Everton started without Mark Pembridge after all, but it had nothing to
do with the club-v-country nonsense; it seems he has sustained a calf
injury. Gary Naysmith gets only his fifth League start of the season in
his place as part of an otherwise virtually unchanged line-up that sees
Stubbs and Yobo selected, with David Weir again on the bench.
A strong-looking Blackburn side including David Thompson, David Dunn,
Damien Duff, and Andy Cole, with ex-Everton defender Craig Short at the
Everton where under pressure from the start as Blackburn get a corner
after just 15 seconds. Wright deals with it but after another quick
Blackburn attack, Carsley played in Radzinski who really had to stretch to
make it count.
The lively start from both sides continued, with Cole escaping Yobo and
putting Wright under extreme pressure, but Wright was man enough to
produce a superb save. Blackburn continued to dominate, with
substantial possession inside the Everton half, but it's goals that count
and Everton were set to draw first blood.
Then a lovely finish by Kevin Campbell following a long clearance from
Richard Wright, with an excellent feed from Lee Carsley and Everton were
The exchanges ran from end to end for the remainder of the first half,
with both teams full of running and creating dangerous chances. A
superb one-handed save from Freidel was all that saved Blackburn from
further embarrassment as Campbell headed in a great shot off a
The Blackburn pressure continued into the second half, with Everton
reeling from a string of corners conceded. Steve Watson replaced Li
Tie, who had been having trouble making the right impression in this one,
and had received his first Premiership booking for a silly foul.
The pattern of the game continued, with relentless pressure from
Blackburn, and stalwart defending by Everton, supplemented by lively moves
on the break. Time for Master Rooney?
The substitution initiative was taken by Souness, who brought on Dwight
Yorke to partner Andy Cole. It looked like a penalty decision from
Graham Poll but, amazingly, he gave Johansson a yellow card for
diving! A rare moment for the Graham Poll scrapbook...
Rooney finally came on to replace Naysmith with little more than 10
minutes to go, and probably with instructions to play deep in an effort to
try to ease the pressure on Everton's beleaguered defence. His first
dribble needed three Blackburn defenders to dispossess him!
Rooney's injection into the game simply raised the stakes even higher
in this pulsating affair, with the youngster taunting his elders
mercilessly. But Blackburn responded in kind, cranking the handle
another few notches in their desperation to score.
Stoppage time saw even more heart-stopping assaults on the Everton
goal, but Rooney started a great move that saw another superb save from
And at the other end, Wright saved Everton with another amazing save
just 5 seconds before the end. An absolutely fabulous win!
FIVE ON THE TROT!!!!!!!
After 17 Nov 2002
If you are winning, then I guess you simply don't need to mention
it and, boy, are we winning? That's 4 consecutive Premiership
wins (with 3 consecutive clean sheets) and through to the next round
of the Worthless Cup (away to Chelsea � ouch, by far the hardest
draw we could have got).
Anyone still feeling optimistic out there?
We now travel to Ewood Park to face an extremely talented
Blackburn side. Their team overflows with attacking talent in
Yorke, Cole, Duff, Dunn and Jansen and consolidating that is the
very impressive Tugay in central midfield. Old Reds reject
Freidel is also performing very well between the sticks, and
delaying a knee-operation so that he can face Everton!
They can however be found short at the back and with question
marks over Mark Taylor before the Celtic game they may struggle to
contain Radzinski and Campbell if anyone else is unavailable.
Hopefully that bruising and ultimately demoralizing encounter with
Celtic will have left then drained
Our form is nothing short of exceptional at the moment and if
Gravesen can stifle Tugay then Yobo should be able to marshall our
backline sufficient to leave Wright to mop up what remains.
The best news this season was Yobo saying he wanted to stay �
World class and no mistake.
Again it's a case of hanging in for an hour and hurting them
1-1 I see this time � Radzinski again, but as I write this I am
hoping for extra time in their game against Celtic in which case 3
points and still top 4!