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 Venue: Ewood Park, Blackburn Premiership Sat 18 December 2004; 3:00pm  
    Half Time: 0-0
    
 Attendance: 25,191 (Fixture 18) Referee: Mark Halsey

Match Summary


Alessandro Pistone: Shook off a knee strain sustained in the derby
Image © Everton FC


Everton were unchanged again, with their 5-man midfield being increasingly emulated in the Premiership.

A couple of free-kicks given away early on were competently defended, as well as a great block on Dickov by Hibbert, who then had to clear off the line from the corner inside the first 3 mins.  Gravesen then went down in pain after a clumsy Flitcroft challenge.

Gravesen came back on but wasted a deep free-kick as Everton settled a little.

The Ref was perhaps too lenient on Blackburn, with bad challenges on Osman and Kilbane but it was scrappy uneven stuff from both sides, Blackburn stringing more together than Everton.  Ex-Evertonian Craig Short then went off with a hamstring injury.  Blackburn had a shout for a penalty after 23 mins but it was mostly a clumsy challenge by Hibbert.

The half continued in the same vein with little goalmouth action to speak of until a couple of Blackburn corners before the break no doubt fitting with the Moyes gameplan.

The second half started slowly, with some silly nonsense when there were two balls in play.  The yellow card finally came out for a rugby tackle by Todd on Cahill.

Dikov then managed to get Hibbo annoyed and he earned a really stupid yellow card for kicking the ball away, the ref moving the ball moved forward 10 yards (I thought that rule had gone away?).  The game needed a change: 63 mins and on came Ferguson and McFadden for Cahill and Osman.

Blackburn then won a key free kick on the edge of the area after persistent fouling by Dickov, but it was wasted.

Carsley finally got booked for a block on Emerton as the game heated up a little from what had been a neutralizing midfield stalemate with lots of fouls on both sides as neither could produce any real quality.  A Flitcroft header wide on 70 mins may have been the closest to a goal...

Bent finally got behind the Blackburn defence but his shot was from too wide an angle and Friedel blocked it away for a corner.  With 8 mins left, it was Mark Hughes's turn to try to change things with a substitution, and it was Gallagher who got the ball in the net soon after... but somehow he was a yard offside (and passive, surely?) as Dickov's shot came back to him off a desperate Martyn save. 

Bent then came off for Watson with 5 mins remaining but Everton were unable to produce anything like a game winning goalscoring chance, and living dangerously in the last few minutes as an Emerton shot was deflected on to the post with Nigel Martyn beaten.

An away draw may be considered a good result in any campaign but, with Everton's main competitors at the top of the Premiership hammering in hatfuls of goals, this was not the time to be drawing nil-nil with a team in the relegation zone. 

In truth, Everton's solid but uninspiring performance deserved little more, making one wonder if the lack of quality in the side would not be compensated for much longer by team spirit and work ethic you don't win Championships with performances like this. 

Michael Kenrick

> Match Facts
> Match Reports

Premiership Scores
Saturday 18 Dec 2004
Birmingham 4-0 West Brom
Blackburn 0-0 Everton
Bolton 0-1 Man City
Chelsea 4-0 Norwich
Man Utd 5-2 C Palace
Middlesbro 3-0 Aston Villa
Tottenham 5-1 So'hampton
Sunday 19 Dec 2004
Liverpool 3-1 Newcastle
Portsmouth 0-1 Arsenal
Monday 20 Dec 2004
Charlton 2-1 Fulham

Premiership Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Chelsea 43
2 Arsenal 38
3 Everton 37
4 Man Utd 34
5 Middlesbrough 32
6 Liverpool 28
7 Charlton 27
8 Tottenham 25
9 Aston Villa 25
10 Man City 23
11 Bolton 23
12 Portsmouth 23
13 Newcastle 21
14 Birmingham 20
15 Fulham 18
16 Blackburn 15
17 Norwich 15
18 Palace 14
19 Southampton 13
20 West Brom 10
After 20 Dec 2004

Blackburn v Everton:
Prior League Games
 Overall  
 Blackburn 37
 Everton 16
 Draws 13
 Premiership  
 Blackburn 5
 Everton 4
 Draws 1
 Last Season:

Blackburn 2-1 Everton 


Match Facts
BLACKBURN ROVERS (4-4-2)
Blue & white shirts, shorts and socks
 EVERTON (4-4-2)
 
Blue shirts, white shorts, white socks
Friedel
Neill
Flitcroft
Short (22' Johansson)
Emerton
Dickov
Ferguson
Reid
Matteo
Todd yellow card
Bothroyd (83' Gallagher)

Subs not used:
Enckelman, Stead, Pedersen

Yellow Cards: —
Todd (56')

Red Cards: —



Martyn
Hibbert
Stubbs
Weir
Pistone
Osman (63' McFadden)
Cahill (63' Ferguson)
Gravesen
Carsley
Kilbane
Bent (87' Watson)

Subs not used:
Wright, Yobo

Yellow Cards:
Hibbert (62'), Carsley (68')

Red Cards: —

Unavailable:
(Injured:)


Match Reports
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 Lyndon Lloyd Blues draw a blank at Blackburn
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 Daily Post Match Report



Match Preview

If the hard-fought win over Bolton at Goodison two weeks ago had instilled the fans with a real sense of destiny this season, last weekend's derby triumph has really got Evertonians buzzing.

It has also finally awoken the media to the fact that Everton are a force to be reckoned with this season, even if a title challenge is probably out of the question given the resources at Chelsea and Arsenal's disposal.

The Blues travel to Blackburn this Saturday looking to further consolidate their second-place berth in the Premiership. Victory would send them four points clear of Arsenal for 24 hours at least and keep them in touch with Chelsea who will surely put a few past Norwich at Stamford Bridge.

In terms of the chasing pack, Middlesbrough play Aston Villa and Liverpool face Newcastle United, which means that Everton can put more ground between themselves and the clubs behind them by snatching all three points from Blackburn this weekend.

A win here would also continue a recent pattern in this fixture — the Blues have alternated between wins and defeats on this ground over the past five seasons — and atone for a poor display here last season which enabled Blackburn to complete one half of the double they went to complete over us in 2003/04.

With Tim Cahill and Kevin Kilbane commendably avoiding yellow cards during the Liverpool game, David Moyes's only selection worry was Alessandro Pistone, who suffered a knee strain during the derby and missed a day of training this week. He looks likely to be passed fit, though, so the manager can once again call on his first-choice XI. That settled line-up has been the key to the Blues' success this season and the manager will be looking to carry it through to the turn of the year when he can, hopefully, make key additions to his playing staff.

The Toffees go up against a Blackburn Rovers side who have won just once at home all season — and that was back in September — haven't scored for two games and currently occupy the highest of the three relegation places due to an inferior goal difference.

Nevertheless, Rovers, who are managed by Mark Hughes and boast Craig Short in defence, both ex-Blues, do possess enough talent in their ranks to cause Everton problems. It is imperative that the Blues do not go into this one with any complacency and apply the "one game at a time" adage that has served them so well up to this point.

Lyndon Lloyd




Matchday Stats

This will be the 146th meeting between Everton and Blackburn Rovers in all competitions, and the 70th away to Blackburn Rovers.  This match will be the 21st meeting in the Premier League and the 11th at Ewood Park.

Everton's full record against Blackburn Rovers is:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

20

8

2

10

21

27

Division One

106

44

23

39

200

182

Division Two

6

0

2

4

2

10

FA Cup

10

7

1

2

18

9

Charity Shield

2

2

0

0

3

1

ZDS Cup

1

1

0

0

4

1

TOTALS:

145

62

28

55

248

230

Our record away to Blackburn Rovers is:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

10

4

1

5

13

15

Division One

53

12

11

30

80

120

Division Two

3

0

1

2

1

4

FA Cup

2

1

0

1

4

5

ZDS Cup

1

1

0

0

4

1

TOTALS:

69

17

13

39

102

145

The last match between the sides was on 24 April this year when Blackburn did the double over Everton with a 1-0 victory at Goodison Park.  The last match between the sides at Ewood Park was earlier in the season when Blackburn won 2-1 with Tomasz Radzinski getting Evertons goal that day.

There have been 4 Everton hat-tricks against Blackburn Rovers.  The last was by Tommy White on 14 October 1933 in a 7-1 victory at Goodison Park.  This was the third Everton hat-trick in as many years, with Tosh Johnson getting a hat-trick in the previous seasons home game against Blackburn (a 6-1 victory) and Bill Dean getting one the season before that in a 5-0 home victory.  Sandy Young got the first hat-trick against Blackburn on 19 November 1910 in another 6-1 home victory.

The most common victory for Everton is shared between 1-0 and 2-1, both of which have happened 12 times in Everton's 62 victories.  Blackburns most common victory is 2-1, which has also happened 12 times in their 55 victories. The most common draw between the teams is 0-0 and 2-2, both of which have occurred 9 times in the 28 draws between the sides.

Everton's record for 18 December is:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

2

1

0

1

3

3

Division One

11

3

3

5

16

18

ZDS Cup

1

1

0

0

4

1

TOTALS:

14

5

3

6

23

22

This is the second time the sides have met on this day.  The only other match against Blackburn on this day was in 1990, when goals from Dave Watson (2), Mike Newell and Tony Cottee secured a 4-1 victory at Ewood Park in the Zenith Data Systems Cup 2nd round tie.  The last match away from home and also the last match in the Premier League on this day was in 1999, when goals from David Unsworth, Nick Barmby and Don Hutchison secured a 3-1 victory at Watford.

Duncan Ferguson won his first Scottish cap with Everton on this day in 1994, in a 1-0 friendly defeat against Greece.

Three years earlier, in 1991, Martin Keown won an England B cap in their 1-0 victory over the Spanish Olympic side.

Milestones that can be reached in this game:

  • If David Weir plays any part in the match, it will be his 200th appearance for Everton in all competitions.
     
  • If Thomas Gravesen plays any part in the match, it will be his 150th appearance for Everton in all competitions.
     
  • If Everton manage to score 2 or more goals, then the second goal will be the 250th by the team in all matches against Blackburn Rovers.

Steve Flanagan


Blues draw a blank at Blackburn

I suppose even in the season we've been having, we should expect the odd bad game, but, boy, was this bad. Coming off the delirium of the derby victory and finally seeing sections of the media wake up to that which David Moyes's side are capable, this was a bitterly disappointingly flat and uninspiring display that ended the hopes of being second at Christmas and postponed the celebration of equalling last season's meagre points tally so early in the campaign.

Moyes was once again able to name his first choice side after Alessandro Pistone shrugged off a slight knee strain, but the eleven that have been so awe-inspiring for Everton so far were collectively way off-key. Perhaps it was the complacency that has plagued the Blues so often in recent years and belief ion their own hype, or a hangover from the events at Goodison last weekend; whatever it was, let's hope it is out of their system by the time Manchester City roll into town on Boxing Day or all the good work the team have done so far will start to unravel.

Blackburn had the better of the early exchanges of the match and Everton rode their luck a little at the back. First, Tony Hibbert did well to block Paul Dickov just as he was setting to volley goalwards having controlled the ball on his chest around 12 yards out. Then, when the ball came back in, Flitcroft turned it past Nigel Martyn and Hibbert had to be on hand again to slice it off the line.

After 20 minutes, Lucas Neill was allowed to cut in from the right and fire in a shot that was, thankfully, blocked by a defender and a minute later, Hibbert was fortunate not to concede a penalty in a tussle with the annoying Dickov. The Blues' number 22 eventually got the ball but it was one of those incidents where spot kicks have been given for a lot less.

The Blues gradually began to settle and assumed a greater share of possession but were frustrated by a stop-start first half that referee Mark Halsey barely had control of. At least five late challenges on black shirts that would have been sure-fire bookings with most officials went either went unpunished or, sometimes, didn't even warrant a free kick in the referee's eyes.

Everton didn't manage a shot on goal for the entire first 45 minutes but Kevin Kilbane did have a half chance on the stroke of half time but headed well over.

The interval brought no changes beyond the replacement of Craig Short with Johansson a few minutes before half time. Everton started the second period more brightly but, again, struggled to create anything in the final third.

The referee finally produced the first yellow card of the afternoon when he booked Andy Todd for blatantly rugby tackling Tim Cahill, and when Hibbert kicked the ball away in sheer frustration for another free kick not given, he too was flashed a yellow. Carsley followed him into the book a few minutes later for checking the progress of Emerton.

Everton's performance was crying out for a change and it came in the 63rd minute when Cahill was withdrawn for Ferguson and McFadden came on for Osman. And with his first touch, McFadden scampered down the left and delivered the first decent cross of the half to Ferguson but he was hustled out of it by his marker.

Unfortunately, the outlet on the flank that McFadden provided was completely wasted by the back four and Nigel Martyn's preference for hoofing it upfield in Ferguson's general direction. Frustratingly, their distribution was so bad that Duncan rarely even got near the ball and with Thomas Gravesen's leadership and inspiration almost completely absent, this made for a desperately hard game to watch.

While they had failed to find the target in the first half, the Blues did at least manage to trouble Friedel once when Bent swivelled and shot from the angle, forcing the 'keeper to parry the ball for a corner, one of a host of set-pieces that were woefully executed by both sides. When the home side finally did deliver a telling ball in from a corner, Flitcroft went close with header.

Neither side really looked like scoring until substitute Paul Gallagher put the ball into the net after Martyn had blocked a shot but the goal disallowed for offside, much to the relief of Everton's enormous traveling army of fans. Six minutes later, with the game deep into injury time, Brett Emerton watched a deflected bounce off the outside of the post.

Had the game gone on for another five or ten minutes, you sense that Rovers would have nicked all three points as their more attacking ideas probably deserved. Everton looked utterly dereft of inspiration and a shadow of the side that had battled its way into second spot in the Premiership.

Given the Blues' financial plight, slender playing squad and limited ambitions at the start of the campaign, any draw away from home should be regarded as a good result. In the context of what Everton have become this season, however, this was two points dropped against a side that looked every bit like relegation candidates.

More than the result, the performance will hopefully server as a timely reminder that Moyes has to be ambitious when it comes to the January transfer window, despite the currently cautious rhetoric. They have worked hard to establish themselves in the top three and, as such, should start thinking like a Champions League side; that means strengthening the squad and bringing in a goalscorer or two who can propel them into that money-spinning competition at season's end. It also means sensing when an opposition team is there for the taking. In a weekend when the hitherto ridiculed Manchester scored five and Chelsea put four past Norwich, the Blues, for once, looked like the odd team out in the top four.

Lyndon Lloyd


Emerton so close to sinking Everton

Guy Hodgson at Ewood Park
The Independent
19 December 2004

Christmas is the time of miracles and, if you listen to some football people, 2004 has added another. To find Everton in second place in the Premiership is confounding many, and anyone trying to work out why at Ewood Park yesterday would have been left none the wiser.

Championship contenders come in all shapes and styles but Everton, for all their adherence to organisation and the work ethic, do not conform even within this wide choice. You do not always play champagne football to win titles, but there is usually a bit more fizz than this.

Just one effort on target - a sharp turn and shot, smartly saved at his near post by Brad Friedel - is unlikely to have Arsenal and Chelsea quivering in their boots. They may keel over in amazement, however, if Everton continue to make so much out of relatively little into the New Year.

Blackburn were no better but at least they had their lowly position by way of exoneration. They need, as manager Mark Hughes has said, to learn how to win at home. Yesterday, apart from an injury-time shot from Brett Emerton that hit the post, they looked no nearer to finding it.

The teams arrived at Ewood Park separated by so many positions that the word "gap" did not do justice to the chasm. But if the quality of the Premiership is strained in some minds by the appearance of Everton in second place, a redeeming quality of the division is the competition within it.

So it was not a surprise that Blackburn, one win at home this season before yesterday's game, had the better of the opening exchanges and they had every reason why they had nothing tangible to show for an initial salvo that had Everton groping for a shape.

In the third minute Paul Dickov, an irritant's irritant if ever there was one, showed the better side of his nature with a neat interchange with Jay Bothroyd and was lining up a spectacular volley when Tony Hibbert, bravely flung himself in the way to make the block.

Hibbert, whose steadiness is one of the reasons why Everton found themselves in their elevated position, also distinguished himself moments later when he cleared off the line from Garry Flitcroft, although the Blackburn midfielder did make it easier for Hibbert by miscuing his shot from Emerton's corner.

You do not reach second place in the table without the ability to think on the hoof, however, and by crowding the left flank, Everton halted the flow from Emerton's boot and the visitors began to show some of their more admirable qualities if not many that added to the excitement. Hard-working and astonishingly quick to cut the time and space of the man in possession, they dragged themselves back to equality and finished the first half looking the more dangerous.

Marcus Bent must be difficult to play against because his speed, and eagerness to run, makes life uncomfortable for defenders and it was his distracting movement that almost opened a gap after 44 minutes. He went near post and, as the Blackburn rearguard went with him, Kevin Kilbane sneaked in behind and his header, from Thomas Gravesen's cross, was only just too high.

Three chances in 45 minutes of football do not make a great advert for football, but to be fair to the ballboys they at least tried to smarten things up immediately after the interval and promptly incurred the wrath of referee Mark Halsey. When two balls suddenly appeared on the pitch, the referee ran over to the Blackburn manager to complain but as one wag accurately summed up: "It would be better if they confiscated all the balls." Cue an instant improvement? Sadly not, and while both teams were good at the defensive side of the game, neither had much of a clue when it came to the attack and it was not only Gravesen who was screaming for invention when the umpteenth move broke down barely beyond its embryonic stage.

The game was scrappy and tempers frayed, so while Halsey did not have to take out his notebook to note any goals, he did brandish it twice to caution Andy Todd and Hibbert. The first was for a cynical foul when Tim Cahill threatened to go off on a run, and the second for dissent. The mould needed breaking and Everton took out the battering ram to do it, using their time-honoured tactic of introducing Duncan Ferguson for the final quarter.

Everton had their totemic leader on the pitch but it was Blackburn who came nearest to breaking the rigid deadlock. Paul Gallagher had the ball in the net after 85 minutes but his "goal" was disallowed for offside and in the final seconds Emerton hit the post with a drive that was deflected. Nigel Martyn, in the Everton goal, need not have worried in retrospect. If ever a match look destined to 0-0, it was this one.

from The Independent



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