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 Pre-Season Friendly (9); Goodison Park, Liverpool; Saturday 10 August 2002; 3:00pm
Attendance: 13,678
Halftime: 0-1

Urzaiz (45')

Referee: Uriah Rennie

David Unsworth's Testimonial

In an era when testimonial games are becoming something of a rarity, Everton have pulled all the stops out to celebrate the commitment and dedication of one of Everton's most consistent Evertonians in recent seasons. 

Stubbs and Campbell both recovered from injuries to make the team, with Campbell playing alongside Wayne Rooney.

Wright saved Blues blushes on 31 minutes when Etxeberria was clean through but the new 'keeper made an excellent save.  

Uriah Rennie, of course, had to do the controversial thing, booking David Unsworth for a fairly innocuous challenge.  Then, just before half-time, Bilbao scored with Urzaiz lifting the ball easily over Wright.

Li Tie (pronounced Lee T'ja) made his first unofficial appearance at Goodison, to a generous welcome for the crowd.  Rodrigo (are we really going to call him Rodrigol before has even scored one in anger?) then came on along with Pembridge.  Then Radzinski replaced Rooney, who had played very well but once again failed to score.


Match Facts
Everton (4-4-2)
Blue shirts, white shorts, blue socks
Naysmith (74' Pembridge) 
Alexandersson (74' Rodrigo) 
Linderoth (70' Li Tie)
Rooney (79' Radzinski)

Subs not used:
Li Wei Feng, Carsley

Yellow Cards: Unsworth (35')

Red Cards:

(Injured:) Watson, Ferguson, Yobo, 
Gemmill, Chadwick

Athletic Bilbao (4-4-2)
_ shirts, _ shorts, _socks
Lafuente (25' Aranzubia)
Del Horno (69' Larrazabal)
Oscar Vales (66' Murillo)
A Karanka
J Etxeberria
Ezquerro (14' Javi Gonzales)

Subs not used:
Arriaga, Aduriz

Yellow Cards:

Red Cards:

Match Reports


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When Skies Are Grey Match Report
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Steve Bickerton Match Report
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0 min - David Unsworth takes to the field with a wonderful reception from the Goodison Park crowd.

2 min - Good work from Kevin Campbell wins the first corner of the game, but a poor corner from Alexandersson means that Bilbao can clear with the minimum of fuss.

4 mins - Good work by Ezquerro finds Urzaiz lurking in the box, but the midfielder blasts his shot over the bar.

4 mins - Wayne Rooney picks up the ball on the left hand side and floats in a delightful ball which Kevin Campbell glances wide.

9 mins - Tony Hibbert catches Ezquerro with a late challenge and the Bilbao winger is able to carry on after treatment.

12 mins - Niclas Alexandersson's goalbound shot from six yards is blocked by Oscar Valez.

14 mins - Javi Gonzales replaces Ezquerro.

16 mins - Gurpegi's powerful header from Etxeberria's cross goes wide.

17 mins - A lovely lay-off from Kevin Campbell finds Thomas Gravesen who's shot was saved by Lafuente.

18 mins - Guerrero's free-kick, which takes a deflection sails over the bar.

20 mins - Almost a fairytale at Goodison.  Niclas Alexandersson's floated ball is met by a David Unsworth who slides in at the far post.  Unfortunately, he cannot get any direction on his effort which goes into the side netting.

23 mins - Kevin Campbell wins the ball in midfield and plays a lovely ball to Niclas Alexandersson.  The Swede goes on a powerful run and then squares the ball to Wayne Rooney.  The 16-year-old's effort is blocked by Lafuente and the ball goes out for a corner.

27 mins - After four minutes of treatment Lafuente is replaced by Aranzubia in the Athletic Bilbao goal.

31 mins - Richard Wright makes a great save from Etxeberria.  The loose ball cannons back to the winger, who blasts his second effort well over the crossbar.

35 mins - Unsworth booked for a challenge on Etxeberria.

41 mins - Wayne Rooney unleashes a dipping shot which floats narrowly over the crossbar.

45 mins - GOAL - Guerrero's ball in finds the unmarked Ismael Urzaiz in the box who coolly lifts the ball over Richard Wright to put the Spaniards in front.

Half time  - Everton 0 - 1 Athletic Bilbao 

55 mins - In the first real chance of the second half, Wayne Rooney's wonderful solo run leads him with just the keeper to beat.  The substitute keeper Aranzubia spreads himself well and blocks the shot which goes out  for an Everton corner.

57 mins - An excellent interchange between Niclas Alexandersson and Tony Hibbert sees the young right-back on a marauding run down the right hand side.  Hibbert squares the ball into Wayne Rooney, but somehow the Bilbao defence are able to clear.

60 mins - Kevin Campbell's persistence forces Cesar into an error.  From a tight angle, the striker fires a shot narrowly over the bar.

66 mins - Both Rooney and Stubbs work hard to chances, but their hardwork comes to nothing.

68 mins - Wayne Rooney goes close with a header from Thomas Gravesen's corner.

70 mins - Li Tie makes his Goodison debut, replacing Tobias Linderoth in the centre of the Everton midfield.

72 mins - David Unsworth heads over a looping Niclas Alexandersson cross.

74 mins - Alan Stubbs almost scores an own goal, but fortunately for the defender, his header goes wide of the post.

79 mins - Rodrigo fires a fierce shot which Aranzubia does well to save.


The day started with a continuation of the Brussels weather: wet, miserable and not what you'd expect for mid-August.  Nevertheless, the chance to see performances from some of those who didn't feature last Tuesday was incentive enough to attend, notwithstanding the opportunity to pay homage to a valued club servant such as David Unsworth.  He may not be everybody's cup of tea, but he is one of us out there on the pitch (for all that he has MU roots) and that should never be forgotten.

Not that I needed much incentive, you understand.  I did, however, have to check that I was at the right game.  The tickets advertised Athletico Bilbao.  Its not much, but it was another little error, all of which count towards giving a slap-dash impression of how the club is organised.  It's a state from which we are, to my eyes anyway, moving away, slowly... but, for every two steps forward, there's another, like this, that holds us back.

The stadium is bedecked with 100 years (not seasons!) boards, the outside resplendent with banners commemorating the same.  Its good to see the club getting behind this celebration in a fervent and energetic manner.  But would we see the same on the pitch?

The game kicked off and progressed at a snail's pace.  Not much action at all in the first half.  An effort from Unsworth hit the side netting; there was a neat, slide-rule pass from Gravesen that put Rooney through only for the defence to close him down quickly.  There was some excellent keeping from Wright, that saved a goal from the visitors, and there was a goal from Bilbao that was in so much slow motion that there was no way it could go in.  Amateurish defending on the right, plenty of space in the middle and a stranded keeper, with no chance at all.  Pick your spot and hit it.  He did.  0-1.

Note should be made about the Bilbao keeper, I assume Lafuente, who was carried off after a collision with Rooney.  An innocuous clash but he never recovered from it and full marks must go to Uriah Rennie for spotting that he was more than a little concussed after the Bilbao physio/trainer had left him on the pitch after a minute's treatment.  He must have been a full 15 minutes laid out at the side of the pitch before he was carried back to the dressing room.

The first half faded away, to be replaced by a second half of equal drama.  We were definitely playing a testimonial/friendly with nobody wanting to get injured ahead of the season's opener.  Bilbao, on the other hand, were, like Anderlecht on Tuesday, a little more committed.  It wasn't until we made a raft of substitutions towards the end of the match that we looked anything like doing them any damage.

There were appearances for Li Tie (for Linderoth), Rodrigo(l) (for Alexandersson), Radzinski (for the impressive Rooney) and Pembridge (for Naysmith).  We seemed to have a bit more life and spark at this stage, with a shot from Rodrigo forcing an excellent save for the substitute keeper, with Radzinski bearing down on him for the rebound.  Li Tie was energetic and determined, with strong tackles and zipping passes.  Rodrigo showed awareness, especially off the ball and for the quick pass and Pembridge was solid and professional.

We still couldn't score though and the match ended in a defeat.  It was a match that promised more than it delivered, both in terms of the quality of the football, the passion of the players and the support of the crowd.   An estimate of between 13 and 14,000 was confirmed by the club as an attendance of 13,678.  David Unsworth deserved more.

Man of the Match:  Difficult to pick one.  Weir was steady, Linderoth prowled the middle effectively, Campbell showed glimpses of his former self.  Unsworth was desperate to score and was as committed as ever.  But for invention, energy and promise for the future, I'll give it to Wayne Rooney.  Not least, because by the end of this game he knew he could compete with the big boys.

So, who is it we play next week?  Tottingham Hotspurs?

Steve Bikerton

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