Everton Logo Everton 1 - 4 Manchester United
Half-time: 1 - 2
Man Utd Logo
FA Carling Premiership 1998-99 – Game 11
Saturday 31 October 1998
Goodison Park, Merseyside
Att: 40,079
« Middlesbrough (a) Ref: Peter Jones Arsenal (a) »
1998-99 Fixtures & Results League Position: 15th Premiership Results & Table
EVERTON: Ferguson (31)
Manchester United: Yorke (14), Short (og:24), Cole (59), Blomqvist (63)  
  LINEUPS Subs Not Used
EVERTON: Myhre, Ball, Dacourt, Watson, Unsworth, Collins, Ferguson, Short (67 Dunne), Materazzi, Bakayoko, Cadamarteri.
Unavailable: Bilic, Barmby, Ward, Williamson, Phelan, Parkinson (injured); Spencer, O'Kane, Branch (on loan).
Gerrard, Cleland, Grant, Milligan.
Manchester United: Schmeichel, G. Neville, Stam, Beckham, Cole, P. Neville (Irwin, 67), Blomqvist, Keane, Scholes, Yorke, Brown. Cruyff, Van Der Gouw, Solskjaer, Berg.
  Yellow Cards Red Cards
EVERTON: Short, Ball, Bakayoko, Unsworth.
Manchester United: Keane, G Neville, Scholes.

Jon Berman This is not football
Steve Bickerton Lady Luck was wearing red
Richard Marland An Improvement on last year...
THE SUNDAY TIMES Four-goal United surge closer to top
by David Walsh
THE GUARDIAN Reds on the rampage
by Jon Culley
New pals' act for United
by Jon Culley
THE TIMES Everton's drought submerged
by Alyson Rudd
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Tricky United serve up a treat
by Colin Malam
THE EVERTONIAN Link to the latest Match Report

SOCCERNET Link to SoccerNet Match Report
CARLINGNET Link to CarlingNet Match Report

This is not football
Jon Berman
Everton fans have had far too many upsetting times at Goodison in the last few seasons. Once again, today, they were subjected to a referee that took great pride in applying the letter of the law. The only trouble was, was that it was only applied to the Everton team.

The opposition, Manchester United must always arrive at grounds around the country in good heart, as it seems that they know they won't be that hard done by a referee's decisions. Therefore it follows that they will more often than not win through as their opposition will be on tenterhooks throughout the game. This indeed was the impression that Everton gave this afternoon.

Much was made of the pre-match talk as to how far Everton had come under the guidance of the new management team of walter Smith and Archie Knox. This was to be a real test. manchester United came to goodison knowing a win would put them one point behind Villa at the top of the table. A win for Everton would have put them seventh. Heady times for the Boys In Blue.

First Half

It started out superbly for the Blues as almost from the kick-off Ferguson was put through with a superb pass from Materazzi. Duncan shot. Schmeichel saved. Everton were playing with a passion that is reserved for the games between their Lancastrian neighbours as well as the other lot from across the park. Unfortunately, the referee read the whole game wrong. He just assumed that no one had the right to put in a tackle on a United player.

Meanwhile United midfielders Scholes and Keane were getting away with really niggling tackles on anything that wore a Blue shirt. The linesman on the Bullens Road side must have been wishing he had stayed in bed, as he had to have been one of the worst that Goodison had ever seen. the number of times that United players were clearly offside and were not given as so was a disgrace to the game.

Yes there was a game going on apparently and it was United who were pressing far more than Everton after their first foray into the box. The big difference between the two sides was in midfield. Dacourt and Collins couldn't get into the game at all today and therein lies a massive problem for the Blues. For when both decide to leave their tackling boots and creative boots at home, Everton will never win a game. They just couldn't handle the industrious Keane and Scholes.

Beckham was his usual fancy dan self combined with some neat passes. At the back Everton looked comfortable. Until United scored. Cole was the scorer from what was a definite offside. In fact all the players looked around in amazement immediately the ball was put in the back of the net. No matter. 1-0 it was. The crowd ranted at the linesman. It really was hard luck on the Blues. To add insult to injury Craig Short who was having a poor game from the off headed into his own net from what looked like an innocuous cross. It looked as if this would be a rout.

Bakayoko, ineffective for most of the afternoon, was then thought to have been tripped in the penalty area, but the referee saw it differently and booked him for diving. Disgraceful behaviour. From the ref that is. Everton were desperately trying to stem the red tide and were just about getting away with it.

A free kick came midway through the first half, awarded to Everton. Ball crossed. Duncan soared. Goal. The first one to be scored by an Everton player at home this season apart from the own goal from Short earlier. Everton finished the first half in a storming mood. They were pumping the ball up to Ferguson at every opportunity. This to me, made a lot of sense today, as United were deemed to be rather short in height in defence.

Near the end of the first half, Duncan could have had a hat-trick to go with the one goal scored and the glaring miss from Duncan in the first minute. A lovely cross from the improving winger Cadamarteri found duncan's head perfectly. But he headed wide. Goodison groaned, as if to agree that you don't keep missing chances against this United team and then expect to get away with it. Everton finished the first half much the stronger team, but one always thought that United could move up a gear and still coast to victory.

Second Half

The second half started as the first half ended with Everton continuing to attack the Street End with alarming accuracy. Indeed, it was very likely that they would get a deserved equaliser in the opening five minutes. Alas it was not to be. Two shots hit the uprights, most notably from John Collins.

Then United seemed to wake up to the fact that Everton were actually going to make a real game of this. From another Everton corner, John Collins missed a volley completely and United pounced and broke away and promptly showed that when you are United you get the rub of the ball as Cole's shot went in off the post. What Everton would have given for a piece of luck like that.

United then added a fourth when the highly impressive Blomqvist again broke down Everton's right from a lovely pass from Beckham into the box. Myrhe was unlucky as he managed to get to the first shot but couldn't stop the second. 4-1 was a very flattering scoreline.

Seven players were booked this afternoon from both teams. the most alarming of which was for Bakayoko. This came about after he fell in the box challenged by Schmeichel. the alarming thing was that at least three United players rushed over to the referee waving their arms in protest and telling him he was not doing what he was told to do probably half an hour before kick-off. And they wonder why they must be the most hated team in the League!!!

Individual performances

  • Myrhe. 7 Didn't seem to have too much to do apart from picking the ball out of the net 4 times. He certainly had no major saves to pull off.
  • Short. 5 Kept getting turned inside out at every opportunity. probably would have wanted to go trick or treating all day. Mind you he's have probably come off worse doing that too.
  • Watson. 7 Did nothing wrong especially, but now we are beginning to see that the old man just hasn't got the legs left anymore to cover back
  • Materazzi. 8 Everton's man of the Match today. His distribution was superb. Tackling was excellent. He just keeps getting better and better.
  • Unsworth. 6 I still don't know why we bought him back. Answers on the back of a postage stamp please. Yes he seemed to cover quite well, but his passing really needs working on. There is no point in trying to pass 40 yards knowing that the likely chance of an Everton player getting to it are remote in the extreme.
  • Dacourt. 6 Just not in it today. He'd better be back to normal next week as it's another good midfield he'll be facing. Toady he looked out of touch.
  • Collins. 5 I'm sorry but I do think we have signed a dozy here. He is ageing each week. His control was woeful, considering his supposed reputation. He didn't create that much and his combative skills had deserted him today. If this sounds harsh, it's meant to be. The man was trumpeted all over the place and is on incredible wages. He must learn to become consistent.
  • Ball. 7 Improving player and was being watched today by one of Hoddle's henchmen. He put in a good enough performance today, but will have to step up another gear if he will truly impress as his opposite number today did in Brown.
  • Cadamarteri. 7 This kid is rapidly being turned into a winger who is going to cause a lot of problems to the opposition. He even managed to stay on his feet today most of the time. His crossing has improved. And so it should with Duncan working solely with him at Bellefield.
  • Bakayoko. 6. Not up to full power yet, and is going to have to be quicker if he is to survive the pace of the Premiership. Does some lovely lay off work. Unfortunately it is just not coming off for him at the moment. Early days yet.
  • Ferguson. 7. Not bad today. In fact very impressed with his work rate. Trouble is he misses far too many good chances which could really kill off opposing teams.
  • Dunne. 7. This boy is calm as you like at the back. He came on for the hapless Short and acquitted himself well.

Referee. 3  He and his linesman must be going out to celebrate tonight with the "wages" earned today. Disgrace to football.

Lady Luck was wearing red
Steve Bickerton
There was a strange atmosphere as I entered the ground and it wasn't till I realised that there was no paper flying across the Park that I realised that for the first time in many weeks we weren't to be affected by the wind.

I settled into my seat in the Lower Gwladys Street just as the "One-to-Oners" strode into the arena. A few pre-match discussions with those around me about the merits of York (the city, not Dwight), the goal that Spencer scored last week for Motherwell, and Michael Branch's departure to Man City. I for one, hope that his move is not made permanent.

On to the game. Everton lined up with a possible 4-3-3, but a more likely 4-4-2. Myrhe in goal, with Short keeping his right back berth, Unsworth on the left and the returning Waggy and improving Materazzi in the centre. Michael Ball lined up on the left of midfield, with Collins and Dacourt in the middle. The role I was unsure about belonged to Cadamarteri. He was on the right, but whether he was to play as a third forward or fourth midfielder I wasn't sure. As the game progressed he played in the midfield role.

Up front we had Ferguson and Bakayoko. The bench had an almost Kendall-esque look to it with youngsters filling most of the places. One of them, Richard Dunne, was back in the first team squad after just one recent reserve team outing – proof, if any were needed, that he is high on the list of those at the club inherited, but admired by Walter Smith. The others were Gerrard, still ahead of Simonsen in the pecking order, Cleland, Grant and the exciting Milligan. United, thankfully, were without Giggs, but his replacement, Blomqvist, had shown in the recent reserves game between the two clubs that he had plenty of tricks and pace and was no mean replacement for the aforementioned "Welshman".

The game kicked off with Everton attacking the Park End. Within a minute we'd had two chances, both falling to Ferguson. The first, a volley, had been deflected for a corner and the second, from the corner had seen Schmeichel forced to make a save under the crossbar. Things looked promising and for a quarter of an hour we held our own, not looking to be outclassed as had been the case last year by our opponents. And then came the break.

A swift move out of defence, a telling ball from Scholes and Yorke reacted well to place the ball past Tommy. Now that may be the tale told by those who see the game from a United point of view. Those of us looking at it from an objective standpoint will tell you that the linesman was asleep, Yorke was offside when but the game was allowed to run, suddenly it broke back to Yorke, now on-side, and isn't it always the way that when our keeper makes an excellent save from a forward, who should really do better, that the rebound was kind to United. 0 - 1 down and its a travesty.

Worse was to follow. Blomqvist strode down the left, unheeded by Short who seemed to be playing a different game to the rest of the team. He crossed the ball wildly and it cleared the defence to drift out past Rhino on our left. The Brylcreme boy pounced on the ball and delivered a telling cross into the box. The tale it told was that it was going behind, it wanted to be left alone, it was begging to be a goal-kick. Short, as I've already said, was patently playing a different game. He had to get his head to it, he had to do something right, he'd made a few howlers already and needed to make amends. For a full five seconds silence fell upon Goodison Park. Players looked at each other wondering what to do next. The referee, bewildered, half-heartedly pointed to the centre circle and Tommy picked the ball out of the net. Had it been cricket it would have been "not out". Nobody appealed, United players were momentarily as dumb-struck as everyone else, and Short held his head in his hands in disbelief at what he'd done.

0 - 2, and recollections of last year as I fully expected United to take a deep breath and control the game from now on in. But that isn't the script we're reading from this year.

We tore into them and finally managed to get a ball out wide to Danny who could go at the United defence. He was finally upended on the right, by Keane, on line with the edge of the box. Michael Ball stepped up to take the resultant free kick and sent it into the box, much like Hinchcliffe did, once upon a time. Ferguson rose above the defence, the arms of Stam for once not restraining him, and the ball was in the net. A league goal for Everton at Goodison! The place went wild and the pressure continued.

We bore down on them again and another cross from the right, this one from Cadamarteri, saw Ferguson again in space. He met it firmly with his head and placed it beyond the flailing Schmeichel. It had to be 2 -2 and no more than we deserved, but the ball glanced beyond the post and away for a goal kick. A goal there would have turned the game I'm sure, but it wasn't to be.

Outrageous fortune again favoured the away side as this year's litany of bookings continued during the first half. Short had found his way into the book early on. He'd made a surging run into the United half and beaten a couple of players on the right. As he cut inside he beat another, but saw the ball bobble away from him. He stretched to push it on to a blue shirted colleague at the same time as a red shirted defender made contact with the ball. A story all too familiar this season. A nothing incident and Short found himself in the book.

Ball was booked for saying something to the referee as he went past following a decision against him. Yet Keane, who'd previously been booked for a lunging tackle in midfield, wasn't even given the wagging finger for his tirade on the same referee for the foul given against another United player. It must have been a Captain's remark that he made. That'll be it!

And Bakayoko had gone into the book for daring to challenge the third linesman, sorry Schmeichel, for a 50-50 ball. What is it with that keeper that he has to get the opposition booked? When did he join the official's union so that his voice can be heard and acted upon when others are denied advocacy? I'll not deny his ability as a keeper, but I look forward to the day when a supporter anywhere can supply him with the linesman's flag that he so obviously covets.

Anyway half-time; we're back in the game; we should have been level; we're not looking too shabby and we've restricted them to a handful of chances. The second half might be worth watching.

What a start! Twice in the first ten minutes of the second half we'd struck the post. The first was a repeat of the Short incident. This time it was Stam, admittedly under pressure unlike his Everton counterpart, who beat his own keeper. But the woodwork came to his rescue and the rebound, unlike in Yorke's case, had failed to find a player from the attacking team. Then it was Collins who struck the ball sweetly from outside the box, following a period of pressure, which saw Ferguson deliver a classic ball back to him, who was denied by the woodwork.

We pressed forward time and again, but shots from Dacourt, Short and Collins again failed to find the target. Throughout all this though, United remained a threat, their pace when breaking from the back is second to none in the Premiership. It's not just the pace, it's the control. That was the difference at the end of the day. We just didn't control the ball when we were in possession to the same effect. The third United goal was a perfect example of this.

Collins had the ball in space just inside the Everton half. He moved forward, into the United half, ready to deliver the ball out to the left. Dacourt had other ideas and tried to take the ball off Collins, intending to switch play to the right. It might have been the right idea, but its execution was disastrous as the ball broke loose. As a result of the mix-up, United regained possession and the ball was quickly played forward to Cole who finished with much aplomb, striking a fierce drive across Tommy and into the net off the far post. The irony of the role of the woodwork in that goal was not lost on the Goodison faithful.

Now we had to push forward. Heads had dropped a little but not too much. Materazzi showed a cool head under pressure on a number of occasions, forsaking the punt upfield for a well delivered pass to a colleague. I wondered about that head though, how was it still on his shoulders? He'd headed the ball that much during the game it must have sore at the very least.

One notable example of Materazzi's intervention with the head had been in the first half, when he intercepted a shot from Keane. Wasn't much backlift, but it left his foot like a rocket. Materazzi had staggered for a few moments just after meeting the ball. I fully expected to see stars swirling around his head, with birds singing sweetly to him in true cartoon fashion. But he played on without complaint. In the second half he played the ball comfortably with his head, despite it descending, at pace, from a great height.

It was the pushing forward that lead to the fourth goal. Blomqvist raced forward unchallenged, just Myhre to beat. Tommy made a great save, but wouldn't you know it? The ball bounced up gently for Blomqvist to score over the prostrate keeper. Once in a game a goal like that is unfortunate, twice is taking the mickey. United could have scored again just a few moments later, as Scholes hit a post from distance and again as we allowed United to break quickly but a good smothering save from Myhre from Cole kept the score down to respectability.

Last season a 0 - 2 defeat was enough to show the gulf in class between the two sides. Today was a different story. There wasn't a gulf in class. Just a gulf in confidence as Everton, a side coming to believe that they are good, were beaten by a side who know they are good. There was that and lady luck, who made up the 12 for United.

As for the bookings, the tally rose in the second half with Unsworth being added to the list for Everton (persistent fouling) and Scholes and Neville (G) for United. The final score of 1-4 was never a reflection of the game as a whole, more a reflection of the difference in levels of control.

The end of the game, though, was marred by an incident which is bound to be included in the referee's report. During recent games there has been a tendency for the odd empty soft drink bottle to be lobbed into the back of the net by individuals from the Gwladys Street. Lack of intervention by the Stewards has seen the practice increasing. Today, it reached epidemic proportions with bottles being lobbed into the penalty area.

Schmeichel, rightly in my view, complained to the referee. The referee approached the dugout area and had a word, presumably with the Head Steward about what was happening. Meanwhile more bottles were thrown from the Stand. If we end up having games played in front of an empty stadium because of this or we have points deducted because of a failure to control the crowd, its not the club which is to blame its the so-called fans who besmirch the good name of Everton FC. There can be no excuse.

An Improvement on last year...
Richard Marland
In a perverse sort of way I quite enjoy playing Man Utd. I view them, still, as the country's premier team; playing them is always a useful guide as to where we stand in the grand scheme of things, a benchmark if you like. In the previous two years we have been turned over, last year's Man Utd performance was the best I have ever seen from a visiting side at Goodison, what would this year bring?

Our starting line-up was much as expected, the only surprise being Craig Short getting the nod at right back ahead of Alex Cleland. This continued our rather disconcerting multiple centre-backs experiment. With the pace Man Utd possess down the flanks it looked to be asking for trouble. The full line up was Myrhe in goal, a flat back four of Short, Materazzi, Watson and Unsworth, a midfield quartet of Cadamarteri, Collins, Dacourt and Ball, and Dunc and Bakayoko up front.

We began very brightly indeed; within seconds Dunc had a clear sight at goal, his shot being turned around for a corner by Schmeichel. From the resulting corner, Dunc got a header on target but this time Schmeichel saved more comfortably. For the next five minutes we continued to play very positively, closing down United diligently and putting them under some pressure at the back.

Alas United weathered the early storm and began to gain control of the midfield. Their passing in this phase of the game was light years ahead of anything we are capable of these days. We continued to defend very well, and they weren’t really creating any chances, however, the early warning signs were there.

They finally got their chance at goal and they took it decisively. We were carved up through the middle with deceptive ease (although they were helped by what seemed a helpful offside decision, not exactly the first of the half), Tommy was called into action and saved well but Yorke got to the rebound first and forced the ball in.

Worse was soon to follow. Unsworth allowed a cross-field ball to sail past him out to Beckham on the wing, don’t ask me what Rhino was playing at as it seemed fairly easy for him to intercept it. Beckham launched a cross to the back post, where we had three men covering it, one of whom was Short who, under no pressure, managed to head the ball into the net. The goal was met by resounding silence, I don’t think most of the ground realised it had actually gone in, those that did were stood in stunned silence, not believing what they had just witnessed.

It looked like game over. Yet to our credit we kept plugging away, and got a rare treat, a first league goal for Everton at Goodison. We won a free kick near the right-hand corner flag, Michael Ball swung the ball over and Dunc met it with a header past Schmeichel. 2-1, game back on.

We nearly ended the half on level terms, a Cadamarteri cross was met by an unopposed Dunc, unfortunately his header drifted just wide. Probably he should have scored but in his defence he was at full stretch when he reached the ball, and by this time it was ever so slightly behind him. Despite us being behind at half-time we couldn’t complain about the entertainment. Three goals is a veritable feast at Goodison these days, and at least we were still in the game.

Half time brought few changes except for a new resolve from Everton. Just like the start of the first half we started at a furious pace. We again had United under real pressure, during a series of corners and crosses we hit the post twice, once through a Stam back header and once through a John Collins shot.

Our pressure probably deserved a goal, it didn’t come and we soon got a reminder of how devastating and clinical United can be on the break. Dacourt and Collins had a misunderstanding in midfield, the ball broke to a United shirt and a quick break was ended with Cole firing in off the post. Totally against the run of play and harsh punishment for a relatively minor mistake in midfield.

If that goal was devastating, United’s second of the half was even more so. We had a corner, it was half cleared to John Collins on the edge of the box, he attempted a shot but missed the ball totally. United almost literally pounced, they sprinted into attack outnumbering us about 4 to 2. We never caught them, Blomqvist was finally put through, Myrhe saved the first shot but Blomqvist was able to head in the rebound.

There was still 30 minutes to go. What sort of score could United run up in that time? It was almost with relief that they failed to add to their tally. We kept plugging away but without any sort of conviction. United were mostly going through the motions. The latter stages of the game mostly memorable for some ugly stuff from the crowd. Some sort of skirmish in the Park End, followed by a brief chorus of "Who’s that lying on the runway?". It was capped at the death by a flurry of plastic bottles aimed at Schmeichel. the referees attention was brought to it and probably means we are going to be in trouble with the FA. Nice one boys.

So what does it say about where we are. Last season 0-2, this year 1-4. First glance doesn’t look too good, but look beyond the scoreline and I actually think I saw enough to indicate an improvement on last year. Yes Man Utd were the better side, alarmingly so at times. But, at the same time we showed real resilience in getting back into the game at 2-0 down. With a smidgen of luck in the second half we may even have got an equaliser, and we were only really undone by United’s clinical breaking. In terms of our team we didn’t find out anything new, our lack of width continues to be chronic and hampers everything that we try to do. Compare that to United and see the width that Beckham and Blomqvist provided them with, the options that gives them is patently obvious.

It may seem strange to be saying all of this in the light of a 4-1 home defeat. But in this Premiership United are an exceptional side, today's defeat wasn’t a disgrace and fortunately there aren’t any other teams like Man United out there.


  • Myrhe 7 The TV may prove me wrong but I don’t think you can really blame him for any of the goals, he certainly saved two of them at the first attempt, and made a few other good saves.
  • Short 6 I just don’t understand playing him at right back. Against someone like Wimbledon you might play him there for some extra height at the back but that’s hardly relevant with a Cole-Yorke front line. Short didn’t play that badly, it’s just that he’s playing in the wrong position.
  • Unsworth 6 Certain sections of the crowd seemed to make him the sacrificial scapegoat for the day. This wasn’t one of his better days but I didn’t think he was that bad. Did some good defensive work and to his credit was always looking for the ball
  • Watson 6 Not assured as he has been of late and he struggled with the mobility of Cole and Yorke. A reminder that we do have to find a way of replacing him.
  • Materazzi 7 An assured confident display. Never really looked in trouble. Really impressed with this guy.
  • Cadamarteri 6 Gave a lively and energetic performance. I reckon he’s worth a run on the right.
  • Dacourt 6 Lots of good moments but never really got to grips with the United midfield.
  • Collins 7 Another who was getting some stick from the crowd. I actually thought he was quite good. Without making too many actual tackles he wins the ball back quite a bit by anticipation and positional play. Used the ball well when he had it. It’s a pity that he will chiefly be remembered for his part in their two second half goals.
  • Ball 6 Still got a worrying tendency to drift inside, very dangerous when Beckham is stuck out on his flank. Apart from this this was a good performance from Ball.
  • Ferguson 7 Worried them throughout the afternoon and played well.
  • Bakayoko 6 Definitely getting there. Had a number of good moments without really looking like scoring. Worryingly seems to have picked up the Everton disease of getting booked for very little – picking up an utterly ludicrous booking for "diving".
  • Dunne 6 Came on for Short midway through the second half. Did OK.

Team 6 Ultimately found wanting against the best team in the land. That shouldn’t have come as too much of a shock. Definitely some encouraging signs in there, the continuing development of Materazzi, Collins and Bakayoko and at last some semblance of an attacking threat.

Man of the match - Materazzi.

Four-goal United surge closer to top
by David Walsh, The Sunday Times
WHAT A wonderful testimony to what Alex Ferguson has created at Manchester United. Skilful, quick, inventive and sharp in front of goal, United were much too good for gallant Everton and made a difficult assignment look straightforward. United creep closer to the top and again remind us of what a class act they have become.

Of course it was not easy. Everton had been unbeaten for 10 games, benefiting from the new signings and new organisation that Walter Smith, the manager, has brought to the club. After yesterday's match, Smith had the subdued air of a man who had just heard some demoralising news. "They're the best team we've played this season," he said.

And, you imagine, by some distance. This was a fine match. Everton played well, and still United were in a different class. They have it every way; skilful and combative, ambitious but not arrogant. And what a talented squad - yesterday they announced that Ryan Giggs would be out for a month with a broken foot and it just so happened that Jesper Blomqvist had a smashing match in Giggs's position.

What counted most yesterday was United's attitude. Everton were always going to make it tough, and only by matching their rivals' passion were United in a position to bring their class into play. United needed to arrive in the right frame of mind because Everton, before another 40,000-plus crowd, started like they meant business.

Barely 20 seconds had passed when Duncan Ferguson got behind the United defence and hit a venomous shot that Peter Schmeichel could only parry before Jaap Stam blocked Ferguson's second effort.

It was a good indication of the match to come, because as it swayed this way and that, it never sagged. Olivier Dacourt cut down Blomqvist, Craig Short charged into Paul Scholes, and for a few minutes United seemed in two minds about the 50-50 ball.

Roy Keane, of course, decided for his teammates. His scything tackle on Michael Ball deserved the yellow card it got, but it also made the important point that United had come to battle. Things settled down and that suited United as their more fluid midfield moved deeper into Everton territory.

The breakthrough came after 14 minutes and featured an exquisite Andy Cole pass that put Scholes in space on the right. Being the intelligent player he is, Scholes immediately played it back across the goal to Dwight Yorke and, at the second attempt, United's newest striker had his eighth goal of the campaign.

Everton, the team, have yet to score eight Premiership goals this season. For them that goal was a disappointment; the second, nine minutes later, was a catastrophe.

Keane put Blomqvist away with a fine pass, but when the ball went to David Beckham wide on the right, there did not appear to be any danger. And there was not until Short tried to head Beckham's cross away for a corner. Instead it flew into the corner of his own net. An eerie silence fell over Goodison Park. Even United's fans could not believe what they had seen.

Everton were now in desperate trouble. But they play with plenty of spirit and they are not without some quality. Centre-back Marco Materazzi can play, Danny Cadamarteri is regaining the form that made him so good last season and the new striker Ibrahim Bakayoko will score goals. But their comeback came with a familiar theme, Ferguson rising high and majestically to power home Ball's accurately flighted free kick.

Critically, Everton then enjoyed their best spell, but they could not turn pressure into an equaliser. Ferguson had a fine chance to head his second, but it flew just wide. Then, immediately after half-time, Everton twice hit a post. You cannot afford that kind of bad luck against United and, sure enough, Ferguson's men made them pay. Blomqvist's pass put Cole free inside the penalty area and, striking sweetly with his left foot, Cole scored his sixth goal of the season.

Everton continued to chase the game and, not surprisingly, left themselves exposed at the back. When John Collins miscued a shooting chance after a corner, Keane nudged it on to Beckham, who ran to halfway and knocked it left to Blomqvist for a clear run on goal. Blomqvist's first shot was blocked by Thomas Myhre, but he gratefully headed the rebound high into the far corner. It finished a good day for the Swede.

Knowing the game was lost, Everton tried to improve the scoreline, but United refused to ease up. Right at the end Wes Brown, who had an unusually quiet match, beat his man neatly on halfway and passed to Beckham, who turned the ball inside to Scholes. The England man, running like it was the first minute of the game, crashed a shot, which Myhre would barely have seen, against a post.

Like all very good sides, United play only to their own standards these days. They will have been happy about how they coped with Ferguson and Bakayoko yesterday, pleased about the ease with which their midfield created, and there was further encouragement in the performance of the Cole-Yorke partnership. They have become a very serious threat.

Everton are a better side than the final score suggests. "After going two goals down, we were going to have push people forward. With their strikers' speed, that was going to be a problem for us," said Smith afterwards.

Years ago, Smith and Ferguson used to be in opposition when the coaching staff at Dundee United played their counterparts at Aberdeen. Smith was mostly on the winning side then. Yesterday he encountered his old adversary and discovered some new realities.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

Reds on the rampage
by Paul Wilson, The Guardian
Manchester United took advantage of Aston Villa's enforced inactivity to move within a point of the leaders, with Roy Keane the driving force behind a performance which put Everton's mini-revival very firmly into perspective.

Everton lost this fixture last season 2-0, a result which made everyone at Goodison realise how far they had fallen behind the top clubs, or so the match programme claimed in a fearless hostage to fortune. The implication was that Everton had bridged the gap in the intervening months with a new manager and a few Continental purchases, though this did not appear a convincing argument when the home side went two goals down inside the 30 minutes.

Putting together a 10-match unbeaten run could be a sign that Everton have turned a small corner - under Walter Smith they might not be looking relegation in the face in six months - but they cannot seriously expect to get back up among the big clubs until they change the way they play. They still place far too much faith in aggression, personified by Duncan Ferguson their captain and player of the year but an unreliable goalscorer.

The problem is, while only Liverpool regularly fall for this intimidatory routine, everyone else just plays around it. Ferguson, in fairness, could have had a goal in the first minute when United failed to cut out a long ball from David Unsworth and were indebted to Peter Schmeichel's reflexes, but though the sight of Jaap Stam and Roy Keane arguing furiously with each other must have encouraged Everton - ditto when the Irishman collected only his second booking of the season shortly afterwards. The visitors were only rattled for about 10 minutes.

United put together their first incisive attacking move in the eighth minute, when Thomas Myhre had to cut out Paul Scholes's cross after a neat interchange between David Beckham and Wes Brown, and scored from their second six minutes later.

Everton were presumably not anticipating anything dangerous from Andy Cole when he received the ball outside the penalty area, but unlike the home defenders the striker had spotted Scholes's run in from the right. A cleverly lofted pass left the entire Everton defence looking squarer than Prince Charles being serenaded by Geri Halliwell, and though Myhre produced a heroic point-blank save when Dwight Yorke first fastened on to Scholes's cross, he could do nothing to prevent the Tobagan tapping in the rebound.

The hitherto confident home side deflated with an almost audible hiss, and leaked a second goal in the 23rd minute. Craig Short was the unlucky defender who will forever be teased with the unwanted distinction of becoming Everton's first home goalscorer in the 1998-99 league season, but though the finish might have been fortuitous, United deserved the goal for their crisp passing and the positive way they attacked the abundant areas of space they were being offered.

When the excellent Keane found Jesper Blomqvist on the left, his cross ran all the way over to Beckham on the opposite touchline, as Everton noticed with some weariness that here was another United threat they had completely failed to pick up. Beckham's centre was too high for Cole and Yorke, though it was whipped in quickly enough to cause consternation between Watson and Short, with the latter getting the final deflection past his own goalkeeper.

The match looked as good as won. John Collins and Olivier Dacourt in the Everton midfield produced moments of class to satisfy School of Science standards, but were never likely to supply the drive and commitment with which Keane was inspiring United.

Yet to their credit Everton climbed back into the match before the interval, a free-kick on the left providing the opportunity for Michael Ball's sweet left foot and Ferguson's broad forehead to at least open the home scoring account before November.

Although idolised by the half of Merseyside who don't adore Michael Owen, Ferguson is not what Glenn Hoddle would term a natural goalscorer. Danny Cadamarteri's cross from the left presented him with a free header in the 36th minute, but he put it wide.

Everton were always chasing the game, a situation which suited United perfectly. Everton predictably started the second half in a hurry, Collins hitting a post and Ibrahim Bakayoko turning neatly but shooting just over. Just as predictably United hit them on the break.

Beckham and Blomqvist found Cole in the 58th minute for the less celebrated of United's twin strikers to score off a post. Blomqvist himself wrapped up the points 25 minutes from the end, making heavy weather of a three-on-one overlap and Beckham's delightful pass but eventually beating the plucky Myhre with his head.

Report © The Guardian

New pals' act for United
by Jon Culley, The Independent on Sunday
UNITED ended Everton's 10 match unbeaten run with a victory that underlined the scale of the task facing Walter Smith if he is ever to emulate the achievements in English football of his Glaswegian friend and rival, Alex Ferguson.

The win takes United to within one point of Premiership leaders Aston Villa, whose match at Chelsea was postponed. But Ferguson's pleasure was marred by confirmation that Ryan Giggs may well miss all three of United's remaining Champions' League fixtures.

The Welsh winger, who missed yesterday's match, has a fractured foot that will keep him out for a month at least. "It is a major blow to us with the second Barcelona game coming up in three weeks' time," Ferguson said. Jesper Blomqvist, the Swede signed in part to understudy for Giggs, illustrated the progress he is making in the role by scoring his first goal since his transfer from Parma but he still has some way to go to be seen as a like for like replacement.

Billed as a confrontation of managerial super powers, yesterday's contest simply proved that a man is only as good as the tools at his disposal. Smith, in his Rangers' years, may have won more titles than Ferguson but here he did not have the resources to provide a genuine match. Much as Everton started brightly and enjoyed some encouraging moments before and after half time in a spell that at least ended their Goodison goals hoodoo, United made their early dominance pay by taking a 2-0 lead and later demonstrated their effectiveness on the counter attack to put the match beyond the home side's reach.

Everton, defending their best sequence of results in two years, almost shook off the burden of having failed to score in their first five Premiership matches on their home ground within the first minute. Duncan Ferguson, clearly aroused by the occasion, hurried Peter Schmeichel into a punched clearance and forced a second save from the United goalkeeper from the corner that followed.

An aggressive atmosphere filled the stadium, one which referee Peter Jones was not inclined to tolerate. The Leicester official, who routinely issues at least five yellow cards a match, eventually totalled seven yesterday, although there was never much obvious evidence of intent to injure on the part of either team. Petty dissent was often the cause of Mr Jones' activity and Walter Smith, although unwilling to be drawn into controversy, did describe the yellow card shown to Ibrahim Bakayoko as "bizarre". His striker was accused of diving by a number of United players, who surrounded the referee. But it was Bakayoko who found himself in trouble for complaining that the allegations were untrue.

It took Everton half an hour to score a Goodison goal at last when Ferguson rose serenely to head home Michael Ball's free kick after Roy Keane had clumsily brought down Danny Cadamarteri on the right. Unfortunately for them, however, United had already scored twice before that sublime moment came.

First Dwight Yorke claimed his eighth goal in 12 games since his transfer to United from Villa. Andy Cole chipped a cross to the far post, Paul Scholes returned the ball squarely along the ground and Yorke had time and space to put it past goal keeper Thomas Myhre.

Everton probably deserved to reach half time on level terms after contributing at least with equal spirit to an intense contest. In between the conventional goals, however, United benefited from a moment of unforeseen charity when Craig Short, under no particular pressure, headed David Beckham's looping cross from the right into his own net.

Having beaten Schmeichel once there was an urgency in Everton's desire to do so again and Ferguson perhaps should have struck for the second time 10 minutes before half-time when Cadamarteri's cross presented him with a free header. This time the striker's aim let him down.

Jaap Stam was saved by the woodwork as he almost duplicated Short's moment of horror before John Collins hit the other post and Bakayoko had a venomous strike deflected for a corner. Then Short went close to redeeming himself after Ferguson climbed to win another aerial battle.

But, just as it seemed Everton had the drive to pull themselves level, they were dealt the terminal blow of conceding two goals within five minutes as United hit them on the break.

After 59 minutes Cole, fed by Blomqvist, cut inside from the left before sliding the ball across Myhre and in off the far post, plunging the home crowd into stunned silence. Scarcely had they recovered from that set back when United ensured the points were comprehensively theirs.

Pushing forward still in the belief they might salvage something, Everton were woefully exposed when a mistake by Collins allowed Beckham to lead a charge in which United attackers outnumbered Everton's defenders by three to one. Timing the release of the ball perfectly, Beckham sent Blomqvist clear on the left and, though Myhre blocked the Swede's initial shot, the ball spun kindly for him to head home his first United goal.

Report © The Independent

Everton's drought submerged
by Alyson Rudd, The Times
IT WAS almost sinister. The Manchester United fans sang only about players who were not on the pitch and yet their team were winning by a three-goal margin. There was the inevitable Cantona refrain and a sweet tribute to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who never made it off the substitutes' bench, sung to the tune of You Are My Sunshine.

Solskjaer is also known as the Baby-Faced Assassin, but these days every United player is an assassin of some description. Dwight Yorke is the smiling assassin, David Beckham is the pretty-boy assassin, and so on. They may look ordinary enough but they are individually and collectively lethal.

Walter Smith, the Everton manager, appeared shell-shocked. He knew that his great friend, Alex Ferguson, likes to win, but now he had first-hand knowledge of what it felt like to be well beaten by him. "They've been the best team we've played," Smith said. The words "by a mile" were not uttered but were there, in his eyes.

No doubt before the match the Everton supporters were torn. How badly they wanted to see their team score at home, how well they realised that another goalless draw, this time against the FA Carling Premiership favourites, would be a marvellous result. There was much finger-wagging after this demolition at those who had sulked over the goal drought. Compared with this indignity, another 0-0 would have been positively dreamy.

Everton's performances at home have followed a pattern. They begin each game with gusto. The atmosphere is electric and expectant and the players charge at their opponents. After ten minutes or so the visitors acclimatise, Everton tire briefly and fate wraps herself around the stadium and whispers that Everton will not win. So when, as early as the thirtieth second, a clever ball from David Unsworth put Duncan Ferguson through on goal and the Scotland forward failed to score, even though Peter Schmeichel gave him a second bite, the pattern was set once again.

"The opening spell of the game cost us dearly," Smith said. He was not, to be fair, bemoaning the Goodison hoodoo, but he might as well have been, for United simply bided their time, the way assassins do, and then pulled the trigger.

It was a delicious goal. Andy Cole swept the ball across the penalty area to Paul Scholes, who instantly spotted the tempting positioning of Yorke. Yorke was offered a second strike, just as Ferguson had been 13 minutes earlier.

Perhaps, though, United practise killing parried saves in training. For their fourth goal, Jesper Blomqvist headed Thomas Myhre's parried save back over the Everton goalkeeper.

Back in the fourteenth minute, Everton, although a goal behind, could still afford some optimism. Ibrahima Bakayoko looked dangerous and had turned the normally unruffled Wesley Brown inside out. The opposition may have been United but the crowd sensed that finally, surely, Everton could score.

The football gods tackled mercilessly at this point and did indeed allow an Everton player to find the net – only it was the wrong one. Beckham's arcing cross to the far post appeared to be covered by three Everton players, Myhre, Watson and Short, but Short headed the ball past his goalkeeper. On an afternoon when Beckham's crosses lacked their customary incisiveness, the own goal was particularly cruel.

So, given such bad luck on the day and an early-season history of near misses, the euphoria that greeted Ferguson's goal in the thirtieth minute was perfectly understandable. The power Ferguson invested in meeting Michael Ball's free kick represented every ounce of every supporter's frustration. The roar was not so much a hurrah as a howl of relief.

Everton had the character to take something from this encounter, even allowing for United's prowess, but there were too many disappointing elements to their game.For example, John Collins is taking far longer to acclimatise to the Premiership than might have been expected. His season so far was encapsulated by the audacious volley that he attempted but failed to execute in the 63rd minute.

Collins's misjudgment gave United the run of the park and resulted in Blomqvist's goal, his first for his club. The Swede had already set up Cole for United's third and gave a performance throughout of understated excellence. Ryan Giggs, who has a fractured foot, was not missed.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

Tricky United serve up a treat
Colin Malam, Electronic Telegraph
RATHER appropriately, the curse of Goodison Park was lifted with a vengeance on Hallowe'en. At the ground where only one player, Tottenham's Les Ferdinand, had scored this season in 10 Premiership matches, Everton and Manchester United staged a five-goal thriller that takes United to within a point of the leaders, Aston Villa.

Everton hardly deserved to lose by such a margin, but were punished for their boldness with goals from Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole and Jesper Blomqvist, plus an own goal debited, rightly or wrongly, to Everton's Craig Short. The Merseysiders' only consolation was the reply from Duncan Ferguson that ended a wait of more than nine hours for a goal of their own at home.

As is becoming the custom at this level, both sides showed several changes from those which had won Worthington Cup games for the clubs in midweek. With Don Hutchison suspended and Mitch Ward injured, Everton recalled Thomas Myhre in goal, Dave Watson and Michael Ball in defence and John Collins in midfield.

Of the 11 United players who started yesterday's game, only Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and Wes Brown had been on duty in the 2-0 victory over Bury three days earlier. The bad news is that Ryan Giggs, who was injured in United's League match against Derby, has a fractured foot and will be out for a month, so missing the Champions' League tie in Barcelona.

Everton certainly could not be accused of not trying to end their goal drought as quickly as possible in this match. Not much more than a minute had elapsed by the time Peter Schmeichel had saved twice from Ferguson, once comfortably and once with the greatest of difficulty.

The more difficult save came first. Chesting down David Unsworth's searching long ball, Ferguson spun away cleverly from Jaap Stam and struck a shot so fierce that Schmeichel was glad simply to beat it out. The ball came straight back to Ferguson, but Stam just managed to deflect his second shot. From the ensuing corner, taken by John Collins, the tall striker headed into Schmeichel's hands.

Although the home side did not manage anything as penetrating as that again, the sheer verve of their opening assault had United rattled. So rattled, in fact, that Roy Keane collected what was only his second booking of the season for flooring Collins.

United's first goal, after 13 minutes, was set up quite brilliantly by the delicate pass Cole floated out to Scholes just beyond the far post on the right. Scholes then picked out Yorke in the middle of the goalmouth with his centre and the £12.6 million man chipped a little more off that huge fee by tucking away the rebound after Thomas Myhre had blocked his first scoring attempt.

United's second goal, which came in the 22nd minute, was more than a little bizarre. The visitors softened Everton up by switching the ball quickly from left flank to right, but there was no reason at all for the ball to end up in the back of the net as Dave Watson and Short went for David Beckham's relatively harmless centre together.

But that is where it was found after the two big central defenders had gone for it with their heads, although which of them actually touched it last was not immediately clear.

For a while after that, there was a danger Everton might be totally swamped by opponents counter-attacking swiftly and ruthlessly. However, Ferguson changed the balance of the contest – and made a little bit of history – by heading his club's first home goal of the season from Ball's nicely flighted free-kick on the half-hour.

Everton began the second-half as dynamically as they had the first and nearly scored twice inside three minutes. Only Schmeichel's desperate, clawing save stopped Stam heading a Collins free-kick into his own net; then Collins drove the ball against a post after Ball had failed by inches to reach Danny Cadamarteri's chipped centre with his head.

Again United weathered the storm and came back to score. Cole made it 3-1 after 59 minutes in a counter-attack so swift that Everton were outnumbered four to three at the back. Taking full advantage, Blomqvist slipped the ball to Cole, who beat Myhre with a carefully measured shot that went in off the far post.

Five minutes later, Everton were caught with only one defender against three attackers after Collins had miskicked in midfield. Keane moved the ball forward quickly to Beckham, and he curled a pass across the field to Blomqvist, who eventually headed it home after Myhre had parried his shot.

Report © The Electronic Telegraph

RESULTS  (Game 11)
Saturday 31 October 1998
Chelsea                     P-P   Aston Villa
                    {Waterlogged Pitch}
Coventry City               0-1   Arsenal               23,040
                                  Anelka (63)
Derby County                2-2   Leeds United          27,034
Schnoor (3:pen) Sturridge 56      Molenaar 16 Kewell 43
Everton                     1-4   Manchester United     40,079 
Ferguson 30                       York 14 Short 23:og 
Cole 59 Blomqvist 64
Leicester City 1-0 Liverpool 21,837 Cottee 78
Newcastle United 0-3 West Ham United 36,744 Wright 55,90 Sinclair 76 Sheffield Wednesday 0-0 Southampton 30,078 Wimbledon 1-1 Blackburn Rovers 12,526 Earle 75 Sutton 48 pen
Sunday 1 November 1998
Middlesbrough               1-1    Nottingham Forest    34,223
Deane 22                           Harewood 88        
Monday 2 November 1998
Tottenham Hotspur           2-2    Charlton Athletic    32,202
Nielsen 50 Armstrong 57            Hunt 32,75 

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