Everton Logo Everton 1 - 1 Leicester City
Half-time: 1 - 1
Leicester City Logo
FA Carling Premiership 97/98 - Game 35
Saturday 18 April 1998
Goodison Park, Merseyside
Att: 33,642
« Wimbledon (a) Ref: Steve Lodge Sheffield Wednesday (h) »
1997-98 Fixtures & Results League Position: 16th Premiership Results & Table
EVERTON: Madar (2)
Leicester City: Marshall (38)
  LINEUPS Subs Not Used
EVERTON: Myhre, O'Kane, Ball, Hutchison, Short, Tiler, McCann (45 Bilic), Madar (78 Oster), Ferguson, Farrelly, Beagrie (45 Spencer).
Unavailable: Parkinson, Grant, Branch, Ward, Williamson, Phelan, Watson (injured); Jeffers (recovering); Barmby, Cadamarteri (suspended).
Gerrard, Allen.
Leicester City: Keller, Savage, Guppy, Kaamark, Elliott, Walsh, Izzet, Parker, Zagorakis (83 Cottee), Marshall, Heskey. Arphexad, Fenton, Campbell, Wilson.
  Yellow Cards Red Cards
EVERTON: Beagrie, Ball.
Leicester City: Guppy.

Guy McEvoy Bottle? We just ain't got any
Martin O'Boyle If only...
THE SUNDAY TIMES Everton still on shaky ground
by Ian Hawkey
THE TIMES Madar puts faith in brain over brawn
by David Maddock

ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Slim pickings leave Everton faithful in despair
by Derek Potter
SOCCERNET Link to SoccerNet Match Report
CARLINGNET Link to CarlingNet Match Report

Bottle? We just ain't got any
Guy McEvoy
Everton have done their level best this season to stay in touch with the relegation battle. It keeps the interest going until the end of the season, but by god, it isn't good for the nerves. Once again we could smell the extra two points that would have hoisted us away from danger. Once again we just couldn't manage the extra yard.

First Half

It all started so well. We had exactly the same starting line-up that we put out at Wimbledon with the exception of Farrelly replacing the suspended Barmby. Two minutes into the game, O'Kane got the ball just inside the opposition half, there was an audible sigh from the crowd when he held the ball instead of releasing the easy first touch pass we could all see. He steadied himself regardless, looked up and hoisted a ball towards the head of Ferguson. Duncan rose, eyeballed Madar, flicked the ball on, and calm as you like Mickey smashed a devastating volley into the top of the net. They say the best football is that which looks the most simple. This was simplicity itself.

And what's more we kept at it. The first half hour was the best football Everton have played this season. Every loose ball was picked up by a blue shirt, if Leicester did get possession they were allowed no time to think before they were hassled. One-touch passing took the ball down the pitch. Chances came. It was great to watch. If there is one half-criticism, it was that the midfield didn't push up far enough to support the attacks and take full advantage of our possession, leaving much on the shoulders of Ferguson and Madar. These two though looked up for it, Ferguson was in good form, Madar on fire. Even Farrelly was creating chances, a free kick that went close and one of his famous long-range efforts that went even closer.

Leicester were confined to hitting us on the break, but for the first half be under no illusion: Everton were dominant. As we all know though, football can be cruel. Leicester had one meaningful attack. From the right of the field the ball was played across the face of the goal, there was a collapse in the concentration of the defence, Ian Marshall of all people was at the back post for the tap-in which levelled the scores.

Kendall made an odd double-substitution at half time. Beagrie went off, fair enough, if there looked a weak link up to that point it was him, and McCann joined him. So off went two midfielders. On came an attacker and a defender in Spencer and Bilic. This completely altered the shape of Everton. The extra centre-back seemed a fair enough move given that we've looked ropy at the back with the flat back-four over the past few games, but quite where Spencer was told to fit in to the new shape was beyond me. Forty-five minutes later I was non the wiser.

Second Half

The second half was a different and more equal game. Leicester lifted themselves and put themselves back into it. The confidence was sapped from the crowd and the atmosphere had a decidedly edgy feel to it. More chances came for both teams but no-one had the bottle to take them. Farrelly in particular missed an open-goal volley – his promising early start had now turned into a poor performance.

Kendall went for one last throw of the dice and this was even more mystifying than his half-time subbing. Oster was the man brought on, but the man taken off was Madar. This was bizarre to say the least. Madar as much as anyone had looked well up for this game. By this point in the match Ferguson was buggered and out of it, Farrelly was having a mare, either of these looked obvious candidates but instead the boss went for Madar. The crowd made no attempt to disguise its frustration at this decision. There was the loudest boo I've ever heard to mark an Everton substitution at Goodison. Quite what poor John Oster made of the crowds reaction god only knows, he probably felt it was aimed at him.

Substitutions seemed to get the biggest reaction from the crowd in the half. When Cottee came on for Leicester shortly after all fans gave him a fine ovation. He'll have enjoyed that.

Oster went into the game a bull-at-a-gate and instantly found himself a fair bit of the ball. His whole confidence could have been restored when Ball sent a long cross through to him, he timed his run and went one-on-one with the keeper. Could have. He wiggled his hips, the goalie committed himself, Oster took the ball round but he'd lost the angle and a golden opportunity was gone. You can imagine the crowd reaction.

So that was that. It was a game that was there for us to take but which we very nearly gave away. It was a game that cried out for bottle. We haven't got any.

Individual Performances

  • Myhre 6 - Hardly called on other than to pick the ball out of the net. Only one 'proper' save I can think of.
  • O'Kane 8 - Very good game. A bit of Ball seemed to rub off on him. If he carries on playing like that I'll have to withdraw my reservations about him.
  • Short 7 - Fine.
  • Tiler 6 - The worst game I've seen him play for us. Several unforced errors. Not himself at all today.
  • Ball 9 - Towards the end of the second half we looked a one-man team. Everything good about our play was emanating from this lad. Attacking and defending – the ultimate wing-back. I cannot speak highly enough of him.
  • McCann 6 - Didn't personally have the best game in the first half, but even so I think he was valuable as much for the balance that his style in that position gave us.
  • Farrelly 6 - Started off great, but the more he tried, the more he got into it, the more his faults showed. Missed a sitter.
  • Beagrie 6 - Old story, tried to do too much with the ball. When Everton where actually looking like they could make the simple game work he complicated things.
  • Hutchison 7 - OK though not quite as good as we saw in his first few showings.
  • Ferguson 7 - Like the Wimbledon game, he was great in the first half, pretty much out of it by the end of the second. In a radio interview before the game I heard Kendall tell the reporter he's not match fit – why keep him on when he's obviously knackered then?
  • Madar 8 - He was brought in to do a job. That job is to make chances and score goals. It was a job he looked to be doing well today. Does have an annoying very foreign and very un-Everton habit of moaning to the ref and linesman about every single call that goes against him, or tackle that goes unpunished, which he could do with sorting out. The crowd reaction to his subbing is testimony to his contribution though.
  • Spencer 6 - I still don't think he's done himself justice for us at all yet.
  • Bilic 6 - Didn't do anything to demand his instant automatic selection into the next squad.
  • Oster 6 - Came on, made the space, made other chances, but by god he should have scored!

If only...
Martin O'Boyle
Three times I've seen Everton play at home to Leicester City in the Premiership under three different managers: Mike Walker, Dave Watson and Howard Kendall. Three times it's been the same result: 1-1. So, as I was wandering along to Goodison I was contemplating another 1-1 draw. I was right.

The teams strode out onto the evergreen Goodison turf, greeted with softer cheers than usual. Tension was buzzing around the ground. If we won, then we would surely be safe...if we lost and if Bolton and Barnsley won, then we'd be right back down there, struggling.

We sought an early goal and we got it. Ferguson, whose dominance in the air was causing havoc to the Leicester defence, managed to knock a ball down for the waiting Madar who had found space. The flamboyant Frenchman fired a shot past Keller's despairing dive into the top corner of the net. Again, he showed us pictures of his children... we're still waiting for the T-Shirt which bears "Johnson Must Go!"

The tension eased throughout Goodison, though Everton's workrate didn't. For the first twenty-five minutes we worked tirelessly, creating opportunity after opportunity which we failed to capitalise on. Madar was denied twice by Keller's outstretched arm.

My Man Of the Match, John O'Kane was having an excellent day on the right flank. As well as providing important crosses for Madar and Ferguson, his defending was brilliant. For the first 25 minutes, the whole team were brilliant: Madar was chasing every loose ball, Hutchison was dominating the midfield. Beagrie was flying. Then, as the saying goes...it all went a bit pear-shaped.

After half an hour, Leicester showed signs of what they were capable of. Heskey's pace and Marshall's power were beginning to come to the fore. Heskey's awareness and speed almost found the waiting Marshall at the far post, but for the intervention of Michael Ball who put it behind for a corner.

The general standard of corner-taking today was appalling. Hutchison's corners for Everton were catching practice for Keller and Leicester's were not much better. Considering the aerial threat both sides posed, their corners were wasted.

The inevitable happened. Leicester's first shot on target brought them an equaliser. Why? Elliot was given too much time on the ball so he could drift in a pinpoint cross; Michael Ball found himself 'sucked in' by the play; Marshall was unmarked. He and his manager were taking great delight in the goal. O'Neill was dancing round like a little Irish Leprechaun. If I was on the Everton bench I would have been tempted to throttle him. Still, he is a good manager.

"Why does he always score against us?" I asked the man sitting next to me. "With defending like that, it's no wonder, son" was his reply.

The tension returned. Enter Gareth Farrelly to make our hearts jump. A blistering shot from 25 yards, heading for the top of the net was tipped over by Kasey Keller. This pacified the demands of some Evertonians who even before half-time were screaming for him to be substituted. Truly, his second half performance was one of the worst I've ever seen in a blue shirt, even though he tried.

When we bought Farrelly from Villa, one of their own supporters was livid at Brian Little for selling "the best young player in the world, bar none." Oster was tipped to become the next Ryan Giggs. In my opinion, Kendall is in danger of destroying both of their careers by playing them. They need to grow up, learn how to tackle and get experience before they can be thrown into a relegation dogfight. It's alright to throw them on when we're winning 2-0 but not when our Premiership survival depends on it.

Half-time came and went and so did our chances of winning the match. The old man was still red raw with embarrassment after hearing his name on the PA system during the half time interval when a penalty appeal for Everton was turned down by Stephen Lodge. Madar, clearly held back by Elliot inside the penalty area, kept seeking the attention of the officials who granted nothing. With their refusal, Madar's head dropped.

Kendall had decided to change things around at half-time, bringing Bilic and Spencer on for McCann and Beagrie, McCann in particular looking ineffective in the first-half. We played the second half in a 5-3-2 formation, O'Kane and Ball as the wing backs. The formation without Nick Barmby didn't appear to suit us with Spencer joining the attack, leaving us exposed in midfield.

Leicester took advantage but their 'possession football' resulted in nothing and we had the perfect chance to make it 2-1 with half an hour to go. After excellent work down the left flank, Madar clipped the ball in to the no-confidence Farrelly. Just eight yards out, on his favourite foot. He should have scored... or at least put it on target. He didn't. The ball sailed high and wide. The lad clutched his head and any remaining sympathies that were left for him by loyal supporters vanished in a second.

We still created chances, Hutchison went close with a low driven shot. Then came the most extraordinary moment I have ever seen. There was to be an Everton substitution.

The obvious candidate to go off was Farrelly, and from the Upper Gwladys the number '7' was visible on the substitution board. It must have surely had a '1' before it... No, Madar – the person most likely to make it 2-1 – was being substituted. He milked the crowd's reaction to the chorus of boos which greeted Oster on to the park, though they were surely aimed at Kendall.

This probably did not help Oster's confidence but, to give him credit, he burst on to the scene with energy, skill and vitality. A through-ball from Ball left him one-on-one with the 'keeper. He tried to go around him... but it was too late, the keeper had done enough to put him off. He should have scored. He walked away exactly like Farrelly did, to the same reaction.

His confidence drained, he took the resulting corner. It was awful. He knew it and the fans told him so.

Tony Cottee appeared as a substitute to a warm ovation...."Hey, if he scored an own goal for us now," the fellow next seat but one to me said, "he'd have his 100 goals."

If only he did, mate...If only.

It was in truth two points dropped. Now we have another week of looking over our shoulders, predicting outcomes of matches, of nerves. If only...

Everton still on shaky ground
by Ian Hawkey, The Sunday Times
TECHNICALLY, they are not quite safe from relegation yet. But technically, Everton possess quite enough in the way of playing resources to meet, and keep, Premiership standards. Having established an early lead yesterday, they held the greater share of the possession against Leicester City, played the contest's more attractive football and by the end had created enough opportunities to have spared themselves another seven days of anxiety.

Everton meet Sheffield Wednesday next weekend and they would like to be able to clear away the unlikely possibility of the drop before they visit Arsenal after that. They squandered chances here. Late on, Duncan Ferguson volleyed Slaven Bilic's intelligent lob wide and John Oster would have secured all three points had he not dallied in front of the advancing Kasey Keller. "You can sense the nerves in the whole stadium," explained Howard Kendall, the Everton manager.

Kendall had been given a marvellous start. The nervy Goodison crowd had barely had the chance to shift to the edge of their seats before Everton went ahead after a neat rapport between their two strikers. Ferguson headed a John O'Kane pass over the Leicester defence and it dropped kindly for Mickael Madar. The Frenchman had timed his run well, and a gentle lob took care of the remaining obstacle, Keller.

Everton pushed the ball around confidently while Ferguson and Madar took turns to forage deep. Leicester, without the injured Spencer Prior, seemed uncertain at the back. Matt Elliott and Keller were at cross-purposes early on, and the back three were strangely callow whenever Everton ran at them. Before 10 minutes had passed, Madar might have made it 2-0, again pulling away from a square Leicester rearguard to offer an option at the end of Don Hutchison's menacing run. Hutchison slipped his pass to Madar but Keller stretched across to paw away the angled shot.

It was to be Everton's best period, producing a 20-yard volley, arrowing just wide, by Madar and two efforts from similar proximity from the left foot of Gareth Farrelly that whistled past Keller's post and drew from the goalkeeper a fine finger-tip save.

Then Leicester began to find answers and pose a few questions of their own. Craig Short made a superb penalty-box tackle to dispossess Emile Heskey, a Heskey centre speared across a vulnerable goalmouth, and then Elliott popped up on the right flank. When nobody in Everton colours took much interest in his low cross, Ian Marshall was allowed to pivot and direct his shot inside Thomas Myhre's right post. The equaliser upset Everton's tempo, and two substitutions altered their game-plan.

In place of the youthful Gavin McCann and that evergreen Blue Peter Beagrie, there arrived the street wisdom of John Spencer and Bilic.

News of Barnsley's lead may have soured the taste of half-time oranges, while Leicester's penetration down the flanks just ahead of the interval had given Kendall cause to fortify the defence. Leicester were back in the game.

Hefty challenges either side of half-time, by Myhre on Heskey, and by Bilic on Muzzy Izzet, might have earned penalties. As Steve Guppy asserted himself on the Leicester left, Garry Parker slipped a Leicester effort narrowly over the bar. Heskey then provided a disarmingly balletic little cameo, twisting and turning this way and that, before unleashing a shot that Myhre did well to hold.

The travelling supporters had found their voice. "Guppy For England!" they sang; City in Europe again, they secretly hoped. "We could still make a Uefa Cup place," said Martin O'Neill, the Leicester manager, afterwards, "but I think we'd have to win all our remaining games now." By the end, a point for Leicester reflected fairly on their afternoon, although the contest came closest to a winning goal when Madar bamboozled Robbie Savage after 65 minutes.

Zig-zagging to the byline, Madar cut the ball back sharply to Farrelly, whose volley, eight yards out, soared high above the Leicester goal. It was a bad miss, painful on those raw Everton nerves.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

Madar puts faith in brain over brawn
by David Maddock, The Times
MICKAEL MADAR'S goals have saved Everton from relegation this season. It is a pure, statistical fact. He has scored in four of his past five matches, winning a vital game at home to Blackburn Rovers and earning equally important points away to Tottenham Hotspur, and again here, at Goodison Park, against Leicester City.

What makes this achievement even more impressive is that he scores without ever appearing capable of doing so. In the all-in wrestling that is English football, Madar looks, well, like "a big girl", according to one unimpressed supporter on Saturday.

So how does he score goals while clearly failing to come to grips with the physical side of the game? It is, he says, because intelligence tends to be small where the muscles are big. "Even though there are these big, tough defenders, there is always space, where in France and Spain there isn't," he said. "In other countries, you can go whole matches without a chance. Here, I get good opportunities in every game."

He has an eye for goal, too, as he displayed to the dreaming Leicester defenders after two minutes of this forgettable contest. A direct ball provided by O'Kane, a flick on from Ferguson and there was the Frenchman to arrow a fine shot into the roof of the net.

Classic finish apart, Everton were hugely disappointing. Only the impressive Hutchison and promising Ball looked remotely comfortable on the ball, and some appeared positively scared of it.

If Everton survive, as they probably will, then there must be a significant rebuilding programme in the summer. There has already been talk of "pleasant summer surprises" from Howard Kendall, the manager, and speculation surrounding moves for Georgi Kinkladze, of Manchester City, and Mark Draper, of Aston Villa. Similar talk last summer, though, threw up the names of Ince, Klinsmann and Ferdinand. They got Beagrie, Ward and Farrelly.

Leicester, for their part, probably deserved more than a point, provided by a goal, in the 38th minute, from Marshall, the former Everton player. Stephen Lodge, the referee, is a local government officer and the attitude such a job title suggests was apparent in his dismissive response to two strong penalty appeals.

Heskey was certainly pulled over by Myhre, the Everton goalkeeper, just before the interval and Izzet was certainly pulled back by Bilic just after. Both made a meal of their misfortune, but should still have been rewarded. "The first looked like a penalty, the second was cast-iron," Martin O'Neill, the Leicester manager, said.

O'Neill feels that his team must win their four remaining matches to have any chance of earning a place in Europe next season. That he is able to say such a thing with a club such as Leicester, is a testament to his talent. If Everton want to return to their former glories, they would do well to cast a covetous eye on the Irishman.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

Slim pickings leave Everton faithful in despair
Derek Potter, Electronic Telegraph
FRUSTRATION at failing to seize the extra two points that would have virtually assured Everton of Premier League football next season engulfed Goodison Park for much of the second half yesterday. The draw did little for City's outside hopes of repeating last season's venture in the UEFA Cup -their first taste of European football since 1961.

Everton's Frenchman Mickael Madar, whose goal set Everton on course for victory, was given a standing ovation when he was replaced by John Oster eight minutes from the end. Minutes later Oster missed a chance provided by substitute John Spencer that would have sent the fans home in a much happier frame of mind.

Matthew Elliott expressed regret before this mach that key man Duncan Ferguson, who has been plagued by knee trouble, would not be joining him in the Scottish squad for the World Cup finals.

It took the Everton captain two minutes to reinforce Elliott's thoughts and demonstrate exactly what Scotland could miss in France. Route One was the ploy behind a long clearance by John O'Kane. Ferguson, celebrating his 100th appearance for Everton, twisted in the air to head the ball into the path of Madar and the Paris-born striker volleyed home his sixth goal since his arrival from Spanish football. The strike was a jolt for Leicester, and Elliott and Steve Walsh took the hint and clearly tried to mark the Everton striker more closely.

It was not an easy task. Kasey Keller had to save spectacularly to prevent Madar snatching another goal and only a last-ditch tackle by Pontus Kaamark halted a determined Ferguson strike.

Howard Kendall made it clear his squad are playing for their places at Goodison Park next season. The Everton manager has around £7 million in his transfer kitty following the sale of Gary Speed and Andy Hinchcliffe. His message was: "Show me there are positions you can fill at Everton."

Leicester City, beaten at Filbert Street last December in one of Everton's two away victories, worked hard to build on the foundations bolstered by their defence. But they lacked the sparkle of Everton's midfield and the power of Ferguson and Madar, who is likely to be offered a permanent job at Everton before the season ends.

Long runs by Mustafa Izzet and Ian Marshall were not long enough to trouble Everton, with goalkeeper Thomas Myhre having an easy match until the 38th minute. Elliott raided down the right and Everton failed to clear a poor cross, giving Marshall the chance to equalise.

John Spencer replaced Peter Beagrie in the Everton attack at half-time, with Kendall switching to a five-man defence. Ferguson maintained the menacing form he produced from the outset but the Leicester defence were more wary of his moves. The big Scot nimbly back-heeled the ball to Gareth Farrelly whose shot flew harmlessly wide with Madar claiming in vain that he was obstructed by Elliott in the move.

Steve Guppy made powerful runs, twice halted by the watchful John O'Kane, as Leicester repeatedly failed to break down a defence that had performed so abysmally in Leicester's equaliser, initially inspired by Theo Zagorakis.

Everton consistently drifted into off-side positions as spectators – enduring a fourth relegation dogfight in in five seasons – grew restless at the failure to reclaim the lead and make sure of three points that would have gone so far towards easing the pressure and edging them away from Division One football.

Farrelly volleyed a chance, provided by the industrious Madar, over the bar and was loudly booed by his own supporters. It was another measure of mounting frustration at their side's inability to see off a determined, if uninspired Leicester.

Report © The Electronic Telegraph

RESULTS  (Game 35)
Sunday 19 April 1998
Leboeuf (pen 23)
1 - 0 Sheffield Wednesday
Coventry City
Dublin (pen 47)
1 - 1 Liverpool
Owen (33)
Saturday 18 April 1998
Adams (12) Overmars (17) Bergkamp (19) Petit (54) Wreh (88)
5 - 0 Wimbledon
Redfearn (19)
1 - 1 Tottenham Hotspur
Calderwood (47)
Bolton Wanderers
Thompson (56)
1 - 3 Leeds United
Haaland (16) Halle (34) Hasselbaink (85)
Crystal Palace
Jansen (73) Curcic (80) Bent (90)
3 - 1 Derby County
Bohinen (85)
Madar (2)
1 - 1 Leicester City
Marshall (38)
Manchester United
Beckham (38)
1 - 1 Newcastle United
Andersson (11)
Le Tissier (19)
1 - 2 Aston Villa
Hendrie (6) Yorke (60)
West Ham United
Hartson (7, 28)
2 - 1 Blackburn Rovers
Wilcox (45)

LEAGUE TABLE (after 19 April 1998 )
Club                          P    W    D    L   GF   GA   GD   Pts
Arsenal                      33   20    9    4   61   28   33   69
Manchester United            35   20    8    7   65   26   39   68
Liverpool                    34   16   11    7   58   37   21   59
Chelsea                      34   18    3   13   64   38   26   57
Leeds United                 35   17    6   12   53   39   14   57
West Ham United              34   15    7   12   47   42    5   52
Blackburn Rovers             34   14    9   11   55   50    5   51
Aston Villa                  35   15    6   14   44   44    0   51
Derby County                 34   14    7   13   49   44    5   49
Leicester City               34   11   13   10   43   37    6   46
Coventry City                34   11   13   10   40   40    0   46
Southampton                  35   13    5   17   45   50   -5   44 <Safe
Wimbledon                    34   10   11   13   31   39   -8   41
Sheffield Wednesday          35   11    8   16   48   62  -14   41
Newcastle United             34   10   10   14   32   40   -8   40
Everton                      35    9   12   14   39   48   -9   39
Tottenham Hotspur            35    9   10   16   35   53  -18   37
Barnsley                     35   10    5   20   37   77  -40   35
Bolton Wanderers             35    7   13   15   33   56  -23   34
Crystal Palace               34    7    8   19   31   60  -29   29 
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© Michael Kenrick 1998
Last updated: 19 April 1998