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 Whelan (35')
 Nemeth (37')
 Ince (42')
(3-0)  
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Middlesbro v Everton:
Prior Cup Games
 Overall  
 Middlesbrough 1
 Everton 2
 Draws 3
 FA Cup  
 Middlesbrough 1
 Everton 0
 Draws 3
 Last Cup-Tie:

Middlesbro 2-3 Everton


Walter Smith opted to dispense with the sparkling but intermittent talents of Mr Ginola, but he did not adopt his usual fully defensive posture of a 4-5-1 line-up, choosing instead to start with Radzinski and Joe-Max Moore up front.  Don't even ask how many minutes that partnership has on the field. 

Everton started well and held Boro at bay for the best part of 30 mins.  But a comedy of errors led to the first goal that then opened the floodgates for a Boro side that could not believe its luck.  A long punt from Ince was well covered by the advancing Simonsen but Pistone intervened to head over his own goalie and Whelan was on hand to tap in a simple opener.

Two minutes later and it was all over.  Everton were caught on break, Boksic hit the bar, and Nemeth followed up to head in off the post.

Everton where in utter disarray as a result of this double whammy, and were in no shape to prevent a third goal before half-time, when both Gascoigne and Stubbs were at fault, allowing Greening to run through middle.  Boksic's shot was parried by Simonsen, but Ince was there to tap in rebound.

What a great situation for Walter Smith to thrust the young Nick Chadwick into at half-time: 3-0 down in a critical FA Cup quarter-final and 5,000+ Evertonians baying for blood Smith's blood!  Chadwick and Alexandersson come on for Moore and Linderoth....

Everton actually tried to take it to Boro early in the second half, with shots from Alexandersson, Stubbs, and Radzinski.  Chadwick had made a tangible difference to the attack.  But the ball just would not go in.  

To give the players their due, they made a brave fist of a dreadful situation after that 7-minute blitz in the first half had destroyed almost all hope of moving on in this, Everton's favourite competition.

Surely now Bill Kenwright will act to end the suffering and dispense with the incompetent Water Smith?   No, he won't; Walter will stay until the end of the season, if not the end of his contract.

That's what we assumed... but within a week, he was gone!



M A T C H    F A C T S
 Sports Match Info  
  FA Cup 2001-02, 6th Round
1:00pm  Sunday 10 March 2002
Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough
Referee: A Wiley (Burntwood)
Att: 26,950
TV: BBC1
Line-ups Subs not used
Middlesbrough Schwarzer, Festa, Southgate, Queudrue, Stockdale, Ince, Greening, Mustoe, Boksic (74' Debeve), Nemeth (84' Marinelli), Whelan (88' Windass).  Crossley, Gavin. 
Everton: Simonsen; Pistone, Stubbs, Weir, Unsworth, Clarke; Gascoigne, Gemmill (76' Blomqvist), Linderoth (46' Alexandersson); Radzinski, Moore (46' Chadwick).  Gerrard, Cleland. 
Unavailable:  Carsley (Cup-tied); Ferguson (unfit); Campbell, Naysmith, Pembridge, Watson (injured); Nyarko (on loan).  Suspended: Gravesen 
Playing Strips Formations
Middlesbrough: Red shirts; red shorts; red socks 4-4-2
Everton: Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks. 5-3-2
  Yellow Cards Red Cards
Middlesbrough: Mustoe (55')  --
Everton: Stubbs (20'), Greening (82')  --


FA Cup 6th Round
Saturday
Newcastle 1-1 Arsenal
Sunday
Middlesbro 3-0 Everton
Tottenham 0-4 Chelsea
West Brom 0-1 Fulham
 


M A T C H     R E P O R T S
Everton Web Sites
ToffeeWeb Match Summary
EvertonFC.com Match Report
When Skies Are Grey Match Report
From The Terrace Match Report
Blue Kipper Match Report
Everton Fans' Reports
Richard Marland An Utter Shocker
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 Guardian Match Report
The Independent Match Report
The Times Match Report
Liverpool Echo Match Report
Daily Post Match Report


Match Preview

As if things weren't bad enough for Everton, the Ginola experiment appears to have completely failed just when you might have (foolishly) expected that Walter Smith would opt for creativity over negativity in order to get something from what promises to be a very difficult FA Cup tie.

On paper, this could be considered a winnable game fro Everton almost the easiest tie of the draw as they too are one dimensional and basically poor.  They have a solid back line, competitive midfield and Boksic upfront.  Ehiogu will be suspended which is a player that they will miss but as we couldn't score when Leeds had Radebe, Woodgate, Ferdinand and Matteo missing it probably won't make any difference.

For us, Carsley is cup-tied and Gravesen suspended.  Gemmill is therefore a certainty but, after Wednesday's Upton Park debacle, it is clear that midfield weakness and inconsistency are costing us dear with a performance painfully bereft of creativity.  Gemmill and Alexandersson (particularly Alexandersson) were simply dreadful. 

When Gravesen came on he was (again and again) the best player on the pitch.  Why does he not start?  Cannot Walter Smith for once allow his pride to take a back seat in the interest of the Everton team?   Carsley tried a bit but was often isolated or overlooked as we lumped it high towards Campbell.   Blomqvist missed a couple of great chances that just may have settled us down.

For long spells, we could not string two passes together or even manage a simple layoff.  Radz ran his heart out to no avail but no-one else really seemed interested.  Actually, maybe I should retract that in relation to Stubbs and Weir, who at the moment are playing well above everyone else in Blue.

Although we were atrocious, I am glad I made the rare effort to attend because now I have to wholeheartedly agree with the doom-mongers and Smith-outers who are so frustrated and angry.  The disorganization and incompetence on the field from a team of potentially good players was a damning indictment of what will soon be (I hope) the Smith & Knox legacy.

The performance was as unpromising and (quite frankly) dull as I have seen.  Ignore the "luck" attached to their goal.  Smith is unlucky injuries and freak goals appear to abound.  Unlucky teams get relegated...

Campbell's injury looks bad but I can't be that bothered; he was simply woeful and Dunc can't be any worse although we are led to believe that he won't even be considered.  Maybe Smith will be forced to play Chadwick at some point, but he's more likely to stick with one upfront and play for a draw.

We'll work hard and challenge in the middle and be clueless upfront.  They'll be basically the same.

The Cup may engineer one moment of magic from Ginola, who has made the ridiculous suggestion that a Cup Final win would soften the blow of relegation!  I'm sure he came on at Upton Park but I don't think I saw him after he came across the touchline.  At least he may have a target in Dunc.

Prediction: Dour game.  One goal to settle it, I'll be damned if I know which team is the worst though I have my suspicions...

BlueForEver

 



An Utter Shocker

by Richard Marland

My first away in several seasons.  I had absolutely no intention of going but when you're offered a free ticket, and a free lift over, well, you go don't you?

I was viewing this in match in two ways: a chance to get a step closer to a rather unlikely FA Cup final appearance; and another chance to break our current wretched run of form.  All logic dictated we would get nothing out of it.  Everyone knows all about our current run of form and our problems scoring.  Middlesbrough, meanwhile, are going well at home even if their league position shows that they are nothing special.  Needless to say, we went in thinking "Why not?"

The team selection looked designed to get them back to Goodison with options on the bench to try and change things round if necessary.

First half

For the first ten to fifteen minutes, all seemed to be well.  We saw quite a bit of the ball and, without looking too threatening, looked fairly comfortable.  Somewhere, though, we began to lose our way.  Middlesbrough gained control of the midfield and suddenly we were being pushed back.  I didn't get the feeling that a goal was imminent; we were still defending capably enough, but the momentum was definitely with them.

Then the roof fell in... and, to make it worse, it was largely of our own making.  First, Pistone was chasing a high ball aimed to the corner of the box.  It was fairly routine and he seemed to have it covered by heading it back to Simonsen.  Unfortunately, though, Simonsen had come too far and could only get a hand on it leaving Noel Whelan with an open goal.  Calamitous stuff and down to Simonsen in my book.  Either he stays put and waits for the back-pass, or he comes positively to take charge of the situation.  He got caught in no-man's land doing neither.

We needed a positive reaction from the players we didn't get it.  Within minutes, a Middlesbrough break caught us out, our entire defence got sucked over to the right, leaving Noel Whelan all on his own; his shot came back off the bar to be headed in by Nemeth.  A nightmare 10-minute spell was then concluded by none other than Paul Ince converting after yet another parting of the Everton defence.

Second half

Three-nil down at half time there was an obvious inclination to just head off for home.  We resisted, promising to give them 25 minutes to see what would happen.  One interesting little diversion was the half time chat my companions had with Bill Kenwright.  We were seated about ten rows behind the director's box, the stairs leading out were directly behind the director's box. Bill stayed by his seat for the half time interval, so the lads called him over on their way to the toilet.  Apparently he said "this can't go on".  Read into that what you will...  Once I realised that he was there, I watched him for the rest of the interval  He looked a haunted man; he has some colossal decisions to make.

Changes clearly had to be made; Chadwick and Alexandersson came on for Moore and Linderoth.  This had us reverting to a flat back four with Unsworth going to left midfield, Pistone to left back and Clarke to right back.

There was an improvement although we could hardly be any worse!  But at 3-0 down it was all empty-gesture stuff.  We did create a few good chances; needless to say, we missed  them.  The final throw of the dice was Blomqvist for Gemmill with Unsworth now going to centre midfield.  Blomqvist had a couple of good runs but again it was empty-gesture time.

With 10 minutes to go and Middlesbrough show-boating, the crowd started their "ole's".  It was time to go, only the second time I ever left a match early.

Summary

There was no great disappointment in getting knocked out of the Cup; that was a mere incidental the good fortune of our run had been brought into stark reality.  No, the overriding thought was "Where do we go from here?"  Our dire run of form had continued.  Our attacking threat looks more and more pitiful by the week, the mood on the terraces is getting worse.  As Bill said, "This can't go on."

It is now clear that Walter can have no long term future at Everton.  When you've lost the fan's to this degree, there is no turning back.  Walter has to go.  But should he go now or in the summer?  Whichever way we go, we are gambling with our Premiership survival.

If we get rid of Walter today, then there is a very limited field of possibles to turn to.  It is unlikely that the likes of Dave Jones, Gary Megson, or David Moyes would jump ship now.  Instead, we would have to look towards the quick fix, out of work managers like Joe Royle, Howard Kendall or George Graham.  The stark choice seems to be between a hope that Walter can pull something together, or an "inspiring" caretaker appointment.  Hobson's choice in my eyes.

No wonder Bill Kenwright looked haunted at half time.  He is wrestling with a monumental decision.  Please God, let him get this right.

  • Simonsen 6  Culpable for the goal and another later misunderstanding with Weir.  Has the honeymoon period ended?  This is a big test for him now.
  • Pistone 6  Apart from the goal a generally tidy performance.
  • Weir 6  Did OK but the defence let in three.
  • Stubbs 6  Ditto Weir.
  • Clarke 6  Did alright.
  • Unsworth 6  Another who did OK.
  • Linderoth 5  After a tidy start totally disappeared.
  • Gascoigne 5  Was this his swan song?  Looked off the pace and past it.
  • Gemmill 5  Once again failed to influence the game.
  • Radzinski 5  Isolated in the first half.  Missed our best chances in the second.
  • Moore 5  Maybe this was why Watson was preferred in attack to him.  Utterly ineffectual.
  • Alexandersson 5  Yet again failed to deliver.
  • Chadwick 6  One of the few to come out with any sort of credit.  Looked willing, linked well with Radz on a couple of occasions.
  • Blomqvist 6  A couple of good runs.

Team 4  An utter shocker.  Bereft of everything.

Man of the match  Doesn't seem right to give one.  But, if anyone, probably Stubbs.



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