Newcastle United Logo Newcastle United 1 - 0 Everton 
Half-time: 0 - 0
Everton Logo
FA Carling Premiership 97/98 - Game 7
Wednesday 24 September 1997
St James Park, Newcastle
Att: 36,705
« Barnsley (h) Ref: Graham Poll Arsenal (h) »
1997-98 Fixtures & Results League Position: 16th Premiership Results & Table
Newcastle United: Lee (87)
EVERTON: -- McCann (sub)
LINEUPS Subs Not Used
Newcastle United: Given, Watson, Pistone, Peacock, Albert, Batty, Lee (Beresford, 90), Gillespie (Barton, 76), Barnes, Tomasson (Rush, 76), Asprilla. Hislop,
EVERTON: Gerrard, Hinchcliffe, Bilic, Watson, Barrett, Speed, Stuart, Barmby (64 Ball), Grant (84 McCann), Cadamarteri (77 Ferguson), Oster.
Unavailable: Parkinson, Thomas, Branch, Phelan, Short, Allen, Dunne, Williamson, Farrelly, Thomsen (injured).
Southall, O'Connor.
Yellow Cards Red Cards
Newcastle United: None --
EVERTON: Watson, Cadamarteri, Bilic 2. Bilic (62)

Steve Bickerton What might have been...
Dave Shepherd Some People Never Learn
ToffeeNet Comments We wuz Robbed!
THE TIMES Lee lifts leaden Newcastle
by David Maddock
DAILY STAR Gritty Everton stem the Tyneside tidal wave
by Martin Howey
LIVERPOOL ECHO Newcastle Utd 1, Everton 0
by David Prentice
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Lee provides the final word for Newcastle
by William Johnson
SOCCERNET Link to SoccerNet Match Report
CARLINGNET Link to CarlingNet Match Report

What might have been...
Steve Bickerton

It was a bit of a shock to find myself at St James' Park on Wednesday night, organised in a bit of a rush on Monday afternoon.  Strange beasts, employers.  Mine, a large US computer services company has purchased 4 season tickets at the ground at £1,500 each!  It seems my name had bee plucked from the hat on Monday lunchtime and now I was off to watch the boys.

Now for the price of those tickets I was expecting gold plated seats, a heated area, waitress service, you know the sort of thing.  Wrong!! Imagine the Family Enclosure at Goodison.  Imagine it extending sideways into the Gwladys Street area.  Imagine being sat roughly where the exits by the Church are, facing the Bullens Road. That's what £1,500 buys you at St James' Park.  What VFM Goodison Park is.

I'd gone up with a couple of work colleagues (both blues) and we were meeting a couple of people they both knew in the Trent, just by the ground.  Well, even in those areas where you least expect it you find fellow Toffeenetters; John Sheridan, of Everton in Chile fame, take a bow, it was good to meet you.

Once in the ground (in the Milburn Stand, low down, opposite the bulk of the travelling support), we got into position just as the teams were being read out.   The Everton line up sounded as though we were going to play a similar formation to Saturday against Barnsley.  Gerrard had kept his place, with Barrett replacing Short at the back, with Stuart, Watson, Bilic and Hinchcliffe.  But Diamond was to play in a five man midfield which also included Speed, Oster, Grant and Barmby - who was playing somewhere just ahead of the other four but just behind Cadamarteri, the lone striker.  Ferguson, McCann, O'Connor, Ball and Southall were the substitutes.

First Half

The game was a disappointing affair. If you look dispassionately at our attacking flair in this game, it was barely existent.  We were, however, denied the lead when a Barmby attempt, which left Given in the Toon goal standing, looking at the ball nestling in the corner of the net, was disallowed for offside. From my viewpoint, all I can say is that I've no idea of the validity of the decision, I was too far away from it, barely able to make out that it was Barmby with the final touch -- but it all went very quiet around me. Celebrating, sat down, in a crowd of disenchanted Geordies, isn't easy, so my muted attempts cheering was lost in the ensuing gasps of relief as Graham Poll pointed to somewhere in the penalty box rather than the centre circle.

It's difficult to point out any particularly great performances, but Grant in particular had a good game, battling against both Batty and Barnes and coming out on top against both of them on numerous occasions.  Speed was his usual self, with Stuart and Oster both disappointing (although neither could be faulted for effort). Barmby ran well in the hole behind Cadamarteri, who had those around me shouting at the Newcastle defence to "get him, 'cos he tricky" -- his reputation grows.  

A first half of superb effort, if not high on skill, came to a close at 0 - 0, with us being both fortunate to be on terms (Gerrard having made a couple of great saves) and unlucky not to be one up with Barmby's disallowed effort.

Second Half

The second half was more of Newcastle pressing and us sitting in the middle of the park, trying to nullify any threat from the advancing Magpies.  The defence, marshalled superbly by Bilic, looked to have everything covered.  A lunge at Gillespie (which any referee other than The card happy Mr. Poll might have let go) followed by a second which had Marching Orders written all over it, saw the end of him on 62 minutes.

Backs to the wall time.  Barmby withdrawn in favour of Ball in defence, McCann replacing a tiring Grant and Ferguson being used as a holding forward player on the withdrawal of Cadamarteri.  All looked to be heading towards a 0 - 0 draw, when Lee, seizing on a ball in front of goal, in an unusual amount of space, lashed the ball of the underside of the bar, and into the net past the helpless Gerrard.  Unfair, unlucky, un-everything else that describes despair, desolation and downright disappointment.  Two minutes from time, five minutes of injury time, Barnes hits the bar, a fine run from Ferguson nearly gets something at the other end and its all over.

Oh what might have been!


  • Gerrard: Had a good game overall, making some excellent saves. Growing in confidence. Spoiled his performance with one fumble and some over-the-top time wasting.  
  • Barrett: A competent game defensively but once again his crossing in advanced positions was poor.  Mind you, with the towering forward line we had on display, even the best of crosses might have gone a-begging!
  • Watson: A mainly solid display, a bit panicked at times and one heart-stopping moment in the second half where he seemed to handle it in the box.
  • Bilic: His tackle on Asprilla when he'd already received a yellow card for a nothing tackle was crass stupidity.  Asprilla was going nowhere and was covered by Hinchcliffe.  Bilic's tackle from behind was always going to be a yellow card.  Two yellows and off he goes.  Other than those two moments, he was accomplished, in control and organising the defence like the class act he is.
  • Hinchcliffe: Tracked his side well, whilst never taking up advanced positions.  Still recovering I think.  More psychological recuperation needed rather than physical here.  Against his best days, a lacklustre performance, but he held up well against the forays of Asprilla and Lee.
  • Stuart: Worked hard to get into defensive positions, was always another body available to stem Newcastle's flow.  Very little creative from him though.
  • Speed: Everywhere, again.  Tackled hard, fought well, kept his midfield moving.  A strong captain's display. Was always the target man when we had free kicks in advanced positions, in the absence of Ferguson.
  • Grant: An excellent game.  Covered acres of ground.  Good close control, great vision, and strong tackling. Tired towards the end and was replaced by McCann. He was spoken to by Graham Poll after his kick back to Given from a bounce-ball.  My man of the match.
  • McCann: Adjusted well as he had to come in to play in a nine-man defence. Nothing otherwise of note.
  • Oster: Found it difficult to play in a predominantly defensive role.  Some excellent touches which showed more of the talent which he possesses.  Will do much better in games where we are more adventurous.
  • Barmby: Playing in a role behind "behind the front two" with only one up front.  Linked well with Grant and Speed in midfield and Cadamarteri up front.  Beginning to show his true worth.  Showed his displeasure at being called for offside when he got the ball into the net.  Wants to do well.  I was disappointed when he came off to be replaced by Ball, but it was the proper tactical switch with Bilic having just been dismissed. Keep up the good work Nick!
  • Ball: A strong display in place of Bilic.  He did nothing wrong, but *might* have been a little quicker when the ball fell to Lee for their goal. This isn't a case of apportioning blame though, just an observation from a very long way away.  Seems to be learning very quickly.
  • Cadamarteri: Is he really just 17?  Creative, quick, a battler.  All the attributes of a class act centre forward. Just not very big.  We seemed to learn fairly early that he was never going to beat Peacock in the air, especially after Peacock got his elbow into Danny's face (off the ball) nobody watching. High tackles from Batty (a kick in the face) and Albert (across his shins), did nothing to dampen his enthusiasm.  Didn't get a lot of service, but ran Newcastle's defence ragged when he had the chance.  A needless booking for not retreating 10 yards, deep in the Newcastle half.  He'll learn from that.  Tired towards the end, through effort and attrition.  Replaced by Ferguson.
  • Ferguson: A good few minutes. Once he was on we reverted more to the long ball up, a tactic we hadn't used much prior to that.  But with everybody else back defending, he was never going to be able to deliver telling flicks {could this have given more impetus to Newcastle as they recovered the ball quicker than when we were paying to feet?]. Held the ball up well and on one rampaging run from the right beat three players, before being stopped as he ran into the box.

Team: A good team effort, with everybody playing for each other.  Some excellent passing, whilst playing keep-ball kept Newcastle chasing and some robust tackling made for a more effective defence. Still looked a little shaky at times but this sort of performance, the result aside, can only bode well for the months ahead.

Some People Never Learn
Dave Shepherd [with some enlightened end-of-season comments added]

It's 'away at Newcastle' day again. Time to wonder what you've done to deserve being cursed with a compulsion to go to such a hellpit just because the blues are playing.

I mean it's not like we ever get anything there, even when we're playing well and they're crap. And at the moment we're an exciting joust for mundane also-rans like Palace or Bolton and they're beating Barcelona. Just.

Well many blues were smart enough not to come, but some people never learn. Last year they held a lucky numbers draw for this fixture. This year the general sale only just managed to shift the allocation to the 1,500 or so diehards who either haven't learned that we always get shafted there or want to be there to see another one. Ellery's 12-card orgy and the four-goals-in-last-20-minutes blitz are two recent examples.

This year comfortably lived up to the other examples. We managed in the space of only 100 minutes (including injury time) at 'Vibrator Stadium' (see last year's report) to get shafted by disallowed-goal syndrome, get shafted by another of the worst refs on the list – the infamous Graham Poll, being a stooge for the crowd then getting a player sent off, then get shafted and robbed by a late donkey kick.

The torture started early with some geordie nob gannin on for ten minutes before kick-off over the tannoy about ow greeut the lads wur, ow they ad the best suppo'atuz in the wuld, how the ooul wuld tyoonud in ta see them plia Barsaloouna (watch THEM, you notice, not Barca), and ow it wo the prowdussd deea ov iz leyf for the furst sixdee minnits of the geeum. Luckily, most Blues are hardened by experience of the 'Tommy Smith talks Bollocks' column, so not too many threw up.

Changes were plentiful in the starting lineup and formation. Barrett was in to relieve Stuart of his right wing-back duties, and the Squid Kid (Cadamarteri) was starting instead of Duncan. Grant was a surprising inclusion instead of Williamson. Oster was lined up fully out on the left wing ahead of Hinchcliffe, and so if you counted Barmby as 'up front' it was a conventional 4-4-2.

The heart always sinks when Stuart lines up wide. He never does anything there, but must have a hundred or more appearances there under Kendall.

During one of their few scrappy attempts at attack, Asprilla, marshalled into an ineffective position on the goal line decided to dive for a penalty. Even kop-rivalling geordie howls couldn't convince Poll or his linesman, but was there a card or even a ticking off for this cynical cheating? Of course not. If a defender tried to prevent a goal at the other end with a cynical tackle or handball on the line, he'd be off. Why is cynical diving to gain a goal not also a red card offence? Luckily for Asprilla this anomaly remains, otherwise he'd spend more or the season suspended than playing.

At half-time, a notice near the tea bar informed us that we could buy 'hamberguesa' for £1.90 and 'bolas de patatas fritas' (bag of chips to you) for £0.60... a sobering reminder of the last patrons of the bar, and that it's 12 years since we had anyone as illustrious at Goodison's away end.

Of course having someone having a word with Slaven on the lines of 'watch yourself, Poll is a card maniac and the home crowd scream foul for anything' would have been too easy as well. So Slaven just played his normal game and got sent off for it. Some people never learn.

From then on, Everton did the only thing guaranteed to make sure they'd complete the error by losing, they tried to hang on for the draw. They set themselves up on the edge of the box and prayed. Against the team which put four past us in 20 minutes last season. And of course, eventually, it didn't work, just like it never does. Some people never learn.

The night ended with another mysterious injury time. During this, the Italian left back Pistone tried to end Stuart's career with a two-footed tackle, followed this with a Pallister-type head butt on the Diamond who was a foot smaller, then spat at him after Poll had warned them both and done nothing about the dangerous or threatening play. And Italians have the cheek to call the English game dirty?? Ref and lineman both missed the spitting, of course.

Afterwards, the local bizzies (who had carried out their usual catalogue of random arrests for vile crimes such as standing up, blocking advertising boards and supporting Everton) filter you down a rat run outside Sirjohn Stadium where all the human scum in stripes can get a free go at twisting the knife. 'You oounlee ad woon shot' was a popular one, which made you wonder what they were doing when Hinchcliffe had three dips from free kicks.. 'Gowin doon' was an unoriginal one which if a true reflection demonstrates exactly what a pathetic performance their lot managed against only ten of us; but 'Disgreeuss to the Prem'yuship' was the richest from cretins who bow down and worship habitual diving cheats like Asprilla and Shearer.

In a pub afterwards, they crowded around leering at the TV. The league table showed them in fifth ('Aye but look at geeums pleeud man'. 'Aye - geeums pleeud!'). And cheering at the third round MM cup draw placing them at home 'agin' their 'lowugul' rivals. [Added note - pity we didn't get them later in theFA Cup, when by they KNEW they were virtually as crap as us..]

Toons really live in a world of their very own. You know what we think of Mancs... well, I'd rather live in Manchester than Newcastle. At least in Manchester there are some real fans in light blue to make up for the gobs**te ones. In the Toon it's 100% GS... or at least until their pet mad millionaire's cash supply gets cut off and they percolate back to their natural level at the arse end of Division Two. God help England if they ever win anything worth "crowan aboot" meanwhile. "Bes supportas in the wurld" my arse. If their Frankenstein-monster mixture of foreigners and has-beens had any self-respect, they'd decline to accept any points at all for that performance.

Individual Performances

  • Gerrard 6 Incredibly came out with another passable performance despite still not being able to hold onto a ball without it bobbling out invitingly for a follow-up.
  • Barrett 6 Was on the pitch and didn't cost us any goals. End of report. Perfect mediocrity.
  • Stuart 6 Shifted to right midfield, the position HK has cursed him with for years, and gave the usual barely passable Utility-Dude performance. The diamond geezer (sadly) should apply for a transfer before he's too old to escape the typecasting and have the striker's career he deserves. [Prophetic?!]
  • Hinchcliffe 6 The mailman was asked to produce without the primary target on the field, nor even one of the alternatives (Short). Hopeful dips from free kicks didn't even manage to look dangerous.
  • Bilic 4 Kept committing himself to tackles which left opponents with the ball and only the remainder of the defence to beat. More often than not didn't win the ball. Embarrassing play-acting when fouled. Obvious shirt-tug when already on a yellow card = bye bye, Slaven and bye bye, away point. As predicted, Bilic self-destructed to the cost of the team. How much are we paying this liability? Who is responsible for signing him?
  • Watson 7 A strong showing from the decrepit one :)
  • Oster 6 All the talent on show as usual, but didn't manage to make it count for anything... whether this is the fault of him, his team mates or his coaches is another question.
  • Grant 8 The first time I've ever seen Grant playing a ballwinner role rather than a playmaker one, and he started out on a blinder – a Parkinson-calibre performance. Unfortunately this faded somewhat, then choked and died when the Bilic dismissal ended Everton's interest in playing football.
  • Speed 5 Oh no, yet another disappointing outing. 8-[
  • Barmby 5 Painfully ineffective, except unlike on Saturday he wasn't running his heart out – he was jogging around like a dads v lads Sunday kickabout. I've seen enough. New Beardsley? Ha. Sell him. [Bit harsh!]
  • Ball ? Only noticed him once, coping well running a ball out of danger. Thrown into a nightmare of all-out defence which failed. [First of a lot of Bally magic moments to come as it turned out!].
  • Ferguson 5 Subbed on to do WHAT exactly? Stand on the halfway line, win headers that no-one was supporting, and take on the whole defence by himself apparently. Ludicrous. [Dunc spent so much of this season waiting for service that never came final, his goal tally was nothing short of admirable].
  • Cadamarteri 6 A Twiggy-type performance.. i.e. he was keen and working hard, but never got released anywhere except into the corners, where there was only one outcome – losing possession to defenders that had his number all the way.

TEAM PERFORMANCE ? No mark for this one, because it could be marked for the effort, but that wouldn't show up the awful naivety, or it could be marked down for being low-league fodder trying to scrape a point but that would not be fair because it is not they who pick the team or dictate the tactics. Pick a number.

Ref: Graham POLL (Tring) One of the premiership's lemons gave a textbook display of diabolical refereeing. The bad decisions broke about even, but the cards he decided to wave didn't, and he was putty in the hands of the whinging kopites - sorry, Toons. Easy mistake...

We wuz Robbed!
ToffeeNet Comments

We had a bunch of kids out there today, and they did us proud, but in the end we finally went down. Saw the Slaven incident on TV -- he was very unlucky to get sent off.

Gerrard had another great match. The goal was unlucky: a long-range shot deflected up off Oster, a scuffle in the penalty box from which we failed to clear, the ball breaking loose for Rob Lee, who fired in an unstoppable shot to break our hearts.

It could all have been so different if Nick Barmby's effort on 5 mins hadn't been ruled offside. I've seen them given, but that's what happens when your luck is out.

Tony Grant was awesome tonight, putting in tackle after tackle that would have put the Pieman to shame, and showing Messers Farrelly and Williamson how the ball-winning role in midfield should be done.  He faded in the second half; obviously still lacking full match fitness, but his display shows that we'd be totally NUTS to let him leave even if we had a fully fit squad -- letting him leave under current injury crisis is just asking for relegation.

If Rodders turns in that sort of a performance against Arsenal on Saturday, and Kendall is still prepared to let him go, then the Goodison faithful will be baying for his blood.

Although we didn't get anything from this match, we can hold our heads up high. Arsenal on Saturday, and the test for our team now is to show if they can bounce back from such unfair disappointment.  Still, the injuries and suspensions are piling up like a ton of bricks. Hinchcliffe sits out his ban on Saturday; Phelan is injured -- no cover for left-back.

Lee lifts leaden Newcastle
by David Maddock, The Times

A WEEK ago, St James' Park had shaken with the passion of a Champions' League victory over Barcelona. Last night it barely squeaked at the prospect of the visit of Everton.

A goal two minutes from time by Robert Lee finally brought what had become an increasingly unlikely victory. But it could not disguise Newcastle United's ability to rouse themselves at the prospect of more mundane matters. Everton are a very ordinary team and yet they were almost allowed to strangle this game.

What a difference a week makes. Where Newcastle were vibrant against the Catalan club, here they were leaden; where they were committed, here they were indifferent. Even the sight of Slaven Bilic receiving a red card with a third of the game remaining could not invigorate the home team.

When the goal came, it was a surprise, even to the Newcastle players, who had resigned themselves to the frustration of a point when their dominance of possession should have delivered a comfortable victory. What did not surprise in a disjointed game was that it was a scrappy goal.

Out of desperation, Peacock, the centre half, was sent lumbering forward. He conjured a shot of sorts, which was blocked, and, in the scramble, Rush, a substitute, headed down for Lee to volley into the roof of the net.

Howard Kendall, the Everton manager, considered his side unlucky, given the nature of Bilic's dismissal. Two minutes after the interval, a late, lunging tackle on Gillespie brought him a yellow card. Fifteen minutes later, another untidy tackle on Asprilla invoked a second caution and, with it, the inevitable red card. A harsh decision, perhaps, but then he had hacked away at Asprilla all evening.

Newcastle's best moments came when the Colombian produced some neat passing around the penalty area, first to give Tomasson a shot, that was well saved by Gerrard, and then Gillespie another opportunity, which he drove just wide. Asprilla had one opportunity of his own, when he forced another save from Gerrard, but three clear chances was not a good return after being camped in the Everton half.

Kenny Dalglish, the Newcastle manager, spoke afterwards of his side's reward for their patience. But he could not escape the fact that his side had struggled against a team who will surely be rooted at the wrong end of the table.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

Gritty Everton stem the Tyneside tidal wave
Martin Howey, The Daily Star

GRITTY Everton succeeded where Barcelona failed the previous week and stemmed the Tyneside tidal wave.  Keeper Paul Gerrard, in super form following his recent recall, denied the Geordies several times.

But it was the Merseysiders hard-working performance that shut down red-hot striker Tino Asprilla and his fired-up colleagues despite having Slaven Bilic sent off.  He got the red card for his second bookable offence, fouling Asprilla on 62 minutes after a 47th-minute booking for halting Keith Gillespie.

Gerrard's first-half saves from Jon Tomasson and Philippe Albert kept Everton alive.

Boss Kenny Dalglish axed Warren Barton and three-goal John Beresford for Alessandro Pistone and Tomasson. Surprisingly Everton boss Howard Kendall dumped Duncan Ferguson for a pairing of new wonder kid Danny Cadamarteri and Nick Barmby.

United, playing a flat back four, allowed Everton far too much early possession. But it was a set-piece that almost caught them cold.  Andy Hinchcliffe delivered a superb ball aimed towards Gary Speed at the far post. A sea of black and white shirts froze, leaving Shay Given to bravely throw himself into the fray and punch clear.

Asprilla's deft header created an instant chance for Tomasson after 18 minutes.  But the Dane never looked comfortable with only Gerrard to beat and the keeper blocked. Gillespie's corner maintained the pressure, but Gerrard again came to Everton's rescue, reacting superbly to hold onto Albert's powerful header.

Gillespie almost snatched a goal after 27 minutes but his low drive whistled wide.  Earlier Everton had netted through Barmby who prodded home from but was offside.  But Rob Lee grabbed the winner in the 88th-minute.

Report © Express Newspapers

Newcastle Utd 1, Everton 0
by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo

WILL no-one rid us of this loathsome wretch?  For years he has tormented successive Premiership defences - but always with a particular penchant for punishing the Blues.  For a period he operated in a different coloured jersey.  Now he’s wearing a black shirt, but still he’s frustrating and infuriating the Blues.  Just what is to be done about Graham Poll?

True, Newcastle’s 87th minute equaliser broke off Ian Rush.  But the referee decided the outcome of last night’s match in the 62nd minute.  That’s when he peered through a mass of tangled legs and bodies, claimed to have spotted Slaven Bilic tripping Faustino Asprilla from behind -- and brandished a second yellow card at the appalled Croatian.

Everton’s ambition up to that point had been strictly limited, but their defending had also been resolute and a goalless draw was a likelihood rather than a possibility.  Bilic’s dismissal turned Everton’s steady, if unenterprising tactics into a siege mentality -- and they eventually crumbled just three minutes from time.

Poll’s decision was undoubtedly influenced by the usual manic reaction from the blinkered hot-heads who populate St James’s Park.  The cry "hand ball" went up every time an Everton player chested the ball - and the simple action of passing the ball along the back-four, with one Everton forward chasing, was applauded like the purest form of total football.  An excited murmur raced around St James’s Park when news drifted through that Chelsea were leading 2-1 at Old Trafford.

At least Evertonians are realistic.  The Geordies still harbour beliefs that their side will challenge Manchester United for the Premiership title. The truth is, their silverware winning days disappeared with the extinction of the last, ahem, major trophy to grace the Tyneside trophy cabinet - The Texaco Cup.

The fact that left-back Alessandro Pistone was United’s best player by a mile, spoke volumes.  Despite overwhelming superiority in terms of possession, Paul Gerrard didn’t have a testing save to make from the 19th minute, when he expertly parried Tomasson’s drive, until Lee’s 87th minute winner.  It was a far cry from his full Everton debut on the same ground last season.  That night he conceded four goals.

Another Evertonian back on first night territory was Tony Grant.  He made a daunting debut at St James’s Park two years ago, when Everton were already down to nine men.  This time he had the luxury of 10 men on his side for the final half-hour.  Worrying rumours emanate from Goodison that Tony Grant is interesting Sheffield United, and that the Blues could be ready to do business.  

It is to be hoped that those stories are just imaginative speculation.  Last night Grant’s performance was the complete antithesis of his usual displays.  His tackling was meaty and decisive, but his passing sloppy.  But the fact remains, Grant’s vision and ability to thread passes through defences is a quality in very short supply in the current Everton squad.

It helps when he has mobile forwards or wingers to hit - and last night Danny Cadamarteri more than played his part. Given the daunting task of effectively playing up front on his own, with Nick Barmby tucked in behind, he held up play well and worked hard.  He never threatened a repeat of Saturday’s debut goal - but then neither did Everton.

Barmby actually slipped the ball past Shay Given in the 11th minute, but the linesman’s flag had already gone up for offside.  The closest Everton came after that was another of Graham Poll’s more eccentric moments.  With Everton in possession, he halted play because Danny Cadamarteri had fallen clutching a head injury.  After the plucky youngster had recovered, Poll dropped the ball for Grant who volleyed a 50-yard shot from the halfway line which bounced once, and forced Given into an athletic tip-over.  Irritated, the official waved away claims for a corner, ordered the drop-ball to be retaken - then watched Speed lash the ball at the corner flag.  This time the ball flew out for a throw-in, which seemed to satisfy the erratic official.  If his performance didn’t satisfy the Blues, there were others which did.

Michael Ball was given his first action of the season at centre-half, following Bilic’s dismissal, and did well for half an hour.  Cadamarteri, too, held the ball up front like a veteran.  It was the veteran on the other side, however, who finally decided the issue.  

Everton’s brave defending seemed to have earned a point, when Barton clipped a ball towards the penalty area which ballooned up off John Oster’s heel.  As it looped into the penalty area Ian Rush managed a decisive touch and Robert Lee crashed a superb shot in off the underside of the crossbar.

John Barnes also saw a rising drive strike the crossbar in the 95th minute, but his effort came back out.  It had been heart-breaking for Everton, but they did leave St James’s Park with credit, if no points.

Report © Liverpool Echo

Lee provides the final word for Newcastle
William Johnson, Electronic Telegraph

EVERTON, depleted beforehand by injuries to eight players and robbed of another when Slaven Bilic was harshly sent off, were within two minutes of claiming an unexpected point from a strangely subdued Newcastle last night.

Kenny Dalglish's team were woefully unimaginative for the 88 terrible minutes which drifted by before Rob Lee, the Newcastle captain, spared the blushes of the Premiership contenders by lashing a volley into to roof of Paul Gerrard's net.

A week after the intoxicating Champions' League conquest of Barcelona, St James' Park went into hangover mode as Newcastle laboured to provide the same quality of entertainment.

It was embarrassingly quiet until Keith Gillespie, the architect of the Faustino Asprilla-inspired European triumph, had the crowd gasping with an angled drive which skidded just wide after acrobatic approach work by Asprilla and Jon Dahl Tomasson.

Until then, Paul Gerrard, continuing in preference to Neville Southall, had enjoyed a comfortable time in the Everton goal, saving a Philippe Albert header after a Tomasson effort had been bundled away for a corner.

The crowd were in forgiving mood but their tolerance might have been tested if Nick Barmby had not been ruled marginally offside in putting the ball past Shay Given from Everton's only decent attack in a sterile first period.

The action in the second half was as disappointing as the first which made it even harder than usual to ignore the eccentric refereeing of the card-happy Graham Poll.

The Tring official almost got himself into a mess when stopping play to allow treatment to Danny Cadamarteri, Everton's new teenage hero. When that knock to the head had been attended to, Tony Grant in what was supposed to be an attempt to give the ball to Newcastle, almost deceived Shay Given with a wickedly bouncing delivery.

The Newcastle goalkeeper just managed to turn the ball over his crossbar, but the referee, deciding that Grant's action was not in the right spirit, refused to allow the corner and gave another dropped ball on the halfway line.

If only Mr Poll had been as keen to adjudicate in the spirit of the game rather than under the letter of the law when rushing to remove his red card from his pocket to the detriment of Bilic.

Everton's £4million summer signing from West Ham had hardly been called upon to use his tackling strength yet found himself back in the dressing room 25 minutes prematurely for two innocuous second half fouls on Gillespie and Asprilla.

Everton, who had two of their "dogs of war" dismissed here two years ago, were rightly aggrieved and Howard Kendall immediately withdrew striker Barmby to put Michael Ball into the gap left by Bilic.

With the crowd growing increasingly restless, Lee avoided an outbreak of mass annoyance by following up a blocked shot by Darren Peacock and profiting with his first goal of the season after substitute Ian Rush returned the loose ball into a crowded penalty area. John Barnes then maintained the Newcastle momentum by striking the crossbar with a fierce drive.

Report © The Electronic Telegraph

RESULTS  (Game 8)
Wednesday 24 September 1997
ARSENAL                 4-0    WEST HAM UNITED           38,012
Bergkamp(12) Overmars(39,45) Wright(pen 42)
COVENTRY CITY           1-1    CRYSTAL PALACE            15,900
Dublin(8)                      Fullarton(9)
LEICESTER CITY          1-1    BLACKBURN ROVERS          19,921
Izzet(43)                      Sutton(36)
MANCHESTER UNITED       2-2    CHELSEA                   55,163
Scholes(36) Solskjaer(86)      Berg(og:25) M Hughes(68)
NEWCASTLE UNITED        1-0    EVERTON                   36,705
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY     2-5    DERBY COUNTY              22,391
Di Canio(5) Carbone(pen:12)    Baiano(7,48) Laursen(26)
                               Wanchope(33) Burton(75)
SOUTHAMPTON             0-2    LEEDS UNITED              15,102
                               Molenaar(36) Wallace(55)
Tuesday 23 September 1997
BOLTON WANDERERS        1-1    TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR         23,433
Thompson(pen:20)               Armstrong(71)
WIMBLEDON               4-1    BARNSLEY                   7,686
Cort(49) Earle(65)             Tinkler(41)
Hughes(68) Ekoku(84)

Monday 22 September 1997
LIVERPOOL               3-0    ASTON VILLA               34,843
Fowler(pen:56) McManaman(79) Riedle(90)

LEAGUE TABLE (after 24 September 1997 )
Club                          P    W    D    L   GF   GA   GD   Pts
Arsenal                       8    5    3    0   20    8   12   18
Manchester United             8    5    3    0   12    3    9   18
Blackburn Rovers              8    4    3    1   19    9   10   15
Leicester City                8    4    3    1   11    6    5   15
Chelsea                       7    4    1    2   21   10   11   13
Liverpool                     7    3    3    1   11    6    5   12
Newcastle United              5    4    0    1    6    4    2   12
Leeds United                  8    3    1    4   10   11   -1   10
Crystal Palace                8    3    1    4    7    9   -2   10
West Ham United               8    3    1    4   10   13   -3   10
Coventry City                 8    2    4    2    8   11   -3   10
Derby County                  6    3    0    3   10    7    3    9
Tottenham Hotspur             8    2    3    3    6   10   -4    9
Aston Villa                   8    3    0    5    8   13   -5    9
Wimbledon                     7    2    2    3   10   10    0    8
Everton                       7    2    1    4    8   11   -3    7
Bolton Wanderers              7    1    4    2    6    9   -3    7
Barnsley                      8    2    0    6    7   21  -14    6
Sheffield Wednesday           8    1    2    5    9   20  -11    5
Southampton                   8    1    1    6    5   13   -8    4

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