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Everton 1 - 1 Bristol Rovers

Half-time: 0 - 0


Bristol Rovers Logo
Worthington League Cup 2000-01
Second Round, 1st Leg
8 pm Wednesday 20 September 2000
Goodison Park, Merseyside
Att: 25,564
« Manchester United (h) Ref: Steve Baines Leicester City (a) »
[ Matchday Calendar ] [ Link to 2nd Leg ] [ League Cup Results ]
 MATCH SUMMARY
It's that time again... The Worthington League Cup.  The least glamorous and least respected of the trophies – and the only one Everton have never won!  But, as everyone is saying now, it does provide an entry to Europe and a Uefa Cup place...

Last season's 2nd Round débâcle was a disgrace to the name of Everton, when Walter Smith abrogated his responsibility as a manger and fielded a heavily weakened team at home to Oxford United as if to prove to everyone that his threadbare Everton Squad was just too thin.  Are we any better off this season?

This season, we have an injury crisis, but Walter Smith promised he would field his strongest team, with Kevin Campbell starting his first match since struggling back from a career-threatening knee injury.  And Richard Dunne, who had a nightmare v Man Utd was spared further blushes as he was kept back in order to avoid being cup-tied, should Everton on the off-chance decide to cash in.... 

We had hoped the season for silly team selections was finally over... but No!  A team including six full-backs is fielded, but Joe-Max Moore is still confined to the subs bench, along with the rested Gascoigne.  A good performance against weaker opposition was imperative after the embarrassment of Saturday's capitulation against Man Utd, and a lively contest ensued... but the same kind of inadequate result was again the outcome.

As far as the match goes, Alessandro Pistone – back from a hamstring injury – broke down in just 8 minutes after injuring his knee during the warm-up, to be replaced by Stephen Hughes.  Cleland set up Campbell's goal, and Gerrard flapped at a cross resulting in their late equaliser.  Is there anything else you need to know?

 

  

 MATCH FACTS
   GOALSCORERS  
EVERTON: Campbell (50')
Bristol Rovers: Hogg (87')
   LINEUPS  Subs Not Used 
EVERTON: EVERTON: Gerrard; Pistone (8' S Hughes), S Watson, Weir, Unsworth; Cleland, Alexandersson (76' Moore), Nyarko, Ball (82' Gascoigne); Campbell, Jeffers. 
Unavailable:  Ferguson, Gough,
Gravesen, Myhre, Pembridge, Xavier (injured). 
Simonsen, Gemmill. 
Bristol Rovers: Culkin, Foster, Astafjevs, Evans (92' Walters), Andreasson (70' Plummer), Ellington (83' Ellis), Bryant, Bignot, Hogg, Wilson, Jones. Foran, Glennon.
   Playing Strips  Formations
EVERTON: Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks. 4-4-2
Bristol Rovers: Yellow shirts, shorts, and socks. -
   Yellow Cards  Red Cards
EVERTON: S Hughes (75').
Bristol Rovers: None.
Sports.Com Detailed Match Stats  

   

 MATCH REPORTS
 REPORTS BY EVERTON FANS
Rob Burns Everton lose the Plot
Ted Neeson Wasted Chances
 NEWSPAPER REPORTS
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Everton's late blow as Hogg hits back
by Peter Keeling
THE TIMES Campbell's return grounded by Hogg
by Martin Woods
 LINKS TO NEWSPAPER REPORTS
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 Everton lose the Plot.
Rob Burns
 

One of the rather ham actors from Brookside (the head of the newest family) was sat along the row from me tonight in the Main Stand and funnily enough Everton's play was probably as hesitant as his acting.  The match was about as dramatic as Betty's Coronation Street hotpot and I feel like I've had an evening with Pauline Fowler after 90 minutes of pure moaning.

The groans started after 5 minutes when the immobile looking Pistone signalled to the bench that he'd left a lasagne in Gianni's oven.  S Hughes arrived as his replacement.  Everton's passing had been sweet until then.  A Stephen Hughes head injury was as near as it got to a fight scene but a spare head was found for him somewhere under the Main Stand and he soon returned. 

Generally play was disjointed and rarely flowed, with Campbell being used as a target man constantly bombarded with aerial balls which – credit to him – found Jeffers on a number of occasions and the youngster was unlucky not to have a few.  Alexandersson, moving to the centre of midfield, was unlucky not to find his chip in the back of the net, the Bristol keeper saving at the eleventh hour.

Nyarko looked good in patches, again, but too often failed to come for the return ball after good work in the centre.  Little or no movement in the middle meant that the quick thinking of Alexandersson, Jeffers and Campbell went to waste.  Unsworth's addiction to time on the ball ruined most of the quick Everton moves as he took one, two and three steps, a shuffle, and ultimately over-hit his cross.  The guy tried his hardest but simply is not good enough.

I seem to pick a villain in every game.  Sadly there seems to be someone showing through my rose coloured lenses in every match.  In this game it was pick one of at least three. 

Cleland worked hard but his forward running showed little imagination and, as a lone wide man in the wing-back role, he too often gave possession away because of an inability to get past the defender. He did, however deliver the crosses well on occasions and his ball across from the right found Campbell rising unmarked to score his first of the season. Respect to Super Kev who looks sharper by the minute.  

Gerrard was up to his old tricks – whilst occasionally venturing off his line he pumped the ball long again and again onto Campbell's head – he is probably in Fazackerly under treatment for concussion tonight.  His lack of a call was again obvious, one incident in particular found a curling shot looking for an easy catch; instead Weir and Unsworth both threw themselves in and the ball was thumped behind.  He does seem to find his voice when remonstrating with his defenders, however.  

Finally, Michael Ball should be turned into cash at the most lucrative opportunity.  His lack of conviction to the game showed in every movement.  Lacklustre, slow, jogging, poor use of the ball and a lack of support on the left was just the half of it.  Lucky not to be dismissed after a two-footed tackle in the first few minutes, Ball showed more of a man who has spent the last few weekends pissed up in The Rovers pub than someone desperate to win a place in an emerging Everton side.  For all the world as if the game was too small for him he failed to get forward and left Unsworth with no option but to use his most unstable weapon – his brain.

Whatever the reasons, the script was written as it was written and a largely unthreatened Everton gave in to some late pressure.  After Campbell put Gazza's free kick just over, Rovers fans found their voices and pushed their side on.  As Watson appeared to be punched to the floor, Weir failed to deal with the loose ball and the result was an unnecessary corner which Gerrard's punch failed to clear, and the ball was volleyed in by Hogg.

I would appeal to Walter to give Gravesen the captain's armband on Sunday as we need a leader who will recognise when we are under pressure and take control.  He is the only man I can see with the ability to effect this, and be able to fire the boys up when they need it.

I had hoped that we would come out of tonight having played some attractive football and playing more with the confidence of a team and some goals to boot.  Instead we finished frenetic and frustrated.  I guess that's why I haven't contributed to a storyline since the school play.  Here's hoping that the disappointment of one episode will be outweighed by the joy of the rest of the series.
  


   Up to Reports Index ]
 Wasted Chances
Ted Neeson
 
A story of wasted chances and wafer thin confidence.  It started brightly enough, right from the kick-off, a neat one-two was played down the right between Cleland and Alexandersson cut their defence wide open and a cross put into the box had the opposition goalie flapping.  Within a minute, Franny took on their right back and left him dumped on his arse and running towards the goalie.  Franny tried to place his shot to the left of the goalie who produced a good save.  All this in the first few minutes – I was thinking that some poor bastards were going to be on the end of a thrashing tonight.

Pistone then went off injured to be replaced by Stephen Hughes.  Everton by this time were dominating the game with the ball rarely coming into the Everton half.  Although there were plenty of wasted chances, especially from Franny, the goalie was forced into making a few good saves – notably Alexandersson's chip and another Franny effort that had to turned wide – there were some positive points.

It crossed my mind that KC and Franny were getting back into the old routine quite quickly.  KC knocking balls back into Franny’s path or flick-on’s into his run, most of which were coming off.  At one point a smart interchange saw KC receive the ball 30 yds out with a clear run at the goalie and not a defender within 5 yds.  KC got going like one of those big lumbering steam locomotives ….huff ..hiss….grunt…fart,….huff …hiss….grunt… fart, huff.. hiss.. grunt.. fart … huffhissgruntfart etc. The defenders caught him as he was about to pull the trigger in the box and cleared for another corner. 

A few minutes later, the same situation arose again and this time KC looked for the through ball to Franny supporting him on the right but the Brain /Boot interface was not up to speed just yet.  But it is fair to say that in another 4 or 5 games KC will be back to his sharpest and that can only bode well for us.  Him and Franny seem to be telepathically linked somehow and some of the interchanges between them last night, although a little sluggish and rusty, were breathtaking. 

One example was a ball along the ground played out of central defence by Watson.  Played with pace it fairly fizzed across the surface, Franny drew his defender and another with him to meet the ball and steadied over it allowing it to run on, straight to the feet of KC at the edge of the 18 yd box, back to goal and no defender in the way.  Unfortunately KC was still a split second behind the game and failed to control the ball… this time.

Halfway through the first half, Everton – to my utter amazement – took their foot off the pedal.  NIL - NIL at home in a cup game and they take their foot off the pedal!!!  It beggars belief.  Well you can imagine what happened next, their defence stepped up 10 yds, as did their midfield and we duly retreated and ceded them the space. It was if the defence had made their mind up that we were not going to score and had decided to dig in for the draw. 

“Invite them at us and they will come”.  Nervously at first they sent one or two of their players into our half but on seeing that we would retreat they sent more and more forward.  Ah Ha it was a ploy, we sucked them in to hit them quickly on the break, Watson to O’Narky, delightful little turn and a pass out to the left; we have a 3 on two situation, delightful little turn and pass out to the left to find Unsworth.  Unsworth stops, flicks the ball from left to right, defenders rushing back, the one defender in front of him is now getting his breath back and is joined by another, shuffle a feet further inside and launch a ball over the top that goes straight out. Duh!

The 25, 654 crowd, comprising mainly of whole families, mum, dad and 4 kids, booed the team off at half-time and the frustration was keenly felt by all those watching.

I still felt fairly optimistic at the start of the second half, knowing Walter and Archie would have chewed on a rich feast of bollocks during the interval and hoped for a more sustained level of commitment.  A bright enough start followed, Everton taking the game to Rovers and using the right hand side of the pitch this half.  Alexandersson and Cleland linking well and actually fighting for possession, which they win and manage to get clear down the wings and behind the defence.  Get to the by line stick one over, head of KC, bingo 1-0, what was so difficult about that?

The Rovers fans, who were magnificently loud and harmonious throughout the first half, in contrast to our very own “lets have some respect for the dead” type attitude, now bust into song with those well known favourites “you only sing when your winning” (which we weren’t – singing that is) and “stand up if you want a draw”, none of which enticed the faintest glimmer of an “Everton….Everton…” from our of the fans.

As for the football, we retreated back into our own half and resorted to pumping long balls up field.  Franny was just as industrious in the second half bringing one good save out of the goalie and screwing half a dozen shots just wide of the post.  For some reason we now started to play most of the football out of defence down the left hand side, which invariably only got us to the halfway line before Unsie turned back and either hoofed the ball out of play up field or lost it to the opposition. 

When playing the ball through the midfield, Watson and Weir were not afraid to take the opposing front men on and move into midfield which generated most if not all of our best movements.  Sadly anything moving down the left ended up in stagnation and invited the Rovers front men to come forward.  Panic now started to show in the defence; mistimed tackles (S Hughes getting booked); over-thumped long balls going nowhere; and a palpable taste of fear in the air.

Gazza came off the bench and started warming up (looking very sprightly).  This caused the entire Rovers substitutes bench to come out and start “warming up” but in fact they queued up to shake Gazza’s hand and have a natter with him.  Gazza did come on for the last 10 and with his first touch send a near perfect free kick onto the head of KC who could not get under it enough to prevent it sailing over the crossbar (another 3 or four games under his belt and he will have got his eye in – you’ll see).

The final few minutes were horrific, “invite them and they will come”, spurred on by their rapturous support and obviously sensing the fear in our defence they harried forward.  It was in the 87th minute, following the breakdown of a move on the right uncharacteristically, that Davey Weir attempted to tap a pass-back to the keeper from midway inside his own half.  The memories of chucking that 2-0 lead against Sheffield Wednesday a few seasons ago came rushing back, even KC could have cut that one out such was the weakness of the application.  The resultant corner saw a panicked defence allow 2 shots in before they managed to equalise with another shot that cut through everyone and nestled in the far corner.  Déjà vu.

We definitely missed Tommy the Tank in a commanding role in midfield.  Alexandersson seems to be getting quieter the more the season wears on, hoping Cleland can entice him forward a bit more.  A good run out for KC who must have had his confidence boosted in his post operative rehab.  O'Narky needs to work on tracking back and winning a lot more ball rather than using his undoubted skill in keeping it.  

Unsie is a damn good, do or die, hoof it into row Z kind of guy.  Appreciate his strengths and try not to goad him into thinking too much about what to do.  Walter has got nothing to lose at the moment so why not play Watson on the left with Dunney covering in the middle left and Weir in the middle right and Cleland the right back?  Our defenders need to be thinkers above all and in the middle Dunney needs to show WS that he is a mature “thinking” defender that can play with a cool head.

Leicester will rip us apart on Sunday on teamwork and belief but not ability.  We have a run of games coming up that you would expect to get 9 or 10 points from approaching the clash with the RS.  It is time for the real Everton to stand up.
  


   Up to Reports Index ]
 Campbell's return grounded by Hogg
by Martin Woods, The Times
 

IAN HOLLOWAY, the Bristol Rovers manager, described it as a magnificent day.  They trained at the Liverpool youth academy in the morning and were showered with hospitality by the Goodison Park staff.  Alas for the home fans, the largesse extended to the field.

Everton failed to learn any lessons from defeat at the same stage last year to Oxford United and Lewis Hogg's equaliser, a shot from the left edge of the area that drilled past three Everton defenders three minutes from the end, was a deserved reward for the Nationwide League Second Division team.

Having lost to Manchester United on Saturday, Walter Smith, the Everton manager, might not have expected another United player to block his team's progress, but in Nick Culkin – the goalkeeper on loan for a year to Bristol Rovers from Old Trafford – his team faced a formidable guardian of the net.  "All the reports we had about Rovers proved correct," Smith said.

After five minutes, Culkin denied Francis Jeffers when the striker broke clear on the left and shot firmly from 12 yards.  Later in the first half, Niclas Alexandersson and Stephen Hughes also found the Rovers goalkeeper alert to a clever lob and a driven shot.

Rovers were composed in taking the game to Everton, Vitalijs Astafjevs, the impressive Latvia international, twice forcing good saves from Paul Gerrard before Nathan Ellington, the 19-year-old striker, had a header tipped over the bar after 25 minutes.

Kevin Campbell, starting his first match for more than six months, resumed his Goodison troubleshooter role when he rose to head home Alec Cleland's right-wing cross.  Jeffers went close twice just after the hour but Hogg had the last say.
   

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

   Up to Reports Index ]
 Everton's late blow as Hogg hits back
by Peter Keeling, Electronic Telegraph
 

LEWIS HOGG, Bristol's precocious teenage star scored a dramatic late equaliser against Premiership Everton at Goodison Park last night just when it looked as though Kevin Campbell's early second-half goal had given the home side victory in this second-round tie.

Campbell, in his first start since March, had scored a stunning 48th-minute header to put the brave Second Division side on the back foot.  But Ian Holloway's side gave a quality display throughout that was a credit to the Nationwide League and thoroughly deserved their equaliser three minutes from the end.

It came from a left wing corner taken by Hogg.  The ball was cleared out straight to the youngster who sent a bristling drive back through a melee of defenders and past the unsighted Paul Gerrard. Everton found it no easier to score past Manchester United loanee Nick Culkin than they had against Sir Alex Ferguson's first team on Saturday.

The visitors kept Everton goalless up to half-time and were by no means outclassed.  In fact, with Latvia's most capped player, Vitalijs Astafjevs, orchestrating some menacing moments from the left of midfield, Paul Gerrard was kept busy in the Everton goal.  Astafjevs' blistering 12th-minute free-kick was too hot for Gerrard to hold and his parry was hacked to safety as Nat Ellington closed in.

Twice Rovers' Micky Evans caused problems with accurate crosses from the right and in the 24th minute Gerrard had to make a magnificent save from Che Wilson.

In a game of counter attacks, Culkin was busy, twice quickly closing down the electric sprints of Francis Jeffers, and stretching to tip a Niclas Alexandersson drive for a corner after an earlier excellent save from Jeffers.  Just before half-time he did well to take a venomous 20-yard drive from substitute Stephen Hughes, who had replaced hamstring victim Alessandro Pistone in the eighth minute.

Everton sent on Paul Gascoigne for the last three minutes, but that merely proved a signal for Rovers to increase the tempo and equalise through Hogg.
  

Report © The Electronic Telegraph
 
 


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