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 FA Premiership (29); Walkers Stadium, Leicester; Saturday 20 March 2004; 3:00pm
  Bent (92') 
 
 
Attendance: 31,650
Halftime: 0-0

Stats
Facts
Reports
Rooney (78')
Ferguson sent off (41')

Referee: Barry Knight
 

Match Summary

Despite the sabre-rattling threats that he would have to earn his place, Thomas Gravesen walked right back into the side to perform his enigmatic midfield role, at the expense of Alex Nyarko — who had one of his better games for Everton last week in the win over Portsmouth. 

McFadden got a rare start in place of Kevin Kilbane, who had been excused on paternity leave.  Ferguson, who limped off early last week with a hamstring twinge, started up front with Rooney, with Radzinski and Campbell on the bench.  Pistone was also recalled after recovering from his hamstring problems, Hibbert getting the drop, probably a reflection of his dreadful distribution.  Still no sign of Jeffers...

A strong wind swirling around the Walkers Stadium led to some pretty scrappy stuff from both sides as they struggled to acclimatize to the conditions.  It took a while before Everton put much together in attack, with Ferguson heading the ball down to Rooney who fired it in hasty and hard, into the stands, while McFadden was having a nightmare, giving the ball away, making the wrong choices, and booked after 18 mins for clattering Izzet. 

Everton were largely making their own problems, giving away a number of silly free kicks in dangerous areas.  Leicester very nearly scored on 23 mins when McFadden was beaten by Dickov, whose fierce shot flew fractionally wide of Martyn's post.  Breaks in the relentless Leicester pressure were few and far between as they threatened strongly to open the scoring.

Another scare in the Everton box saw Ferdinand in with a chance but the ref spotted a handball.  And then a crazy corner from Izzet flew on to the crossbar, back off Bent's arm and into the net.  Everton were very fortunate to again get the decision as the goal was disallowed. 

In a moment of respite, Gravesen linked well with McFadden and set him up beautifully for a great left-foot shot that screwed wide with Walker well beaten.  But it was back up the other end, and a succession of fearsome dead-ball deliveries pumped in continually by Izzet.  Duncan eventually got the booking he was looking for, arms always all over Freund who had been in his face from the start. 

Gravesen was next into the book after he also went in on Dabizas as Everton showed signs of losing their discipline.  Ferguson then got involved with Freund, got the second yellow, and the red.  Then, amazingly, he went straight over to Steffen Freund and grabbed him by the throat, clearing showing Freund had got him sent off, and then making unpleasant gestures to the crowd.  Oh Dunc, you silly twat!  But points to Leicester in this one for successfully riling the Blues and getting the reaction they wanted from the Everton players. 

A fantastic run from Rooney should have seen 10-man Everton find the net, only for him to screw it wide after ignoring Watson in attendance.  So ended a rather lively half, with Everton poor overall and reduced in numbers, still with a clean sheet.  Can Gravesen get himself sent off as well?

McFadden was hauled off and replaced by Radzinski for the second half as Everton faced a mammoth task to save this one.  The players then got mad with a dreadful offside decision that went against Watson and Rooney.  Rooney followed that with a delicious chip that was just too flambouyant for Watson.

Rooney got another chance later on as Everton withstood the challenge, with Watson whipping in a lovely ball.  Naysmith followed up in kind with the corner but Everton failed to capitalize.  Radzinski was booked for remonstrating over Gravesen being fouled.  Rooney was then in trouble, as he raised his arm: into the book; 10th card of the season: two-match ban.

But Wayne Rooney then made fantastic amends for Everton!  Radzinski put him in again, Wayne cut inside, right foot, GOAL!!!  He ran to the Evertonians tucked in the corner of the Walkers Stadium and they were going absolutely mental.  Another fantastic piece of class from Wayne Rooney: carbon copy of last week's winner over Portsmouth, and at the same point in the game!

Gravesen then had a fabulous run, the length of the field, Rooney was offside, Radzinski could not control it, should have scored.  Everton performed well in the second half, while Leicester seemed to choke a bit on the old psychological burden of the numerical advantage.

Some nervy moments of course in the last few minutes as Everton had to defend in depth.  Simieca got through and drove in a fabulous shot that Martyn saved superbly, pushing the ball onto the post and out for a corner.  Bent then finally got the goal Leicester had been threatening since the start from a dead ball as he headed home from the corner and Everton lost two points they hardly deserved after a poor first half performance but had fully earned in the second half.  GAME OVER!
 


Duncan Ferguson: Driven to distraction by Freund, he was livid to get two yellows near the end of the first half


Leicester v Everton:
Prior League Games
 Overall  
 Leicester 21
 Everton 12
 Draws 14
 Premiership  
 Leicester 1
 Everton 2
 Draws 4
 Last Meeting:

Leicester 0-0 Everton 



Premiership Scores
Saturday 20 Mar 2004
Arsenal 2-1 Bolton
Aston Villa 0-2 Blackburn
Chelsea 2-1 Fulham
Leicester 1-1 Everton
Liverpool 1-0 Wolves
Man Utd 2-0 Tottenham
Middlesbro 5-3 Birmingham
Newcastle 3-1 Charlton
Sunday 21 Mar 2004
Portsmouth 1-0 Southampton
Monday 22 Mar 2004
Leeds Utd 2-1 Man City
 


Match Facts
 Leicester City  (4-3-3)
 Blue shirts, white shorts, white socks
Everton   (4-4-2)
 Amber shirts, blue shorts, amber socks
  Walker
Izzett {c}
Freund (83' Nalis)
Benjamin (46' Guppy)
Scimeca
Thatcher
Bent
Dabizas
Ferdinand (58' Canero)
Heath
Dickov

Subs not used: Coyne,
Davidson

Yellow Cards: Scimeca (43')

Red Cards: —
Martyn
Pistone
Stubbs
Yobo
Naysmith
Watson
Gravesen
Linderoth
McFadden (46' Radzinski)
Ferguson {c} [41' Sent Off ]
Rooney (87' Campbell)

Subs not used: Wright,
Unsworth, Nyarko

Yellow Cards: McFadden (18')
[Ferguson (37', 40')] Gravesen (39')
Radzinski (73'), Rooney (74')

Red Cards:
Ferguson (40')


Unavailable:

(Suspended:) Clarke
(Injured:) Li Tie

(Family leave:) Kilbane
(On Loan:) Chadwick Gemmill, O'Hanlon,
 Osman, Schumacher, Symes, Turner
 
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
Paul Traill The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Colm Kavanagh Determined Resolve
Links to Other Media Reports
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
Liverpool Echo Match Report
Daily Post Match Report
Premiership Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Arsenal 73
2 Chelsea 64
3 Man Utd 61
4 Liverpool 45
5 Newcastle 45
6 Charlton 43
7 Birmingham 42
8 Aston Villa 40
9 Fulham 39
10 Middlesbrough 37
11 Tottenham 37
12 Southampton 36
13 Bolton 34
14 Everton 33
15 Blackburn 31
16 Man City 30
17 Leicester 27
18 Portsmouth 27
19 Leeds 25
20 Wolves 24
After 22 Mar 2004


Match Preview

With two consecutive victories under their belt and the beginning of another attempt to string together a run of results to capitalise on the tight pack of clubs trading places with each other underway, David Moyes's Everton travel Leicester to face another team struggling below them in the table.  The game at the Walkers Stadium represents the chance for the Blues to achieve three straight wins for the first time in over a year.

The win over Portsmouth was singularly unimpressive but the Blues at least did enough to claim the three points.  Leicester, meanwhile, earned a surprise victory at Birmingham that ended their 13-game winless run; that, combined with both the fact that Micky Adams's three wayward stars from their Spanish trip are likely to return to action this weekend and Everton's abysmal away form, this won't be an easy task.

Indeed, Moyes's pre-match comments suggest that he isn't in confident mood, fearing a backlash by the Foxes following the controversy in Spain.  More worrying is his apparent assessment of the midfield's performance against Pompey last week; he has warned Thomas Gravesen that he is not an automatic choice to return to the first team following his suspension despite the general feeling among the supporters than the pairing of Alex Nyarko and Tobias Linderoth left little to be desired.  And Kevin Kilbane, who's been playing well, is out for family reasons; James McFadden could play in his place.

Duncan Ferguson is doubtful after pulling a hamstring last weekend so Tomasz Radzinski, who has had a profound impact in each of the last two games, could partner Wayne Rooney up front.  Moyes will be hoping Rooney can keep up his recent scoring record and be as decisive for the Blues this time as he was when the teams last met.  In December, Everton ran out 3-2 winners to overturn Leicester's lead thanks to Rooney's inspirational introduction as a substitute.

Victory for Everton would pull them closer to the top half of the table and put nine points between them and Leicester, more or less dispelling realistic fears of relegation for another season.

Lyndon Lloyd

Matchday Stats

This will be the 99th meeting between Everton and Leicester in all competitions, and the 51st away from home.  This match will be the 16th meeting in the Premier League and the first match Everton have played at Leicester City's Walkers Stadium.

Everton's full record against Leicester City is:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

15

4

10

1

19

17

Division One

74

30

17

27

148

122

Division Two

6

2

2

2

11

11

FA Cup

2

2

0

0

6

3

Zenith Data Cup

1

0

0

1

1

2

TOTALS:

98

38

29

31

185

155

Our record away to Leicester City is:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

7

2

4

1

7

7

Division One

37

9

9

19

49

73

Division Two

3

1

1

1

6

7

FA Cup

2

2

0

0

6

3

Zenith Data Cup

1

0

0

1

1

2

TOTALS:

50

14

14

22

69

92

The last match between the two sides was earlier this season on 20 December when we won 3-2 at Goodison Park which saw an own goal by Steve Howey, with the other two being added by Wayne Rooney and Thomsz Radzinski in the final twenty minutes.  The last match away to Leicester was in November 2001 when the teams drew 0-0.

Everton's biggest victory away to Leicester City is 5-1 on 10 September 1977 in a Division One match.  The club's heaviest defeat away to the Foxes was a 6-2 reverse at Filbert Street on 5 February 1927.

The most common victory for Everton is shared between 2-0 and 2-1, both of which have occurred four times in Everton's 14 victories at Leicester.  Leicester's most common victory at home is 2-0, which has happened five times in their 22 home victories.  The most common draw between the sides at Leicester is 2-2, which has happened six times out of the 14 draws in total.

Everton's record for 20 March is:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

1

0

0

1

0

1

Division One

13

3

5

5

18

20

Division Two

1

0

1

0

2

2

FA Cup

2

2

0

0

5

3

Euro Cup Winners Cup

1

1

0

0

2

0

TOTALS:

18

6

6

6

27

26

This will be the third meeting between the sides on this date.  The first meeting was the only Division Two match played on this date when we drew 2-2 at Filbert Street.  Thirty years later, in 1984, the two teams met again, this time at Goodison Park and also in the First Division, and it also saw another draw, although this time it was 1-1.  The only Premier League match on this date was in 1993, which saw a 1-0 defeat at Anfield.  The European Cup Winners' Cup match on this date was the away leg at Fortuna Sittard in the 1985 competition, with Everton winning 2-0.

Milestone's that can be reached in this game:

  • If David Unsworth plays any part in the match, it will be his 300th league appearance for Everton.  He has, so far, made 269 starts and 30 substitute appearances for the club in the league.
  • If Lee Carsley starts the match, it will be his 50th start for Everton in all competitions.
  • If Wayne Rooney scores a hat-trick before the end of the season, he will be beat William Dean's record of the youngest ever Everton player to score three goals in a match.

Steve Flanagan

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

It's hard work supporting the Blues.  It was a nice time of 10am for the coach to depart, and we were away.  The trip was a relatively quick one up the M6, and before we knew it we had arrived in Leicester, only to have to stop at a service station when we were so close to the ground.  Then it was a police escort, before we pulled up and some coppers boarded the coach to check our tickets.  It all seemed like nonsense to me as the clock ebbed away, and I could see the thought of having a few beers in a pub beforehand slip away.

Well it would never have happened anyway, as the doormen at one pub sent us on to another one, while the doormen of the next one sent us back to the other one.  So we took the law into our own hands by going to the supermarket and getting a few there.  It was a fair enough solution in the end.  No problems as we sang a few Everton songs and generally enjoyed ourselves.  Just to think that at the same time, probably no les than 300 yards away, a fellow blue was killed, after being struck by flying debris.  What a tragedy.

Unaware of this at the time, at around 14:30, we headed off into the swirling winds and towards the Walker Stadium.  We were in and sat down by about 14:40.  Plenty of time.

Some goon came on to the pitch to say some sort of message to the crowd which I neither understood nor heard due to Everton's once again fantastic and vociferous support simply drowning him out.  He then played some sort of flute which I assume is the music Leicester come out to.

It wasn't long later that the teams came out.  The corner flag danced in the wind and I assume Leicester won the toss.  In the second half, Everton kicked towards us with the wind on there backs.  The wind reminded me of a time when I was playing in goal for my college. I'm flatfooted and hence useless as an outfield player in any department, and the keeper couldn't play so they asked me if I'd go in the net for them.  I did, and they had the wind in the first half.  It was 4-0 to them by half time; 5-1 full time.  I've never lived it down since.

The wind played a key part, no matter what.  It made things very difficult for the back four and Martyn, with Naysmith and Stubbs struggling more than anyone else.  Naysmith at one point doing that thing he always does in letting a player suck him inside his own penalty box before unnecessarily going to ground.  If Marcus Bent had have gone down, it would have been a penalty.  However, he didn't, and Everton stuck at it well in near impossible conditions.

Pistone had a 20-yard effort comfortably saved, and Ferguson failed to do much with the long aimless punts sent up to him, as he found it difficult to judge where the ball was going to land due to the weather.  Rooney and Watson carried the fight to Leicester more so than anyone else in the first half, while the rest played to stay in it until the break, knowing that if we got to 0-0 at half time, we'd have a great chance in the second half.

However, on about the half hour, Bent muscled Martyn to the ground from a corner to head home, only for the ref to blow for a foul.  Phew!

It was shortly after this when a well-worked move by Everton resulted in Linderoth flighting in a diagonal ball towards Dunc.  He apparently fouled Dabizas, and the ref (without a second thought) booked Dunc.  This pissed Dunc off, as he was playing shit anyway, and Dabizas sensed the opportunity and moaned at Dunc and pestered him for a little while.

Next time they both jumped, Ferguson shoved Dabizas.  The ref let it go.  Next time they both jumped, Ferguson shoved Dabizas.  The ref, let it go.  The next time he jumped, Stephan Freund threw himself to ground.  This time the ref didn't hesitate with a second booking, and he was off.  At this Dunc went for Freund presumably for trying to get him sent off. 

I'm torn with this one.  First, I think Dunc was stupid and shouldn't have let Dabisaz wind him up like that, but then I think of our "model pro" Alan Shearer and the amount of shit he gets away with game in, game out (kicking players in the face, elbows, pushes, backing in, hloding) and the sending off was extremely unfair.  Nevertheless.  He was off.

Everton held out under some heavy bombardment before McFadden played Rooney, who from the half-way line skinned three players, only to drag his shot wide.  Wonderful stuff from the boy, while the ref went nuts and needed half time.  The whistle went, and at half time the general feeling was that we could still win this with the wind on our backs.

A brave move by Moyes at half time as he went to a 4-3-3 formation, sticking on Radz.  The second half, Everton should have won, as every player battled superbly.

Gravesen woke up, and started doing his thing.  Linderoth woke up and started doing his thing, effective tackling and tidy passing.  The back four were solid.  Naysmith superb without the wind in his face.  Watson worked tirelessly, and up front, they were both excellent.  Particularly Rooney.

One nice move led to Rooney being through on goal, only for the flag to go up WAY too late.  Not long after this though, the goal came.  A free kick (I think) was launched into the box but over Rooney and the defender.  Radzinski was onto it, and got to it to flick it inside for Rooney.  Rooney turned.  Beat his man and bang.  Absolutely typical Rooney, very much like the goal against Portsmouth, as he celebrated in style down in front of us.  Jubilation from the supporters as we sensed victory.

Well, Leicester are a team battling for points at the wrong end of the table, so I guess they weren't going to roll over and die — particularly against 10 men.  So some heavy pressure in the last ten minutes finally paid off for them.  Beforehand, everything they threw at us was mopped up superbly by Stubbs and Yobo, whereas Martyn smothered everything else.  Naysmith and Pistone also stepping in when necessary with some timely interventions and solid tackling.

With two minutes left on the clock, off came Rooney and on came Campbell.  Rooney took forever to leave the field.  It makes me wonder if he'd have legged it off, the ref might have just added 1 minute on instead of 2...  Probably not — but you never know.  The ref was shocking.  No doubt about it.  I don't even think he knew. 

Then someone shot, Martyn saved spectacularly, and the ball hit the post and out for a corner.  The corner came in.  "Clear this and we've won" I said.  We didn't, and they won the goal.  Maybe if Dunc hadn't got himself sent off, he would have been there to head the ball out. 

It's a world of fate though I guess.  Maybe if I'd have stopped and gotten a hot dog somewhere or bumped into someone I know a bit earlier, it could have been me hit by flying debris, and I would have been tragically killed.  My heart goes out to the families.

Ratings:

  • Martyn: Didn't command his box, and looks decidedly dodgy with his punches, but covered everything else, and that save at the end meant he did not deserve what happened afterwards. 7
  • Naysmith: Struggled a bit first half but still did the job.  Magnificent in the second. 8
  • Stubbs: See Naysmith. 8
  • Yobo: Superb.  Really is world class. 8
  • Pistone: You can see why he gets picked; positionally excellent, and some great tackling and interventions. 8
  • McFadden: Looks lost. Got a silly booking as well, and needed to be replaced at half time. Shame. 5
  • Gravesen: Was AWOL first half but sublime in he second. Unlucky not to score with that run, although Radz should have put it in anyway. 8
  • Linderoth: His usual effective self. 7
  • Watson: Good work by Steve; ran his arse off and used his head. 7
  • Rooney: My MOTM; we can't cope without him.  Shame we're gonna have to miss him for 2 games now. Along with Dunc. 8
  • Radzinski: Done well. Caused them problems, set up a goal, and should have scored one himself. 7
  • Campbell: Not on for long, but made an excellent defensive block in his own area, and actually found a player with a pass, so good work. All be it for 4 minutes. 7

Overall: We battled superbly in the second half, and should have won this one. 8

Paul Traill

Determined Resolve

First impressions, they say, are lasting.  I'm not mad keen on these kind of stadiums: Soulless breeze-block constructions.  No heartbeat.  Maybe I'm an old fart but you've gotta have at least a second tier on even one stand surely?!  It's the same all the way around the ground.  Some take the piss out of Everton FC for the Park End banners of recent seasons, informing anyone who bothers to look at them of our various achievements but I'd rather have them on the outside of "MY" stadium than a "border wraparound" screaming Walkers Crisps inside the ground.  Personally, I found it tacky.

The view and the facilities may indeed be better than what we have at Goodison but modernisation without a nod in the direction of tradition leaves you feeling just a bit empty.  Something missing that you can't quite put your finger on!  A bit like our own Park End perhaps!!

Anyway, to the game:

To say it was a fresh day in Leicester is an understatement.  It was blowing a gale.  Some wag thanked the one above for no Unsworth present.  Cruel!

Leicester started more positively, helped by the wind and their secret weapon — about 3,000 windswept pieces of plastic.  Everton looked static.

The game wasn't helped one bit by arguably the most inept performance given by a PROFESSIONAL Premiership ref.  Just how on earth is Barry Knight officiating at this level?  Shocking.  We could argue all day and night about Duncan Ferguson's dismissal but from where I was sitting it looked as though Duncan (harshly booked moments earlier) gave Knight the opportunity he relished.  Cue an early bath yet again.

Having now seen the TV pictures, it's hard to excuse Duncan for grabbing Freund by the throat.  However, I could perfectly understand and appreciate Duncan's sheer frustration at that precise moment.  That's how Knight officiated throughout.  We weren't necessarily a dirty side yet picked up cards freely — about as freely as the wind scattered litter across the pitch.

Rooney's yellow was laughable!  He challenged the Leicester defender down on the touchline in front of us with the result that the Leicester player (bigger than our kid!) hit the deck.  Now, if it was a foul it was a foul!  It's hard to describe perfectly but if you can imagine the tackle taking place and nothing happening then for a few seconds before the referee eventually decided to book the offending player!  It wasn't a case of a referee (or his assistants) spotting a foul challenge and booking a player at that instant, for his offending challenge.  A nothing challenge resulting in Wayne Rooney now finding himself suspended.  Petty officialdom.

What made matters worse, in the first half, were two successive Leicester City corner kicks not taken from the proper area.  Evertonians were livid, screaming at the "referee's assistant" (standing all of 25 millimetres away from the corner flag) to stop the Leicester player taking either kick from outside the area.  It was little things like this that infuriated all watching.  We're being slightly paranoid in highlighting the argument that it was mainly ourselves on the wrong end of some bad calls — but christ did it feel that way!  On a day like this, what better way to top it off but to concede an injury time equaliser.  Summed it up perfectly.  Gutted.

Sometimes, when you feel you're more sinned against than sinner, you create a feeling from within, a resolve — a determination to hit back.  Rooney epitomised this after Duncan's dismissal.  He made one great run from wide left, initially, cutting through the Leicester midfield/defence.  On the edge of the box, with defenders closing in and the keeper closing the angle, he dragged his shot wide left.  It would've been a fine individual effort.

It was not the first time he got himself into a position like that only to drag his shot the wrong side of the post.  We forget though that he's only 18 years old!  In the same move, as Leicester's defence parted like the Red Sea, it was patently obvious that Steve Watson has absolutely no pace at all.  Vainly he tried to keep up with Rooney but, despite having acres of space in front of him and looking like "the obvious ball" for Rooney to play - pass out right for Watson to slot home into an empty net - the truth was that he hadn't the legs.  One for the summer sales perhaps?  Watson, not Rooney!!!

The introduction of Tomasz Radzinski in place of the ineffective James McFadden for the second half made sense and also set the tone for a positive Everton second half performance.  The blustery conditions helped neither side and that (thankfully!) negated the aerial threat of one Les Ferdinand.  His early departure was greeted with glee by the travelling Evertonians!  Ah, you have to laugh whenever the chance arises!  I've already commissioned 10,000 t-shirts bearing the legend "I Woz There When Les Ferdinand Didn't Score!"

As the contest deteriorated and one or two aimless hoofs forward in the general direction of Rooney (or Radzinski) came to nothing, you felt change was necessary.  It was pointless hoofing balls forward as we had no target up front.  I would've liked to have seen Kevin Campbell coming on for the knackered Steve Watson.  Anyone notice the colour of Watson's shirt?!!  He sweats like Shergar!! 

Whatever little threat we posed up front was going to come from balls to feet and trickery from the industrious Radzinski and Rooney.  With little more than 10 minutes left on the clock, we were treated to the one real bit of magic on the day.  Rooney collected the ball out left, turned and slipped his marker — bang!  1-0 to ten-man Everton and Rooney in raptures down in the corner with his fellow Evertonians up there above him! 

You don't need any diplomas to note just how much scoring for Everton means to Wayne Rooney.  He continues to live his dream, writing new chapters along the way.  You sell him at your peril, EFC.  He is the present and very much OUR future.

Just as we were about to celebrate a precious three points, disaster struck.  Martyn made a fabulous save, turning a screamer out for a corner.  Last corner of the game, two minutes of stoppage time almost up.  In accordance with script, and Evertonian fate, we know what came next.  It did.  We upped and left.

Someday it will improve.  It must.  Two precious points chucked away at the death.

"At the death" - it's amazing how we all use such terminology when talking about our footy, when you consider the shocking news which emerged after the game.  One Everton fan had travelled to watch his beloved team play football.  His life, taken away from him by a flying piece of debris — described perversely as an act of God.  Sometimes I wonder......

Sincere sympathy to his family and I'll ask right now, before any cock ups can occur — will the Club, as a mark of respect, afford this poor man a moment's silence pre-match next weekend at Goodison Park?

Colm Kavanagh



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