Tottenham Hotspur v Everton

THFC LogoEFC LogoFA Carling Premiership 96/97 - Game 3
Saturday 24 August 1996; White Hart Lane, London

Result: Tottenham Hotspur 0 - Everton 0
Scorers: None

Tottenham Hotspur: Walker, Edinburgh, Howells, Calderwood, Fox, Sheringham, Armstrong (Rosenthal, 30), Wilson, Campbell, Sinton, Dozzell.
Subs not used: Nethercott, McMahon, Kerslake, Baardsen. Booked: Calderwood.

Everton: Southall; Barrett, Hinchcliffe, Unsworth (c), Short; Speed, Grant, Kanchelskis, Parkinson; Stuart (76 Rideout), Ferguson.
Subs Not Used: Gerrard, Hottiger ,Ebbrell, Branch. Booked: Speed, Short. Injured: Watson.

Ref: Roger Dilkes Att: 29,696 League Position: 8th Other Results and League Table

Previous Match: Manchester United v Everton - Next Match: Everton v Aston Villa

Match Summary

Soccernet: The great Scot was tamed at White Hart Lane today in a tenacious Tottenham performance, Gerry Francis' team shaking off further injury trouble to keep Everton's Duncan Ferguson and Andrei Kanchelskis at bay.

On the back of impressive showings against Newcastle and then Manchester United, Everton may have been fancied to get the better of Spurs -- especially after striker Chris Armstrong, two-goal hero on the opening day at Blackburn, was carried off with a damaged ankle just before the half-hour to join Darren Anderton and Gary Mabbutt on the casualty list.

Spurs had their luck as well, mind you, especially when Everton defender Craig Short headed wide a Graham Stuart cross, totally unmarked with only keeper Ian Walker to beat four minutes into the second half.

Ferguson, a scourge of defences since his comeback from suspension and injury, had also been off target two minutes earlier, lobbing over from close range with Spurs defence tottering. Walker came to the London team's rescue though by turning Stuart's header against a corner following Ferguson's flick from a corner in the 68th minute. He also defied Ferguson when the striker was allowed to run on, suspiciously offside, six minutes from the end.

But a disappointing spectacle served up by two of the Premiership's unbeaten teams perhaps didn't deserve a goal, although Everton always looked the more likely winners on a ground where they have not had a League victory for 11 years.

The first half was almost a complete right-off as far as quality and entertainment was concerned. Everton started brightly but with outstanding defenders Sol Campbell and particularly Clive Wilson, who had Kanchelskis in his pocket, Spurs gradually turned the blue tide away from their goal.

With more accurate passing they could have gone on to take control. They still had to survive a difficult start to the second half when Ferguson and Short should both have scored but by the finish Tottenham were giving as good as they received.

Substitute Ronny Rosenthal should have done better with an edge-of-the box volley that flew wide after Teddy Sheringham, largely anonymous otherwise, panicked two Everton defenders into surrendering possession.

Ken Dodd's Dad's Dog's Dead

Guy McEvoy: So said the graffiti welcoming the scousers in enormous letters as we all got off at Severn Sisters station. To be honest, baring a brief spell in the second half, that was about the most entertained I got in North London that afternoon.

Captain David Unsworth led a team with one change from the United game and that was Tony (or Anthony as the tannoy announcer called him) Grant taking the place of John Ebbrell. I have to admit I was relishing this as (with the exception of the injured Watson) we now had the team I'd been advocating for yonks should be our first choice.

Unfortunately, the immediate blitz-kreig I expected didn't come, if anything Spurs started off the stronger. Certainly Armstrong gave us cause for serious concern at the start of the game but fortunately for us he picked up a bad injury inside 20 minutes and played no further part in proceedings, making way for the much less daunting Rosenthal.

The first half -- except for a couple of half chances for Spurs -- was therefore reasonably forgettable. At least it was on the pitch. Off the pitch, some of the most intimidating stewarding I've encountered (we're talking about blokes on big power trips) combined with fans who'd had a little too much to drink (the chap next but one to me slept through the entire game) led to an unfortunate scuffle that could very easily have got completely out of hand.  

Fortunately, a female steward was on hand to chill out what her male counterpart had single handily created and thankfully the action on the pitch was never going to stir the emotions any more and a nasty situation faded away with the anonymous first half.

After the break, Everton were attacking our end, and they seemed (as they often do at away games) to be lifted by the noise (at Old Trafford both goals were scored in front of the away fans, the collapse came when attacking the other end).

Superiority was soon imposed and at last some noteworthy action flowed our way. The best chances fell to Short and Hinchcliffe. Both players had been irresistibly priced by Mr Ladbroke at 40-1. With a pound on each I was relying on either of them to cover my train fare (45 quid!). First it was Short who, with only Walker to beat and the whole goal to aim for, managed to miss an open header from 5 yards. We are talking a shocker of a miss. A stinker. Forty pounds worth of 'should've buried it'.

Hinchcliffe I forgive a little more. His effort was a fine drive from outside the box that went agonisingly close to the top corner. Unlucky. Another good effort came Ferguson's way with a well controlled long ball beating the off-side trap giving him time to aim and release a powerful drive on target which was very well saved by Walker.

Final blood should have been drawn by Kanchelsksis who managed a trademark run to finally shake off his marker (Clive Wilson, overall my man of the match, shared with Sol bloody Cambel) and should have squared it to Speed for the tap in. A tad on the selfish side though, Andrei got a striker's eye and aimed for the back post, missed and sent the ball past the corner flag for a throw. Embarrassing really.

And so for the second year in a row the long (and distressingly expensive) trip to White Heart Lane ended in a 0-0 draw. A Spurs fan after the game told me he reckoned that "you'll be up there at the end of the season."  Maybe, but not if we can't convert dominance into a lead.

Spurs, I didn't like to tell him, (nah, actually I loved telling him!) certainly won't be up there at the end of the season. Any team that looks as content at sitting on a home draw in this manner clearly lacks the highest ambition.

Individual Performances

In Control at the Poolside

Dave Shepherd: A healthy number, but a strange mixture of Evertonians saw the blues on a sun-and-showers day at White Hart Lane.

Once arrived (the BR station option is a huge improvement on a 20-minute walk from Seven Sisters), you get the first clue of what is going to be a major awayday trial, because Spurs now employ moonlighting nightclub bouncers as stewards at the away end.

You can tell this not so much by their build (very large) as their demeanor (oppressive and inflammatory).

This idea might have been worth a try in the hooligan era, but these days it's a public relations disaster. As if proof were needed of this, scuffles broke out between stewards and fans during the first half when one steward was less than polite in inviting an excessively noisy fan to retake his seat. It s only when you see such debacles that you appreciate the job (most) football police do.

Once inside, the new-look White Hart Lane is a fine monument... to leaving grounds the way they are and not letting cheap-solution architects loose on them. It now looks more like a housing for an Olympic swimming pool rather than a football field.

One was left plenty of time to ponder these things, because the football from both teams was as bland as the atmosphere. Spurs fans had perhaps decided it wasn't worth wasting time shouting since they started without X & Y, and then lost Armstrong to a dodgy string on about half an hour.

The blues meanwhile were playing well but with no bite. It looked all half like a certain 0-0.

The second half was altogether different. Wave after wave of Everton attacks rolled in at the South Stand End with almost no reply. A goal was inevitable. From set pieces Craig Short's head was as dangerous as Ferguson's, and the supply from Hinchy and Andrei was plentiful. For variation Grant and Stuart could push through the middle, and Speed could pop up anywhere.

It was great to watch EFC in such commanding form. The more teams they can dominate early on, the more teams will fear them and end up beating themselves before a ball is kicked in subsequent meetings. That's how Championships are won.

The Everton crowd were rather disappointing... a very untypical selection, and very few of them contributed anything worthwhile to supporting the team. Luckily the team needed no encouragement, but what they did need -- a successful finish or bit of luck -- never came. The final tally was 10 Everton shots on target (Only Newcastle losing at home managed more this week).

Spurs had a small flurry in the last 5 minutes, testing the nerves of those who know Rosenthal's history of late strikes. Everton didn't look very comfortable against quick counter-attacks, but luckily Spurs were way too bad to make any chances serious threats to Nev's second clean sheet out of three.

So it was two points that got away, but confidence level amongst players and fans is excellent. Everton have their fate in their own hands this season. If they learn to win, they are heading for the top.

The Players

TEAM PERFORMANCE: - 8 - Much too pedestrian in the first half, and tailed off slightly at the end, but they put it together for long enough to create a barrel of good chances, and were very unlucky not to win.

Ref: Roger DILKES (Mossley) Typical average ref. Tries hard to be good, but makes elementary errors and ends up being only average. Card threshold:- medium. Card reasonableness:- fairly poor.

Give us a Goal

Graham Williams: This was my first chance to see the Blooz this season. And I must admit I came away feeling a bit frustrated. It was a tight match, with no particularly memorable moments, except my lad's rattle, which he seems to forget to stop whirling, dammit. A goal or two would have made a lot of difference - even if it had been 1-1.

The main news before the kick-off was that Grantona ("Anthony Grant" according to the programme) was selected, and Ebbrell was a sub. And Earl Barrett kept his place.

I thought Tottenham started as competitively as Everton. They are certainly not as soft as they used to be, and struck me as being dangerous at set pieces. They were not quite the same after Armstrong got injured and was subbed by Ronnie the Red. But there seemed no highlights -- except a punch up amongst the Evertonians downstairs. Not sure what it was about, unless there was an Tottenham infiltrator.

Watching Match of the Day later, there seemed to be several good Everton chances in the second half, especially to Short, Big Dunc, Rhino from a corner and Tony Grant. Which is good, even if they were not buried. But I never felt Everton dominated, except in short bursts. I think JR is looking for that magic ingredient - blend.

Some player comments:

So, for the second Match of the Day running, Joe Royle was bemoaning the dropping of points which he felt we should have picked up. If he is not careful he is going to start sounding as much a moaner as R Evans. He is quite right though; I feel we should have got 2 of those 4 points. (And Villa look a good squad to me this year.)

Take some Prozac, Rhino!

Charles Brewer: I went with my son to the match today. I'm sure there will be more detailed reports (and probably more accurate ones) following soon, but I thought I'd give my general impression.

First, we should really have won it. The number of really good openings made was scary. It just reinforces the view that we need a new Lineker or similar.

There were a few odd points, first I have never seen Unsworth so nervous. The og against the team we don't name really seemed to have got to him. Often with acres of space he would belt it into the crowd - safe but not creative.

To me the revelation was Earl Barrett . According to lots of Toffeenetters his distribution is terrible, but today he released Andrei Kanchelskis time after time, he was completely safe in tackles (there was one bizzare decision against him, or I think it was him, since I was wholly unsure what had been supposed to have gone on). I had him down as my Man of the Match

It was a very strange game in some ways with players like Tony Grant playing a horrible dozy first half and an inspired second half. Dunc winning nothing in the air worth mentioning but doing good stuff on the ground. Kanchelskis mixing the glorious and intelligent with the greedy and stupid.

On chances we were a long way ahead, we hit the post (just like last year), missed from about 5 inches out, shot when we should run, and run when we should have shot, but generally tore them apart.

Individual Ratings

Everton dominate but leave short-changed

Deryk Brown in The Sunday Times: EVERTON, handed a tough opening week by the fixtures computer, have responded well, with a win and two draws. They know, however, that they should have beaten an often inept Tottenham Hotspur after opening out in the second half and creating good chances. But somehow Craig Short missed from five yards and, seconds later, goalkeeper Ian Walker pushed Graham Stuart's header against the bar.

Jason Dozzell replaced Darren Anderton, who cried off from Tottenham and England on Friday with more groin trouble. Anderton's absence will hit Tottenham physically and mentally. The White Hart Lane side cannot even seem to challenge for the championship, let alone win it, the long grind not being part of their philosophy. The loss of Gary Mabbutt, with a broken leg, and now Anderton will convince Tottenham that this could be another unproductive season in the Premier League.

Everton made one unenforced change, despite taking four points from the two United's, Newcastle and Manchester. Tony Grant, 21, came into their midfield for John Ebbrell, relegated to substitute.

The opening was graceless, with the ball too often in the air. Everton's prosaic defending was epitomised by David Unsworth, who seemed content just to slam the ball into touch. All eyes were on the visitors' in-form striker Duncan Ferguson, but his contributions were to commit two clumsy fouls and to head clear following an Andy Sinton corner.

Ferguson was limited partly because Sol Campbell, his marker, was having such an impressive game, and partly because Tottenham had the greater share of possession. At least the home side gave the match some shape, especially when Sinton or his fellow winger, Ruel Fox, got the ball. Everton defended deep and hoped to use the speed of Andrei Kanchelskis on the break. The Ukrainian was seldom seen, although early on he hit a testing shot which Walker could not hold.

The better chances fell to Tottenham. Chris Armstrong had a clear sight of goal from an angle but scuffed his shot. It was not to be Armstrong's day as he limped off just before the half-hour after a routine tackle by Andy Hinchcliffe. Earlier, Hinchcliffe had risked decapitation by getting in the way of a 16-yard volley from Fox, who has a fierce shot for a little man. That was as near as Tottenham came in the first half because nothing that Teddy Sheringham, their playmaker, tried came off.

Ronny Rosenthal, Armstrong's replacement, tried to inject some of his customary bustle, playing down the centre alongside Sheringham. But, like Ferguson at the other end, Rosenthal could find no space.

Everton began the second half with more purpose and could have scored at least once in the opening minutes. Short, up from the back, missed two easy chances before Ferguson misdirected a flick from a corner and then failed by inches to get on the end of Kanchelskis's cross.

Tottenham were lost, none more so than Sheringham and the plodding Dozzell, while Fox and Sinton were without their earlier bite. Just past the hour Tottenham lifted themselves a little, but Sheringham was too high with a 20-yard free-kick.

Everton must have known it was not going to be their day when Hinchcliffe, as sure as ever from the set piece, took a corner, Ferguson headed back and Stuart nodded goalwards, only for Walker to tip it over. Stuart was substituted soon after, Paul Rideout coming on as Everton tried, in vain, to turn their superiority into goals.

First half: Instantly forgettable

Brian Glanville in The Times: Joe Royle, Everton's downright manager, summed up Saturday's first half with typical trenchancy: "Instantly forgettable: both sides seemed to be trying to play as badly as they could." He was happier about the second half, justified in thinking Everton should have won, but that had much to do with the fact that Tottenham lost yet another key player when the incisive Chris Armstrong went off with ankle and Achilles tendon injuries.

But the shadow of Darren Anderton hung over Tottenham Hotspur's goalless game with Everton at White Hart Lane on Saturday. Not simply because his lively presence was missed in midfield ­ where Jason Dozzell was a forlorn, pedestrian figure, missing the one good first-half chance he had ­ but, more significantly, because of that groin.

Anderton is unquestionably one of the most promising young players in England. He has all the gifts of a natural winger, though he will never be as sophisticated a passer of the ball as Everton's 21-year-old, Tony Grant.

One more blow for Francis. His side might have scored in the first half when the impressive Andy Sinton whipped in a cross which Ruel Fox met, only for Andy Hinchcliffe to head off the line. Everton threw away a glorious chance in the second half when Stuart's right-wing cross left Craig Short free on the far post, but he headed wastefully wide.

White Men Can't Jump is the title of a recent American film about basketball. Well, if they're Duncan Ferguson, they can jump and, at 6ft 4in, that's really jumping. Tottenham and their young centre back, Sol Campbell, stood up to him well overall, but his header across goal from Hinchcliffe's corner gave Stuart, in turn, a header that Walker turned gallantly on to the bar. And when, five minutes from time, Campbell's impetuosity let Kanchelskis break clear, Walker made another fine save from Ferguson himself.

"Sometimes when Campbell comes out with the ball," Francis said charitably, "his momentum takes him so quickly into the next tackle. But he handled Ferguson superbly well. I think he's got a fantastic future. He's got pace, he's got strength and he'll get better."

So will Everton's Grant, a local boy. "I thought he had an excellent second half," Royle said. "He's got great talent. In the first half, I thought he was affected by the general malaise on the pitch and was passing to anybody ­ but as he improved, we improved." Indeed.

The finishing touch deserts lively Everton

Colim Malam, Electronic Telegraph: EVERTON'S bright start to the season was dimmed just a little yesterday by a lack of finishing gloss. Only a failure to convert scoring chances into goals - no problem in their previous two matches - prevented them from beating Spurs at White Hart Lane. Neither side deserved to win on the evidence of a tedious and uneventful first half, but Everton claimed the moral high ground with a thrilling second-half display of the attacking arts. Spurs hardly had a look-in from the interval onwards.

The Merseysiders were unfortunate in that their best scoring chances fell to defender Craig Short. It was almost as if there were some unseen force at work determining that Everton's failure to win a League game at this London venue since 1985 should go into a 12th year.

The facts that the teams began the game with identical records - a win and a draw each - was soon reflected on the field. They were so evenly matched that neither could establish any real advantage over the other in the first 45 minutes. Everton were the first to strike, Andrei Kanchelskis almost catching Ian Walker by surprise with a sudden, dipping shot from fully 35 yards.

But Tottenham responded quickly, David Howells putting Jason Dozzell through for what proved to be a badly topped shot. The Everton goal came under threat again when Andy Sinton picked out Ruel Fox with a centre from the left. Fox met the ball sweetly on the volley and his shot was bang on target until Andy Hinchcliffe popped up to get his head in the way.

Spurs suffered a setback after 29 minutes when they lost Chris Armstrong, the striker who had made such a vibrant and promising start to the season. Scorer of both his club's goals at Blackburn on the opening day of the season, Armstrong was helped off in considerable pain from what looked to be an injury to his left ankle. He had broken down to the right of goal after skipping over a tackle on the touchline by Hinchcliffe and then attempting to centre the ball low into the goalmouth. It was not immediately clear whether Hinchcliffe's tackle had caught Armstrong, but his injury looked serious enough to cause further concern for a club who had already been deprived of two other key players, Gary Mabbutt and Darren Anderton, by injury.

By the time Ronny Rosenthal replaced Armstrong, the game had subsided into a rather dreary stalemate. Nothing that Teddy Sheringham, Tottenham's captain and principal play-maker, tried came off, but his team-mates did see to it that the threat from Duncan Ferguson in the air and on the ground was kept to an absolute minimum.

Fortunately, for a game dying on its feet, Everton began the second half with an almost manic sense of purpose. Even their central defenders began driving forward as the Spurs penalty area was flooded with blue shirts. Short, one of those central defenders, should certainly have put away one of the two excellent scoring chances that fell to him in the three minutes following the restart.

The first one Short muffed under pressure from Sol Campbell but there was no excuse for the mess he made of the second. Unmarked, no more than six yards from goal, Short managed to head wide from the centre that Graham Stuart put over from the right. How all in the Everton camp must have wished that the same sort of opening had been available to Ferguson.

The tall Everton striker at last began to threaten Tottenham once his team-mates discovered how to release Kanchelskis down the right. Having headed a Hinchcliffe corner wide, Ferguson only just failed to make contact with a Kanchelskis centre again as he came thundering into the Tottenham penalty area. Hinchcliffe was very close to scoring, too, with a rising shot from the left, but Spurs managed to weather the storm without conceding a goal.

But just when the home side thought they were through the worst of it, Everton came back at them and went closer than before to scoring. Only Walker's straining fingertips, which touched Stuart's diving header against the bar, stopped the midfielder profiting from the ball Ferguson headed back from the far post.

Everton's attacking intentions were made plainer than ever after 76 minutes, when manager Joe Royle called off Stuart and sent on Paul Rideout, to add further beef to his attack. Although Rosenthal took full advantage of a mix-up in the Everton defence to volley just wide on the turn, the closing minutes of the game ought to have brought Everton the winning goal they deserved.

They had two chances to get it, the first of them created by Tony Grant, the clever, ball-playing mid-fielder who has come through the ranks at Goodison Park. He released Kanchelskis once more down the right, but the Russian international drove the ball wastefully across the face of goal with Gary Speed pleading for a pass.

Then, with only six minutes remaining, Kanchelskis found Ferguson on the left with a cross-field pass. The Scot looked suspiciously offside, but the linesman allowed him to carry the ball forward unchallenged and try to beat Walker with his left foot. Like everything else Everton tried in front of goal yesterday, however, it did not come off.

Report Copyright The Electronic Telegraph

Full Results and League Table

Monday, 26 August 1996

LEEDS UNITED            1-0    WIMBLEDON                 25,860  

Sunday, 25 August 1996

MANCHESTER UNITED       2-2    BLACKBURN ROVERS          54,178 
Cruyff(39) Solskjaer(70)       Warhurst(34) Bohinen(51)

Saturday, 24 August 1996

ASTON VILLA             2-0    DERBY COUNTY              34,646 
Joachim(19) Johnson(pen 47)
CHELSEA                 2-0    COVENTRY CITY             25,024  
Leboeuf (29) Vialli(74)
LEICESTER CITY          0-2    ARSENAL                   20,429  
                               Bergkamp(pen 27) Wright (90)
LIVERPOOL               0-0    SUNDERLAND                40,503  

Shearer(pen 13)                Atherton(15) Whittingham(80)
NOTTINGHAM FOREST       1-1    MIDDLESBROUGH             24,705 
Pearce(68)                     Juninho(49)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR       0-0    EVERTON                   29,696  

WEST HAM UNITED         2-1    SOUTHAMPTON               21,227  
Hughes(73) Dicks(pen 81)       Heaney(19)

Table after 26 August 1996

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

Results and Table provided by Lawerence "Leagueman" Breakey

This Match Report Compilation was prepared by Michael Kenrick for Marko Poutiainen. 23 Nov 1996.