FA Carling Premier League, Sunday 17 September 1995
Previous Match: KR Reykjavik v Everton Next Match: Millwall v Everton
Nottm Forest (2) 3 Everton (0) 2
Lee 20, Watson 17 og, Woan 64; Rideout 62, 80.
Nottingham Forest: Crossley, Lyttle, Cooper, Chettle, Phillips, Bohinen, Stone, Lee, Woan, Bart-Williams, Roy (Gemmill 80). Subs Not Used: Haaland, Howe.
Everton: Southall, Barrett, Hinchcliffe, Watson, Ablett (Grant 46), Rideout, Horne, Limpar (Barlow 71), Amokachi, Parkinson, Short. Subs Not Used: Kearton. Booked: Hinchcliffe.
Ref: M J Bodenham (Looe).
Daily Mail: Merseyside-born Ian Woan scored a 64th-minute winner to end Forest's run of draws and inflict a third defeat on Everton. Woan beat Neville Southall with a sweet left-foot shot from 25 yards to counter the threat of an Everton revival two minutes after Paul Rideout had brought them back into the game with a header to make it 2-1.
A Dave Watson own-goal after 17 minutes, swiftly followed by a Jason Lee strike had eased Forest eased into a 2-0 lead. Everton squandered a succession of chances before and after the break, but Rideout hit a second on 80 minutes, at least making the home team sweat a little.
Dave Shepherd: On a sunny showery Sunday was heading for a strange day before the start. My seventeen pound seat in the stand (W-G60) did not exist as the row jumped from 58 to 61 across an aisle. Also the announcer was either football-ignorant or an amateur comedian as he mispronounced many of the Everton lineup. The ref according to the program was Ashby. The papers say it was Bodenham.
Nottingham started like an arrow from Robin Hood's bow - very fast and very direct. Almost immediately Everton looked swamped at the back, and liable to concede a goal. Despite Craig Short slipping over twice and panic stations cover, it is a minor miracle that the only disturbance of Nev's 500th net in the first 15 minutes was one off the post after an alarming run from Stone.
Constant pressure always produces goals, and it finally came when a heartbreaking Nev save ran along the byeline, and the low centre (different reports claim Lyttle and Stone) deflected in over the line off Watson just too far before it was cleared.
Forest did not let the pressure off until after the second goal only minutes later. Stone again was the difference between just enthusiasm and real danger, and when crowd favourite Jason Lee connected Neville got a hand to it but could not stop it.
Twenty minutes gone. Two down and Forest cruising, the most likely scoreline looked to be 5 or 6 nil. 'Sort em out at the back Nev', shouted a fan behind the goal. Southall without turning shrugged and held his arms out to say 'what can you do with this?' Forest's manager described it as the best period of play all season. Everton's manager called his defensive display 'dopey'. IMHO the attack was more dangerous than the defence was careless.
But then the home team reverted to being ordinary. Either they were sitting on their lead, or they had shot their bolt, because Everton were suddenly in an even contest. The all-blue blues had their first shot on goal shortly afterwards, from Amo, and spread wide to the wings where Limpar got the respect of multiple markers and the area packed with heads for Hinchcliffe's attempts to find Rideout.
The best chance actually fell to Hinch - running in clear at an angle the travelling fans could hardly believe his left foot failed to bury the chance. Confidence was growing, and a penalty box melee of the type seen at the other end finished with Rideout having an on target overhead kick saved by Crossley.
Second half: Despite the improvement two down away needs a postive response, and Joe's was to drop Hinch back to Left back, switch Anders left and put on Tony Grant. This caused a slight improvement, but the game was bumbling along evenly and Everton only created danger from set pieces. Limpar wasted a free kick at the range both he and Hinch score from. Corners started to be conceded, and from one of these, Amo at the far post nodded a simple header to Rideout at the near post (??!) who scored with an easy header.
The goal was a real boost, and spurred a rather weak attempt to go back into fast mode by Forest. The first attack was dealt with, and the second was dying on the horns of the defence when a long-lange hit & hope from Woan flew into the Trent End goal.
Once again Forest had no more to offer except a rich variety of hopeless long shots (mostly from Lee) and were content to let these counter attacks keep the pressure off the defence. Although Limpar faded and had to be subbed off for Barlow (in an unusual left side position), the right side was getting interesting from the artistry of Tony Grant. Forest being polite chaps did not barge him off the ball like most teams, and so found him a nasty surprise.
This demonstrated its danger fully when comfortably marked on the wing, Grant dropped a shoulder, took off the other way leaving the man for dead, and dropped a perfect cross to the far post for Rideout to head in the simplest goal you could see.
A good twelve minutes remained thanks to a rare injury, and Everton moved into a new vein of confidence and pressured Crossley's goal so hard that desperate clearances, time-wasting and frantic whistles from the crowd were the order of the last minutes - quite a delightful sight for the blues who looked only an hour ago to be on to a 6-0 hiding.
All it needed was a flash of Amo magic or a bit of Forest-style luck on the deflections ... but the best moment was actually a Barlow header which made the press box gasp, but in fact was only going to clip the top of the bar at best - Crossley conceded the corner unneccessarily.
Another game, another loss to a nothing-special team who had had a double shot of unnatural self-confidence before kick-off. Unfortunately both televised ... Joe had better come up with some answers before every team copybooks this Everton-busting tactic.
The papers swooned with praise, and reeled off lists of Forest's 19 game unbeaten run and injury list (with not a word on the lines of 'Ferguson' or 'Kanchelskis' missing for EFC), but if they want to look at the table and underestimate Everton, let the fools go ahead - again. Unfortunately our next home league opponents (Newcastle) are not going to be interested in anything except revenge for double humiliation last season.
Southall 7 His only notable save became a goal anyway.
Barrett 7 Good effort forward and back but nothing special resulting.
Ablett (Subbed) 7 Subbed off at half time for tactical purposes. One superb goalsaving flying header under pressure.
Short 5 Looked marginally worse than a typical central league defender. Neil Moore must wonder how he's been bumped to 3rd choice by someone this poor.
Watson 7 Vulnerability to being run at exposed horribly.
Horne 6 Was heading for another completely ineffective game, but came through with some good work in the last quarter.
Parkinson 7 Was the only Everton player having a good game in the first half. Less contribution later.
Hinchcliffe 7 A fairly good game, but Everton badly needed a good one from him whilst Forest fretted about Limpar.
Limpar (Subbed) 7 Attracted double marking and got shut down. Picked up a knock, slowed to complete uselessness and was rightly subbed.
Grant (Sub) 8 Tony's skill created several chances and the second goal.
Barlow (Sub) - Only touched the ball once!
Rideout 8 Bad situation, terrible service, tight defending, but I had a premonition at 0-2 PR was going to score. I was wrong, he scored twice. Good knockdowns for others too.
Amokachi 6 A very quiet game for once, but nice header to PR for goal, and some good interplay.
Team Performance: 9 Tempting to split the mark into before and after 20 mins, but under great pressure 2 down on an unlucky ground, with no individuals playing really well this performance was very gutsy.
Ref: M Bodenham -- As close to a 100% acceptable even and consistent
performance as I ever expect to see from a ref.
Guy McEvoy: We were all caught by surprise when it was announced that Short was coming on in place of Unsworth, however, Unsworth is the sort of player who needs a spell on the bench every now and then to stop him getting sloppy, so I wasn't that bothered (funny how you're words come back to haunt you isn't it!). Other than that the squad was as expected with Barrett back, and Tony Grant on the bench.
The first quarter of an hour was a defensive nightmare that only improved marginally as the game progressed. Forest played with a purpose that was lacking by the blues and the difference told. They were quickly putting shots on target, one of which Nev saved well but somehow the ball found its way back into the box, Dave Watson was running back and it seemed to bounce off him and cross the line before the desperate Limpar could clear.
Bad was soon worse when three minutes later Roy and Stone again showed up our defence, Stone's shot finding it's way to the man with the haircut to tap in. We had simply handed them a 2-0 head start.
We had no answers. It wasn't happening up front, Limpar and Amokachi just weren't getting the run of the ball and without the magic flashes we looked (being charitable) a very ordinary team.
We simply had to try something new in the second half, and sure enough Joe tried a reorganisation. Ablett was off, Hinchcliffe was shifted to left-back and Grant took his spot in midfield. The change did have some positive effect and at last the chances did start to come our way, Grant was unlucky not to score early on when a clever lob dipped down perfectly only to meet the post. However, we only ever really improved to the point where we were playing on even terms; I don't think we ever looked the better team.
Our break came (unoriginally, but who cares) from a Hinchcliffe corner. Text book stuff, hit deep to the back corner, Amo nodded it across the face of the goal and there was the previously anonymous Rideout to add the goalbound touch. Suddenly it looked like it was back on, the blues behind the goal moved up a gear in their chanting, memories of QPR last season came flooding back. There were still points up for grabs.
Football can be at its cruellest though when your hopes are at their highest: no sooner did we sense the point than the ball ran to ex-Everton schoolboy Woan to drive into the net from about 25 yards. Bummer.
Again though circumstances conspired to give us false hope. Grant delightfully beat his man on the goal-line and provided a perfect cross for Rideout to make himself joint top scorer, again with his head.
So with 9 minutes to play, again we could sense a steal. When Joe had somewhat curiously brought on Barlow for Limpar I really thought we were a team that had run out of ideas. However it proved to be Barlow who nearly completed the robbery of a point in the last five. He jumped well and made a great goal-bound header which Crossley only just managed to finger tip over the bar. The robbery had been foiled.
The thing that strikes me most is that our defence seemed to be so uncomfortable. This is disturbing because this was supposed to be the one area of our play that we had shored up and sorted out ready to build around for our forthcoming revival. How many times in the close season did you here a pundit say "Oh, Everton'll be up there this season, I think they're going to prove to be incredibly difficult to score against". Is this a team that has conceded 8 in three games? Let's hope it's just a blip.
We lost because we deserved to. The near comeback in all honesty flattered our overall performance. Forest had ideas and variation, Everton only seemed to offer dogged determination and they didn't really offer all that much of that.
Southall 6 - This week in the Echo, Southall said that goal-keepers should be rated as much on their organisation of the defence as the saves they make - you asked for it Nev!
Barrett 7 - Had his moments, definite improvement on Holmes.
Watson 6 - Not a captain's performance. Even excepting the own goal, he never took command.
Short 6 - A less than glorious start. Was tripping over himself in the first 10 minutes, maybe we should put it down to nerves because he did seem to regain some composure later on, however, he didn't look particularly good value for 2.6 million.
Ablett 6 - Only on for the first half and wasn't all that impressive.
Limpar 6 - You always think he's on the verge of creating something but he just didn't get into his stride. We know he can do better.
Horne 6 - Another player who didn't get into his stride - and Barry didn't even have the feeble excuse of jet lag!
Parkinson 7 - Adequate.
Hinchliffe 7 - Reaffirmed my belief that he is better as a left- back. Stuck in another of the famous corners.
Amokachi 7 - A definite threat, but with us giving him no other option we needed him to really turn on the magic and it just didn't happen.
Rideout 6 - Two good opportunist strikers goals, but offered absolutely nothing else.
Grant (Sub) 7 - Excellent assist, unlucky not to score himself, lovely ball control, still needs to improve other areas of his play (defensive covering and tackling). Having said that, I will be well happy to see him on the bench throughout the season ready for when Limpar or Kanchelskis aren't having a good one.
Barlow (Sub) 6 - nearly robbed the point at the end, other than that nothing much positive.
Sub Not Used: - Kearton
My Man of the match - Grant
Christopher Davies (Electronic Telegraph): NOTTINGHAM Forest extended the longest unbeaten run in the Premiership to 19 games in a match that proved that while the European Champions' League may prove an embarassment for English clubs, at its best the domestic game is still a very exciting product.
The sides had mixed fortunes in Europe last week but Everton, who displayed great determination in defeat, continued the trend of English clubs who play on Thursday in Europe and invariably have a poor result three days later in the League.
To their credit, Everton could and should have wiped out Forest's two-goal lead before half-time. It was frustrating for the visitors, whose manager Joe Royle would have taken some consolation from his side's commitment but was furious about some of his team's defending. "We were sitting back and watching," he complained. "The opening spell was awful - the worst half hour we have had since I came to the club. At times I couldn't believe what I was watching."
Forest, who lost 2-1 in Malmo last Tuesday, had built what looked to be an impregnable lead through a Dave Watson own-goal and a poacher's effort by Jason Lee, the dreadlocked striker appropriately born in Forest Gate, east London.
If Royle pointed the finger at his defence, the manager made what turned out to be a poor team selection. He picked Craig Short to make his debut in place of England central defender David Unsworth, who was sent-off against Manchester United last weekend and conceded a penalty in Reykjavik.
Short had a nightmare. In the first minute he fell over the ball twice and was conspicuously absent when the two first-half goals were scored. If there is one thing Forest fans enjoy more than an opponent having a stinker it is an ex-Notts County player undergoing such misery.
Forest's victory, ultimately slightly fortunate, takes them to sixth in the Premiership and was more credible because they were without the injured Stuart Pearce, Kevin Campbell and Andrea Silenzi. Everton came into the match with 11 clean sheets in their last 15 games. While fatigue may have affected them in the early stages sloppy defending was the real cause of their downfall. In the 18th minute Steve Stone slipped the ball to Chris Bart-Williams, whose centre from the right reached Lee. Neville Southall, 37 on Saturday and making his 500th League appearance in 14 years yesterday, made a fine save from Lee's header and the ball was cleared to Des Lyttle on the right. Southall got a fingertip to the right-back's low cross which struck Watson and went over the line.
Two minutes later the pattern was repeated, this time from the left. Bryan Roy's centre was met by Stone whose effort was superbly parried by Southall. Lee reacted the quickest to make it 2-0. As Forest eased up, Daniel Amokachi should have scored for Everton in the 34th minute. Andy Hinchcliffe sliced a shot wide left two minutes later and then Amokachi and Paul Rideout saw Mark Crossley make heartbreaking saves.
Nine minutes after the restart Amokachi hit the woodwork as Everton pressed forward and in the 64th minute a corner, unnecessarily conceded by Chettle, proved costly for Forest. Hinchcliffe's inswinger was headed across the goal by Amokachi for Rideout to nod past Crossley.
Everton's joy was short-lived. Ninety seconds later Forest regained their two-goal cushion when Roy touched Stone's centre back to Ian Woan, who scored with a low 25-yard drive.
But once again Everton found strength in adversity. With eight minutes remaining substitute Tony Grant beat David Phillips and Rideout headed his fourth goal in four games against Forest. And they almost snatched a deserved equaliser two minutes from time when a close-range header from substitute Stuart Barlow was tipped over the bar by Crossley.
Paul McMichael: Kirsty and I went down the local and watched the Forest game on Sky. To be honest in defence we looked a shambles, very ragged, ill disciplined and even in the second half when we had the majority of possession Forest always looked liked scoring on the break. Rideout took both of his goals very well, particularly the second after some good work from Grant (nice to see a player looking up before crossing the ball).
Barrett's looked edgy at times and his distribution is particularly poor. The third Forest goal was a tremendous strike form Ian Woan (he's come along way since i played against him in the West Cheshire league!!). Once again we had a poor 15/20 mins and found ourselves 2-0. Despite this we picked up and had 3/4 good chances to reduce the deficit before halftime but failed to capitalise on any of them.
It was a shame that in the dying moments Crossley tipped a superb header over the bar. In all fairness i would have thought that a draw would have been a fair result but then perhaps i am being biassed. Grant was unlucky when he chipped the goalie only to see the bar hit the angle of crossbar and post.
The landlord down the local is a staunch Forest supporter so he was giving
me a bit of stick but he did give Kirsty and me 2 drinks each for nowt.
John Coghlan: The defence had problems yesterday because Dave Watson and Craig Short had not developed any sort of understanding - Short was plain bad and dare I say it, Dave may be reaching that point in his career when good Evertonians go off to play for Tranmere. Barrett thinks that dancing around a player and backing off (must have been a fan of T. Darracott) is more effective than tackling him.
The best defender we had was Ablett who had to be sacrificed at half time so that Hinchcliffe could return to his proper position at full back and bring in some true inventiveness in the form of Tony Grant.
Tony Grant was a bright spark in the game and should be given an extended run. I can see a future 3 man midfield of Kanchelskis, Grant and Limpar, with Barrett or Ebbrell tucked in behind as support and sweeper. Hinchcliffe a permanent number 3. Centre backs any two from Watson/Unsworth/Short/Ablett depending who pulls their socks up first, Jackson at right back.
The Reykjavik manager was right in saying our back 4 is too square - but that applies to almost every UK team. The Sunday Times said (correctly I believe) that English clubs think that the sweeper system means playing a third giant centre back. The best sweepers are often smaller players, mobile enough to get across the back 4 and also up to support the attack. Cruyff, and now Gullitt are good examples.
Finally, sorry to be so negative but yesterday was depressing, I think last year our "dogs of war" approach meant Parkinson & Horne tackling in midfield, thereby compressing the play into 20yards either side of the half way line and protecting the defence. This year teams like Forest, ManU have worked out how to bypass this system and put pressure on our defence, hence the end of the clean sheets.