Everton Logo Everton 3 - 1 Chelsea
Half-time: 1 - 1
Chelsea Logo
FA Carling Premiership 97/98 - Game 23
Sunday 18 January 1998
Goodison Park, Merseyside
Att: 32,355 - Live on Sky TV
« Crystal Palace (a) Ref: Alan Wilkie West Ham United (a) »
1997-98 Fixtures & Results League Position: 14th Premiership Results & Table
  GOALSCORERS Finale / Debuts
EVERTON: Speed (39), Ferguson (62), Duberry (og:83) Speed / Allen
Chelsea: Flo (37)
  LINEUPS Subs Not Used
EVERTON: Myhre, Allen, Short (88 Thomsen), Bilic, Tiler, Ball, Speed, Grant, Madar (71 Farrelly), Barmby, Ferguson.
Unavailable: Parkinson, Branch, Hinchcliffe, Watson, Ward, Williamson, McCann (injured); Thomas, Phelan (recovering); Southall, Barrett (on loan).
Gerrard, Oster, Cadamarteri,
Chelsea: De Goey, Petrescu, Leboeuf, Clarke, Lambourde, M Hughes, Duberry, Le Saux, Flo (Vialli 70), Sinclair (Gullit 74), Newton. Hitchcock, P Hughes, Nicholls.
  Yellow Cards Red Cards
Chelsea: Lambourde, M Hughes.

Michael Kenrick TV Report
Guy McEvoy Some days just can't get any better
Jenny Roberts From the very first kick... ??? NOT!!!
Richard Marland Getting better all the time

THE TIMES Chelsea lack staying power
by David Maddock

THE GUARDIAN Chelsea belief ebbs away
by Ian Ross
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Barmby industry helps Everton to build again
by William Johnson
SOCCERNET Link to SoccerNet Match Report
CARLINGNET Link to CarlingNet Match Report

TV Report
Michael Kenrick
A poor first-half performance by Everton gave little indication of the pride and passion that surfaced in the second half to swamp Chelsea in this widely televised Sky match.  Allen in particular looked nervous and hesitant on his full debut. Chelsea always looked confident and classy, running Everton ragged for much of the half, and exposing the gulf between top and bottom as Everton struggled to avoid playing scrappy relegation football.  

A goal from the visitors seemed inevitable, and Bilic's loss of possession in a forward position seemed ominous.  He did get back to regroup the defence while Chelsea moved the ball around, switching sides to a good leftside attack that resulted in a cross toward Flo forward of the penalty spot.  His initial header was blocked, but the ball bounced nicely for him, and Flo stabbed the opening goal well past Thomas Myhre. 

But Everton responded well.  Barmby, who was as ever running his heart out for Everton, was released down the right by an excellent pass from Grant and crossed brilliantly to the far post, where Madar could only head against Sinclair.  The ball bounced out toward Speed who slammed it in from the narrowest of angles to keep Everton in the hunt.

The second half saw Everton crank things up a few notches, and they started to look a more even match for Chelsea.  Madar had a couple of chances, one very luckily saved by de Goey's knee.  The resulting corner, on the hour, was swung in expertly by Barmby.  There was Ferguson, stooping behind the main target men to power a header past de Goey's foot on the goal line.  Goodison went wild.

The third goal involved some of the nicest football Everton have played in a long while.  Starting from their own area, Everton moved the ball forward in classy fashion, never losing possession through a series of 16 quality touches that were straight out of the School of Science textbook.  The only flaw was that the final touch came from Chelsea's Duberry, who could only toe-poke the ball past his own keeper and into the old onion bag.  A truely excellent goal.

Speed came close to what would have been a fabulous near-post goal, the ball flashing off the top of the post, and Everton could have won by 5-1 in the end.  A great victory!!!

Some days just can't get any better
Guy McEvoy
The message had been on the answer machine in the morning. At seven pounds thirteen ounces, my brand new nephew was briefly taking the mantle of the worlds newest Evertonian.

Now, I'd promised my Sister I'd be down there the moment he put in his appearance, but the selfish sod only chooses to pop out on the one day that not only do I have an Everton game to watch but I also have a Sunday league game to play in the evening. The beauty of answer-phone messages though is that folk don't know when you actually get them, so I figured I could make both footy games then pretend I'd still rushed down to see her the second I heard...

It was a cloudy, miserable day in Liverpool but the mood at Goodison was more upbeat than I could remember prior to a game for a long, long while. I wasn't as optimistic as some but, while I certainly wasn't sure we were going to win, it was good enough for me – for a change – to be starting a game not believing deep down that we were certain to loose. Everton are a team in form, Chelsea look a bit shaky of late. There was good reason for hope.

Chelsea had some significant absentees, notably Zola and Wise, but the only real surprise in the blues line-up was that Graham Allen was chosen at right back. Allen's last appearance for Everton, at Man United on Boxing Day was undoubtedly the worst single performance by an Everton right-back in the last two seasons, and god knows that beats off some competition. Yet despite that display he still got the nod ahead of John O'Connor. Why?

First Half

Anyway, the first half hour was so dull it is hardly worth writing about. I don't think there was a single shot from either team. True, we strung together some nice passes but like Chelsea our good stuff was nearly always curtailed with a shocking mis-pass before the ball was close enough to threaten. Yawn, Yawn.

Suddenly, as half time beckoned, Chelsea had the ball on the break, Allen was beaten, the ball was crossed, there was a scramble in the goal mouth as the ball broke to Tore Andre 'Cost Royle his job' Flo and bang, we're one-nil down.

The Everton I've been watching all season would lie down and die here. Then again, the Everton I've been watching all season has been missing two key things; shape and confidence. There can be no better demonstration of these recovered attributes than our reply to the goal. Grant to Barmby, Barmby to Madar, fluky save, loose ball, Gary Speed reacts first, one-all. It took us less that three minutes and from that point on Chelsea were out of the game.

Second Half

As a result, the second half was much better value for money. Both teams were trying the pass-and-move build-up with mixed success, and the only showings of the long-ball were from Chelsea (who disturbingly managed a number of sixty-yarders to feet). We'd had a few chances when Madar found himself in a one-on-one. It was his chance for glory, should've been a goal, but got saved.

In the event it didn't matter. The error was immediately erased from memory when from the resulting corner Chelsea completely forgot to mark Ferguson. If your that naive then you don't deserve anything else. Two-one. The atmosphere at Goodison really started to kick in. In my jubilance I just managed to notice Thomas Myhre running about on his own doing his nut with joy as if he'd scored the thing himself. I'm getting a lot of time for our Tommy.

Gullit and Vialli entered the game but made little impact. Everton's confidence was brimming and we continued to look likely to extend our lead. Kendall chose to consolidate things by bringing on Farrelly for a knackered looking Madar. Chelsea tried to push men up but this only gave us space to exploit.

Everything about the build up to the third goal was class. Barmby, who had been having a very good game up till now, suddenly decided to go up another gear into world class mode. Like the Bolton game he really came into his own towards the end as we sat on the lead. It was fitting that he started the key move, which included Bilic and Farrelly. If the build up was class then the finish was comical. Ferguson had a poor first touch but Duberry latched on with a shot the Scott would have been proud of. Three-one, Everton on a roll.

Nervous, glancing at the watch, I committed the cardinal sin of leaving three minutes early. I could tell from the ooos and aaahhs that we had some more chances but the cheer that marks a final whistle was thankfully distinctive enough in the distance. I got in the car, sped home (Liverpool to Lancaster in fifty two minutes) and made it to the flood-lit pitch just in time for kick off. Inspired, don't I only go and score the winning goal in my teams only league win so far this season! To the pub to celebrate, then back home to hear that answer-phone message 'for the first time honest guv'. An uncle, an Everton Victory and scoring a winning goal. Yup, some days just can't get any better.

Individual Efforts

  • Myhre 7 - largely a spectator, when called upon he was good enough. Seems to have forgotten about feeding the ball to the full backs though instead of just booting it. Great celebrations for the goals.
  • Ball 8 - Growing up fast. Very good footballing head on his shoulders. Not his position but has applied himself superbly. My biggest fear is that his obvious versatility will mean he ends up as a utility player (jack of all trades master of none) which is a curse to have ruined many talented players careers.
  • Tyler, Bilic, Short all 7 - Once again the centre backs worked well as a unit. It wouldn't be right to single one out. I did particularly enjoy one of Slav's sliding tackles near the street end though. That is the world beater I remember from the pre-season freindlies. More please Slav!
  • Allen 6 - Certainly not the disaster he was against Man Utd, but still to me looks out of his depth at the top level. Looked the weakest link at the back throughout.
  • Grant 6 - Made some absolute howlers in the first half. Gave the ball away shockingly and was nearly punished harshly with strong Chelsea counter-attacks twice. Nevertheless, his obvious creativity in picking the men out making runs rather than just the men hanging about in space remains crucial to our making chances. An asset despite his errors.
  • Speed 7 - Much better. Looked more like the Speed from last year. And a goal too.
  • Barmby 8 - Buzzing Particularly towards the end when he was magnificent. My man of the match.
  • Ferguson 8 - Another strong, composed, performance. A man in form, confident, and playing with pride.
  • Madar 7 - My first glimpse of him. Thought he did fine. More important than anything he gives the side balance and allows us to get the best out of both Barmby and Ferguson. Credit to Kendall where it is due. Does look like he could work on his fitness. A little sharper today and he certainly would've been on the scoresheet.
  • Farrelly 7 - Fine, did an important job once on.
  • Thomsen - Came on after I'd left the ground.

From the very first kick... ??? NOT!!!
Jenny Roberts
Everton showed that perhaps the league table is the wrong way up after all with a superb 3-1 victory over 3rd place Chelsea. The pre-match mood at Goodison was optimistic. Andy Gray, commentating for Sky, dared to walk around the pitch before kick-off, and was given a kind welcome from the Evertonians. However, when Peter Johnson was asked to present a promising Everton youngster with a trophy, he was not the recipient of a warm welcome, and not one single cheer was heard for him!

From the very first kick of the ball, it was obvious who deserved and who would gain the three points. Chelsea looked poor and unthreatening, almost as if they were the mediocre, hopeless side fighting for their league status. Everton, on the other hand, convincingly played the dominant role of a superior top three club. Ed de Goey is almost certainly a competitor for the "dodgiest keeper" award, along with those of David James' calibre. Each time Everton attacked, they looked as if they would score.

Unfortunately, the first team to do so on one of their first attacks was the visitors, ironically with their only shot of the entire game which tested Myhre. To worsen matters, the scorer was announced as Flo, the striker we once tried to sign. Surely we could fight back for an equalizer?

Fight is what we did, and unbelievably, after about two minutes (the two minutes was the unbelievable part - it had seemed like hours) Barmby crossed the ball, Madar's header was cleared off the line, and finally Speed stabbed the rebound in with all of the commitment of a true blue captain. Blood poured down his face, but he celebrated regardless. I knew from there that we were going to get three points- Nil Satis Nisi Optimum. Justice had been done - the better team were back in the game.

Some Chelsea fans behind us remarked that Kendall must have put something in the players' tea at half-time. I don't know what Kendall said or did, but whatever it was certainly gave them the confidence to come onto the pitch with the determination to claim all three points.

Chelsea rarely got a kick of the ball during the second half, and it was only a matter of minutes before Everton would take the lead. It came in the 62nd minute. Madar's shot was blocked by de Goey's leg. The resulting corner which was taken by Barmby punished Chelsea's defenders justly. An unmarked Ferguson hardly had to jump to head home the second.

Everton put pressure on Chelsea for the rest of the game. So many chances were not converted that we wondered if we would ever extend our lead. When Madar came off, Ferguson flicked the ball on for Barmby who was considered to be fractionally off-side, which meant that his goal, which was beautifully scored, did not count. Finally, in the 82nd minute, Ferguson forced Duberry into scoring a superb own goal.

Z Cars played at the final whistle, while players hugged each other and celebrated a victorious day.

Man of the Match: Gary Speed. His goal saved us and strengthened the team immensely. It has been late, but he is beginning to show the form that numerous other Premiership clubs are prepared to spend £6 M on. I though his performance was similar to that of Ferguson's at the Bolton game – an inspiration to his team-mates. He played like a true blue.

Getting better all the time
Richard Marland
It's becoming habit-forming, this winning lark – in fact I could get quite used to it. It certainly beats the losing habit we picked up in November that saw us plummet into the relegation zone. The other good habit we have picked up is the one of scoring goals.  From wondering where our next goal in open play will come from, we are now feasting on a regular diet of three goals per game. It's all heady stuff.

The team lined up with no surprises in either personnel or tactics. Tony Grant made it despite an injury scare; unfortunately Tony Thomas didn't which was unfortunate considering his recent contribution. Graham Allen got the right back berth and Mikael Madar was there for his home debut. For the record the line-up was Myhre in goal, a back five of Allen, Short, Bilic, Tiler and Ball, Grant and Speed in midfield with Barmby in the "hole" behind the front two of Dunc and Madar.

A sign of our improving fortunes was the bench – Gerrard, Thomsen, Farrelly, Cadamarteri and Oster, rather than just the five fittest players we could find. This looked a bench with some options – an experienced defender/midfielder in Thomsen, a midfield player in Farrelly and two pacy attacking players in Cadamarteri and Oster who could be thrown on to change things round if we were chasing the game.

First Half

The first half was a fairly poor affair. Our passing game was sadly lacking – even the normally reliable Grant was misplacing passes (putting us into real difficulties on one occasion). The result was that we were conceding possession far too readily. Chelsea were better at keeping the ball but lacked a cutting edge and so didn't really threaten the goal. They did however look like the most likely to score as they were able to make progress down both flanks.

Our left flank looked particularly vulnerable. This wasn't necessarily a problem with Ball, it was more a case of not getting support across to him quickly enough. Ball was basically marking Petrescu who, very cleverly kept on drifting inside with Ball following him leaving acres of space for their full back to advance into. Fortunately the delivery was rarely up to standard but the threat was always there.

Despite most of their play coming down our left flank their goal actually came down our right flank. It was almost inevitable that Joe Royle's nemesis Tore Andre Flo got the goal. Whatever you say about Joe Royle he was generally a pretty good judge of a footballer.

Oh dear, we all thought, this looks a bit dodgy. I was very concerned that this would settle Chelsea's nerves and that they would run out comfortable winners. Fortunately within minutes of the goal we were back on level terms with Grant and Barmby producing a bit of magic between them. Grant put Barmby through into the box with a great pass, Barmby crossed to the far post where Madar's header was blocked on the line and Speed was on hand to force the ball in from an acute angle.

Second Half

We improved in the second half, the problem down the flanks appeared to be addressed by getting quick support out there. Numerous times Le Boeuf sprayed accurate passes to his full backs standing in space in our half, this time though we were very quick to close them down and to cut off the danger.

Our passing also improved without getting especially good, and we began to look dangerous on the attack. Madar should have scored when put clean through, he was denied by an excellent De Goey save but in all reality De Goey shouldn't have been given the opportunity to save. The miss wasn't too critical as we scored from the resulting corner. Bilic went for it first but missed it and the unmarked Ferguson came in to stoop and head the ball into the net. Quite how Chelsea managed to leave Ferguson unmarked on the edge of the six yard box defeats me.

Despite the lead and our more confident play I didn't feel totally at ease. We seemed to defend deeper and deeper, Chelsea struggled to make any impression on us, but defending too deeply for too long I reckon is always asking for trouble. Fortunately that trouble never came as we extended our lead when Duberry put into his own net. He and Dunc chased a ball into the area and Duberry despatched an excellent shot past De Goey.

That was game over. We came close to putting the score into the realms of fantasy with some late chances – Gary Speed hitting the woodwork. But that would have been unduly flattering and would have given a false picture of our performance. As it was I thought that 3-1 flattered us somewhat. This wasn't an especially good Everton performance. Once again we didn't really click as a team but when the likes of Barmby and Ferguson are playing so well and others like Grant are throwing in important contributions we always seem likely to score goals. Who thought we'd be saying that back in November and early December.

  • Myhre 7 Don't think he had a save to make. Continues to impress with his air of authority.
  • Allen 6 Struggled somewhat but still showed enough defensively and in terms of comfort on the ball to suggest that he has something to offer.
  • Short 7 Yet another impressive performance.
  • Bilic 7 A timely reminder of the man's qualities. I was pleased by his desire to take the ball from Myhre and starting off our forward movements. It didn't always work out, but at least the desire was there.
  • Tiler 7 Continues to impress.
  • Ball 7 Struggled a bit in the first half but I think that was a tactical thing as much as anything.
  • Grant 7 Lots of stray, careless passes, but this was more than outweighed by his positive contributions. He was at the heart of all our good passing movements (and there were a number of them). It's almost as if he is orchestrating the whole thing, making himself available (which he always does) and indicating to his team mates where he wants them. He makes a huge difference to the whole balance of the side.
  • Speed 7 Possibly his best performance of the season. This is probably related to the prescence of Tony Grant as it gives Speed more freedom to play in a more left sided, and more advanced role.
  • Barmby 8 Another outstanding display of endeavour and skill. The way he links with Grant is almost intuitive.
  • Ferguson 8 On the best run of sustained form of his Everton career. Currently doing everything that you could ask of a centre forward. My man of the match.
  • Madar 7 Not exactly sparkling but still showed us his qualities. Has a good touch, is reasonably quick, good in the air and got himself into at least two excellent scoring opportunities.
  • Farrelly 6 Came on in the second half for Madar. Didn't do anything wrong and produced a couple of very good passes.
  • Thomsen Came on very late for Short. He may not have even touched the ball.

Team 7 Overall this was still a team performance that didn't hit the heights. However, there was still plenty to admire and I do believe that we are getting better, looking relatively secure at the back and starting to carry some threat in attack. Coming back from conceding a goal shows the benefits of being on a good run and the belief that is starting to develop within the team.

Chelsea lack staying power
by David Maddock, The Times
IT WAS as if Chelsea had fulfilled a prophesy. Trooping off the team coach before this match, they had passed a man, drenched by the persistent rain, raising aloft a banner that proclaimed: "God is the only true hope."

It is hard to say whether he had a religious passion, or merely an uncanny insight into the game of football. Chelsea entered Goodison Park still grasping at the hope of clawing back Manchester United's lead in the FA Carling Premiership. After an ultimately crushing defeat by Everton, they surely now need divine intervention.

It was an important victory for the home side, which took them up to thirteenth place and eased the fear of relegation that has hung around Goodison Park all season like a malevolent spirit.

Of more significance, however, is Chelsea's suicidal tendency in matches they desperately need to win. How many times will they drag themselves into contention only to drop points that were theirs for the taking? The answer, sadly, is not too many more, because a ten-point deficit, should Manchester United win away to Southampton this evening, looks an impossible gap to bridge.

Ruud Gullit, the Chelsea player-manager, has shaped an attractive side capable of taking apart any opposition when the mood takes them, as it did during the first half yesterday. But equally, they are capable of performing as they did after the interval, which was woefully.

It left Gullit in reflective mood. "It's a lot now to ask us to catch Manchester United but, if we play like this, we don't deserve to be up there," he said. "We started so well in the first half, but in the second we again did ourselves harm by the way we played.

"It was sloppy, we gave the ball away too much and that gave Everton confidence. If we are going to pass so poorly, we need to be solid and we weren't. We have come a long way in a short space and maybe we have players who can't handle the pressure of having to win every week that this situation demands."

Chelsea dominated the first half, took the lead and looked in control. Only then did they engineer their own downfall, suggesting that Gullit is correct in saying that his side are not yet ready to handle the pressures of challenging for the title.

It had all looked so promising early on. Sinclair, charging forward, had crafted one chance that Flo was inches away from converting. Then Sinclair, himself, shot weakly when well placed. That early promise was soon rewarded, though.

The opening goal came after 37 minutes when Lambourde, with a canny pass, put Clarke inside the full back on the left. The Chelsea captain crossed for Flo to turn in the penalty area and, even though he momentarily lost the ball, he was allowed sufficient time to regain his balance and shoot home.

Within two minutes, though, Everton were level, and that tipped the balance of the match. It was a scrappy goal that had Gullit pulling his dreadlocks out. "They were all sloppy goals, but that just handed them the initiative," he said. It was Speed who provided the finishing touch, but Barmby crafted it. The little forward has been born again in a midfield role and he was magnificent all afternoon – probing and pushing with his slide-rule passing.

He accepted a good ball from Grant on the right of the box and crossed to the far post, where Madar met the ball with a powerful header. It was blocked by Sinclair, but Speed squeezed a shot through the narrowest of gaps.

Ferguson's goal, which gave Everton the lead after 62 minutes, was a perfect illustration of the weakness that has persistently undermined Chelsea's title challenge this season. They are as sleek as a Ferrari going forward, but take a peek at what underpins this team and it is the suspension of a Lada. The defence simply fails to provide an adequate foundation on which to build their, at times, exquisite attacking momentum. It was Ferguson, in particular, who exposed the frailty of the back line with an aggression to match his oversize frame.

He had roughed them up all afternoon, delighting in the torment of Duberry, who looked a little like one of those fresh-faced kids getting his first game in the local Sunday league. A look of terror settled on the defender's face early on and never really disappeared.

The Everton forward's methods rarely appear lawful, but he was allowed to slug away at his markers all afternoon and, by the end, Duberry was out on the ropes, punch-drunk. Not only did he allow the Scotland striker to score Everton's second goal, but he then conceded a comical own goal.

Everton had hinted at danger a minute before their second goal, when Madar broke free only to see his shot well saved. From the resultant corner, Ferguson headed home, completely unchallenged, from five yards out.

Ferguson, like Zola for Chelsea, had suffered with a stomach bug before the match and was extremely doubtful even an hour before the kick-off. Unlike Zola, however, he refused to succumb.

Howard Kendall, the Everton manager, said: "Duncan came in this morning and said that he wasn't up to it because he was feeling ill, but we left it as late as possible and, an hour before the kick-off, decided to play him. It was his decision, he really wanted to give it a go and I have got to pay a special tribute to him because he was absolutely outstanding."

Chelsea's embarrassment was complete when Ferguson lost control of the ball in the opposition's penalty area, but menaced poor Duberry to such an extent that the defender sliced his frantic clearance into the bottom corner of the net. A fitting end, one suspects, to a challenge that has become increasingly flawed.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

Chelsea belief ebbs away
by Ian Ross , The Guardian
It is generally accepted that, on a miserable, unappealing afternoon such as this, Chelsea's title credentials will either be reaffirmed or exposed as of rather dubious substance.

The suspicion has always been that any team who are stuffed to the gills with foreign players will hardly relish the prospect of standing toe to toe with a bunch of desperate northerners when the wind is blowing and the rain is cascading down.

This, possibly, was a suitable occasion to trot out those cliches about northern grit and southern softies, the argument spanning generations and dividing a nation.

Yesterday, Everton's spirit carried them to a fourth win in five Premiership games. Chelsea's lack of spirit condemned them to a seventh league defeat. End of story.

Chelsea's manager Ruud Gullit was angry and he had every right to be.

"We were sloppy and you can't be like that at this level," he said. "Good teams don't give things away, but we did today. Everton deserved to win the game and now, in terms of the championship, we have a lot to do.

"Chelsea has made some giant steps forward in a short period and maybe I ask a little bit too much of my players sometimes."

Yet Chelsea could have won as comfortably as they eventually lost. Everton often threatened to extend the traditional scouse hospitality way beyond acceptability. So generous were they, particularly in a dour first half, that Chelsea were not required to add diligence to technique. They simply waited for possession to be presented to them.

Everton's midfield began to resemble a soup kitchen, happily doling out sustenance to any Chelsea player with that needy look. That Chelsea did not profit, or even shape to take full advantage, was mystifying, for Everton could barely conceal the fact that they were there for the taking. It was an unforgivable timidity which Gullit's men were ultimately to regret.

This was a poor game in poor conditions, an afternoon which did not boast a shot until the 32nd minute when Everton's Tony Grant struck an advertising hoarding, and one which did not yield a genuine chance until Chelsea deservedly moved in front eight minutes before half-time.

The build-up to the goal represented such a shining beacon in the thickening gloom that even the Everton faithful must have been tempted to applaud. The execution, though, was messy. Steve Clarke's cross from the left prompted panic and although Tore Andre Flo's initial effort was blocked by Carl Tiler, he displayed the presence of mind to push home at the second attempt.

The goal will have brought a wry smile to the lips of at least one man steeped in the Everton tradition. Joe Royle's managerial reign at Goodison Park ended last March after his request to buy Flo from the Norwegian club Brann Bergen fell on deaf ears. Royle's authority had been undermined and he quit. Flo promptly opted for a slightly different shade of blue and, of course, he succeeded in proving a point yesterday.

Astonishingly, Chelsea's lead was to last barely three minutes. Again it was an untidy affair, Gary Speed turning the ball in from an unsympathetic angle as the French forward Mickael Madar protested furiously that his header had been prevented from crossing the line by Frank Sinclair's outstretched arm.

Thereafter Chelsea continued to hold both sway and much of the possession but, significantly, the better of the opportunities were beginning to fall to Everton feet. Duncan Ferguson and Madar were to be denied by rather fortunate deflections before Chelsea's resolve – as Gullit later conceded – began to weaken.

Just after the hour Ferguson threaded through a crowded penalty area to reach Nick Barmby's corner and send home a firm header. It was a telling blow from which Chelsea were never to recover.

Even so, it took a bizarre own-goal by Michael Duberry with only seven minutes remaining – a swerving drive into the far corner – to confirm this was to be Everton's day – they rose three places to 13th – and, quite possibly, not Chelsea's season.

Report © The Guardian

Barmby industry helps Everton to build again
William Johnson, Electronic Telegraph
SEVEN defeats is normally regarded as the maximum aspiring championship- winning teams can suffer in a season. Chelsea reached that figure barely a fortnight into the New Year to add further weight to the overwhelming belief the title will not be leaving Old Trafford.

Like Blackburn a week ago, Chelsea gave Alex Ferguson and his Manchester United players a pleasant Sunday afternoon's viewing by failing to increase the pressure on the champions. They allowed a determined Everton to hit back from the deflation of Tore Andre Flo's opening goal to run out deserved winners.

It may prove to be a significant afternoon in a difficult campaign for the Merseysiders. The signs recently were that Howard Kendall's astute guidance was beginning to reap dividends. This victory, and the manner of its achievement, brings genuine optimism that relegation can be staved off.

A rousing second half, which Everton dominated against unimaginative visitors deprived of the services of the injured Dennis Wise, the indisposed Gianfranco Zola and the suspended Roberto Di Matteo, enabled a committed Goodison crowd to forget a dreadful opening half-hour.

There had not been a semblance of a chance at either end before Flo, whose failure to sign for Everton last year led to the acrimonious departure of manager Joe Royle, further irritated the Merseysiders by plundering his ninth goal of the season.

The gangling striker reacted quicker than his marker, Carl Tiler, when both failed to get a head to Steve Clarke's teasing cross on the run, and he welcomed the simple opportunity to shoot past Norwegian compatriot Thomas Myhre.

Judging by what little Everton had created before that 37th-minute reverse, it seemed Chelsea would routinely regain second place in the title race. But the match was transformed in the ensuing 90 seconds, Everton growing immeasurably in confidence and Chelsea looking less sure of themselves.

The turning point was Nick Barmby's incisive run behind the Chelsea defence – one of many by the former England player, who turned in one of his most impressive displays in an Everton shirt – to deliver a cross which Mikael Madar headed against Frank Sinclair. Gary Speed, considered a week ago to be on his way to either Newcastle or Sheffield Wednesday, was alert to steer in the loose ball from a difficult angle.

"It was a sloppy goal to give away," said Ruud Gullit, the Chelsea manager, who was severe in his criticism of his team's tendency to surrender possession, calling them, among other things, "childish".

Gullit, who expressed his surprise that Everton continue to struggle at the wrong end of the table, conceded that Kendall's men deserved three more precious points. "If they keep playing like that they won't have a problem," he said.

The crucial second goal came from the head of Duncan Ferguson, the fifth time in the last three League matches it has been used to telling effect. The Scottish striker punished Chelsea for allowing him an unopposed run at a Barmby corner, which was earned by Madar forcing the best save of the match from Ed De Goey.

Ferguson had arrived yesterday morning suffering from a stomach bug, evidently not as debilitating as the one which prevented Zola from playing. "It was a tremendous effort for him to turn out for us," said a grateful Kendall. "He deserved great credit for his efforts."

Ferguson should have extended his purple patch to six goals in three games when he again eluded the Chelsea defenders to take substitute Gareth Farrelly's clever pass eight minutes from time. This time he lacked control but Michael Duberry, desperately trying to recover the lost couple of yards, could only ram an unstoppable shot into his own net.

Everton could then afford to relax but they commendably kept going forward against dispirited opponents who had been restricted to a couple of headers from the disappointing Mark Hughes and a fierce shot across the face of goal by Gianluca Vialli, who looked as lively as anybody when Gullit finally released him from the substitutes' bench.

The margin would have been more embarrassing for Chelsea if Ferguson, having risen to an enormous height to reach Barmby's cross, had headed anywhere else than straight into De Goey's midriff, or had Speed shot inches lower when clipping the crossbar from yet another piece of Barmby's industry.

Report © The Electronic Telegraph

RESULTS  (Game 23)
Tuesday 20 January 1998

Monday 19 January 1998

Sunday 18 January 1998
EVERTON               3-1    CHELSEA
Speed(39) Ferguson(62)       Flo (37)

Saturday 17 January 1998
BARNSLEY              1-0    CRYSTAL PALACE   
Sherwood(21) Gallacher(29,54,68) Ripley(81)
COVENTRY CITY         2-2    ARSENAL   
Whelan(21) Dublin(pen:66)    Bergkamp(50) Anelka(57)
Pembridge(og:63)             Newsome(51) Booth(83)

Barnes(6) Ketsbaia(90)       Blake(72)
WIMBLEDON             0-0    DERBY COUNTY

LEAGUE TABLE (after 20 January 1998 )
Club                          P    W    D    L   GF   GA   GD   Pts
Manchester United            23   15    4    4   51   17   34   49
Blackburn Rovers             23   12    8    3   44   24   20   44
Liverpool                    23   13    5    5   39   19   20   44
Chelsea                      23   13    3    7   50   25   25   42
Arsenal                      22   10    8    4   39   26   13   38
Derby County                 23   10    6    7   37   29    8   36
Leeds United                 23   10    5    8   32   27    5   35
West Ham United              23   11    1   11   34   33    1   34
Leicester City               23    7    9    7   26   22    4   30
Newcastle United             23    8    5   10   24   29   -5   29
Sheffield Wednesday          23    8    5   10   36   46  -10   29
Southampton                  23    8    4   11   26   30   -4   28
Aston Villa                  23    7    6   10   26   33   -7   27
Everton                      23    7    5   11   26   33   -7   26
Wimbledon                    22    6    7    9   21   26   -5   25
Coventry City                23    5    9    9   23   33  -10   24
Crystal Palace               23    5    8   10   21   32  -11   23
Tottenham Hotspur            23    6    5   12   20   39  -19   23
Bolton Wanderers             23    4   10    9   20   35  -15   22
Barnsley                     23    6    3   14   20   57  -37   21

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© Michael Kenrick 1998
Last updated: 19 Jan 98