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 Weir (50') (0-1)  Bellamy (19')
Solano (48')
Acua (88')
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Everton v Newcastle
Prior League Games
 Overall  
 Everton 36
 Newcastle 18
 Draws 13
 Premiership  
 Everton 3
 Newcastle 3
 Draws 2
 Last Season:
 Everton 1-1 Newcastle

 
This match started as brightly as anyone could wish, except for the ball hitting the back of the net.  Huge expectations placed on Everton were confirmed in the first minute when Gravesen carried on from last week with another fabulous shot that was saved with equal spectacle by Given.  

But disaster on 22 mins, Gerrard came dashing off his line and smashed into Xavier as he went for the same ball, clashed heads, knocked Xavier unconscious, and Bellamy strolled through to score!  Xavier was stretchered off (and now must not play for 3 weeks!), replaced by Stubbs, and suddenly, Everton have a huge psychological mountain to climb...

Radzinski, yards offside, one-on-on with the goalie, tried to slot it past Given but failed.  Radz was right back in a move by Gemmill, but that was wide too as the Glorious Chances list started to grow ominously.  Everton huffed and puffed to regain their early shape and flow, but attacks lacked conviction, and the finishing was poor.  

Meanwhile, Newcastle looked every inch liked they were fully prepared to hammer home their advantage with a second goal.  Half-time came as a blessed relief. 

Hardly had the second half started and the disaster turned into a catastrophe: Noberto Solano fairly walked the ball into the net as the Everton defence looked on.  But two minutes later, a glorious Alexandersson cross was bulleted home by a brilliant Weir header: Game on!  

Chances came... and chances went.  Ferguson came on for Campbell.  More glorious chances spurned.  Minutes ticked by... Gascoigne came on for Unsworth; more excellent chances... the goal gapping...

Then, a poor free-kick from Gascoigne, Bellamy breaks, Acua scores.  The End.



M A T C H    F A C T S
  Match Info  
  FA Premiership 2001-02, Game 10
3:00pm  Saturday 27 October 2001
Goodison Park, Liverpool
Referee: Jeff Winter
Att: 37,524
Position: 10th
Line-ups Subs not used
Everton: Gerrard; Pistone, Weir, Xavier (23' Stubbs), Unsworth (84' Gascoigne); Alexandersson, Gravesen, Gemmill, Naysmith; Radzinski, Campbell (68' Ferguson). Simonsen,  Hibbert.
Unavailable:  Chadwick, Pembridge, Watson (injured); Tal (International Duty); Moore (flu); Nyarko (loan) 
Newcastle United Given, Elliott, O'Brien, Dabizas, Hughes, Solano (90' Lua-Lua), Acua, Speed, Robert, Shearer, Bellamy. 
Bassedas, Harper, Ameobi, Distin. 
Playing Strips Formations
Everton: Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks. 4-4-2
Newcastle United: Black & white shirts; black shorts; black socks 4-4-2
  Yellow Cards Red Cards
Everton: Gemmill (75') --
Newcastle United: Acua (38'), Shearer (67'), Solano (86') --


Premiership Scores
Midweek
Aston Villa 1-0 Charlton
West Ham 2-1 Chelsea
Sotton 3-3 Ipswich
Saturday
Aston Villa 3-2 Bolton
Charlton  0-2 Liverpool
Everton  1-3 Newcastle
Fulham  2-1 Sotton
Man Utd 1-1 Leeds
Sunderland  1-1 Arsenal
Tottenham  2-1 Middlesbro
Sunday
Derby 1-1 Chelsea
Ipswich  2-3 West Ham
Monday
Blackburn  0-0 Leicester


Premiership Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Aston Villa 21
2 Leeds 20
3 Arsenal 19
4 Liverpool 19
5 Man Utd 18
6 Newcastle 17
7 Tottenham 17
8 Chelsea 15
9 Bolton 15
10 Blackburn 14
11 Everton 14
12 West Ham 14
13 Sunderland 13
14 Fulham 11
15 Middlesbrough 11
16 Charlton 10
17 Ipswich 8
18 Derby 7
19 Southampton 7
20 Leicester 6
After 29 October 2001
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
Rob Burns Well-oiled machine with loose screw
Matt Fearon Shooting ourselves in the foot
Richard Marland An unmitigated catastrophe
Links to Other Media Reports
Electronic Telegraph Match Report
BBC Sport Match Report   Audio Report
FA Premier Match Report
Sky Sports Match Report
Sporting Life Match Report
SoccerNet Match Report
The Sunday Times Match Report
The Observer Match Report
The Guardian Match Report
The Independent Match Report
The Times Match Report
Liverpool Echo Match Report
Daily Post Match Report


Match Preview

Everton move to secure an almost unprecedented third home win in a row as they take on Newcastle in a gripping mid-table six-pointer.  And Abel Xavier is just one of a number of Everton players who can be rated as "much improved".  

So what has given Everton such a promising boost as we pass the quarter-mark of the season?  There seem to be a number of factors in play, not least a final reduction in the almost endless round of injuries, with just Pembridge missing on Saturday.  

Rumour has it that Walter Smith tried his best to accommodate Alan Stubbs, by forcing the team to play an uncomfortable 5-3-2 formation which simply didn't work.  Ditching Stubbs in favour of a much more logical 4-4-2 certainly seems to have improved the quality of football being played on the ground!

So an Everton team high in confidence takes on a Newcastle side that boasts an almost identical record in the upper mid-table zone.  There should be no reason why Everton cannot go out and stuff the barcodes by playing the same brand of football they finally demonstrated against West Ham and Aston Villa.

The demotion of Duncan Ferguson and David Unsworth must also figure strongly in any cause-and-effect analysis.  Radzinski offers so much more than the Big Yin, and his movement off the ball has been key in bringing the best out of an exhilarating Tommy Gravesen.  But wouldn't it be nice to see Big Dunc come off the bench fired up against his old team to seal the win by scoring a nice goal or two with his head something he hasn't done for Everton since 1998!!!

It's at times like this, when Everton have every reason to be on the crest of a wave, that the fates conspire to bring us down again with a bump... but not this time!  We've had enough of watching crap football from Everton.  And there really is no reason why Everton should not springboard from the foundation of much improved recent performances to move even further up the table.

Mark "Pembinho" Pembridge is ruled out with the injury that forced his withdrawal from last week's win over Aston Villa and Scott Gemmill is expected to take his place in the line-up for the 300th League appearance of his career. Paul Gascoigne - who, like Gemmill, came through a midweek reserves game unscathed - will likely start on the bench. Idan Tal is away on international duty.

Everton's record against the Magpies at Goodison Park in the Premier League is very even; three wins, three defeats and one draw. The good news is that Newcastle have beaten the Blues only once in the last six games, home or away, so Everton are improving their performances against the Geordies.

Come on you Blues!



Well-oiled Machine with loose screw

by Rob Burns

A game of optimism and opportunity this afternoon as Walter Smith looked for the fourth in a consistent run of performances from his Everton side.  Optimism because recent history has not seen the Geordies put up a real show at Goodison, and the last few games have seen Everton achieve an impressive standard of flowing, attractive football with excitement and passion to boot.  Opportunities for Everton to begin to cement a place in and around the top rungs of the Premiership, and opportunities a-plenty for the Blues to punish a poor Newcastle side with a hatful of chances.

Sadly it simply wasn't Everton's day but Walter seems bullish about his new-found charm on players who looked ordinary early in the season and he is now showing a determination to get real results that has been conspicuous by its absence during his reign.

The now familiar 4-4-2 line-up saw two enforced changes with Pembridge and Watson out through injury.  In stepped fan's favourite David Unsworth and Scott Gemmill, a man who looks to be a "thinking man's footballer" combining fire and intelligence in his play.  Pistone switched to the right with Unsworth in the left back role; Gemmill alongside Gravesen in the middle.

Notable inclusions for Newcastle were Gary Speed who should have been applauded, not booed, when the teams were read out for his greatest contribution in setting Evertonians free from his limited football.  Shearer led the line alongside Juninho, who is now sporting shoulder pads and a big mouth calling himself 'Craig Bellamy'.  Despite causing some early threats it was Abel Xavier - himself an exotic, blonde-bearded version of naturalist David who looked set to win the "battle of the Bellamy's".

That was, of course, until the drugs kicked in.  At the risk of being accused of poor taste, the events which led to the opening goal of this afternoon were like an amateur dramatic society's interpretation of the terrible September 11th catastrophe - as the full force of the flying Gerrard hit Xavier with such power that he collapsed unconscious to the turf.  

Yes, the long ball had been dangerous and Abel was struggling to stay with the quick footed Bellamy, but one can only assume a massive rush of blood came to the head of the Everton 'keeper as he shot out of his goal towards the battling duo, leapt wildly as the ball went over him just outside the 'D', and impacted on a defender who would only be camouflaged if we played on a surface made up of choc ices.  Bellamy was left to walk the ball into the net at his leisure.  

Xavier was stretchered off and replaced by Stubbs, who will probably hold his place for the next three weeks as Abel faces the compulsory lay-off after the KO blow.

Everton are good at rallying these days, though, and despite the initially apparent shock of the bizarre goal and the loss of the iron rock in defence began to prove themselves the classier outfit.  Gravesen was in the ascendancy and has found his shooting boots for this season a volley from distance had forced a save from Given early on and his visionary passing was forcing Radzinski and Alexandersson into the thick of the action. 

Radzinski was sent clear and, in a chance worthy of fluttering anyone's mortgage, he hit the feet of the advancing Given.  It was Gravesen again who was the spark for another in a series of chances, as he dipped and swerved past 4 Newcastle players only to be fouled by Acua, who received a yellow card.  The free kick from Unsworth took a deflection that probably helped Given who was there in time to parry the ball up and over.

It is said that humans have an instinct to revert to the comfort and safety of the womb, and Alexandersson is certainly a man at peace with his situation now he is being allowed free rein over the right side of the field.  His footwork, running off the ball, crossing and dare I even say defensive positioning is improving with every game.  He even seems to have overcome apparent stamina problem and is playing 100% for a full 90 minutes.  With Gravesen eager to supply, and this afternoon sitting in front of the intelligent and strong Pistone, he was a vital link in Everton's football.

The mood was positive at half time, despite the deficit, and the entertainment was enthralling as always as someone took penalties and someone else got presented with something from someone.  Sorry if that was your relative or offspring!

Everton restarted with fervour but unlike Aston Villa last week, Newcastle were definitely at the races and on 48 minutes Shearer's cross found the stooping Solano who somehow managed to beat Pistone and then Gerrard with the header.  The celebrations were hardly over as Weir rose to an excellent Alexandersson corner from the right in front of the Park End and sent the ball home with a bullet header.

Despite the blues attacking in waves and putting real pressure on a physical but technically poor Toon defence, the goals weren't coming as Radzinski went close at the far post and Unsworth and Naysmith both had shots blocked.  Sad to say that this brought to the fore the very worst elements of the 37,000 strong crowd.  Campbell had survived a battering of pushes and pulls from Dabizas in particular, was working hard and complimenting the red hot Radzinski - taking defenders away to leave space for the Everton onslaught.  But a small-minded few making what must have been their first trip to Goodison began to sing the name of the ginger Taliban himself.  

Campbell had become a 'lazy bastard' and 'the most unpopular Everton captain I have known'.  He 'couldn't win a header' despite giving away a six-inch height advantage to at least 2 of the barcoded centre-halfs, and when he failed to control a short pass in the middle of the park it was almost boos all around.  WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH EVERTON FANS?  It is difficult to argue that we have any kind of a fan base when in the midst of an excellent performance they can turn on the captain who is, without a doubt, playing his heart out.  The whole Ferguson thing demonstrates complete naivety as the guy has not only failed to turn in a decent performance all season but whose goals-to-shots ratio is probably surpassed now by Davey Weir!

Still, the boo boys got their way and so enters our 'hero'.  Campbell went down as a result of a foul and appeared to be in some discomfort with back pain.  Ferguson almost immediately was played through from the left but his pace let him down and, despite forcing a great save from Given, should probably have put the shot low and beyond.  

The big Scot is infuriating with his seeming inability to turn - he is determined to start and finish the move and tends to face his own goal and lay off the ball backwards regardless of where his attacking colleagues may be running.  Radzinski seemed almost to give up with Ferguson's introduction as he was forced to be the playmaker and provider of the two.  As a former Fergie fan, I am disappointed to say that I no longer feel he has a place in what has become a footballing side.

Walter again showed his new colours as he threw caution to the wind and introduced Gascoigne for Unsworth, whose performance was overall steady and did not feature the uncouth long balls which many had anticipated from him before the game.  Yes we had missed Pistone on that side but Unsworth had done some justice to his selection.

Gazza got involved with schoolboy enthusiasm, but it was this that finally conceded the game for Everton.  A free kick from the left was taken too quickly for all occupants of the ground and, after a poor cross deflected off the Newcastle wall, Bellamy streaked away.  Despite a rapid chase from Pistone whose starting position was on the opposite side of the pitch Bellamy combined with Robert for Acua to finish.

There were few dissenting voices on leaving the ground this afternoon, although many felt that without the unfortunate first goal that Newcastle were ready to crumble.  Everton's performance had been far more impressive than the result suggested and possibly more disturbing was the loss of Campbell and Xavier to injury.  

Walter is using to full effect a well-oiled machine, but has few spares in case anything should go wrong.  What he does have is several hundred defective tools who seem determined to undo the good by pressuring Campbell and revelling in the history that is Duncan Ferguson's youth.  Everton face Bolton next and have every chance at the Reebok if the Tommy Gravesen roadshow can perform to its now normal high standard. 



Shooting Ourselves in the Foot

by Matt Fearon

At five-to-three, Goodison was basking in Merseyside sunshine, the crowd was unfamiliarly buoyant, with '4-0' and '3-1' predictions fluttering 'round Gwladys St.

However, by 3 o'clock the first shadow was cast across the pitch with the realisation that David 'too fat, too slow, too bad' Unsworth had been drafted in to replace Stevie Watson.  Now, Smith has been displaying the makings of a football brain over the last few weeks, but to overlook the young and exciting Hibbert was criminal, to play Unsworth: a capital offence.

Close season, I was convinced 'Rhino' should have been offered an extension, but he has done very, very little to repay Smith's faith.  Today he was second to every ball, failed to link up with Naysmith, and insisted on pretending his fellow bench-warmer, Big Yin, was playing with his ugly ineffective hoofs out of defence.

However, less of the negative press, because the boys deserve better.  From the first whistle, Gravesen leapt at the opposition, devouring everything and everyone in his path, continuing this season's sublime form.  It took him only 3 minutes to grab the 'almost capacity' crowd's eyes, forcing Given into a good save from 30 yards.  Moments later, 'Mad Dog' scythed through the Toon's midfield, drew the defence, before slipping the ball through to Alexandersson, only to see the Swede waste a glorious opportunity by pulling his shot wide of Given's far post.  The miss was to prove costly.

Campbell, lacklustre and uninspirational all match, dawdled, lost possession, Solano booted the ball up=field in hope rather than expectation.  Gerrard debated whether to leave his beloved 6-yard box, closed his eyes and charged, mistook Xavier for the ball (Don't worry Paul, anyone could make the same mistake!), and allowed Bellamy to stop laughing long enough to nudge the ball into to the open goal.  In one fell swoop, the 'keeper who prevents Simonsen and Myhre getting a game, had gifted the 'Barcodes' a goal, very much against the run of play, taking out our classiest player who was having yet another immaculate game in the process.

Full credit to this new, rejuvenated side; they didn't let their heads drop and continued stroking the ball about the park like they had trained together all week.  Gemmill complements the tireless Gravesen perfectly, justifying Smith's decision to leave Gazza on the bench.  Pistone continues to be the most improved player in the world... ever a new Maldini!!  And if Alexandersson improves his crossing, we have a fantastically adventurous right-winger, who is remembering the joy of beating his markers. 

Indeed, it was the Swede's pass that beat the offside trap to release 'Hot Rad', whose composure deserted him in the face of the crouching Given.  Rather than taking it either side, as he did with devastating results vs West Ham, he merely shot hurriedly straight at the 'keeper.

Our confident movement and passing was making a potentially irresistible Newcastle side look even more poverty-stricken than 'Boro.  Radzinski didn't let his miss affect his confidence, popping up all over the place, adding purpose to hopeful passes and chasing lost causes with an enthusiasm that wasn't matched by his captain.  One of his turbo-charged runs forcing Given to parry round the post, and seconds later combining slickly with Gemmill, only for the Scot's shot to bullet agonisingly wide. 

The Blues piled on the pressure, with Gravesen at the heart of every move; another of his powerful but deceptively silky runs being ruthlessly halted by the dirty Acua, who rightly saw yellow.  From the resulting free-kick, Stubbs (on as Xavier's replacement) came within inches of ripping the Gwladys St net to pieces, but again Given was equal.

With minutes to go until half-time, Unsworth was pole-axed in mid-air by Acua's elbow, an offence that warrented much more than the severe talking to that 'whistle-happy' Winter dished out.  One can't help feeling, if it had been Big Dunc...?

The second-half began in frantic fashion, as we managed to throw away the match and claw it back, all in the space of 5 minutes.  The impressive Bellamy was causing Unsworth and Stubbs nightmares with his pace, and another of his breaks led to an innocuous far post cross that should have been secured by Gerrard; instead Solano flung himself in-front of Pistone, directing his header with painful slowness towards the bottom corner where Gerrard instead of reacting like a cat chose to crawl across his line like a newborn kitten, diving despairingly over the ball.

2-0 down and they had barely had a sniff.  With the crowd rousing their losing heroes as only Goodison can, Nic won a corner, whipped it in himself, where Weir met the cross with a thunderous downward header: 2-1, and right back in it.  Rad sent a header a fraction wide, before the disappointing Campbell was replaced by Ferguson who, while running himself into the ground, never really looked like making anything happen apart from a lucky ricochet that fell kindly to Dunc 12 yards out, but he could only find Given's palms.

With just 4 minutes to go, we threw all we had left at them, only to be unfairly caught on the break.  Although I have been reliably informed that the goal won't stand because Acua shouldn't have been on the pitch at the time.

We didn't deserve to lose, but we need to start converting our chances.  In the last 5 matches we have dropped points against Blackburn, Ipswich and now Newcastle, all games that we deserved to win. The plus points are numerous though: 

  • we made enough chances to win, it would be even more worrying if we were playing poorly; 
  • the side is gelling nicely resulting in attractive flowing football that is alien to any Evertonian under the age of 20; 
  • in Rad we have unearthed a gem, but give him time; 
  • the back-four is both solid and can play football, let's just hope Abel and Stevie are back soon!!

Man of the Match: Gravesen.  He tailed off towards the end of the match but by then his hard work and ingenuity should have had the game wrapped up.

Moan(s) of the match: Campbell is not a captain!!  Weir proved today, and throughout this season that he deserves the prestigious accolade.  Simonsen needs a run in the side, too often this season Gerrard has cost us goals almost single handedly.

Wrong result, but right performance; we're still on the right track.  So, roll on Bolton!!



An unmitigated catastrophe

by Richard Marland

Sitting pretty in eighth place in the table, the hope was to consolidate yet further with a good performance against another of the division's mid-table teams.

Team

It was a straight choice between Gemmill and Gascoigne for the vacant midfield berth.  As Gemmill had done pretty well there last week and as he is probably a bit ahead of Gascoigne in terms if fitness, it was no surprise to see him get the nod.  What wasn't anticipated was Steve Watson failing a fitness test before the match; there had been no whisper of an injury through the week but he has been picking some knocks in the early stages of the season.  Walter eschewed the obvious in Hibbert, preferring instead to move Pistone over to the right and introduce Unsworth at left back.

First half

Fresh from our confidence-building win against Aston Villa, we started very well and very brightly.  Gravesen in particular seemed to be bursting with confidence and was shooting, with some effect, from anywhere.  One attempt was heading for the top corner and needed an excellent save from Given to keep it out, another was deflected away for a corner.

Our ebullient start wasn't to last and we faded away a little , we were still doing OK but Newcastle were dragging themselves into it.

We were doing alright until Paul Gerrard's calamitous intervention around the half-hour mark.  A long hopeful punt forward fell into the space between Gerrard and Xavier.  It was one of those awkward ones, is it going to come straight through into the area?  Will Xavier get there to nod it back?  Does it need Gerrard to leave his box and head it clear?  If he'd stayed put it probably would have come straight through to him, instead he charged out, completely missed the ball, clattered into Xavier and left Bellamy with an empty net.  It can only be described as a calamitous mistake by Gerrard, and to make matters worse it also caused us to lose our best defender, with Xavier being stretchered off to be replaced by Stubbs.

His colleagues went the right way about putting Gerrard's mistake right.  They pressed forward, they won corners, they created half chances, but they couldn't create a goal.  It seemed to be one of those days when the ball always seemed to fall to the opposition.

We reached half time still with a one goal deficit, an incredibly unjust reflection of the half.

Second half

We probably lost the game within the first few minutes of the second half.  We seemed to be incredibly slow out of the blocks, which is somewhat at odds with our more recent second half performances.  Newcastle were repeatedly winning the ball, they played a neat little passing movement with scandalously little in the way of challenges, which ended with Shearer floating in a cross and the diminutive Solano scoring with a glancing header.

To be fair to the Blues, this did rouse them and they quickly started to exert pressure on Newcastle.  Reward came when Davey Weir rose to power in a header from a corner.  At 2-1 with well over 30 minutes to go, this match wasn't over yet.  We pressed with some conviction after this; we had a number of corners and even won headers from a good proportion of them but the ball just wouldn't fall right for us.

Campbell picked up a knock and was replaced by Ferguson.  Dunc probably had our clearest chance, but Given managed to tip over his right footed shot.  If the chance had fallen on his left foot I reckon he would have scored, but that just about summed up our day.

The last throw of the dice was to bring on Gascoigne for Unsworth; Naysmith dropped back to left back and Gravesen went to left midfield.  Gascoigne looked quite lively, but ultimately played a hand in putting us right out of the match.  We won a free kick which the ref then advanced ten yards thanks to yet more Newcastle complaints and delaying tactics.  It was now in range for an attempt at goal.  Instead, Gascoigne attempted a quick one across the edge of the area to who knows who, which was intercepted by a Newcastle head.  With us committed forward they broke at speed with Acua finally converting.  Now I've nothing against quick free kicks, they are frequently better than lumping the ball hopefully into the box.  The problem was this wasn't that quick, Newcastle had everyone back, and I just couldn't see who it was going to put into a good opportunity.

That goal knocked the stuffing out of us and signalled the end of the contest.  We went through the motions but never remotely looked like scoring.

Summary

Despite the scoreline this wasn't a particularly bad performance.  We played some really nice stuff at times and looked fairly solid at the back.  Given made a number of notable saves and on another day we may have got a kinder run of the ball.

The one area of the pitch were we struggled a little was in midfield.  Gravesen after an excellent start seemed to drift out of the game, without that midfield platform our attacking play was short of the standards it achieved against West Ham and Aston Villa.

In it's own right, this result though disappointing isn't disastrous and doesn't necessarily herald the start of a downwards slide.  As long as the performance level is reasonable there is always something positive to take out of the game.  This performance was undoubtedly reasonable and the defeat very harsh.  Let us hope that it is merely a blip.

Ratings

  • Gerrard 5 Aside from that Moment, this was a pretty decent display; he made two or three very good saves.  But, the mistake was truly horrendous.  Now we all know Gerrard isn't truly good enough something that we can say about a number of our players.  But he is a capable performer and frankly we are stuck with him.  Better 'keepers than him have been making shocking blunders recently.  Let's hope it was a one-off aberration.
  • Pistone 8 Another highly accomplished display, this time at right back.
  • Unsworth 7 Put in a decent honest, performance.
  • Xavier 6 Was looking like he was in for another good day.
  • Weir 7 Played very well.
  • Alexandersson 7 Another who consolidated recent excellent performances.  Tracked back well and used the ball well going forward.
  • Gemmill 7 Always looking and prompting; the pick of the midfield.
  • Gravesen 6 After his recent displays and the start he made to this match, Thomas was a big disappointment today.  For large portions of this match he completely and utterly disappeared.  That's just not good enough in the Premiership.
  • Naysmith 7 His usual diligent performance.  A clever player who does his job with the minimum of fuss.
  • Campbell 7 The target of much unrest at the moment, it's starting to slide towards John Ebbrell territory with every perceived mistake being latched onto by the "supporters".  He isn't at his best but I don't think he's doing that badly.
  • Radzinski 7 With the supply not coming from midfield, this wasn't his best day but there was still plenty to admire.
  • Stubbs 7 I was a bit worried that the loss of Xavier may upset the whole balance of the defence.  My fears were largely unfounded as Stubbs did a very good job for us.
  • Ferguson 6 Did OK, played the target role pretty well, and almost scored.
  • Gascoigne 6 Got into the game a bit more than he did against Aston Villa.  A few good moments, should get better as he gets fitter.

Team 6 A reasonable performance let down by individual errors.

Man of the Match The immaculate Alessandro Pistone.



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