Nottingham Forest v Everton


FA Carling Premiership 96/97 - Game 10
Monday 28 October 1996; City Ground, Nottingham

Live on Sky TV

Result: Nottingham Forest (0) 0 - Everton (1) 1
Short 5

Nottingham Forest: Crossley, Lyttle, Cooper, Chettle, Phillips, Gemmill, Saunders, Lee, Woan, Haaland, Roy (Allen 64).
Subs Not Used: Fettis, Jerkan, Howe, Blatherwick. Booked: Cooper.

Everton: Southall; Unsworth, Watson (c), Short; Barrett, Parkinson, Speed, Hinchcliffe; Kanchelskis, Branch (78 Grant), Stuart. Booked: Short.
Subs Not Used: Gerrard, Hottiger, Allen, Limpar. Unavailable: Ferguson (suspended), Rideout (injured)

Ref: Paul Durkin Att: 19,892 League Position: 8th Results and League Table

Previous Match: Everton v West Ham United - Next Match: Everton v Coventry City
Postponed: Liverpool v Everton Rearranged for 20 November @ 7:45pm

Match Summary

Daily Mail SoccerNet: Craig Short's gift of a fifth-minute headed goal enabled Everton to jump seven places to eighth in the Premiership.

It was their third successive victory and manager Joe Royle promised an improvement. 'We can play a lot better than that,' he said. 'There's much more to come. It was a great three points but not a great performance -- even though we are now only four points off a European place.'

Forest goalkeeper Mark Crossley was the fall guy on a night when Everton were the stronger, more confident side in appalling conditions -- a gusty wind and continuous rain. As Andy Hinchcliffe's inswinging corner came in, Crossley allowed Short to leave his position close to the goal-line and head beyond him from four yards.

Forest are third from bottom of the Premiership and lacking confidence and goals. The uncertainty about the club's future, unlikely to be resolved at Thursday's annual shareholders meeting, is undermining the morale of a side who have not won a League game since the opening day of the season.

Relegation is looming and, with no money to strengthen the squad, manager Frank Clark faces a tough winter. Clark said: 'We've yet to win at home and the longer it goes on, the more it becomes a problem. But there's no magic wand. We've just got to work hard to put things right.'

Forest should have conceded more goals. Inexperience by 18-year-old striker Michael Branch let them off in the 24th minute when Steve Chettle underhit his backpass on the waterlogged pitch. Branch ran on, cut in from the right and tried a shot, firing into the side netting instead of pulling the ball back to Graham Stuart.

The next best chance fell to Andrei Kanchelskis in the 79th minute when, with Forest pouring forward, he was left alone to dribble 40 yards with only Crossley to beat. But he failed to take the ball round the keeper and the chance was lost.

Most of Forest's goal attempts came from long range but Jason Lee was unlucky in the 29th minute when he headed a David Phillips free kick just over the bar. The kick had been awarded after Short was cautioned for fouling Phillips.

Forest defender Colin Cooper, frustrated earlier when he sent a free kick from 23 yards wastefully over the bar, was cautioned late on for fouling substitute Tony Grant.

Clark's side missed the inspirational qualities of skipper Stuart Pearce, who is still out with a back injury, and Kevin Campbell missed his 10th successive game having suffered an ankle injury playing in the reserves after finally shrugging off his hamstring problem.

With no money to buy new players, manager Clark said: 'I'm not enjoying the job too much at the moment, but I'm not walking around with a long face.'

Everton's Dave Watson played his first full match of the season at the expense of John Ebbrell and Royle said: 'I thought he was terrific. That's three wins in a row now, but there's much more to come. Duncan Ferguson will be back and he's been terrific in training.'

A far flung, chilly, wind-swept corner

Guy McEvoy: The clocks going back meant that for the first time this season I set off to a match in the dark, add to this the horrendous driving rain and swirling winds and an M1 that chugged at about 40 mph all the way down and you get the feeling that we've finally settled down to the nitty gritty of the football season.

Considering the fact that it was a Monday night and the game was televised, there was a handsome contingent of Blues fans dumb enough to suffer a bleak journey and then pay the eighteen pound entrance fee for a less than satisfactory seat behind the goal.

The return of Dave Watson was a boost for the shivering faithful as was another first team start for Branchy.

First Half

After an impeccably observed minutes silence in tribute to Matthew Harding, the game started frenetically. It quickly became clear that the amount of water on the surface was going to make control extremely difficult. Kanchelskis therefore decided to test the Forest keeper very early on with a long shot that had to be palmed wide. From the resulting corner, Andy did his thing, Short seemed to find space with no one interested and that made it 1-0. Dream start!

My friends all know that I always (and I mean ALWAYS) back Craig Short to score first goal as he's always about 40-1 and will likely do it about 3 or 4 times a season. I've backed him every single game he's played for the last two seasons. Except last night! C'est la vie.

The game then went on a bit of a downward turn with Forest managing to settle themselves a bit and Everton finding penetration difficult. Passing movements that went in a semi-circle around the box with no thrust inside were all to common, however, any breakthrough looked most likely to come from Branch, who was back to full enthusiasm, chasing and winning the impossible.

Everton's best chance of the half fell to the youngster who broke to the line on the right and should have played it back to Stuart, however saw enough of a gap to try a Marko van Bastan, the only way you're going to avoid criticism for doing something like that is if you stick it in. He didn't, and the bollocking he received from Stuart looked fierce.

Second Half

In truth the second half offered little extra to warm up the crowd. Everton seemed content with a possession game whilst Forest seemed to lack enough coherence to offer a genuine threat. Dean Saunders' poor all round play gave reason to be glad we never got him and Jason Lee, pineapple or not, still looked ever the Donkey.

The best chance again fell to Everton, this time after one of those world-class long passes that sub Grant periodically finds to pick out Kanchelskis. Andrei made a mess of his attempt to round the keeper and a more senior pro should have picked up more criticism than Branch did in the first half.

By the end of the game, Forest's frustrated fans above the Everton contingent were desperately trying to get a "Clarke Out!" chant going, and the Everton fans had largely given up on the football and taken to their own private theme party involving taking off your shirt and swirling it a la Duncan. Not recommended in those sort of temperatures. Needless to say the over zealous Forest stewards were quick to get the police in to clamp down on this as it clearly constituted fun. Can't have fun at the City Ground now can we?

Well, in fact all-in-all I did have fun, despite a miserable drive, miserable weather, miserably priced ticket, miserable seat and less than classic game of football, there is nothing like an away win to up the mood. Third win on the trot and nightmare September is now seeming a very distant memory.

Individual Marks

Rain Forest

Dave Shepherd: Hats off to whoever laid the new turf at the City Ground a few years ago! The division's worst clay bog has been replaced by wonder-turf that played like a dream even though it was utterly saturated.

Outside, drains clogged with leaves left every gutter brimming. Continuous rain from the mini Welsh hurricane made the rainfall at least as heavy as that to which Anfield capitulated, but incredibly the odds-on postponement never happened.

Talking of hats off, there was a minute's silence for the Guatemala and Harding disasters. There may now not be a minute for Guatemala at the Anfield derby.. .a pity because there could be no event where the tragedy would have been more empathised with.

First Half

The first action proved that the sodden turf was taking studs well enough not to be a farce, and was slightly cautious and evenly balanced. Then Everton's first corner gave them the lead. A Hinchcliffe delivery found Short right in front of Crossley, and nobody challenged (or held) him as he met it smack on and powered it in. A sweet 40-1 for anyone who had a few bob on him.

It was a great corner but a soft goal. With the surface making any sharp ball skid, and any player with momentum slide like a Keystone Kop, one was never going to be enough, but it was nice to be ahead at a bogey ground. Everton spent the next 10 minutes confidently advancing and pressing for more. The combination of central and right-wing speed threats from Branch and Kanchelskis kept examining the Psycholess defence, and the Red midfield couldn't keep the ball for long enough.

Unfortunately this exhibition sputtered then all but died after 15 minutes. The change coincided with the disappointment of a Branch miss -- clear through he took it a bit too far and a bit too wide then comfortably missed the near post slot and hit the middle of the side net. The rest of the half was very forgettable (but Everton extend their lead on top of the 'half-time table'!?!)

Second Half

Forest started the second half as if they were determined -- but this resolve was shallow, and sank without trace after a few more bad passes brought out a handful of the least patient home knives. Now coasting, a 1-0 win was looking more and more likely.

This worrying lack of urgency in seeking a safety margin goal took a kick near the hour when not Forest, but referee Durkin reminded everyone how vulnerable a lead can be. An easy high ball for Southall was in the process of being taken 2 feet off the line when an attacker shoulder charged him and over went Nev and the ball fell loose. Nobody even appeals, because since the 1950s, shoulder charges are illegal, and in the six yard box, referees apply excruciating cotton-wool protection to keepers who are even breathed on. A blue defender hacks the ball away for safety... and just as well, because Durkin waves play on!

(Durkin of course was the cabbage who sent off Ferguson at Leicester, sent off Samways for retaliating to a punch but ignored the puncher, and refused to acknowledge the video evidence that there was no elbow. This cost us two points, and the suspensions resulting nearly sent us down. Mr Durkin is on the FIFA list, is from Portland in Dorset and supported M** U** as a boy).

Whatever the reason for this Arthur C. Clarke decision, it actually woke Everton and their supporters up a bit and made them concentrate harder on at least taking the possession battle seriously even if attacks were still in short supply. This was just as well because Mr Durkin was a long way from being finished.

A long chip effort by Forest looked for a second to have caught Southall, but he recovered and tried to tip the ball over the bar for insurance. The ball was in fact just too high, and cleared both bar and glove, but Durkin gave a corner.

Then worst of all, Dean Saunders turned on the edge of the D and dived. By now it was 5 minutes left, -- time for a desperation dive. Durkin not only bought it, he probably had shares in it. Blues fans were livid, and threw away all concessions to sympathy and charity towards the wilting Forest, cheering loudly as an attempted Pearce-like Exocet free-kick was comfortably too high.

Royle had acted a few minutes previously with a defensive substitution, bringing on Grant for Branch. This turned out to be a genius switch, because Rodders was in superstar mode and made his opponents look like plonkers. Left with time on the ball his play selection is brilliant and his delivery deadly. He released Kanchelskis for his only clear run of the night... inexplicably AK-17 did something I've never seen him do before, he didn't shoot but tried to round the keeper! Poorer keepers than Crossley could have made the smother.

Thanks to Grant's edge, Everton spent the vital closing minutes with a huge share of possession. This was vital, because Durkin conjured up a full 5 minutes of mystery bonus injury time from nowhere before finally realising that Forest could not even be bothered to fake an attempt at taking advantage of it, and he blew for time.

So a second successive underachieving EFC performance nets another three points. But if you're thinking we're jammy, I refer you to the 8 points we've previously dropped this season to teams we'd played off the park.

Forest looked altogether a team that were beating themselves. With their only other recent loss at home to Everton being the year they went down, this means the icy finger of the relegation spectre is currently pointing firmly Trentwards.


TEAM PERFORMANCE: - 6 - After a bright start, Everton laboured badly against a team with its self-confidence shot to pieces. They also played suicidal chicken with a one-goal lead again, which against a bogey ground and a bogey ref is raving stupidity.

Ref: P. Durkin (Portland) Natural ability is quite good, but Durkin spoils it all by getting rushes of blood. The little devil in his ear whispers 'NOW' and he flexes his authority by making outrageous decisions. A disaster looking for somewhere to happen.

Forest were awful

J Boyer: Not the greatest of games but the pitch did not help that (mind you it wasn't postponed because of shoddy drainage). Forest really were awful. Brilliant header from Short. Superb performance from Barrett. Andrei played OK but was too preoccupied with running across the pitch. Should have been more than 1-0.


Hardly "mind-numbing"

Fergus Duncanson in Southampton: I think Peter Drury's Radio 5 Live report last night didn't do the match justice. True enough, it was never a classic, but I wouldn't call it "mind-numbing". Sky have picked better matches to cover.

Everton won doing just enough, no more than necessary, in a match they would have been disappointed not to have won. The defence looked solid in the face of what little threat Forest posed, Watson typically playing on with a cut to his mouth, Short playing well generally as well as scoring the winner, and Unsworth making some timely interventions.

It was the Earl of Barrett who really caught my eye, playing possibly his best game yet in blue. Defensively he was excellent, and didn't look bad going forward although he seemed scared to cross the ball, looking for Kanchelskis every time. Mind you, this may have been due to the lack of aerial presence up-front in Stuart and Branch.

KanKan looked dangerous again- is he approaching last season's form? Speed and Parki were hardly involved- which might suggest how benign Forest were, if we can win without needing a good game out of Parki. He did produce a sublime moment in the second half, a superb piece of work creating the space on the edge of the centre circle for him to strike the pass of the match down the left for Hinchy.

The only comparable moment came from Grantona (on for Branch), who put Kanchelskis through. Last season he'd have buried the chance; last night he tried to round Crossley who did well to smother. Hinchy played his England role, getting into threatening positions and hitting good crosses in, and supplying the corner from which Short headed the goal after 5 mins.

The key to the goal was, he got up early. Ate a good breakfast, showered, opened the mail, left the house in good time to be airborne before the Forest defenders. A soft goal that he shouldn't have been allowed to score.


Not a great game, but they won without over-extending themselves. Could have controlled the game, but didn't. At least it's a win.

US Couch Potato

Clive Blackmore in North America: The weather was attrocious as were Forest, we were just a little bit better. I thought the defence was the best part of the team. Midfield? Did we have one?

In the USA (and elsewhere on ESPN International), the commentators on ESPN2 are Mike Hill and Tommy Smyth, (no, not the animal from across the park). He is the worst colour commentator I have heard -- he ain't biased, he is just crap. His two favourite expressions are:

  1. He pulled the trigger (he shot)
  2. Hit the old onion bag (its a goal).

The worst thing about it is that they are only pretending to be at the ground.  In reality, they are sitting in front of a giant projection TV in Bristol, Connecticut, with one ear on the Sky commentary so they can work out (belattedly) what is going on off-camera. Pretty sad.

Anyway, they stated that Barmby was going to Leeds with Sharpe going the other way, WRONG LADS !!!! :-)

Hope we can play better next week as it is on ESPN2 again.

Short pushes Forest into troubled water

David Miller, The Times: THE long-term forecast is looking increasingly bleak for Nottingham Forest: widespread frost, cracked pipes and maybe the roof blown off. Their dismal performance on a drenched pitch at the City Ground last night earned justifiable rebuke from their patient followers, still awaiting their first home win of the season.

A combative victory by Everton lifted them seven places, back into the top half of the table with a match in hand. Every win has to be earned, but it would not be possible to measure Everton's prospects accurately on the strength of this performance against spiritless opponents. Anyone taking over Forest will acquire a property standing upon a crumbling cliff. The club's annual meeting is on Thursday.

Forest may be without Stone and Campbell, who have prolonged injuries, and last night they were additionally missing Pearce and Bart-Williams, yet there was no excuse for the lack of commitment from some players. For Frank Clark, an able manager who looks worried sick, to say that "the players gave everything", glossed over the truth, which did not escape judgment by the crowd. The team left the field to derisive boos.

Everton, though shorn of Ferguson, were always dictating, physically and mentally. Their three-five-two formation, with Watson returning after a long absence, mastered Clark's experimental but ineffective line-up, which had Saunders on the right flank of midfield. Roy might as well not have bothered to leave the dressing-room: his substitution on the hour was half an hour too late. Everton already looked sure of their third victory in four games.

Had young Branch, a thrilling 18-year-old bursting with pace, and Kanchelskis not squandered glaring openings in each half, Forest, utterly without confidence, would have been truly buried. There is no money to buy, and from Crossley, in goal, right through the team there is a visible, gnawing anxiety that repeatedly led to tense errors on a pitch that was a defender's nightmare.

The only goal came in the sixth minute. Forest had seen a half-chance come and go, Lee missing from close range after a diagonal cross by Saunders. In continuous heavy rain during the first half, the ball was at times almost unplayable, splashing upon landing and throwing up a spume of spray like a bicycle wheel when running along the ground.

Kanchelskis was one of the few who always seemed able to retain a sure foothold, and it was he who opened the way for the goal. Accelerating down the right flank, he turned inside past Haaland, and let fly a low left-foot shot. Crossley went down but could not hold the ball in the difficult conditions and it skidded away for a corner. Hinchcliffe came across from the left to hit an inswinging, left-footed kick. Short, Everton's tall and able defender, was allowed to head home almost unopposed from just inside the six-yard area. If Crossley had made up his mind, he could surely have reached the ball first.

Everton should have gone further ahead after 25 minutes. Chettle, turning awkwardly, mis-hit a back pass into the path of Branch, who raced to the byline and cut in towards the near post. With Stuart waiting unmarked on the far post, Branch chose to hammer the ball into the outside of the side-netting from an acute angle.

On the half-hour, Forest came their closest to saving the day. Short was booked for a cynical foul on Phillips, 20 yards out, and, from the free kick -­ a swerving inswinger struck by Phillips -­ Lee, on the far post, headed sharply just above the crossbar.

However much Forest tried in the second half, their challenge had all the solidity of wet sand. In one of the few moments they were on target, a header by Saunders was touched over the crossbar by Southall. Shortly after that, Kanchelskis zipped through the middle only to allow Crossley to advance way out and smother the ball with a timely dive.

"Without being at our best, we held them, and were always dangerous on the break," Joe Royle, the Everton manger, said. Clark looked as though he could do with the smelling salts.

Short towers over Forest to reverse the decline

Henry Winter, Electronic Telegraph: RUMOURS of Everton's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Joe Royle's side rose to eighth in the Premiership following Craig Short's early goal at the City Ground last night. Reports of Nottingham Forest's decline are far more accurate.

The contrast between the two sides was as relentless and noticeable as the rain that threatened to turn the pitch into a tributary of the Trent. Everton played with more belief, more shape and more determination. Despite missing Duncan Ferguson, who was completing his suspension, Everton won with a goal that their talismanic target man would have been proud of, a towering header by Short.

If the future suddenly looks more promising for Everton, these are worrying weeks for Forest. Without a win in the League since the first day of the season, and with self-doubt exacerbated by talk of takeovers, Forest have been in a freefall which precipitated a brief show of disapproval. Short-lived chants of "What a load of rubbish" echoed around the ground as the game slunk to its conclusion.

Forest's players had called on their supporters to show patience during these troubled times. Given the inclement conditions for a match being televised live, a turnout of 19,892 was decent enough. But the worst start imaginable must have left the Trent End pondering the merits of loyalty.

Alf-Inge Haaland had been deputed to shadow Andrei Kanchelskis, who simply responded to this perceived inconvenience by cutting inside and forcing a corner out of Mark Crossley. Forest's defensive frailty, so surprising after last season's obdurate displays across Europe, was swiftly exposed.

With no Stuart Pearce to breathe orders and defiance -- a back injury precluded the England international's presence -- Everton found a clearing in the Forest defence. Andy Hinchciffe's whipped-in corner was met by Short, unmarked and dangerous, his downward header spitting past Mark Crossley.

Frank Clark's defenders looked at each other, their faces showing confusion and consternation. They might also have cast a questioning glance at Crossley, who should have come for a ball curling into his six-yard box. Maybe an English-born goalkeeper who flirted with Scotland will pick up some lessons from the old master, Everton's Neville Southall, while on Welsh duty.

Forest were to finish the half in more assertive mood but now, with Everton chasing every loose ball, the hosts really did look there for the taking. Their attacking capabilities were diminished by the side's imbalance, with Ian Woan tucking inside on the left and Dean Saunders playing out wide on the right. Throughout the first half, neither Jason Lee nor Bryan Roy showed any sign of shaking off the visitors' three-man central-defensive blanket.

Forest's lack of fire must have aggravated the Trent End

Such lack of punch contrasted with the hunger etched in every movement of young Michael Branch, whose tenacity and pace ensured Forest's defenders could never relax. When Steve Chettle misjudged a skidding ball after 23 minutes, Branch nipped in. Everton would have been looking at a two-goal edge if Branch had found Graham Stuart, available to his left, rather than the side-netting.

The contrast between Everton's desire, embodied by the returning Dave Watson, and Forest's lack of fire must have aggravated the Trent End. Yet they soon began to voice their support, the message of urgency quickly conveying to the players, who increased their work rates.

At last, Forest began to play one-twos around Southall's box. At last, they found an element of width on the left. When David Phillips skipped down the inside-left channel, the first real buzz of expectation emerged from Forest's supporters. Short, foolishly, dived in rather than allowing Phillips to continue his run away from goal. After rising from the sodden turf, Phillips directed a free-kick towards the far post, which Lee headed wide of the goal.

Forest needed revitalising. On the hour, Clark removed the ineffectual Roy and introduced Chris Allen, a switch that allowed Saunders to push forward. Saunders, one of five Welshmen on view, added an element of menace and unpredictability to Forest's attack. Within 10 minutes, he had troubled Southall at the near post and then forced his compatriot into a fine tip-over.

Everton were indebted to Short as well as Southall. Their goalscorer was quick to notice the speed and direction of Nottingham Forest's forays, often intervening with simple block or clever challenge.

Royle's side enjoyed opportunities to make the points safe.

Kancheslskis shot wide while Gary Speed was denied by an exceptional save from Crossley. If that was impressive, Forest's keeper then produced an even more eye-catching stop. Kanchelskis had raced 50 yards and shaped to go round Crossley when the keeper, measuring the situation perfectly, dropped down to grasp the ball.

Earl Barrett, the Everton full-back, received the man-of-the-match award.

Report Copyright The Electronic Telegraph

Results and League Table

Monday, 28 October 1996

NOTTINGHAM FOREST       0-1     EVERTON                   19,892

Sunday, 27 October 1996

LIVERPOOL               2-1     DERBY COUNTY              39,515
Fowler(47,51)                   Ward(89)

Saturday, 26 October 1996

ARSENAL                 3-0     LEEDS UNITED              38,076
Dixon(1) Bergkamp(5) Wright(55)
CHELSEA                 3-1     TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR         28,373
Gullit(27) Lee(pen:52)          Armstrong(41)
Di Matteo(80)
COVENTRY CITY 0-0 SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY 17,267 LEICESTER CITY 2-0 NEWCASTLE UNITED 21,134 Claridge(17) Heskey(79) MIDDLESBROUGH 0-0 WIMBLEDON 29,758 SOUTHAMPTON 6-3 MANCHESTER UNITED 15,253 Berkovic(6,83) Le Tissier(35) Beckham(41) May(56) Osenstadt(45,86,89) Scholes (89) SUNDERLAND 1-0 ASTON VILLA 21,059 Stewart(25) WEST HAM UNITED 2-1 BLACKBURN ROVERS 23,947 Porfirio(77) Berg(og:85) Berg(9)

Table after 28 October 1996

Club                          P    W    D    L   GF   GA   GD  Pts
Arsenal                      11    7    3    1   22    8   14   24 
Newcastle United             11    8    0    3   20   11    9   24 
Liverpool                    10    7    2    1   20    8   12   23 
Wimbledon                    11    7    1    3   20   11    9   22 
Manchester United            11    5    4    2   22   17    5   19 
Chelsea                      11    5    4    2   19   16    3   19 
Aston Villa                  11    4    3    4   13   11    2   15 
***EVERTON***                10    4    3    3   11   11    0   15 
Sheffield Wednesday          11    4    3    4   12   16   -4   15 
Tottenham Hotspur            11    4    2    5   11   11    0   14 
West Ham United              11    4    2    5   11   15   -4   14 
Leicester City               11    4    2    5    9   13   -4   14 
Middlesbrough                11    3    4    4   16   18   -2   13 
Sunderland                   11    3    4    4    9   11   -2   13 
Southampton                  11    3    3    5   20   16    4   12 
Derby County                 11    2    5    4   10   14   -4   11 
Leeds United                 11    3    1    7    8   18  -10   10 
Nottingham Forest            11    1    5    5   10   18   -8    8 
Coventry City                11    1    5    5    4   14  -10    8 
Blackburn Rovers             11    0    4    7    6   16  -10    4

This League Table Update provided by Lawrence "Leagueman" Breakey

This Match Report Compilation was prepared by Michael Kenrick for Marko Poutiainen. 26 Nov 1996.