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Leicester City Logo

Leicester City 1 - 1 Everton

Half-time: 1 - 0

Everton Logo
FA Carling Premiership 2000-01 – Game #7
4pm Sunday 24 September 2000
Filbert Street, Leicester
Att: 18,084
« Bristol Rovers (h) Ref: Alan Willey Bristol Rovers (a) »
[ Matchday Calendar ] League Position: 11th [ Results &  Table ]
David Unsworth David Unsworth scored the vital goal that gave Everton a creditable draw against the surprise package of the season so far Peter Taylor's hard-to-beat Foxes.

Everton went behind during an even and surprisingly open first half, Akinbyi scoring an opportunistic first-time strike on an excellent drive into the area from Lennon... pity all the defenders had backed off to give the provider so much room, but This is Everton!  

Everton had a few moments, with two unfair decisions going against them: one when Jeffers was way too quick for everyone, and incorrectly ruled offside; the other when the clumsy and gangling Nyarko was clearly tripped in the Leicester area but no penalty.

Everton came out in the second half and, as is their wont this season, performed like a different team.  They dominated play for the next 30 mins, hardly giving the Foxes a sniff, with Paul Gascoigne pulling many of the strings. 

One particularly clever jink and shimmy into the area by the svelte Gazza led to Everton's goal as his deep chipped cross was only parried by Flowers to Unsworth, who drilled it first-time just inside the post.  This was only the second goal conceded by the Foxes this season the first from open play.

It should have opened the floodgates but, with wave after wave of swarming Everton attacks just failing to produce the telling final ball, the nagging feeling that Leicester would sneak a win was ever-present.  A desperate goal-line clearance by Alexandersson, and a header bouncing off the bar both with Gerrard well beaten showed how close we came to losing this one.  


Leicester City: Akinbyi (23').
EVERTON: Unsworth (52')
   LINEUPS  Subs Not Used
Leicester City: Flowers, Rowett, Elliott, Taggart, Guppy, Impey (53' Collymore), Lennon, Izzet, Akinbiyi (67' Gilchrist), Eadie (67' Cresswell), Savage. Royce, Davidson.
EVERTON: Gerrard; Dunne, Weir, S Watson Unsworth; Alexandersson, Gravesen, Nyarko, Gascoigne; Jeffers (85' M Hughes), Campbell (85' Moore). 
Unavailable:  Ferguson, Gough, Myhre, Pembridge, Pistone, Xavier (injured). 
S Hughes, Simonsen, Cleland.
   Playing Strips  Formations
Leicester City: Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks. 4-4-2
EVERTON: Yellow shirts; blue shorts; yellow socks. 4-4-2
   Yellow Cards  Red Cards
Leicester City: Savage (35'), Eadie (58'), Taggart (67'). 
EVERTON: S Watson (42')


Mickey Blue Eyes The Weather Report
Rob Burns Same old Everton, different class.
THE TIMES Gascoigne's magic show leaves Leicester bewitched
by Russell Kempton
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Leicester outfoxed by Gascoigne
by Christopher Davies
THE INDEPENDENT Link to Match Report
THE GUARDIAN Link to Football Unlimited
DAILY POST Link to Daily Post Report

LIVERPOOL ECHO Link to Echo Report

EVERTON FC SITE Link to Official Match Report

BBC SPORTS Link to BBC Sports Match Report
SKY SPORTS Link to Sky Sports Match Report
SPORTING LIFE Link to PA Sports Match Report
SOCCERNET Link to SoccerNet Match Report
FA-PREMIER Link to FA-Premier Match Report

 The Weather Report
Mickey Blue Eyes
Every now and then. I get a reminder that we have weather in England, not climate.  It is even a subject of intense conversation.  And, incredibly, the English are always surprised at seasonal changes, let alone the hair-raising helter-skelter of daily meteorology.  Nobody else in similar temperate areas shows the least surprise when it rains in Autumn, gets cold in Winter and then rains again in Spring. 

A few million years of evolution tends to sort out your instincts and you act accordingly.  But not, lord help us, the English.  Everyone remembers how the trains ground to a halt because we got "leaves on the line" in, erm, Autumn... and, erm, they were "the wrong type."  There's no point shaking your head at any of this either.  It will never change.  The English are the most happily ignorant people on the planet.  

There's a kind of cultural masochism in play here.  The more sensible younger ones get pissed off with it and emigrate to somewhere else where standard precautions are regarded as part of your life's routine.  Last week I felt like emigrating after the Bristol Rovers match.  Sunday morning came and I felt much the same.  Why, I asked meself, am I going all the way to fucking Leicester when I KNOW, categorically KNOW, that we're going to be fucking slaughtered?  Then you remember what country you're in and you head off without complaint, rain spattering the windscreen.  Funny how you cheer up in short order.  No wonder Hitler was puzzled enough to stop at Calais while the SS seethed with murderous impatience.

So we got to Leicester with a not-quite-full-bus, just as the rain stopped spattering and left the air crystal clear.  A funny place, Leicester... always has been and presumably always will be.  It is a city which feels like a very small town and in which everyone speaks with an indefinable accent.  It's odd.  

But the pub and its staff were friendly enough.  So much so, I didn't notice at first that the heavens had opened up and sluiced the air with a wall of water.  Me, I was laughing when we had to walk out into it... I had brought a shower jacket, whilst poor old Tony was in his, haha, shirt sleeves.  He got drenched during the ten minute walk to the ground.  I stopped laughing when me jacket proved to be not waterproof, me kecks got soaked and I assumed the appearance of a drowned moose.

When we got in, Filbert Street "stadium" was as odd as the place itself.  It is even odder in the flesh than it is on TV, though the main stand is quite reasonable and in two tiers.  The other three sides are about current Second Division ground standard.  A new stadium badly needed.  Congratulations to the birdbrain who decided that three thousand visiting fans can make do with a stretch of urinal no more than eight metres long and a single "food" kiosk which appeared to be selling minced elk-head pies and burnt llama burgers.  Yeuk.

I was of course being savagely revengeful in advance of the anticipated massacre.  I might say here that the feeling was not shared by the rest of The Bus.  Everyone else felt that we'd win or at least draw.  I thought they were fucking mad and said so.

When the teams were announced, I was delighted to see SuperKev on from the beginning and amazed to see Dunney pushed into right back yet again.  How much more shit can he and we take?

Similar to the Rovers match, we started off brightly and had a reasonable first five minutes before everything coagulated into it's usual shite.  Unsy raided down the left and almost turned them over a couple of times before they twigged what was going on and closed him down.  

Slowly but surely Leicester took a grip through their better organisation at the back and much more determined midfield.  They haven't got any stars but they're quite confident in their team pattern and individual strengths, something, as we all know, we badly lack at the moment.  They're a top-five outfit who might win one of the cups, that's all... nothing more.

Our midfield was garbage during the first half.  Out-fought by Savage and Lennon, out-passed, out-moved and generally out-played.  The same old structural problem.  I feared the worst again.  

Gazza struggled gamely but it was useless without Alex to play off... and sadly he was out of his depth again, one or two weaving runs excepted.  Nic did his best out on the right but again didn't get anywhere near enough of the ball.  

In my view, sadly, Alex is the main midfield problem.  He is struggling with both the pace and determinism of the Prem.  It leaves a huge hole in midfield which the opposition, whoever they may be, know they can fill with impunity.  It also pressurises the two centre-backs more than they have a right to expect.  Leicester poured through the hole but didn't create that much.  It was just that they had so much of the ball it was almost inevitable it would pay off sooner or later.

Meanwhile, up front, SuperKev and The Ears laboured away with a lot of commendable effort on what crumbs they were fed.  At one point The Ears weaved his way through and hit one of his arrow-accurate ground shots to Tim Flowers' left but he made a terrific save and tipped it outside the post.

The inevitable happened when a Leicester midfielder found himself wide right on Alex's vacant patch about 30 m out.  He hit what looked like a half-hit shot until it arrived just beyond the penalty spot and Akinbiyi got goalside of our lamentable "defence" and sidefooted it casually past a rooted Paul.  I groaned inwardly, fully expecting the worst.  We scrambled thankfully to half-time.  At times like this you contemplate the Meaning of Life and decide that maybe it would be better watching the video.  Then the rain went off.

The second half was completely different to the point of schizophrenia (shades of the Boro match), probably because we scored so quickly after the restart.  A move down our left quickly switched to the right and got played through to Gazza inside their penalty area.  All his old close control came back to him as it does every now and then and he turned a defender brilliantly (just how brilliantly is only obvious at ground level where I was.  It didn't look the same on TV) before looping a ball left footed across Flowers and into his right side.  The 'keeper did real well to get a hand to it but it fell to Unsy of all people and he rattled it in low and hard from just left of the goal and outside the goal area.  Then it was Leicester's turn to get roasted.

I wish someone could explain to me how we manage to play so badly in one half and then so well in the other.  While we were playing well we looked as though a goal would come at any moment, especially when we broke out of defence.  On a few occasions we had three-on-three and it looked odds on.  At times like this, Nic gets more of the ball and shows what he could be if we were up to scratch.  He can take anyone on and beat him in a close dribble best I've seen in ages, a real handful.  During this spell, we played it around forcefully and won the ball more than they had in the first half.  Someone send my analyst the details please... he doesn't believe me.

It couldn't last, of course, and Leicester eventually got back into it during the last ten minutes or so and got a series of corners as Paul stayed rooted for crosses.  Nic cleared one off the line during this phase of play with Paul beaten to the side and looking more bemused by the moment.  By this time SuperKev had tired and Elliot came up for corners for the first time.

Smiffy brought on Joe Max and Yozzer 2 for the needed fresh legs and buggeration factor up front just when it was needed.  And it got us through to the end and a well deserved point and draw where none seemed likely.

After this lot I need to swat up on group schizophrenia.  The answer will be there somewhere.  Fuck that Jean-Paul Sartre.

   Up to Reports Index ]
 Same old Everton, different class
Rob Burns
The thirst of Leicester's Filbert Street front lawn was quenched by the same heavy downpours that had kept me on the M1 for the first 5 minutes of the match.  As I took up a small plastic seat towards the front door of the potting shed, it really was hard to believe that the eyes of the media were focussed upon this match to see how a city side so effective in stopping their opposition in recent seasons had suddenly found the classy edge that brought them into direct competition with Manchester United.  So hard for even the home supporters to believe, in fact, that a number of them were involved in a psychological study as they watched from glass-fronted rabbit hutches above the first-half Everton goal.

Despite my being oblivious to the start, local radio told me that the hotly debated defensive line-up was, once again Dunne, Weir, Unsworth and Watson, with the right-back forming a defensive pairing in the centre with Weir, and Irish International centre-half Dunne in the right-back position.  A shake of the head and a shrug of the shoulders was the only possible reaction.

First impressions were of a shaky defence, once again the opposition believing that they were better than us was enough to have Weir quaking, getting rid of the ball with little consideration for where it was headed.  Unsworth took stick from the crowd, although has he was reminded late in the second half, we all agree that he is better than Barmby.  The heavy pitch and slippy surface was suited well, however to the Unsworth fighting style and he was only let down by his hesitation in moving the ball from back to front.  This, I felt, was Everton's biggest failing in the first half. 

The lively Nyarko showed great ability in the tackle and in bringing the ball out of his defence, only frustrating when instead of making the run (he had a couple of yards on the Leicester midfield every time) he chose to turn and slow the move down.  His midfield colleagues must shoulder equal responsibility however, as they failed to spread across the field on the break, forcing the passes to remain tight and suited to the closing down tactics of City.

The goal seemed a certainty given Everton's hesitation and general discomfort with the whole event, and it came when a cross from the right was left unchallenged, Akinbyi turned the ball in at the far post.  Sadly it gave the lead to an equally unimpressive Leicester whose tactics were based upon dogged determination, closing down the spaces and using strength to dig the ball out of a deliberately crowded midfield.  

Chances did begin to come at the other end, culminating in two clear-cut opportunities, one with Jeffers clear but the victim of a poor offside decision, the other saw Nyarko finally run through into the penalty area, tripped and down, unfortunately his runner-bean legs planted themselves too easily into the turf and the referee could show no sympathy.

The only thing a much brighter second half lacked was the sun.  The half-time entertainment consisted of a Fox, a brummy-type bloke and some kids taking penalties, with lots of references to how tongue-in-cheek-boring Leicester were if you're listening, Martin Tyler and Andy Gray.  I think that given Sky's willingness to set up shop in the illustrious surrounds of an allotment deserved more respect from the club.  

After all, a team of heavyweights showing little flair or individual ability is the mainstay of Leicester's season, new signings including Gary Rowett a former Evertonian and journeyman at best demonstrating the club's Premier League ambition.  New life could always come from the bench, however, and Collymore's entrance certainly brought a new vegetable to the patch.  

Only Stan the man could be SO rattled by the boos at his every touch, and he was continually caught in possession by the impressive Richard Dunne at right-back and Alexandersson, whose support of the young defender was excellent throughout.  Dunne certainly gave an answer to some of his critics with a committed performance that saw him play some straightforward but effective forward interchanges with the Swedish winger.  Whether this will impress more on Merseyside or in London we will soon find out.

Steve Watson put on a good performance, moving up and down the pitch well, making vital interceptions and linking with Gravesen and Gascoigne particularly.  Gerrard did offer a piece of his rather petite mind late in the second half when he was put under some pressure by the Geordie's back-pass a face-off ensued followed minutes later by a shake of hands and ironic applause from the travelling support.

Gascoigne as the papers are already saying was world class, defensive cover and attacking guile in abundance, covering every inch of the pitch, twisting and turning and leaving defenders for dead.  "Just like watching Brazil" came the chant.  Nyarko, not to be outdone began to show some of the form we were all looking for, Gravesen occasionally sloppy but always enthusiastic and well-intended.  The only annoyance was perhaps the reluctance to shoot.  

Gazza put his seal on the game when he stole into the right hand side of the area, crossing a measured ball to the far post which Unsworth blasted home; well taken and worthy of credit.  Unsworth has all of the assets of a true Everton great, apart from the brain, never failing to frustrate you with "if only's" 10/10 again for commitment and spirit.

Up front, Campbell found himself inside the area with only a shot required, but couldn't drag the ball from between his feet.  Jeffers pursued a ball on the right against Taggart, determination saw him ride a heavy tackle and as he tried to go clear with the ball he was dragged back by Taggart's hand.  A yellow card shown.  Generally our boys didn't get the rub of the green by any stretch of the imagination and they were probably glad of the rest when Hughes and Moore were introduce with 10 minutes or so to go.

Leicester found their legs in the closing minutes and managed a comeback, Alexandersson clearing off the line from a corner and a Collymore header looping onto the top of the bar.

At the end, the Leicester supporters debated how they could have lost the lead at home and failed to go top.  Evertonians cursed their luck at the failure to win the match after a storming second half. 

I had about three hours of standing traffic on the M1 to think about it.  What had been proved here was that the bulk of the Everton side which was walked over by Man Utd was capable of respectable performances against Premier League opponents.  In this case, mediocre opponents, but with confidence perhaps competing on a higher level.  

Far from majestic, Everton and Gazza at least showed why the talk shouldn't be about a lowly midlands side with a two-bit ground challenging Man Utd for the title albeit with a wink and a nudge but why Everton are not up there in second or third spot.  At least we have given a performance on the TV stage worthy of the REAL Everton FC and which might at least make people sit up and take notice.

   Up to Reports Index ]
 Gascoigne's magic show leaves Leicester bewitched
by Russell Kempton, The Times

TRUST Paul Gascoigne.  Just as Leicester City were preparing to bring out the bunting, hoist up the flags and celebrate their first time at the top of the league for 37 years, the real Paul Gascoigne decided to show up.  It was a flashback to the early 1990s, when the former England midfield player was at his peak, and not 1963, when Leicester last led the field.

If Leicester were disappointed, they should not be.  They are undefeated in eight league and cup matches this season and have progressed with sense and stealth since a change of management during the summer.  Martin O'Neill might have started with 12 successive victories at Celtic, but the record of Peter Taylor, O'Neill's successor, is equally impressive in the harsher environment of the FA Carling Premiership.

Gascoigne, though, stole the headlines.  At 33 he no longer has a future with England.  "No, I'm too old for that now," he said, his new lightweight frame still heaving from the exertion.  Yet he has a part to play with Everton, whom he joined from Middlesbrough in the close season, and maintains a youthful if sometimes naughty enthusiasm for combat.  "I just want to go out and play," he said. "Every game at my age is hard.  I'm knackered, but I'm enjoying it and I've got to keep going from game to game."

Walter Smith, the Everton manager, concurred.  "That's as well as Paul has played since he arrived," he said.  "He's regained his match fitness and appetite for the game and has worked hard to get to that level.  He's shown flashes of his old self; now he's got to take that on and get the consistency."

Incessant rain had provided a slick carpet of a surface.  Leicester stroked the ball around with confidence and although Everton replied similarly, they lacked the same penetration at the business end.

Gascoigne and Robbie Savage were involved in a petty running feud that continued, verbally, as they walked to the dressing-rooms at half-time.  Gascoigne was clever, taunting Savage into ill-judged tackles and pulling him out of position; Savage was silly, allowing himself to be dragged into the psychological and physical battle and collecting a booking when he went too far.  It detracted only slightly from an intriguing chess game, with Leicester making most of the attacks and Everton countering with solid defence.

Alexandersson wasted two good early chances for Everton, but Leicester were barely shaken, let alone stirred.  Eadie responded with a fierce drive that Gerrard turned away and, in the 22nd minute, he was perhaps one of the few Leicester players not involved in a sumptuous 14-pass move that ended with Akinbiyi scoring from Lennon's fiercely struck cross.

Eadie could have stretched the lead after Akinbiyi had seized on Unsworth's error and released him, but he selfishly drove into the side-netting when a return pass to Akinbiyi would have been wiser.  The Savage-Gascoigne spat rumbled on, though Gascoigne found time to orchestrate most of Everton's best moves and Flowers was forced into a sprawling save from Jeffers shortly before the break.

Leicester might have felt in control, but they were not.  Gascoigne's team-mates followed his example, niggling away at their opponents, tackling with more than a touch of venom and gradually unsettling the rhythm of the home side.

In the 51st minute, they equalised.  Gascoigne was involved, inevitably, with a twist past Lennon on the right and a chipped cross that, in his heyday, would have been described as world class.  Even now, it was by no means ordinary and it had enough swerve on it to force Flowers into a half-hearted parry into the path of Unsworth, who slammed the ball home.  It was the first Premiership goal that Leicester had conceded in open play for 620 minutes.

"I was pleased with the first-half display but disappointed how it went in the second," Taylor said.  "I feel for the players.  They didn't do themselves justice after the break and just didn't pass the ball well enough.  Still, I'll settle for being unbeaten in seven in the league and joint top with Manchester United. That'll do."

Flowers saved well with his legs from Gravesen as Leicester wobbled.  Only when they reverted to desperate up-and-under measures in the closing minutes did they reassert their authority, with Cresswell's header cleared off the line by Alexandersson and Collymore nodding Guppy's centre on to the crossbar.  Too late; they had blown the script.

Gascoigne, with a last flourish, tangled with Collymore, but the contretemps died down as quickly as it had flared.  Gascoigne had upstaged Leicester and silenced their supporters.  There is life in the old dog yet.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

   Up to Reports Index ]
 Leicester outfoxed by Gascoigne
Christopher Davies, Electronic Telegraph

LEICESTER CITY failed to claim top place in the Premiership and were second best to an Everton team inspired by Paul Gascoigne, whose second-half display was a joy to watch.

The home side seemed affected by the weight of expectancy, knowing that victory would have seen them lead the top division for the first time since 1963.  There were no such inhibitions for Gascoigne, 33, who showed his full range of tricks while still finding time to become involved in rows with Robbie Savage and Stan Collymore.

Before the 'Gascoigne for England' campaign starts, the Everton midfielder said he was "too old" to play against Germany next month, though manager Walter Smith begged to differ.  "Maybe he could play a little part," said Smith.  "But it could be an important part."

Looking slimmer than for a long time, Gascoigne teased and tormented Leicester and played a central part in Everton's equaliser.  "He showed some wonderful skill," said Peter Taylor, the Leicester manager, who was not surprised by Gascoigne's performance.  "That's why I put Robbie Savage on him."

The pair clashed a number of times they shook hands at one stage in the second half and Savage was booked for a foul on Gascoigne, who had been winding up the Welsh international.  Then in the final minute Gascoigne annoyed Collymore, apparently by kneeing the Leicester striker, who reacted by swinging an arm at the Everton man, but referee Alan Wiley took no action.

The jagged edge that has been part of Gascoigne's make-up will probably never go away.  However, the good far outweighed the bad yesterday and Smith said of Gascoigne, who joined Everton from Middlesbrough on a free transfer this summer: "That's as well as he's played since he came.  He's regaining his fitness, sharpness and appetite.  Paul's working very hard to get to that level.  He's got to take it on from here and make sure there's a consistency over the season."

Gascoigne and Everton were on the defensive during the early stages as Leicester showed why they are neck and neck with Manchester United at the top of the Premiership.  Their teamwork, spirit and passing had Everton on the back foot and it was no surprise when Leicester took the lead in the 23rd minute.

Ade Akinbiyi's goal was a coach's dream, coming at the end of a 14-pass move when the striker swept Neil Lennon's cross past Paul Gerrard from eight yards.

Instead of pressing home their advantage, Leicester defended too deeply and their passing, which had been so precise, became ragged.  In the 32nd minute Everton should have had a penalty when Gary Rowett's challenge felled Alex Nyarko.  "No doubt about it," Smith said. "No one would have complained had the referee given it."

Francis Jeffers saw his shot saved by Leicester goalkeeper Tim Flowers and in the 51st minute David Unsworth went close to equalising with a curling free kick.  A minute later Unsworth made it 1-1. Gascoigne bamboozled Neil Lennon with some delightful footwork and his cross was tipped by Tim Flowers into the path of Unsworth.  It was the first goal Flowers had conceded in open play in the Premiership this season.

Steve Watson and Gerrard were then involved in a head-to-head after a misunderstanding but the Everton pair shook hands and made up.  Flowers then made the save of the match when he stopped a shot from Thomas Gravesen which had been deflected by Rowett.

Leicester were struggling to get into Everton's half but the home team made a final push for glory to ensure a nail-biting finish.  In the 82nd minute Richard Cresswell's glancing header from Steve Guppy's corner was cleared off the line by Niclas Alexandersson.

With three minutes remaining Guppy's left-wing cross reached Collymore whose header landed on top of the crossbar.  A few inches lower and Leicester would have gained a victory they did not deserve.

"We did not do ourselves justice," Taylor said.  "Our passing was poor.  We didn't have enough options.  We kept going long which gave the ball to Everton.  This was probably the poorest we've played.  Even so, I'll settle for being joint top with Manchester United after seven games."

Report © The Electronic Telegraph

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