Everton 0 - 0 Leeds United
Half-time: 0 - 0
FA Carling Premiership 1998-99 Game 5
Saturday 12 September 1998
Goodison Park, Merseyside
|« Nottingham Forest (a)||Ref: Neale Barry||Huddersfield Town (a) »|
|1998-99 Fixtures & Results||League Position: 17th||Premiership Results & Table|
|LINEUPS||Subs Not Used|
Myhre, Ball, Watson, Materazzi, Unsworth, Cleland, Hutchison
(78 Farrelly), Dacourt (56 Sent
Off!), Collins, Ferguson(c), Barmby (73
Unavailable: Bilic, Short, Dunne, Ward, Williamson, Phelan, Parkinson (injured); Madar (suspended).
|Gerrard, Spencer, Tiler.|
|Leeds United:||Martyn, Haaland, Radebe, Wijnhard (Lilley, 85), Hasselbaink, Bowyer, Hopkin, Kewell (Ribeiro, 69), Harte, Hiden, Molenaar.||Robinson, Wetherall, Halle.|
|Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|Leeds United:||Molenaar, Haaland.|||
|REPORTS BY EVERTON FANS|
|Guy McEvoy||Don't believe the Newspapers!|
|Martin O'Boyle||Back to School?|
|Steve Bickerton||Turning Point???|
|Richard Marland||Playing it on the ground|
|THE SUNDAY TIMES||
Dacourt sees red in stalemate
by Ron Clarke
Everton left open to cheap gibes
by Stephen Wood
Resurgent Everton are brought to a halt by red
by Alyson Rudd
|OTHER INTERNET REPORTS|
|THE EVERTONIAN||Link to the latest Match Report||
|SOCCERNET||Link to SoccerNet Match Report|
|CARLINGNET||Link to CarlingNet Match Report|
|Don't believe the Newspapers!|
On the face of it a 0-0 draw played for the most part in driving rain doesn't
sound the best of days out. As it happens though it was nothing like as dreary
as it sounds and, by the end of the game, Evertonians left the ground with
a pleasant warm glow that comes with a little optimism. True enough, this
wasn't as good a result as we'd enjoyed at Forest, but then this Leeds team
are a class above them and were always going to prove a tougher test.
Walter's patient evolution continued. Sticking with the 4-4-2 that had done the damage at the City ground, we started with a flat back for of Cleland, Watson, Mazzeratti and Unsworth; a midfield of Hutchinson, Collins, Dacourt and Ball; Ferguson and Barmby again started together up front.
It started as a game for the purist. Both teams probed at each other with the midfields doing the bulk of the work. Both teams looked in little hurry and possession seemed to be more important than creativity. Normally you'd expect Everton to take a hammering in such an encounter but we more than held our own throughout the exchanges. Although we never dominated it is fair to say that we edged the better of the play.
Aside the neat passing there was little goal-mouth action. Our one clear-cut opportunity fell to, of all people, Watson. He was able to charge into the box unchallenged as the ball floated over and will be disappointed that he stuck the ball over. The other significant 'chance' in the first half came after a loose ball fell to Cleland after Martyn had rushed out to clear. The chip from 40 yards out had Martyn desperately peddling backwards he wouldn't have made it... sadly though the ball descended just wide of the target.
Leeds' best chance came just after the rain started and they tested Myhre with the wet ball, it skimmed the surface and Tommy had to palm it way.
Somewhere between these attempts there was an innocuous incident that was to prove a turning point later on. Dacourt attempted a challenge, but the man was making good use of his body, Olly had tugged the shirt and the referee blew. A foul, fair enough. But a yellow card? This was particularly mystifying given the kind of things that the ref had let go up to that point. I remember saying to the bloke next to me that 'those things add up and that's gonna go towards a suspension sooner or later'. Didn't know then, but it was to prove very much the sooner.
There was no need for change at half time and again we showed unfamiliar levels of composure and patience in our build-up. The number of long hopeful balls from the defense could be counted on one hand and even those efforts were constrained to when a forward was making an honest run into space in anticipation. It was good to watch.
Hutchinson, who was playing out of his skin, could have taken the points for us when the ball bobbled to him in the box and he had time to weigh up his volley, in the event though the finger-tips of Martyn saw it over. Collins emulated Cleland's first half lob with an effort that was this time on target, sadly though Martyn got back for it just in time.
One thing that must be remembered is that this was Leeds we were playing. Their defense was supremely well organised. If anything this is the last team that the patient build-up game is going to work against, try the same thing against a less well organised defense and I'm sure we'll be rewarded.
Then the frustrating turning point. Olly again was chasing after the man on the ball, the ball was released before he reached him and Olly seemed to brush against the man's heels as he eased off. Bowyer, I think it was, got knocked down as a result. The referee stormed over, pulled Dacourt aside, reached for the second yellow card, and Olly, who had been crucial to us, was off. You'll see incidents like both of these go off game after game without play even being stopped, never mind picking up cards! Dacourt is unlucky, to be punished by reducing us to ten men, and having Dacourt's suspension to come, Everton were punished out of all proportion to the minor offences.
Everton were forced to reorganise, Cadamarteri came on for Barmby and played as an attacking winger. When this didn't threaten Farrelly was introduced. Danny switched wings and Ball moved across into centre midfield (where he came into his own). Suddenly the game was wide open as gaps began to appear. Both teams could have stolen the points in the dying moments. However the best chance went to Leeds' substitute who headed a cross with some precision. Tommy pulled off an outstanding save, keeping us our point and stopping what would have been a gross injustice, his flying save did just enough to push the ball onto the bar.
When the final whistle came, Everton's discerning fans recognised the improvement in the team with sound applause and a couple of chants as they left the field. They were much less charitable as the referee and his assistants neared the tunnel.
|Back to School?|
The fans poured into Goodison like the torrential rain which swept down on
Goodison Park this afternoon to watch an encounter which left a sweet and
sour taste in the mouth.
Everton, brimming with confidence after a 2-0 victory against Nottingham Forest, were unchanged from the side which played so well on Tuesday night, whilst Leeds brought in fit-again Robert Molenaar for David Wetherall.
Many of Walter Smith's signings had their best game of the season in today's encounter. John Collins looked inspirational in midfield, Marco Materazzi looked solid at the back whilst David Unsworth showed glimpses of the 'old Rhino.'
However, it was another new-boy signed by Howard Kendall who almost opened the scoring for the Blues. Nigel Martyn had attempted to kick the ball into touch from outside his area but found Alex Cleland on the right flank. The Scotsman tried an audacious 35-yard lob which just crept over the crossbar.
It was no means 'kick and hope' from a stylish Everton outfit. With 20 mins on the clock, an array of silky skills culminated in Don Hutchison firing low and hard into the side netting. Everton had not abandoned their sense of fight either. Well timed tackles were flying in from Unsworth, Collins and Dacourt, respectively. The battle between Ferguson and Molenaar was a joy to watch from the point of view of Evertonians. Molenaar simply could not handle the overbearing presence of Big Dunc and picked up a booking for his trouble.
The donkey-like Dutchman, possessing about as much skill as Brett Angell on a bad day, resorted to tugging at the shirt of Ferguson whenever the giant Scot approached. With three defenders marking Ferguson on set pieces, it was surprising how many times he connected with the ball. On the half-hour, the strict marking on Ferguson left Dave Watson to connect with a free header from a Don Hutchison corner which sailed high over the Gwladys Street goal.
Dave Watson, nearing the age of 37, was again inspirational. From his vast experience he has gained an ability to read the game, which more than makes up for his loss of pace. Everton had a team of leaders out on the park. Watson, Collins and Ferguson all playing their part to rally the troops, especially after Dacourt had been sent off.
His initial booking came with 10 mins to go to half time, presumably for dissent after a strong challenge from Hasselbaink, which went unnoticed by the referee.
As the ominous skies turned lead-grey, Myhre was at his best to pull off a save at full stretch from a deflected shot by Harry Kewell. As the half-time whistle blew, Everton had enjoyed the best of the action and possession.
Even the cynical 'arl fella was loving it. I had never seen him as enthusiastic over an Everton performance before. Even though in the corresponding fixture last season, we won 2-0, the style of the play was vastly inferior.
'The School of Science' is returning after a long vacation. Make no mistake. Today the 'chemistry' between the squad was a joy to witness but the 'physic'-al aspect of the game had not disappeared.
Today's performance was a living testimony to the hard work of Walter Smith, Archie Knox and Dave Watson over the past few months. Long may it continue.
The second half began with pressure from Leeds but they simply could not grind down the Everton defence. Joe Royle's phrase of 'Fortress Goodison' reappeared in the mind. We are turning into a side which is becoming difficult to beat.
Then came the incident which spoiled the game. Dacourt's sending off. Overall, Barry's judgement of the action was erratic, if not poor.
The unfortunate incident seemed to inspire Everton who took the game to Leeds. WIth the growing number of Scotsmen being affiliated to the club and seeing Collins and Ferguson clap their hands and issue a war-cry. I was transported from my seat to Bannockburn:
"In the year of Our Lord 1998, patriots of Everton.... outnumbered, charged the fields of Goodison... They fought like Evertonians... And captured the hearts of the fans. Forever."
Truly it was a 'Braveheart' display. The lad sitting next to me was praying that we would score. I was actually thinking: "God, don't let us concede another... or we're finished." However, as time went on I began to echo the prayer of my neighbour.
Ferguson fired into the side netting, Collins produced a breathtaking shot from 40 yards which produced an even better save from Martyn.
The effervescent Nick Barmby was sacrificed for Danny Cadamarteri, who looked quite ineffective.
"Our Father who art in...WHY'S HE PUTTING FARRELLY ON???"
Sure enough, 'Gareth the Goal' was replacing Don Hutchison.
I must admit I had my doubts about Don when he first arrived, but now I am a big fan. His talent to combine a game of 'sapphire and steel' makes him a very worthy acquisition to the squad. Whilst I am on my soapbox, praise must also be given to Michael Ball. His performance today was at a standard far beyond his years. A full England call up beckons.
However, it could not have been a true Everton performance without some heart-stopping moments. Thomas Myhre produced a truly outstanding save to deny Derek Lilley. The Norwegian keeper flew to his left, stretching to the top corner of the goal to palm away the powerful header from the young striker.
His save was met with appreciative chants from the Goodison crowd, and even left my Dad open-mouthed.
The full time whistle blew and the ten remaining heroes left the pitch with an appreciative roar from the crowd. The villain, referee Neale Barry, left the pitch to a chorus of boos.
Put a few bob on Everton to win at Elland Road this season.
Today was a day that I feel marked a turning point at Goodison Park. It was
a day of passion, of belief and of an attitude that said "We're back!".
Now others may feel that it may be a bit premature to be thinking this, after all we're not far into the season and we really haven't set the Premiership alight. And yet...
Today we played 4-4-2, and looked so much more comfortable than the 5-3-2 we'd tried before the Forest game. A solid back four, Cleland, Materazzi, Watson and Unsworth looked, in the main, as if they'd been together for an age. Unsworth's spell at West Ham seems to have added so much to his self-confidence that the memories of him being such an ordinary player two years ago were replaced by comparisons of the period leading up to his England cap.
Materazzi is gradually coming to terms with the pace of the English game and his sure control and deft touches were a delight to watch. He got stuck in at the back, strode forward confidently with the ball and finally looked as though he has the makings of a real class act. Cleland was steady, got forward well and seemed to be well in control of the right hand side.
And what can be said about Waggy that hasn't been said before, what he lacks in pace he makes up for in positional sense. He did, however, once or twice, find himself needing to resort to the long punt upfield, not this time looking for the big man's head, more a case of being found wanting in terms of pace and having no other option. When in doubt put it into the stands is not a bad fall-back, though.
The midfield looked far more comfortable than earlier in the season. With Hutchinson looking as though he's found his niche on the right, with Dacourt and Collins looking accomplished in the middle and Michael Ball outstanding on the left. Leeds were no real match for this group, so much so that Bowyer could only resort, time and again, to a nudge, a tug or an ankle tap.
This was one of those days when the referee saw everything that the boys in blue might have done (and some things that they didn't!) and let the yellow clad Yorkshiremen (at least that's where the team bus came from) get away with anything they wanted to try on. Molenaar was rightly booked in the first half for hacking down Barmby from behind as he bore down on goal, but his continual pushing, shoving and elbowing of Ferguson went completely un-reprimanded by Mr. Barry.
That Leeds are expected to be challenging quite strongly for a top six place this year leads me to thing that we can't be that far off that position ourselves. If only we could convert the chances. The best chance fell to Barmby after neat work on the right between him, Collins and Cleland and ended with Barmby free in space running across the edge of the box, but his weakly hit shot falling comfortably for Martyn, in the Leeds goal.
Ferguson too had chances, his best, again from the edge of the box, following neat control and an attempt to curl it past the once Goodison-bound Leeds keeper. Martyn had nearly fallen victim, too, to his own frailties though, as a clearance, under no pressure, fell invitingly for Cleland wide on the Everton right, close to the half way line. Cleland hoisted a lengthy lob which dropped just over the bar and allowed Martyn a wry smile to the Gwladys Street crowd.
The best effort though was a Dacourt free kick. From the left hand corner of the Leeds box he curled the ball around the wall, with Martyn looking beaten, only to be denied by Alfe-Inge Haaland's outstretched leg. As the crowd rose to celebrate the ball drifted past the post for a corner. The only blemish on the first half was a Dacourt booking for...erm....cough...erm.......pass! Oh, and despite his best endeavours, the referee refused to show a card to the "tigerish" Bowyer which matched his kit. In fact he declined to proffer any card at all.
The second half retained much of the pace and skill of the first but Everton, having been handicapped by playing against a Leeds team which seemed to have the full support of the officials, were reduced to 10 men as Dacourt was shown another Yellow card for a cynical....er..look...at Bowyer. No, I think I over exaggerate Dacourt's innocence here. But having been following the play I did naught but caught something from the corner of my eye...
Dacourt jogs forward watching the ball, Bowyer moves back towards his own goal. They both try to occupy the same piece of turf, Bowyer reaching it marginally before Dacourt. As a result Dacourt's foot makes contact with Bowyer's heel. Now in the context of the game it was no more than Bowyer had been inflicting on Everton players throughout the game, but he took the opportunity to collapsed, pole-axed, to the floor. The referee was in no doubt about what must have happened. Cue a yellow, then a red as Dacourt, incredulously was shown the tunnel.
A quick reshuffle saw Barmby drop a little further back to fill the hole left by Dacourt's departure. Still we went forward with a brilliant chip from Collins being pushed to safety by Martyn, at full stretch. We deserved three points here for a show of all-round commitment and no lack of skill. But that was nearly reduced to none as a late Leeds rally saw three shots climb over the bar and a finger tip save from Myhre, which hit the angle of bar and post, denying them a much undeserved win. That we got only one point was an injustice. That we got anything at all was all credit to the team spirit and the understanding which is developing week by week.
The biggest disappointment was Dacourt's booking, which depending on the severity of the punishment meted out by the FA will see him, I think, miss the Wimbledon game and possibly the Goodison Derby too.
I do believe that I see some sunlight at the end of this tunnel we've been in for so long. I only hope its not another one of those halogen lights that we seem to have been so adept at finding, only to see the bulb blow at a critical time. Methinks we rise from the mediocrity that has surrounded us for so long.
|Playing it on the ground|
After the win against Forest and the reports of an improved footballing display,
I was quite looking forward to this game. Was Forest a one off? Would we
revert back to type against what would surely be a stronger side than Forest?
The early signs were encouraging, we had an unchanged line-up (how many times have we been able to say that over the last few seasons?) and we were continuing with our 4-4-2 experiment. Unsworth was playing left back with Watson and Materazzi in the centre, and Cleland at right back. Collins and Dacourt were in the centre of midfield Ball was on the left flank with Hutchison on the right. Barmby accompanied Dunc up-front.
The early play only served to further encourage. We started very brightly, we played the ball on the deck and made good progress down the right flank through Hutchison and Cleland. Barmby was also particularly bright. The crowd was loving this, we got some good service into Dunc and he was causing them some real problems. Alas it never really materialised into clear-cut chances but the intentions were good and we played some really nice passing stuff.
For a good 20-25 minutes we clearly had the best of the game. Cleland nearly scored with an audacious lob from near the half way line, Martyn was clearly struggling to get back to keep it out and he was obviously relieved to see it fade just past the post. Gradually, though, Leeds started to come back into the game. They forced several corners and without really causing too many scares they were very much back in the game.
Half time arrived all square. We had had the better of the half. The crowd showed their appreciation for the teams' endeavours by warmly applauding them off the field.
The pattern of the game continued into the second half, both teams having their attacking moments without really imposing themselves on the game. We continued to play some football, the occasional long ball was launched but today it was the exception rather than the rule.
About ten minutes into the second half the whole complexion of the game changed. Dacourt had been rather harshly booked in the first half. It had been a somewhat fractious affair in central midfield, at one stage Dacourt was complaining to the referee that he had been elbowed in the face. The referee could have booked any one of a number of players however he singled out Dacourt (quite how Bowyer escaped a booking amazes me). Bowyer and Dacourt had another coming together off the ball which left Bowyer on the deck. It looked to me like they had merely run into each other, the referee, though, blew immediately and gave Dacourt another yellow card followed by a red.
The remainder of the game now became about survival. After a shaky couple of minutes as we reorganised we began to look quite comfortable. Hutchison was brought into central midfield and Barmby started to drop a little deeper. It became difficult to spot which was the team playing with ten men. We continued to look well-organised and disciplined.
We even managed to look intermittently dangerous on the break. Dunc continued to be a handful and a goal for us certainly didnt look out of the question. Smith started to use his substitutes intelligently. Cadamarteri came on for the tiring Barmby (Barmby had, once again, worked his socks off); his pace added an extra dimension even if he continued his recent knack of choosing the wrong option. With about 10 minutes to go Farrelly was brought on for the tiring Hutchison (another who had worked very hard for the cause). Farrelly went wide left with Ball moving into the middle to partner Collins, Cadamarteri moving over to the right flank. Even Ferguson was effectively playing as a midfield player.
With 5 minutes to go Leeds finally started to make their numerical advantage pay. Their substitute Lilley drew a quite wonderful save from Myrhe, a header destined for the top corner was pushed away at full stretch by Tommy. I for one thought that it was in, it was a truly marvellous save. There were still another few nervous moments to go, Hopkin should have done better with a shot he put over the bar and there were at least two shots that were deflected for corners.
After 4 minutes of injury time the referee blew and we had our richly deserved draw. The team was applauded from the pitch firstly for the way in which they tried to play football and secondly because of the fight and resilience they showed to hold out for a point.
Team 7 At face value more dropped points at home and yet another game without a goal doesnt look too promising. Yet I took a lot of encouragement from todays game. We looked solid at the back and most importantly of all there was a willingness and a desire to play the ball on the deck. Theres still much room for improvement (a goal or two wouldnt go amiss) but after the Tottenham game this was a massive step forward.
Man of the match - Dave Watson. Will we ever be able to replace this man properly?
|Dacourt sees red in stalemate|
|by Ron Clarke, The Sunday Times|
EVERTON fans seeking the cold comfort of a first home win were left bitterly
disappointed by this lacklustre display at a wet and windy Goodison Park.
Leeds United, rarely tested by a side reduced to 10 men, remain unbeaten.
The two managers summed up the game perfectly. "It was a poor match," said George Graham, of Leeds. "It must have been sad to watch. We cancelled each other out." Everton's Walter Smith said: "We started well but then allowed it to die. I know we need added strength. That is still required."
The two Scotsmen apparently have lots of money to spend. Typically, neither seems to be in a hurry, but after this performance they will probably be more willing than ever to empty the pockets of their willing benefactors.
On Clydeside, Smith offloaded Duncan Ferguson, but on Merseyside the striker appears to be the main man. The Goodison manager is still on the trail of Ivory Coast striker Ibrahima Babayoko, but that could take some time because the Montpellier forward has applied for French citizenship. Work permit problems stand in the way. But goalkeeper Steve Simonsen is expected to make the short walk across Liverpool from Tranmere to Everton next week.
So until the spending spree starts, it really is cheap entertainment at Everton. The club say the most expensive season ticket is £285, the lowest price in the country. Peter Ridsdale, the Leeds chairman, is reported to have given Graham an open cheque-book to sign the players he needs to bring top honours back to the club.
Graham feels that he still needs a further two or three players to turn the team into championship contenders. The club's £4.5m transfer record could soon be broken.
Their brief leadership of the Premiership in midweek their first time at the top since 1995 has given the Yorkshire club the taste for more. The defensive Graham already has the impressive Lucas Radebe and rates the South African World Cup captain as one of the best defenders in England.
Money may have been the backdrop, but good old-fashioned sleeves rolled up was the attitude of the day. But this blood-and-thunder approach served only to hide glaring weaknesses in both teams.
They lined up unchanged, Graham once again going double dutch with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Clyde Wijnhard leading the attack. Ferguson was partnered by Nick Barmby. Everton's last home win was against Leeds in April. They have now gone nearly six hours without scoring at Goodison.
Forget Fantasy Football; the first 10 minutes were the pure English version. Everton signalled their intentions from the kick-off when John Collins tried to lob the Leeds goalkeeper Nigel Martyn from the centre circle.
More route one followed with a variety of high balls aimed at the Little and Large Show of Ferguson and Barmby.
The only neat work on the ground was shown by Collins as his clever approach work forced the first corner. Olivier Dacourt's brief head-to-head with Lee Bowyer of Leeds precipitated the visitors' first serious attack, Hasselbaink shooting over from a free kick on the edge of the penalty area.
Barmby was brought down at the other end by Robert Molenaar and the centre-back was given a card the same colour as the bright yellow of Leeds' away shirts.
The probing and pushing was interrupted by the prosaic after 17 minutes with a delicious 50-yard volley by full-back Alex Cleland that finished narrowly wide of the goal with Martyn left stranded.
The Leeds attack too often lacked variation and ended up offside. After 30 minutes, Wijnhard should have finished better when Hasselbaink's flick-on at last evaded the offside trap. He shot well over the top.
After 56 minutes, Dacourt's and Bowyer's simmering confrontation boiled over, with the Everton man catching the striker with a late tackle, a second booking leading referee Neale Barry to show the red card.
Ferguson, now on some kind of solo mission, raced through the Leeds defence only to shoot tamely. As often happens, the team with one man short then started to play better. Midway through the second half, Everton suddenly became more resourceful.
Danny Cadamarteri replaced Barmby in attack as a succession of free kicks and corners, although rarely threatening, at least showed more determination. The tactic of the day emerged once more in the last 20 minutes as Collins again tried an up and under. But Martyn managed to tip the 40-yard effort up and over the crossbar.
With a little over 10 minutes to go, Gareth Farrelly replaced Don Hutchison in a desperate attempt by Everton to shuffle the pack and find a way through a very formidable Leeds defence.
Unmarked David Hopkin nearly snatched it for Leeds in the final seconds, lifting his shot just over. The game deserved to stay goalless and on this evidence both managers will be seeking an urgent meeting with their bank managers.
|Report © Times Newspapers Ltd|
|Everton left open to cheap gibes|
|by Stephen Wood, The Times|
THE cost of watching every FA Carling Premiership match at Everton is lower
than for any other club this season. If the Goodison Park directors are proud
of that fact, they should not be, for the bargain-basement season-ticket
price does not include medical bills once insanity takes hold. Dreams may
come cheap for Everton supporters, but the harsh reality of life in a blue
shirt is pitiful. Leeds United, a rampant Leeds no less, a Leeds that had
just scored three goals in one match, were the latest visitors to be brainwashed
in football's equivalent of a torture chamber.
There were three moments provided by Everton on Saturday that threatened to lift the gloom of an encounter that George Graham, the Leeds manager, understated nicely as "poor". The home side seemed intent on scoring from as far out as possible, with Alex Cleland and John Collins, twice, trying to catch Nigel Martyn off his line.
In the context of any other afternoon, those attempts could have been seen as inspirational, adding a touch of frisson to the occasion. However, for Everton, a team still looking for their first goal at home, it smacked of desperation.
When they did venture into the penalty area, the end product was embarrassing, highlighted by Duncan Ferguson's right-foot shot from five yards that would not have reached the goalline if a gust of wind had not whipped up at the right moment.
It says much about these respective clubs' expectations that Everton were given a standing ovation after the final whistle, mainly because of the way that they held out in the last half-hour with ten men after Olivier Dacourt's dismissal.
Leeds had gone to the top of the FA Carling Premiership this week albeit briefly and Graham is under no illusions. The supporters expect him to honour his contract, resisting any overtures from Tottenham Hotspur in the process, and then they expect him to deliver success.
Graham has a hefty budget to help him to complete his squad, but he gave a hint as to why he may not be totally happy and committed to the task at Leeds. "I want to bring players in, but what quality players are available at this stage of the season?" he said. "I should have been told I had money to spend over the summer." The victory was theirs for the taking, but only when Derek Lilley, the substitute, brought a stunning save from Thomas Myhre five minutes from time did Leeds mount any concerted pressure.
Everton are a meek proposition when the trio on whom they rely for creativity Dacourt, Collins and Barmby are swamped, while Ferguson, although he tries manfully, cannot perform the combined tasks of ten other players. Dacourt did his best to add some spice to the event, but it resulted in a second yellow card and a dismissal on 55 minutes. Everton fans howled their disgust at Neale Barry, the referee, but Dacourt was foolish for clipping Lee Bowyer's heels unnecessarily.
Walter Smith, the Everton manager, praised his side's spirit and Graham was also kind on the home side. "They are going through a transitional period at the moment and you can understand they do not want to lose," he said. The fans will not be so forgiving after many more afternoons such as this, even if they are let in for free.
|Report © Times Newspapers Ltd|
|Resurgent Everton are brought to a halt by red|
|Alyson Rudd, Electronic Telegraph|
DESPITE the goal-less score line, Everton seem to have found their groove
quicker than their poor start to the season intimated they would and were
frustrated in their pursuit of a second win by the sending off of Olivier
Dacourt with half-an-hour left.
There is nothing as morale-boosting as a victory and Everton's unimaginative start to the season was wiped from the collective memory after the midweek defeat of Nottingham Forest.
Central to Everton's new-found confidence was the performance of David Unsworth, who meandered forward with intelligence and stormed back to defend whenever there was hint of danger. And for the first 45 minutes all Leeds could summon were hints and wisps of what they are capable of.
A sudden heavy downpour meant Thomas Myhre struggled to hold on to Harry Kewell's firm strike but the Everton goalkeeper did enough to deny the Leeds' forwards a follow-up shot. A cleverly-worked free-kick, finally struck by Jimmy Hasselbaink, was deflected for a corner and might have embarrassed Myhre, but for once Everton were dominating like a home side should.
In the main the chances fell to Ferguson. That he is in the right place at the right time so often makes him worth half the touted £15 million price tag, but his finishing needs to be blessed before he is worth the full amount.
From a throw-in Everton worked the ball to Hutchison's feet, in space just inside the area, but, like Ferguson before him, Hutchison's strike was too central and allowed Nigel Martyn to make a finger-tip save.
With just over half-an-hour remaining Everton, having seen Ferguson fail to convert two particularly excellent opportunities, found themselves reduced to 10 men. Dacourt, who has made an immediate impact for his commitment in midfield, brought down Lee Bowyer. Having been booked already for pulling at Hasselbaink's shirt, there was no suspense as to what the referee's decision would be.
No doubt hopeful that the pace of Danny Cadamarteri could indeed do the work of two men, Walter Smith brought the youngster off the bench in place of Nick Barmby. Certainly Everton did not allow the dismissal of Dacourt to inhibit them. Collins's floated drive from inside the centre circle appeared initially born of frustration but required a fine save from Martyn.
Leeds saved themselves for the final 10 minutes and in injury time both Derek Lilley with a fine header that hit an upright and David Hopkin came extremely close to manufacturing a result Everton would not have deserved.
|Report © The Electronic Telegraph|
|FA CARLING PREMIERSHIP|
|RESULTS (Game 5)|
|Saturday 12 September 1998|
Aston Villa 2 Wimbledon 0 32,959 Merson 44, Taylor 56 Charlton Athletic 1 Derby County 2 19,516 Mendonca 89:pen Wanchope 5, Baiano 60 Chelsea 2 Nottingham Forest 1 34,809 Zola 1, Poyet 34 Darcheville 68 Everton 0 Leeds United 0 36,687 Leicester City 1 Arsenal 1 21,628 Husky 28 Hughes 90 Manchester United 2 Coventry City 0 55,193 Yorke 21, Johnsen 48 Newcastle United 4 Southampton 0 36,454 Shearer 8,37:pen,88, Ketsbaia 90 Sheffield Wednesday 3 Blackburn Rovers 0 20,846 Atherton 18, Hinchcliffe 33, Di Canio 87 West Ham United 2 Liverpool 1 26,029 Hartson 3, Berkovic 49 Riedle 87
|Sunday 13 September 1998|
Tottenham Hotspur 0 Middlesbrough 3 30,437 Ricard 25,32 Kinder 88
|LEAGUE TABLE (after 13 September 1998 )|
Club P W D L GF GA GD Pts Aston Villa 5 4 1 0 7 1 6 13 Liverpool 5 3 1 1 9 4 5 10 Leeds United 5 2 3 0 5 1 4 9 Derby County 5 2 3 0 4 2 2 9 Manchester United 4 2 2 0 8 3 5 8 Middlesbrough 5 2 2 1 6 4 2 8 Wimbledon 5 2 2 1 8 7 1 8 West Ham United 5 2 2 1 6 5 1 8 Arsenal 5 1 4 0 3 2 1 7 Sheffield Wednesday 5 2 0 3 6 3 3 6 Nottingham Forest 5 2 0 3 5 7 -2 6 Tottenham Hotspur 5 2 0 3 4 10 -6 6 Charlton Athletic 5 1 2 2 7 6 1 5 Newcastle United 5 1 2 2 6 6 0 5 Leicester City 5 1 2 2 5 5 0 5 Chelsea 4 1 2 1 4 4 0 5 Everton 5 1 2 2 2 3 -1 5 Blackburn Rovers 5 1 1 3 2 6 -4 4 Coventry City 5 1 1 3 2 6 -4 4 Southampton 5 0 0 5 2 16 -14 0