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 FA Premiership (15); Goodison Park, Liverpool; Saturday 23 November 2002; 3:00pm
   Radzinski (35')
 
 
Attendance: 40,113
Halftime: 1-0

Facts
Reports



Referee: Jeff Winter
 

Match Summary

Another unchanged line-up took the field in front of an almost unprecedented crowd of 40,000 � a sell-out for a home game against basement boys West Brom, the first meeting in the Premiership.

Wright had to make an early save but Everton were slow to get into their stride while looking reasonably comfortable.  Hibbert curled in the first corner after 15 mins and Stubbs fired in a great header but it was blocked on the line by Campbell of all people!  Radzinski then fired in a superb shot from 20 yards which Hoult saved well.

Gravesen was then booked for diving, which was a stupid thing to do at this early stage of the game... and with Jeff Winter the referee...   But a great run from Mad Dog later in the half made amends with him setting up a good header for Unsworth.

Then, an excellent goal from Radzinski.  Radzinski simply belted it inside the near post and nearly ripped the net in half after receiving a superb pass from Li Tie.  Just what Goodison needed!

Lee Carsley nearly scored with a wayward cross before the half-time whistle.

Everton started the second half poorly, giving away too much possession to West Brom, who really should have scored when Roberts was through on goal.  But in the end he dived and it went unpunished by the totally inconsistent Jeff Winter.

Everton finally started to take the game to West Brom after a poor 15 mins.  But it was short-lived as Naysmith wasted a corner after some good pressure.  Then a glorious chance for Campbell set up by Gravesen, but Campbell slipped and fluffed it completely. 

The massive crowd were really not seeing the Everton domination they had hoped for, but warmed to the sight of Wayne Rooney getting ready... and the news that Chelsea,  Liverpool, and Arsenal were all losing!  Everton could go third!!!

Radzinski got through again, but did not hit it cleanly and failed to score... leaving Everton fans to bite their nails fretting over a fifth consecutive 1-0 lead.  Li Tie then got booked in a stupid decision by Winter. 

Rooney finally came on with just 3 minutes left, and Radzinski going off to a rapturous standing ovation from the capacity Goodison crowd.  But it was West Brom who nearly scored... but then Rooney got on a run, went into their area, and was clearly fouled... but no penalty!  This Ref really is a bastard!

Some crazy moments before the end, with Li Tie creating and destroying good opportunities in almost the same breath.  Rooney made a difference for a while, especially with his cheeky hands-on-hips keep-ball cameo down the bye-line.

With the last few minutes, Everton allowed themselves to be put under fearsome pressure, yielding a corner but it thankfully came to nothing.

The whistle finally came and Everton moved up to third, on the back of their sixth successive victory � the last five by the nerve-wracking score of 1 goal to nil.



David Moyes: Wants to see more goals?


Everton v WBA:
Prior League Games
 Overall  
 Everton 38
 West Brom 14
 Draws 14
 Premiership  
 Everton 0
 West Brom 0
 Draws 0
 Last Time:

Everton 2-0 West Brom
20 Aug 1985


 

Premiership Scores
Saturday 23 Nov
Man Utd 5-3 Newcastle
Aston Villa 4-1 West Ham
Bolton 1-1 Chelsea
Everton 1-0 West Brom
Fulham 3-2 Liverpool
Middlesbro 3-1 Man City
Soton 3-2 Arsenal
Sunderland 0-1 Brum
Sunday 24 Nov
Spurs 2-0 Leeds
Charlton 1-1 Blackburn
 

Match Facts
 Everton   (4-4-2)
 Blue shirts, white shirts, blue socks
 West Bromwich Albion  (4-5-1)
Green & yellow shirts, shorts & socks
  Wright
Hibbert
Stubbs
Yobo
Unsworth
Carsley
Gravesen
Li Tie
Naysmith (84' Pistone)
Campbell (c)
Radzinski (87' Rooney) 


Subs not used: Simonsen,
Watson, Weir,

Yellow Cards: Gravesen (18'), Li Tie (80')

Red Cards: �


Unavailable:

(Injured:) Alexandersson 
Ferguson, Linderoth, Rodrigo
(On Loan:) Gerrard, Nyarko, Pilkington, Osman
Hoult
Moore
Wallwork
Sigurdsson
Balis (72' Koumas)
McInnes
Johnson
Gregan (c)
Clement
Roberts
Dobie (51' Hughes)


Subs not used: 
Murphy,
Dichio, Chambers

Yellow Cards: Clement (82')

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 Bickerton Match Report
Richard Marland Match Report
Links to Other Media Reports
Electronic Telegraph Match Report
BBC Sport Match Report
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 32
2 Liverpool 31
3 Everton 29
4 Chelsea 27
5 Man Utd 26
6 Middlesbrough 24
7 Tottenham 23
8 Newcastle 22
9 Blackburn 20
10 Southampton 20
11 Aston Villa 19
12 Fulham 19
13 Birmingham 19
14 Leeds 17
15 Charlton 17
16 Man City 17
17 Sunderland 14
18 Bolton 13
19 West Brom 12
20 West Ham 12

After 24 Nov 2002



Match Preview

1, 2, 3, 4, 5!!!  5 Consecutive wins!  15 points out of 15.  The last few years have seen us take nearly half a season to get that many!

Another superb victory over a very good Blackburn side at Ewood Park has really set the pulse racing.  I am more than happy to admit that I thought a stung Blackburn side would bring us back down to earth but Yobo and Wright were having none of it.

Whilst Wright is still prone to the odd fumble, he is certainly showing signs of improvement and his shot-stopping and decision-making (not to mention penalty saves) are improving all the time; they were a key feature of our last four clean sheets.  Yobo is world class � must stay.

Now we welcome West Brom to Goodison.  Just like a fortnight ago against Charlton, the major concern must be complacency.  We also have to cope with a new aspect � we are in form and perceived to be a quality side.  Teams will start coming to Goodison happy to leave with a point; WBA will be delighted to do so, and hence a rigid back-four with defence-minded midfield is likely to face us.

Can we break it down?

Of course we can!  12 goals have been reaped by Radz and (once again) Super Kev.  Although WBA have a decent back-line, it will be a surprise if they can keep those two quiet.  Young Rooney has also missed out on the headlines recently and will be hoping to make another impact soon.

Injury means that Pembridge will be missing again so expect Naysmith to start in his place.  I'm looking forward to seeing Pistone return but that would mean moving Unsworth who most definitely deserves his place at the moment.

Elsewhere the boys will be same again.

WBA have late fitness tests over Gilchrist and Andy Johnson.  If Johnson fails then Jason Koumas may get the chance to torment us again and show that Moyes should have splashed his cash at Prenton Park rather than on Rodrigo... but Moyes has been shown to have got nothing wrong so far and Koumas is yet to show Premiership class (I DO hope I don't regret that statement).

Jason Roberts is their one player of true quality � watching how he copes against Yobo will tell you a lot about him.  I for one would love to see him join us at the end of this season - him allied with Rooney in the future could be an England strikeforce.

WBA have not won in 8 games and they should not stand up against us.  The right attitude and application should be enough to see them off and I think we all know that Moyes will demand it.  Anyone who slips up loses his place � ask Weir how difficult it is to get that place back!

3-0 to the Blues and an outside bet for Hibbert to open the scoring.

BlueForEver




Report

As the stewardess demonstrated how to don an oxygen mask in case of loss of cabin pressure, flying in from Spain on Thursday night, I was minded to think of the giddiness that's been prevalent around Goodison Park of late.  Getting to fourth place was a minor achievement, compared to the task of staying there.  Yet, against the odds we'd walked away from Ewood Park with all three points, after a fourth successive Premiership win, a third this season away from home and yet another clean sheet.... and we were still fourth.   By the time we kicked off today, thanks to the scheduling that goes on at Sky, we were down to fifth, but the hope was that we would make this a purely temporary state of affairs.

The game against West Bromwich Albion, as a result of recent performances, had taken on special significance.  As we tried to stretch both our unbeaten home run and our winning streak, the game had become a sell-out � all 40,120 tickets had gone.  Now whether that would mean a full house remained to be seen.  Did we sell a fixed number of tickets to the Baggies on a non-sale-or-return basis or had they sold their entire allocation?  The fact was they'd sold all of their allocation, so it was to be a full house.

With the on-field improvements that we've seen, there was the added attraction of this being the first of the season's "Founder Games", which are being given special status as we celebrate our 100th top flight season, taking on co-founder members of the Football League.  The celebrations looked back at the 1968 FA Cup Final between the two sides, which the Baggies had stolen 1-0, thanks to a goal from the late Jeff Astle, so pre-match we had communal singing "� la Wembley" and flags waved by 100 school children.

The West Brom squad contained two players often linked with a move to Goodison during Walter Smith's reign at the club.  Whatever the truth in Everton's interest, neither has yet to set the Premiership alight at West Brom and of the two only Sean Gregan (ex-Preston) started.  Jason Koumas (ex-Tranmere) had to satisfy himself with a place on the bench.  West Brom were under the control of former Everton player Gary Megson.

Everton were expected to go into the game unchanged from the side that started against Blackburn last weekend, with Mark Pembridge still sidelined through injury.  There had been talk of Li Tie being rested after a poor display last week, as David Moyes put the lapse in form down to him playing non-stop for nearly 18 months.  But the manager resisted the temptation to change a winning formula.  With quality on the bench (I wouldn't have said that last year!), he has the time and the players available to make changes when he needs to.

The game started at a brisk pace with both sides keeping the ball moving, but neither making too much of any possession that they enjoyed.  West Brom looked comfortable on the ball, a fact which belied their lowly league position.  In fact the first strike of the game came from the visitors, but it was a tame effort from outside the box, that gave Richard Wright no problems whatsoever.

As the half progressed, Everton gained the upper hand with Unsworth going close from a superb Gravesen cross; Naysmith was denied by a last-gasp tackle in the box, after neat interplay with Campbell; and Radzinski smashed a drive into the top corner of the net only to see Baggies keeper Hoult pluck it spectacularly from the air before it got there. 

Around the half hour mark, the improved passion in the team delivered a goal.  Li Tie intercepted a pass out of the West Brom defence, knocking it forward on the volley to Radzinski.  The Canadian took it high on his chest, knocking it back into the path of the advancing Li, whilst immediately spinning into space at the edge of the box. The Chinese midfielder moved forward and delivered a perfect ball into Tommy's path.  He took it forward a couple of paces and drove an unstoppable drive past the keeper at the near post. The first half was near perfection, with the inexplicable booking of Gravesen for 'simulation' � he fell over and didn't ask for a penalty, yet he was booked � the only blemish.

The second half started with West Brom looking more menacing but, for all of their endeavour, they never really troubled the Everton defence.  Their only real chance fell to Jason Roberts who, with only Richard Wright to beat, tumbled over in the box and looked up for the penalty.  The referee waved play on but did nothing about the 'simulation' as he had with Gravesen.  He lost the home crowd completely at that point and no matter what he did that was right, everything that looked marginal was greeted by boos and catcalls.  He got what he deserved.

Everton again enjoyed the best chances with Naysmith seeing a header saved at the foot of the post, Campbell falling over as the goal beckoned him, Radzinski drifting across the goal and seeing a shot saved by the keeper and Li Tie driving a shot wide from distance.  But, for all the possession, we couldn't add a second.  That just invited late pressure from the visitors and they duly obliged. 

But that's all they obliged with.  In another season, we'd have conceded a goal; but, with the majestic Yobo sweeping up almost everything up that came his way and with Stubbs having returned to the form he showed early last season, there was nothing that the West Brom forwards could do to create a chance.  Even a mis-hit clearance by substitute Pistone was dealt with by the unflappable Yobo with consummate ease.  The man is a colossus.  His influence on the rest of the side cannot be over-emphasised.

The moment of the match was left until three minutes from time.  Tomasz Radzinski had left the pitch to a standing ovation and was replaced by the prodigy that is Wayne Rooney.  Rooney's impact was almost immediate as he controlled a high ball with a single touch, in the fashion of his goal against Arsenal.  This time, though there wasn't a direct channel to goal, so he ran down the line and stopped... and stood � with hands on hips, motionless � teasing the defender, daring him to dive in.  Then he was gone and all the defender could do was pull him back.  Poetry!  He's composed, he's assured, he's arrogant.  What he will be like when he's fully developed I daren't consider...  I can't wait!

In the end it was 1-0.  It could have been more, but it wasn't.  Whatever the score, we got three points and, with Bolton taking the point against Chelsea at the Reebok, that allowed us to climb to third; I might just need that oxygen mask.

Man of The Match: Difficult; the whole defence played well.  Of the midfield, Li Tie and Thomas Gravesen were immense and both Campbell and Radzinski had good games up front.  In the end, I'll give it to Yobo because of his influence as well as his contribution.

Steve Bickerton
www.blue-horizons.net

 



Report

Another special day at Goodison.  A 40,000 crowd, the team and fans on a high, and an eminently winnable game against the bottom side in the Premiership.  It was set up to be a celebration.  Recent history would have this down as a huge potential banana skin; this current side seems to have risen above such short-fallings.

There were no surprises in the team selection � why should there be? 

The first half was strikingly similar to that of the Charlton game.  We dominated possession, played some nice stuff, but didn't get the goals we should have done.  We looked utterly in control at the back; West Brom were reduced to a few long range shots; the midfield was seeing plenty of the ball; and Campbell and Radzinski were looking lively up front.  It was all there to win in comfort but it never quite happened.

To be honest, despite all the good things we were doing, clear-cut chances were few and far between.  A Stubbs header from a corner, which was actually blocked by Campbell, was about the closest we came.  Until, that was, the 34th minute when we finally got it right.  Li Tie volleyed a pass to Radzinski, Radzinski chested it back to him and span away from the defender.  Li Tie took it on a few paces before putting a perfect pass into Radzinski's path.  Radzinski hit it first time, emphatically beating Hoult at his near post.

We arrived at half-time with a deserved lead but with the feeling that it really should have been more.

The second half followed a similar course.  We looked solid and compact but seemed incapable of extending our advantage.  We forced a number of corners; we had periods of almost total domination.  I was screaming at them to "make it count", but they didn't.  Clear-cut chances were few and far between and none were struck with enough conviction to test the excellent Hoult.  Campbell spurned the best chance: Gravesen played him in after good work in the box but Campbell completely missed his kick.  Hoult's severest test actually came from his own player, a farcical mix up following an Everton cross ended with Hoult making an excellent reaction save.

As was shown at the Charlton match, at 1-0 the opposition is always in the game; they always feel that they have a chance.  To be fair to Everton, West Brom only had one real chance.  For once, Jason Roberts eluded Joseph Yobo and was left one-on-one with Wright.  Wright did brilliantly, closing him down very quickly and making himself "big" in the process.  He forced Roberts to make a decision and Roberts let the opportunity drift away.  Other than a few corners, this was as close as they got.

So, we had a few anxious moments, but this was another deserved victory.  We could carp about the lack of goals and there's no doubting we should be scoring more, but that would be the icing on the cake.  I'm quite content with things as they are.

A final mention, though, goes to the crowd.  I haven't felt Goodison buzz quite like that for a long time.  In the second half, as the latest scores went up on the board and we realised that everything was going our way, the noise made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.  It must be something to play in front of that.

  • Wright 8  Faultless display.  Not called on to do too much, but he did everything with massive assurance.
  • Hibbert 7  Continues his development into the best Everton right back since Ian Snodin.
  • Unsworth 7  'Ave it.
  • Yobo 8  Imperious, yet again.
  • Stubbs 7  Another excellent performance.
  • Carsley 7  Hard working and useful as ever.
  • Gravesen 8  Always gives us that something extra going forward.  One of his best displays.  Still has the ability to infuriate though.  A blatant dive for a penalty and the subsequent booking was just sheer stupidity.  Also, his long range shooting has to be improved; three decent openings he had � not one of them hit the target � that's not good enough.
  • Li Tie 8  The sublime pass for the goal was only one part of his game.  He worked hard, as he always does, and is showing more signs of genuine craft � including one neat little back-heel by the corner flag which sent Unsworth running towards the box.
  • Naysmith 6  Looked a little out of it and definitely the weak link today.  Never stops, though, and he'll have better days.
  • Radzinski 8  Yet another top display crowned by an excellent goal.
  • Campbell 7  Apart from his miss and blocking Stubbs's header, didn't do much else wrong.  Rejuvenated this season.
  • Pistone 6  On for Naysmith for the last 5 minutes or so; surprised it wasn't earlier.  Did OK at left back.
  • Rooney 6  A three minute cameo where he almost won a penalty after a bullocking run, and where he did his now famous hands on hips routine.

Team 7 You've got to mark them down a little for not finishing West Brom off with more conviction.  I'm not going to quibble at 1-0s but it would be so easy to lose out during a late onslaught.  Criminal when you should have been 2 or 3 goals clear...

Man of the match The immaculate Joseph Yobo.

Richard Marland



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