Everton Logo Everton 0 - 0 Chelsea
Half-time: 0 - 0
Chelsea Logo
FA Carling Premiership 1998-99 – Game 16
Saturday 5 December 1998
Goodison Park, Merseyside
Att: 36,430
« Charlton Athletic (a) Ref: Gary Willard Southampton (h) »
1998-99 Fixtures & Results League Position: 15th Premiership Results & Table
   LINEUPS  Subs Not Used 
EVERTON: Myhre, Cleland, Short (c!), Dunne, Materazzi, Ball, Collins, Hutchison, Grant, Bakayoko, Cadamarteri.
Unavailable: Unsworth (suspended); Watson, Williamson, Phelan, Parkinson (injured); Barmby (not match-fit); O'Kane, Spencer (on loan); Thomas (in transfer negotiations).
Dacourt, Branch, Ward, Bilic, Simonsen.
Chelsea: De Goey, Petrescu, Babayaro, Leboeuf, Desailly, Poyet (Duberry, 33), Wise, Di Matteo, Ferrer, Flo, Zola (Goldbaek, 63). Hitchcock, Nicholls, Morris.
   Yellow Cards  Red Cards
EVERTON: Dunne 2, Ball, Bakayoko. Dunne (76)
Chelsea: Wise 2, Poyet, Petrescu, Flo. Wise (36)

Steve Bickerton Turning another corner?
Richard Marland Where and when will the next goal come?
THE SUNDAY TIMES Red is only colour for sad blues
by Ian Hawkey

Dunne roamin' as Wise takes a walk
by Neil Bramwell
THE TIMES Foolhardy Wise faces an uncertain future
by Kevin McCarra
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Everton miss their chances
by Derek Potter
THE EVERTONIAN Link to the latest Match Report

THE GUARDIAN Link to Football Unlimited Match Report
SOCCERNET Link to SoccerNet Match Report
CARLINGNET Link to CarlingNet Match Report

 Turning another corner?
Steve Bickerton
What a turbulent two weeks it was that came to an end at Goodison Park today. First there was the Ferguson episode, then the little matter of the removal of the Chairman and installation of a new team at the top, in the boardroom, and then – well, then came the little matter of the football.

The pundits on Sky Sports before the game predictably made it a Chelsea victory, at a canter, all bar that old sage George Best who saw it as a 0 -0. What they, in the main, failed to take into account was the new mood in the Everton camp which has manifested itself over that traumatic fortnight.

On a bleak day, the chill wind threatening to eat its way through several layers of warm clothing, causing untold havoc with the waterworks of those around me as they bobbed to and fro to the gents, there was no promise of a stirring encounter, no hint of a warm glow and no feeling that somehow, we may have now reached the turning point. But at the end of 90 (or so) minutes of play, I was left with a glimmer of a hint of a promise of more than all of that.

Following the on-field successes against Newcastle and Charlton, Walter Smith was faced with two enforced changes and a decision. The changes were easy enough, Captain Watson's injury enabling the recall of Materazzi, and Cleland finally getting a recall in place of the suspended Unsworth, allowing a more comfortable berth in the back three for the promising Dunne.

The shock, to me anyway, was the decision he made over the Captain. I must admit that I believed that the honour today would go to Collins, after all, hadn't I read somewhere that the title of Vice-Captain had been bestowed on his experienced head? But no, Short it was who donned the armband, the same Short who had been so close to moving to Forest those few "short" weeks ago.

Following the off-field success against Peter Johnson, I fully expected the arrival of Walter Smith and the new Chairman and Vice Chairman to be received with a resounding ovation. That didn't happen. It was almost as if there was an air about Goodison which said "Peter who?" and "What crisis?". The only reminder of the previous two weeks which was apparent to me was a lone banner in the Goodison Road Family Enclosure which read "Johnson's Out, Bring Back Big Duncan". At the end of the game I'm not so sure there would be many observers who would genuinely believe that that would be in the best interests of the Club. But I'm getting ahead of myself aren't I?

Everton lined up with Myhre in goal; a back five of Ball, Materazzi, Short, Dunne and Cleland; Hutchison, Collins and Grant in midfield; and Cadamarteri and Bakayoko up front. The announcer before the game omitted to tell who the substitutes were, but I later discovered that they were Dacourt, Branch, Ward, Bilic and Simonsen, none of whom were used during the game.

First Half

The game started in timorous fashion with neither side promising very much. Denis Wise made his usual impact on the game, finding his name in the referee's notebook before five minutes had been played, after hauling down Cadamarteri. This treatment of Cadamarteri was to prove to be something of a recurring theme throughout the game as he constantly turned the Chelsea defence inside out.

An early long range goal attempt in the form of a ripping snapshot from Bakayoko left De Goey in the Chelsea goal grasping at thin air, only for him to sense relief as it curled past his left hand post. This was a signal for almost total domination from Everton, going forward thoughtfully, passing the ball left and right. It was the sort of flowing football that we seemed to forgotten to play. We still didn't move off the ball enough to help the player in possession, but the endeavour, the graft and above all, the skill were there for all to see.

The absence of the two main protagonists in the old style, one no longer at the club and one not available through suspension, brought a new dimension to our play. It was a delight to watch the attempt at, if not always the execution of, the defence splitting through ball, the ball for the forward to chase. It brought hope to see the triangular passes played with thought rather than reflex. Above all it brought belief that this could be the start of a bright new future.

The feeling that things could only improve for us was strengthened when Denis Wise hurled himself into the tackle against Marco Materazzi. The lunge left Marco spread-eagled on the floor and as he got up he was clutching his face, which had been caught by Wise's trailing arm. Uproar ensued in the Gwladys Street as referee Willard completely ignored the crude attempt at playing the ball (I'm being gracious here as the ball had long gone) and waved play on.

But fair play to Mr Willard as he was merely playing advantage; as soon as the ball next went dead, out came his book and Wise was beckoned, bemused and angelic, too him. The official consulted his notebook and then brandished first yellow and then red. Wise was off, though not without protest which saw Petrescu get his name added to a growing list which by now included Poyet and Dunne. Shortly afterwards the unfortunate Ball, who now misses the West Ham game, saw his name added to the list for a challenge which was at worst clumsy, but more likely the result of some excellent over-acting on the part of Zola (I think!).

By now though (around 35 minutes) we were well on top and the inspired Cadamarteri was causing all sorts of problems for cosmopolitan Chelsea defence with as many as three players hunting (good usage of the word I think) him down. Bakayoko, too was finding it hard to find too much room as the Chelsea rearguard stood firm. Half-time came with an injured Poyet (probably as well for him, because for him, too, a red surely wouldn't have been long coming, as Gary Willard applied the absolute letter of the law) replaced by Michael Duberry, the token Englishman on the Chelsea side.

A score of 0-0 was flattering to the visitors as it in no way reflected the domination of the home side. Suffice to say though that it did reflect the number of clear cut chances which, despite the numerical advantage enjoyed by the Blues, had come Everton's way. True there were close encounters, but De Goey was rarely troubled. There was one tremendous moment of note, though in defence. As a ball dropped invitingly for the waiting Zola, Materazzi, somehow, stretched out a leg and hooked (not a correct usage but I can't think of how else to describe the split-second timing, the crisp contact and the precision of the clearance) the ball away, with Myhre was in an exposed position.

Second Half

The second half saw Everton pressing forward again. Wave upon wave of Blue shirts threw themselves at the Chelsea back line but Leboeuf, Duberry and Desailly stood firm. We now witnessed what is our singularly most (de)pressing problem – we defended well, we moved the ball well in midfield and we competed well for the ball. But we lacked the cutting edge. There is a distinct lack of a striker who can take advantage of the half-chance.

Despite undoubted promise, Bakayoko doesn't seem to be that sort of player. He makes things happen, rather than reacts to events. Danny certainly isn't in the "poacher" mould. Grant tried to get on the end of a couple of excellent crosses delivered from the right from Cleland and Cadamarteri, but to no avail. Ball, too, had his moment as an attempt at a back-heeled lob didn't quite come off.

(Hard to picture, but here's a review: Ball advances across the six-yard box,  the ball dropping over his shoulder. He's gone past the goal and De Goey is off his line behind Ball. With great vision Ball tries to flick the ball with his heel while its in the air, over the keeper's head. A stunning finish had it come off! But it just wasn't to be our day).

Once we got to the hour mark, we seemed to start running out of ideas and belief. Chelsea had weathered the storm and replaced the lacklustre Zola with Goldbaek. This was a turning point. Chelsea started to play with renewed belief, even hitting the post at one point. The ineffective Flo began to find pace and space which he hadn't had before.

This was to be Dunne's undoing as Flo, turned him inside out on the halfway line and bore down on goal, Dunne, to his credit, caught the Norwegian, but his tackle from behind got the yellow card that was due it and off he went 'cos we all know 2 yellows equals 1 red. At least Richard didn't dally for as long as Wise had earlier.

Thereafter we were always on the back foot, being grateful to see a Myhre fumble recovered by the keeper as Flo threatened to pounce and were probably fortunate to hold out for a draw as the Goldbaek-inspired Chelsea sensed victory. But a defeat for Everton would have been an injustice and a draw was as little as we deserved. So much for the pundits!

I left the ground musing on the lack of any major show of feeling from the assembled multitude for the overthrow of a leader who had threatened to lead us into the wilderness, without a Promised Land. True there had been shows of strength as chants of "Stand up, if you hate John-son" rose during the few dull moments in the game, but there was nothing that would grab headlines.

It belied the rancour which had been the mood of the Club and its fans in the previous two weeks. I made my own statement though. No purchase of a Match Programme. Nothing from the bars. Sadly my son was more compliant. Ahh...the youth of today!

There was though, a new belief in me. We have turned many corners, in the past, only to find another one ahead of us. We are still in the maze, looking for our way out into the open spaces which promise success and stability. I believe we are approaching another corner.

If we reach the New Year with a new unbeaten run still intact, then that corner too may have been turned. But when we turn the corner on this "right" road, will we be facing the exit from our maze? Or will it be another false road? My hope is that it will be an exit, though my beliefs are still somewhat battered by the events of the last seven years. But one of those beliefs is in recovery, that's the belief that we are on the right road this time.

Player Ratings (by David Catton et al.)

  • Myhre 7 Some key saves.
  • Cleland 6 Noting the cup draw had me wondering if Clelland was better than Matt Jackson? Can't say that he strikes me as the answer in that position. Is he really a wingback anyway?
  • Short 6 Captain??? Well, don't blame me, I don't make the rules but how he got the call to play when there's a fit Bilic surprised me...
  • Materazzi 8 It was good to see him back; he played very well.
  • Dunne 5 ...but not as much as Dunne getting a game when Bilic was available.
  • Ball 7 He tired significantly towards the end of the game (or took a knock); he wasn't himself in the last half hour.
  • Grant 4 Somewhere along the way I totally missed Tony Grant's contribution to the game....
  • Hutchison  7 Good in the first half but Dacourt should have been on for him (if not for Grant) early in the second half as he became erratic and lost the plot.
  • Collins 8 The best game I've seen him play for Everton and that was a big plus point.
  • Bakayoko 5 He has yet to excite me but he looked more the part on Saturday.
  • Cadamarteri 6 Danny's problem is the complete lack of a football brain. Otherwise he has everything, he's strong, athletic, beautifully balanced and his ball control is impressive BUT he has no idea when or how to move off the ball. When he should be moving forward, he hangs back. When he could move across the line to drag the defence out of shape he strays offside and so on and so on.

Man of the Match by a whisker - Marco Materazzi for a commanding performance in defence and that heart stopping interception, followed closely by Hutchison in midfield and a reborn Cadamarteri.

 Where and when will the next goal come?
Richard Marland
No great surprises with the line-up. As widely anticipated, Walter kept faith with the nucleus of the side that had beaten Newcastle and Charlton. The only changes were brought about by the absence of Unsworth and Watson through suspension and injury. This brought Cleland into the team, and a start for Materazzi. The full team was Myrhe a back five of Cleland, Short, Materazzi, Dunne and Ball, a midfield triumvirate of Hutchison, Grant and Collins, Hutchison in the central holding role with Grant to his right and Collins to the left. Upfront were Cadamarteri and Bakayoko.

The eye-opening decision was the selection of Short as captain ahead of the expected Collins. I’m not sure about this one, to me one of Short’s major failings is his lack of on-field leadership, you can’t fault his application or his professionalism but he always seems reluctant to take command at the back.

First Half

Again we were forced to play it on the deck and this time we were appreciably better than we had been against Newcastle. At the heart of it all were the midfield trio who linked it all together and were never found wanting by Chelsea’s talented multinational midfield. The balance also looked better, both Cleland and Ball were disciplined in keeping out wide and, up front, Danny ran his heart out offering himself as an outlet.

We undoubtedly had the best of the first half. Danny made life very uncomfortable for the likes of Desailly, troubling Chelsea with his pace and trickery and also some sublime turns. Despite this, though, it wasn’t obvious where a goal was actually going to come from; there were a few good opportunities but not much in the way of real chances.

Still it was good to witness the endeavour, the good passing and movement, and the fact that we were more than holding our own against one of the top teams in the division. Things looked a little brighter on 37 minutes when that lovely man Dennis Wise got sent off. He had picked up an early booking for scything down Cadamarteri when he was on one of his runs. He now clearly hacked at Materazzi as Marco brought the ball out of defence, this was after Marco had actually released the ball. It appeared that the referee had missed it as play continued. What seemed like several minutes later the ball finally went dead and the referee returned to Wise to book and send him off. On reflection it was good refereeing, he gave us the advantage as we had the ball, but quite rightly noted what was a bit of unnecessary nastiness by Wise.

As is often the way, the dismissal seemed to disrupt us more than it did them. Our passing seemed to become a touch frantic and we lost our shape and balance a bit. Half time was reached without any real goal scares at either end.

Second Half

No changes were made at half-time. The early stages of the second half continued with us continuing to have the better of the play. Danny continued to cause them problems and Bakayoko gave a few hints that he could suddenly burst through on goal. We also had a couple of half chances at the near post – one to Grant and one to Ball (not sure he how he ended up there). But neither were converted, and it continued our worrying trend of not converting pressure into goals.

With about 25 minutes to go, Chelsea began to think they could sneak a winner. They started to see more of the ball and the game started to be played in our half. Our passing game started to fall apart a little. The influence of our midfield trio started to wane and Danny and Bakayoko started to lose possession a little too easily. The tide was definitely starting to turn. With 15 minutes to go, what we had feared since the Wise sending off, finally happened – one of our lads went for an early path. Richard Dunne had been struggling all day, he had been booked for clattering Zola, now he was beaten by Flo and from behind he tried to rectify the situation, he failed to get the ball, Flo fell and the red card was inevitable.

I was very worried now, our numerical advantage was gone and we had already lost our way. The last 15 minutes proved to be very nervous. Di Matteo hit the post, Flo had at least two attempts were he should have done better. We offered very little in response, we failed to hold on to the ball and just kept on putting ourselves back under pressure.

Fortunately we held out, and a draw was the very least we deserved for our early play, and was probably the right result. We had more of the play and certainly worried them, particularly in the first half. But, Chelsea finished the stronger and had the better chances throughout the game.

Player Ratings

  • Myrhe 6 Not too much to do but he was a little shaky on what he did have to do, spilling the ball on two occasions when under little real pressure.
  • Cleland 5 Disappointed in him. Felt he was too reluctant to get forward, particularly in the second half when we should have been pressing the numerical advantage.
  • Short 6 Looks sadly lacking when we play the ball on the deck, his limitations in that department are very obvious. Defensively fairly solid.
  • Materazzi 7 Thought he took a while to get going, seemed to be giving Zola a little too much respect. He got better, and in the second half he was excellent.
  • Dunne 5 Looks a little out of his depth at times. Some good moments but too many mistakes and of course there was the sending off.
  • Ball 7 Thought he hasn’t been at his best in recent games, but this was a return to form. Seemed to be a lot more disciplined in his positional play, and did a lot of good work down the left flank.
  • Hutchison 7 Playing well at the moment. Tackling well and linking up well with Grant and Collins. Meriting his inclusion ahead of Dacourt.
  • Grant 7 Still not fully up to speed, his ambitious stuff isn’t coming off yet, but he’s getting there.
  • Collins 7 Best game yet? With the options that Hutchison, Grant and Cadamarteri are giving, Collins is looking a better player. Still in the “could do better" category, but today was encouraging.
  • Cadamarteri 7 Ran his heart out for us today. His work rate was truly prodigious. Definitely worried the Chelsea defence, just wish his end product was better.
  • Bakayoko 6 Had his moments and proved to be an awkward customer at times. Unfortunately, there weren’t really enough of these times.

Team 6 Encouraging but the flaws are still there to be seen. Chiefly, where the hell is a goal going to come from?

Man of the match : for me Hutchison shades it from Materazzi and Cadamarteri.

 Red is only colour for sad blues
by Ian Hawkey, The Sunday Times
TWO MEN OFF and a good deal more in the way of cautions than genuine goalscoring opportunities: presumably this was not quite what the new governors of Everton had in mind for their homecoming. The club's chairman, Sir Philip Carter, and his sidekick, Bill Kenwright, took up the place vacated by the unloved Peter Johnson, but saw nothing much to inspire them.

For a start, it was Everton's fifth goalless draw at Goodison Park this season. For the rest, nothing unusual at all. Chelsea were down to 10 men for most of the game after Dennis Wise – surprise, surprise – was sent off as he returned to the first-team from a four-match suspension. Later, Everton's Richard Dunne joined him, likewise after a second bookable offence.

That, in truth, was about as exciting as it got. Walter Smith, the Everton manager, afterwards called the Wise decision "a bit iffy", but offered his own defender no defence. Gianluca Vialli, his opposite number, recommended that the "less said about Dennis Wise the better for him, for Chelsea and for English football".

At least Goodison found in Wise its villain for the day, what with no Johnson in the directors' box and no Duncan Ferguson in the opposition penalty box. The Merseyside constabulary, much concerned with the former chairman's safety in the past few years, can barely have recognised the place.

Everton had started brightly enough, not least through Danny Cadamarteri, who four times in the first half-hour found in his pace and quick side-stepping the beating of Chelsea's defence. Alas for the overseers of Everton's brave new dawn, on each occasion Cadamarteri lacked the finish to match his enterprise.

Even before they lost their captain, Chelsea were already without Graeme Le Saux, off sick with a chest complaint, and by half time were missing from their left flank Gustavo Poyet, injured in a challenge with Alex Cleland. Happily, Poyet's knee injury is not deemed too serious, though Vialli believed the tackle had been. Cleland might be considered fortunate not to have been booked in a match in which yellow cards were going up like Christmas lights.

Once Wise collected his second booking, for tripping Marco Materazzi off the ball, the die had been cast and Chelsea's ambitions were necessarily curtailed. "We couldn't really play our football", Vialli said. Wise's return from suspension had lasted 37 minutes, his clean bill of disciplinary health just four, when he felled Cadamarteri for his first entry in the book.

Five other cautions had been issued by the time referee Gary Willard got his pencil around the tongue-twister presented him by an Ibrahim Bakayoko foul on Celestine Babayaro shortly before the interval.

Occasional bouts of football had been possible in-between, but other than Cadamarteri's busy wanderings, there was little in the way of first-half threat. For Chelsea, Roberto Di Matteo had a drive pushed just wide by Thomas Myhre from distance and Babayaro was off-target from similar range.

As Everton tried to make use of their superior numbers, Marcel Desailly moved into midfield to cover for Wise and Poyet, and Chelsea were holding it well until Cadamarteri turned Albert Ferrer to advance on de Goey. Again, his second touch let him down.

Whisper it in front of the believers of the New Blue Dawn, but Ferguson may have to be replaced quickly. When Bakayoko changed his boots, from white to black, at half time, it did not make their attack sharper, and Everton remained vulnerable on the break, Dan Petrescu setting up a Di Matteo drive which deflected off a defender and bobbled past Myhre then off the post. When Tore Andre Flo then looked to go clear, Dunne impeded him, collected his second caution and departed.

As soon as it was 10 against 10, Flo nipped through again, this time sliding his shot just wide. So dreadful had been the match, it was a contender for best moment.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

 Dunne roamin' as Wise takes a walk
by Neil Bramwell, The Independent on Sunday
Everton's inability to score goals at home was brought into sharp focus against a Chelsea side reduced to 10 men for the majority of the game after the somewhat predictable dismissal of captain Dennis Wise.

For much of the opening period it was difficult to gauge whose departure, new Newcastle striker Duncan Ferguson or departing chairman Peter Johnson, had the greater effect on the home side's dazzling and spirited start. Everton are no longer obsessed with the ugly and early aerial punt but their initial enterprise fizzled out into frustration as Chelsea settled for the point.

Everton opened like a side which had been scoring goals for fun at Goodison Park in the league, not two all season. The new front pairing of Ibrahim Bakayoko and Danny Cadamarteri terrorised a sloppy and lacklustre Chelsea back four with clever running off the ball to provide options for their dominant midfield. Bakayoko, neatly set up by John Collins, skidded a low drive inches wide and Marco Materazzi was equally close to the horizontal with a subsequent free kick.

For all Everton's superiority of possession and bite, a mercurial Chelsea posed their own threat. Tor Andre Flo slipped through the grasp of Richard Dunne and, under frantic pressure from Materazzi, placed his shot high and wide.

Cadamarteri was revelling in his new responsibility. A clever ball from Michael Ball behind the defence created space that a poor first touch ruined.

Undeterred, Cadamarteri later turned Marcel Desailly, no easy task, but shot at Ed de Goey. Frank Leboeuf was the next reputation to suffer at the livewire's hands, left for dead in the box as Cadamarteri angled a diagonal cross marginally out of Bakayoko's reach.

An injury to Gustavo Poyet prompted a temporary Chelsea reshuffle with Desailly moving into midfield to be replaced in defence by substitute Michael Duberry. Minutes later more drastic rearrangement was necessary when Dennis Wise was sent off for a second bookable offence, typically senseless late challenges on Cadamarteri in the opening minutes and Materazzi in an innocuous position.

Gianluca Vialli applauded the decision and, while neutrals applauded Gary Willard's actions less sarcastically, six bookings on top of Wise's dismissal did not reflect a competitive but largely malice-free first half.

Chelsea, who had showed signs of knocking Everton off their stride, switched to a three-man defence, Celestine Babayaro the new midfield occupant.

While they remained as attacking as possible, their second-half ambitions were clearly tempered with putting numbers quickly behind the ball a priority. A half-blocked Alex Cleland cross penetrated the massed ranks but Ball's preference for his excellent left foot turned an acceptable chance into an ambitious, fluffed lob.

Another slippery turn from Cadamarteri, this time Albert Ferrer the victim, raised hopes but Dan Petrescu robbed him just in time. As Chelsea kept on inviting Everton into their half, half-chances flowed. Tony Grant weakly side-footed Don Hutchison's cross well wide. Cadamarteri again stretched the defence on the break, forcing De Goey into successive volleyball parries on the edge of his area with the goal empty.

The introduction of Dane Bjarni Goldbaek into midfield to replace striker Gianfranco Zola signalled Vialli's intentions to grind out a point. But Everton struggled to turn their numerical advantage into clear-cut chances and, after several fruitless corners, frustrations began to show. The home side sighed with relief as a rare Chelsea counter saw Roberto Di Matteo's shot just deflected over Thomas Myhre onto the post.

Everton were then reduced to 10 men themselves when a mistimed Dunne tackle flattened Flo after a first-half caution. Chelsea's attitude immediately changed and Flo, clean through on goal, smashed their best effort agonisingly the wrong side of the post.

Report © The Independent

 Foolhardy Wise faces an uncertain future
by Kevin McCarra, The Times
TEAMS and individuals are imprisoned by their own characters. A much-improved Everton rattle the bars until they almost come loose, but, at Goodison Park, cannot break out to establish themselves as goalscorers. If they continue to knock passes around as they did on Saturday, Walter Smith's side will eventually overcome the obstacles that exist in their minds.

By contrast, the barriers before Dennis Wise appear to be insurmountable and, for the third time this season, the Chelsea captain was sent off. He had just completed a four-match suspension and ought to have taken the field with angelic intentions. If he did, his wings were soon clipped when, in the third minute, he brought down Cadamarteri and was booked.

Later, Wise clashed with Marco Materazzi and Gary Willard, the referee, spotted the off-the-ball incident. With nine minutes of the first half left, the midfield player's involvement ended. When Chelsea supporters speak of Wise's long service, his character and his role as keeper of the club's identity, they tend, unwittingly, to depict him as a man whose era is over.

The praise sounds like a eulogy for the departed. Wise will be 32 next week and even if he had iron self-discipline, it might still be a challenge to hold his place. Given that he is as mired in controversy as ever, Gianluca Vialli, the Chelsea player-manager, may have to discard him.

Willard was a martinet and had the distinction of showing Tore Andre Flo, the Chelsea centre forward, his first yellow card since he came to England more than a year ago, but the key decisions were correct. Richard Dunne, the Everton defender, was also ordered off, in the 76th minute, for a second bookable offence, when he floored Flo.

The long stretch in which Chelsea were outnumbered showed Vialli's team to advantage. When Desailly moved into midfield while Duberry came on to join Leboeuf and the flawless Ferrer in a three-man defence, the visitors offered calm resistance. Despite the clichés about flighty foreigners, Chelsea have a defensive record bettered only by Arsenal in the FA Carling Premiership.

That might have been the basis for victory, since Flo had excellent chances. That beanpole look is fading as his physique thickens with maturity, but the degree of strength that he tried to apply was excessive. Put through by Petrescu, after 78 minutes, he sacrificed accuracy for power and sent the shot wide.

There were galling moments for Chelsea, with Roberto Di Matteo seeing an attempt deflected on to the post, but the sharpness of Everton's passing deserved a reward. The monotony and futility of their direct style is gone now that Duncan Ferguson has been sold to Newcastle United.

One could sense the relief of a midfield that felt free to distribute the ball rather than simply launch it. Collins, in particular, excelled, proving that effective tackling is as much a matter of technique as his ability to build moves. All the same, it came to nothing for Everton. There are merits in losing Ferguson, but a telling partnership in attack is still to be found.

Bakayoko was muted and Cadamarteri, despite his pace and enthusiasm, clumsy of touch. Everton will have to sell to raise funds for signings and the future of Bilic, confined to the substitutes' bench, must be in question. Ferguson has left and Peter Johnson is no longer chairman, but the revolution at Goodison may claim more victims yet.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

 Everton miss their chances
Derek Potter, Electronic Telegraph
DISMISSALS and yellow cards flow far more freely for Dennis Wise than goals for Everton at Goodison Park these days. The third home goal this season that would have made it three wins in a row proved frustratingly elusive for an Everton team who out-played Chelsea in the first half.

Wise can be a handicap rather than an asset despite his skills and his energy, which is so often misdirected. This was his first Premiership game after a four match ban.

A touch of hands with Everton's dangerman Danny Cadamarteri before the kick-off suggested a truce and concentrated effort by both players. Yet Wise was cautioned as early as the third minute for a sliding tackle on Cadamarteri and was sent off in the 36th minute for a second bookable offence - a late lunge at Marco Materazzi. This was perhaps from a feeling of revenge for the unpunished challenge by Alex Cleland that ended the match for Gustavo Poyet, with a knee injury, three minutes earlier.

Chelsea's coach Gianluca Vialli said: "The referee did not perform at his best in the first half." He then added: "The less anybody talks about Wise, the better it will be for Dennis, Chelsea and English football."

Everton also lost defender Richard Dunne for his second bookable offence 15 minutes from the end of a game that certainly had spills and thrills, particularly when Cadamarteri produced one of his dazzling runs, but no end product.

Wise found an unlikely ally in Walter Smith, the Everton coach patiently rebuilding his team without Duncan Ferguson, the striker sold to Newcastle behind his back by Peter Johnson, who recently resigned as chairman.

"I thought the first booking of Wise was a little iffy and he was a shade unlucky," Smith said, without adding that the two tackles that cost Dunne his banishment were hardly grievous bodily harm.

"It was never an over-physical game," he said. Yet five players were cautioned in addition to the two sent off.

Everton produced some flowing football with Cadamarteri tearing apart Chelsea's defence in the first half, despite the efforts of Frank Leboeuf, who toiled with a Trojan heart.

Cadamarteri miskicked his best chance in the first half after losing his footing when Michael Ball's superb pass sent him through on goal. He then failed to beat Ed de Goey in the second period, despite dragging him from the goalmouth only to clip an intended centre into his arms as he stood marooned two yards from his line.

Tore Andre Flo seemed to gain strength towards the end only to fail with an opening created by Dan Petrescu and again when he swept past Materazzi who, if he had Ferguson's heading ability, might have snatched the winner for Everton.

Yet Roberto Di Matteo also saw a shot deflected by a defender and clip an upright; a disappointment for the enterprising play by Flo and Petrescu.

But then a win for Chelsea would have been flattering and a travesty for Everton. As one Evertonian put it: "What this team lacks is a striker like Duncan Ferguson."

Report © The Electronic Telegraph

 RESULTS  (Game 16)
Saturday 5 December 1998
Aston Villa  1             Manchester United  1      39,241
Joachim 55                 Scholes 47
Blackburn Rovers  1        Charlton Athletic  0      22,568
Davies 75
Derby County  0            Arsenal  0                29,018

Everton  0                 Chelsea  0                36,430

Leeds United  4            West Ham United  0        36,320
Bowyer 8,61, Molenaar 68, Hasselbaink 79
Leicester City  2          Southampton 0             18,423
Heskey 61, Walsh 63
Tottenham Hotspur  2       Liverpool 1               36,125
Fox 26, Carragher og:50    Berger 55
Wimbledon  2               Coventry City  1          11,717
Euell 71,83                McAllister pen:54
Sunday 6 December 1998
Middlesbrough  2           Newcastle United  2       34,629
Townsend 13, Cooper 60     Charvet 38, Dabizas 84 
Monday 7 December 1998
Sheffield Wednesday  3     Nottingham Forest  2      19,321 
Alexandersson 22,          Bonalair 56,
Carbone 54,58              van Hooijdonk 71

 LEAGUE TABLE (after 7 December 1998 )
Club                          P    W    D    L   GF   GA   GD   Pts
Aston Villa                  15    8    6    1   23   13   10   30
Manchester United            15    8    5    2   31   17   14   29
Leeds United                 16    6    8    2   26   14   12   26
Arsenal                      16    6    8    2   15    7    8   26
West Ham United              16    7    5    4   20   20    0   26
Chelsea                      14    6    7    1   22   13    9   25
Middlesbrough                16    5    9    2   26   19    7   24
Wimbledon                    16    6    5    5   21   26   -5   23
Liverpool                    16    6    4    6   27   21    6   22
Derby County                 16    5    7    4   15   14    1   22
Tottenham Hotspur            16    6    4    6   21   24   -3   22
Leicester City               16    5    6    5   18   18    0   21
Newcastle United             16    5    5    6   21   21    0   20
Sheffield Wednesday          16    5    4    7   17   17    0   19
Everton                      16    4    7    5   10   15   -5   19
Charlton Athletic            16    3    7    6   22   24   -2   16
Coventry City                16    4    3    9   14   23   -9   15
Blackburn Rovers             16    3    3   10   15   24   -9   12
Nottingham Forest            16    2    5    9   14   27  -13   11
Southampton                  16    2    4   10   12   33  -21   10

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© Michael Kenrick 1998
Last updated: 7 December 1998