FA Carling Premier League, Monday 11 December 1995 (Live on Sky Sports)
Previous Match: Tottenham Hotspur v Everton Next Match: Newcastle United v Everton
Everton (2) 3 West Ham United (0) 0
Ebbrell 69, Stuart 34, Unsworth 43 pen.
Everton: Southall, Unsworth, Watson, Stuart, Limpar (Ferguson 62), Amokachi, Jackson, Ebbrell, Kanchelskis, Parkinson, Short. Subs Not Used: Horne, Kearton. Booked: Kanchelskis, Parkinson.
West Ham United: Miklosko, Breacker, Dicks, Potts, Bishop, Reiper, Cottee (Rowland 46), Dowie, Slater, Williamson, Hughes. Subs Not Used: Boogers, Harkes. Sent Off: Miklosko (42). Booked: Breacker, Dowie.
Ref: M Reed (Birmingham).
Dave Shepherd: Joe Royle opted not to drop the winning attack, so he put the Old Barlinnian on the bench (thus whipping up a frenzy like he did with Amo at QPR, the sly dog). His other option was a choice between Rhino and Hinch at Left Back, the former winning out.
The game took quite a while to take shape on a cold misty night, but when it started to settle, it became apparent that the visitors were not intending to co-operate like the main course of a welcome home party. In fact they gave the distinct impression that they were insulted to be dismissed as a threat, and determined to get a TV result when there was nothing to lose.
In particular their no-name midfield was magnificent; they would collect a ball and instead of looking to pass, they would set off running with pace and flow which one associates with wingers or Les Ferdinand. Everton's ball winners had no idea how to cope with these moving targets.
Meanwhile the Claret shirts in defence swarmed and closed down ruthlessly, and showed no signs of weakness against arial crosses - a worry with Mr Ariel Threat on the bench. It was going to be another of those games where we needed our flair men to winkle open an advantage.
This they attempted to do, mainly down the right to the delight of the pundits who forecast a Dicks v AK clash. Clash there was off the ball, but otherwise it was a fair fight and one which Andrei usually won but then couldn't find a target.
Everton managed to eke out a couple of scrappy chances, which was surprisingly more than the United midfield could create for their attack -- they were reduced to long shots and optimistic crosses. Their best chance was a header from their best player on the night, Potts.
Thus it was looking ominously like a 0-0 TV snooze when a bit of Amo's refusal to give up on a lost cause won a goal. Another AK move got the ball to Amo, but he was cornered in the six-yard box with his back to goal and a defender breathing down his neck. He almost lost the ball, regained it, turned, took an audacious pace out to improve his angle, and layed the ball back for a screaming attempt by AK ... except that he blobbed it so badly it ran tamely back to Amo and practically bounced off him to Stuart, who shinned the difficult ball and it simply rolled into a vacant near post with poor Ludo on the floor committed from one of the previous 'shots'. A very lucky goal, but only slightly undeserved after earlier attempts.
This was not the first Amo effort of the night. Not interested only in goal chances, he chased everything, even a hopeless pass to the church corner which no-one ran for; the defender had ages to collect the ball and play it forward, but ended up being harried into simply playing it out for an Everton throw.
Then he sealed the game charging after a ball ballooned high from Ludo's save of an AK shot. The short melee looked very confusing from behind the St End goal, and hardly anyone expected either the penalty or the red card. At full speed it didn't look like even a penalty, but with the benefit of multiple slowmotions from a few million's worth of Sky equipment (which the ref didn't have), the penalty looked a good call as a glove had met Amo's face when the ball was nowhere close, and only the colour of the card debatably unlucky.
Oh dear, no reserve keeper ... so who else but Dicks in what else but a black shirt manfully filled the breach and guaranteed himself a rerun on 'Question of Sport', then dived the wrong way to a pinpoint Rhino penalty kick.
Game over; game set and match to Amo! Yes, the inevitable goalkeeping error which left John Ebbrell an opportunist tap in from a rebound with a sort of sliding tackle (a rarity on the night) was surprising only in it's solitude, because Everton's incompetence at passing and disinterest in chalking up a big score meant that the premier's most notorious glovesman only had the minimum of work, and revelled in it since the task was 'impossible' and the scoreline academic.
Like the QPR game the scoreboard forgave the ineptitude, and the crowd got their extra treat of Duncan for the last half hour in place of Limpar who looked as if heading for yet another fading finish. The difference from the QPR performance was that the first half had been almost like the second, but this time fortune turned on the extra effort of Dan the Man.
Southall 7 Collected the only 2-3 balls that came his way with ease. One throw released AK unchallenged for a goal attempt.
Jackson 7 Not as visible in support, and a few minor errors.
Unsworth 7 Comfortable in left-back role and wing support improving.
Short 7 Still looks so comfortable, and v unlucky to still be waiting for his first goal from a corner.
Watson 7 Unlike Short, his header was not snatched away by Ludo, but he missed the target.
Parkinson 6 Parkinson and Ebbrell were left cold partly by WHU's midfield skill ...
Ebbrell 6 ... but mostly by their own team ignoring them and playing up the wings or over the top.
Limpar (witdrawn) 6 Strangely out of sorts - only managed two runs and 3 bad dives before being subbed.
Kanchelskis 7 A good threat, but must be kicking himself for not cashing in on having Dicks both missing from LB and in goal.
Amokachi 9 It was Amo's uncompromising & unceasing effort that created a win from nothing.
Stuart 7 Opinions vary, but I thought tonight GS was all bustle and no brain, failing to match his recent form.
Ferguson (Sub 62') 7 A great cross, a header saved by Dicks, and a header just wide. Not showing any rustiness.
Team performance: 7 A definite 'bad' night (the flow was missing, and some of the cylinders were misfiring badly) has to be tempered against their success in the department of that well worn journalese sign of success, winning despite playing badly.
Ref: M Reed Refs who ignore foul jumps (except in the box) are infuriating. Refs who miss elbows sap your faith in justice. Then refs who have to rule on nightmares such as the Amo-Ludo clash deserve a respectful salute.
By William Johnson, Electronic Telegraph
DUNCAN Ferguson made his Premiership return for Everton after being freed from jail and his domestic suspension on what was a perfect Goodison Park stage last night.
The controversial Scottish striker appeared as a substitute when the three points against West Ham were already secure and the visitors had lost goalkeeper Ludek Miklosko, because of serious foul play in conceding a penalty but Everton failed to capitalise on an opportunity to set up a goal for the £4 million man.
Ahead through Graham Stuart before Miklosko was dismissed, Everton claimed a two-goal interval lead through David Unsworth's penalty but managed only one more through John Ebbrell in a poor second half.
With Ferguson waiting to come off the bench, the pressure was on both Stuart and Daniel Amokachi to convince manager Joe Royle that they were worthy of accompanying the errant Scottish international.
Both strikers responded well after a slow start, Stuart to score a 35th-minute opening goal with a mis-hit shot after Amokachi's low cross had been deflected by Andrei Kanchelskis.
Amokachi, who was denied a first-half strike of his own by Miklosko's excellent low save, earned the penalty which brought the second goal.
Few could argue with referee Mike Reed's decision to send off the West Ham goalkeeper after pointing to the spot. Miklosko, having done well to block Kanchelskis's low drive, jumped to his feet to deliver a forearm smash on the supporting Amokachi, who would otherwise have swept in the rebound.
Dicks went on to fumble almost everthing which came his way but Everton bafflingly failed to put him under sustained pressure
After Julian Dicks had pulled on the goalkeeper's jersey - it was only the fourth time this season West Ham had failed to name a specialist replacement among their substitutes -Unsworth comfortably converted the penalty to put Everton in control.
Before then it had been an even, albeit scrappy contest, Everton making more of the running but West Ham threatening, particularly when Danny Williamson received Tim Breacker's neatly judged ball into the box to turn cleverly but then drive wildly over.
Afterwards it was a case of damage limitation for Harry Redknapp's men who signalled their intentions by withdrawing Tony Cottee - who had been given a warm reception on returning to the club for whom he scored 99 goals - in favour of defender Keith Rowland at the start of the second half.
Dicks was applauded from all sides of a nearly full stadium when passing his first test by gathering Unsworth's curling cross but his uncertainty only increased Everton's confidence.
Dicks went on to fumble almost everthing which came his way but Everton bafflingly failed to put him under sustained pressure. Only 23 minutes remained when Ebbrell, following up an Amokachi low shot to score Everton's overdue third.
By then Ferguson had made his entrance to deafening cheers from a 31,000-plus crowd. It was a situation tailor-made for him to make a scoring return but Everton neglected to capitalise on his undoubted aerial superiority over the gallant Dicks.
Ferguson had to wait 15 minutes before the ball arrived on his infamous head. Unsworth supplied the cross but Dicks pushed it away from just inside the far post.
Electronic Telegraph is a Registered Service Mark of The Telegraph plc
Richard Marland (email@example.com): Well the script was written, Everton would win comfortably with Dunc coming off the bench to score with a soaring header into the St. End. Unfortunately West Ham diverted from the script straight away by winning the toss and making us attack the St. End in the first half. Those of us in the St. End realised, with a hint of disappointment, that Dunc would in all probability be playing towards the Park End.
Things then reverted back to script. Without ever playing especially well and without creating too many chances, we still managed to be the better side in the first half and it was no great surprise when we took the lead through Graham Stuart's mis-hit shot. We then took a firm grip of the game when Amo, rising to head a ball that had looped up off Miklosko's legs, was deprived of a clear goalscoring chance by a foul from Miklosko. The ref had no choice; Miklosko had to go.
Three minutes of pure theatre then followed as it became apparent that West Ham didn't have a goalkeeper on the bench, Julian Dicks was co-opted to go in goal, a goalkeepers jersey was brought on from the bench, unfortunately it was one of Miklosko's cast offs and about 3 sizes too big for Dicks. Eventually he was ready and Unsworth cooly slotted the penalty into the bottom right hand corner.
As the teams prepared to come back out for the second half there was a flurry of excitement in the St. End as a man was spotted holding a substitution board with the number 9 on it, Dunc's coming on. Alas it was a cruel deceit, West Ham were in fact bringing off Cottee for a defender.
The second half then proceeded to be a big let down, as we were unable to exert our numerical advantage and test Dicks. Then more excitement, Dunc is seen, at the back of the dugout, taking his tracksuit top off. The atmosphere picks up and within a few minutes he is on the pitch to a rapturous welcome, Limpar being the one to make way for him. However, we still struggled, despite Dicks spilling the few shots that did come his way, we still weren't testing him consistently. Eventually the third goal did come: a shot, Dicks spills the ball, an Everton player is on hand to put the ball in. This time it's Ebbrell who hasn't been reading the script as he pinches Dunc's goal.
A rather puzzling period of play then ensued as we seemed reluctant to put the ball in the air for Dunc. Unsworth was running well down the left but couldn't really get much going on his own, Andrei started to drift in and we seemed to playing with 3 central strikers and no width. We even started taking short corners. All very puzzling. Dunc did finally get a half-decent cross from Unsworth and we nearly reaped the reward as Dicks made a good scrambling save.
So, that was it. We tested Dicks about 4 times in the second half, and West Ham never looked like they were playing with a man less. Some credit to them and some discredit to us.
Coming away from the match the realisation dawns that maybe the script says that Dunc will score the winner against Newcastle, now what a story that would make.
Southall 6 absolutely bugger all to do.
Jackson 7 good coming forward, OK defensively
Unsworth 7 still a long way from his best but did OK, kept his composure well for the penalty
Watson 7 Solid
Short 7 Solid
Ebbrell 7 not as good as he has been lately, but did alright and scored
Parkinson 7 did alright, nothing spectacular
Limpar 7 threatened as usual, but never really sparked.
Kanchelskis 7 not at his best, always looked dangerous without ever actually delivering
Stuart 8 played well, fortunate with his goal, but always involved and ran for miles as usual
Amokachi 8 my man of the match. I thought he was superb. Involved in all 3 goals showed some delightful touches, but again failing to deliver the goals his play deserves.
Ferguson 7 didn't have long and suffered from a strange lack of service from his teammates, showed some nice touches and nearly scored.
Team 7 You'll notice a lot of players with 7's. One of those days, no-one played badly, but no-one really sparkled. Distressing lack of urgency in the second half. Still, we won, kept a clean sheet and kept the unbeaten run going.
S B Baker: Four (polite) ways to describe the Blues' performance at Goodison Park last night. Can anyone explain to me just why we were so bad? There's no way we deserved to go into half-time ahead, never mind two-up.
And in the second-half, when we had the perfect opportunity to bolster our goal difference and get some confidence before Saturday's trip to Newcastle, we were DIRE.
I don't know all the stats but it wouldn't surprise me if we had more shots and put more crosses into their box when Miklosko was in net than after he was sent off.
And can anyone explain to me why Southall pumped everything forward in the first-half when there was no big man to aim for but as soon as Fergie came on to give the attack some height he rolled the ball out to Unsworth virtually every time?
Why did Limpar come off? We've waited all season to see Fergie play up front with two wingers giving him the crosses but no, Royle decides to drag Limpar off and stick Stuart on the left or in the middle (wherever he was playing - he didn't seem to know himself) unbalanced the whole side. And if he was going to drag a winger off, why wasn't it Kanchelskis? I know he cost stlg5m and all that but he had a stinker last night while at least Limpar had a few ideas.
And it HAD to be Ebbrell who scored didn't it? He did nothing last night but scored from about three inches out and has probably sealed his place in the side for the next year or so. Our midfield was overrun yesterday, even when we had the extra man, and it was usually Ebbrell at fault. And if anyone has a go at Horne, please remember:
If Ebbrell plays against Newcastle we'll get humiliated.
A team like Newcastle would have won 6 or 7-0 against West Ham last night. We settle for three. IT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH!
I know somebody else usually does this but I think if I give the players my ratings out of ten it might show what I thought of them last night.
Southall - 6. Had a cob on in the second-half because Miklosko got
Jackson - 7. As usual he was OK going forward - set up the first goal by running at and beating Dicks (unlike Kanchelskis he wasn't scared of him) but, as usual, got skinned a couple of times by a half-decent left-winger (this time Michael Hughes).
Unsworth - 7. OK. He's starting to look better at left-back, especially with his 'Rhino charges' down the wing, but he can't cross a road.
Watson - 7. Did what he had to do, though I'm not quite sure how he managed to miss that chance when it was still 0-0.
Short - 7. Another steady game for our Craig.
Kanchelskis - 5. Rubbish. At times his touch was awful and he was very, very scared of Dicks - he even apologised to him for fouling him when he got booked.
Parkinson - 6. Too often he was left on his own by Ebbrell and we could have done without him getting booked. He got a kick early on from Hughes and that seemed to hamper him all game.
Ebbrell - 5. His goal should not make us ignore the fact that his half-decent run of form has come to an end. His passing was awful and he was often anonymous in midfield.
Limpar - 6. He showed some invention in the first-half and his substitution unbalanced the whole side.
Amokachi - 7. Lively, especially in the first-half, and he'll just be glad to still be in on place after Miklosko's assault. (By the way, will he be done for assault after that? I think not.)
Stuart - 6. He wasn't helped by Southall's endless punts onto Rieper's head when he played up front and his goal was a total fluke. On on occasion he tried to control the ball and it went about 15 yards.
Ferguson - 6. Had one chance but Dicks made a good scrambling save. Even he looked rather half-hearted at times.
TEAM - 5. POOR. Given the circumstances, this was the worst performance of the season, worse even than Newcastle and Reykjavik. It's all right saying we would have scored more if we had needed to but that's not good enough, we SHOULD have scored more.
San Presland wades in with a few salvos of incisive comment:
> Limpar - 6. He showed some invention in the first-half and his
> substitution unbalanced the whole side.
Invention?..No-one will convince me that Limpar produced *anything* contructive last night..he seemed hell-bent on beating the entire West Ham team before letting the ball go to one of his team-mates. One time he made a great run that must have beaten about 6 players before trying to beat another one and losing it when he could have released to to a team-mate...what's the point?
The only time he *was* missed was with the taking of corners. With neither Hinchliffe nor Limpar to take 'right-side' corners the hopes of dangerous in-swingers was pretty well nil. But I agree that Kanchelskis was *as* disappointing, especially when *not* faced with Dicks in the second-hlaf.
> Stuart - 6. He wasn't helped by Southall's endless punts onto
> Rieper's head when he played up front and his goal was a total fluke.
> On on occasion he tried to control the ball and it went about 15
Graham Stuart was head and shoulders above anyone else on the park last night ... full of positive, constructive running, ideas and flicks.
To quote Joe Royle in today's Daily Post: "Duncan was fine. He is back. But I thought Graham Stuart was man of the match. he was the best player by a mile".
> TEAM - 5. POOR. Given the circumstances, this was the worst
> of the season, worse even than Newcastle and Reykjavik. It's all right
> saying we would have scored more if we had needed to but that's not
> good enough, we SHOULD have scored more. >
To quote Royle again: "I thought we were comfortable without being anything like our best. It was probably our worst performance for a while. I was disappointed in our passing, but it is nice to see that even in a lesser performance we have come out with a clean sheet."
Still nice to get 3 points.
Some more responses, from Gordon Baxter: Well I thought we had the better of it in the first half. Southall had virtually nothing to do. We had more shots than they had, and more of them on target too. (This was true of the game as a whole as well.)
I don't have a problem with only winning 3-0. The main thing is we didn't play well, yet we still won 3-0. One of the key features of a good side is that it still wins even when it doesn't play well. I would have been happy if we had won 1-0: it's the 3 points that matter. I think more of the problme last night came from the fact that we squandered too many good goalscoring opportunities. Amokachi still tries to do too much himself, and his general link-up play last night was abysmal: when he did try to lay the ball off it almost invariably failed to reach a man in a blue shirt.
I wouldn't say that Ebbrell had a particularly good game last night, but he did have the presence of mind to get into goalscoring positions, and he did score.
Although Unsworth did put in a cross of about 40 yards which was almost perfect for Ferguson. The Big Man got a good header in considering he was moving away from the ball, but Dicks made a good save to turn it round the post for a corner.
Parkinson got injured when he committed the foul that earned him a booking. He was anonymous for long periods of the game, and I can't recall him doing a great deal.
I think the biggest problem we have is that we aren't turning enough of the opportunities into goals. The main gripe I have is that we seem to get boat-loads of corners, but never manage to score from them. Last night we were having trouble getting someone to take them. I can't remember the exact count last night, but it must have been close on 20, and against Sheffield Wednesday it was 25. And I was completely baffled why we kept taking short corners when Dicks was in goal.
Still, looking on the positive side we did keep a clean sheet, we did win, and we are now top (of the bottom half). I would rather that we played crap against West Ham and won, than played crap gainst Newcastle on Saturday and got stuffed - at least Joe Royle (& Willie Donachie) can shake them up for Saturday.
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