Everton v Southampton

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FA Carling Premiership 96/97 - Game 12
Saturday 16 November 1996; Goodison Park, Merseyside

Result: Everton (5) 7 - Southampton (1) 1
Stuart 12, Kanchelskis 22,35, Speed 30,32,72, Barmby 57; Ostenstad 39.

Everton: Southall (46 Gerrard), Barrett, Hinchcliffe, Unsworth, Watson, Stuart, Speed, Barmby, Kanchelskis, Parkinson, Grant.
Booked: None.
Subs Not Used: Ferguson, Branch, Short, Allen. Unavailable: Ebbrell, Rideout (injured), Jackson (on loan)

Southampton: Woods, Dodd, Lundekvam, Van Gobbel, Monkou, Slater, Magilton, Ostenstad, Charlton (8 Heaney (45 Neilson)), Le Tissier (56 Watson), Berkovic.
Subs Not Used: Beasant, Maddison. Booked: None

Ref: M Riley Att: 35,669 League Position: 8th Results and League Table

Previous Match: Everton v Coventry City -- Next Match: Liverpool v Everton

Match Summary

SoccerNet (Tony Lanigan, Mail on Sunday): Southampton were outplayed, outclassed and outgunned as they were ruthlessly dismantled by the rampant Everton. They started brightly, were then hit with five goals in 22 minutes and not surprisingly fell apart.

Their manager, Graeme Souness, had announced on the eve of the game that a whole team was available for transfer. He may reconsider his belief that only 11 players are dispensable after this. Souness said: 'We have been playing well but suffered from being naive in the extreme today. As well as Everton played, and they played very well, we contributed to our own downfall. We defended extremely badly.

'The game was dead after the third goal and in the end we're glad to be going away with only a six-goal deficit. Everton looked like scoring every time they came forward and we were just too naive the way we went about our business.

'Now I hope you will appreciate that I just want to go home,' Souness said.

Everton played so superbly it was always difficult for Souness's side, but they showed precious little stomach for the fight and received not the slightest spark of inspiration from their skipper, Matthew Le Tissier, who was an anonymous figure. The England man looked suitably forlorn when replaced in the 56th minute, but he could not complain because he was quite ineffective as Everton's scintillating play swept round him.

The poor goalkeeper, Chris Woods, must have longed for the shelter of Colorado Rapids, where he spent the summer. On his second Premiership game back from America he received no protection as Everton's goals whipped past him from long and close range and the three-man line in front of him was torn to shreds.

Apart from their 39th-minute goal when already five down Southampton failed to mound a serious threat on Everton's goal and the goalkeeper, Neville Southall, suggested at half-time that his deputy, Paul Gerrard, should take over for the second 45 minutes. The signing from Oldham was just as inactive as Everton totally controlled the second half but without finding the goal spark that ignited their first-half blitz.

Gary Speed capped his best display for the club and the sizzling winger, Andrei Kanchelskis, scored two as all the front line were outstanding.The tireless Graham Stuart began the avalanche in the 13th minute and the next four zipped in inside 22 minutes.

Everton got careless at the back and Egil Ostenstad got a consolation goal for Southampton but for them it was just a damage-limitation exercise and they restricted Everton to two goals after the break, number six from Barmby, his first since joining from Middlesbrough for £5.75 million bringing the greatest cheer of the afternoon.

Speed rounded things off but Everton could not quite make it eight despite creating a host of chances that would have equalled their tally of exactly 25 years ago, when their manager, Joe Royle, hit four.

Football! ... on a Saturday!!!

Guy McEvoy: . Over a month with no footy on a Saturday afternoon, I'd almost forgotten what it was like. Did it used to be this good?

A large Goodison crowd (35,000) paid its final respects to Tommy Lawton with another impeccably observed silence. With the silence over, the crowd erupted and the team set to work on a much more fitting tribute.

First Half

There is little surprising about Everton starting well, we're getting used to that. The pieces of the jigsaw that have been so often missing this season are the failure to grab anything from dominant spells and then letting up as soon as we appear to have any degree of upper hand.

Today was different. A day when all the pieces fell in place, a day when the fan yells: "Pass to the man in space!", and the ball is passed to the man in space, the fan shouts "Tackle!" and the player tackles, the fan yells "Shoot!!!" and the player busts the net. Today, it all seemed as obvious to the players on the pitch as it always does to us wannabes in the Top Balcony. A day of sheer pleasure.

The avalanche was started by Stuart after a great bit of play from Barmby who drilled the ball across the box for Kanchelskis, the Ukrainian got the required stretched touch and Diamond was racing in fast enough to make the contact at the back post and pick up a predator's goal. Never mind that Speed had got away with a handball at the start of the move. He's on a bit of a roll now, is our Graham.

The second came with a mighty surging run from Grant on the fast break right through the midfield to reach a long ball. He almost lost control but was able to thread it through to Stuart, who in turn found Kanchelskis. Andrei got himself into the sort of position where you know you can celebrate even before he struck the ball and most of us did. No mistake. The only mystery being why he chose to run to the Saints fans to celebrate. Given the class of the finish I'll let him off.

Number three resulted from a fantastic ball from the settling Barmby, Speed gratefully picked it up at full pace and released a drive from outside the box that positively thumped the back of the net. I was starting to relax.

Still there was no sign of the presumably inevitable let up, Kanchelskis worked to the line, bobbled past his man, flicked the ball to the box, the omnipresent Barmby headed it goal-wards and Speed was again there to head it goal-bound. Four? Half an hour? Delirium.

If you're going to get four then why not get five? So Kanchelskis grabbed his second - (his third headed goal for Everton). Of all the afternoon's goals this was perhaps the only one where the Saints new keeper, England old boy Chris Woods, should take the lion's share of the blame. He couldn't keep hold and the spin on the ball just took it over the line.

"Souness what's the score? Souness, Souness, what's the score?"

Just to prove that we weren't all dreaming Southampton did manage to give everyone a pinch shortly before the break when their unique threatening attack enabled the Ostensted chappy to slide the ball under a bored Southall, but even with this slight blemish there wasn't an Evertonian in the house not moved to a standing ovation when the half-time whistle came.

Second Half

On the restart I counted 7 corners in the first 6 minutes. We even managed to get one disallowed for offside. But we didn't have to wait to long before the lead was extended further. Kanchelskis stormed down the right, a low ball driven across and Nicky Barmby slid in to pick up a well deserved first goal for the club. May it be the first of many.

The law of averages dictated that from the sheer number of corners Hinchcliffe delivered in the match we had to grab something from one of them, and so it was Speed who took the opportunity to grab his hat-trick. He charged in back-post got a good leap and guided the ball home.

Only now with seven in the bag did Everton show any sign of altering the pattern. They spent the last quarter of an hour playing the piggy in the middle possession game, utterly humiliating the Saints. Paul Gerrard (who'd come on for Southall) had next to nothing to do on his debut. The Everton fans had sung themselves silly and gone quiet, and so the remainder of the games entertainment lay with listening to the Saints fans desperately trying to make the most of bad day out. And full respect to them.

From the cheeky "Sing when you're loosing -- you only sing when you're loosing", to the sarcastic "Bring on United" to the satirical "We want two, we want two" to the obvious "Always look on the bright side" the away contingent were magnificent in their comprehensive defeat, which is more can be said of their very poor team.

Ferguson and Branch both had a warm up, but lets face it when you're 7-1 up the need for an out and out striker isn't that apparent. This game was about attacking midfield at it's best and when Kanchelskis, Grant, Stuart, Barmby and Speed all decide to play football on the same wavelength, Everton are going to be invincible. Ferguson? Hey, who needs him?

Individual Performances

And then I got the right voucher for the Chelsea ticket, then I won a tenner on the lottery,

By the way:

  1. Who stole the ball boys?
  2. Was he the most card shy ref in the Premiership or what?

Were you watching Charlie Deeney?

Richard Marland: Following on from recent Everton performances, in which numerous chances were created but few taken, doubts had been raised about the goal-scoring potential of the current Everton squad. Today, the Blues answered the doubters in a thrilling demolition of a (supposedly) improving Southampton side.

This performance really was the "business", full of intelligent running, intelligent passing and ruthless finishing. At the heart of all this were Nick Barmby and Tony Grant. Nick Barmby's contribution was almost expected after his encouraging debut against Coventry. Tony Grant's was less so mainly because it wasn't even expected that he would be playing.

Joe Royle definitely surprised us with his selection; Dunc was available but left on the bench, that was anticipated... what wasn't anticipated was the introduction of Tony Grant at the expense of Craig Short. This change of personnel brought about a tactical shift as we reverted to a flat back four, with Barmby and Stuart playing up front.

First Half

The match actually started quite quietly. Southampton saw a good bit of possession as they were allowed to pass the ball around in their own half. Everton soon, though, started to wrest control from Southampton and within twelve minutes had taken a deserved lead through Stuart as he got on the end of a flowing Blues move, Barmby delivering the final ball.

This was the prelude to one of the most marvelous and invigorating passages of football I have ever seen. Approximately twenty five minutes after taking the lead, Everton were 5-0 up, with Southampton reeling under a clinical performance from the Blues. All five goals were the result of excellent passing and movement with Speed, Kanchelskis, Stuart, Barmby and Grant all linking up brilliantly time and again.

Sitting down writing this on Sunday afternoon, and despite having watched the goals twice on Match of The Day, it is difficult to remember the precise details of each goal, and also to remember the order in which they came. Speed and Kanchelskis shared the remainder of the first half goals getting two apiece, each scoring once with their heads and once with shots.

The thing that really sticks in my mind is Tony Grant's contribution to one of the goals. One second he was in our penalty area, being one of three Everton players almost making a mess of clearing the ball.  Tony took control of the situation, clearing up nicely and releasing a blue shirt in midfield. I then took my eye off him and was surprised to see him bursting through from midfield into the Southampton half, picking up the ball, showing good perseverance to keep possession of the ball and then pass it wide to Andrei.

Thirty five minutes gone, 5-0 up, Souness-baiting in full flight: we were in heaven! The old-timers amongst were talking about an 8-0 drubbing of Southampton in the early seventies. The team then lost it's way slightly in the last 10 minutes of the first half -- I guess it was to be expected.

Suddenly, we stopped doing what we had been doing so well, and a Southampton player, it may have been Berkovic, went through a rather half-hearted Everton midfield before releasing Ostenstadt who beat Nev with a low drive. I think that it may have been their first shot of the game. Worse nearly followed as Nev just got enough on another shot to divert it past a post. Fortunately half time arrived to spare us of the further Blue apathy.

Second Half

The second half brought a surprising change, Gerrard being thrown on in place of Nev. I don't believe that there was an injury to Nev -- this was just an opportunity to blood Gerrard. As blooding experiences go, this was a fairly bloodless one. The apathy of the last 10 minutes of the first half had been replaced with an air of professionalism as we once again took total control of the game.

It was a full 6 minutes before Gerrard even touched the ball, -- a good take from a rare Southampton corner. Thereafter, he didn't have one save to make. All he had to do was deal with a few stray back-passes. That was apart from one header from an offside position which he allowed, rather ominously, to squeeze under his body. Let's be kind and say he had heard the whistle for offside.

At the other end of the field, Everton were building up an impressive head of steam. We forced a whole succession of corners; clearly we weren't going to be content with five. The goal took a while to come, but it eventually fell to the deserving Barmby to open his account. Grant, yet again, started the move when he intercepted a Southampton pass within the Southampton half. He quickly released Andrei down the right who delivered a low cross for Barmby to slide in.

The icing was finally put on the cake when Gary Speed capped a fine display winning a good header from yet another Andy Hinchcliffe corner. A well merited hat-trick, apparently his first ever. All that was left was to run down the clock with some neat possession football. There was a feeling amongst the crowd that Dunc and Michael Branch may have been thrown on for the last 15 minutes. They weren't though, maybe as an act of kindness to Southampton. Having Dunc's presence and Branch's pace launched at you from 7-1 down might have been seen as an act of cruelty.

The final word though goes to Charlie Deeney. Sorry Charlie, that was a cheap shot, I know that one performance doesn't fully answer the goalscoring question, there have been too many below par performances of late to answer that. But today does show the potential that is there if these players play to their ability, and maybe, just maybe, in Grant and Barmby we have found the players who hold the key.

The Players

Team 9 This really is almost as good as it gets. Every player had a good day and Speed, Kanchelskis, Barmby and Grant had exceptional days. This really was the perfect marriage between defensive solidity, centred around Watson and Parkinson, and attacking flair centred around Barmby and Grant. For me, Barmby and Grant were the catalysts of a hugely impressive Everton performance, and all this on a day on which we paid tribute to Tommy Lawton.

Park End Pleasure Palace

Andrea Thrussell: I went to my third match of the season yesterday, and what a match! We sat in the Park End for the first time, courtesy of the Toffeenet Ticket Club (thanks, Dave Shepherd!) and subsequently saw the first five goals (doesn't that sound great: "the first five goals"!) at close quarters.

Every time we attacked in the first half we seemed to score, and when we didn't there was real disappointment, as well as total disbelief as the goals kept rattling in. We played some truly devastating stuff and it was easy to feel sorry for Southampton as we ended their recent good run. There was great understanding among the forward players as they counter-attacked with great pace and it was exciting to watch.

Souness had swapped the Dutch right-back Van Gobbel to the left -- presumably with Kanchelskis in mind as he's supposed to be very fast -- but he might not have been there at all for all the good he did.

The whole team performed well but I was disappointed to hear some *very* young voices picking on Earl Barrett within minutes of the kick-off (and I'm talking about six- to eight-year-olds here!) It was great to see Andrei back to his devastating best, I was chuffed for Speed on his first ever hat-trick and Barmby on his first goal for the Blues. But I must single out Tony Grant for a mention: he was all over the pitch, tackling back well and then charging up the field to support the attack. I have no idea if there is any substance in the links with Mark Draper but -- fine player as Draper undoubtedly is -- in my humble opinion, Rodders proved emphatically yesterday that he can save the club 4 million pounds.

In the second half we indulged in five minutes of serious p*ss-taking. The team were stringing together some sweet short passes and I leaned over to my hubby and said "We ought to start cheering the passes", and lo and behold the cheers started and continued for several minutes. Sublime stuff! Of course there were several renditions of "Souness, Souness, what's the score?" as the later goals went in.

Gerrard looked good in what little he had to do, confidently claiming a Le Tissier corner and placing a couple of accurate goal-kicks into Andrei's path.

Duncan got a huge cheer when he, Branch and Allen warmed up part way through the second half, but although Branch had a second solo warm-up it would not have been fair to the players on the pitch to take anyone off unless they were injured.

We had a good-natured laugh with the Southampton supporters about ten minutes from the end. They had a long, long journey home ahead of them and they chanted "We wanted United" which raised a laugh and we clapped them for their humour. Then there was a quick, rueful rendition of "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life" which most of the ground joined in with. Then about five minutes from time they won a corner and promptly demanded "We want TWO!!"

We had a great day, even squeezing a morning's Christmas shopping in too, before flying back to the Isle of Man, identifying a family who had made the same journey and wore grins as big as ours! I was pretty cross at Match of the Day though. They gave around 20-25 minutes of highlights to a match where the only goal was an own-goal, and summed up a 7-1 thriller in about 60 seconds.

My only slight worry is that we have used up this week's allocation of goals ahead of the Derby but, looking on the bright side, the team will be confident and the RS must have been shaken -- first by the scoreline, and secondly by the manner of our victory.

The Need For Speed

Dave Shepherd: Nutty as a fruitcake. That's what we'd have been calling JR if this game had gone awry:-

Unless the theory was to wait until the problems showed up, then pull the weak link and stick on Ferguson, I'm baffled, but the real result of this formation will have to wait for another game, because this one just exploded into a great big wonderful exhibition of The Beautiful Game.

For fifteen minutes it looked as if it was going to be the same old spluttering story. The blues had had all the possession after a kickoff attack which injured unlucky Charlton, but there was no sign of any idea how to create dangerous chances, and Kanchelskis was getting the same double marking as 3-4 other teams have used to negate him.

Then a curling Grant ball from the centre circle released Kanchelskis, clean as Limpar's pass to him in the AK derby, and he scuttled upfield. Driven too far by the defenders, he needed to look for support of which there was plenty, and it was from Barmby that Stuart was the lucky winner who got to turn it home. Chalk up another sniffer goal for the Diamond.

A nice start, but it didn't take long for fear to set in that Everton would try and sit on a on goal lead again -- with Mr Le Tissier on the pitch, nothing but suicide!

The second was the best of the lot, starting with a Rhino-tackle by Grant in the Everton Gwladys St End box, and ending with a Grant pass to Kanchelskis. The deadly one has driven wide this time, so he flipped it onto his LEFT foot and smashed that one home -- just superb to watch, and for once the crowd could enjoy a cushioned lead.

From then on it got very silly. Everton had virtually all the possession and almost every one produced a goal. A Barmby assist set up Speed to drive in the third -- a nice change from his usual tap-ins.

A diving Speed head form Kanchelskis made it four a minute later, and when the next attack released AK, and his shot was saved by Woods but STILL found it's way in (similar to James in the AK derby), with only 35 minutes gone, everyone's mind was turned not to football, but to records, trivia, or sympathy for the hopeless Saints and Woods.

The euphoria must have made the players a bit light-headed too, because then Southampton managed to get the ball, pass it to non-blue shirts, and released one for a first goal attempt of the game -- and it went in. It was scored by one of the destroyers of Man United, Ostenstad.

Worse, they got the ball again after that and attacked with equal ease. This time a superb low save with the Southall forearm prevented a certain goal. A shadow of doubt crept into the most pessimistic minds, but luckily half-time was upon us, and we could reflect on the last time we'd had five at the break (Sheff Wed in the cup when we got none in the second half!).

No such Saints fight in the second half. It was now Everton exhibition time. Time to hammer down the last nails in the coffin of the 'boring / scrappy / long-ball / dogs-of-war type myths that have followed JR around. Today was the payback for all those games where we had the chances to put 5 in but got only 2. Or One. Or None!

[Paul Gerrard was thrown on for a welcome debut, and quickly showed the comfort especially in the air that has been a feature of his reserve form].

The game came from the two men who probably wanted goals more than anyone else on the team (except, perhaps for Branch on the bench). The first was an account-opening goal for Nicky Barmby, provided by an AK cross he slid all the way into the back of the Gwladys Street End net with the ball and looked very happy about it. He's a player who relishes fans, like Unsworth.

After a relatively quiet period of 15 minutes came the deserved hat-trick for the outstanding Gary Speed. Andy Hinchcliffe took a corner from his favourite side, and it was slammed into the net at the far post by a typical soaring leap from Slam-Dunc Ferguson.. erm - blink once, blink twice... No -- Dunc's not on the field and that was Gary Speed!

Speed's role has mystified most of us since his arrival. Sometimes wide, sometimes roving, sometimes up front and sometimes in midfield. A top-scorer tally speaks for itself, and that will do very nicely thank you, even if we still can't explain exactly what it is he's supposed to be doing. JR & WD know, and as long as opponents remain as much in the dark as we are, he's an important weapon in the School of Science armoury.

Still nearly 20 minutes to go, and plenty more time to add to the score. As it was, the inevitable tiredness set in. Thoughts on the pitch must have long since turned to a glorious Sunday reading the newspapers, if not a glorious night celebrating the legends they had forged and those now quite plainly set to come.

Southampton creditably stuck to their task, and mounted 3-4 attacks in the remaining time, prompting shouts of 'we want two' from the vast majority of their supporters who had stayed on, and long since past the masochistic insanity barrier that sets in on crazy days (c.f. Everton 6 down at Villa, 5 Nov 1989).

Everton tried for plenty more, but there was to be no eighth as there was back in one Royle J.'s playing days.

Everyone was euphoric, but personally I was just Mr Smug, because I'd not only seen it coming, I'd had the bottle to say so weeks ago. Someone was going to take a big fall if we ever hit the groove and took the chances -- that someone was Southampton.

Best song never sung? '...I want to be in that number, When the Saints let Seven in'.

And now, the Roll of Honour:

TEAM PERFORMANCE - 10 - Everton never really looked as if they were completely in the groove, but who needs perfection when you get seven goals?

Ref: M. Riley (Leeds). What on earth did we do to deserve this nightmare run of referees? This guy was a mobile spectator -- he ignored Southampton's Rugby-style challenges all game and looked as if he'd left his cards in his car by mistake.

Day-Tripper's Delight

David Taylor:  Thanks first of all to Dave Shepherd for getting the Weybridge EFC Supporters Club 4 tickets, through the Toffeenet Ticket Club (use it when ever you can folks!) to what turned out to be quite an event -- I've also got two for the next game at Leicester (yippee !!!).

The drag up the M40/M6 was bad particularly, around Junction 13 on the M6, but was made more eventful for the fun and games everyone was having with the scum fans -- picture the scene:

  1. Car in the middle lane, 4 adults, scum scarves/car strip kits addorning the vehicle.
  2. Cars in middle, inside and outside lanes, typically full, Southampton and Chelsea scarves and flags, fans all taking the piss out of them.
  3. Car in the outside lane, 3 adults, Everton fans but no visible signs.

Scum fans look across hoping for some relief/support. Everton fans get scarves out and start singing "1-0", "We won the Cup" etc etc etc...

On to the game -- it was wierd. Total domination, no sooner had the first goal gone in there were another four seemingly straight afterwards. There seemed to be disbelief around the ground - we checked the scoreboard - yup - we were 5 up and there was still 15 minutes to go to half-time! When Southampton pulled one back, there was an eerie unease as if to suggest that Southampton could get back into it -- this was compounded when Southampton's second shot at goal (and probably last) came in and seemed to go very close. Yet the reality was that we could have gone in 10 up, such was our overall superiority.

The second half started with a flurry of corners -- Hinchy had really got his range right. It seemed a shame that Dunc wasn't on at this point. When Barmby got his goal, the day seemed perfect -- he had been outstanding -- but things just got better as Gary Speed capped a fine performance with his hat-trick goal. Watching the recorded highlights of the derby game as well, my impression of Speed is that his form is returning to his past best. The guy just loves playing for Everton and it shows -- do not be suprised if he is in contention for player of the year by the end of the season.

There was a lovely cameo near the end when we just played keep ball (reminiscent of Leeds in the 70's -- was that against Southampton?) -- and the crowd loved it.

Overall, the talk all the way back to Surrey was about witnessing the incredible performance of the team -- as that was what it truly was. Some individuals shined a bit brighter than most -- Kanchelskis had an excellent game, as did Speed. Barmby seemed to be at the heart of everything: prompting, nudging, darting here and there. But we reckoned that Grant was Man of the Match -- he was also everywhere. Tremendous tackling in defence and attack alike, great passing and the only thing missing was a goal from him.

Pre-Match Omens...

Lol Scragg: Hmmmmm..... my eyes looked skywards as I parked my car and decided which coat to wear. The Coventry game had me wearing a leather jacket which basically froze me to death as the Gwladys Street roof appeared to leak -- no mistakes this time, so wax jacket in hand, blue shirt on top (minus Danka - I got mine early!) I strolled down Bedford Road to meet my mate.

On to The Glebe where a coke was supped (I was feeling really rough from the night before) and then to the chippy. It was at this point when I thought that today could well be a good day -- the guy in the chippy undercharged us by £2 so off we went to Goodison, all smiles in anticipation of the match.

A quick stop on Goodison Road to buy a programme and a copy of When Skies Are Grey and onto our seats in the Gwladys Street Terrace. It was here that the second strange thing happened and we were SURE that the day was to be a memorable one -- the guy on the tannoy had found a sense of humour! I'm not sure whether he was new as I know the old guy from last season (yeah, the one who was a RS supporter) had been kicked due to public demand, but I ain't heard this fella before. An announcement from a girl to her blue boyfriend in the crowd to marry her was greeted by warnings from the DJ that she wouldn't let him go to the match! Smiles all round .....

Then, the third strange thing happened when I just missed out (again!) on a sweet from the Toffee Lady. Now, forgive me for being pedantic but ever since I have been to Goodison (first game being in 78 when we beat Coventry 6-0; second being when we beat Chelsea 6-0 with Bob Latchford's 30th league goal), in all those 18 years, I have NEVER got close to a sweet from the Toffee Lady. Has anyone ever had anything from this elusive woman? Huh!

Onto the game and guess what? We actually won the toss! Then came a moment that will live with me for some time, -- a minutes silence for Tommy Lawton who died recently, as well as another great Everton servant (I'm embarrassed to say that I have forgotten his name). The players lined around the centre circle and the crowd was upstanding for the best ever observed minutes silence I have ever been present at. If anyone knows the address of the Southampton mailing list, please pass on my utmost regards for their fans' respect....

And on to the game ....

I'm sure that other people (notably Guy McEvoy) will provide a much better report than I can as I was in such euphoria... I can't remember some of the goals so I will give my own personal view of the individual performances:

We were Brilliant!

The Guardian: Southampton had arrived on Merseyside jealously clutching an eight-game unbeaten sequence, but Everton felled their lofty ambition with a performance of spirit, enterprise and maturity that hints at a bright future.

The manager Joe Royle has been in place for exactly two years and while he concedes that expectation has often outstripped actual performance, his side does now contain up to five players of enviable quality.

Southampton were obliterated, overrun to such an extent that many of those bedecked in blue favours actually appeared embarrassed for the visitors. It could have been worse, for once a side has subconsciously acknowledged that it is beaten -- a collective decision Southampton reached midway through the first half -- anything at all is possible.

As Souness said in his brief but damning postscript, Everton looked like scoring every time they moved forward. Five times the hapless Chris Woods was beaten in the opening half as Everton submerged their visitors. There was simply no respite from a wave of attacks.

Graham Stuart, from close range, and Andrei Kanchelskis, with a precise left foot finish, set the tone before the rot really set in. Two from Gary Speed and a second for Kanchelskis reduced Southampton to rubble inside 35 minutes.

The second half was an irrelevance, but there was time for Nick Barmby to log his first goal since his arrival from Middlesbrough and for Speed to complete the first senior hat-trick of his career. Egil Ostenstad's goal for Southamptom represented consolation in its hollowest form.

"We were brilliant", enthused Royle. "Even our severest critics would have to admit we were irresistable." For once he was preaching to the converted.

Everton slam home seven

Ian Chadband, Sunday Times: TWENTY-FIVE years ago to the week, Everton murdered Southampton 8-0 with a young fellow named Joe Royle bagging four goals. How the memory must have been rekindled as Royle, celebrating his second anniversary as manager at Goodison Park, watched his class of 96 annihilate the team that inflicted a similar humiliation on Manchester United a couple of weeks ago.

Could these visitors really have hit Manchester United for six? Inspired as Everton were, Southampton's challenge was so pitiful that, five down and in utter disarray after just 35 minutes, a double figure drubbing did not look fanciful.

"In the end, we were glad to lose by just six goals," said Graeme Souness, the Southampton manager. "Every time they attacked, it looked as though they would score."

Quite. Gary Speed helped himself to a hat-trick and Andrei Kanchelskis, wreaking mayhem down the right flank, netted a couple more. But the greatest satisfaction for Royle would be the immense contribution from Nick Barmby.

In only his second appearance for Everton since his move from Middlesbrough, he provided just the sort of guile and invention up front as the £5.75m price tag demanded, creating three of the goals and netting his first for the club.

In truth, everybody in a blue shirt was flattered by Southampton's shambolic defence and their uncombative midfield.

Souness's foreign legionnaires were completely ineffective and Matthew Le Tissier was equally anonymous before he wandered off, hangdog, to the bench to be replaced after 56 minutes. What a way to see their unbeaten run of eight games, their best for a decade, come to an end.

Perhaps there had been something in the air for, after an immaculately observed minute's silence to honour the memory of Tommy Lawton, Everton chose a fitting occasion to deliver what Royle felt was their finest performance under his stewardship.

He reckoned there were too many heroes to single out, but in young Tony Grant he may have unearthed a diamond. The 22-year-old was at the heart of Everton's midfield domination, and after Barmby had put in Graham Stuart for the first after 12 minutes, Grant's contribution to the second, nine minutes later, summed up his growing promise.

First, he coolly cleared a Southampton attack in his own area, then hared off the length of the pitch to win another battle for the ball and calmly pick out Stuart, who in turn set up Kanchelskis to score with his left foot.

A calamitous six-minute capitulation followed. Barmby first freed Speed to fire home, and almost immediately followed up with a beautifully flighted cross to allow the former Leeds man to head home unchallenged.

Where was his defence, Souness was entitled to ask. Ulrich van Gobbel and Claus Lundekvan were all at sea and every time Kanchelskis raided behind their left flank, they were cruelly exposed. Chris Woods, in only his second game for the Saints since his move from Sheffield Wednesday, had a nightmare, letting a tame header from Kanchelskis slip through his grasp for Everton's fifth.

Egil Ostenstad, to everyone's surprise, clawed one back just before the break, but although there were no reports of flying tea cups in the Southampton dressing room at half-time, the slaughter showed no signs of abating after the break. Everton could even afford to bring off Neville Southall, who had to make only one save of any note in the first half. The veteran keeper told Royle to give debutant Paul Gerrard an outing ­- but the replacement was just as untroubled after the break.

Ostenstad was left to plough a vain furrow upfront, but it was an achievement when Southampton even managed to break into the opposition half. The hat-trick hero against Manchester United looked as downcast as Eyal Berkovic, his main provider that day.

Barmby received the reward for his outstanding work by sliding home a cross from Kanchelskis and Speed completed the easiest of tasks to head home on the line after a corner from Andy Hinchcliffe evaded the hapless Woods. That is how easy it was.

Duncan Ferguson, available after a two-month absence through injury and suspension, was not even invited to join in the massacre, and was left to watch enviously from the bench.

Evidently, he was not missed. Stuart, beavering away unselfishly in his place, was a constant thorn in the Southampton rearguard. Barmby provided him with plenty of ammunition. As Royle said, the expensive new boy had provided a new dimension.

"I was a bit disappointed by their one goal," Royle said mischievously, "but really we were brilliant, quite irresistible."

With a more meaningful challenge awaiting on Wednesday, bring on Liverpool was the cry around an exultant Goodison.

Report Copyright The Sunday Times

Shell-shocked Souness at loss for words

Keith Pike, The Times: THERE are heavy defeats and there are humiliations; but for Southampton there is this, a loss so comprehensive and a performance so inept, so pitiful and, worse, so lacking in heart, that their powers of recovery will be sorely tested. The players were, frankly, an embarrassment, to themselves and to their club.

Everton scored seven and should have got a dozen. They played with a verve and a style -­ and at times an arrogance -­ that would have stretched the best of teams. In Southampton, though, they met no opposition to speak of.

But for the presence of 36,000 mostly delirious supporters at Goodison Park and the standard trappings of the FA Carling Premiership's new-found wealth, this could have been a Sunday league game in Stanley Park, with Everton the all-conquering bullies, overdosed on brashness and packed with ringers, simply indulging themselves.

Southampton? They were the scratch side in borrowed kit on borrowed time, their best players having missed the meet and with no half-time oranges. Everton replaced their goalkeeper at half-time, for heaven's sake, in itself a telling indictment of the lack of commitment shown by Southampton.

Graeme Souness, the Southampton manager who, three weeks earlier, had been dissecting a 6-3 mauling of Manchester United, seemed almost traumatised by the scale of the capitulation.

"Do you need me to say anything?" he began. Well, yes, how about a rational explanation of the performance, or condemnation of it. Instead, Souness restricted his criticism to: "I think we were naive in the extreme" and "we defended extremely badly." He was, he said, "just glad to get away with losing by only six goals. Other than that, chaps, you can understand that I want to get home."

With that, he was off; although, in his defence, it could be argued that Souness had expended more energy in ascending four flights of stairs to meet the media than his team had done. Six of Everton's goals were scored without the hint of a defensive challenge.

For all the inventiveness of Barmby, the pace of Kanchelskis and the finishing prowess of Speed, who claimed the first hat-trick of a career that had stalled on unfulfilled promise, it was the industry of Tony Grant, in midfield for Everton, that epitomized the difference between the sides.

Slight rather than frail but tenacious in the tackle and precise with his passing, Grant, having turned 22 on Thursday, now turned Southampton on their heels. His part in the second goal typified his day: a tackle deep in his own half, a surging, selfless run, another tackle to dispossess Monkou, and a simple ball to Stuart who subsequently invited Kanchelskis to cut in and score.

Stuart, supplied by Barmby, had already punctured Southampton's confidence, and now the wheels fell off altogether as Woods was beaten five times in the opening 35 minutes, Speed getting two and Kanchelskis scoring with a rare header. After Ostenstad's wholly unexpected reply, Barmby slid in Everton's sixth in the second half before Speed headed Goodison into seventh heaven.

Those who can remember the Leeds United of Bremner and Giles playing keep-ball at The Dell would have appreciated Everton's mocking superiority of the closing stages, and, when the menacing figure of Duncan Ferguson, a substitute, patrolled the touchline in the second half, the implication was clear: there is more to come from Everton.

Barmby described it as: "The best team performance I have been involved in." Speed said: "All season we have been close to being a top side, but we have not finished teams off. Today, it all clicked." Neither was Joe Royle, the Everton manager, about to prick any bubbles. "We were brilliant, quite irresistible from first minute to last," he said in celebration of two years in charge at Goodison. "There have been times when expectancy has overtaken achievement here, but today you could see what has been happening."

Twenty-five years ago this week, Royle had scored four times in an 8-0 demolition of the same opponents, but it is inconceivable that the Southampton of that day caved in so apologetically. Liverpool will provide an all together different test of Everton's potential at Anfield on Wednesday.

Everton ecstasy in seven heaven

Derek Potter, Electronc Telegraph: EVERTON squandered enough chances yesterday to surpass a record 8-0 thrashing of Southampton at Goodison Park 25 years ago this week. Gary Speed completed a hat-trick with Everton's seventh goal in a desperately one-sided romp to delight their manager Joe Royle, who scored four of the famous eight.

Five goals in 22 minutes destroyed the team that humbled Manchester United just three weeks ago. So much for the form book.A minute's silence in memory of Tommy Lawton encouraged thoughts of games/goals ratios. The legendary England centre forward averaged 1.38 goals in his 95 peacetime games for Everton.

Today's man Duncan Ferguson signed for £4 million from Rangers almost two years ago, has claimed a goal every three of his 45 games in a disrupted two-year spell. But Everton could afford to start him on the bench as they wrecked Southampton's best run in 10 years of eight games without defeat.

A goal in 12 minutes was no less than the lethal Everton and the busy Graham Stuart deserved. Nick Barmby's low cross from the right sped past Andrei Kanchelskis and Everton's top scorer Stuart tapped in his fourth goal of the season from a yard out.

Stuart unselfishly set up the second for Kanchelskis after 22 energetic minutes as Southampton's defence again collapsed. Speed rewarded Barmby's passing accuracy, then added his second goal two minutes later with a stooping header after Kanchelskis and Barmby sliced through Southampton's defence with ease.

Kanchelskis claimed the fifth, converting a centre by Andy Hinchcliffe with the Saints' defence again brutally exposed.It was a goal-hunter's day. Egil Ostenstad scored in Southampton's first serious attack in the 40th minute and a shot by Jason Dodd bounced dangerously wide a minute later.

Paul Gerrard took over from the virtually unemployed Neville Southall at half-time to make his first appearance since his arrival from Oldham Athletic. Everton could have survived without a goalkeeper, so inept were the deluged visitors. Barmby chipped in with Everton's sixth in the 57th minute.

Report Copyright The Electronic Telegraph

Results and League Table

Monday, 18 November 1996

Trustfull(63) Carbone(85)

Sunday, 17 November 1996

DERBY COUNTY            2-1     MIDDLESBROUGH             17,350  
Asanovic(15) Ward(47)           Ravanelli(73)

Saturday, 16 November 1996

ASTON VILLA             1-3     LEICESTER CITY            36,193  
Yorke(15)                       Claridge(8) Parker(pen 43) Izzet(85)
BLACKBURN ROVERS        1-1     CHELSEA                   27,229  
Gallacher(56)                   Petrescu(82)
EVERTON                 7-1     SOUTHAMPTON               35,669  
Stuart(12) Kanchelskis(22,36)   Ostenstadt(40)
Speed(30,32,72) Barmby(57)
LEEDS UNITED            0-2     LIVERPOOL                 39,981  
                                Ruddock(13) McManaman(90)
MANCHESTER UNITED       1-0     ARSENAL                   55,210  
Winterburn(og 63)
NEWCASTLE UNITED        1-1     WEST HAM UNITED           36,552  
Beardsley(83)                   Rowland(23)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR       2-0     SUNDERLAND                31,867  
Sinton(13) Sheringham(82)
WIMBLEDON               2-2     COVENTRY CITY             10,307  
Earle(45) Gayle(54)             Whelan(56) Dublin(70)

Table after 18 November 1996

Club                   P      W    D    L     GF   GA        Pts
Newcastle United      13      9    1    3     24    14        28
Liverpool             12      8    2    2     22    11        26
Arsenal               13      7    4    2     24    11        25
Wimbledon             13      7    3    3     24    15        24
Chelsea               13      6    5    2     22    18        23
Manchester United     13      6    4    3     24    19        22
Tottenham Hotspur     13      6    2    5     14    11        20
Everton               12      5    4    3     19    13        19
Sheffield Wednesday   13      5    4    4     15    17        19
Aston Villa           13      5    3    5     16    14        18
Derby County          13      4    5    4     14    15        17
Leicester City        13      5    2    6     12    16        17
West Ham United       13      4    3    6     12    17        15
Southampton           13      3    4    6     22    24        13
Middlesbrough         13      3    4    6     18    23        13
Sunderland            13      3    4    6      9    16        13
Leeds United          13      4    1    8     11    20        13
Coventry City         13      1    7    5      7    17        10
Blackburn Rovers      13      1    5    7     11    17         8
Nottingham Forest     13      1    5    7     10    22         8

This League Table Update not provided by Lawrence "Leagueman" Breakey

This Match Report Compilation was prepared by Michael Kenrick for Marko Poutiainen. 2 Dec 1996.