|Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool||Premiership||Wednesday 20 April 2005; 8:00pm|
||Half Time: 0-0
Neville (sent off: 71')
Scholes (sent off: 90')
|Attendance: 37,160||(Fixture 33)||Referee: Phil Dowd|
There are times when words fail you and nothing, absolutely nothing, can be said to compliment enough the supreme team effort put in by those who played for Everton FC tonight. They were awesome. Superlatives are often thrown about like confetti but tonight was a very proud night for anyone with Everton in their hearts. Heady nights at Goodison Park are indeed a spectacle to behold. Stand up and take a collective bow, Mr. Moyes and your mighty team...
A highly entertaining first half ended level as both teams went hammer and tongues at each other. Both teams opened brightly, though clear cut chances were at a premium.
It took all of two minutes and fourteen seconds for Portugese international Ronaldo to perform his dying swan act on the edge of the Everton penalty area. Referee Dowd waved away United protests. After three minutes play, great movement between Ferguson and Arteta afforded Kilbane a half chance on the left edge of the United area but Kilbane was too slow to react and the chance passed by. A snap shot from Wayne Rooney was parried to safety by Nigel Martyn and moments later we had our first clash between Keane and Cahill with the Irish international going in dangerously late and high on a clearly unappreciative Cahill. Keane, as ever, fortunate to escape caution.
Everton's bright start continued with Marcus Bent firing high and wide after 12 minutes. United countered with a fine move on their right flank, Ronaldo firing in a dangerous cross which Yobo did well to clear.
Midway through the half, Mikel Arteta earned the wrath of Mr. Dowd and picked up the game's first yellow card — for persistent fouling. He was soon followed into the book by Paul Scholes for similar offences. The best chance of the half fell to Tim Cahill after a Joseph Yobo header was half cleared and the Australian midfielder attempted a spectacular overhead which was cleared off the line by Wes Brown.
Minutes later, Steve Watson fired in a superb cross just beyond the reach of Marcus Bent. In the home side's next attack, Bent made space for himself but snapped at a half chance, signs of a striker in need of a goal. Up at the other end, it was Rooney who looked likeliest to cause damage as he turned Lee Carsley inside out, firing high and wide.
The second half started as the first half finished, frantic tense action. Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Kilbane combined superbly to create an early opening but Howard remained untroubled. Three minutes into the second half, Wayne Rooney fed Paul Scholes, who created space from nothing, to open up the Everton defence, caught napping. His shot was saved superbly by Nigel Martyn with a stretched right leg. The first real opening of the game had fallen United's way and you sensed United would move up a gear, creating spaces and stretching the patched Everton defence. However, that was not to be. Moments later, Duncan Ferguson's name was added to the list in referee Dowd's book. He'd just welcomed goalkeeper Howard to Goodison and a challenge from behind on Darren Fletcher was enough one too many for the referee.
As he has done all season long, Marcus Bent chased down one of many lost causes, this time his effort in attempting to pressurise the United attack resulted in a United throw in. It looked fairly innocuous but if ever you were looking for an example of effort to epitomise this season's team and the manager this was it. The appreciative Goodison crowd acknowledged Bent and within seconds the home side had won the ball back. Seizing the moment, Everton pushed forward but in a controlled fashion. No route one football aimed at the head of Duncan Ferguson, though he was relishing every ball coming his way. Everton passed the ball about, from both flanks and the extra ten percent required was duly given. A needless foul on Steve Watson by Ronaldo brought about a disputed Everton free kick on the Main Stand side and with Mikel Arteta supplying quality free kicks Everton knew a chance would arise sooner or later. Arteta has an ability to whip in tremendously accurate free kicks, at pace not seen really since the days of Hinchcliffe. Ironically, we'd not defeated United in a League fixture since that day back in 1995 when Andy Hinchcliffe whipped in a corner kick in front of the Gwladys Street and Duncan Ferguson rose highest to head a winner past Peter Schmeichel. Ten years on, Duncan Ferguson chose to roll back the years as he made a mug out of Rio Ferdinand, leaving him for dead, and placed Arteta's beautiful delivery past the hapless Tim Howard. Goodison Park erupted. First strike to the Blues. The scene was now set for one of those magical Goodison nights.
Rooney made a burst down the left flank, chased by a pack of Everton players (a recurring theme) and it was no-nonsense defender Tony Hibbert who stopped him in his tracks though picking up a yellow card for his effort. If anything was to happen for United it would come through Rooney - he was central to what little creativity they offered. Just past the hour mark, he created space in front of goal but his sliced effort went the wrong side of the post. United threatened for the next few minutes and a pacey five man attack saw Ronaldo, with acres of space, waste a glorious opportunity with a feeble cross that floated aimlessly over the bar. With the clock ticking, you could sense it wasn't to be United's night. Rooney, composed throughout, then allowed his mantle to slip with a late challenge on Tim Cahill which was caught by the referee's assistant. With the home fans baying for blood Mr. Dowd chose to diffuse the situation but comically ended up bollocking Gary Neville for his continuing moans: a sign of what was to come.
With twenty minutes left, Ronaldo once again threatened on the right flank. This time, via Rooney, Paul Scholes advancing centrally was found with acres of space. He shot, in typical Scholes fashion but his shot whizzed, thankfully, over Martyn's head and into the Park End.
Silvestre replaced Wes Brown at the heart of United's defence but their shuffling of the pack was in disarray second later when Gary Neville was given a straight red after kicking the ball into the crowd. Will he ever learn? Last season he was spitting at kids in the Paddock. Nasty piece of work receiving a deserved early bath.
A great surging run through the centre with fifteen minutes remaining by Kevin Kilbane resulted in a free kick as the Irishman was hauled to the ground. Breathing space for the home side. Leon Osman replaced the tiring Marcus Bent who received a rapturous and deserved ovation on his departure. John O'Shea replaced the ineffective Darren Fletcher and within a minute he found his name the latest entry into Dowd's book for a half nelson challenge on Kilbane. Thirteen minutes from time, Kilbane whipped in a cross which caused a mild panic in United's defence. Osman tried, Duncan tried but neither could reach the ball as it spilled out to the feet of Arteta who fired wide.
Ten minutes remaining and Duncan Ferguson departed the stage to a standing ovation. Almost like old times and whether you like it or not he's giving plenty of food for thought for those who want him gone in the summer. If he can perform to this level consistently then there's a place for him next season at Goodison.
With five minutes remaining, the industrious Tim Cahill finally conceded defeat and made way for James McFadden. Cahill had been a late arrival for the second half after throwing up during the interval, a possible result of concussion. Three minutes from time, our diving friend of Portugese extraction finally found his name amongst those listed by the highly impressive Mr. Dowd. In a vain attempt to 'earn' United a last gasp penalty he stumbled in the box. Dowd was having none of it and duly whipped out another card. Two minutes from the end, Tony Hibbert was in the right place at the right time to clear off the line as United threw everything forward. Though time was almost up we hadn't seen the last card of the game. Frustration getting the better of him, Paul Scholes struck out and connected with Kevin Kilbane. Moyes and Ferguson argued on the touchline as Scholes joined Neville for the early bath. United's discipline long gone and now looking anything but the team they can be.
The full time whistle blew and Everton rejoiced, celebrating one of those nights that make you proud to be Blue. Download this 9MB movie clip of the fans celebrating at the end, from Ian Macdonald. Five games to go, three points clear and still with a game in hand. We are in dreamland and it just might now take something special to deprive us of what we now feel are our just desserts.
A great night to be an Evertonian.
Midweek home fixtures under the bright lights at Goodison Park are invariably special. The stakes will be high on Wednesday night with Manchester United making the short journey down the East Lancs road. United find themselves chasing fellow FA Cup finalists Arsenal by three points for that now coveted second place in the Premiership and Alex Ferguson will not want to see that margin increase with games rapidly running out. Expect United to come out with all guns blazing.
It goes without saying that this is a massive game for Everton manager David Moyes and the team. A poor run of results ended last Sunday week with the four-goal demolition of hapless Crystal Palace. With Liverpool managing to gain a solitary point from their last two games, we have managed to eek a further bit of breathing space between ourselves and our Merseyside rivals.
However, coming up sharply on the outside rails are Bolton Wanderers who have put together a well-timed run. Wanderers nicked a precious three points on Saturday at The Valley, when beating Charlton Athletic 2-1 — the winning goal being scored, ironically, by a Liverpool player on loan at Bolton this season. Their win at Charlton leapfrogged them over the Reds and they are now hot on our heels and could actually take that fourth spot on Tuesday night when they entertain strugglers, Southampton, at the Reebok.
Manager Moyes would never admit it but the side he chose to face Manchester United in the recent FA Cup tie was more designed to contain United than challenge them. Moyes has suggested changes may be made; the rigid 4-5-1 formation used successfully this season to get the Blues into the current position hasn't worked as well since the January departure of Thomas Gravesen. Lee Carsley may yet again find himself the victim of unfortunate circumstances and omitted from the starting line up as Moyes will be expected to continue with Mikel Arteta and Tim Cahill as the central pairing.
Duncan Ferguson, rumoured to be offered a new deal in the summer, should start up front alongside Marcus Bent. Over the years, Ferguson has enjoyed some success against United. We can but hope that this Wednesday is one of those magical nights for the Blues at Goodison.
Even if it does "only" secure a priceless three points!
This will be the 172nd meeting between Everton and Manchester United in all competitions, and the 83rd at Goodison Park.
Everton's full record against United is:
Our record at home to United is:
The last match between the sides was earlier this year on 19 February when United won 2-0 in the FA Cup 5th round. The last Premier League meeting between the sides at Goodison Park was on 7 February 2004 when Everton fought back from a 3-0 half time deficit with goals from David Unsworth, Kevin Kilbane and a United own goal, only to lose to a last minute goal and end up as 4-3 losers.
There have been 4 Everton hat-tricks against Manchester United over the years. The last was on 8 October 1927, when Billy Dean scored 3 at Goodison Park in a 5-2 victory.
The most common victory for Everton is 1-0 which has happened 11 times in Everton's 62 victories. United’s most common victory over Everton is 2-1, which has happened 16 times in their 73 victories. The most common draw between the sides is 0-0, which has happened 16 times in the 37 draws between the sides.
Everton's record for 20 April is:
This is the first time the clubs have met on this day. Everton’s last match on 20 April was in 2002, when a Steve Watson goal secured a 1-0 victory at Southampton.
Neil Robinson was born on this day in 1957 in Liverpool. Singing on as an apprentice in June 1972, Neil signed professional forms for the club in May 1974 and made 21 appearances whilst also scoring a goal before being sold to Swansea Town in October 1979 for Ł70,000.
Anders Limpar won his first Swedish cap as an Everton player on this day in 1994 with a 2-0 friendly victory over Wales, with Neville Southall being the unfortunate Welsh goalkeeper that night.
Edgar Chadwick made his first appearance for the Football League on this day in 1891, scoring the League’s only goal in a 1-1 draw with the Football Alliance.
Big Dunc Rolls Back the Years
typically pressed but Everton were equal to it. Everyone dug in and
everyone did their job. Rooney was by a country mile their main threat but
Everton did what they had to do and stopped them. Ronaldo was also a
constant menace. Despite all this, they just couldn’t create anything. There was always someone for Everton putting their boot in and stopping
them from playing. I’d like to pinpoint somebody but just can’t. It really
was a fantastic team effort.