Everton v Tottenham Hotspur

FA Carling Premier League, Sunday, 22 October 1995

Previous Match: Everton v Feyenoord  Next Match: Aston Villa v Everton

First, the facts ...

Everton (1) 1 Tottenham Hotspur (1) 1

Stuart 12; Armstrong 38.

Everton: Southall, Jackson, Watson, Short, Ablett, Kanchelskis, Horne, Samways, Hinchcliffe (Limpar 83), Rideout, Stuart. Subs Not Used: Ebbrell, Unsworth.

Tottenham: Walker, Austin, Calderwood, Mabbutt, Wilson, Fox, Howells, Campbell (Dozzell 55), McMahon (Rosenthal 72), Sheringham, Armstrong. Subs Not Used: Thorstvedt. Booked: Austin.

Att: 33,629
Ref: R Dilkes (Mossley).

Better Than Last Week

Dave Shepherd: Having suffered home defeat to the Toon, who deserved to win, and Man U, who deserved to Draw, Everton nearly completed their set with a loss to Spurs, who deserved to lose. Heavily.

Dave Watson was recalled in place of Earl the centre-back, and Unsie was just edged out for a wing place ;-) by Andrei Kanchelskis and Andy Hinchcliffe, with Limpar on the bench.

This was a crucial game in the sense that it was the first in which any semblance of a full team was fielded for ages, and the opponents were not the type who choose to 'spoil' good football teams out of the game. Success would herald promise of great things to come. Failure would start alarm bells and relegation nerves jangling.

For lovers of passing football, Spurs at Goodison is one of the highlights of any season. [Unless you're Sky, in which case the RS at the Dell is far more interesting, fare..] This year was no exception, though the surprisingly uncharacteristic look came from the visitors' fast breaks, not the home team's mythical hard man tactics.

The opening minutes were evenly balanced, with only the right wingers Kanchelskis and Fox looking dangerous. The first to find some teammates was Andrei, and duly created the first of what 'Everton expects' will be a glittering history of assists & goals. Joined by Vin on his wing, the two contrived to leave the left back for dead and AK launched a cannonball cross which Graham Stuart headed (!) in from about 10 yards, his first league goal since April 1st. (I'm surprised it didn't knock his head clean off).

Goals, particularly spectacular ones, lift a team's confidence. This, plus the ineptitude of the opposition transformed Everton into a team glowing with the flair and dominance that is reserved only for championship contenders.

Meanwhile Spurs grafted and refused to panic, and managed to create enough counter attacks to keep them alive in the face of another humiliation. Fox refused to keep to his wing, and when central and bearing down on Watson (who has never been comfortable when being run at, even at his peak) he looked certain to draw a penalty or set up a tap in for Armstrong. Indeed 3 good chances fell to the ex-eagle, but he fluffed them all horribly.

This drew the predictable 'what a waste of money' and 'you're so bad (sic) it's unbelievable' from young Street Enders short on wisdom and fear of football's way of making you eat your words. No surprise then that a long ball (from Spurs? what's going on?) dropped into his path, onside with impossible dream precision, and he lashed in a lob (if you see it, you will know what I mean) with similarly impossible precision for an equaliser. To his credit, he ignored the chance to make any vengeful gestures to the derisive members of the St End, and turned & ran straight back towards his own fans.

Suddenly the missed chances for a second Everton goal by Stuart, Samways, Hinchcliffe, Short, etc. looked more haunting. Once again Brain Labone's half-time draw was indeed a draw.

With the balance of play so much in our favour, there was no need for half-time changes, despite the question marks over Ablett and Watson. This was compensated a great deal by Craig Short, who was busy doing a superb impersonation of the grandmaster of central defence himself, Watson - a colossus dealing with high balls, an ever present nightmare for strikers when things look good in the box, and a dangerous head at corners which must be destined to pick up 5 a season.

Opinions about this lineup deteriorated proportionally as time ran down past 60 and 70, then plummeted as Spurs finally started to actively look for a win instead of waiting for breakaways. Rosenthal's introduction particularly made those of us who regretfully remember the 'Barlow' derby fear that disaster was simply waiting for the worst moment to happen..

Ablett off, Hinchy to LB, Limpar Left wing! Surely?!? Is JR asleep? Is Anders unfit? With 10 minutes the Park End lost their patience and demanded the substitution. Joe sent Limpar out to warm up, waiting another three minutes, then brought him on - for Hinchcliffe. 'Too Late Royle!' screamed one fan - and indeed it was. The only team with anything left to offer were Spurs, who took advantage of Everton's advances to escape again and again with their speed men, and thrashed four more balls across the face of Nev's goal to test even nerves that had survived The Wimbledon Game.

It was all very depressing. As we shuffled down Gwladys Street though, I heard one Evertonian comment 'At least we're better than last week'. As you cast your mind back - you realise it was only last week that we struggled against diabolical Bolton, and have to be cheered at the difference between that Walkeresque performance and this Roylian one.

Individual Performance Ratings

Southall 7 Not a busy man, but his defence must have put years on him.
Jackson 7 More of the same consistently good work at both ends of the field.
Ablett 6 An awful game for Gary, and that with Fox to contend with.
Watson 5 If Gary was bad Dave was disastrous. Unless he can resurrect his form like last season, his days in royal blue are numbered, to the sorrow of us all.
Short 9 A quality performance - dominating in the air, the last man sweeping up the panics, and the main target man for set pieces. Even threw in a rhino charge, but instead of wasting it, held it off three Spurs until a pass was on.
Hinchcliffe 7 Lacked the deadly accuracy again.
Horne 8 One of Barry's best games for ages, he seemed to get better as the match wore on. Commanded midfield without even needing to tackle.
Samways 7 Definitely the right choice on the day, Vin was involved somewhere in almost every attack-building move.
Kanchelskis 7 Excitement in his every possession justified when he made the goal, and looked like making 2-3 others.
Rideout 7 On points, you'd have to call his battles with the Spurs defenders a draw. Today's chances didn't fall his way.
Stuart 7 Tried very hard to recreate his Elland Road form, got off to a great start and nearly doubled it, but then faded back into his usual anonymity.
Limpar - Seven minutes; three touches; did nothing.

Team Performance 8 Yes indeed, a whole heap better. Everton will win a lot of games with this formula. Despite some individual struggles and defensive vulnerability to the fast break, the confidence and flow was all there just like it wasn't at Bolton.

Ref: R Dilkes What a woodentop! If you held a competition to give a 90 minute satirical impression of what football fans expect of referees, Mr Dilkes would have beaten all comers.

It could be a Long Winter ...

Guy McEvoy: Filled with hope after our fine display mid-week against Feyenoord I really fancied us for this one, particularly with Andrei once again gracing Goodison Park and Dave Watson back.

It was Watson who nearly blew it for us first. Within five minutes, under no particular pressure, he nodded a near-suicidal header, intended for Southall, into the path of Sheringham. Fortunately, big Nev did enough to narrow the angle and the shot went wide - a big let-off.

One of things we've failed to do after let-offs this season is to capitalise on them. In the twelfth minute we took a small step to correcting that by scoring what for my money is the best team goal of the season so far. Samways had the ball, laid it back to Kanchelskis who wasted little time in putting an inch-perfect cross for Stuart who released a bullet like header past Walker. Perfection. Hope.

From that point on Everton were at their most frustrating; flashes of brilliance, followed by basic errors. Some of our approach play and build up was breath-taking but, yet again, we suffered from players failing to take the responsibility to whip in the final ball or have a dig themselves. Our best chance fell again to Stuart after another Kan cross from the same position. This time, Stuart was far nearer the goal and it would have been easier to score than the first one, but this time neither the power or the direction were to be seen.

Meanwhile, Spurs had been pulling themselves up by the bootstraps and numerous chances had fallen their way. Most notably, the chances ended up with Armstrong who looked nowhere near worth his price tag. At least not until 10 minutes before the half time whistle, when he launched a magnificent lob from outside the box that Southall could only turn to, watch and then pick out the back of the net. 1-1.

I was surprised that we didn't try a change at half time, and we suffered because of it, never really looking like winning after that. We had some half chances from corners (Andy's foot looking good again - every one of them reaching Craig Short's head), also Kan fired one over. But, in all honesty, it was Spurs who had the better of the play and, but for woeful finishing, should have been in front.

With 10 minutes to go, the crowd was getting restless and demanded a change ("One Anders Limpar, there's only one Anders Limpar"). Joe took note of the masses and duly introduced the Swede at the expense of Hinchcliffe. And indeed Limpar's first touch was a wonder cross into the box that forced a great save from Stuart's header.

However, just as we sensed we might steal it, Spurs launched a couple of last efforts themselves with both Rosenthall and Dozell missing from promising situations. A draw was a fair result, and I've now sat through three in a row. It could be a long winter.

Individual Performances

Southall 8 - Had his work cut out for him, made some fine saves and couldn't have done anything about the goal.
Jackson 8 - Had a very good first half; quietened down and looked a bit out of puff by the end of the second. Works well with Andrei.
Ablett 8 - I'll put myself out on a limb here cos a lot of the crowd thought he had a stinker. I thought he handled the extremely tricky Fox very well though.
Watson 7 Nearly committed suicide with the worst backpass header I've ever seen, but other than that I've seen worse central defense performances this season.
Short 8 Another decent performance; finally settling down.
Hinchcliffe 7 - Seems to have rediscovered his magic corner foot, also hustled well throughout.
Kanchelskis 8 - Put some great balls in, looked our most potent threat, was a little frustrated by lack of movement towards the box from our forwards.
Samways 6 - He didn't look like he settled for this one. Made errors, didn't seem on the same wave-length.
Horne 9 - Reminded us why we love him. Battled for every ball, when he won it he looked like he had all week before finding a blue shirt. Barry at his best.
Rideout 7 - Is it that he doesn't get the service or that he doesn't get himself in position? Discuss.
Stuart 8 - Had his best game of the season, got himself on the end of numerous crosses, scored a good one, was unlucky with another, also involved a lot more in the build up than he has been.
Limpar 8 - Only came on for last 10 though immediately forged us chances.

"What d'ya mean was I at the same match?!"

Guy McEvoy (pldgcm@cent1.lancs.ac.uk)

Toffeenet Feedback

Jackson - 8 Are you drunk? He played absolutely diabolically. He was caught out of position in nearly every Spurs left-sided attack ...hopeless! He showed why he lost his place to a far-superior Barrett.

While I'm at it, I may as well say how disappointing Kanchelskis has been in the last 2 games: he hasn't looked anywhere near as sharp as we know he is. Sure he put in a couple of pearling crosses, but his maizy runs looked absent. Jackson and Horne had to give him a fearsome bollocking yesterday because of his consistent absence in coming back to cover when Spurs mounted a left sided attack.....

At the moment, Limpar is by far the more "on-form" player and should be on the pitch.

En4hdbpa@bs41.staffs.ac.uk Who?

Armstrong's equaliser buoys Spurs

By William Johnson, Electronic Telegraph

A FIRST Premiership goal by Chris Armstrong since his £4.5 million transfer from Crystal Palace earned Tottenham a well-deserved point from a Goodison encounter which promised much during a first half of rich entertainment but faded after the interval.

Everton, who went on to win the FA Cup last season after beating Spurs 4-1 in the semi-final, looked set to repeat that thrashing when Graham Stuart - a scorer in that April stroll - headed past Ian Walker from the first serious attack. The failure of Stuart to put away a much easier headed opportunity, also supplied by Everton's record signing Andrei Kanchelskis, and misses from in front of goal by central defenders Dave Watson and Craig Short meant Everton were never comfortable and always vulnerable to Spurs' counter-attacking at pace.

It appeared that Armstrong's ninth Premiership outing was going to be as fruitless as the other eight when the striker twice shot tamely at Neville Southall when an equaliser beckoned, but he then pounced in stunning fashion from the most difficult chance which came his way.

Clive Wilson's long clearance turned defence into attack for Spurs, and Watson, the Everton captain, left Armstrong in yards of space to run on to a high bouncing ball and flick it superbly over the advancing Southall. It justified the gamble of his manager, Gerry Francis, to select him after a dead leg had restricted training over the last three weeks.

"The partnership with Teddy Sheringham is important to us," said Francis. "Our record has been very good while they've been together." Armstrong, who admitted to feeling the pressure of failing to deliver after such an expensive transfer, hopes that he can now settle down and work productively. "Teddy has been getting a share of the goals, so maybe this is the start of a good run for me," he said.

"He was ripe to score here," reflected Royle, who endured a miserable second month of the season of four straight defeats. He was grateful for the second successive point, which convinced him that his team are improving. "At least we've got more points than when I came here," he added, comparing Everton's record of nine from 10 matches with the eight from 14 taken under the closing stages of Mike Walker's regime.

Level after 37 minutes, Spurs looked the more likely to take all the points from then on against a team low on confidence and without a league win since the end of August. Ronny Rosenthal, the other Tottenham substitute, had no excuses for shooting nearer to the corner flag than the far post after being put clean through by Sheringham, who himself was only fractionally wide with a header from Rosenthal's cross.

Everton could also have won it in the closing stages, Stuart's header being superbly saved by Walker after Kanchelskis had shot over an open goal from Dean Austin's mis-directed clearance.

Electronic Telegraph is a Registered Service Mark of The Telegraph plc

Chances go Begging

Daily Mail Soccernet: Chris Armstrong's first Premiership goal in Tottenham's colours ensured the spoils were shared at Goodison Park on an afternoon when the visitors were in profligate mood.

Spurs missed a string of chances towards the close. Substitutes Ronny Rosenthal and Jason Dozzell were both guilty and striker Teddy Sheringham also sent a close-range effort wide of Neville Southall's post.

Sheringham missed a good chance before Graham Stuart opened the scoring for Everton after 13 minutes. Vinny Samways, up against his old team, played a neat one-two with Andrei Kanchelskis and the Ukrainian fired in a cross before Stuart raced unguarded into the area to power a perfect header beyond Ian Walker in goal.

Stuart missed a fine chance of putting Everton further ahead when Kanchelskis picked him out but he could only find the keeper's arms and not the net. Armstrong, a £4.5million summer signing from Crystal Palace, showed that he is capable of scoring goals at this level - and spectacular ones at that.

Armstrong got away from Dave Watson as Clive Wilson sent a long ball over the top of the Everton defence. There was still work to do but Armstrong carried it out and produced a superb chip over Southall.

For the Spurs fans, who had endured a nightmare against Joe Royle's team in the FA Cup semi-final last season, the result at least restored some pride.

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