FA Carling Premier League, Sunday 1 October 1995
Previous Match: Everton v Reykjavik Next Match: Everton v Millwall
Everton (0) 1 Newcastle (1) 3
Limpar 81; Ferdinand 11, Kitson 65, Lee 59 pen.
Everton: Southall, Barrett, Hinchcliffe, Unsworth, Watson, Stuart, Rideout, Horne, Ebbrell, Parkinson (Limpar 45), Grant. Subs Not Used: Kearton, Short. Booked: Ebbrell.
Newcastle: Hislop, Barton, Beresford, Peacock, Howey, Lee, Ferdinand, Clark, Sellars, Ginola (Kitson 64), Gillespie (Watson 77). Subs Not Used: Srnicek.
Ref: K Cooper (Pontypridd).
Dave Shepard: Top of the premier outfit Newcastle took Everton's reserves to the cleaners, and celebrated in a fashion roughly as appropriate as doing a lap of honour of the pub after winning a leg of darts against a man with his throwing arm in plaster.
Unfortunately the players had no hint of the Toon Army's fear of the 'Everton Jinx' ... instead they decided to exact street justice for the 'dirty Everton' myth they themselves have been the propagators of (thanks due also to David Elleray - a ref making headlines for the wrong reasons again yesterday) ... they took it upon themselves to kick anything in a blue shirt that moved - to howls of bloodthirsty delight from the black and white beauts packing the south Bullens & Paddock, and no response from the liberal Keith Cooper.
As if starting without the 3 most dangerous players was bad enough, Royle left the 4th, Limpar, on the bench for the first half. The opening minutes saw the posession mostly go to the visitors without any particular threat. Then Everton mounted the kind of assault they subjected Reykjavik to only 66 hours earlier. First Tony Grant caught Hislop dead in terrible position with a chip, but will be disappointed to have missed a huge target and instead hit the top of the bar.
Almost at once the second chance fell to Rideout, who's on target swerving strike could only be parried by Hislop for a corner. From the corner, Dave Watson was unmarked in the middle about 8 yards out and met the ball perfectly but the cross was an inch too high so Dave put it over. Again Hislop was nowhere, and looked distinctly like a dodgy investment.
Had any of these chances gone in and heartened the makeshift attack, the momentum, the jinx and the Everton crowd and confidence would surely have been enough to keep scoring and win. Instead, the next attack was a gift to Ferdinand from Dave Waston, who committed himself to a desperate tackle and left the whole last third of the field free with only distant Unsworth and Southall to beat. Les finished it off like his favourite tea, and was more glad to do so since he later fluffed several other clear chances.
These few chances made up the whole of the remaining 30 mins of a dull first half, brightened only by the efforts of Tony Grant. At half time JR abandoned the 3-dog midfield and replaced Parki with Limpar. (Is Anders not fit? If not why play him - if so why bench him?). Having made this tactical switch, Everton started slightly better in the second half, but took advantage of their left wing sub by playing exclusively down the right for the first 10 minutes during which I'm sure Limpar never touched the ball.
Then another body blow - the ineffective and anoymous Granola got clear to run for the area, but was slow and had Watson and Barrett literally breathing dow n his neck, then Unsworth steams in from across and behind to take the ball away ... but Granola grabs the opportunity to go down like a sack of garlic buds and the referee buys it. This was not a penalty. It had a case for being obstruction, but that is an indirect free kick, NOT a penalty.
The much vaunted but unimpressive Lee easily beat Southall, who has not saved a penalty for so long that questions must soon be asked in the house.
Everton had no response to this at all, and kept working on their methodical predictable buildups like the tortoise in the 10,000 metres. Compare then with Newcastle's next attack that produced a goal even softer than Rideout's on Thursday.. Hinch was finally caught away from his man, and the cross found it's way in despite being in territory normally 'safe' - arriving too near the post.
With a good 25 minutes left, the hacks started writing up the 'could have been more' garbage, but in fact the Toons also lost interest and reverted to looking like a very ordinary outfit for the remainder. Limpar had still done absolutely nothing of note when he found himself clear with the flag down ... he didn't manage to beat Hislop, but Hislop could only parry and Anders slammed the ball into the Park End goal from a narrow angle with satisfying venom.
Eight minutes left. A comeback was still possible, and realistic based on the performance of the leaders' defence, but Everton were too leisurely, and could not sustain enough to make panic set in.
Given the Newcastle performance, I cannot see them being champions. Perhaps it was not their best day..? - According to Mr Keegan that was about their best of the season! They certainly did not have the mastery of Blackburn 94-5, Man Utd 92-3, or any other champions that come to mind.
It must be noted that Mr Beardsley appeared on the pitch only to do the half-time heads we win tails you lose draw (to general warm applause from Evertonians), but that just made one wonder more about the match this fixture COULD have been if all the big names had been playing.
Having seen 'the best' of the leaders, I can only conclude that Dunc & AK and Amo vs Les and Beardsley might easily have produced the match of the season, but furthermore that Everton would be strolling away with the title due to lack of serious competition.
Meanwhile on reality street Joe needs to think up some new ideas to weather this storm of bad fortune, before the leaks get too serious. The winning is over until further notice. Now it's time for some real management.
Southall 6 Disappointingly ineffective.
Barrett 7 Great work up the wings, but leaving the likes of Ferdinand holes is suicidal. Surely this is not a unobvious concept?
Watson 6 His weakness against the direct run horribly exposed.
Unsworth 6 We desperately needed some of his class today and saw none. Hinchcliffe 8 Snuffed out more right wing crosses than I've ever seen one defender manage in a single game ... and they say BARRETT is the best man-on-man???? Everton's only threat.
Horne 7 The best we've seen of Barry for a while.
Ebbrell 7 Almost a good performance, but with Barrett, Horne and Parki on the field I'd prefer he hung back rather than wasting his time going forward.
Parkinson(w)6 Disappointing in a game he needed to dominate. Injury?
Limpar (s) 5 A goal and **** all else. I can't call it a bad performnace because he didn't touch the ball enough to get a rating! On form he could so easily have buried Toon single handed.
Grant 7 A great first half but again faded badly in the second.
Stuart 6 Almost completely ineffective. Headless chicken.
Rideout 7 Again one of the only players doing a good immitation of a decent day's work, both in his role and in support.
Team Performance: 6 There seemed very little interest in this game. Let's hope they're just tired in comparison to the Euro-free Newcastle.
Ref: K Cooper Chose to ignore butcherous tackles; gave a penalty for obstruction. A classical ref's attitude, but I'd rather sacrifice that for some geniune decision-making.
Dave Shepherd (D.W.Shepherd@bradford.ac.uk)
By William Johnson, Electronic Telegraph
THE failure of Newcastle United to claim what would have been a well-earned place in any of this season's European competitions can be attributed to Everton's spirited finish to the last campaign under Joe Royle.
FA Cup glory for the Merseysiders last May, which consigned Manchester United to the UEFA Cup, sealed the fate of Kevin Keegan's team but two Goodison defeats in the space of a month last spring were also significant dates in the disintegration of what had promised to be an outstanding year for Newcastle.
Revenge, therefore, was most sweet yesterday and it was exacted in the most ruthless of manners. Inspired by a magnificent exhibition of the old-fashioned art of centre-forward play by Les Ferdinand, Newcastle confirmed their right to go into October at the head of the Premiership and were unfortunate not to have done so with a goal avalanche.
Ferdinand, who set them on their way with another gem of a strike, his 10th of the season and the 100th of his senior career in England, will feel he should have added at least one more to the 13th-minute angled drive he rifled past Neville Southall.
The £6 million striker who must surely be in Terry Venables' thoughts for today's England squad announcement, will be wondering how he failed to extend that early advantage when working a defence-splitting one-two with the equally impressive David Ginola and rounding Southall before inexplicably tripping over the ball in the act of shooting.
One felt that miss would not matter such was the superiority of Newcastle's all-round game and so it proved, although Everton were justifiably aggrieved at the manner in which the second goal was conceded. Ginola, seizing on Watson's weak headed clearance, appeared to have only a penalty in mind as he tumbled between the clumsy challenges of David Unsworth and Earl Barrett.
Referee Keith Cooper obliged the mesmeric Frenchman, who then departed to rest his strained thigh, safe in the knowledge that the ensuing spot kick by outstanding deputy captain Robert Lee had secured a seventh victory from eight engagements. It was indicative of the way things were going for Newcastle when Ginola's replacement, Paul Kitson, scored with what was generally regarded as his second touch of the ball, a close-range finish off head and chest from Warren Barton's cross.
Everton at that 66th- minute stage had been restricted to a flurry of threats inside one first-half minute when the promising Tony Grant chipped against the crossbar, Paul Rideout brought Shaka Hislop's only serious save and Watson headed over when ummarked eight yards out.
A sympathetic linesman decided Everton deserved a consolation goal which substitute Anders Limpar provided nine minutes from the end. It was not a question of whether Limpar was offside, it was by how much.