Queens Park Rangers 2 - 3 Everton

18 March 1995

QPR: Ferdinand 36, Gallen 60
Everton: Barlow 58, McDonald og 67, Hinchcliffe 90
Yellow cards
QPR: Maddix, Ferdinand
Everton: Ebbrell, Limpar, Angell
QPR: Roberts, Bardsley, Wilson, Maddix, McDonald, Impey, Holloway, Barker (25. Penrice), Ferdinand, Gallen, Sinclair
Everton: Southall 8, Hinchcliffe 8, Watson 7, Barrett 7, Ablett 7, Ebbrell 9, Horne 8, Grant 7 (88. Jackson), Limpar 7, Barlow 7, Angell 6 (45. Amokachi 7)
Subs not used: Ready, Dykstra (QPR), Kearton (Everton)
Referee: K M Morton (Bury St Edmunds)
Attendance: 14,488


From a game they did not deserve to win - making up for many games where they did deserve 3 but came away short-changed.

The starting lineup, resplendent in the rarely used salmon stripes, included Brett Angell and a full debut for Tony Graaahnt (well that's what the female announcer called him :-). Apart from this, the formation was much the same as usual with Barlow wide right and Limpar wide left.

There was a lot of deja-vu about the first half. Last year we'd gone there on a nice spring day desperate for points but with a terrible team. This was horribly similar, and none of the huge EFC support held much hope of a result or even a point.

There is little tangible to report about that first half. It was midfield stalemate for a good 20 minutes. Rangers looked slightly the more likely to make a dangerous attack, but the EFC back 4 were in control. Up front, Brett tried very hard but seemed to be handicapped by a lack of talent more deserving of his reputation than his ability. He got terrible service, ended up chasing too many through balls which needed Barlow-type speed, and failed to link up with Grant well (a bit disappointing, since they play and score a lot together in the reserves). If his height is his forte, it was wasted - Hinchy & co did not get a single cross to his head. He did manage to get booked for fouling a defender shielding a ball towards the dead line though.

With about 25 minutes gone, as BA lost possession yet again, the Evertonians lost patience. Chants of "Amo! Amo!" started to go up. On the bench, Amo waited, and Joe did too. Would this spur Brett into action? Everton enjoyed their best five minutes of the half now, passing comfortably around midfield, probing for an opening. Grant was tricking his way past the close challengers, but the short lay-offs he gave and received never strung together to create a real chance. Then from this attacking setup, out of the blue a huge long-ball clearance went straight to Ferdinand in the centre circle. He turned and headed for goal with only two defenders back and both 20 yards away from him. Ferdinand strolled into the area drew Southall to an angle he fancied, and hit a weak rolling bobbling but perfectly placed shot past poor Nev.

One down. Not even a sniff of a scoring chance (except a Hinchy free-kick). Of our two corners one sailed over BA to a marked Watson, and the other was scooped so high it cleared the whole area. "Amo! Amo!". Joe gritted his teeth. I remembered a wily old manager's tale about waiting until they are straining at the leash. Half time seemed perfect - as long as the lead did not increase.

It didn't. In fact QPR had only 1-2 corners than half and only 1-2 other shots apart from the goal, but they had caused a lot of panic when they got to the area with their audacious quick & short passes. At half time a cockney Evertonian asked me what I thought. I said it reminded me of last year - except no Cottee (the short sharp dude had scored his 99th and last goal for Everton then - the the School (away) End). At least, I thought, the footy was better. {QPR's Devon White scored in that game. Now he's scoring for HK at Wembley!} There had been none of the high-ball garbage seen in the Man City game.

The stage was set. In a theatrical stunt, Amo stayed on the sideline with Angell's number held up until both sides were on the field waiting, so he got to make a personal entrance to huge blues cheers. So much for the hype - would QPR give him any space?

His touches were all very routine to start with. Everton continued to play down the sides, and Amo chased after balls no matter what the side. TG seemed to be keeping over to the right instead of his more central first half position. Correspondingly, Barlow spent more time roaming around the middle & left. The change was fascinating. Suddenly with no target man, it was a pass & run game. (Another similarity to last year's team). Then bless my old boots it DID work. Amo had turned and headed for the box on a diagonal from the right. Closely shadowed by two hooped shirts, they were effectively squashing him off the ball, but as the ball squirted away, it went straight to the left, where 2 yards away unmarked Barlow had a great chance with only Roberts on his line to beat and fired perfectly to score.

We all jumped up a long way, and wished we hadn't in that upper stand. I nearly fell over into the front row, and someone almost behind me did fall into our row. Nobody cared - it was a miracle to score after that first half. Barlow ran to the crowd, and we heard no more abuse from the knockers thereafter.

The sun seemed to shine even harder for a while, but then as if to laugh in our faces, QPR went down and scored a simple goal from a right side pass less than two minutes later with their first decent attack of the half. It was so easy you had to fear they could have racked up 2-3 more. The long hoofs to Ferdinand interspersed the wing attacks of Impey & (erm, that guy with the little deadlocks) meanwhile their best player was Penrice, who had luckily come on for a first half injury. Penrice was chasing everything, boots flying everywhere, never a lost cause or a pass too impossible to try. This ripped big holes in the EFC defence and there were definately more heartstopping moments to come.

Everton continued to play with heart but dice with death. Both teams were playing the same attacking style - it must have been great for neutrals if not purists. But the style was getting us 0 points. Limpar and Grant were not producing much danger, but with Amo's support and QPR's excessive respect for him by closing him down, chinks sometimes appeared. Meanwhile the referee Kelvin Morton was penalising both teams for pushing in headers, which gave Hinchy a couple more opportunities to float balls to Watson or try for goal. One centralish free kick from ~35 yards, QPR opted for no wall, and Andy just missed a direct attempt for the far corner.

Then luck struck Everton's way. Amo found himself free a yard in from the bye-line at the edge of the box, and smashed a shot(?). Tony Grant was a in a position to glance in a header, but McDonald got in front of him and headed a blinder into the net himself. Terribly unlucky, but definately a result of the pressure. 2-2. Perhaps we'd scrape a point after all!

As time wound down many Evertonians could not bear to watch as they waited for the inevitable QPR winner, but EFC held out well and showed no signs of shutting up the attacking shop. Joe put on Jackson for Grant, who had played well but had not been allowed space to create much (what a compliment to a debutant!). Then from another of those Penrice panics, a ball fell back to him with a gaping goal and only Neville to beat. He scooped it in the right direction and how it missed no-one could understand.

Now desperate for the final whistle, Everton played up the middle one more time and the ref penalised a defender once more for a foul jump, this time on Amo 30 yards out and 5 left of centre. The defender was injured falling, and had to be treated. Roberts had all day to set up his wall & defenders. Andy Hinchcliffe ignored the options of the array of attackers and looped another gentle curling shot toward the far top corner - and in! Simple! 3-2! Time was already up - QPR didn't even get the ball near the box before the whistle.

The Everton fans were ecstatic. They stood and sang and shouted for almost five minutes before bothering to try and leave. Three away points. Count 'em; THREE! What a difference a half makes.

Team Performance 7. The skill factor was very low, but this was a win carved out of a certain loss; a lot of self- belief to keep going & not go for just a point for 90 minutes; no unattractive long-balls.

Player by player


A routine day for Nev.


Slightly better but still not solid.


Worried by his inability to prevent crosses (6), but our best threat in attack (9).


Good defence but sloppy clearances.


Not as dominant as usual.


Only on for 2 minutes.


A very good game, the best player in the middle.


An excellent game. Very good work & no stupid shots.


Looked very comfortable at this level.


The Bag of Tricks was empty today, but he tried.


A goal in an average game - reverse of his usual.


It was very sad to see a man get his chance and blow it so comprehensively in 45 minutes. How DID he manage to be a top goalscorer ANYWHERE? :-[


Nothing special, unless you count the charisma that fooled QPR into over-compensating for him.


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