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Venue: Hillsborough, Sheffield
League Cup
 Wednesday 26 September 2007; 7:45pm
SHEFFIELD W 
0-3
 EVERTON
Half Time: 0-0
McFadden (59',83'), Yakubu (85')
Attendance: 16,463
Round 3
Referee: Rob Styles

Match Summary

By his recent standards, they were nothing special. But James McFaddens brace was enough for Everton to sidestep a potential Carling Cup banana skin last night.

The Scotland internationals 58th-minute strike earned David Moyess side a hard-fought third round victory at Coca-Cola Championship strugglers Sheffield Wednesday.

It was McFaddens third Everton goal in as many starts this season, and took his overall tally to five for the campaign.

His previous efforts, at home to Blackburn Rovers and against Lithuania and most memorably France while with Scotland , had all been spectacular strikes.

In contrast, McFaddens double - a 58th-minute tap-in and a header seven minutes from time - came from a combined distance of around six yards.

However, these are precisely the kind of goals the Scot must contribute if he is to convince manager Moyes that he should remain a fixture in his preferred centre-forward role.

To cap a profitable evening, McFadden turned creator to play Yakubu through for the third as a much-changed Everton delivered a professional performance to eliminate lower league opposition - something that has proven a problem in their League Cup history.

Moyes made five changes from Sundays defeat at Villa Park . Recovered from a virus, Alan Stubbs replaced the ill Joseph Yobo at the heart of defence while Nuno Valente came in for only his second appearance of the season on left-back.

Lee Carsley returned to midfield, while McFadden and Yakubu, both benched at the weekend, were the chosen strikeforce.

Having endured a dismal start to the season, Wednesday ended a run of six successive league defeats when Francis Jefferss strike gave them victory over Hull City on Saturday.

Jeffers has never been forgiven by many Evertonians for the manner of his departure to Arsenal six years ago, and the travelling support were even less enamoured by the striker early on last night when his unintentional collision with Stefan Wessels resulted in the German goalkeeper eventually sporting a snazzy head bandage after lengthy treatment.

In truth, that was arguably the best action of an absolutely dreadful first half, with Everton offering little going forward while restricting their limited opponents to speculative punts from range by Graham Kavanagh, Jermaine Johnson and Marcus Tudgay.

Hillsborough was less than half-full for a fixture that failed to capture the imagination of the locals on a chilly Yorkshire evening. Those who preferred a night at home in front of the fire watching Corrie obviously knew what was coming.

The home supporters that did turn up became so disinterested with proceedings they even gave up on jeering Phil Jagielka, unpopular round these parts for his Bramall Lane connections.

Yakubus shot was deflected over as Everton at least roused themselves slightly during a tortuously long stoppage time period at the end of the half.

The Nigerian had been virtually anonymous during the opening 45 minutes, but in his defence the striker wasnt helped by the similarly underwhelming performance of those around him, making decent service almost non-existent.

There was some mild discontent among the home faithful moments before half-time when Tony Hibbert, earlier booked for baulking Wednesday winger Wade Small, caught the same player but escaped censure from referee Rob Styles.

Possibly as a prevention measure, Hibbert was subsequently replaced at half-time by Phil Neville.

Neville was soon involved at either end as both teams remembered there was a place in the last 16 at stake.

The England internationals ball from the right was marginally too far ahead of Osman to convert, while Neville then had to head a teasing Jermaine Johnson cross over his own bar.

Jagielka rapped a shot at Wednesday goalkeeper Lee Grant, and the increased urgency finally gave the occasion the feeling of a cup tie.

And, no doubt smarting from a half-time rocket from Moyes, Everton eased nerves by moving ahead in the 58th minute.

It was a well-worked strike, Steven Pienaars perceptive pass beating the Wednesday offside trap and freeing Yakubu down the right, with the Nigerian then showing great awareness to slide the ball low past keeper Grant towards the far post where McFadden had the simple task of applying the finishing touch.

The Scottish forward almost added a second shortly afterwards, but his clever chip landed on the roof of the Wednesday net.

Wednesday responded with a Kavanagh free-kick that floated over the bar, and were closer still when substitute Deon Burtons goalbound shot was deflected over off Stubbs after Akpo Sodje had cleverly stepped over Smalls low cross from the right.

Glenn Whelan fired a venomous shot that had Wessels scrambling across his goal to usher around the post, but Everton exerted a measure of control since taking the lead.

And they made their progress safe with two goals inside a minute. McFadden rose highest inside the six-yard box to nod home Nevilles right-wing cross in the 83rd minute, then turned provider with a cute pass to send Yakubu clear, the Nigerian slotting expertly under the exposed Grant.

Liverpool Daily Post

Match Preview

We've been here before, dear Evertonians.  That feeling of confusion at how a great start to a season has gone wrong so quickly and the nagging fear that, with injuries biting and confidence ebbing away with each poor result, a humiliating exit in the cup to lower-division opposition is starting to take on an air of inevitability.  Round and round we go in a seemingly interminable cycle...

David Moyes is clearly a man with a problem on his hands.  Whereas under his predecessor and at times during his own tenure at Goodison the familiar refrain from the fans was complaints about lack of heart from the players, the current squad doesn't, in the main, appear to be short on effort.

During Sunday's 2-0 defeat at Villa Park, both goals came against the run of play as the Blues tried manfully to break down a resolute home defence.  But, decisively undermined by a lack of quality in central midfield, it was merely a case of banging their heads against the proverbial brick wall.  Application and commitment you can demand and coach; skill and flair is a much more expensive and harder to come by commodity.

The absence of Mikel Arteta for the past two games has really led to some soul-searching among Evertonians.  Are we that dependent on the Spaniard's trickery and dead-ball delivery that we're nothing without him?  And, if so, what does it say for the combined transfer policy of the Manager and the Board that we once again went into a season that includes competing in Europe under-equipped in such a key area as central midfield?

Such burning questions aside, Moyes has to come up with a line-up for this week's trip to Hillsborough that can put the woes of the past 10 days in the past, book the Blues' passage to the fourth round, while still maintaining freshness for the weekend visit of Middlesbrough on Sunday.

It would be, one would think, the ideal opportunity for the likes of Andy Johnson, Yakubu and James McFadden to emerge from their respective dips in club form.  Similarly, if the manager must persist with Phil Neville in midfield and Tony Hibbert at right back, then this should be the game where they can repay that faith.

Update: And there could be one last opportunity for Andy van der Meyde to resurrect his playing career. The Dutchman is included in the squad for the first time this season after being publicly rebuked by Moyes for missing training a few weeks ago.

There should be enough quality with the likes of Steven Pienaar, who grew in stature as the game wore on against Villa, McFadden, Anichebe and the afore-mentioned AJ and Yakubu to make this a routine cup runout, but confidence could yet be the biggest problem for some of these players.

With Joseph Yobo missing training due to illness this week, it seems almost certain that Alan Stubbs will make a return to the starting line-up against the Owls.  Arteta and Thomas Gravesen are definitely still out and Tim Howard is unlikely to be fit either.

While it looked like Anderson da Silva, hitherto frozen out on loan at Barnsley despite a decent pre-season, would be added to the mix, he's staying at Barnsley so it'll be a similar pool of players from which to choose for Moyes as he struggles to find a winning combination with his best midfielders unavailable.

Lyndon Lloyd

Matchday Stats

The 150th meeting between Everton and Sheffield Wednesday sees Everton embark on another quest to win the only major English trophy that yet eludes them — the League Cup.
Everton's record against Sheffield Wednesday:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

16

3

5

8

20

30

Division One

110

52

31

27

204

156

Division Two

2

0

1

1

3

7

FA Cup

19

9

5

5

35

26

League Cup

2

2

0

0

7

1

TOTALS:

149

66

42

41

269

220

The last match between the sides was back in the 1999-2000 season, which saw Sheffield Wednesday relegated from the Premier League, when the sides drew 1:1 on 4 March, with Everton’s goal coming from David Weir.

The last meeting between the sides at Hillsborough was earlier in that same season on 11 September, when goals from Nick Barmby and Scot Gemmill saw Everton win 2:0.

Our away record against Sheffield Wednesday:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

8

2

2

4

11

15

Division One

55

17

17

21

82

99

Division Two

1

0

0

1

0

4

FA Cup

9

4

1

4

14

13

League Cup

1

1

0

0

3

1

TOTALS:

74

24

20

30

110

132

This will be the 3rd League Cup match between the sides.  The first was on 29 November 1977, when goals from Mike Lyons, Martin Dobson and Jim Pearson secured a 3:1 victory at Hillsborough, whilst the second, on 28 October 1986, saw Everton triumph 4:0 at Goodison Park, with the goals being scored by Paul Wilkinson (2), Adrian Heath and Derek Mountfield.

This will be Everton’s 20th match on 15 September:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

3

1

1

1

1

2

Division One

13

6

2

5

25

25

Division Two

1

1

0

0

3

2

League Cup

1

0

1

0

2

2

UEFA Cup

1

1

0

0

5

0

TOTALS:

19

9

4

6

36

31

The last match Everton played on this date was a 1:0 win at Fratton Park against Portsmouth in the league, with Everton’s winner being scored by Tim Cahill.

The only other time Everton have played a League Cup match on this date was in 1984, when we drew 2:2 away to Sheffield Wednesday’s local rivals United in a 2nd round, 1st leg match.  The goals that night came from Graeme Sharp and Derek Mountfield.  Everton went on to win the second leg 4:0, 2 weeks later.

Steve Flanagan

We could be on to something

As I work in Manchester and my sister lives in Sheffield, it almost seemed common sense to finish work early, get to hers and make my way to the ground.  As always, my best-laid plans didnt quite materialise as I got caught up in heavy traffic on the M60 before eventually finding my way towards Sheffield City Centre.  By now it was about 7.15pm.  Thankfully the fella I asked for directions to the ground was going there himself making it easy to get there.  I knew I was close when I saw a road sign for Hillsborough, and then under it a place named Owlerton (as in The Owls).  Parking was easy and after a sausage, chips and gravy I was in my seat at Sheffield Wednesdays impressive ground.

The teams came out, Everton led by Alan Stubbs.  Stefan Wessels started in goal with Valente given an opportunity to shine at left back, Stubbs and Lescott were the two centre backs whilst Hibbert continued at right back.  In midfield Osman and Pienaar played the flanks with Carsley and Jagielka (playing against his old enemies) in the middle.  In search of goals, Moyes shuffled his strikers again, this time with Yakubu and McFadden starting up front.  Ruddy, Baines, Johnson, Neville and Anichebe made up the substitutes bench.  As for Sheffield Wednesday, Francis Jeffers started up front for them but there was no sign of Steve Watson in the team.  I was quite surprised to find the stadium only about half-full, although the Everton end was pretty much packed out.

For the first half theres generally nothing to report.  Francis Jeffers had an early sniff of goal but was thwarted in his attempts by a combination of Stubbs and Wessels, with Jeffers slightly catching Wessels on his head thereby requiring a headband and a lengthy stoppage for the German.  Everton were simply dreadful whilst the best Sheffield Wednesday could muster was a few attempts from distance, one of which was straight at Wessels; any others where comfortably wide of the target.

I really cant think of much at the other end. Valente and Hibbert got one or two decent balls into the box but it was all pretty pedestrian and frustrating from Everton.  As some lad shot for Sheff Wed, Valente challenged and you heard a loud crack which looked pretty painful and had both players limping around, thereby ensuring another lengthy stoppage for the Portuguese.  Elsewhere Hibbert got harshly booked but could possibly have walked later on when he clattered a Sheff Wed player, although Rob Styles (unlike him) let it go.

The way the game was going I envisioned this one going all the way to extra time and penalties so I, for one, was quite relieved to hear the half-time whistle, as this could hopefully provide Everton with an opportunity to regroup.  The half-time whistle was greeted by boos from the Everton faithful, and rightly so.  Everyone had travelled a long way in freezing conditions and quite reasonably expected better against a team at the bottom of The Championship.

Moyes changed it at half time.  I dont know if Hibbert had taken a knock or was simply walking a tightrope as hed been booked but either way it was a good change with Phil Neville replacing him.  In the second half, Everton had much more purpose about them as they took the game to Sheff Wed a bit more and got in and around their box.  McFadden was particularly lively and Sheff Wed struggled with his skill and also with Yakubus excellent body strength.  With those two up front we might just be on to something good as they combined well for all the goals.

The first one came when some neat skill by Pienaar played in Neville.  He passed a first time ball into the on-running Yakubu.  I think everyone was expecting the Nigerian to shoot but he instead spotted the run of McFadden and played a very clever ball towards him at the back post.  From two yards McFadden simply couldnt miss and he slotted it home to the delight of the travelling Evertonians.

Sheff Wed tried to find a way back in, swapping Jeffers with former Derby County front man Dion Burton.  They nearly found a break through as well when somebody got past substitute Baines (whom replaced the injured Valente) and put a low ball into the box.  The Wednesday player met it but somehow, from fairly close range he ballooned over the bar.  The referee did in fact give a corner so its possible a defender made a good block but even so it was a great opportunity.  That was pretty much all Wednesday had in their locker however and in the last 10 minutes Everton put some gloss on the score line with some very good goals.

For goal No 2, Yakubu played a lovely ball in to Neville in space down the right.  His cross was excellent, as too was the timing of McFaddens jump as he leapt high to plant his header into the net (not unlike another Scot we know well).  That was 2-0 and effectively game over.

Everton werent finished however as Yakubu got in on the act.  McFadden brought the ball forward and with all the Evertonians screaming for him to play it wide to Pienaar in space, he had other ideas and released Yakubu.  He galloped onwards and you just knew he was going to score, and score he did, finishing low into the corner and that was 3-0 and game over.  Anichebe replaced Yakubu shortly afterwards and I left to beat the traffic to my sisters a few minutes before full time although still managed to get lost!

Lets stick with those two up front for now.  They seem to have a good understanding and Johnsons obviously not scoring at the moment, oh and low and behold we got a clean sheet!

Player Ratings:

  • Wessels: Not a lot to do really although should probably leave his line a bit more for crosses. 6
  • Hibbert: Was doing OK but was of course walking a tightrope with that yellow card until subbed at half time. 7
  • Stubbs: Generally had them at arms length. 7
  • Lescott: Like Stubbs, a relatively easy game for Joleon. 7
  • Valente: Was coping well until having to come off with injury. 7
  • Pineaar: A very astute performance by the South African. He caused a lot of problems with his skill and trickery. 8
  • Carsley: Doesnt quite seem to be at his best at the moment. 5
  • Jagielka: Had a bit more steel than Lee in the middle and got into them. Think he should get more games in the middle. 6
  • Osman: As often is the case he drifted in and out of the game. Hes capable of more so needs to get himself involved a bit more I think. 6
  • Yakubu: Worked a bit more, linked well with McFadden, scored one and set up one. You cant really ask for more than that. 7
  • McFadden: Although he had a quiet first half he was much improved in the second and caused them all sorts of problems. Should really get a run in the team now. My man of the match. 8
     
  • Neville (for Hibbert): Proved that his best position is clearly right-back. Two assists and seems much more comfortable there. He has to start there on Sunday. 8
  • Baines (for Valente): Seemed to struggle to get into it a bit. 5
  • Anichebe (for Yakubu): Not on long enough cant judge.

Paul Traill

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SHEFFIELD W (4-4-2)
  Grant
  Gilbert
  Hinds
  Wood
  Simek
  Whelan
   Johnson (Burton 67)
  Small
  Kavanagh (Lunt 80)
  Tudgay
  Jeffers (Sodje 73)
  Subs not used
  Burch
  Bullen

EVERTON (4-5-1)
  Wessels
  Hibbert (46' Neville )
  Lescott
  Stubbs
  Valente (64' Baines)
  Jagielka
  Pienaar
  Osman
  Carsley
  McFadden
  Yakubu (86' Anichebe )
  Subs not used
  Ruddy
  Johnson
  Unavailable
  Arteta (injured)
  Gravesen (injured)
  Howard (injured)
  Cahill (injured)
  Vaughan (injured)
  Yobo (ill)

Cup Scores
Tuesday 25 September 2007
     
     
     
     
     
     
  -v-  
Wednesday 26 September 2007
  -v-  
  -v-  
Monday
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