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Everton 2 - 2 Middlesbrough

Half-time: 0 - 1

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FA Carling Premiership 2000-01 – Game #24
8 pm Wednesday 31 January 2001
Goodison Park, Merseyside
Att: 34,244
« Tranmere Rovers (h) Ref: Graham Barber Manchester United (a) »
[ Matchday Calendar ] League Position: 15th [ Results &  Table ]

Walter Smith's

Played: 100

Won: 30
Drawn: 30
Lost: 40

For: 127
Against: 132

Points: 120

Steven Hughes was been ruled out, and Pembridge also failed to appear, but Smith, in a rare moment of attacking zeal, paired together Campbell and Ferguson up front for the first time, with Joe-Max Moore playing just behind.  

Everton played with more spirit but went behind after just 11 minutes when poor defending saw Hamilton Ricard score.  Everton pumped the ball relentlessly up to Ferguson, but Campbell was well off  tune and could not benefit from his flick-ons.  Everton struggled to make much impact during the rest of the first half, going in behind at the half.

The second half was a different story, with Everton getting well stuck in, actually intimidating Boro with a physical performance reminiscent of the Dogs of War.  An early product of this war of attrition was an equalizer from Naysmith, who benefited most when Campbell thoughtfully helped Mark Schwarzer to lose his grip on the ball.

Tommy Myhre blotted his copybook yet again when he punched a clearance straight up in the air and Cooper got to it, to send a looping header curling over the Everton goalie and into the net.  Remember when we used to have a rock-solid goalie...???

An inspired (?) substitution by Walter Smith brought instant rewards when Idan Tal replaced Gravesen, and scored a second equalizer inside 3 mins.  It came from a corner, with Tal poaching superbly at the far post.  Everton once again piled on the pressure, but could not find the elusive winner.



EVERTON: Naysmith (49'), Tal (78')
Middlesbrough: Ricard (11'), Cooper (63')
   LINEUPS  Subs Not Used 
EVERTON: Myhre; S Watson, Gough, Weir, Ball, Naysmith; Gemmill, Gravesen (76' Tal); Ferguson, Moore (87' Xavier), Campbell. 
Unavailable:  Alexandersson, Cleland, Degn, Gascoigne, Gerrard, Hughes, Jeffers, Nyarko, Pembridge, Pistone (injured).
Simonsen, Unsworth,  Cadamarteri.
Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Flemming, Vickers, Ehiogu, Gordon (59' Festa), Okon, Karembeu (68' Mustoe), Ince, Cooper, Ricard (56' Whelan), Boskic. Crossley, Deane.
   Playing Strips  Formations
EVERTON: Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks. 4-4-2
Middlesbrough: Red shirts; red shorts; red socks. 4-4-2
   Yellow Cards  Red Cards
EVERTON: Watson (62')
Middlesbrough: Vickers (22'), Gordon (23'), Ince (77'), Ehiogu (80'), Cooper (90')
Sports.Com Detailed Match Stats  


Mike Owen Gravesen was injured
Richard Marland A night of raw emotion
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Battling Everton restore honour
by Peter Gardner
THE TIMES Tal is man to ease Everton's blues
by Richard Hobson
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 Gravesen was injured
Mike Owen
The Tal substitution only came about because Gravesen got injured.  He ran up to the dug-out, pointed to the back of his leg, said something briefly to Archie, then ran back on for a minute or two before coming off.

In that minute or two, we first had Danny warming up, and an animated conversation between Walter and Archie before Tal warmed up. It seems that Walter and Archie had different ideas about what to do.  Although there's nothing wrong in that.  However, after Tal's "wander off to the wrong corner kick" dummy move and resultant goal, I was quite amused to see the Match of the Day presenter ask Walter about his inspired substitution.  Walter was his usual modest self, but then said how tired Moore had been.  Joe-Max, in fact, had been replaced by Xavier seven minutes later. Watching Everton must be doing Walter's head in as well.

But when Gravesen did come off, he went straight down the tunnel. Perhaps that's what professional athletes should do, but with only 15 minutes left, I was surprised he didn't stay to watch the rest of the game.

I thought Gravesen had a useful game but, recently at least, he has been making too many wayward passes. But then that goes for much of the team.  One thing that struck me in the first half was that whenever our players went to pass the ball, they were frequently under pressure.  I couldn't work out to what extent that was because of the time it took to control a misplaced pass; whether they didn't know where their teammates were; whether they are too slow; and what credit to give Boro for closing down very quickly.

Duncan worked very hard.  Campbell had said in an interview before the game that he preferred being the through ball man to being the target man.  Well, he must have forgotten the art.  But give them time.

As for Tommy, well the club did have him in deep freeze for months on end because of the Viking Stavanger bill.  So should we really expect him to be at his sharpest?  And we have only got one other keeper left to savage. However, it was a bit worrying how similar their two goals were to the two Coventry scored at Goodison.

As for Boro, I can see them doing a '95 Dogs of War and getting to the FA Cup final.  They have Wimbledon at home in the 4th then Wycombe away in the 5th.  That should put them in the 6th round at least.

   Up to Reports Index ]
 A night of raw emotion
Richard Marland
"A night of raw emotion" - definite clich but it seems to sum up last night quite nicely.  My nerves were shredded by the end.

We didn't play particularly well last night but, by Christ, we battled!  Desire and passion were there in abundance, both on the pitch and in the stands, in fact it almost bordered on desperation.  On balance of play, we probably deserved the win but, when you concede two goals in the manner in which we did, you probably don't deserve to.

The goals we conceded had horrible shades of the goals we had conceded at home to Coventry: long diagonal balls into our box which we failed to deal with.  At least this time we had the fight to drag ourselves back into it on two separate occasions that's the kind of fight and spirit that does exist at Everton and which should see us safe.

The team and line-up was a bit of an eye-opener.  Changes were inevitable after Saturday but, as usual, Walter chose something none of us would have even speculated at.  The return of Gough and Weir should have been no surprise they have both earned the right over a period of time to an instant recall.  That left a bit of a problem as to were to accommodate Michael Ball, his recent form demanded that he be kept as a centre back, I can't help feeling that the formation was partially designed to accommodate these three.  The biggest shock as regards the line up was the deployment of Joe-Max Moore in the "hole" behind Campbell and Ferguson.  A brave, attacking move by Walter.  Moore isn't a good enough footballer to really thrive in that sort of role, too often he was going either sideways or backwards, but you couldn't fault his workrate or application.

This wasn't a good performance, our lack of width yet again hindered us (oh to get Alexandersson back fit).  Steve Watson did a colossal job to provide an attacking threat down the right, unfortunately Naysmith never really offered a similar threat down the left.  But the fight we showed, and the fact that we did indeed pick up a point gives some hope for the immediate future.

  • Myrhe  Confidence currently shot to pieces, looking very poor.
  • Watson  Colossal job charging up and down the right flank. Posed a threat all night.
  • Naysmith  Not sure how fit he is, but have to say was a little disappointed in him today.  Did well to score though.
  • Weir  It's like he was never away, competent and assured as ever.
  • Gough  Not at his best but you could see his influence.
  • Ball  Another excellent performance.
  • Gemmill  A player I like, especially in central midfield.  The only one who looked likely to provide a killer pass.  Always plays with his head up looking for options, and rarely gives the ball away.
  • Gravesen  Charges around gamefully enough but really should be offering more as a supposedly international class midfielder.
  • Moore  Worked very hard and had his moments but he's no Peter Beardsley.
  • Ferguson  No real evidence yet of a developing partnership with Campbell.  Caused them some problems but wasn't really match fit.
  • Campbell  Did OK but nothing exceptional.
  • Tal  A lively intrusion.  Took his goal well and only denied another by a good save.
  • Xavier  Usual tidy passing but not on long enough to influence anything.

Man of the match Three contenders: Gemmill, Ball and Watson.  Watson gets the nod for me.

   Up to Reports Index ]
 Tal is man to ease Everton's blues
by Richard Hobson, The Times

AFTER being relegated to the status of third club on Merseyside at the weekend, Everton responded with a spirited performance at Goodison Park last night when they recovered from going behind twice against Middlesbrough, who stretched their unbeaten run under Terry Venables to nine matches.  Idan Tal, a midfield player from Israel, ensured that Everton gained the point they deserved when he shot past Schwarzer from six yards with only his second kick after coming on as a substitute.  His initial touch had produced the corner that led to the goal, his first for the club.

At long last Walter Smith, the Everton manager, could call upon two of his three main strikers in the same game, but neither Campbell nor Ferguson received much change from a robust Middlesbrough defence.

Middlesbrough were content to absorb any pressure and attack on the break.  The plan worked perfectly in the eleventh minute when Boksic headed a long cross from Karembeu across goal for Ricard to slot beyond Myhre from two yards.

Only a splendid recovery tackle by Weir, one of four Scots restored to the Everton side, denied Boksic in the 35th minute and a glancing header by Cooper a minute later served further notice that Everton needed to protect their back three more.

The improvement at the end of the half augured well, though, and an extra impetus in the final third produced the equaliser after 49 minutes.  Schwarzer, under pressure from Ferguson, could not hold Watsons cross and Naysmith reacted quickly to bundle the ball over the line.

It might have been in a show of goalkeeping solidarity that Myhre fluffed a cross by Fleming that he had no need to attack 15 minutes later.  He was left hopelessly out of position and could only rush back in vain as Cooper directed a looping header towards the empty net to restore Middlesbroughs lead.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

   Up to Reports Index ]
 Battling Everton restore honour
Peter Gardner, Electronic Telegraph

EVERTON revealed outstanding resilience in twice coming from behind to secure a richly deserved and priceless point in their crucial relegation encounter against Middlesbrough at Goodison Park.

Middlesbrough, rejuvenated since former England manager Terry Venables took over coaching duties from Bryan Robson, stretched their unbeaten run to nine league and cup matches but were stretched all the way by a vibrant home side anxious to banish their FA Cup disgrace.

Middlesbrough led through Hamilton Ricard, but Gary Naysmith equalised in the second half before Colin Cooper restored the visitors' lead.  Then Israeli international Idan Tal, with his first goal for Everton, provided the second equaliser in a compelling game.

Walter Smith went into his 100th Premiership game as Everton manager enjoying the rare luxury of harnessing the injury-plagued Duncan Ferguson alongside Kevin Campbell, with Joe-Max Moore, the American striker, marginally behind them in an attacking formation that gave Middlesbrough abundant problems as the home side dominated much of the opening half.

Everton were anxious to banish the disgrace of tamely surrendering to their First Division Merseyside neighbours, Tranmere, at the weekend.  But it was Boro whose first positive attacking threat proved decisive.  Ricard was left with the simplest of tasks in stooping to head in unchallenged from close range for his second league goal of the season and sixth overall.  Alen Boksic had provided him with an accurate cross from the left, Christian Karembeu having done the earlier spadework.

Four minutes into the second half Everton secured a deserved equaliser.  Steve Watson was resolute on the right in retaining possession despite the close attentions of Cooper and he delivered a splendid cross which Mark Schwarzer failed to hold.  The ball broke loose, Ferguson challenged, but it was Naysmith who got in the header to earn his side parity.

While the home side were ploughing effort into their task, genuine quality was lacking and Boro restored their lead on 63 minutes.  Curtis Fleming drove the ball in high from the right, Thomas Myhre appeared to overrun it when he went for the cross, and Colin Cooper was left to loop in a spectacular header from 18 yards.

Everton, revealing greater commitment than for some time, were back on level terms in the 78th minute, a substitution two minutes earlier proving decisive. Tal, replacing Thomas Gravesen, forced a fine save from Schwarzer with his first contribution, and then, from a corner on the right, angled a splendid shot for a second equaliser.

Report © The Electronic Telegraph

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