Nottingham Forest 2 - 1 Everton

8 March 1995

Nottingham Forest: Collymore 19, Pearce 54
Everton: Barlow 44
Yellow cards
Nottingham Forest: Crossley, Lyttle, Pearce, Cooper, Chettle, Phillips, Bohinen, Collymore, Stone,Woan, Roy (89. Lee)
Everton: Southall 9, Barrett 5, Watson 7, Ablett 7, Samways 6, Ferguson 7, Horne 7, Limpar 7, Parkinson 9 (26. Stuart 6), Barlow 7, Unsworth 7
Subs not used: McGregor, Rigby (Forest), Jackson, Reeves (Everton)
Referee: L R Dilkes (Manchester)
Attendance: 24,526


First view

Forest took the game by the scruff of the neck in the opening ten minutes, and threatened to dominate Everton. Chance after chance was created, and Everton could not keep possession. Late in this period, Nev pulled off what for me was the save of the season - a bullet header from 8 yards out and 8 feet high angled perfectly to hit the floor as it reached the goalline - the worst possible place for a keeper standing fully upright. Nev dived right with the reactions of a man half his age and put a hooked arm in the way to stop a certain goal.

After that Everton found their feet and started to mount pressure on the Forest goal. They now looked the better team for ten minutes, but their reward was even worse - counterattacking goal against. Roy was totally free on the right (does this story sound familiar??) with Barrett nowhere in sight, and had all the time in the world to loop a gentle cross to Collymore, who similarly was unchallenged and had all the time in the world to loop a gentle header past Southall from 9 yards.

Watson, positioned to cut out the low drive was lobbed by the cross and Unsworth was 2-3 yards further over than Colly so had no chance to get a challenge in, let alone a header. These two were the only blue shirts anywhere near the area. It was one of the softest goals Everton have conceded all season.

The rest of the first half had the noisy & large Everton fans resorting to hope that we could hang on one down to half time and rely on a JR miracle talk & substitution, because our attacks were impotent and our midfield, though improving, was closed down by red terriers at every turn. It's the first time since JR took over I've seen EFC midfielders being forced to pass back to the defenders often.

Perhaps Hinchcliffe would have been a help, but things got worse - Joe Parkinson was having a superb game when he got injured (will he be prettier now as a result? 8-) Whilst he was down (25 minutes gone) I noticed I'd not seen Vinny touch the ball all game, let alone produce his 'magic wand'. The preferred sub Stuart left the midfield too short of dogs for a battling opponent.

It was therefore a real shock when the same old buildup that had got nowhere before produced a goal seconds before halftime, from a low Limpar cross glancing headed inside the far corner by Barlow. This was a real bonus. The performance until then was indeed the worst under JR.

Second half Everton improved.. the first ten minutes they looked in comfortable control, but again Forest scored. An innocuous Barry Horne challenge awarded a free kick in the worst possible place, left and centre at the Trent end with Psycho Pearce just back from suspension. It was the best executed free kick I've seen for a long time, lousy justice for the run of play. The seven man Blue wall was bypassed by yards, though I was disappointed the slow double touch-off was not charged down!

Everton continued to dominate and attack. The performance was only marginally better, but the Forest were beginning to remember that they had only taken 3 points from the last 5 games and were in the habit of conceding late goals.

Although the attacks were numerous, their bite was very weak, and Crossley only had to make one good and a couple of routine saves. Everton only won one corner; without Hinchcliffe that didn't seem to matter much, but says a lot about the routes Limpar and Staurt were taking to goal.

Time seeped away just like a dozen other Everton losses I've seen at the City Ground. This time the frustration bit deep - we'd lost to a clearly worse team which was challenging for Europe and we're still flopping around like beached haddock in the nervous zone.

Team Performance: 6 (First half 5, second half 7).

Ref: I'm putting Dilkes down as 'As good as they get' on this performance. (I'd say he's good, but the last time I said that about a ref, his name was Tyson 8-[ ).

Everton have now failed to win in 9 away league games, including the last four against teams in pathetic form. Luckily 6 of our last 10 remaining games are at home.

Final notes - Visits to Forest have always been tainted by ugly hordes of 'seat boys' yobs enjoying our frustration. This has been virtually eradicated - replaced with lots of families in wooly hats. The Trent End atmosphere has died too. Maybe this is why for the first time in memory, the EFC fans did not sing 'we hate Nottm. Forest..' or chant 'Scabs'.

Another view

JOE ROYLE must go on looking over his shoulder at the dreaded spectre of relegation.

A stunning free-kick by former England skipper Stuart Pearce condemned his Everton team to defeat.

And it means that Royle's prediction that the relegation fight wouldn't be over until the last days of this nail-biting campaign is coming all too true.

Pearce's goal, nine minutes after half time, was a superb- ly-worked free-kick that took Everton completely by surprise.

Colin Cooper and David Phillips, who appeared to be standing on the ball only as decoys, suddenly pushed it five yards to one side to meet Pearce's perfectly-timed run.

It meant that Neville Southall's careful positioning was blown to pieces as Pearce's left foot exploded the ball into the net from 25 yards.

Southall had already been caught out to let Forest take the lead after 19 minutes, when he was trapped in no man's land trying to deal with Dutch International Bryan Roy's curling centre, and Stan Collymore gratefully headed the ball over him.

It was a stunner for Everton, three points above the relegation zone and battling for their lives, and they immediately faced evn more problems.


Midfielder Joe Parkinson had to be carried away on a stretcher after being knocked cold when he took the ball full in the face in a close-range sliding tackle with Phillips.

But Everton conjured an equaliser right on half-time, as Stuart Barlow nipped in to meet Anders Limpar's cross from the left and glance a header beyond Mark Crossley.

Disappointed Royle admitted: "For the first 20 minutes we were very sloppy -- as poor as we have been since I came to the club.

"But once we got into the game, I thought that we could go on and win it.

"It was ironic for us that the Referee had a brilliant game but possible his only mistake was to give the free-kick from which they scored -- although that is not a criticism.

"I would have been glad if any of my players had got through the night making only one mistake."

Forest boss, Frank Clark, said: "Everton attacked us more than any other team at our ground this season."

Player by player


Superb game. No chance with the goals.


Awful. Many blue fans are very unhappy with him.


OK but not linking well with Limpar.


Some good tackles - returning to form?


A rare 'average' game for Dave.


Good second half covering the hole left by Parki.


Took a long time to get going.


His best performance so far in Royal Blue - for 21 mins.


Again failed to be the threat which saved us last season.


Tried hard, then tried too hard.


Forest defenders never let him outpace them. Nice goal.


Another lonely away game for big Dunc.


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