Everton v Aston Villa


FA Carling Premiership 96/97 - Game 4
Wednesday 4 September 1996; Goodison Park, Merseyside

Result: Everton (0) 0 - Aston Villa (0) 1
Ehiogu 62

Everton: (4-4-2) Southall, Barrett, Short, Unsworth(c), Hinchcliffe, Kanchelskis, Grant, Parkinson, Speed, Stuart (67 Rideout), Ferguson. Booked: Grant.
Subs Not Used: Limpar, Hottiger, Ebbrell, Gerrard. Unavailable: Watson, Jackson, Kearton.

Aston Villa: (3-5-2) Oakes, Nelson (Scimeca, 90), Wright, Ehiogu, Southgate, Staunton, Curcic (Taylor, 76), Draper, Townsend, Yorke, Milosevic (Johnson, 86).
Subs Not Used: Bosnich, McGrath. Booked: Staunton, Curcic.

Ref: M J Bodenham Att: 39,115 League Position: 11th Other Results and League Table

Previous Match: Tottenham Hotspur v Everton - Next Match: Wimbledon v Everton

Match Summary

SoccerNet: Ugo Ehiogu stole victory for Aston Villa at Goodison Park with his first Premiership goal for more than a year. The powerful defender led a Villa raid and fed Fernando Nelson on the right. Nelson delivered a cross to the far post for Dwight Yorke to head back and down to Ehiogu, who turned the ball in from close range.

Villa had to thank Alan Wright, the smallest man in the Premiership, for heading off the line to keep them level during hectic opening exchanges. Then, as Everton raised the tempo again in the closing seconds of the first half, Villa were saved by the post following a Duncan Ferguson header. The 5ft 3in Wright, operating on the left as a wing back, was back on his line to head out when Gary Speed looked set to give the home side the lead after 11 minutes. Speed met an in-swinging corner from new England man Andy Hinchcliffe at the far post and powered a header back towards the opposite corner of the net, but Wright leapt to meet it and head away.

Villa, with striker Savo Milosevic making his first appearance of the season and Nelson, a £1.5 million signing from Sporting Lisbon, his first start, were not content to sit back and soak up the Everton pressure. Neville Southall had to produce one save to turn over a long shot from Nelson and a much more spectacular one to tip over a 25-yard drive from Mark Draper.

The pace of Andrei Kanchelskis was a constant threat to Villa and Steve Staunton made a number of vital interceptions, although he picked up a booking in the 33rd minute for a late challenge on Graham Stuart. Referee Martin Bodenham allowed the Everton attack to continue, but when the ball went out of play he showed the offender a yellow card. The Irishman must have feared it was going to be the red card six minutes later. Again there was a late challenge, with his old Villa team-mate Earl Barrett the victim on this occasion, but as thousands of home fans shrieked for his dismissal, the referee decided a free kick to Everton was sufficient punishment.

The Cornish official had his work cut out keeping order when Milosevic was brought down by Joe Parkinson. There was a skirmish with Craig Short and Dwight Yorke joining in, but after consulting a linesman he took no action and the game was restarted with a drop ball.

Kanchelskis raced on to a pass from Tony Grant and seemed set to open the scoring but Michael Oakes advanced from his line to block. The ball broke to Ferguson, who headed towards the net only to see the ball hit the outside of a post and go out of play.

Five minutes into the second half it was Everton's turn to breathe a sigh of relief when Yorke smashed a right-foot shot past Southall only to see the ball hit the underside of the bar and bounce out.

Ferguson throttled; Kanchelskis Amokachied

Guy McEvoy: David Unsworth led another unchanged (and now familiar) Everton line-up in his captain's debut at the near capacity Goodison Park. The gaps in attendance resulted only from the away contingent not filling their allocation. This was the last of Everton's daunting first five games. With our failure to take chances at Spurs costing us two points, tonight the same inability to tuck away that final touch was to cost us all three.

Once again, we started extremely brightly, neat passing resulting in a few threatening moves. However, it was soon clear that this was to be no one-sided game, Villa quickly matched the pace and style of our attacks. The result was a highly charged, flowing half of entertaining, though goal-less, football.

Chances came for both teams. Speed was first to come close after heading a Hinchcliffe corner past Oakes only to see the man on the back post react quickly enough to head it off the line.

Kanchelskis will also be cursing his finishing after having four good clean breaks during the half (the majority provided by through balls from Tony Grant). He twice chose to shoot and was unlucky with the second but on his third effort ,when he found himself clear with his best angle yet, he opted instead to square the ball. Unfortunately, his pass went drifting behind the advancing Ferguson and Stuart.

Just before the whistle he had one last splendid chance with only the keeper to beat. His shot was blocked by Oakes but the rebound found its way to Ferguson who was following in like a steam train. Duncan's instinctive header at the open goal agonisingly hit the post and the danger passed.

In between these efforts, though, Villa had provided a steady stream of half chances themselves and had kept Neville busy, forcing more than one reaction save. The ball skills of Yorke and Curcic were a particular menace to Unsworth and Short who both seemed ill at ease. Short was perhaps rattled by having a fully fledged (though thankfully unpunished) punch-up with Savo Milosevic early on (nice swing Craig!). And so the contest went to the break still finely balanced.

Second Half

After the pie and Bovril (or more likely hot dog and coke) it was the blues who lost the confidence to maintain the pattern of their play first and Villa capitalised. The first warning sign came when Yorke ambled past three Blue defenders and cannoned a shot against the cross-bar and into the goal. It would surely have been a candidate for goal of the month but for the absence of a Russian linesman. Make no mistake, I saw the ball strike clearly behind the line, this was a massive let off for Everton.

The blues tactics were now changing as the sense of urgency to get on the score sheet increased, Villa stuck to their plan and consequently got the reward. A cross from the left picked out the ever-menacing Yorke who managed a leap out of the Duncan school to out-jump Barrett and Short. Ehiogu gratefully poked home the knock back.

Stuart now made way for Rideout, but as the panic set in so Everton looked less impressive. The long-ball to Ferguson became the key weapon but was so ineffectively used and aimlessly deployed it became an embarrassment.

To give credit to Villa, they have cracked the conundrum of how to defend against Ferguson. When the long ball came over they just accepted Dunc was going to win it and so let him leap without challenge leaving what would normally be the two defenders double-teaming him to pick up the frankly aimless flick-ons he provided.

We produced a few more half chances before the final whistle but in truth the game was lost when we tried to over-rely on big Dunc after the goal had gone in, rather than sticking to the imaginative, purposeful, varied (and incidentally exciting) style we'd played through the first half.

Credit to Villa; their performance was the finest of any opponent we've encountered this season, and any post mortem of our performance must take this into account. If we can concentrate on playing like we did in the first three quarters of the game the goals and points will come. As it is, we have five points from the first four games and suddenly, despite the fleeting wind-up it seems a more typical start to the season for the blues.

Individual Performances

Nice Dream... while it lasted

Richard Marland: Even if it was only for a few weeks, it was nice to believe that we were ready for a realistic title challenge. Maybe I'm being a little harsh: in the same way that one good victory against Newcastle didn't mean that we were title challengers, one below-par performance against a very good Villa side doesn't mean that we are finished. However I did feel that Villa posed us fundamental questions and in the final analysis we were found wanting.

Anyway back to the beginning. Another impressive crowd of 39,115 turned up on a pleasant late summer's evening. We lined up as expected: Nev in goal; Barrett, Hinchcliffe, Unsworth and Short across the back; Speed, Andrei, Grant and Parkinson in the middle; Dunc and Stuart playing up front.

The crowd were treated to an entertaining, if goalless, first half. Both teams played some good football and a number of half-chances were created. Andy Hinchcliffe started very well for us and, despite his international exertions, Andrei looked quite lively and was seeing quite a lot of the ball.

Unfortunately, we always seemed to be missing the final killer pass or cross, and so rarely troubled their young keeper. Gary Speed did have an effort headed off the line from a corner, put apart from that there was little else on target.

Villa, on the other hand, despite having less possession than us, made better use of it. Southall was forced into two very good saves, one from a clever lob by their right back Nelson, and one from a viciously swerving Draper shot. We had to wait until injury time for our best chance when Andrei was put clean through by an incisive Grant pass.

The goalie did well to block Andrei's shot but the ball looped up off him and into Dunc's path. Dunc at full stretch just got his head to it but from just inside the box saw his header glance the outside of the post. Dunc was unlucky as he did very well to get any kind of contact on the ball. Maybe Andrei was the one who should have buried it.

There was one other incident of note from the first half when Milosevic swung a punch at Short. Milosevic had ended up on the floor with the ball at his feet, he was immediately swarmed by 3 Everton defenders one of whom was Short.

Milosevic seemed to take exception to the close, but entirely legal, attention and lashed out with his feet at Short. Short put his hand to Milosevic's throat and gave him the benefit of his opinion whereupon Milosevic stood up and swung a punch at Short. Short was incensed but was restrained and led away from the incident by Dwight Yorke.

This action by Yorke turned out to be very fortunate for us as both the linesman and referee had missed Milosevic's punch, they wouldn't, though, have missed Short's retaliation. Unsurprisingly, there was a certain amount of needle between these two for the rest of the game, with Milosevic doing his utmost to get Short booked with some amateur dramatics.

Second Half

We looked a little sharper in the early stages of the second half as Tony Grant seemed to come into the game more. We gained more of the possession and started to play some really nice football with Grant heavily involved in everything. Still though the killer ball was missing and we failed to seriously trouble the keeper.

Villa, on the other hand, were still troubling us on the break.Yorke beat Nev from the edge of the box but fortunately the ball hit the underside of the bar and bounced onto the line and there was no Russian lineman to give the goal. It was however a portent of what was to come.

On the hour mark, Villa had a move which carved right up our middle and was finished by Ehiogu of all people who forced the ball home. The goal was scored at the far end of the ground to me and I have yet to see it on the TV. It didn't look to be the fault of anyone in particular, rather a collective defensive failing.

The half hour of the game that remained proved to be our most disappointing and most worrying period of the game. We had adequate time left to mount some serious pressure and to get something out of the game.

Up to this point, we hadn't been playing that badly. We had seen plenty of the ball and had played some really nice football, -- all that had been missing was the final ball. What we needed to do was continue in the same vein, albeit with a touch more urgency, and surely the goal would come.

Alas, we lost our way somewhat and got a bit panicky. Too often we resorted to our old standby, the big hoof in Dunc's general direction. We made a tactical switch, Rideout came on for Stuart and we resorted to a back three of Barrett, Short and Unsworth with Hinchcliffe moving in to midfield.

All this seemed to do though was clog up an already well populated midfield, and Tony Grant, the man who looked most likely to break them down, largely disappeared from the game. We seemed to lack width, Gary Speed had been coming infield all day and Andrei had by now become somewhat subdued.

All-in-all, we never looked like scoring, in fact we nearly got caught out on the break a few times as Villa looked the more likely to score. So Villa rode out the remaining half hour fairly comfortably as we huffed and puffed to no real effect.

I should perhaps say that, although we didn't play badly, we were a long way short of the standards we set ourselves in the Newcastle game... but we still played well enough to beat most teams. Unfortunately, though, we were playing one of the best sides in the league. Villa were very well organised, very resolute and impressed me a lot.

They played Dunc very well, he won a lot in the air but they nullified this by getting to his knockdowns before a blue shirt could. They were dangerous on the break and in Dwight Yorke they had someone who caused us problems all night.

We looked less than convincing at the back and were found wanting, yet again, when faced with a massed, well organised defence. We also seemed to be a little "flat", and lacking a driving force in the team, -- someone to pick up the rest of the team and take the game to the opposition.

The Players

Very Disappointing

Mike Barker: The opening 10 minutes was all Villa, with our midfield running around like headless chickens. As the half wore on, we got a grip with Pieman Parkinson finding his feet, and Grant winning most of the balls he went for. Hinchcliffe and Speed linked up well on the left with a few exceptions. Moves that broke down were due to Speed dwelling on the ball for too long.

Kanchelskis had the measure of Alan Wright, beating him and the off-side trap on several occasions. About 20 minutes into the game, he got clean through one-on-one with the keeper and belted the ball into the side netting. I found myself half-standing in front of 2,000 seated Villa supporters cursing our bad luck... whoops!

Meanwhile Duncan ferguson was winning everything in the air, but not really looking like scoring. Short & Unsworth kept Villa at bay, pumping the ball back into Villa's half. Kanchelskis beat the offside trap again, got through, and had a shot which was parried out by the keeper into mid-air, Big Dunc ran in and, with what appeared to be an open goal and the ball at head height, he headed against the left -hand post.

The second half started pretty much as the first ended, with us on top Kanchelskis taking the mickey out of Wright so many times it was untrue, but he was kept at bay by Staunton & Southgate. Instead of his normal run at the left back & shot on goal, Kanchelskis was herded across the front of the box from right to left and not allowed to shoot. He was however our best player by a mile.

Unsworth tried to lead by example and made a couple of runs down the left. Barrett did the same but was caught out of position several times -- he is very slow getting back, Unsworth having to cover.

Villa had one of only four second half attacks which I counted, Yorke beating Southall, the ball hitting the underside of the crossbar, bouncing down and out (I thought it was over the line but the linesman didn't.)

Several choruses of "It's up to you Dwight Yorke, Dwight Yorke...dah dah dah de dah.." Later it was back to us again; we had plenty of the ball but created little. Then came the Villa goal. Good work by Yorke, Barrett was out of position again ( our best right back is playing for QPR), Unsworth pulled away, good finish by Ehiogu? Bless you.

After that it was all us again. Speed chasing the ball but looking lost, Stuart subbed by Rideout who made a couple of mazy runs beating about 4 men on one occasion, but not getting a shot in, and that was that. We hit the roof of the net with lob that never looked like going in and camped out in their half for the rest of the game.

After 5 minutes of injury time, (in a half where the only stoppage was when Staunton lay down but miraculously recovered after 30 seconds) the ref blew and i was all over. On this form, neither side is championship material. We were sadly missing Watson. He wouldn't have let Barrett drift out of position so often.

Richard Marland wrote:
> Tuesday's Echo: Joe Royle appears to be laying down the gauntlet to
> Tony Grant. Tony keeps his place for the Villa game and is being
> asked by Joe to show more consistency. Joe says that leaving out John
> Ebbrell was very difficult as he has done nothing wrong, but that
> Tony Grant gives us more variety and options. It would appear that
> it's time to really find out whether Grant has got what it takes.

Grant does not merit another game -- we need John Ebbrell back. He has undoubted talent & great passing skills but his defensive frailties showed last night, I don't doubt his commitment (he did some suicidal tackles & got booked for one of them).  Ebbrell knits together midfield providing continuity between defence and attack and will free up Speed to do what he is best at which is giving him the ball & letting him run at defenders.


On this form, neither side will win the championship, we need a goal poacher to feed off Dunc. (Branch perhaps? Liverpool gave Fowler a run at a similar age, if Branch is as good as Joe reckons, it can't hurt to give him a go). At the moment, Stuart and Kanchelskis have dried up in terms of goals, so the opposition only has to close down Dunc and Kanchelskis, and that's it.

We need Ebbrell back in midfield. He will free up Speed giving us more attacking options and we need big Dave back to direct things. Either that or he should give Unsworth some tips on captaining a team.

As an aside the Villa supporters are a bunch of sleazy scumbags, on spotting a girl wearing shorts in the Park end, they started singing "Who's the slapper in the Shorts?" and "Does she take it up the a***?" Their other song was to the tune of "Cheer up sleepy Jean" containing various expletives about Trevor Francis.  What a cultured lot these Midlanders are. This behaviour is both sad and lonely and I now hope that Birmingham City; Newell, Ablett and Horne et al. win the FA cup and piss on Villa's chips.

Anyway back to EFC, I hope this does't sound too pessimistic, after all we have 5 points which is better than last year. Now if we can only repeat the last 3/4 of last season....

What are we doing?

Tony the Toffeeman: I enjoy reading the match reports to see if people see the game as I do. I must say that for the Villa game the reports on the whole, have been of a different match to what I saw.

Richard Marland wrote: Even if it was only for a few weeks, it was nice to believe that we were ready for a realistic title challenge. Maybe I'm being a little harsh: in the same way that one good victory against Newcastle didn't mean that we were title challengers, one below-par performance against a very good Villa side doesn't mean that we are finished. However I did feel that Villa posed us fundamental questions and in the final analysis we were found wanting.

Richard has spoken the most sense of all those that I have read, and I think the quote above is a perfect summation of the match and the start to the season.

While I agree that we did not play badly in the first half, the second half was IMO very poor and, as Richard has said, leaves an awful lot of questions to be answered. If we can't steam roller sides then we very quickly come unstuck.

One thing about Evertonians that I have always appreciated, is that we recognise good football when we see it. Sadly I think we are losing this appreciation over the last season or two. Villa were excellent on the night and Everton had very few ideas on what to do with them. I think that they have a very good chance of improving on their placing of last season.

We desperately need a central midfielder who can PLAY, tackle and get up and down to complement the outstanding Parkinson. Grant may be the answer in the future, but he certainly isn't at the moment. As I have commented on Toffeenet on more than one occasion (too often probably), I believe we have the ideal player for this role already, only he is stuck in a tucked in position on the left of midfield, and often looks lost. Gary Speed is for my mind an outstanding footballer who fits the bill as mentioned above. Also I feel with Limpar (or similar from QPR perhaps <grin> ) on the left wing, then our balance would be much better.

While we continue to play with this lob-sided formation, then I think we will struggle against well organised and good sides, when at home. All they do is put three centre-halves to cope with the knock downs from Duncan, and double up on Andrei. If this is done effectively, as Villa did, then we are lost for options, and we resort to relying on a bit of luck to get goals. Often, Stuart wold provide a little bit of magic to open up sides, but I agree he has not started well so far this season.

The other obvious position which needs filling is, as we all know (so does JR, I believe), is a decent goal-poacher to play alongside Dunc. I think he should either go for Cole, or for Holdsworth, but do it now.

Recently, I have been annoyed by people saying that Everton are just another Wombles, only with a bit of class. Sadly after our second-half performance, and particularly after Villa scored, all we did was add credence to that argument. In fact what we offered in the last half-hour was worse than what Wombles would have (they at least try to play these days). The big hoof wasn't even coming in from a good place on the park, and was often from just inside Villa's half, and right down the throats of the Villa defence. When Dunc did get a good knock down, more often than not there was nobody in there to get on the end of it. Very, very poor.

.Hopefully this performance was just a one off, but I have to say that I doubt if it will be. We will always be a good side away from home playing this way, but I think we will struggle badly at home against a packed defence, or the well organised team, because we are lacking any guile from midfield at the moment. The best we see from there is the chip over the top for Andrei.

Another thing about the Villa game: I, and everyone around me, thought that the ref was atrocious. He seemed like he did not want to make a decision that would have a drastic effect on the match. How we did not get a penalty for a blatant trip/push I will never know, and also how Staunton stayed on after that tackle on Barrett within about 5 mins of being booked was another complete mystery.

Marks awarded:

Weybridge Away Day

David Taylor: The Everton Supporters Club, Weybridge Branch, made their first pilgrimage of the season last night, however the other two members were on a no-show, so it was down to myself. Added to that, the founder member, Barry Andersen, has dropped out of attending one of our easiest fixtures to get to this Saturday... I wonder how much longer we can continue to keep this branch open!!

I arrived very early to the ground, giving plenty of time to check out the two shops, and I ended up purchasing the Everton Mouse Mat, which sits proudly next to me....

Anyway, to the game. I was surprised that Kan-Kan was playing, as rumours had been flying around that he was tired. Also Yorke and Milosevic - radio reports on the news suggested they also would not be playing...  Behold, all three played.

The ground looked full - apart from a fair section in the away end - and the reception as the teams came out was great. Maybe this affected our boys a bit as we seemed very slow out of the box, and early on it looked like Villa's 3-5-2 was going to give us problems, particularly as Short and Unsie didn't appear to have specific instructions as to who was picking up Yorke/Milososhit (I'll explain this later). Added to this the wing backs and midfield breaking at pace, we were always going to be stretched when the counter-attacks came.

After about 10 minutes we began to pick up, and Speed had a header cleared off the line. We really took a grip on the game as the half wore on, Parkie and Grant were beginning to get to grips with Villa's three -man midfield and things looked promising. Kan-Kan was playing havoc down the right, Staunton and Wright were struggling against his pace. However, it was one of Kan's more frustrating nights -- he always appeared to have made the wrong decision -- shooting when he should have crossed, crossing when he should have shot.

Hinchey was always the escape route when things got tight in the middle, and had a good game. Fergie hit the post in the last minute of the first half after Kan-Kan failed to take it round the keeper and the ball rebounded to Fergie's head - one of those instant reaction efforts that either look brilliant or make a clown of you. It was brilliant but 3 inches the wrong side of the centre of the post. By the way did anybody on the Bullens side or at the Park end think we should have had a penalty in the first half when Speed (?) was tripped just inside the box? The resultant free kick was just outside of the box, Hinchey took the kick and Stuart was unlucky with his effort.

Back to Milososhit. The incident publicised in the papers said Short was unlucky not to get a red card for retaliation. He retaliated after getting a full-bloodied right-hook in his face. Milososhit was regularly booed after that. He was also guilty of some very unsubtle pushes in our box (unpunished) and, when substituted near the end, walked off so slowly the grass had grown by the time he was off.

Enough of that - second half we started (after 2 minutes of pressure from Villa) to really press home, but again a combination of Kan-Kan's seemingly wrong decisions, and the fact that Fergie flicked a lot of stuff with no-one coming on to it we failed to score. Villa's fast breaking wing-backs and midfield caused us more and more problems, and it was no surprise when they finally scored.

Rideout came on for Stuart, and instead of pushing on tried to play a Grantona type of role. He just looked out of place. I was surprised that JR didn't try a bit of Limpar magic.

Thoughts from the night:

Laugh of the night:

Unsie's foray's forward -- he's like an express train that no-one wants to stop. Funniest of all was his run and shot in the first half -- it went nearly 2/3rds of the way into the back of the Park end from at least 25 yards!!!

Villa show the style to cling to a lofty position

David Maddock, The Times: IT IS early enough, of course to make hazardous even the most informed of predictions but Aston Villa are beginning to get that look about them. It is the style and, more importantly, the confidence, of a side that knows it has hit upon a winning formula.

A goal by Ugo Ehiogu was enough to secure victory and propel them into second place in the FA Carling Premiership. The manner in which they withstood the challenge of a direct and effective Everton team suggests they can maintain their lofty position.

Both sides had started the season as though in the mood to challenge the orthodoxy at the summit of the Premiership. The full house illustrated the air of anticipation that has gripped the Everton support, and it is a similar story at Villa Park. There is genuine belief, a feeling lacking at both clubs for a decade or more.

But is it appropriate? Well, Everton are strong enough physically to pose problems for any side, but their strength is not in depth. Villa on the other hand, have a squad as strong as any, but do they have the resolve?

Everton are well equipped to ask that question. Their main channel was identified quickly by Glenn Hoddle, the England manager, if not by everyone else. Hinchcliffe has a searching left foot, and he uses it intelligently to find Ferguson.

It is predictable, but difficult to defend. The left back, or wing back as he is now known, sent over three dangerous crosses in the first half, producing chances for Speed, Ferguson and Kanchelskis. All were declined. Speed's early header was the closest, cleared from the line by Wright.

The Villa defence was nervous, but intact. Going forward they posed some serious questions with a stylish display of counter-attacking. Curcic has vision and Draper instinct. Villa lacked anyone in the first half to convert their chances though. Milosevic, on his first start this season, began as he left off: wayward. Yorke is struggling to recapture his early season form of last year. Milosevic shot woefully wide from close range, Yorke came close to converting a cross from Draper, but that was it from the front men.

They were shackled by the strength of the home team, and it was left to Draper and Townsend to threaten, the former producing two smart saves from Southall. The best chance of the half, however was missed by Kanchelskis, who shot against the goalkeeper's legs when clear, with Ferguson heading the rebound against the post.

The game was a rare contest between two differing styles. Villa's guile began to give them the edge, but the goal was a perfect irony. The visitors for once adopted the more-direct approach of their opponents. It came in the 62nd minute, with Nelson drilling in a deep cross from the right that Yorke, hanging in the air at the far post, did well to divert into the path of the onrushing Ehiogu.

Ehiogu keeps it simple

William Johnson, Electronic Telegraph: A SIMPLE strike by Ugo Ehiogu brought Everton's bright new dawn to an unexpected end last night and earned Aston Villa a third successive victory after their opening-day defeat at Sheffield Wednesday.

Ehiogu spent much of the Goodison encounter helping his fellow central defenders, Gareth Southgate and Steve Staunton, cope with the aerial menace of the formidable Duncan Ferguson but the former England Under-21 captain found time to make his crucial sortie forward in the 62nd minute. He profited from splendid work at the far post from Dwight Yorke in heading down a cross from the Portuguese full-back Fernando Nelson, the finish from the middle of the six-yard area giving goalkeeper Neville Southall no chance.

The goal marked a powerful second-half resurgence by Villa after they had withstood heavy Everton pressure before the interval. Yorke had almost put Brian Little's side in front a few minutes earlier with a tremendous rising drive which Southall could only watch strike the underside of the crossbar.

After falling behind, Everton lacked the verve which they had shown beforehand and rarely looked like equalising. Their only serious threat in the closing stages came when the disappointing Gary Speed hooked a shot on to the top of the netting.

Villa, who had escaped when Southgate sliced a clearance only inches over his own crossbar, had the opportunities to have won more comfortably.Mark Draper was only narrowly wide with a low shot and substitute Tommy Johnson brought the best out of Southall with a clever shot on the turn from the edge of the penalty area.

Report Copyright The Electronic Telegraph

Results and League Table

Wednesday, 4 September 1996

ARSENAL                 3-3    CHELSEA                   38,132  
Merson(44) Keown(63) Wright(77) Leboeuf(pen 6) Vialli(30) Wise(90) BLACKBURN ROVERS 0-1 LEEDS UNITED 23,226 Harte(40) COVENTRY CITY 0-1 LIVERPOOL 23,021
Laursen(25) Beckham(38) EVERTON 0-1 ASTON VILLA 39,115
Emerson(12) Mustoe(28) Hughes(75)
Ravanelli(52) Stamp(81)
Dryden(53) Le Tissier(89) Campbell(4) Saunders(23) SUNDERLAND 1-2 NEWCASTLE UNITED 22,037
Scott(pen 19) Beardsley(52) Ferdinand(62) WIMBLEDON 1-0 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 17,506

Monday, 2 September 1996

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY     2-1    LEICESTER CITY            17,657  
Humphreys(25) Booth(51) Claridge(28)

Table after 4 September 1996

Club                          P    W    D    L   GF   GA   GD  Pts
Sheffield Wednesday           4    4    0    0    8    3    5   12 
Aston Villa                   4    3    0    1    5    2    3    9 
Chelsea                       4    2    2    0    6    3    3    8 
Liverpool                     4    2    2    0    6    3    3    8 
Arsenal                       4    2    1    1    7    5    2    7 
Leeds United                  4    2    1    1    5    5    0    7 
Manchester United             4    1    3    0    8    5    3    6 
Newcastle United              4    2    0    2    5    5    0    6 
Middlesbrough                 4    1    2    1    8    6    2    5 
Sunderland                    4    1    2    1    5    3    2    5 
***EVERTON***                 4    1    2    1    4    3    1    5 
Tottenham Hotspur             4    1    2    1    3    2    1    5 
Nottingham Forest             4    1    2    1    7    7    0    5 
Leicester City                4    1    1    2    3    5   -2    4 
West Ham United               4    1    1    2    4    8   -4    4 
Derby County                  4    0    3    1    5    7   -2    3 
Wimbledon                     4    1    0    3    1    6   -5    3 
Southampton                   4    0    2    2    4    6   -2    2 
Blackburn Rovers              4    0    1    3    2    6   -4    1 
Coventry City                 4    0    1    3    1    7   -6    1

This League Table Update provided by Lawrence "Leagueman" Breakey

This Match Report Compilation was prepared by Kermit the Blue Frog for Marko Poutiainen. 12 Dec 1996.