Hickson (suummarizing on Radio Merseyside) said they could score 3 or 4 now. I guess he was right! The crux is that their second goal (the penalty) was a complete travesty. Although my paper this morning just calls it "dubious", even their manager agreed it was a harsh decision, as did Red Beglin on the telly.

The TV replays show that Barrett got the ball, and that the player who was "fouled" picked up the ball and ran towards the corner flag, HOPING for a corner (which also would have been wrong, because the ball came off the attacker). ANyway, at 2-2 we needed to score again because of the away-goals rule which comes into play at the END of extra time. Their 2 late goals were scored on the break while all bar Ablett and Southall were in attack.

Having said all that, even if we were robbed in the sense that the goal that got them back into the match shouldn't have been given, I get the impression that there wasnt much between the sides. And I'm not clear why it is a "shock" for a struggling Premiership team to be beaten by the team currently 3rd in the 1st division (less than 10 places below them in some sense).