<% 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: Everton v Manchester United, Premiership Season 2002-03
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 FA Premiership (38); Goodison Park, Liverpool; Sunday 11 May 2003; 3:00pm
  Campbell (8')
Attendance: 40,168
Halftime: 1-1

Beckham (43')
van Nistelroy (pen:78')

Referee: Mike Riley

Match Summary

Champions Manchester United fielded a full strength team on the last day of the season to give Everton a real test in their final, vital game.  European football for the Blues is at stake.  But would it be necessary?  After all, the Premiership had selected Manchester United's favourite referee, Mike Riley, to officiate.

  • How many penalties has he given Manchester United this season?
  • How many opponents has he sent off this season?

Would anyone notice if he reffed (haha!) both Man Utd games against Everton this season?  So what?!  No one will care.

Some lively stuff early on with action at both ends, Rooney causing desperate problems to United early on, and Scholes missing when he should have scored.  

Carroll got caught, beaten by Campbell GOAL!  Super Kev nods his 50th goal over the despairing United keeper.

The Champions, responded in kind, mounting a fearsome onslaught on the Everton goal.  Numerous chances, the easiest for van Nistelrooy who slotted wide thanks mainly to Wright's positioning.  Rooney replied in like kind, producing another great shot from an impossible position.  

Then it all kicked off as Gravesen was dragged down in the United area. Gravesen went nuts and got himself booked, and very nearly sent off.  

Wright then made a fabulous point-blank save from Scholes.  Wes Brown was stretchered off before half-time, then Campbell also had to come off and was replaced by Duncan Ferguson.

An atrocious piece of cheating by Mike Riley gifted a goal to United, giving a free-kick on the edge of the area after Unsworth tackled Solskjaer superbly, collecting the ball.  Beckham scored superbly from the set piece.  A deliberate handball by Scholes was then totally ignored by Riley.

Riley finally did something right, booking Rio Ferdinand.  For the second half, Lauren Blanc came on for John O'Shea, and immediately van Nistelrooy hits the woodwork with a cross.  More fearsome attacks from United keep Everton on the back foot, with news that Blackburn are 3-0 up against 10-man Spurs, and in the Uefa Cup slot...

Blanc was in the book after being roasted by Rooney, then a great move from Unsworth allowed Naysmith to set up Rooney but he missed from 1 yard!  More key saves from Wright at the other end kept Everton in with a chance, despite total midfield domination by United.  Another fearsome attack, another great shot (from Beckham); another excellent save from Richard Wright.

Rooney was through again (albeit offside!), but he snatched at it and sent it wide.  Gravesen then went nuts again and was very lucky to stay on.  Later, he was arguing with the referee again.  He was finally withdrawn to give Nick Chadwick a chance.  Rooney then fired another straight at Carroll from six yards!

Stubbs then caught van Nistelrooy and Riley gave the penalty, booking Stubbs in the process, and giving van Nistelrooy an easy conversion from the spot.   United were playing out the game with exhibition stuff, knowing they could frustrate Everton's desires by pure ability to keep possession such a fundamental tenet of football that Everton, no matter how much they have improved under Moyes, can still not hope to emulate. 

So, despite the cheat of a ref, Everton in the end disappoint through their abject failure to convert a stream of golden chances, and the dream of Europe fades away...

Just before the final whistle, the mood in the ground was pretty deflated.  Everton had battled hard and had a go at United; but for a couple of missed opportunities, we may even have won it but we didn't.  At the final whistle,0 Man United's 12th man was booed off.  

The Everton players and management did their lap of honour, they received a huge ovation from all the stands including the United fans.  Upon reaching the Gwladys Street, up went a massive chorus of "He's got red hair but we don't care Davie Davie Moyes" and rightly so.


David Moyes: Can he inspire one last Herculean effort?

Everton v Man Utd:
Prior League Games
 Everton 36
 Man Utd 20
 Draws 17
 Everton 1
 Man Utd 8
 Draws 1
 Last Season:

Everton 0-2 Man Utd

BBC Match Preview
Electronic Telegraph

Premiership Scores
Sunday 11 May
Birmingham 2-2 West Ham
Bolton  3-1 Middlesbro
Charlton  0-1 Fulham
Chelsea  2-1 Liverpool
Everton  1-2 Man Utd
Leeds  2-1 Aston Villa
Man City 0-1 Southampton
Sunderland  0-4 Arsenal 
Tottenham 0-4 Blackburn
West Brom 1-1 Newcastle

Match Facts
 Everton   (4-4-2; 75': 4-3-3)
 Blue shirts, white shirts, blue socks
 Manchester United   (4-4-2)
Red shirts, black shorts, red socks
Gravesen (75' Chadwick)
Naysmith (80' Pistone)
Campbell {c} (39' Ferguson {c})

Subs not used: Simonsen,  Gemmill

Yellow Cards: Gravesen (27'), 
Hibbert (54'), Rooney (60'), Stubbs (77'), Ferguson (78')

Red Cards:


(Suspended:) Weir
(Recovering:) Linderoth, Rodrigo;
(On Loan:) McLeod, Nyarko.
Brown (37' P Neville)
O'Shea (46' Blanc)
van Nistelrooy
Solskjaer (78' Fortune)

Subs not used: Veron, Butt

Yellow Cards: Ferdinand (45'),
Blanc (50'), P Neville (67')

Red Cards:
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
Liverpool Echo Match Report
Daily Post Match Report
Premiership Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Man Utd 83
2 Arsenal 78
3 Newcastle 69
4 Chelsea 67
5 Liverpool 64
6 Blackburn 60
7 Everton 59
8 Southampton 52
9 Man City 51
10 Tottenham 50
11 Middlesbrough 49
12 Charlton 49
13 Birmingham 48
14 Fulham 48
15 Leeds 47
16 Aston Villa 45
17 Bolton 44
18 West Ham 42
19 West Brom 26
20 Sunderland 19
Final Table 2002-03

Match Preview

So, another final-day, must-win game.  Same old same old...  Well, not quite!  Lose and a phenomenally promising and successful season may have a tinge of regret attached to it.  Home draws with Birmingham, Bolton, Man City and West Ham will be reviewed with disappointment when lined up against home wins over Arsenal and Newcastle.  Away wins at Elland Road and Ewood Park may count for little thanks to defeats at Loftus Road and St Mary's.

Win, however, and this season will eclipse all expectations.  Three points guarantees us a UEFA Cup spot.  Moyes's miracle will have a tangible benefit attached to it.  European football back at Goodison, just 12 months after the 1st Division loomed a very real fear.

Previewing matches against Man United is almost unnecessary.  Anybody with access to the Internet will have had plenty of exposure to Ferdinand, Beckham, Giggs, Keane, Scholes, Veron and Van Nistlerooy.  Anybody who has seen Van Nistlerooy over the last few months will have seen arguably the complete striker.  As Henry slumped to the finish line and Arsenal fell away, Van Nistlerooy has stepped up another gear and looked simply outstanding.  Target man, creator, finisher supreme.  He seems to have little lacking at the moment.  Our only hope will be that he still has a hangover from last Sunday night's celebrations.

In an attempt to differentiate this from the typical gush of household names, I think I'll target one individual who will cause us some problems on Sunday but who I predict will cause us lots more in the future.  Ferguson's greatest achievement has undoubtedly been in bringing the Giggs /  Beckham / Butt / Scholes / Nevilles generation through to such a fulsome fruition.  Since then, little has been seen from the United treadmill of youth.  

Wes Brown was the one youngster to truly make a mark in the last few years.  Now comes another: Step forward John O'Shea.  Two footed, excellent in the air, pacey, good distribution.  In one season he already looks as if he belongs.  Played predominantly at left back, he has carried the attack to whoever he has faced.  In the future, I predict he will replace Keane in centre-mid.  Extremely mobile, strong in the tackle, solid distribution the perfect modern-day central midfielder.

Enough of them.  Apparently you are only as good as your last game in which case, we are bloody awful.  Two of the worst goals we've conceded for years.  Failure to score for the first time in seven games and secnnd in 17!  It has to be admitted that the team is showing severe signs of wear and tear.  Radz' pace as an easy outlet has been dreadfully missed and Campbell is simply not the Super Kev that so dramatically saved our skins when he first arrived.

I fear that United could tear us apart.  Playing without pressure, they will be able to relax and "express" themselves.  My main hope is that they give old Laurent Blanc a run-out.  Rooney would love to come up against him.  Our midfield, which thrived on energy and commitment, is drained.  

The end of the season has come too soon for Rodrigo and Linderoth, and not soon enough for Gravesen and Li Tie who are both showing the after-effects of a long season following a World Cup summer.  Without a genuine foil, Rooney has been blocked out, getting the ball 30 yards from goal with a complete back-line focussing on him is something he may be able to cope with in the future; at the moment it is simply asking too much.

Our more realistic hope of UEFA redemption probably comes in the form of a smarting Spurs.  Blackburn must win there to steal our spot.  After losing 5-1 last weekend and with a poor season to look back, on I predict that Spurs will be well fired up and will hold Blackburn to a draw.  That means that our result doesn't matter, which is just as well because I am predicting a 3-0 reversal.  

Despite all their money, it is worth noting that United's success has been built on a strong cabal of young players, brought through the ranks supporting the club.  For Beckham, Giggs and Neville read Rooney, Hibbert and Osman.  If Harvey and Moyes can rustle up one or two more quality young players (Schumacher and Gerrard perhaps?) to match them, then it may not be long until we can really meet them on a level playing field.

Our season really took off after we matched them for 86 minutes back at Old Trafford.  The final 5 minutes of that match also showed us how far we had to go.  Maybe I am being too pessimistic and Rooney and Co have one last gargantuan effort in them but excuse me if I spend most of my time checking on the score at White Hart Lane...


Lee Doyle



Steve Milne

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