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Bristol Rovers 1 - 1 Everton

2 - 2 on aggregate; 4 - 2 on penalties
(After extra time)
HT: 0 - 1; FT: 1 - 1

Everton Logo
Worthington League Cup 2000-01
Second Round, 2nd Leg
745pm Wednesday 27 September 2000
Memorial Ground, Bristol
Att: 11,046
« Leicester City (a) Ref: Paul Durkin Ipswich Town (h) »
[ Matchday Calendar ] [ Link to 1st Leg ] [ 2nd Rnd Results ]
Francis Jeffers The banana skin that is the Worthington League Cup awaited the tentative feet of the Everton team, who struggled yet again at this mundane level.  Bristol Rovers, unbeaten in the Second Division, were well primed for following through on their draw at Goodison Park last week with a headline-grabbing upset.

Paul Gascoigne was rested, and Weir injured, allowing Stephen Hughes and Joe-Max Moore back into the first team.  

After a nervous start, Francis Jeffers beat the offside flag and slotted it home for the first goal to Everton.  But Jeffers got smacked hard just before half-time and was stretchered off with a badly swollen ankle!  Later in the half, two golden chances were spurned by Everton as Stephen Hughes missed a shot, and Joe-Max Moore blasted over.

Unsworth failed to appear for the second half, and may be another addition to Everton's ever-lengthening treatment room roster.  Michael Ball came on in his place.

Then, in the 2nd half, the inevitable equalizer came from Marcus Bignot.  Joe-Max Moore then failed to score on a breakaway as the game really hotted up.  Rovers pretty much matched Everton and pushed the game into extra time, and then to the almost inevitable penalty shoot-out.

Moore hit the post, Ball scored, Campbell's was saved and Gravesen made it 2-3  before the critical coup de grace was administered by Plummer to provide the ultimate embarrassment and humiliation of yet another defeat to lowly opposition.



Bristol Rovers: Astafjevs (1-0); Walters (2-0); Jones (3-1); Ellington (3-1);  Plummer (4-2) Bignot (58')
EVERTON: Moore (1-0); Ball (2-1); Campbell (3-1); Gravesen (3-2). Jeffers (14')
   LINEUPS  Subs Not Used 
Bristol Rovers: Culkin, Bignot, Jones, Andreasson (46' Walters), Bryant (113' Meaker), Wilson, Foster, Hogg (85' Plummer), Astafjevs, Ellis, Ellington. Foran, Glennon.
EVERTON: Gerrard; S Watson {46' capt}, Dunne, Unsworth {capt}(46' Ball); Nyarko, Alexandersson, S Hughes, Gravesen, Moore; Jeffers (38' Cleland), M Hughes (Campbell 75'). 
Unavailable:  Ferguson, Gough,
Myhre, Pembridge, Pistone, Weir, Xavier (injured); Gascoigne (rested). 
Simonsen, Gemmill. 
   Playing Strips  Formations
Bristol Rovers: Blue and White shirts, shorts, and socks. 3-5-2
EVERTON: Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks. 3-5-2; 4-4-2
   Yellow Cards  Red Cards
Bristol Rovers: None.
EVERTON: M Hughes (30'), Gravesen (32'), S Hughes (93').
Sports.Com  Match Details  


Dave Shepherd Tinytown Rovers
THE TIMES Bristol Rovers put Everton on spot
by Nick Szczepanik
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Everton another Rovers casualty
by Steve Thomson
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 Tinytown Rovers
Dave Shepherd
Ian Nobody, the manager of Tinytown Rovers, knelt but his bed praying his heart out.

Dear God Oive just drawn Verybig FC in the Cup.  Oill go to church all season, make the players go, and let them Gideons put boibles in arr compo boxes if you can fix it for me to beat em.

Ay said God you can forget that, I support that lot.

Bless moi paarsties oi thourght you supported Man Unoited.  Most of us down South do yknow...  thaas woy were thankful to you God, cos we all live in these foine posh owzez with ample pavement paarkin and a zoider owze every square moile..  not loike up north...

If yer look in yer bible interrupted God, youll see the devil and all his minions get to rule for a while before my lot take over.  Ever noticed what colour United, the Shite and the devil all wear..?

Good point, God said Ian.  Rovers rivals Sad City wore red too.

But yea, since youve called on me and Walter hasnt been in touch since St Duncan knackered hisself again, Ill give you some help.  I cant affect the football itself mind, but if you need help with the weather and the like...

Ian dug deep into his managerial brain but didnt find much, so he thought back to his playing days with Rovers and renowned powerhouse QPR instead.  Soon he had a list of wishes and got back to God.

  1. "Make it rain for 24 hours before & all during the match, enough to mess up their paarsing but not enough to get the game postponed. 
  2. "Make the wind blow in strong gusts to spoil crosses & corners. 
  3. "Keep their best player on the bench. 
  4. "Have their top scorer get injured in the first aarf. 
  5. "Give us the go first AND the choice of ends in the Penalties.

And lo, it came to pass that Gods own team did lose on penalties, and the 3,000 Tinytown fans and 6,000 part-timers did rejoice and feast on many paarsties and zoider...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Strange story?  Well the reality could not have been much stranger...

Ive never seen so much rain last so long over such a wide area.  It was pouring in the North in the afternoon when we set off; pouring all the way down the M6 & M5; and pouring all through the match.  Drainage has come a long way 25 years ago, every match in the country would have been lost to waterlogging.  Radio reports that it was also raining in Sydney and Turkey made it feel as if it was raining everywhere in the world.

Ive been to a lot of these Mikey Mouse 2 away games.  Usually its a warm late-summer evening.  Usually its the first leg.  Usually we draw or even lose, but then stuff em at home (1-0, usually ;)...

So this year we had an open terrace in the cold and pissing rain and lose a comfortable advantage (yes comfortable the way they were playing, they had no hope even well into the second half) when the midfield is a paddling pool.  

In case you are ever unlucky enough to go to Bristol, bear in mind that parking is impossible.  Even when there is no match on, every foot of pavement has a car on it.  If you dont leave yourself a clear hour to cover parking, walking to destination, finding a pub (NOT easy, though by pure luck the one I did find was the Foresters) and getting to the ground, you are going to miss the start. 

I didnt.  I missed the start and the goal.  Bizarrely, the stewards were all not only friendly but keen to let me know we were winning 1-0.  Perhaps they are used to it ;)

Once inside, there was the odd experience of being more glad that there was partial shelter back against the stand than that I had made it to a 220 mile-remote ground and could watch a game, but more strange was that two separate blues told me Campbell had scored (he didnt in fact come on until the second half).

That apart, the atmosphere in the first half was the reason everyone should go and experience Everton away games...  we were soaked, travel weary, scores of pounds poorer, cold, far from safe from humiliation, but we were THERE and the spirit of camaraderie amongst blues fans on that freaky ground (which was a dump apart from a really pretty main stand opposite that looked like an elongated new cricket pavilion) was the whole insane, inexplicable reason we do this.

In Olympic terms, the Memmo won the Silver Medal for the wettest game Ive ever been to.  When WS made his traditional 15-mins-to-go sub, the water had soaked even through underwear.  It was certainly the only time weve ever thought not shit, they scored but shit, we might have to stand here another 45 minutes... 

This in mind, in injury time there were shouts of shoot not only to Gasmen/Pirates/Rovers players, but to Everton defenders passing back to the keeper.  [The Gold Medal, of course, still goes to That Night at Boundary Park when constant rain was compounded by wind of a much lower temperature and sliding down the mud banks at the back was a popular sport].

There are no excuses to make because none are needed.  The conditions brought both teams to an equal footing and who won was a lottery.  Whatever advantage we had in better players was balanced by their home advantage and greater experience with the basic alehouse style of run+cross+hope that thrives best in poor conditions.  

It took no psychic to see that, by the time Campbell came on, you could have left and missed 45 more minutes yet not have missed any football worth the name.  Only mistakes or penalties would have a say in what was to follow, and the odds were 50-50 on who would 'win'.

In a low dark corner with rain all over yer specs and your will to live ebbing rapidly, any individual assessment has to be taken with a pinch, but here's what I saw...  

FJ was looking good but theres no way of telling if he could have made an impact in the later stages when the conditions, cold and tiredness reduced the game to a hackabout. 

Gravesen was the only player who looked a class above, running like a steam engine through the heavy sodden grass for the full span of the meteorological nightmare. 

Nyarko looked completely lost and was not the only one.  Not too many rainstorm games happen in Africa, perhaps. 

Joe-Max Moore is unlikely to have seen much this bad before he only looked effective taking corners. 

Alexandersson couldnt seem to do much with the ball not running. 

Hughes (S) had little presence.  Rovers just took the ball off him at will.  

Hughes (M) Whatever it is he does that merits a place eludes me.  I know that many blues like what he does, but I just dont get it.  

Gerrard  I also dont get the Gerrard critics.  Blinding freezing rain and slippery grass & ball only spell trouble.  Mistakes are inevitable but he made none that were detectable from our remote soggy corner and he saved a few that could have been killers.  No-one alive can kick well out of long wet grass into swirling winds.  I also dont get the hes been crap for ages theory... his reputation among the home crowd was fine.  Did conceding 3 to MU negate all that?

We drew all the crappy luck in this tie and only just went out.  I doubt many of those soggy 1,500 Blues (850? no chance) who went will be blaming the performance because it was not possible to perform, and none will be hysterical about humiliation because no other team would have been able to impose themselves there either.  Not M** U**, not Lazio, not even Brazil themselves.

A couple of mysteries do still remain why, in a match where one flash of genius could have decided it, was Gascoigne not tried?  And why DID they get first pen AND their home end?  Postcards only, please.

The journo vultures will have their day and Rovers will claim for 20 years to come that they beat us with skill and determination, but what really happened?  There was no miracle, there was no big club disgrace; Rain Stopped Play.

Memorial ground match? Forget it.

    Up to Reports Index ]

 Bristol Rovers put Everton on spotNick Szczepanik
by Nick Szczepanik, The Times

BRISTOL ROVERS, unbeaten this season, took their most impressive scalp of the campaign so far by knocking Everton out of the Worthington Cup on penalties after a 1-1 draw at the Memorial Stadium last night.

The Nationwide League Second Division side came from behind after Francis Jeffers had given the visitors an early lead.  Marcus Bignot, the Rovers captain, scored the equaliser in the second half to force extra time.

Nick Culkin, the Rovers' goalkeeper, on loan for the season from Manchester United and voted man of the match, saved from Kevin Campbell in the penalty shoot-out after Joe-Max Moore had hit Everton's first spot kick against an upright.  That left Dwayne Plummer, a substitute who used to play for Bristol City, to hit the winning penalty.

"I think we deserved it, but maybe I'm biased," Ian Holloway, the Rovers manager said.  "I feel very proud; we've beaten a top Premiership side over two legs, we didn't just nick a win.  We showed mental toughness which we are going to need if we want to play at a higher level."

That toughness was essential in the first half.  The match was played in driving rain and a gale, and the play generally went with the team who had the elements at their back.  In the first half it was Everton and it was hardly surprising when they took the lead after 13 minutes, although the manner of it came as a shock to the Rovers defence.

Steve Watson played the ball through to Jeffers; with defenders confidently but erroneously anticipating an offside decision, the England Under-21 forward ran on to beat Culkin with a low angled shot for his sixth goal of the season.

Everton had their chances to extend the lead.  Culkin dived to push away a wind-assisted 25-yard shot from Thomas Gravesen at full stretch, Moore shot over the crossbar after a miscued clearance had fallen to him on the penalty spot, and Stephen Hughes put a free header straight at Culkin from a Gravesen free kick late in the first half.  To make matters worse for Everton, Jeffers was carried off with an ankle injury.

"We could have been two or three down in the first half and had to hang on," Holloway said, and Rovers needed Culkin to save again early in the second half from Moore's curling free kick.

However, they drew level just short of the hour when Michael Ball, the Everton full back, stretched to block a shot from Nathan Ellington, only to see the ball roll into the path of Bignot, who steered it into the empty net.

Both teams had chances to settle it after that, but penalties became increasingly likely as the rain continued to pelt down.

"We're obviously disappointed," Walter Smith, the Everton manager, said.  "We had enough opportunities to do better over the two games, but you have to give all credit to Rovers.  They worked very hard."

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

        Up to Reports Index ]
 Everton another Rovers casualty
By Steve Thomson, Electronic Telegraph
DWAYNE PLUMMER hit the crucial penalty which put Bristol Rovers into the Third Round of the Worthington Cup after their tie with Everton ended level after extra-time last night. The victory kept intact Rovers' proud record of avoiding a defeat of any kind this season.

They were clearly intent on stretching their run of games without losing to 11, having levelled matters three minutes from time in the first leg at Everton and again, an equaliser through Marcus Bignot at the Memorial Ground, which took the tie to extra time.

Indeed, long-range efforts laid on from Vitalijs Astafjevs and Bignot stretched Paul Gerrard to the limit and might have clinched a memorable victory for the Division Two team inside the normal 90 minutes.

On a rain-swept night the ground's hilltop location made the wind a particularly telling factor.

Everton made the extra ingredient of class count in the 13th minute.  Thomas Gravesen sent a long ball through and, as Rovers appealed for offside, Francis Jeffers strolled on to score.

Just before the hour Rovers' more determined attitude and no-nonsense approach after the break paid off as Scott Jones played Nathan Ellington in, Gerrard parried and Bignot side-footed in the equaliser.

Report © The Electronic Telegraph

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