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 FA Premiership (6); Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough; Sunday 21 September 2003; 2:00pm
   Job (6')
 
 
Attendance: 28,113
Halftime: 1-0

Facts
Reports



Referee: Alan Wylie
 

Match Report

For a team with European aspirations, David Moyes's Everton are doing a good impression of a side with no ambitions at all for this season.  Showing their usual propensity to drag their feet through the first half and play catch-up in the second, Everton were ultimately frustrated by their own attacking shortcomings at The Riverside.  As is customary, they gifted victory to a team that had failed to pick up three points this season before meeting Everton.

Nigel Martyn made his full debut as expected in place of the injured Richard Wright and Tony Hibbert kept his spot at right back with Gary Naysmith on the left.  In midfield, Kevin Kilbane was preferred to James McFadden; Rooney and Radzinski partnered each other up front again, with Jeffers sidelined because of a back strain.

The game was only six minutes old when Everton were carved open in what is becoming disturbingly familiar fashion by a through ball to Malcolm Christie who timed his run to perfection, centred and Joseph-Dsir Job, who was allowed to get goalside by Joseph Yobo, got enough on it to divert it past Nigel Martyn to give 'Boro the lead.

Everton's response was non-existent, plagued as they were by appalling distribution and a first half performance that was as bad as anything served up under Walter Smith.  None of the back four could consistently find a blue shirt with long, aimless passes from defence and, while Thomas Gravesen often threatened to provide the telling ball from midfield, he was thwarted by a competent home defence that were comfortably containing Wayne Rooney and Tomasz Radzinski.

The Blues' greatest contribution to the first 45 minutes was to the referee's notebook, with Steve Watson and Wayne Rooney booked for clumsy fouls.  Rooney's in particular was annoying for its petulance and that aspect of the youngster's game is something David Moyes must work on.

Meanwhile, Middlesbrough continued to carry the greater threat and on the half-hour mark, Job connected with a cross by the lively Zenden but could only guide his header onto the roof of the net.

Eight minutes later, Middlesbrough should have been 2-0 up when a corner was headed onto the underside of the bar by Queudrue and replays appeared to confirm that the whole ball bounced over the line, but the linesman didn't give the goal, much to the chagrin of the home fans.  It was a let-off for shoddy Everton who might have levelled in first-half injury time when good work by Radzinski ended in a square ball into the area that Rooney completely missed and the chance went begging.

At the interval, Moyes, as well as issuing what we can only hope was a dressing-room bollocking, withdrew the ponderous Watson in favour of Lee Carsley and for the first few minutes of the second period, Everton had a sustained spell of pressure.  Indeed, there was a strong case for an equaliser just two minutes in when Queudrue stumbled under Carsley's challenge and, although Rooney put the ball in the net, referee Alan Wiley whistled for the non-existent foul.

Despite a much-improved display in the second half, Moyes's side were unable to create anything meaningful in the area because of a frustrating refusal to play the easy ball, preferring instead to lump high balls towards the edge of the box which were easily dealt with by the 'Boro defence.

However, in the 65th minute, Carsley delivered a telling cross but Radzinski's glancing header flew just past the corner of post and crossbar and then Carsley himself missed the best chance of the game from five yards out, scuffing an effort embarrassingly wide that Radzinski couldn't turn in from an almost impossible angle.

With just over 20 minutes to go, Duncan Ferguson came on for Tobias Linderoth to form a three-pronged attack, and his first touch ended with a free kick for the Blues from 30 yards out that Rooney despatched poorly too high over the bar.

Seven minutes later two chances, both involving Rooney, went agonisingly begging in the space of a minute.  First, the 17-year-old burst down the right and centred to Radzinski but the ball ended up behind the Canadian and he couldn't divert it into the path of the on-rushing Ferguson.  Then, the ball fell to Rooney on the right edge of the six-yard box but as he shuffled the ball inside looking for a clear path for the shot he was closed down and Middlesbrough cleared.

With time running out, Moyes finally gave the travelling fans their first glimpse of James McFadden whom many Blues believe should be in the starting line-up given the dearth of attacking inspiration in the midfield.  Sporting a small Braveheart-esque braid at the back of his head, the Scot was introduced in place of Kilbane and he showed some nice touches wide on the left and behind the front three.

As the search for an equaliser became more desperate, Gravesen won an 88th-minute corner which he took himself and found Duncan Ferguson but a trademark header from the Big Yin was cleared off the line by a defender and, from the resulting cross, Mark Schwarzer saved a leaping Yobo header to snuff out the danger.

Ultimately, Everton were undone yet again but a truly awful first half performance.  It remains a mystery why Moyes is unable to coach this pathetic trait out of his team but if his side continues to be so distressingly slow out of the starting gates, European qualification will remain a distant prospect this season.

His decision to introduce McFadden while late was vindicated by 12 very encouraging minutes and, if Moyes has any sense, the new number 24 will be in next week's starting line-up instead of Kilbane, purely because he offers a greater attacking threat.  Failing that, use him on the right in place of Steve Watson who looked off the pace today.

 


James McFadden: One of the few positives from a very disappointing afternoon.


Mbblesbro v Everton:
Prior League Games
 Overall  
 Middlesbrough 23
 Everton 13
 Draws 14
 Premiership  
 Middlesbrough 3
 Everton 3
 Draws 2
 Last Season:

Middlesbro 1-1 Everton 



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


Match Facts
 Middlesbrough  (4-4-2)
 Red shirts, red shorts, red socks
Everton   (4-4-2; 70': 4-3-3)
 Blue shirts, white shorts, blue socks
  Schwarzer
Mills
Cooper
Southgate {c}
Queudrue
Doriva
Job (81' Riggott)
Greening (76' Ricketts)
Zenden
Christie (85' Nemeth)
Boateng

Subs not used:
Nash, Juninho

Yellow Cards: 
Mills (27'), Greening ()

Red Cards:
Martyn
Hibbert
Yobo
Stubbs {c}
Naysmith
Watson (46' Carsley)
Gravesen
Linderoth (70' Ferguson)
Kilbane (79' McFadden)
Rooney
Radzinski

Subs not used: 
Turner, Pistone

Yellow Cards:
Watson (13'), Rooney (19'),
Kilbane (52')

Red Cards:

Unavailable:

(Injured:) Campbell, Jeffers,
Gemmill, Wright.
(On Loan:) Alexandersson, Gerrard

 
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 Ineffective
Looi White Match Report
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Electronic Telegraph Match Report
BBC Sport Match Report
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SoccerNet Match Report
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The Observer Match Report
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Liverpool Echo Match Report
Daily Post Match Report
Premiership Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Arsenal 14
2 Chelsea 13
3 Man Utd 13
4 Southampton 12
5 Man City 11
6 Liverpool 11
7 Birmingham 11
8 Portsmouth 9
9 Blackburn 8
10 Fulham 8
11 Aston Villa 7
12 Bolton 6
13 Leicester 5
14 Charlton 5
15 Everton 5
16 Leeds 5
17 Middlesbrough 4
18 Tottenham 4
19 Newcastle 3
20 Wolves 1
After 21 Sep 2003


Match Preview

After failing to beat a poor Newcastle side and conceding another two penalties (that's five already this season), we can't really afford to lose against Boro this coming Sunday.  Even a draw would likely mean that we would be languishing only just above the bottom three which is an area that we thought we had left behind.  Boro also need the points as they sit above Wolves only on goal difference having managed just 1 point from their opening five games.

Last season saw us dominate the game at the Riverside before a late Juninho goal led to us sharing the points.  Juninho will once again be Boro's biggest threat though the arrival of Mendieta does mean that their midfield is brimming with ability.  With Boateng alongside them, you would have though that they would be competitive against most sides; however, it is upfront where they appear to be lacking.  Last year's additions, Ricketts (Bolton) and Christie (Derby), have failed to consistently find the net and Nemeth appears to be their favoured choice not a player that would immediately worry you.

At the back, they have quality and experience in the old Villa partnership of Ehiogu and Southgate; Queudrue returns for his first game of the season after a five-game ban and Stockdale is likely to replace the unfortunate Parnaby a very promising teenager.  Schwarzer in goal can be excellent on his day.

Once again, though, I think it will be the Blues who determine the result.  We should be the better side but we have to stop these moments of madness at the back if we hope to start climbing the table.  Yobo has not been at his best but he is not that far off either.  I really feel that one clean sheet will set the defence off.  The return of Hibbert was widely welcomed and, given that Naysmith will miss next weeks game thanks to his sending off, we may see the return of Pistone which would give us our best full back pairing why has it taken so long to arrive?

Midfield will probably be same again but upfront is a lottery! Big Dunc seems to be giving it one last go but I imagine that he will still begin on the bench.  A Rooney-Ferguson partnership would bring shivers to most Evertonian's spines but we need to know that Dunc is in for the long haul before we risk upsetting Radzinski who has been our most dangerous and consistent forward for 18 months now. 

Jeffers is going to find it very hard to break into the starting line-up if Rooney is declared fit so I imagine that Rooney-Radz will start with Ferguson and Jeffers providing great options from the bench.  McFadden's performance for the reserves may get him on the bench but even the bench is beginning to look highly competitive!

We must get at them and we can't afford to give anything away but this is likely to be a close game that is eminently winnable.  A single goal in it but I bank on Jeffers opening his account in a 1-0 win.

Blue4Ever

Lee Doyle



Ineffective

As I walked to the train station yesterday morning, I saw a magpie. I'm not normally one for superstitions but we all know the old tale: "one for sorrow", etc, and my positive frame of mind for the game quickly diminished, up until I saw another magpie a little further up the road. "Two for joy". There we go, it was a sign. We were going to win the match. Well, this only goes to show that this superstition is a bit like Everton really judging on yesterdays game.  Bollox.

Well I got there, and found a pub, and found some cheep beer, while I waited for my mates to arrive by coach. It's quite a strange place I think Middlesboro. Pretty much a run down industrial estate, but the stadiums quite impressive from the outside, although a massive shame about the facilities inside. Anyway the match.

Everton started brightly enough but then conceded a very poor goal, and then let Middlesboro take the piss. As for the goal, they seemed to score from our corner. Why on earth 6ft 2" Kilbane ran over to tap a corner 5 cm to Gravesen to whip in, instead of being in there trying to get his head on it is absolutely beyond me, but we still conceded poorly, with Alan Stubbs getting caught dredfully out of position, and Desire Job tooking home the deflected cross quite comfortably, and Everton were a mess. They then had a perfectly good goal disallowed, although credit to the referee there though. He wasn't sure himself, so waited and waited for help from his linesman, and fortunately he didn't have the bottle to give it, from then on in, I couldn't wait till half time cos you just knew Everton couldn't play so badly in the second half, and they didn't.

Much improved in the second half, and I didn't see a lot wrong with Rooney's goal, but the ref blew long before he hit in the rebound. Ferguson's header was very unlucky, and Carsley should have done a lot better with his two efforts. Failing to even test the keeper with any of them, but looking through the team, we were just inneffective as a whole.

- Naysmith got forward well without putting in one decent ball all day. Ineffective.
- Kilbanes little drop of the shoulder looks all well and good, but didn't fool the opposition once. Ineffective.
- Gravesen, his usual hot and cold self, but made no impression on Mendietta. Innefective.
- Linderoth, stop panicking every time you get the ball, your making them look good. I think he's a better player than this and his tackling is excellent, but needs to think about his passing a bit more. Ineffective.
- Radzinski. Plenty of running but never really had an influence on the game yesterday. Inneffective.
- Watson. Not one of his better games today really, but don't think changing him for the particularly ineffective Carsley was the answer. I wanted to see McFadden at half time. Ineffective.
- Ferguson, really didn't see much of the ball to be fair but failed to win to many headers, although desperately unlucky with the one header he did win, and maybe I'm being a bit harsh in putting in this category but oh well.... Ineffective.

In fact the only ones who I thought were effective were the kids. Hibbert was solid and dependable on the right, and whipped in one great cross which Radzinski should have done better with, and although that was the only good cross I can remember him putting in, its one more than his Scottish counterpart Naysmith on the other side. Rooney had a good game and made a lot of things happen, but he needs to calm his temper, as theres a lot of silly little things he does. That little unnecessary nudge on Schwarzer springs to mind, and going down to try and win that peno on the last minute when there was clearly nothing wrong with him. God he got up quickly enough. I don't wanna criticise the young lad too much cos he is outstanding, and Moyes will work on him, and on the flip side I thought he was quite easilly our best player yesterday. McFadden also played well in his 10 minutes or so, and will probably start against Leeds next sunday, whereas the goal aside Stubbs and Yobo played well. But all in all, ineffective.

Another point, why have Middlesboro got such a good stadium with no scoreboard?

Man of the match: Wayne Rooney.
Overall team: 6

Paul Traill

Report

We were truly woeful in a dreadful first half display.  Alright, we did get some early momentum, but frustratingly our defence looks really porous these days.  They scored from what was their first genuine attack.  Although there was a deflection on Christe's centre, there was only Job to mark in the danger area, and Yobo, Hibbo, and Martyn were made to look like men with leaden feet as the goal was scored.

This is a shadow of the defence that kept umpteen clean sheets last season.  Is it because of the performance of the individual defenders?  Or is Stubbs just not a good, vocal organiser of the defence?  I'm not sure there...  But WE CAN"T LOSE TO THESE AVERAGE/LOUSY teams! 

Though Boro were at home and determined to get the three points, this team hardly had much class in it, with the exception of maybe Zenden.  But there was no Mendieta; no Juniniho; and yet we were left chasing shadows for much of the first half, especially so in midfield.

Our closing down wasn't good enough but I'm not sure why.  Was it due to their pace and mobility?  It was the same against Arsenal with an extra man.  But Inter Milan and Man Utd successfully stifled Arsenal's threats.  Yeah, I know they are in the Champion's League and all, but that is a standard we should certainly be aspiring towards. 

I also think that playing the two R's upfront in away games doesn't seem to be a very good tactic.  I think all the goal kicks found Southgate's or Cooper's head, from what I remember.  Nobody was holding the ball up and we struggled to maintain possession.  This improved in the second half, but mainly because we were up for it, and managed to exploit Boro's defensively weak wide areas.  But still, without real aerial prowess, the good crosses by Hibbo and Kilbane just didn't do it for us.  Simply not enough action in the crucial central danger area.

  • Martyn: Not much to do; don't recall any important saves.  At least he kicks ok.
  • Hibbo: Did excellent, considering he was up against Zenden.  Positionally very sound.  He also put in 2 or 3 very good crosses.
  • Yobo: At fault for the first goal, I thought.  Showed some signs of naive defending, but also signs of his raw talent, when he brought the ball out of defence.  King of the air, as always.
  • Stubbs: Like the whole team, he was unconvincing first half, but improved as the game went on.  I know he's not the fastest of players, but now he seems to have lost even more pace, especially in an incident in the first half when he and Yobo were trying to close down Christie.  His defending has got to improve, but I can see why he's in the team.  He's such as skilful ball player, able to comfortably clear the ball with both feet in most situations.  I remember in the Fulham game, at least two of our goals were a result of his accurate long passes out of defence.
  • Naysmith: He offers much more of an attacking threat than Unsie, but defensively I'm not sure though.  He needs to improve on his slide tackles, otherwise he'll be getting more red cards.
  • Gravesen: I think he's a really important player for the team.  Most of our good moves goes through him.  He distributes the ball really well and can deliver those slide rule through passes, one of which Rooney failed to convert.  Yeah there is the stray pass now and then, but most midfielders are guilty of that, as long as it's cut to a minimum.  He does run like a headless chicken when he's without the ball though, but that's just to do with his running gait.  I liked one moment in the game when he just shoved aside Job to the ground, and won possession to start a counter attack.
  • Linderoth: I'm not sure of him as a permanent option in the midfield.  He just doesn't do enough for me.  His best attribute is niggling away at the opposition's midfield and frustrating them.  But physically, he's not fast enough nor strong enough to be the midfield governor.  His passing, is mostly fetch-and-carry stuff, Batty-like.
  • Kilbane: I thought he did well.  He was up against England's Danny Mills, and managed to get the better of him on a few occasions.  With a target man up front he'll be an important outlet for us.  He linked play well with the rest of the team.
  • Watson: Besides the header that struck the post, for which a foul was given that only the referee knew about, this was one of his poorer games.  He lost the ball in certain promising situations.  Looks clumsy to me, but an important aerial outlet.
  • Carsley: He did well, getting into great goalscoring positions and being a dangerous attacking threat.  The chance he missed with only Schwarzer to beat, perhaps showed his lack of sharpness, but that was a really good chance. 
  • McFadden: Had a promising debut, with his ability to beat his man, and overall a fresh contribution to our play.  I think why Moysie doesn't let him start yet, is because he's yet to work at the same wavelength with most of team, like there were a couple of situations when he crossed near post, and everyone went far post.  He's yet to integrate well into the team, but I sure hope that comes sooner rather than later.
  • Radzinski: Had a good game.  He fully utilised his pace and mobility to create danger for the Boro defence.  He cut the ball back from both right and left flanks, one that Rooney mis-hit, and another I think for Big Dunc.  His form is still not as good as moments in last season though.  I'm still waiting for another last-minute-near-post- winner-takes-all goal...
  • Rooney: I'm quite worried.  He seems frustrated, and puts too much pressure on himself to perform for the team he loves.  I mean, he looks different from the ice-cool player that finished clinically for England.  Or maybe it's just me.  I think he should cut down on the arguing with the referee, or he might end up in more trouble that he already has.  Yes, the aggressive edge must be there, but getting into the ref's bad books means you won't be on the field to use it.
  • Ferguson: Mixed feelings when he came on.  I thought his strength and aerial ability were sorely needed up front.  But more or less expected the team to give those hit-and-hope balls for him, which didn't help cos we were pressed for time at that point.  I think it must be mentioned to the players that only quality service will get the best out of Duncan Ferguson.  Just like what Hinchcliffe used to do.

I'm optimistic still, after the match, if the team plays like it did in the second half, but we must not shoot ourselves in the foot by losing concentration in a match and defending so poorly, especially against such an average team.  Yeah, Moyes mentioned how frustrating it was, like in the match against the RS when we, too, failed to take the numerous chances that came our way.  I think for these kind of situations, you've just got to stay positive and keep trying; the goals will come.

Looi



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