Everton Logo Everton 1 - 0 Blackburn Rovers
Half-time: 0 - 0
Blackburn Rovers Logo
FA Carling Premiership 97/98 - Game 30
Saturday 14 March 1998
Goodison Park, Merseyside
Att: 33,423
« Southampton (a) Ref: Gary Willard Aston Villa (h) »
1997-98 Fixtures & Results League Position: 16th Premiership Results & Table
EVERTON: Madar (62) John Spencer
Blackburn Rovers:
  LINEUPS Subs Not Used
EVERTON: Myhre, Watson, Bilic, Tiler, O'Kane, Hutchison, Barmby (76 McCann), Oster, Ball, Madar (82 Cadamarteri), Spencer.
Unavailable: Parkinson, Branch, Grant, Ward, Williamson, Phelan, Thomas (injured); Jeffers (sick); Ferguson, Farrelly (suspended).
Gerrard, Allen, Dunne.
Blackburn Rovers: Flowers, Kenna, Sherwood, Hendry, Ripley (Duff, 73), Sutton, Dahlin, Wilcox, Flitcroft, McKinlay, Henchoz. Croft, Broomes, Fettis, Beattie.
  Yellow Cards Red Cards
EVERTON: Barmby, O'Kane, Tiler.
Blackburn Rovers: Flitcroft, Hendry, McKinlay, Sutton.

Guy McEvoy Run-of-the-Mill... but 3 priceless points
Richard Marland RM-T

Report not yet in

Martin O'Boyle The Family of Goodison
THE SUNDAY TIMES Madar gives cause for celebration
by Neil Harman
THE TIMES Madar uses head to win over his critics
by David Maddock

ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Madar lifts Everton's spirits
by Derick Allsop
SOCCERNET Link to SoccerNet Match Report
CARLINGNET Link to CarlingNet Match Report

Run-of-the-Mill... but 3 priceless points
Guy McEvoy
I wonder at the end of the season just how much we will value this result? The build up to this game seemed very run-of-the-mill, the atmosphere was run-of-the-mill, the play on display was run-of-the-mill. But the scoreline was priceless.

Everton started with the same team that visited Southampton last week, except for the introduction of on-loan John Spencer. I have to say that I was delighted with Spencer as a stop-gap signing. The Chelsea fans I know had him down as their player of the season before glamour signings cost him his squad place, and I've never seen him give less than 100% the few time I'd seen him in the flesh. A proven Premiership player, an international, and a workhorse. Signed on loan to do a short-term job in a crisis, if we don't like him he can go back at no cost; if – as I hope he does – he shows the form that got him such respect at Hoddle's Chelsea, then we can keep him. I'm well with Kendall on this one, it makes a nice change to see Everton be canny in the transfer market.

First Half

It took Spencer all of a couple of minutes to get his first crack on goal. The shot was hit hard enough but went too straight on at Flowers to cause him any real bother. Nevertheless, a promising start.

This initial excitement apart the game then settled down into a pattern of 'even-stevens'. It was much better stuff than we'd seen at the previous home game against Newcastle but it was still hard to believe that either team had much to play for. Do Blackburn want a place in Europe? Do Everton want to stay up? The answer to both must be 'yes', yet the first half had all the passion of an exhibition match. Our fans weren't warming to it and near-the-knuckle chants of 'you're supposed to be at home' started from the visitors.

Sloppy passing, and a string of off-sides from both teams stopped any flow from developing. Everton's best chances went to Oster with a long-range effort and Madar with a dipping header. Still, level terms was fair enough at the interval.

The first big cheer of the game came during the break when Joe Parkinson, crutches and all, hobbled onto the pitch to conduct the half-time '50/50' draw. Great to see him. His warm reception seemed to remind our fans that making a noise at a football match is pretty much the point of going. They picked up a lot in the second half.

Second Half

Despite the slightly improved atmosphere it was generally more of the same. Predictable and at times frustrating. But amongst the mediocrity, John O'Kane picked up the ball and advanced. I didn't flinch as O'Kane had showed us little up to this point. He was in space, looked up, saw Madar make a move and whipped the ball in. Madar, whose own contribution up to this point had been confined to only occasional flashes of skill, much more of theatrics, bravely stuck his head in front of a flapping Flowers, met the header well and put us in front.

On the day, in honesty, that one moment was the difference between the two teams. Had we had played against anyone with any self-belief we would have been beaten. But sod it, we weren't, — we were playing Blackburn and took the three points on the day — and that for the moment is all that matters.

The cheer that greeted the final whistle proved that despite the first half lethargy the fans did have some grasp of the importance of the result, something underlined when the tannoy announced Barnsley had continued their remarkable back-from-the-dead run. With Liverpool mystifyingly taking a late equaliser to give us two points on the day over Spurs (now who would have forseen that!) the significance of this result struck me even more.

Can't wait for the return of the big man.

Individual Performances

  • Mhyre 7 - Fine. Won outright every corner bar one, made some less than guaranteed saves too.
  • O'Kane 6 - Didn't impress me at all first half, but the quality of the cross that led to the goal must be recognised.
  • Watson, Tiler, Bilic 7 - All three, good job. Again felt Tiler was marginally the weakest and I suspect that he will be the one to make way for Short next time.
  • Ball 7 - Must be the first name on Kendall's team sheet in this form.
  • Hutchinson 7 - Very solid, assured. The new Peter Reid?
  • Oster 7 - Much one of his better days. One truly magic moment when he set up Madar.
  • Barmby 7 - Captain again, much better in the first half. Starting to look out of it by the time he was subbed, still got that knock?
  • Spencer 6 - OK debut. When he was involved he looked an asset. Jury obviously still out.
  • Madar 7 - Had he not got the goal, no doubt I'd give him a very different score. Real striker's striker: blew hot and cold... You're just starting to decide he is a lazy, moaning git and he scores a goal like that.
  • McCann 7 - Came on for Barmby, fine.
  • Cadamarteri 6 - Came on for Madar - left no impression.

Richard Marland
Another day of tension and shredded nerves ultimately saw us come up with the win we so vitally needed. We knew it was important before the game – it was only after the game and we heard about the wins for Barnsley and Bolton that we knew just how important it was.

The team showed no surprises: Spencer came in for his debut at the expense of the suspended Gareth Farrelly, with Barmby dropping back into midfield. The abscence of Craig Short from the team and bench must have meant that Kendall's selection poser at centre back was solved thanks to Short's injury. For the record we lined up Myrhe in goal, a back five of O'Kane, Bilic, Watson, Tiler and Ball, three in midfield – Hutchison, Oster and Barmby and two up front – Madar and Spencer.

Both sides had a few half-chances in the first half, the best falling to Spencer in the first few minutes when he was put clear in the box. His shot though lacked conviction and Flowers smothered easily. The chance probably fell too early in the game for Spencer, he'd barely had a touch prior to that. Blackburn for their part were having a lot of joy down our left flank through Stuart Ripley. This seems to be happening quite a bit recently and the temptation could be to blame Michael Ball for this. However, that is being a little unfair on Ball. One of the problems with the wing back system is that you don't have a left-sided midfield player to occupy their full back. Frequently Ball is finding himself with two men bearing down on him and is relying on Oster or Tiler to come across and help him, if they are slow to do this or otherwise engaged then Ball stands next to no chance.

Despite their possession and threat through Ripley they didn't achieve much in the way of clear cut chances, time and again Bilic, Watson or Tiler would get in a crucial challenge or interception to short cut any danger. Half time arrived goal-less and that was a fair reflection on the balance of play.

The second half brought much of the same. Neither keeper having too much to do as the defences remained on top. It was getting difficult to see where a goal would come from. Blackburn with their edge on the possession and territorial advantage did look marginally the more likely.

Fortunately though we managed to engineer an excellent goal from next to nothing. The impressive O'Kane was the instigator, picking the ball up midway inside their half, he put in an excellent cross and an equally excellent run from Madar allowed him to beat the defender to the ball and guide it with his head past the stranded Flowers. Shades of Kanchelskis saw Madar celebrate the goal on his own, his celebrations took the form of taking off his shirt and showing the crowd pictures of his children on his vest.

There was still about 30 minutes to go, I know that you should never quibble about the timing of the goal but I do wish that we had scored this one a little nearer to the final whistle. With our recent struggle to score goals I had no confidence in our ability to score a second, we were therefore relying on our defence to keep Blackburn out.

Fortunately our defending once again proved to be resolute and committed, as is often the case. We defended too deeply and our poor passing meant that we too readily ceded procession to Blackburn. This meant that we came under quite a bit of pressure but, to the credit of the team and in particular Bilic, Tiler and Watson, Blackburn's chances were reduced to "goalmouth opportunities" rather than scoring chances.

  • Myrhe 7 Another impressive display. Confident and authoratative.
  • O'Kane 8 The best performance I have seen from him. Performed his defensive duties with aplomb, used the ball well and set up the goal. My only criticism was his reluctance to get forward when we were on the attack, this left us with a chronic lack of width.
  • Ball 7 Not one of his best displays but certainly not bad.
  • Bilic 8 Defended excellently today. Also managed to keep himself out of the referee's book.
  • Watson 8 Early season he looked a little vulnerable, today he didn't. Numerous timely interceptions to avert danger. Excellent performance.
  • Tiler 7 The typical, steady Tiler performance. No frills but he does his job.
  • Hutchison 8 Played the holding role in midfield and looked every bit a premiership player. Tackled well and rarely gave the ball away, the only thing he couldn't produce was some incisive through balls.
  • Oster 6 Better than of late, at least he has reduced the number of silly errors. Put himself about but he doesn't convince me yet as a central midfielder.
  • Barmby 7 Usual hard running and commitment but not at his best. His early substitution perhaps indicated he wasn't fully fit.
  • Madar 6 Somewhat fitful but did show some excellent touches, most notably his goal. Lets himself down with some of his theatricals, one in particular sticks in the mind when he was clattered by Hendry, he went down as if shot and stayed down for a while. When the trainer finally arrived on the scene he suddenly sprang back to life.
  • Spencer 6 Wasn't given too many opportunities but worked hard and showed some good touches.
  • McCann 6 Came on in the second half for Barmby. Got in some good tackles and didn't do anything wrong.
  • Cadamarteri 5 Just not happening for him at the moment. His fortunes were shown when he was sent clear into their half, he had time and space but managed to stand on the ball.

Team 6 Deserves an 8 for the defensive performance, but problems elsewhere dragged us down. We passed poorly as a team and didn't look particularly threatening going forward.

Man of the match - for once a choice to make, I though that everyone played their part but the star men where O'Kane, Bilic, Watson and Hutchison, all of whom barely put a foot wrong. In the end though I thought that Watson was the best of the lot.

The Family of Goodison
Martin O'Boyle
As kick-off approached, the tribe gathered together in the Upper Gwladys: the guy who sits next to me – who always calls me 'Son'; the one who looks at me every time a decision goes against us; the guy who always starts banging on the floor, starting a rhythm when we've got a chance; you all know them.

It's the family of Goodison.

We began brightly. After 2 mins, the ball came to Spencer in the Blackburn penalty area with only Flowers to beat... He fluffed it straight into his arms. We should have scored! Cries of anguish and frustration echoed around Goodison.

Stuart Ripley seemed to be in fine form, and Oster's apparent inability to tackle was worrying me. It seemed that any Blackburn break with substance in the first half was coming from the right flank; however, Ball dealt quite well with the pressure.

After 20 mins or so, Oster showed us what he is capable of. A beautiful, dipping shot from 20 yards went just over Tim Flowers's goal. However, Blackburn replied quickly. Dahlin raced through the Everton defence with just Myrhe to beat... he dealt admirably with the threat, prompting cries of "Norway's Number One!"... Myrhe, with his hands behind his back, applauded the Everton fans behind him. Cute!

What wasn't so cute was Billy McKinlay's hairstyle. Like Mark Draper's it is absolutely appalling! He really needs to get the 'natural look'. But enough of my inane ramblings!

Madar had a bad first half, and even had 'me da' calling him 'useless' and, when waving his arms, ' a big French tart'! None more so than when he went off the field 'injured' in the second half. I told him that he'd soon eat his words. How right I was.

Returning to my seat for the second half, the Everton mints opened and being consumed up until the 62 minute when O'Kane had the ball, crossed it to the waiting Madar, his header looping into the roof of the net! YEEEEEEEEEEEEES! The "big French tart" had scored.... I was nearly choking on an Everton mint. Madar whipped his shirt off... displaying a logo, which I couldn't see from my seat.

I was brought into a fit of coughing but, after my Dad had thumped me on the back several times, I was back to normal. We were buoyant! The familiar cries "One Howard Kendall" echoed around Goodison.... We just had to hold out for another 28 minutes.

The game beforehand had passed quickly, but the last 10 minutes seemed like an eternity. Which brings me on to talk about the officials. The linesman patrolling the Bullens Road side was a joke. So was the referee. Nearly every decision went against us. Presumably, the majority of decisions given against Everton were for pushing ... but the decisions weren't returned. The only good thing that the referee did during the game was to blow the final whistle.

It was rumoured that Jose Luis Sierra was watching the match, and on this display he should have been impressed. It was a true blue performance. Let's hope Johnson finds the cash to fund his 40-yard passes to big Dunc!

Performance Ratings

  • Myrhe 8. Oozes confidence. Claimed every ball, and made a few good saves. At the end of the first-half I believe he kept us in the match with a great block from somebody.
  • O'Kane 7. Excellent cross for the goal. Made good runs and has pace. Sometimes his passing was weak.
  • Ball 7. OK from the youngster...his distribution was poor at times.
  • Bilic 8. The guy who said "Sell Bilic" wants his head seeing to. A very competent performance.
  • Watson 8. Mr. Everton... Maybe his pace his going but you cannot fault him for his diehard spirit and organisational skills.
  • Tiler 7. Good/Mediocre performance.
  • Hutchison 7. He's settling in well.
  • Oster 7. Some good touches but it appears that he's frightened of tackling.
  • Barmby (c) 7. I don't think that he should have been made captain. Waggy should have had the job. Seemed to be carrying an injury... perhaps that's why Howard took him off.
  • Spencer 7. I thought we'd signed Frank after he missed that sitter. Ran around well, and showed some neat touches.
  • Madar 7½. I was going to give him 8, but he didn't deserve it for his first-half performance. Scored the winner, and showed some beautiful 'continental' touches.
  • McCann 7½ (for Barmby, 70 mins). I think that this lad has a bright future. Some excellent sliding tackles a la Parkinson.
  • Cadamarteri 7 (for Madar, 82 mins) What pace this lad has! However, he needs to mature in the reserves before we can expect him to score week in, week out.

Madar gives cause for celebration
by Neil Harman, The Sunday Times
THE SECOND most recognisable Parisian ponytail in the Premier League was flowing yesterday and, as one demoralising result followed another across the Goodison airwaves, weren't Everton thankful for it?

With his third goal in nine appearances since arriving on a free transfer from the Spanish club, Deportivo La Coruna, Mickael Madar showed a sense of this nerve-ridden occasion and for that he could be forgiven for a celebration which would not have turned a hair gone midnight on the Champs Elysées. In recent seasons within the blue confines of Merseyside there have been precious few reasons for such levels of exuberance.

Not content with ripping his shirt over his head – revealing an undergarment emblazoned with pictures of his children – Madar twirled it around and around at least a dozen times. It was quite staggering that a referee who had found cause to book seven players on the afternoon did not find this overt celebration of a goal too much for him.

It was all that manager Howard Kendall could do to restrain himself from joining in, so critical were the three points to Everton on an afternoon when Wimbledon, Bolton and Barnsley demonstrated that, while there is breath left in their bodies, they will fight on. Everton have much more to lose than those three.

Once recognised as one of England's Big Five, Everton have fallen far from such distinction but have not been out of the top flight since 1952 and it is a measure of Kendall's overhaul in his third spell as manager that on-loan John Spencer became the 33rd player used this season, a record for the club in its 110-year existence.

Such statistics meant little to Madar. His winner was purely personal. The 29-year-old, who has the same hairstylist as his French compatriot David Ginola and the same hair-trigger temper as Eric Cantona, had been depressed since missing an open goal in last month's derby which would have guaranteed Everton victory at Anfield. Kendall said: "Mickael has been very low because he felt he lost us that game. There was very little sympathy for him in the bath that night. He also had missed opportunities at Southampton and feels responsible for recent results, but it's turned around for him today."

Not that Tim Flowers would concur. A deep ball into Blackburn territory from John O'Kane carried just enough juicy temptation for Flowers, an England World Cup possible, to be enticed a few more yards from his goal than, with hindsight, he should have, and Madar headed the ball over the stranded goalkeeper. Cue rapturous acclaim.

And didn't this turgid afternoon require such a touch of inspiration? The visitors had enough of the ball, in the first half especially, to have put Everton through the shredder – it is unlikely Stuart Ripley has squandered more open possession – but they failed to unnerve a defence in which Dave Watson suggested that the passing years are serving only to whet his combative appetite.

Blackburn, so recently among those favoured to finish second in the Premier League and claim a Champions League place, now need an injection of confidence to remain on course for Uefa Cup qualification. Manager Roy Hodgson said: "I didn't feel that our goal was particularly threatened and we can be aggrieved because I can't think that Everton did enough to win the game, a draw would have been a fairer outcome. Until it is mathematically impossible to win the league, a coach would never write off his side, especially when they aren't playing that badly."

Perhaps Hodgson, too, had been blinded by Madar's eccentric celebration of his match-winner.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

Madar uses head to win over his critics
by David Maddock, The Times
THERE is a saccharine sentiment in the way that Duncan Ferguson is labelled "Big Dunc" by his adoring followers at Goodison Park. Mickael Madar, a replacement for the suspended idol on Saturday, enjoys no such reverence and he had to endure some spiteful taunts during the match against Blackburn Rovers.

It was an irony, then, that the Frenchman proved to be Everton's saviour with a goal, after 62 minutes, that Ferguson would have been proud of – a thumping header from 12 yards, a defender thrust aside and the goalkeeper stranded by the ferocity and accuracy of the impact. The supporters did not know whether to cheer or glow with embarrassment after subjecting him to such abuse.

Quite how important Madar's goal will prove remains to be seen, but one suspects that it could ultimately ensure Everton's survival in the FA Carling Premiership. If so, then it will also allow the forward another season on Merseyside, where relegation would surely signal his departure.

Howard Kendall trusts that next season will welcome the best of Madar. The demanding Merseyside jury is out on the long-haired striker, but Kendall believes that he needs time to adjust to the rigours of the English game. "He just isn't used to the physical side," the Everton manager said. "In France and Spain, where he played before, he never got the sort of challenges he gets here. I think we'll see the best of him next season, when he knows more of what it is all about."

Madar is finding out a little more with every game. One early challenge from Colin Hendry had him sprawling and seemingly mortally wounded, but he showed sufficient courage to nip in front of Henchoz to convert O'Kane's deep right-wing cross. Everton desperately needed this win. As Kendall said, their away form is so poor that they will need to win a fair percentage of their remaining home games to stay up. They entertain Aston Villa, Leeds United, Leicester City, Sheffield Wednesday and Coventry City, which should present enough opportunities to reach the magical 42-point safety mark.

If Madar's goal proved to be vital, then the performance of John Spencer perhaps offered more significance for Everton's survival hopes. The little forward was a tempest of activity and, although he spurned a couple of chances, he looks a perfect foil for when Ferguson returns from injury. If Spencer can feast on the offerings that Ferguson's height invariably serves up, then Everton will surely score enough goals to stay up.

Goalscoring is the least of Blackburn's problems, which says much about the way in which their season is fast unravelling. They had enough chances to win this match. Instead, yet more schoolboy defending deprived them of even a point and their chances of qualifying for Europe looked doomed.

"It is so important that we hold our Uefa Cup place after all that we have put in this season," Roy Hodgson, the manager, said. "We have not defended well lately and their goal was a mistake from Tim Flowers, who knows that he should have stayed on his line. But then if we had crossed as well as that, we would have won the match."

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

Madar lifts Everton's spirits
Derick Allsop, Electronic Telegraph
AN improbably executed goal by Frenchman Mickael Madar provided Everton with their first victory in two months and desperately needed leverage away from the Premiership relegation places.

Recent form had left both sides concerned about achieving their professed objectives and the anxiety was evident in the squandered opportunities of the first half. Tim Sherwood, the Blackburn captain, will be especially dismayed after lifting the ball over a beckoning goal.

Blackburn's sudden leakage of goals has undermined their prospects of challenging for a place in the Champions' League, while Everton's sequence of six Premiership matches without a win sucked them back into the range of the third-bottom club, Barnsley.

The continued absence, through suspension, of Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Gallacher, weakened the potential of the two attacks but Everton had the consolation of giving a debut to John Spencer, on loan from QPR, and Blackburn in goalkeeper Tim Flowers' return after missing three games with a shoulder strain.

Spencer and Flowers were centre-stage after just two minutes. The ball broke to the little Scot and, to his anguish, his hurried shot was gathered by the England man. Thomas Myhre was similarly assured at the other end, although Stuart Ripley's threat, running on to Chris Sutton's splendid pass, was effectively neutralised by Michael Ball's persistent attention.

Flowers was untroubled by John Oster's counter for Everton, the long-range shot clearing his crossbar. Sherwood was too high, also, after Sutton gave him a close-range chance. Madar's aerial determination unsettled Flowers, who was relieved to retrieve the ball at the second attempt. Myhre was more positive in blocking Martin Dahlin's pass, then Flowers saved again from Madar.

Oster's chip back from the line invited Nick Barmby to apply the header early in the second half but the Everton captain could not quite leap high enough to convert. Even Sutton, who has earned considerable support for an England call, seemed ineffectual.

The stalemate contributed to the fraying of tempers, but Everton's mood changed drastically after 61 minutes. John O'Kane crossed from deep on the right and Madar's neatest of flicks with his head deflected the ball over the stranded Flowers and into the net.

Report © The Electronic Telegraph

RESULTS  (Game 30)
Wednesday 18 March 1998
Newcastle United
Shearer (77)
1 - 2 Crystal Palace
Lombardo (14) Jansen (23)
Sunday 15 March 1998
Derby County
0 - 5 Leeds United
Laursen (og 8) Halle (36) Bowyer (42)
Kewell (59) Hasselbaink (72)
Saturday 14 March 1998
Aston Villa
Taylor (1) Milosevic (pen 15, 36)
3 - 1 Crystal Palace
Jansen (62)
Ward (17) Jones (32) Fjortoft (42)
Redfearn (pen 57)
4 - 3 Southampton
Ostenstad (25) Le Tissier (41, 71)
Bolton Wanderers
Frandsen (31) Blake (53) Thompson (pen 69)
3 - 2 Sheffield Wednesday
Booth (26) Atherton (59)
Madar (62)
1 - 0 Blackburn Rovers
Manchester United
0 - 1 Arsenal
Overmars (79)
Newcastle United
0 - 0 Coventry City
Tottenham Hotspur
Klinsmann (13) Ginola (49) Vega (80)
3 - 3 Liverpool
McManaman (21, 89) Ince (64)
West Ham United
Sinclair (69) Unsworth (75)
2 - 1 Chelsea
Charvet (54)
Roberts (14) M Hughes (62)
2 - 1 Leicester City
Savage (57)

LEAGUE TABLE (after 15 March 1998 )
Club                          P    W    D    L   GF   GA   GD   Pts
Manchester United            31   18    6    7   58   23   35   60
Arsenal                      28   15    9    4   47   26   21   54
Liverpool                    30   14    9    7   51   32   19   51
Chelsea                      30   15    3   12   59   35   24   48
Leeds United                 30   14    6   10   45   30   15   48
Blackburn Rovers             29   13    9    7   49   38   11   48
Derby County                 29   13    6   10   44   39    5   45
West Ham United              29   13    5   11   41   38    3   44
Leicester City               29   10   10    9   35   30    5   40
Coventry City                29   10   10    9   35   35    0   40
Southampton                  30   12    4   14   39   42   -3   40
Aston Villa                  31   11    6   14   34   41   -7   39
Sheffield Wednesday          30   10    7   13   45   57  -12   37
Wimbledon                    28    9    8   11   30   32   -2   35
Newcastle United             28    9    8   11   26   31   -5   35
Everton                      30    8    9   13   34   42   -8   33
Tottenham Hotspur            30    8    7   15   29   47  -18   31
Barnsley                     29    9    4   16   29   66  -37   31
Bolton Wanderers             29    5   12   12   27   47  -20   27
Crystal Palace               29    5    8   16   24   50  -26   23

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Last updated: 15 March 98