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 Moore (75') (0-0)  
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Everton v Derby:
Prior League Games
 Overall  
 Everton 37
 Derby County 12
 Draws 12
 Premiership
 Everton 2
 Derby County 1
 Draws 2
 Last Season:
 Everton 2-2 Derby

 
After last week's failed experiment of starting with Gazza, he was on the subs bench along with Jesper Blomqvist.  But the other experiment Watson up front continued...  Derby were thankfully without Ravanelli.

Some fine fun in the Derby goalmouth very nearly led to an early goal for Everton, first from a bizarre lob, then a spilt ball that bobbled around before being cleared.  Then Gravesen went through but it flew a yard wide.

Gemmill's excitement, leaping in on Ducrocq on 9 mins, led to a very early yellow card.  And then Alan Stubbs showed signs of an injury and was substituted by Unsworth on 15 mins in time for a free-kick after Watson was dragged down by Riggot on 25 yards.  But it came to nothing.

Pistone then hit the post with a header from a corner.  Alexandersson danced through and fired just wide but the following corner from Pembridge was poor.  Another opportunity fell to Alexandersson but he finished poorly.  Then Radzinski broke and Watson had a chance but it failed to reach the goal as Everton continued to press back a poor Derby side.

Naysmith's good shot was parried and Pistone hit the bar from the ensuing corner!  Later, a great break was led by Gemmill after a great ball from Radzinski, but Gemmill fired just wide.  Total dominance and nothing to show for it at half-time.

Joe-Max Moore replaced Pistone for the second half, and Everton continued as before, the best chance being created by Alexandersson who fired just over after a hint of a handball deflection.  The ball just would not go in the net for Everton.

A stupid challenge from Darren Powell opened up a horrible gash on Gravesen's head.  Stretched off, Gravesen raised his fist to the Evertonians, and Gazza came on to replace him.

More great chances were squandered, including a Pembridge free kick deflected just wide...  More great build-up play gave Radzinski a glorious opportunity that just trickled past the post!

And then, with 13 minutes to go, Joe-Max Moore finally scored for Everton after a drought of 18 months!   There followed Derby's only period of pressure when they went at Everton but the defenses held as Gascoigne started to become more effective.  Great play near the end saw him beat two Derby defenders to set up Radzinski, who's superb shot was brilliantly saved.

More good football from Alexandersson and Gascoigne but nothing more would come in the 5 minutes of stoppage time.  A vital, vital win that so nearly didn't happen.

So, Walter Smith: Moore and Radzinski are too similar to play together, eh?  And the first time they are played together for more than a few minutes, Joe-Max Moore scores a vital match-winner.  



M A T C H    F A C T S
 Sports Match Info  
  FA Premiership 2001-02, Game 16
3:00pm  Saturday 15 December 2001
Goodison Park, Liverpool
Referee: Clive Wilkes (Gloucester)
Att: 38,615
Position: 9th
Line-ups Subs not used
Everton: Simonsen; Pistone (46' Moore), Stubbs (15' Unsworth), Weir, Naysmith; Alexandersson, Gemmill, Gravesen (63' Gascoigne), Pembridge; Watson, Radzinski.  Gerrard,  Blomqvist. 
Unavailable:  Campbell, Ferguson (injured); Nyarko (loan) 
Derby: Oakes, Elliott, Riggott, Mawene (79' Kinkladze), Zavagno, Powell (64' Bolder), Ducrocq, Grenet (89' Boertien), Carbone, Burton, Christie.   Valakari,
Grant. 
Playing Strips Formations
Everton: Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks. 4-4-2
Derby: White shirts; black shorts; white socks 4-4-2
  Yellow Cards Red Cards
Everton: Gemmill (9')  --
Derby: Zavagno (83')  --


Premiership Scores
Wednesday
Liverpool 0-0 Chelsea
Man Utd 5-0 Derby
Saturday
Bolton 0-0 Charlton
Everton 1-0 Derby
Middlesbro 0-1 Man Utd
Newcastle 2-1 Blackburn
Sotton 2-0 Sunderland
Tottenham 4-0 Fulham
West Ham 1-1 Arsenal
Sunday
Leeds 2-2 Leicester
Chelsea 4-0 Liverpool
Monday
Aston Villa 2-1 Ipswich
 


Premiership Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Liverpool 33
2 Arsenal 30
3 Newcastle 30
4 Leeds 29
5 Chelsea 27
6 Man Utd 27
7 Tottenham 27
8 Aston Villa 27
9 Everton 23
10 Fulham 23
11 Charlton 22
12 Bolton 21
13 Sunderland 20
14 West Ham 20
15 Blackburn 19
16 Middlesbrough 19
17 Southampton 16
18 Leicester 14
19 Derby 13
20 Ipswich 9
After 17 December 2001 
M A T C H     R E P O R T S
Everton Web Sites
ToffeeWeb Match Summary
EvertonFC.com Match Report
Everton-Mad Match Report
When Skies Are Grey Match Report
From The Terrace Match Report
Blue Kipper Match Report
Everton Fans' Reports
Rob Burns Don't believe the hype
Richard Marland Where we are now
Links to Other Media Reports
Electronic Telegraph Match Report
BBC Sport Match Report
FA Premier Match Report
Sky Sports Match Report
Sporting Life Match Report
SoccerNet Match Report
The Sunday Times Match Report  << Registration Required
The Observer Match Report
The Guardian Match Report
The Independent Match Report
The Times Match Report
Daily Post Match Report


Match Preview

This Saturday the blue hordes bid welcome to Derby County and their Italians (at a "tenner a ticket"!).  May I just pray for a positive reaction to the Club's latest stance against unwanted, unnecessary and downright unpleasant racists chants.  I just wish I could predict that they had ended.

Derby are relying very heavily on their Italian contingent: Ravenelli has either scored or given an assist in over 50% of Derby's goals this season (7 goals and 1 assist in 14 games BUT a missed penalty against Liverpool !).  The simple conclusion to that is that, if you can bottle him up, you stand a great chance of stopping Derby.

I wonder how many of you recall the transfer saga relating to Ravenelli at the start of Kendall's third coming?  The Italian Mafioso-style picture of him stepping out of a large Mercedes, sunglasses firmly emplaced and clad in his Italian-cut suit (far far more expensive than any Blue season ticket) with his five-strong support crew similarly attired...

Kendall (allegedly) backed out when he requested in addition to 50k a week wages a house, car, chauffeur, maid, taxes paid, and trips back to Italy.  Instead, Kendall purchased Danny Williamson, Gareth Farrelly, John Oster and Mike Madar.  No-one could accuse you of squandering the money, hey Howard?

Last season, shorn of their Italians, we still managed to generously grant Derby a 2-2 draw despite us leading 2-0 until just before halftime.  An injury to Gough at 2-0 pretty much saw us say goodbye to the committed Scotsman, and goodbye to any early season false pretensions as we ended up being the team hanging on to a point.

Again, however, I will argue that this season we have improved.  Despite switching off twice against Fulham at set pieces a crime we committed oh so often last year and which I for one hoped we had solved the overall defensive performance of the Blues wasn't that bad.  The rest of team performed on a par with the 1st half against Southampton and was completely unacceptable.

Against Derby, we must revert to the team that played in the 9 games before Fulham.  One defeat; 300 mins of clean sheets, etc.  Derby have ability: Ravenelli is still a class act.  Carbone will vanish from the game but will always have the potential to do something that can change a game.  We must be on our toes and push the Derby midfield back in an attempt to isolate Rav, Christie (a quality player surely not long destined at Derby) and Carbone.

If we look at that Derby midfield, are we worried?  Zavagano, Ducrocq, Carbone and Powell.  Let's be honest the first two we know next to nothing about.  Both have looked okay, Ducrocq in particular has great technique, but he isn't the hardest working of midfielders.  Carbone in midfield I always feel is a liability: he'll be great on the ball but off the ball he does not carry his weight.  Powell failed a late fitness test before the game against United on Wednesday night but is expected to be fit against us.  Were Derby to lose him then their midfield will lose their main ball winner.

If they look at our midfield are they worried?  Well I guess the first question is: What will it be?  Will Gazza start?  Will Walter give Gravesen the chance to develop an understanding with him?  Will Nick win his place back after the midfield's failings against Fulham?  Is Blomqvist ready? I suggest not but, as he keeps travelling with the squad, will he now make the bench?

Assuming a midfield of Naysmith, Gazza, Gravesen and Alexandersson, that should be strong enough to push Derby back and good enough to give decent possession upfront.  Ah, upfront...  It really is getting beyond a joke!  We've only scored in one of our last four games and that (whisper quietly) is relegation form.  But I think I've said enough these last two weeks about that area...

Poom (who is carrying a knock on his finger) has rotated with two other keepers already this season but is undoubtedly first choice and, on his day, first class.  But in his eight games he's conceded 12 goals and only kept two clean sheets.  He was replaced by Oakes on Wednesday night but is expected to be fit for Goodison.  Riggot and Mawene have been pretty much permanent fixtures in front of him and both are solid but hardly awesome; they have a degree of pace and perhaps are weakest in the air.  Problem is, we do not carry an aerial attacking threat, even with Watson up front!

Derby's former United full-back Higginbottom is suspended

To avoid even the sniff of being dragged into the relegation fight, we must not lose this game.  There's a tough run coming up and we need to keep that comfortable barrier in place and keeping looking up the table.  We also should win.  If we can't expect to win this a home game against a team in the bottom three then we really are struggling.  But let's be optimistic: Gravesen is due another belter; Gazza must be getting close to as fit as he will get; and Nick has a point to prove - if no target to aim for in the box.

Derby have also just been given the run-around at Old Trafford and that could easily still be in a modern footballers legs... How long ago is it that Premiership/First Division football often filled cold wintry Wednesday nights?

An early goal would do wonders for us and set us up for a comfortable 2-0 win.  Weir to do to Ravenelli as he did to Hasslebaink; Gravesen to keep Carbone quiet; Gazza to sparkle and Rads to score.... twice!

BlueForEver



Don't believe the hype

by Rob Burns

Ian Snodin's assessment of today's match, in his role as Radio City's 'pundit', was something along the lines of 'an excellent performance, with commitment and a shade of bad luck that prevented 5 or 6 chances from finding the net'.  What a number of the 38600 Evertonians who witnessed the game, including myself, who called Mr Snodin to disagree saw was a lacklustre first half that was hardly bettered by a second 45 peppered with misplaced passes and stop-start football that was as exciting as plane spotting in, er, Greece.

Whatever has happened to the team of a few weeks ago who, even against Chelsea, showed signs of blending into an entertaining football team with some of the grit and determination that dug you out of tight spots when faced with 'lowly' opposition?  Derby certainly deserve the description of 'lowly' as they fought minus Ravanelli and Kinkladze (until late in the game) and left Benito Carbone to suffer in the midst of a midfield that had as much class as a horde of Vandals.  Even Christie and Burton, players I have admired from the comfort of my armchair, showed little intelligence or guile as they whipped the linesmen to a frenzy of semaphore throughout the game.

So, one would presume, an easy three points up for grabs for our blue heroes?  Not a bit of it.  It seemed as though most of the players had celebrated Christmas early as they made a lethargic start to the game.  Were Resolve a definite on FIFA's banned list I am certain that we would be facing at least 8 banned players come January. 

The team's only change from the defeat of Fulham was to replace Gascoigne, who by all accounts was passed by at Craven Cottage, with a rested and refreshed Alexandersson on the opposite wing to Mark Pembridge.  Watson started up front again, despite much speculation to the contrary, with Blomqvist being the only surprise inclusion with a place on the bench.  It seems that Tal's days are certainly over WHY? 

From my vantage point, the first half was as forgettable as that against Southampton.  Too often the players appeared to be looking for a place amongst the supporting fans - perhaps the attraction being the cut price tickets which definitely had the desired effect of swelling the crowd to near capacity. It included overty-stricken adults spending their fruit-machine winnings and annoying kids whose interest began to die from the minute they realised that neither Beckham nor Owen were on show...  Still, they are the future. 

Gravesen dug the ball out, passed to Gemmill and then watched to see how he got on beating the whole of the Derby defence.  Alexandersson was frequently alone on the right, left to improvise in the style of Peter Beagrie as he beat one man, then the same one, then again.  Gemmill requested an infra-red zone alarm for the back of his boots to prevent him being caught in possession so often, and Pembridge read 'stick to the wings' as 'tuck yourself under the team armpit and make sure that Naysmith has nowhere to put the ball'.

The blues did create chances, memorable being shots from Gravesen, Alexandersson, a daisy cutter by Gemmill, and two superb headers from crosses by Pistone who rose well and was foiled by the post and the bar.  

Defensively, Everton were solid and with Simonsen behind they look established and confident.  Even the mysterious injury to Stubbs that forced the introduction of wannabe Captain Marvel Unsworth did not unsettle the back four, although the distribution that we expect from our centre halves nowadays was of course lost.  

But all too often it was the movement, particularly when coming out of defence, that simply was not happening as a team.  Yes, one or two had the ideas and some even paid dividends in terms of possession and even chances, but as a team there were too many who were willing to watch and wait rather than anticipate the opportunity. 

By the break, Everton had dominated the match awfully.   A dose of Wailing Walter and Angry Archie then would certainly do the trick where the hangover cures had failed?  Joe Max Moore - the great white hope to a number of klu-klux-cling-ons who were told that they were unwanted by the club over the PA at half time to the applause of the home crowd - was introduced in place of Pistone.  Ironically it was the prolific youngster Wayne Rooney who had been half-time's 'special guest' - but you felt that rather than 'I wonder how many he'll score in years to come' many were asking 'how much will they get for him at the end of next season?'

Everton started the secind half brightly they couldn't have got much duller!  Alexandersson made a run on the right and a neat turn beat the defender, who appeared to handle as he shot just over the bar and the stranded 'keeper.  Radzinski found himself clear on the left-hand side of the box and fired wide when even he felt it would have been easier to score... and Pembridge put a free kick from the centre, just by the D, over the bar.  

Pembridge's performance worsened as the game progressed, abandoning the touch-line to wait for the ball in the middle, forcing Moore to run wide to collect the ball.  This effectively neutralised the strike force as Radzinski, also drifting wide and even back to collect the ball left the penalty area devoid of bodies.  

Gascoigne warmed to the game after ten or fifteen minutes of being caught in possession like Gemmill in the first half but enthusiasm told and he did begin to drive the side on as best he could.  If Pembridge was the villain, Naysmith became the hero as he ran the left side in accomplished style and, like Gazza, showed the direction and determination that was lacking. 

Watson ran the right in support of Alexandersson and it was from his long throw, just as it looked as if we would never score, that Moore bundled fortunately into the net.  The upside was obviously the release of tension and finally a much-needed breakthrough; the downside was the 'I told you so's' who felt vindicated at last despite Moore's non-plused contribution.  

It was also damn disappointing that, even after the goal, the flow just did not come.  In fact, Derby came back into the game and, although there was probably only one save for the impressive Simonsen to make, the blues continued to make their own problems.  Gazza just about summed the game up when, with 2 or 3 minutes on the clock, he punted the ball for touch towards the Derby corner flag to kill precious seconds.

Other notable events included a clash of heads between Tommy Gravesen and and Daryl Powell both players were stretchered off with Powell looking in considerably worse shape as he was clapped off.  As Gravesen left the field prostrate, a cheer from the Evertonians brought a sudden kick of life and the traditional 'clenched fist' salute like a dying fish who manages to recover from floating on its side for just a few seconds making you believe for a happy second that it will be ok but there was no Lazarus act and the Dane was replaced by Gascoigne. 

Domination by Everton was certainly the tale of the tape, but against a poor Derby side it should not have relied on blatantly absent sharp-shooting forwards to kill the game off.  Yes, 'if we'd have taken the chances' we would have won impressively but the whole team, bar the 'keeper, were guilty of let-downs today and it seemed to be no fault of the manager or the tactics, for at least the fifth game on the trot! 

What was saddest about this was that thousands of visitors spent the afternoon at Goodison for the first time today, and what was served up was as half-price as the entry fee.  For pundits such as Snodin to then hype the game up as an 'excellent performance' surely undermines the quality of some of the great matches we have seen against the likes of Aston Villa and Newcastle - and will do nothing to bring back the crowds for games after Boxing Day.



Where we are now

by Richard Marland

Yet again we are confronted with the importance of winning our home games, particularly those against teams either below or around you in the table. After the defeat against Fulham we had slipped back in the table and seen our gap to the bottom three reduced to seven points. If that gap was to get further eroded then the pressure on the team would start to mount. It is imperative that we avoid that so we can continue to consolidate our mid table position. Some see that as an acceptance of mediocrity, I see that as a realistic acknowledgment of where we are as a football club.

Friday reports suggesting that Watson would revert to right back with Moore coming in up front proved incorrect as Watson continued as a striker. In fact the only change from the Fulham game was Gascoigne being dropped in favour of Alexandersson. For Derby the most significant team news was the abscence of Fabrizio Ravanelli.

First half

Without being especially good we controlled the first 45 minutes. Derby looked pretty woeful and we managed to create, and miss, chances throughout the half. Defensively we looked very comfortable and this comfort even survived the withdrawal of Stubbs for Unsworth mid way through the half.

A big thing was made in the Echo recently about Alessandro Pistone's lack of goals in the English game (1 in 80 appearances). It was somewhat perverse that it was he who came closest to scoring, not once but twice. Both times from corners and both times he hit the woodwork. No one else came as close despite numerous chances, most of which, it seemed, failed to hit the target.

Half time arrived goal-less, although we could have been out of sight.

Half time

Another pitch presentation with a big build up for the signing of Wayne Rooney. I'm not comvinced we should be making such a song and dance about the signing of a sixtenn year old, no matter how talented he is. It's undoubtedly good news for the club, but surely all something like this does is heighten expectation and pressure on a young lad who is barely starting out in the game. Before the season's out there will probably be demands to "give him his chance".

Second half

There was a second half change with Moore coming on for Pistone. The resultant reshuffle saw Watson going back to right back with Moore playing up front alongside Radzinski. With Pistone's current form I can't believe it was anything other than an enforced change.

The change didn't seem to affect us unduly. We continued to control the game, to be solid in defence and to create chances whilst still missing a certain sparkle.

Our resilience was tested further when Gravesen went off after a sickening clash of heads with Daryl Powell, both stayed down and both were stretchered off. Gascoigne came on for Gravesen but the overall pattern of the game didn't change much.

The goal was long, long overdue when it finally arrived. It was even beginning to feel like "one of those days". Naturally it went to the man with a point to prove. A long throw from Watson was flicked on by Weir, Moore bravely went in at the far post to convert with his head.

After this we seemed to let Derby back in it a little. Not sure if it was us sitting back, or them upping their game. Probably a bit of both. They brought on Kinkladze for a defender and started committing men forward. More of the play was in our half, but they still failed to create a proper chance and test Simonsen.

Despite the lack of goal threat it all got a bit edgy and Walter was going ballistic on the touchline. Ultimately a very poor Derby didn't have it in them and we ran out derserved winners.

Summary

This seems to be the recent Everton template - tight at the back and create chances without playing particularly well. Again we seemed to be lacking in midfield, passes were going astray a little too often, and too often there seemed to be a lack of options for the man on the ball. We also need to sharpen up on our goal scoring, we had lots of chances without hitting the target enough or extending the 'keeper sufficiently.

The team deserves credit for coping with three enforced changes - two of them in defence. To play so well defensively in the face of this is a credit to the players and coaching staff and shows we have some depth of cover in that department.

Moore's goal will undoubtedly be used as evidence to say he should be starting the game. I'm not so sure. We played pretty well in the second half against Southampton with Watson up front. There also wasn't much difference between the first and second half's here today. We could and should have scored in the first half. Case unproven in my eyes.

  • Simonsen 7 He continues to impress. He didn't have to do anything out of the ordinary but what he did he did with calm assurance. His continuing development was rather summed up in injury time, with nerves jangling a little we faced a corner, Simonsen didn't have a clear run at it but he made sure it was his. Just what was needed and a big psychological boost for the team.
  • Pistone 7 This was another assured display from one of our best performers this season.
  • Naysmith 7 He always seems a little laboured but invariably does what he has to do. He's a very good defender who rarely gets beaten.
  • Weir 7 Continues his good run of form.
  • Stubbs 6 Was shaping up for another good performance before being forced off.
  • Alexandersson 7 Can be a little frustrating at times but he does supply a threat. He is well overdue a goal and did get himself into good positions on a number of occasions where he was let down by his final shot. There's more to come from him but this was a step up from some of his recent lacklustre displays.
  • Gemmill 7 Not quite happening for Scot at the moment. What I like about him though, is that he is always looking to try and make something happen, it doesn't always happen and sometimes that's because of a lack of movement from his teammates.
  • Gravesen 7 The usual Thomas performance. Some good moments, some duff ones.
  • Pembridge 6 Nowhere near as effective from wide left. Did alright, can't help thinking he's keeping that berth warm for Blomqvist.
  • Watson 7 The phrase good, honest pro could have been invented for Steve Watson. Once again made a decent fist of the centre forwards job, without ever convincing that he's found a new role. Also did well when switched back to right back.
  • Radzinski 7 Getting a little concerned about his lack of goals. He continues to work hard, to show nice touches and to get in scoring positions, but he needs to deliver goals.
  • Unsworth 7 Another substitute appearance, another position. The importance of Unsworth to the Everton squad shouldn't be underestimated. This season he has filled in at left midfield, left back and now centre back, wherever he has played he has done a decent job. To have someone of his experience to fill in like that is a blessing.
  • Moore 7 Scored the crucial goal and generally looked lively and useful.
  • Gascoigne 7 Took a little while to get up to speed but then made a very positive contribution.

Team 7 Solid at the back but profligate up front. There's a spark missing somewhere and our passing game still needs to improve, but we were solid at the back and created numerous chances up front. If you're doing that you're not doing too bad.

Man of the match For me it was the defenders who caught the eye again with Weir and Naysmith not doing much wrong in the ninety minutes. For me Naysmith just edges it.

 



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