<% Dim oCs, oRs, strSQL set oCs = server.createobject("ADODB.Connection") oCs.Open "Driver={Microsoft Excel Driver (*.xls)}; DBQ=" & Server.MapPath("/season/02-03/data") & "/premtable.xls;" strSQL = "SELECT * FROM [Summary$] ORDER BY Pos ;" Set oRs = oCs.Execute(strSQL) %> ToffeeWeb: Birmingham City v Everton, Premiership Season 2002-03
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 FA Premiership (20); St Andrews, Birmingham; Thursday 26 December 2002; 3:00pm
   Kirovski (45')
Attendance: 29,505
Halftime: 1-1

Radzinski (42')
Sent off: Rooney (81')

Referee: David Elleray

Match Summary

Tony Hibbert failed to shake off a groin strain and Joseph Yobo returned from suspension, so Moyes fielded a string defence with Yobo, Weir, Stubbs, and Pistone forming the back four.  Wayne Rooney, strongly tipped to start, was on the bench again.

The game started fairly evenly with both sides testing their respective opponents with shots from long-range.  But it turned into a very scrappy half with few if any chances for either side, and the first decent shot coming from Gravesen after 42 mins.

But moments later, Gravesen played the ball off Pembridge and finally fed a beautiiful ball through to Radzinski and the young Polish Canadian worked his magic yet again to slot home.

All Everton had to do was defend for another 20 seconds and they could walk in at half-ttime with a vital one-goal lead.  However, before the dust had settled, Stan Lazaridis's pinpoint cross was met by Kirovski who powered a header past Richard Wright.  Kirovski had put the Brummies back in it just on the point of half-time, with Lazaridis having come on just moments earlier in place of Damien Johnson.

Everton were unable to really take the game to their hosts in the second half, with few openings again being created.  Soon after the hour mark, David Moyes sent for the boy, brining on both Rooney and Watson in an effort to change the game.

And change the game it did... although not quite in the way intended.  Everton were reduced to ten men as Wayne Rooney was sent off by David Elleray for a two-footed challenge on Steve Vickers (how ironic is that?).  Vickers was stretchered off the field with Birmingham having used their three substitutes so both sides were a man down for the last 10 mins.

Both teams huffed and puffed but could not break the other down as the minutes ticked away, and Everton failed to take advantage of a slew of good results around them in the pack chasing Arsenal's rapidly receding tails at the top of the table.


Joseph Yobo: Back from suspension and in the team

Brum v Everton:
Prior League Games
 Brum 20
 Everton 15
 Draws 17
 Brum 0
 Everton 0
 Draws 0
 Last Meeting:

Brum 0-2 Everton (FAC)

Premiership Scores
West Ham 2-2 Fulham
Chelsea 0-0 Sotton
Tottenham 1-1 Charlton
Bolton 4-3 Newcastle
West Brom 1-2 Arsenal
Birmingham 1-1 Everton
Liverpool 1-1 Blackburn
Man City 2-1 Aston Villa
Sunderland 1-2 Leeds
Middlesbro 3-1 Man Utd

Match Facts
 Birmingham City  (4-4-2)
 Blue shirts, blue shirts, white socks
Everton   (4-4-2)
 White shirts, white shorts, blue socks
Kenna (c)
Vickers (81' retired injured)
Horsfield (72' Hughes)
M Johnson
D Johnson (43' Lazaridis)
Kirovski (61' Morrison)
Subs not used: Bennett, Powell

Yellow Cards: 

Red Cards:
Weir (c)
Pembridge (66' Watson)
Radzinski (66' Rooney [Sent Off: 81'])

Subs not used:
Baardsen, Li Tie, Gemmill

Yellow Cards: Carsley (32'), Weir (58')

Red Cards: Rooney (81')


(Suspended:) Unsworth
(Injured:) Ferguson, Gerrard,
Hibbert, Rodrigo, Simonsen
(On leave:) Wei Feng
(On Loan:) Nyarko, Osman, Pilkington
Match Reports

Everton Web Sites
ToffeeWeb Match Summary
EvertonFC.com Match Report
When Skies Are Grey Match Report
Blue Kipper Match Report
Everton Fans' Reports
Steve Milne Match Report
Links to Other Media Reports
Electronic Telegraph Match Report
BBC Sport Match Report
4 the Game 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
Premiership Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Arsenal 42
2 Chelsea 38
3 Man Utd 35
4 Everton 34
5 Liverpool 33
6 Newcastle 32
7 Tottenham 32
8 Middlesbrough 29
9 Southampton 29
10 Blackburn 28
11 Man City 27
12 Charlton 26
13 Birmingham 25
14 Leeds 24
15 Fulham 23
16 Aston Villa 22
17 Bolton 18
18 Sunderland 18
19 West Brom 16
20 West Ham 15

After 26 Dec 2002

Match Preview

Having already received the boost of sitting above Liverpool in the league at Christmas for the first time since the Championship-winning season of 1986/87, Everton go into the Boxing Day clash with Birmingham City hoping to extend their points advantage over the dirty Reds (who host Blackburn) and maybe even leapfrog Manchester United (who face a tricky trip to Middlesbrough) into 3rd spot.

Based on his experience of St Andrews from his time at Preston, David Moyes has called on match referee David Elleray to be strong in the face of Birmingham's "intimidating" fans.  The Blues have fallen victim to some poor officiating in recent games and Moyes will probably also be hoping for a little rub of the refereeing green.

He will also be hoping that the Toffees can carry over some of that form from the mid-1980s as well. Everton last played at St Andrews in the league in January 1986 and have won all but one of their last five there matches there.  Victory this time will be the third successive league win at the Birmingham Blues.

Steve Bruce's newly-promoted outfit have been making a decent fist of their first foray into the Premiership and came within a minute of taking all three points in the reverse fixture at Goodison back in August.  David Unsworth's last-gasp equaliser saved Everton then.  However, while they've collected two recent away wins, City haven't won at home since 2nd November.

Lairy Welsh midfielder Robbie Savage is set ignore a knee injury and play through pain while defender Darren Purse is another doubt for Bruce.

For Everton, Joseph Yobo will probably retake his place in central defence after serving a one-match ban and Tony Hibbert may play again despite the gash in his leg that nearly kept him out of the derby and the groin strain that he sustained as a result of playing without having trained the week prior.

Espen Bardsen, who has been drafted in from Watford as emergency cover for the injured Paul Gerrard and Steve Simonsen, will be on the bench, as will Wayne Rooney.

With victories at places like Sunderland, Blackburn, West Ham and Leeds already under their belts, this is certainly an opportunity for Everton to build up a head of steam over the busy Christmas period.  Unfortunately, the team has found goals hard to come by this season and that appears to have prompted a more direct approach when the early season successes were founded more on feeding the pace of Tomasz Radzinski and creating chances down the flanks.

Although it isn't all about Rooney, it's tempting to suggest that the timing of his introduction may be an important factor.  Giving him long enough on the pitch to terrorise Birmingham's defence could be the key to securing three vital points from a potentially tricky fixture.  Avoiding further loss of personnel to injury or suspension will probably also be part of Moyes's gameplan!

Lyndon Lloyd




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