FA Carling Premier League, Saturday 16 December 1995
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Newcastle United (1) 1 Everton (0) 0
Newcastle United: Srnicek, Barton, Beresford, Peacock, Howey, Lee, Ferdinand, Clark, Ginola, Gillespie (Albert 39), Beardsley. Subs Not Used: Watson, Huckerby. Sent Off: Beresford (33).
Everton: Southall, Unsworth, Watson, Stuart, Limpar, Amokachi, Ebbrell, Jackson (Ferguson 56), Kanchelskis, Parkinson (Horne 45), Short. Subs Not Used: Kearton. Booked: Parkinson, Horne.
Ref: P Durkin (Portland,Dorset).
By Colin Malam, Electronic Telegraph
NEWCASTLE increased their lead at the top of the Premiership to seven points yesterday with the equivalent of one hand tied behind their backs. That is to say, they beat Everton, buoyant after six matches without defeat, with 10 men.
Weakened for nearly an hour by the sending-off of left back John Beresford late in the first half, Newcastle managed to hang on to the lead given them early in the game by the endlessly prolific Les Ferdinand.
For that, they were greatly indebted to Pavel Srnicek, who stood in for the injured Shaka Hislop in a manner that suggested he did not intend to remain second-choice goalkeeper for the rest of the season.
But for a string of saves by Srnicek, Everton would surely have recorded their first victory at St James' Park since 1986 when the Merseysiders were last at their peak.
"You could see what the other players thought of his performance when they all went over to him at the end," said Kevin Keegan, the Newcastle manager, of Srnicek. "It was very difficult to come into a match like that, but he was absolutely superb."
Yet, as Keegan pointed out, this was not really a rearguard action. "With the players I've got, we decided to go on attacking. I think we did it right for the players we've got. The thing that's coming through is character. You've got to have that to win anything."
Although Keegan took off one of his wingers, Keith Gillespie, and sent on the versatile Philippe Albert to compensate for the loss of Bereseford from his defence, Newcastle's continued commitment to attack was such that they might have scored more goals themselves.
"I thought we played better against 11 men than 10 men," said Everton manager Joe Royle afterwards. "The more we pressed, the more they were dangerous on the break. They have lots of quality, lots of ability on the break."
Newcastle were actually forcing the pace, though, when they scored after 17 minutes. One of Peter Beardsley's many perceptive, finely-judged passes made the opening for Ferdinand, but it was still only a half chance as he closed on goal down the inside left channel. Although under pressure from Craig Short, the England striker managed to pull the ball back across goal, and Neville Southall, with his left foot for it to nestle just inside the far post to give the idol of Tyneside his 21st goal of the season.
Everton's response was impressively skilful, Anders Limpar, Andrei Kanchelskis and Graham Stuart opening up the Newcastle defence with an intricate passing movement that released Daniel Amokachi for a close-range shot at goal. Needless to say, it was blocked by Srnicek.
Throughout the first half, the Newcastle defence was sorely troubled by the exceptional speed of Kanchelskis. The flying Russian winger had provided Stuart with two early chances, and he was haring for goal himself in pursuit of an Amokachi through pass when Beresford, beaten for pace, fouled him after 34 minutes.
Keegan had no complaints whatsoever about the justice of the referee's decision, yet the Newcastle fans booed Kanchelskis thereafter everytime he touched the ball. How they could possibly have held him responsible for the sending off defies understanding.
Their reaction was more amusing when Everton decided to give Duncan Ferguson a second successive appearance as a substitute after his early release from Barlinnie Prison - boos and whistles followed by several cheeky choruses of "You're supposed to be in jail."
The controversial Scottish striker answered the taunts by exploiting the known vulnerability of the Newcastle defence in the air. One downward header enabled Short to stab the ball at goal from a few yards out, and only Srnicek's legs prevented an equaliser. Next, it was the Czech's fingertips in the way as he leapt to deflect Limpar's rising drive over the bar. But his piece de resistance was the sharp change of direction he made to palm away another of the Swede's fierce shots, which had taken a marked deflection off a defender.
Yet, as Royle admitted, Everton were always at risk from Newcastle's ability to turn defence quickly into attack. The industrious Robert Lee, for instance, shot wide after running bravely and dangerously at the Everton defence. Then, five minutes from the end David Ginola struck the far post with a shot and Ferdinand was only just prevented from putting away the rebound.
So, on balance, Everton could have few complaints about a Newcastle victory much needed after a draw and a defeat away from home. It certainly sends Manchester United to Anfield this afternoon under more pressure than ever.
Electronic Telegraph is a Registered Service Mark of The Telegraph plc
CarlingNet: Les Ferdinand put the wheels back on 10-man Newcastle's FA Carling Premiership charabanc but Pavel Srnicek was the hero of St James' Park.
The Czech shot-stopper, out in the cold since the summer arrival of Shaka Hislop, was handed his first start of the season because of the injury the Trinidadian sustained at Chelsea last week.
And Srnicek, whose first act at Stamford Bridge had been to pick Dan Petrescu's winner out of his net, turned in an inspirational display for a Newcastle side down to 10 after the first-half dismissal of John Beresford for a professional foul on Andrei Kanchelskis.
Srnicek produced a stunning collection of stops - most notably from Daniel Amokachi and Anders Limpar - to help the Magpies go seven points clear with their ninth straight home win.
After picking up just one point from their last two games it was just what Newcastle needed, but it was tough on Joe Royle's men, who deserved at least a point from a full-blooded and thrilling game.
Royle resisted the temptation to start Duncan Ferguson, relying on the team that had taken their unbeaten run to six games against West Ham, and the pace of Kanchelskis and Daniel Amokachi caused problems from early on.
Indeed, with Kanchelskis giving an early hint that it was not to be Beresford's day as he blasted past him, Everton should have gone in front in the 10th minute, Graham Stuart missing woefully after the Ukrainian picked him out.
Newcastle, of course, have pace on the flanks as well, and both David Ginola and Keith Gillespie looked dangerous, but it was the direct power and thrust of Ferdinand that brought the 18th minute breakthrough.
There seemed little on when Peter Beardsley picked up just inside Everton territory, but the vision of the England man spotted the run of his club and international colleague into the danger zone.
There was plenty still to do, yet Ferdinand achieved it memorably, holding off Craig Short before rolling left-footed across Neville Southall and in off the upright.
It was Ferdinand's 21st of the season and Newcastle's 50th in all competitions, but Everton's resolve was undiminished.
A superb one-touch move on the edge of the Newcastle box ended with Stuart freeing Amokachi in acres of space, Pavel Srnicek making the first of his series of splendid saves, before the odds appeared to have tilted towards the Goodison men.
Amokachi was at the heart of things, but Kanchelskis' sheer speed through the middle turned the Nigerian's pass into real danger, and when Beresford hauled him down from behind 30 yards out, with only Srnicek in the way, referee Paul Durkin had no option.
It took six minutes for Keegan to decide what to do, eventually Gillespie being sacrificed with Philippe Albert coming on at left-back, Ginola going alongside Ferdinand and Beardsley withdrawing into midfield.
Everton themselves made a change at the interval, Barry Horne replacing Joe Parkinson, and after first Amokachi and then Ginola had gone close, Royle turned to Ferguson, Matt Jackson making way.
The giant Scot's aerial menace soon became clear, Ferguson heading wide from Anders Limpar, then at Srnicek from Stuart, before nodding down for Amokachi to turn towards goal, Srnicek saving with his legs.
Newcastle were still looking to go forward, but Everton, now operating with just three at the back, looked the more likely, although Srnicek was dealing commendably with a series of crosses.
Southall saved from Ginola and Srnicek - acrobatically - from Limpar and Ferguson as a thrill-a-minute game continued.
Rob Lee went close after a great run before Srnicek surpassed himself, changing direction to somehow claw aside a Limpar shot which took a massive deflection off a defender.
Everton were still not done, Ferguson firing inches wide, before Ginola, found by Ferdinand, curled the ball against Southall's post. The points though, were black and white-bound.
Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan hailed the outstanding display of goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek after the 1-0 win over Everton that took his side seven points clear of the Premiership pack. The Czech came in for his first start of the season in place of the injured Shaka Hislop and gave a stunning display as the Magpies' 10 men held on to the early lead given them by Les Ferdinand's 21st goal of the season.
"Pavel did tremendously well especially when you realise he came in under such severe pressure," said Keegan. "It isn't easy to play as well as that in those circumstances but Pavel was superb and showed why he is a cult hero up here."
A first-half stop from Daniel Amokachi wasof the highest order but the Czech then excelled himself when Anders Limpar's late effort deflected off Steve Howey. "How he kept it out I just don't know," confessed Keegan. "Maybe the crowd helped by blowing really hard but it was still a great save. I don't think anybody else in the country could have done it."
"I have no complaints, none at all," said Keegan. "The rule says that John had to go and although Arthur Cox thought he might escape with just a booking we had no arguments with the referee. "What it meant was that everybody had to work tremendously hard and they did exactly that, turning 60-40 balls into 50-50s. Every one of them showed they were prepared to battle. They had to stand up and be counted because there was no room on the bus for passengers today but everybody did all I could ask of them."
Everton's first defeat in seven games brought evident displeasure to boss Joe Royle. "I'm very disappointed because I thought we played better against 11 men than we did against ten," said Royle.
"I thought in the first half we were unfortunate to be behind because we created the clearerchances but hadn't capitalised. "But I thought our crossing and passing around the box was poor in the second half and when we did get through to their keeper he did very well for them."
Ian Mather: On the one hand, this was a frustrating result as we failed to convert any of six good chances. On the other, the is real grounds for confidence in the long term position of the Blues. Against the best team in England, we competed favourably without the ounce of luck which might have earned a deserved point.
Newcastle's ground is now one of the best in the UK but ironically the atmosphere has been lost in the rows and rows of seats that seem to go on for ever behind each goal. Knowing we were on a bit of a run may have had something to do with the sold-out Everton section and impressive vocal support.
The game itself centred on whose wide players would get the upper hand. Gillespie gave Unsworth a torrid first half hour, although in Unsy's defence, Limpar tended to give the ball away leaving him on 2:1 situations. A clear chance to Stuart from a Kanchelskis cross should have put us ahead and before too long (17 mins) Ferdinand showed what value he is to the Toon. Running onto a Beardsley chip, he was being marshalled away from the goal by Short when he hit a clinical shot across Nev and in off the post. It was great finishing.
Despite this, Everton put together the best passing move of the season as about 10 passes and one-two's put Amo in to supply the now expected poor finish; He didn't disappoint.
Kanchelskis ran onto an Amo pass to get caught by Beresford who took his legs and suitably found himself in Mr Durkin's Red card collection.
The second half basically was Everton pressure and Newcastle hitting on the break; two good headers by Ferguson, a long run by Andrei, a Limpar shot and deflection well saved by their keeper. All-in-all, this was probably Newcastle's most difficult game at home. I thought the all-round effort was good: Craig Short is looking more and more confident and, although I could (should) slag Stuart and Amo for missing chances, their understanding and link play was good. Ferguson looked rusty too me and needs time. Unsy had a poor second half but was still the first and last to salute the away support. Even with his confidence low, just now, he doesn't shirk in the game.
Where ever you are reading this, don't get too down. We have come a long way since losing 2-0 here last year and, as Joe says, "we are closer in shape to Newcastle then the teams at the bottom."
Neville 8 Solid, good throws, no chance on the goal
Jackson 7 I thought it ended 50/50 v Ginola, went off in 2nd half
Unsy 5 Poor 2nd half, distribution poor, low on confidence
Watson 7 Sound
Short 8 Really good game, I coudn't blame him for the goal.
Limpar 7 A mixed day! Lost possession a lot but always a threat
Ebbrell 7 Closed down Lee and never stopped during the game
Parky 6 Substituted
Andrei 8 Class with the ball, pace told against Beresford.
Ammo 7 I'm not a fan, he missed a couple but his effort was
there for all to see.
Stuart 7 Probably playing as well for Everton as he ever has, missed a great chance early on but went onto play well
Fergy 6 Two good headers, one half chance which got scrambled away - looks rusty.
Horne 7 Good to see him playing, he picked up the pace well and could get in ahead of Parky v Coventry.
Man of the Match: Pavel Srnicek.
SoccerNet: The scene was set perfectly for Duncan Ferguson to add further lustre to his cult-hero status with Everton. The much-idolised if continually controversial striker emerged from the substitutes' bench after 56 minutes of a pulsating contest with just one mission in mind.
His responsibility was to provide the required strike to extend Everton's unbeaten six-match sequence which at the same time would shatter Newcastle's impregnability at St James' Park.
Newcastle had been clinging magnificently on to a single-goal advantage ever since John Beresford was justifiably dismissed by referee Paul Durkin for bringing down the threatening Andrei Kanchelskis when he was set to proceed unopposed towards the Newcastle goal.
But although Ferguson was able to exert considerable influence through his undoubted power in the air, the forlorn Scotsman discovered that the resolute Newcastle defence was every bit as confining as the jail in which he spent 44 days.
Newcastle demonstrated the polish and professionalism of the potential champions they most surely are. Reserve goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek was faultless in his handling of the crosses which rained in from Everton towards the head of Ferguson.
Ferguson did manage a couple of headers on target, but both were gathered with ease by the goalkeeper and when a half chance fell to Ferguson's trusty left foot the instant shot was well wide of the target.
Yet such is the undoubted class of this Newcastle team that there was never a moment when they were prepared to be lured towards a siege mentality. They had produced some magnificent one-touch football in the opening period during which they would claim what proved to be a decisive lead.
Peter Beardsley and David Ginola were a delight to behold, and it was the former Everton player who produced the glorious pass from which Les Ferdinand deposited Newcastle's 50th goal of the season so far in all competitions. Ferdinand, bristling with power and purpose, held off the challenge from Craig Short before slipping the ball wide of goalkeeper Neville Southall and inside the far post.
Everton's best opportunity of an equaliser came 10 minutes later when Daniel Amokachi was put in the clear by some delightfully inventive play, but Srnicek was out in an instant to smother the shot.
After Beresford had disappeared Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan adjusted his defensive strategy by introducing Philip Albert at the expense of the unfortunate Keith Gillespie, and although Everton never ceased to strive to exploit their numerical advantage, Newcastle rarely looked as though they might falter.
In fact they might even have triumphed by a greater margin in the final minutes with Ginola thumping a post and Short denying Ferdinand his 22nd goal of the season with a brilliant tackle from the rebound.
Newcastle's 100 per cent record in nine matches at St James' Park continues to provide a secure platform for their relentless push towards a championship success.
And not even the renowned talent of Ferguson was able to discourage the Geordies from establishing a seven-point lead at the peak of the Premiership over Manchester United.
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