FA Carling Premier League, Saturday 13 January, 1996, Goodison Park, Merseyside
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Everton (1) 1 Chelsea (1) 1
Unsworth 36 pen; Spencer 20.
Everton: Southall, Short, Ablett, Unsworth, Kanchelskis, Horne, Ebbrell, Hinchcliffe (Amokachi 59), Limpar, Stuart, Rideout. Subs Not Used: Grant, Kearton. Booked: Short, Ablett, Rideout.
Chelsea: Hitchcock, Gullit, Spencer, Hughes, Wise (Furlong 64), Myers, Newton, Lee, Phelan, Duberry, Petrescu. Subs Not Used: Clarke, Peacock. Sent Off: Hughes (62). Booked: Hughes, Wise, Petrescu.
Ref: R Hart (Darlington).
Guy McEvoy: Suspensions for Dave Watson and Joe Parkinson meant we started with an unusual looking line-up. We reverted to the 3-5-2 formation, with Unsworth, Ablett and fit again Short holding the back whilst Andy Hinchcliffe took Joe's place in the centre. The most curious decision was who was on the bench, it seemed to me that playing with only three at the back it may have been prudent to have Jackson as cover, Joe however had Grant, Amo and Kearton on the bench.
Chelsea, incidentally, were wearing that kit. Surely the worst in the history of the league!
It took Everton about thirty seconds before they had their first shot on goal. Good cross-field play found Limpar who quickly whipped in a low drive to test the keeper. Indeed for the first 30 minutes all our attacking promise seemed to come from the Swede.
However, despite our early chances it was Chelsea who took the lead with a soft (though well executed) goal. A hoisted ball fell in a bread-and-butter manner to Abblett who trapped it with his thigh let it drop and waited for Unsworth to pick it up. Unsworth meanwhile stood still and watched waiting for Ablett to clear. John Spencer, didn't watch, he ran right between the two and said thank you very much as he drilled his shot across the face of the goal. Heads were rightfully held in hands.
Chelsea's goal at this point had been against the run of play, though spurred on by their lead they became more dangerous and things began to look worrying. Guillit had a good shot saved by Southall.
Our main chances fell to Rideout who managed somehow to squander an inch perfect cross from Horne, and Stuart who did all the hard-work to beat his man and take himself into a one on one, but stuck the shot wide to the left.
We had a couple of free kicks from promising positions, and a few corners, unfortunately Hinchcliffe's dead ball precision seems to have deserted him this season and we never really threatened from any of these moves.
The equaliser was a controversial affair. I saw Limpar being rugby tackled in the box and my gut instinct was a certain penalty, an instinct with which the ref agreed. However, when I saw the replay on TV it did appear that Limpar may have fouled first; nevertheless, in the absence of a whistle, the defender committed suicide by reacting inside the box. David Unsworth took the chance to make some amends for his earlier hesitation in the game and confidently fired home.
The second half, though without goals, was certainly not without incident. Once Hinchcliffe had been withdrawn for Amokachi, we started to dominate possession, the ball rarely leaving Chelsea's half. Chelsea's problems were further confounded when Hughes was dismissed for his second bookable offence after apparently stamping on Unsworth. From where I was sitting, that was one of the few correct calls that the card-happy referee made all afternoon.
With the increase in possession came an frustrating spell of poor finishing. Amokachi's first contribution was to get on the end of a clever lobbed one-two with Stuart and find himself in a clear goal scoring opportunity slightly to the left of the goal about ten yards out. His stubbed straight-line toe poke did not bode well.
Further chances fell to Stuart, who in all fairness was unlucky and did force an excellent save, and then a couple more to Amo, a missed header from a corner and a botched first touch that ruined another chance. Limpar tried his luck twice from outside the box. You can really tell that Everton are having no luck up front when Barry Horne actually starts shooting and was unlucky with two long range efforts.
The killer instinct just wasn't there in the end. It was a physical game, affected by the referee. We suffered badly from a defensive unit that didn't look comfortable together, and a failure to feed both our wings. (Certainly, Limpar saw enough of the ball, but as everything was being channelled down the left Kanchelskis never saw the same amount of the ball, I can only conclude that this is due to Short's reluctance to play forward as a "wing-back" in the same way Unsworth or Jackson do supporting the wingers, Short preferring instead to go more central and present himself as a target head in his attacking forays).
It was anther frustrating afternoon that showed why both teams are stuck middle of the table. Plenty of talent on display, but neither team enjoys consistency. We had key players missing due to referees earlier in the season giving daft decisions and forcing suspensions, Chelsea I understand will suffer badly from yesterdays harsh officialdom loosing Wise and Hughes to suspensions as a result. For us Ablett, Unsworth and Short all pick up more points. When the final league points are all added up at the end of the season, the new austere reffing trend will no doubt prove to have hit both teams badly.
Southall 7 - Nothing to be done about Spencer's class strike; smothered a couple of Chelsea chances to keep us in it.
Short 7 - The defender of the day, won everything in the air, bravely charged down a shot on goal, looked solid.
Ablett 6 - Looked extremely indecisive in all he did, confidence problem?
Unsworth 6 - Shares half the blame for the goal with Ablett, there was a clearly a lack of understanding between the two. Well taken penalty.
Hinchcliffe 6 - The king of the deadball is king no more, his general contribution wasn't up to much either, we missed Parkinson.
Ebbrell 6 - It was a far cry from those games when he appears to be everywhere but when he was involved his contribution was valuable.
Horne 8 - A captains performance. Tackled, crossed and even (heaven forbid!) took a couple of shots. Showed the others the commitment required.
Limpar 7 - Saw an awful lot of the ball, which always makes him seem frustrating if we aren't getting anywhere. His first half performance did create danger, and his determination won the penalty (foul? what foul?). It was suggested that he may have been doing some weights as I swear he actually dumped groundwork two tackling defenders, and that from a man who usually goes down with the mildest gust of wind.
Kanchelskis 6 - As always a treat to watch when breaking with the ball. Unfortunately never got the service required to stamp his mark on the game as it was all going down the left. He must be getting frustrated.
Stuart 8 - Really looked up for this game, and was very unlucky not to score against his old club. Always a threat, ran everywhere.
Rideout 6 - Another game where you could be forgiven for failing to note his presence, one useful pass, one squandered header, little else.
Amokachi (Sub) 6 - In a desperate attempt to be fair to him it needs to be said that no other player in blue managed to find himself in as many scoring positions as Amo in such a short amount of time. He did show some good touches, he did put in two useful balls. However, the less said about his finishing the better. One would have hoped that at the very least he would have forced a save. He didn't. He really is loosing the support of the crowd, in my section there was little most people could do but laugh at him.
Dave Shepherd: As the boys at Rourke's Drift proved, being outnumbered and on the wrong end of a one-way battle does not mean you are doomed. So Everton found out last year at Leicester (the Durkin robbery), and so Chelsea found out today.
The first 10 minutes looked like the prelude to a nightmare. As many as 50% of Everton's passes failed - mostly poorly judged by the player, some by intended recipient, and some well intercepted. Chelsea fans sang heartily and Evertonians watched in silent horror, except to boo Gullit, presumably for theatricals.
Limpar made his usual dangerous-looking but ineffective forays. Balls worked their way to forwards, but the only ones which did not find multiple defenders in attendance were hopeless mis-passes.
The formation was back to a slightly skewed 3-5-2 (with Hinchcliffe supposedly filling some function, but only a master of mysterious positioning like Graeme Taylor might be able to explain what it was). 'Skewed' because the 3 CBs were Unsworth on the left, Ablett at convertional LCB, and Short at RCB, so it was more like the fabled "3 Man Back Four" than a 3CB set.
With Stuart's floating method of attacking, and Amo the wandering star on the bench, one can only stare at this transitional formation the way one does at a catapiller larva, and wonder what the finished article will look like and hope that it will be more pleasing to the eye, because it's hard to see how any of the 'missing' players could remedy the problem.
The crowning jewel is the bright idea of playing Unsworth at left-back. Unsworth may have the potential and ability, but as if his inadequacy at the job needed more emphasising, it is amplified by the blatent unhappiness of Ablett who is asked instead to play centre-back. Together they are a disaster. Rhino's not used to the system, and Gary is not mind-reader enough to cover for him.
With this state of affairs, it should not have been surprising that Chelsea took the lead, from a mistake in the left-centre channel. A simple overhit pass fell to Ablett who, in lots of space, took the ball on his thigh, but it bounced away from him for an easy pickup by Spencer. Forgetting he was a journeyman striker, John advanced steadied himself and hit the far corner perfectly.
It looked to me like miscontrol rather than an attempted pass to Unsworth, which at a stroke assassinated his record of consistency and reliability. It seemed to shatter his confidence too, because it was not his last mistake.
Fortunately, the goal had the effect of kicking Everton into life. Their efforts doubled, and their success improved a little, bringing the home crowd back into the game. Their reward came 15 minutes later when Limpar got past his man but was hauled down by the waist of his shorts just inside the box. From my distant view, there was no sign of any unusual or illegal contact between the players before that, but the crowd of arguing marmalade-orange shirts around first the ref then the linesman would have done Blackburn Rovers credit. Perhaps one for the '3rd umpire'?
Despite the delaying tactics, Rhino was not put off, and slammed the kick slightly right of straight into the Park End goal with Hitchcock committed. Everton so nearly topped this when almost straight afterwards, on-form Graeme Stuart got clean through with only Hitchcock to beat to score against his old club, but unbelieveably his chip flew across goal.
Gullit's shot was a tame long range effort which was heading for the outside of the post, but being Gullit, it made the news as a genius goal robbed by a miraculous save. Ruud is an ex-genius on this showing. Well how else do you explain that a talentless yard-dog like Horne twice out-dribbled him in the centre?
We appreciated Gullit's expert demonstration of continental meal-making when he was brought down though. Fabulous. Even gained a sarcastic look from the stretcher man who was of course brought on but not needed.
So at half time things looked likely to be heading for another 3-3 result like last season. Chelsea had created many good buildups, but Everton had found their feet. All three results were possible.
The second half was very much a battle in the midfield trenches early on. Chelsea's style is similar to Everton's in that they challenge and break, so there was a lot of midfield action. Meanwhile referee Hart was not allowing any illegal challenges, especially in the air (which many referees simply ignore). Although there were no 'knee- jerk' cards, this bullied both teams, particularly Chelsea into behaving themselves more. Hart also had words with several players about back-chat, so there were plenty of warnings active, and the level of acceptability was well established before the cards came out.
By the hour, 5 or 6 players had pushed their luck too far in this respect. Missing though, was the exasperation at inconsistency that referees who ignore selected types of foul, or worse, change their tolerance during the game. This made a double-yellow for someone likely, and the unlucky winner was Mark Hughes, whose action was so clear cut that he was running for the tunnel before the card came out.
This turned the flow of the game. An even contest became one-way traffic towards Chelsea's Street End goal, even after Furlong was brought on to improve their striking threat. Amo had been subbed on for Hinchy only 2 minutes before.
During the reamining half hour, Everton mounted a dozen or more decent attacks, with perhaps 8-10 goal attempts, but the ball simply would not go in. Good breaks would end with poor crosses. Good crosses would find defenders or gloves instead of heads. Chances that did go to heads were poorly directed or lacked power. Short, driven low passes all hit the wrong feet.
The best chance was a Stuart shot which bobbled high from a deflection, nearly lobbing Hitchcock, but the keeper brought off a leaping punch over the bar. Chelsea were not shut out, but their remaining chances were very rare breakaways, and Southall was only troubled once when he got stranded rushing out. Compare this to Amo, who came on to great cheers, but then missed at least 4 chances, and over-optimism saw him interfering with chances better left to others. His weak header in injury time was a nightmare.
Chelsea fans who only read the appalingly Chelsea-biased PA/Carling report may think they were the closest to a win. Chelsea fans at the game can put them straight -- after their endless droning litany of such musical masterpieces as 'One man went to Mow' in the first half, (from the Villa school of thought that 'support' = 'making noise of a level unrelated to the standard or current state of play') they were silent throughout the second.
The final outcome was therefore that we had gifted Chelsea a goal, and failed to nail down a winner once we clearly had the advantage. The marmalades are tough opponents, and we had them on the ropes, but miss out on two important Europe-chasing points with no more home league games for a whole month. Unlucky, know wot I mean?
Southall 6 Grossly unfair to mark him on so little action his end, but I thought he had a poor game apart from throwouts.
Short 8 A good job he was back, because without him the loss was a probability. Confidence? He went on a Rhino-run beating 2-3 players. He even bawled out senior pro Ablett for a mistake. Future captain?
Ablett 5 Everton's 'most consistent and mistake-free defender' (my words) finally crashed and burned. A horrible game.
Unsworth 7 Continues to masquerade as a left wing-back whilst Ablett and Hinchcliffe (both proven top class at that position) bumble around elsewhere. >:-[
Horne 9 A great performance from Horne. He was a class above everyone else (including Gullit) in the midfield. Ebbrell 7 Good but not great. Overshadowed by Barry Horne.
Hinchcliffe 6 Lost in the middle of a formation which is beginning to smell like a bee-in-the-bonnet excuse for fielding Andrei and Anders. Unless A&A make this selection pay off, it is going to have people queueing up to leave. Even his dead-ball delivery has become patchy.
Limpar 5 Back to the waste-of-space mediocrity he was under Walker. At least he kept going for 90 mins for a change.
Kanchelskis 7 Not released to attack once, but tried hard in support.
Stuart 6 This game passed him by. He had little else but one glorious chance, which he missed horribly.
Rideout 8 Back to his best. Did everything right but everytime he was about to score someone took the ball off his head.
Amokachi s 6 That's 5/5 marks for heart and 1/5 marks for skill. No wonder we sold Barlow - we've got Amo instead. Amo is a complete misfit for this setup. Worse than his bad misses, he started arguing with the others.
Team Performance: 8 Awful for the first 20, then very good. Team effort was at least a good deal higher than most of the individuals on the day.
Ref: Robbie Hart. Clamped down on any foul challenge on the ground or in the air with whistle, but not cards. Plenty of cards appeared, but after a reasonable degree of acceptibility or warning had been exceeded in a game between two teams of terriers. Proof that "old-style" i.e. discretionary refereeing can still be achieved under modern guidelines.
CarlingNet: A controversial penalty salvaged an FA Carling Premiership point for Everton after John Spencer gave Chelsea the lead at Goodison Park. But the Merseysiders were unable to go on and win the game despite the second half dismissal of the visitor's veteran Welsh international striker Mark Hughes. Chelsea's top-scorer Spencer rifled the visitors ahead with a precise angled shot after 20 minutes, after Everton's Gary Ablett left the ball for the hesitating David Unsworth instead of clearing his lines, allowing the striker to nip in between them.
Only an excellent save by Neville Southall, diving to tip Ruud Gullit's shot wide, prevented the Merseysiders slipping 2-0 behind before the hotly disputed penalty put them back on terms.
Anders Limpar appeared to foul Dan Petrescu outside the Chelsea box before breaking into the area where he was clearly brought down by the Chelsea player.
Petrescu and his colleagues protested bitterly to Darlington referee Robert Hart but all their protests earned them was a yellow card for Petrescu.
Unsworth ignored the clammer around him and strode up confidently to blast the 36th-minute spot-kick home.
Graham Stuart could have put Everton ahead two minutes later, showing delightful skill to beat David Lee only to loft his final shot just wide.
Southall, who had shaken off a bout of flu to play, did well to smother another Gullit shot in first-half injury time.
The game was marred by a flurry of yellow cards, often for relatively petty incidents, but nobody could quarrel with the red card shown to Hughes for stamping on Unsworth after 62 mintues. Nigerian international Daniel Amokachi missed a great chance for Everton within two minutes of coming on as a second half substitute for Andy Hinchclife and Gullit did well to head Stuart's cross clear before Rideout could pounce. Seven minutes from time Chelsea keeper Kevin Hitchcock saved well when he tipped Stewart's shot over from under his bar.
But it would have been cruel on Chelsea, who never gave up the ghost despite their numerical disadvantage and could even have come away with all three points when Spencer fired wide and Terry Phelan had shot charged down by Craig Short.
Richard Marland: Relief at the start, Southall is there despite the illness scare, Short is also there, big relief considering Watson's abscence, and Amo is finally back from Nigeria and is on the bench. We line up with a 3-man defence, Short, Ablett and Unsworth. The 3 dogs are Ebbrell Horne and Hinchcliffe, with Limpar and Kanchelskis out wide and Rideout and Stuart up front. On the bench are Kearton, Grant and Amo.
The first half was fairly even; we struggled for rhythm but still managed to create a number of good chances. Stuart's was the worst miss, clean through on the right-hand side of the box with only the goalie to beat, he appeared to do everything right, he didn't panic, he took it on a few paces, seemed to visibly calm himself, waited for the goalie to commit himself, chipped it over the goalie but past the far post, unbelievable. Rideout also managed to miss with a free header in front of goal, he got the timing all wrong and it went hopelessly wide.
Their goal came from another of those defensive lapses that we seem prone to. Ablett had a dropping ball to deal with, outside the box on the left hand side of the field. He did well to start with, bringing it down on his thigh. Unsworth was in close attendance and we had 2 options, Ablett to put it in Row Z or Unsworth to play a safe ball back to Nev, where we kept possesion. We did neither, they both stood there whilst Spencer nipped in between them, took it into the box and beat Nev with a low drive. I would put this one down to Ablett, although Unsworth was also culpable as his was the better option. As Ablett was the one who controlled it, it was his ball to deal with unless Unsworth called for it, which he clearly didn't. Whatever, it was a terrible goal to concede.
Our equaliser came from a hotly disputed penalty, Limpar caught Petrescu in possesion on the edge of their box, he took it into the area where Petrescu dragged him down. Chelsea were livid, they seemed to be protesting that Limpar had fouled Petrescu first (and having now seen it on the box they may have had a point), Unsworth calmly dispatched the penalty. Someone near me said he was now 5 out 5.
The main talking point of the second half, was the dismissal of Hughes after about 15 minutes for stamping on Unsworth near the left touchline. A stupid action by Hughes as he had just incurred the wrath of the ref with his persistent fouling. We had 30 minutes to manufacture a winner. However, we never really looked like doing so. Despite a number of half chances, notably to Amo who came on for Hinchcliffe, we never really got a clear sight of goal, apart from a late free header for Amo.
On chances, we could have shaded it but, in all honesty, we wouldn't really have deserved it. That's two home draws in a week; in both games we have looked rather flat an uninspired. We will have to be more "up" for it on Wednesday.
Southall 7 Not really much to do, no real chance with the goal
Short 7 Another good, solid performance. Oh how we need a run of games from this man.
Ablett 6 Badly at fault for the goal, shaky all day.
Unsworth 6 Partly to blame for goal, less than convincing.
Hinchcliffe 6 Didn't really get going, seemed a split second slower in thought and deed than everyone else, probably due to unfamiliar midfield berth and lack of first team games.
Ebbrell 8 Another excellent game, always involved and looking for the ball more and more. It's amazing what a good run and a bit of confidence can do. Just shades Bazza for my man of the match.
Horne 8 Captain for the day and gave a captains performance, particularly when they were down to 10 men, it was Bazza who was really driving us on.
Limpar 7 Always involved, although more often than not he was trying the hopelessly ambitous. I'm taking that as a good sign, it must mean that he's feeling confident and good about himself.
Kanchelskis 7 Dangerous as ever without really carving anything definite out.
Rideout 5 I feel for The Devil, he's clearly having a bad time of it at the moment, but still giving it a good go. The crowd's starting to get on at him a bit. Mainly, I think, because he's so slow it looks like he's not really trying. Must be the slowest footballer I have ever seen.
Stuart 7 Ran and ran as usual. Played well, bad miss though.
Amokachi 6 Typical Amo performance of pace, strength and good touches. A few half chances fell his way put he couldn't get the ball on target.
Team 6 Dodgy at the back all day and never really sparkled up front. I'm not at all convinced with the 3 at the back with our current personnel. If Limpar and Kanchelskis were better at tracking back then it might work, but they're crap defensively and it leaves our flanks somewhat vulnerable. Hopefully the imminent return of Parkinson, Watson and Ferguson will give us more solidity at the back and more sparkle up front.
Sunday Times: SIX bookings and a sending off might suggest this was a real fire and brimstone affair but, as hard, competitive games go, this was never that dramatic. Both sides set out with attacking policies although the game was lamentably lacking in meaningful goalmouth action in the early exchanges.
Robert Hart, the referee, had a busy afternoon and had to intervene as early as the 12th minute when Ablett was booked for a foul on Hughes which broke his neck chain. Both sides were fairly evenly matched in the first half, with Everton perhaps slightly the more dangerous. They could have taken an early lead had Rideout not squandered an inviting cross from Horne.
Chelsea were often slick on the break and with Gullit striding forward with menace from midfield they created one or two useful openings. Their lead, however, came out of the blue - perhaps not the best turn of phrase considering they were wearing that sickly tangerine and grey away strip - when Spencer slid in a low shot from the edge of the area after capitalising on a mistake between Ablett and Unsworth.
Everton equalised with a penalty when Petrescu pulled down Limpar just inside the area and Unsworth slammed in the spot kick. Stuart always looked dangerous for Everton and twice came close to giving the home side the lead. On the first occasion, a superb bit of skill left Lee foundering but, with only Hitchcock to beat, Stuart rolled his shot just wide of the post. Then, at the start of the second period, Stuart followed up a superb turn and pass from Rideout only to be foiled by the agility of Hitchcock.
Mr Hart, meanwhile, was in fine form as the second half got off to a scrappy, stoppage-ridden start with Short, Myers and Hughes all getting booked. Tempers started to get a little frayed and a few minutes later Hughes was sent off for treading on Unsworth in front of Mr Hart's eagle eyes.
It was a relief then when, a few minutes later, there was an outbreak of football as Amokachi, who had just come on as substitute, was almost put through by Rideout. Then, Stuart went close with a tremendous long-range shot which Hitchcock tipped over.
Everton dominated much of the second half but were restricted to a collection of long-range efforts on goal which were usually off target. The exception was when Stuart combined neatly with Limpar only to see his close range shot swatted over.
Chelsea had a glimmer of an opening when Phelan and Spencer attacked only to have their effort snuffed out by a defender and leave the scores level at the death. Hoddle, the Chelsea manager, was non-plussed at the performance of the referee in sending off Hughes and awarding Everton's penalty.
"Mark has categorically said that he turned round and the body was there but he did not stamp on the boy," Hoddle said. "He certainly did not do what the referee interpreted that he had done."
The sending off forced Hoddle to substitute Wise, who had been booked in the first half. "To have both players sent off we would probably have lost the game, that's why we had to take him off.
"It's a sad state of affairs when you have to be juggling your team off the back of a threat of having someone sent off. But I'm afraid that this is how this modern game is going since the new rules have come in," Hoddle said referring to the enforcement of a stricter disciplinary code.
Two minutes earlier the Chelsea striker had become one of six players - three from each team - to be booked. But Unsworth sympathised with the fiery Welshman. 'I thought Hughes was unlucky,' he declared. 'I didn't see exactly what happened because I was lying on the ground but I think he was just trying to get over me to get at the ball.'
'I didn't think it was a dirty game. You can't take the physical side out of football.' Chelsea manager Glenn Hoddle added: 'Mark is adamant that although he turned round on the lad, he did not stamp on him and the player had no stud marks.' In fact, the physical side first reared its ugly head in the third minute with a clash between Gary Ablett and Hughes. Four minutes later they tangled again and Ablett was booked.
But there were still enough flashes of football to promise a game worthy of two such famous clubs - especially when John Spencer cashed in on a misunderstanding between Ablett and Unsworth to score with a superb cross shot in the 20th minute. It all went sour again 10 minutes later when Chelsea skipper Dennis Wise was booked for encroaching on a free-kick and launched a running argument with referee Robbie Hart.
Boiling point was reached in the 35th minute. Everton's Swedish winger Anders Limpar clearly manhandled Dan Petrescu off the ball a yard outside the penalty area before coming away with the ball. When the referee did not intervene, the aggrieved Petrescu stupidly hauled Limpar down inside the box.
It was a clear penalty but Chelsea's anger was understandable. Mr Hart consulted a linesman but a penalty it remained and Unsworth hammered in the equaliser. Petrescu, meanwhile, talked himself into the book.
And so it continued. Everton centre back Craig Short was cautioned early in the second half for a crunching tackle on Ruud Gullit, who inexplicably became the target of barrackers every time he touched the ball. This was adding insult to injury for the Dutch genius who, despite taking a painful knock, remained above all the pettiness and continued to inspire Chelsea even after Hughes went off.
Hughes was followed shortly afterwards by the indignant Wise, who was taken off as a precaution by Hoddle who feared another player getting his marching orders for a second bookable offence. Hoddle explained: 'Both these players will now be suspended because of their bookings and we couldn't afford to have two men sent off. It's a sad state when you have make tactical changes on the back of a threat of having a man sent off. This is the way the modern game is going.'
Chelsea's ten came under severe pressure and goalkeeper Kevin Hitchcook, making his first appearance of the season, had to pull off two dazzling saves to prevent Graham Stuart from scoring against his old club.
By Gerry Cox, Electronic Telegraph
CHELSEA ended Everton's run of three successive League victories by hanging on for a draw at Goodison Park despite being reduced to 10 men when Mark Hughes was sent off for violent conduct.
The Welsh striker was dismissed in the 61st minute after referee Robbie Hart decided that he had stamped on Everton defender David Unsworth, an unhappy climax to a bad-tempered running battle.
What made the offence all the more senseless was that it was right in front of Hart, who had booked Hughes only two minutes earlier for persistent misconduct. But Chelsea manager Glenn Hoddle was unhappy about the decision and said: "Mark claimed he didn't stamp on the boy and we will look at the possibility of appealing against it."
Even Unsworth exonerated Hughes, saying: "I thought he was very unlucky. It seemed he was trying to get over me to get to the ball." Whatever the outcome, Hughes is facing another suspension because of his earlier booking.
Hughes was set to join Everton from Manchester United 12 months ago before a knee injury scuppered the deal, and he played as if he had a point to prove from the start. Unsworth's defensive partner Gary Ablett was booked in the early stages after a late tackle on the Chelsea player.
John Spencer's goal for Chelsea in the 20th minute was the result of a defensive mistake as Ablett and Unsworth left each other to deal with a loose ball and allowed Spencer to nip in and fire a shot inside the far post.
But Everton equalised 15 minutes later from a controversial penalty. Dan Petrescu clearly pulled down Everton winger Anders Limpar in the Chelsea penalty area, but the Romanian complained bitterly that he had been fouled by the Swede. Referee Hart took no heed and Unsworth smashed the ball past stand-in goalkeeper Kevin Hitchcock from the spot.
The game turned ugly after half-time, with a rash of bookings preceding Hughes's dismissal, but Everton were unable to capitalise on their numerical advantage.
Joe Royle, the Everton manager, complained that his side did not make the most of their chances, while Hoddle bemoaned the spate of bookings, including one for Dennis Wise that will also mean suspension. Hoddle later substituted Wise, fearing his captain may have been next for a red card, and said: "It's a sad state of affairs when you have to make tactical changes because of the threat of having players sent off."
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PA News: Chelsea boss Glenn Hoddle claimed tonight that striker Mark Hughes was innocent of the stamping incident that saw him sent off at Everton. Hughes was shown the red card in the 62nd minute after tangling with defender David Unsworth. But Hoddle said: "Mark Hughes categorically said he turned round and David Unsworth's body was there but he did not stamp on the lad.
"Mark said he didn't do it and he certainly did not do what the referee interpreted that he did, which was stamp on the player. "It always makes it difficult when you lose a guy especially away from home but we battled through the game from there on and created a couple of chances ourselves with 10 men." Hoddle also claimed that Everton winger Anders Limpar had pulled defender Dan Petrescu before Petrescu fouled the Swede in the box for the penalty that salvaged a point for Everton. He said: "I thought it was a strange decision.
Dan is adamant that he was pulled three or four times before he pulled Limpar." Chelsea skipper Dennis Wise picked up a yellow card that earns him a suspension and Hoddle said he pulled the player off to avoid him receiving a red card from the referee as well. Hoddle said: "If we had had two men off we would have lost the game. It's a sad case of affairs when you have to juggle the pattern of your team to deal with the threat of someone being sent off, but that is the state we have got to with the way the modern game as gone."
Hughes had been booked for persistent misconduct but the referee's report showed that his sending off was for violent conduct -- which would have seen him dismissed without the earlier booking. Five other players found their way into Darlington official Robert Hart's notebook, all for ungentlemanly conduct. Unsworth said he felt Hughes was "unlucky to say the very least" and he added: "I was on the floor but I thought he was trying to get over me to get to the ball. "Some referees are tough and some are good -- it's the luck of the draw. It wasn't a dirty game. If you take the physical side out of the match you ruin it."
Everton boss Joe Royle said: "It was a bit frustrating. You always expect to win against 10 men but we have seen from personal experience that it isn't always that easy." He said that two Everton defenders had played "after you Claud" to let John Spencer in for Chelsea's goal and added: "Then we ended up chasing the game but we still feel we should have won anyway." Of Nigerian international Daniel Amokachi, who missed a couple of chances to clinch the game for Everton Royle said: "Daniel came on a little bit cold and hasn't played for a while so we've got to give him a bit of the benefit of the doubt. "But there were a couple of chances we would have hoped he might have put away."
Andy Cheyne: You'll know by now what happened - all the press reports say it was an even-handed game, so you can be sure it was a totally one-sided affair.
Overall the performance was heartening inasmuch as every Everton player (with the possible exception of Hinchy) looked really committed to the cause and battled hard for the win. At the same time, the game was disappointing from an Everton point of view because despite having 75% of the possession, we couldn't score from open play.
The start was very bright, with Limpar and Kanchelskis making good progress down the wings, but within about ten minutes the players in the middle of the park seemed to run out of positional ideas - nobody was moving into imaginative positions, indeed they were rarely getting away from markers, and so the final passes from the wing men were frequently resulting in no better than 50-50 balls for the intended receivers.
Late in the match, Stuart's up-and-at-em attitude led him to chase the ball more and more: because the ball wasn't coming over from the left, Stuart was going over to that side of the field all the time - which meant that in effect we were playing with three left wingers (Limpar, Stuart, and Rhino, who was freed from defensive duties with Hughes' sending-off).
Rideout wasn't able to emerge from the pack of Chelsea defenders and so wasn't an effective target for crosses. I'd speculate that in the particular circumstances of this match Ferguson would have made all the difference - there would have been a target, and Stuart would have been able to stay in a central position to feed off them.
Their goal - well, I've heard that this sort of thing has been going on all season (Stockport, Millwall...) and now I've seen it for myself. We were consistently pressing forward and we got caught cold at the back. Poor control from Ablett, and slow recovery by Rhino let Spencer in, and allowed him one of the few on-target shots of the day.
Our goal - the tussle outside the box looked 50-50 to me although admittedly Limpar was challenging Petrescu from behind. But Petrescu's hauling-down of Limpar was as blatant as you'll see. The arguments between the orange-and-greys and the ref and lineman went of for two or three minutes, but Rhino kept his concentration very well and hit a hard shot to the centre of the goal.
The second half was end-to-the-same-end stuff. The rare possession that Chelsea had was devoted pretty much to Gullitt pointlessly dribbling back and forth along the half-way line. Amo came on for Hinchy, which turned up the pressure still further. And Hughes got himself sent off - it looked inevitable, because even before he got booked he'd p*ssed of a tetchy referee: at a throw-in there was a bit of niggling between Hughes and Rhino, and the referee called them for a chat, but Hughes just turned his back on the official. No question in my mind about the intention behind the stamping, either.
Southall 7 - Didn't have much to do. Little blame attaches to him for their goal. One thing I've noticed - Nev seems to have really worked on his clearances and goal kicks: he's getting 10-20 yards more than he used to.
|Short 7 - Along with Unsworth, kept Hughes completely out of the game.
|Ablett 6 - Looked uncertain. Better in the second half, when he was often our sole defender when we were pressing forward (which, I guess, gave him fewer options to worry about).
|Unsworth 7 - Of course, there's his part in Spencer's goal. But against that he made several threatenimg, if unsophisticated, runs up the left.
|Hinchcliffe 6 - Didn't get into the game. And he didn't do anything with the (not many) corners we had. BTW, his shorts get more and more voluminous each time I see him.
|Ebbrell 7 - Adjectives that you wouldn't have dreamed of applying to Johnny Ebbrell a year ago: solid and reliable.
|Horne 7 - The embodiment of Everton's commitment. Not infallible in some of his challenges, though, and as captain I'd have liked him to get the team to work for each other more by encouraging running off the ball and so on.
|Limpar 8 - Seems to be getting increasingly physical, which is an advantage alongside his ball skills but might have its downside in conjunction with his temperament. Our most creative player on the day, but rarely had the opportunity to deliver the ball infield.
|Kanchelskis 7 - Had more of the ball in the first half, disappeared a bit in the second.
|Stuart 8 - Really fired-up, but his passion was dissipated by the fact that he felt he had to chase the ball all over the park, rather than let the ball come to him.
|Rideout 6 - The last thing you want from a centre forward is anonymity. Rideout got visibly frustrated with himself and was lucky that nothing came of a protracted argument with the ref.
|Sub: Amokachi 7 - Nobody has more commitment to the cause than Dan - it's just a pity he wears Stewey Barlow's boots when it comes to finishing. We had more fire when he came on and looked more like scoring, because Amo bustled into good positions. Unfortunately, he has absolutely no finesse or precision in the striker's role.
|Ref: Robert Hart - Awful. No consistency at all. And really annoyingly pernickety about free kicks - there was one where Chelsea tried to gain an advantage by taking it before the whistle; Anders got the ball but was whistled back because he hadn't been ten yards away.