Everton 1 - 0 Manchester United

25 February 1995

Everton: Ferguson 58
Yellow cards
Everton: Ebbrell
Manchester U: Ince
Everton: Southall 8, Barrett 7, Watson 9, Unsworth 8, Hinchcliffe 7, Ebbrell 8 (71. Samways 8), Horne 8, Parkinson 8, Limpar 8, Ferguson 8, Barlow 8
Manchester U: Schmeichel, Irwin, Bruce, Pallister, Sharpe, Ince, Keane,McClair (66. Kanchelskis), Giggs, Cole, Hughes
Subs not used: Amokachi, Reeves (Everton), Butt, Walsh (ManU)
Referee: J Worrall (Warrington)
Attendance: 40,011


JR's solution to the Rideout problem was certainly new.
Instead of Stuart, Barlow was put wide right, and Limpar wide left of Duncan, with a full compliment of 'dogs' in the middle. Ablett was replaced by Unsworth; Amo and Vinny on the bench.

It took no time at all to boost my admiration for JR's management, because Barlow looked as comfortable on the wing as though he had played there all his life. His speed chasing the ball worried Irwin, his slowdown & hold with the ball was confident, and he passed about with Barrett and the dogs when needed. His crosses were not Hinchy quality, but they were as good as say Beagrie's.

The result was that DF was certainly not left looking as lonely as most 'lone' strikers, and Everton created the first few attacks before the double winners settled.

The other good early sign was that referee Worrell was not to be trifled with in niggly pushes. Whilst most of the early fouls went against Everton (mostly Ferguson) this sent a message to Pallister and Bruce that their usual professional shirt-tugging, & foul jumping tactics were not going to be allowed today.

Once settled, United showed why they win. With possession, they set themselves up in a formation as solid as stonehenge, and pass around it until the opposition is committed and allows too much space for Giggs or Cole, then the ball is sent and the goals will inevitably come. Make no mistake, this team is nowhere near the class of Everton 85-87, nor even of Man United 2 years ago, but their patience & passing works in exactly the same way that Mike Walker's team didn't.

They cracked Everton open twice in the first half. Cole was lucky to turn and find the ball had not escaped far, because then and throughout the match his first touch was terrible, but his shot was both wide and covered by Neville who didn't bother stretching his arms fully. The second - a cross from the left into an empty box was missed by Hinchcliffe's header to Hughes 5 yards out, but was at that impossible close-to-the-waist height and he too missed. This time the goal was open.

The unfortunate consequence of the formation was that when Ferguson was marked out or busy elsewhere, his attacking support from midfield was John Ebbrell. JE played well, but as a goalpoacher, he's very little danger. This compounded itself when he had a clear 18 yd shot dip agonisingly upwards instead of down as it reached the bar.

Everton were not being dictated to. They won balls and played as they'd like, releasing Barlow and Limpar often and winning plenty of corners, but to our horror, Hinchcliffe was continuing his problems and almost wasted every one by scooping or not getting height on them. As half time approached, the feeling was the same as the the GP derby, the Reds were there for the taking if we could just get some luck.

The game pattern changed little in the second half. Limpar worked hard and fairly well, but had luckily abandoned his delusions of greatness. Both teams were getting crosses and corners, but no-one could get free from defenders. Barlow was beating Irwin, Giggs was beating Barrett, Pallister & Watson were beating the crosses.

Near the hour a Barlow run was hit by a red towards the dead line and Limpar appeared to leave it. My neighbour, the very same guy in the Ferguson shirt, commented that Limpar might have taken it instead of allowing the corner. The way our corners had been going, I agreed. Please - just ONE good one Andy! we'd shouted at the last one. Then fortune finally smiled like the spring sun.. a perfect corner.. a perfect Ferguson header.. Shmeichel flapping and Ince upside down in the net with the ball. In the stand, we celebrated so much we only heard afterwards on the radio that Duncan had done his shirtless celebration. The big Ferguson fan hugged me so hard my feet were off the ground.

When we finally looked back on the pitch, United were trying the counter punch. They had upped a gear and looked very dangerous. Giggs in particular was having too much time with the ball, as was Kanchelskis when he was subbed on. To add to my worries, Barrett was going missing again. He supported an Everton attack that nearly got a quick second goal, but jogged back like a physio, leaving Dave Watson one-on-one with Giggs and no-one behind Watson to cover Southall. Barrett was much better than at Leeds, but the more I watch him, the more I worry. Surprisingly, the big Ferguson fan was quite an analyst too, and was as mystified as me at the preference to Jackson - someone neither of us admired previously.

JR played a simple card by replacing Ebbrell with Samways. The midfield was secure.. United were not going to gain any more possession with two dogs than three, because of the others even Limpar was helping them with their job.

As time slowly wound down, United passed around even better than before. Perhaps the blue legs were going, because the Red shirts seemed to sting more passes and had Horne and Parki looking like headless chickens for a while. But they couldn't create good chances, and all their shots went straight to Neville.

The clock seemed to slow to a crawl. I asked if it had stopped. A few minutes later it did stop! - a blessing because it forced us to stop watching it. Until the last minute of normal time, United kept cool. They were still content to set up and pass, rather than humping long panic balls.

Vinny seemed to be allowed free space, and fed right & left enough to keep United honest at the back, but Everton too had few chances.. the closest to a second had been a Horne Wimbledon special which clipped the angle. It was interesting to wonder what Amo would have done with JE & BH's chances and the space afforded Vinny, but that gamble was never required as the scoreline 1-0 settled into the result.

Of course Ferguson (A.) moaned about luck and how they'd 'dominated possession' (rubbish!). Of course the papers moaned about sacrificing skill for points, and one (Sunday Telegraph) managed to revise a 2-footed foul by Sharpe on Barlow into a 2-footed foul by Barlow on Sharpe, but THIS year the result went to the slightly fortunate blues.. making up for the slightly more fortunate win they took with the Sharpe miracle volley recently.

As I said.. reset morale.. and add a note - ain't no-one safe playing at Goodison no more. Are you watching doon the Toon?

The Man Utd away support was the quietest I've ever heard from them; even when they lost 5-0 they made more noise.

Everton have now conceded only 6 goals in 10 home games under JR.. but 4 of those were to Sheff Weds!

The crowd (40011) beat that at the Goodison derby!

The Highest Man Utd home gate is only slightly more (~43,803) and was against... Everton.

Four teams are 'adrift' at the bottom for the first time, and Everton are not one of them.

Team Performance 9

Not overawed in the face of opposition much superior to the usual fare.

Player by player


A good safe performance on a busy day


Much better, but still the weak link


A mistake free return


Dominating. JR's MoM again.


Another poor game, but produced 1 game-winning corner


Much better playng within himself


A great first outing on the right


Joint JR MoM.


Full contribution closing down Ince's threats


One of John's best games


Lack of service but great contributions in buildups


United were unable to get near him


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