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 FA Premiership (2); Goodison Park, Liverpool; Saturday 23 August 2003; 3:00pm
  Naysmith (7')
Unsworth (20')
Watson (35')
 
Attendance: 37,604
Halftime: 3-0

Facts
Reports
Hayles (68')


Referee: Neale Barry
 

Match Summary

We might have guessed that there would be no starting role for the diminutive figure of Leon Osman in this physical battle with the ex-Cottagers, but he does get a place on the bench, and Wayne Rooney gets a start.

Unsworth gave Everton an early scare with a dreadful back-pass that flew past Wright and went just wide.  But it did not take long for Everton to take the lead, with Naysmith firing home a beautiful shot from 20 yards out after Linderoth had set him up.

Rooney who had been having a quiet start, made a great run, the ball spun away to Radsinski with a lay-off to Naysmith who fired in another Exocet that flew just over the bar.  Everton were humming.

Unsworth then drilled a second after another piece of great work by Rooney, a neat flick to Naysmith, and a superb layoff to Unsworth, who hammered it home.  Delirium.

But Fulham were still able to give Everton a scare or two with some lax defending.  But Everton go another free-kick a fair way out and Stubbs hammered the Watson set-up round the wall and onto the post.

Rooney then saved a ball from going out and beat van der Sar to roll it back Watson; he slotted it home from close range, thank you very much!

The second half started fitfully; Pistone went in the book for tugging Hayles down soon after the restart.  Yobo later slipped, letting in Hayles, but Linderoth saved things for Everton.

Wright made an excellent finger-tip save to tip a Saha shot over the bar as Everton came under some pressure following Chris Coleman's second-half substitutions.  Rooney, looking tired, ran at van der Sar and tried to chip him, as it appeared that Fulham's dominance would begin to pay off. 

Continued pressure finally saw Hayles bundle the ball into the net, and that should have been a warning for Moyes that changes were well overdue.  Finally, he withdrew Rooney and put on Chadwick, which helped to stem the flow, but it was a poor second half on balance, with Everton fully expected to go for the jugular... but they didn't.

A win — and by a fabulous 2-goal margin!  A positive goal difference!!  A top-half position in the standings!!!  What more could we ask?




Sean Davis may not officially sign his new contract with Fulham until next week; in any case he is carrying a knee injury


Everton v Fulham:
Prior League Games
 Overall  
 Everton 11
 Fulham 0
 Draws 4
 Premiership  
 Everton 2
 Fulham 0
 Draws 0
 Last Season:

Everton 2-0 Fulham


Premiership Scores
Saturday
Newcastle 2-1 Man Utd
Bolton 2-2 Blackburn
Chelsea 2-1 Leicester
Everton 3-1 Fulham
Man City 1-1 Portsmouth
Southampton 0-0 Birmingham
Tottenham 2-1 Leeds
Wolves 0-4 Charlton
Sunday
Aston Villa 0-0 Liverpool
Middlesbro' 0-0 Arsenal
 


Match Facts
 Everton  (4-4-2)
 Blue shirts, white shorts, blue socks
 Fulham  (4-4-2)
White shirts, black shorts, white socks
  Wright
Pistone
Yobo
Stubbs {c}
Unsworth
Watson
Linderoth
Pembridge
Naysmith
Rooney (74' Chadwick)
Radzinski

Subs not used:  Simonsen,
Weir, Li Tie, Osman

Yellow Cards: Pistone (50')

Red Cards: —


Unavailable:

(Suspended:) Ferguson.
(Injured:) Alexandersson, Campbell, Carsley, Gravesen, Gemmill, Hibbert
van der Sar
Volz
Legwinski (46' Hayles)
Inamoto (62' Buari)
Saha
Clark {c}
Boa Morte
Malbranque
Bonnissel
Djetou (59' Knight)


Subs not used:
Crossley, Sava

Yellow Cards:
Hayles (48'), Volz (63'), Goma (90+1)

Red Cards: —
 
Match Reports

2003-04 Match Reports Index


Everton Web Sites
ToffeeWeb Match Summary
EvertonFC.com Match Report
When Skies Are Grey Match Report
Blue Kipper Match Report
Everton Fans' Reports
Pieman Player Ratings
Paul Waring Comments
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 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 6
1 Man Utd 6
3 Chelsea 6
4 Blackburn 4
5 Man City 4
6 Portsmouth 4
7 Birmingham 4
8 Charlton 3
8 Everton 3
10 Tottenham 3
11 Fulham 3
12 Southampton 2
13 Leicester 1
13 Leeds 1
13 Newcastle 1
16 Aston Villa 1
16 Liverpool 1
18 Bolton 1
19 Middlesbrough 0
20 Wolves 0
After 24 Aug 2003


Match Preview

The Sean Davis saga is bound to add an element of spice to a fixture that, over the last few years, has inexplicably become a bit of a grudge match.  Given Davis's injury and the fact that Fulham still seem unable to bring Reyna to Craven Cottage, their midfield, whilst being very creative, is actually quite weak.  If Gravesen continues his excellent run of form, he could easily dominate [Unfortunately, he's ruled out through injury — Ed].  Malbranque is an excellent player but if you can shackle him you can keep him quiet.  The loss of the drive of Finnan will be sorely missed by Fulham this year.

The main concern for Everton, however, must again be our strike force.  Radzinski looked very sharp against Arsenal but, let's be honest, Nick Chadwick was well out of his depth.  Given that he was being covered by the questionable Toure and unfit Keown, it is understandable why Moyes has been keen to get someone else in.

Rooney will surely still be too ring-rusty to start so Chadwick should get another go but I would suggest that Chadwick must show well in this game or — given the impending return of Rooney, Ferguson and Campbell and potential transfer of Jeffers (not to mention young Pascucci) — we may not see much more of him.

At the back, we should have enough to keep Fulham quiet which will hopefully be the bedrock for another slender home win.

As a thought, the signing of Davis would give us an excellent central-midfield partnership in Davis and Gravesen and the transfer of Jeffers may delight with a perm 2 from 3 of Radzinski, Rooney and Jeffers; yet it still does not solve the biggest problem we have which is lack of width.  Seeing Pennant sign for Leeds on loan makes me wonder why we did not go after that one — he has great potential.  With McLeod moving to QPR and Osman nowhere near the first team we look set to stick with Watson and Pembridge on the flanks.  Even now I am looking to next season to solve that one!

Fulham are tipped for the drop by many pundits and, notwithstanding their win last Saturday, they are there for the taking.  Given what we have got coming up, we need the 3 points... and we'll go and get 'em.

2-0 to the Blues and the season begins!

Blue4Ever

Lee Doyle

Ratings

Wright 6 — Solid when tested with shots but flapped at a couple of balls and probably should have been punished for it.  Needs to communicate better with his defence, but certainly the best keeper (ok, bar Turner) at the club now. 

Pistone 5 — A poor game, though in fairness to him Boa Morte (twatt) was having a good game and Steve Watson seems to have been told to play further up the park, leaving Sandro exposed at times.

Yobo 7 — Superb until Hayles came on, then struggled a bit due to the physical challenge in the air. Got little support from Stubbs though.

Stubbs 6 — Solid for long periods, then f**ks around on the ball, putting himself into trouble on more than one occasion. Unlucky not to score with a free-kick, but I wish he wouldn't take them.  We need someone else to partner Joey Yobo IMO, but its not easy to come across decent centre backs as the rest of the Premiership will probably testify.  There are probably more than one club in the Premiership that would happily have Weir or Stubbs in their defences.  Fulham for example...

Unsworth 6 — Same old, same old. Solid, but prone to mistakes.  Excellent finish for his goal and combined well with Nace generally.  The left side of the field wasn't bothered very often.

Watson 6 — Right place at the right time.  Solid if uninspiring.  Drifted out of the game in the second half but one of the few players who put his foot on the ball when we were under pressure.

Linderoth 7 — My MOM. Does nothing flash but must be a nightmare to play against as he never gives in and hassles the opposition into making a mistake.  Just wish he had more confidence when he goes over half way.

Pembridge 6 — Good first half, flagged towards the end.  A midfield of Pembo and Linderoth will struggle against more physical teams without a doubt.  Should have been replaced by Li Tie in the last 20 mins.

Naysmith 7 — Great Goal, non-stop working, seems to have improved his fitness over the summer.  Should have got a second goal and knew it.  Still prefer him at left back though.

Radzinski 6 — Did the Radz thing, chased and harried and gave the opposition no time at all.  Struggled due to the lack of quality balls he received.  Didn't use him down the flanks enough where he is very dangerous IMO.

Rooney 7 — Some may question this rating as he missed a good chance and looked a bit off the pace but its obvious we're so much better with him in the team.  Takes at least two men with him when he gets the ball and is always a great outlet for taking the pressure off as he is so comfortable with the ball at his feet and doesn't give it straight back to the opposition.  Always in the mind of the opposition also.  Tired with 15 mins left as might be expected.

Chadwick 6 — Chased and harried, did a good job at relieving the pressure at a crucial time.

Good first half performance, but we will no doubt meet many better teams than Fulham.  And probably a couple of worse ones too.  They are good going forward but crap at the back.

Pieman

 

Comments

Classic ‘game of two halves’ cliché stuff.  The boys had every right to cruise in the second half but I don’t actually think that was the intention – they just got overrun by a big, physical team who had nothing to lose and went for it.

Great start though; the first two goals – especially the second – were sublime, and the third was nicely worked.  Good to see the midfield weighing in with a few goals – as they should when the defence is busy trying to tie up the front two.

Naysmith was my man of the match – took his goal well, could have had another, and kept running and trying to create all game, while others around him were wilting in the second half.  Linderoth also did well for an hour or so.  Yobo was, of course, magnificent – and needed to be, to cover for Stubbsy who seems to be struggling a bit.  Might see Weir given a run sooner rather than later.

The Boy was obviously well off the pace, although there were a couple of signs of absolute class.  The way he pulled the ball down for the second goal and killed it dead was pure artistry.  Deserved better protection (as did the rest of the team) from a weak set of officials who seemed to believe the tackle from behind had been reinstated as a sound defensive tactic.

One slight concern about Moyes’s tactics – his reluctance to get more subs on sooner.  At 3-0, and with most of the midfield coming off mid-week internationals, there was a clear opportunity to give Osman a run second half, but he didn’t take it – even when Pembridge in particular was clearly struggling for fitness.

Rooney was always going to come off before the end – but even he stayed on the pitch 15 minutes longer than he should.  Still, I’m not going to argue with the Boss.  And I hope Fulham go down – they’re a dirty, narky bunch of mercenaries with no style or substance.  Horrible team.

Paul Waring



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