<% Dim date, 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 [OldSum$] ORDER BY Pos ;" Set oRs = oCs.Execute(strSQL) %> ToffeeWeb: Everton v B;lackburn Rovers, Premiership Season 2002-03
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 FA Premiership (17); Goodison Park, Liverpool; Saturday 14 December 2002; 3:00pm
   Carsley (12')
 Rooney (25')
Attendance: 0000
Halftime: 2-1

Cole ('6) 
Neill sent off (75') 

Referee: G Barber

Match Summary

Wayne Rooney hit the headlines again by scoring the winning goal that broke Everton's three-game losing streak and sent the Blues into fourth place (for the time being) at the expense of rivals Liverpool.

The 17 year-old striker had a hand in both of the Blues' goals, hitting the post in the 12th minute to set Lee Carsley up to drill home the rebound and then creating his own opportunity after 25 minutes to put Everton into a 2-1 lead.

It could have been very different. The visitors saw two shots cleared off the line in the first five minutes but boyhood Blue David Thompson found Andy Cole at the third attempt and the ex-Manchester United striker made no mistake to open the scoring.

For Everton, Kevin Campbell had come close as early as the second minute, but Brad Friedel made an impressive save to deny him his 10th goal of the campaign.

After 12 minutes, though, the Blues were level. Carsley began the move and was on hand at its end to fire past Friedel after Rooney, who was on from the start in place of Tomasz Radzinski, had seen his shot come off the base of the post.

Then, Rooney latched onto a clearance by Richard Wright, flicked it ahead, beat Craig Short for pace before lashing the ball into the net to make it 2-1.

Both sides had a number of opportunities to add to the scoresheet in a pulsating encounter and although the visitors piled on the pressure late, David Moyes's side held out to do the double over Graeme Souness's expensive outfit.



The Wunderkind: All three of his league goals have been priceless match winners

Everton v Blackburn:
Prior League Games
 Everton 35
 Blackburn 15
 Draws 14
 Everton 3
 Blackburn 4
 Draws 1
 Last Season:

Everton 1-2 Blackburn

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

Match Facts
 Everton   (4-4-2)
 Blue shirts, white shirts, blue socks
 Blackburn Rovers  (4-4-2)
Red shirts, red & black shorts, red socks
Hibbert (90' Pistone)
Li Tie (62' Weir)
Campbell (c)
Rooney (90' Radzinski)

Subs not used:  Simonsen, Gemmill

Yellow Cards: Hibbert

Red Cards:


(Injured:) Alexandersson, Ferguson,
Gerrard, Linderoth, Pembridge, Rodrigo
(On Leave:) Wei Feng
(On Loan:) Nyarko, Osman, Pilkington
(Left the Club:) Moore
Neill (Sent off: 75')
McEveley (45' Gillespie)
Flitcroft (c) (76' Johansson)

Subs not used: Kelly,
Ostenstad, Danns

Yellow Cards: Neill,
 Gillespie, Yorke

Red Cards:
Neill (75')

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 Bickerton Match Report
Links to Other Media Reports
Electronic Telegraph Match Report
BBC Sport Match Report   Stuart Hall Audio
FA Premier Match Report
Sky Sports Match Report
Sporting Life Match Report
SoccerNet Match Report
The Observer Match Report
The Guardian Match Report
The Independent Match Report
Liverpool Echo Match Report
Daily Post Match Report
Premiership Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Arsenal 36
2 Man Utd 35
3 Chelsea 34
4 Everton 32
5 Liverpool 31
6 Newcastle 29
7 Tottenham 28
8 Southampton 27
9 Middlesbrough 26
10 Blackburn 24
11 Charlton 24
12 Man City 24
13 Birmingham 23
14 Fulham 22
15 Aston Villa 22
16 Leeds 20
17 Sunderland 17
18 West Brom 15
19 Bolton 14
20 West Ham 13

After 16 Dec 2002

Match Preview


Following three consecutive defeats (two in the league), Everton had to pick themselves up and show what they were made of.  Both league defeats have been thoroughly undeserved and just one point in each of them might still have been seen as an injustice.  Nevertheless, the fact remained that both games saw us gain no points and we slid from third to fifth.  With a small in-form pack breathing down our necks, of which Southampton was probably the surprise package and Blackburn the enigma, we could afford no mistakes.

Blackburn are an enigma because the Ewood Park club would seem to have star players all over their side, with keeper Brad Friedel one of the Premiership's most reliable and spectacular goalies penalty saves a stock in trade; the likes of rising stars David Dunn and Damien Duff able to turn games in a moment; and old stagers Cole and Yorke up front liable to knock in a few at any time.  Boyhood Toffee fan David Thompson has also shown that he has the makings of a useful midfield contributor.  Yet they consistently struggle to find both guile and goals, so are probably further down the league than they might otherwise be expected to be.

However, Everton still had to perform like the team that went on that recent extended unbeaten run as Blackburn were expected to want to avenge their recent 0-1 loss to Everton at Ewood Park.  A start for Wayne Rooney was to be the unexpected team news.

The game started off as it was continue throughout frantic.  Blackburn managed the first attack, but it was easily broken up by the Everton defence.  Such was the overall openness of play by both sides that there appeared to be a distinct lack of anybody in midfield who could turn themselves to defensive duties. 

On 90 seconds, Everton could have gone ahead but a cross from Carsley that was headed goalwards by Campbell was well saved by Friedel.  In these early stages, as throughout the game, it was end-to-end stuff but, after that first foray by Everton, it was Blackburn that looked the more likely to score.  Three times the Everton defence left too much space in the box, space that Blackburn failed to take advantage of, but you can't keep on giving good opposition chances and expecting to get let off the hook.  Such it was when Blackburn were presented with another opportunity and this time, after only five minutes, Andy Cole duly obliged to send a header beyond Richard Wright's reach.

Everton continued to show that they don't take going behind lightly.  Despite a fragility and hesitance in defence, the midfield began to get something of a grip of things.  After 12 minutes there was a move down the right, which resulted in a cross into the box.  Campbell diverted the ball into the path of Rooney.  The 17-year-old swept the ball beyond Friedel, but it hit the inside of the goal post and rebounded back out across the Blackburn goal.  First on the scene was Lee Carsley who calmly prodded the ball into an empty net.

The rest of the half was a tale of opportunities at both ends, only one of which was converted.  A corner by Thompson for Blackburn was again poorly defended by Everton, but Yorke could only manage to knock the ball over the bar.  From the resulting goal-kick, Richard Wright launched the ball up-field.  It bounced in front of the Blackburn defence, which stood rooted, just looking at the ball.  Amongst all this was a "man" on a mission...  Wayne Rooney darted into the space where the ball was destined and nodded it beyond the defender, chased it and drilled it across Friedel into the far corner of the Blackburn net.  2-1 and back from the dead again!

Blackburn refused to be down cast and they continued to press.  Thompson, who was lively throughout, danced into the Everton box and went down under a challenge, in the box.  The away fans screamed for a penalty and so did the Blackburn player, but referee Barber waved play on.  I have to say that I thought a penalty would have been a fair decision, but in all honesty Thompson's dive to the ground, after the event, probably convinced the referee that there had been no contact.  We got away with that one, as we did when Cole hit the post with the goal at his mercy.

As the clock ticked on towards half-time, we could have increased the lead.  A free-kick from wide on the Everton right was met in the box by Alan Stubbs, but it came back off the post, the second time we'd hit the woodwork in the half, after Rooney's effort that had been converted by Carsley.

The second half started off as a replica of the first, with the game swinging from end to end, neither midfield on top, and neither defence looking sure footed.  Everton again had the better of the chances, Carsley hitting high and wide with only Friedel to beat after a stunning cross-field ball from Rooney.  Rooney was again in the thick of things when he managed to take the ball to the by-line (how!?) and drove it across the middle of the six yard box.  Campbell, quite simply couldn't get forward fast enough to tap it into the net. 

Another ball from Rooney started off a move that saw Gravesen hit the stanchion behind the goal; other chances were parried by Friedel and kicked away by the defence.  It wasn't all one way, though.  Wright had to pull off an exceptional reflex save to push the ball over the bar at a Blackburn corner.

In the end, the game turned on two decisions.  The first was the substitution of David Weir for a tiring Li Tie.  We moved to five at the back; a bad decision.  After that, we always looked exposed down the flanks and Gillespie and Duff began to get into the game.  The second was the sending off of Blackburn defender Neill.  He had been booked for a clumsy challenge on Naysmith (I think) in the first half and in the second he pulled Tony Hibbert back after the Everton player had beaten him and was charging towards the box.

The second yellow saw Neill get his marching orders.  A quick switch by Souness saw David Dunn go into an attacking midfield position at the expense of a more defensive one.  After that it was almost one way traffic as Blackburn piled on the pressure.  We looked like the 10-man side that was hanging on.  Wright made another breathtaking full stretch save that pushed a goal-bound header wide of the post during this spell.  Even Friedel applauded that one.

In the end it finished 2-1.  Overall we probably just shaded it, but Blackburn played their part in an excellent game.

Man of the Match: Without any close challenger (Stubbs was the leader of the chasing pack) Wayne Rooney.

Steve Bickerton

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