Everton Logo Everton 1 - 2 Derby County
Half-time:  0 - 1
Derby County Logo
FA Carling Premiership 97/98 - Game 26
Saturday 14 February 1998
Goodison Park, Merseyside
Att: 34,876
Barnsley (a) Ref: Steve Dunn Liverpool (a) 
1997-98 Fixtures & Results League Position: 16th Premiership Results & Table
MATCH FACTS
  GOALSCORERS Debuts
EVERTON: Thomsen (85)
Derby County: Stimac (20), Wanchope (50)
  LINEUPS Subs Not Used
EVERTON: Myhre, Thomas, Short (81 Bilic), Watson, Tiler, Ball, Farrelly, Grant (38 Thomsen), Oster, Madar (14 Cadamarteri), Ferguson (16 Sent Off!)
Unavailable: Parkinson, Branch, McCann, Barmby (injured); Southall, Barrett, O'Connor (on loan).
Gerrard, Allen.
Derby County: (4-4-2) Poom, Rowett, C Powell, Stimac, Sturridge, Wanchope, Delap, Willems (D Powell, 72), Carsley, Eranio, Dailly. Hoult, Bridge-Wilkinson, Elliot, Kozluk.
  Yellow Cards Red Cards
EVERTON: None. Ferguson (16)
Derby County: D Powell, Eranio, Stimac.

 
MATCH REPORTS
REPORTS BY EVERTON FANS
Guy McEvoy 16 mins: Game Over.
Mark Garrity Dunn – well and truly!
Jenny Roberts When shooting just ain't good enough
NEWSPAPER REPORTS
THE SUNDAY TIMES Ferguson's dismissal sinks sorry Everton
by Adam Parsons
THE TIMES Everton pay for Ferguson's folly
by Nick Szczepanik
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Ferguson sent off as Derby target Europe
by Derek Potter
OTHER INTERNET REPORTS
SOCCERNET Link to SoccerNet Match Report
CARLINGNET Link to CarlingNet Match Report

 
16 mins: Game Over.
Guy McEvoy
 
Valentines Day. You've got to spend it with the love of your life haven't you? So, I kissed the girl goodbye and headed off to be with my Everton.

There was a good crowd at Goodison, and a 'feel-good' atmosphere prior to the game. This was bolstered by the award to Howard Kendall of the January Manager of the Month award. It served as a reminder to us all of how quickly in football things can change. This was a lesson about to be brutally reinforced as the afternoon progressed.

The injury to Barmby and returns of Bilic and Tiler had led to a lot of speculation about the starting line-up. For Barmby some thought Cadamarteri would be given the nod, others said it would be Thomsen. There seemed a general consensus that knowing Kendall he would never be of a mind to stick both Oster and Grant in the same team. With regard the centre-back situation, some thought Watson would make way, some thought Tiler wouldn't get on, no-one seemed in any doubt that Bilic would be playing.

Howard though can still surprise, so Oster started the game whilst Bilic stayed on the bench.

First Half

The match started off all to the good. Both teams passed the ball about, both teams made half chances, but in the earliest of stages Everton looked the more convincing. There was a buzz of self-belief about us. When Madar made way early on with an abdomen injury in seemed unfortunate but inconsequential. We had faith in Cadamarteri as a replacement. Everton pressed on.

A build up. A ball into the box. Ferguson backs into is marker. His marker wraps himself around the Scot. 'Penalty!' Yell 30,000 Evertonians. The referee who hasn't seen the incident turns his head in reaction to the shout. The timing was awful. The ref turned just as Ferguson lashed out at Wanchope. That was the only part of the entire incident that the referee saw and I knew what he was going to do about it. Wanchope had gone down like a sack of spuds. In one millisecond I'd expected us to land a penalty within the next I was resigned to us loosing our captain. Red card. Sixteen minutes on the clock. Serious bad news. As a spectacle the game was already ruined, now it was just a matter of forgetting being pretty and trying to eek out a result.

Derby though immediately raised their game to take advantage of the extra man. A corner came through, somehow it slipped to the back post, it was a tight angle but the ball came in hard. Too hard. It went straight through a flabbergasted Myhre's hands. One-nil.

The travesty of a half continued to take its toll. This time the hard-working Grant slid in well for a successful crunching tackle. He stood up and limped slightly. The game continued but Grant just kept on limping around. It was painful to watch him try to go on. The crowd was yelling at him to get treatment but he just kept hobbling around. When the ball came to him he realised all he could do was release it immediately. He was crocked. Cue the legendary Clause Thomsen.

In the space of 45 minutes we had lost three of the four players whose personnel contributions had looked to turn Everton's season round of late (the other player in that list is Barmby who is already out). The half had simply been a disaster.

Just to rub salt in it, Craig Short received a tremendous long ball to spring the off-side trap, controlled it Ian Wright-style, raced into the box and just forgot to shoot. Instead the centre-half in him got the better and he held it up for Cadamarteri but by then Derby where back in numbers.

At half time we (the suffering fans) mulled over the options open. It was obvious that using the width afforded by the wingbacks wasn't going to be fruitful given the height of Cadamarteri but what on earth else could Kendall do? We had Bilic and Allen left on the bench. The permutations of who could play elsewhere to get another formation were depressingly low. There was nothing else for it. It was a case of 'as you were' with Craig Short shoved forward.

Second Half

We needed a quick goal after the break but it didn't come nor in all honesty did it threaten to. Derby instead extended their lead. The bitter pill to swallow was that the scorer was none other than Wanchope himself. He'd been booed with every single touch of the ball throughout the game and rather than put him off he seemed to revel in it.

The game had an unpleasant atmosphere since Ferguson's sending off but by midway through the second half it had real bite with a number of off the ball tussles. Craig Short saw the rough end of Sturridge when he'd powered in to meet a long ball and nearly crippled the keeper who'd already smothered it in his enthusiasm. Sturridge reacted with a push but the referee chose not to punish this indiscretion.

Bilic came on to replace Short towards the end, but time – too much time – had passed. We got the late consolation after a fine over-head kick by Thomsen took a deflection which saw it into the net. It gave us a frantic last five minutes where Goodison started to buzz but it proved too late. In truth, this game had been finished in the sixteenth minute.

It was impossible not to leave the game feeling thoroughly depressed. Ferguson is going to miss at least three games now, goodness knows about Grant or Madar. Spurs caught up another point on us. We're once again looking over our shoulders.

Individual Efforts

  • Mhyre 7 - One blinding save, but let himself down with the first goal.
  • Thomas 6 - Not overly impressed today.
  • Watson 6 - His experience should've shone like a beacon in this sort of situation but he didn't seem to mix himself in it.
  • Short 8 - Man of the match. No striker, but given our situation gave us the effort and the mucking in that was required.
  • Tiler 7 - Fine.
  • Ball 7 - Another competent, mature performance. Amongst the youngsters this is the one with by far the oldest head on his shoulders.
  • Oster 6 - Much better in the first half than the second when he faded.
  • Grant 7 - Before his injury, as always, he looked by far the most creative man in blue.
  • Farrelly 6 - Mr 'Adequate'.
  • Madar - injured early.
  • Ferguson 5 - Had played well, but whether it should have been a penalty or not (and it should!), I know what I saw, and it was individual lunacy and recklessness. Grow up Duncan – we need you.
  • Cadamarteri 6 - Too much to expect him to handle the lone striker tag.
  • Thomsen 6 - Largely ineffective but must take good credit for the goal.
  • Bilic 6 - Didn't really end up seeing much of him.

 
Dunn – well and truly!
Mark Garrity
 
The sending off

With Wanchope hanging round his neck, Dunc may well have made contact with his elbow but it was clearly a case of shrugging a marker off. Wanchope predictably went down like he had been shot, – if Dunc had of intended to do anything other than shrug him off then I suspect he would not have got back up. A bit of a football-style barney ensued involving Dunc and a number of Derby players hell bent on one thing only, getting the big fella sent off. Dunn, miles away from the incident, had his hand in his pocket long before he reached the scene.

If you think that getting Dunc was not their intention then you should cast your mind back to the fixture at Pride Park. At every set piece a Derby player most notably Carsley had a kick or a pop at Bilic. The intention clearly to get a reaction from it.

Jenny was absolutely right in saying that we should have had a penalty. But then again having just watched the Gooners and Palace, maybe the FA have changed the rules. (Bodenham – he of the conact lens incident).

The ref

However, worse was to come from Dunn: after allowing continuous time wasting by Derby, a bloke behind me stop-watched Poom on about average he took 26 seconds to take a goal kick. Which went unpunished.

Then in the closing minutes of the game Poom challenging for a cross with Thomsen, punched one-fisted and cynically took out Claus, leaving him prone on the floor. Poom knew what he was doing, he took the player out with his punch. It should have resulted in at least a penalty and a yellow card if not red. Dunn waved the play on with Thomsen prostrate with a head injury, not allowing any attention until the game stopped itself minutes later.

One day, a referee is going to find himself on the end of a massive lawsuit, with the FA washing their hands of the incident and then pointing to the head-injury directive.

The goals

Yes both goals we conceded followed from statue-like defending. People will no doubt point a finger at Tommy for the first one. Stimac given a free header at the far post bulleted one seemingly through Tommy's hands. We defended badly as a team for Wanchope's goal.

Save of the season

Before the hawks start circling, I hope you will think about the second-half save Tommy made at the feet of a Derby player (can't recall who). Surrounded by bodies, Tommy came off his line and dived right in, stopping an attempted shot at point blank range. Not only stopping the shot from coming in as the Derby man turned on the ball but pushing the ball away out of the danger zone. The best save I have seen at GP this season, although not as dramatic as the save against Bolton, just brilliant in its own way.

Overall

With ten men we never looked like winning, especially after losing Grant and Madar. A point would have been a fair result. Short stood out with Dunc off the pitch he took the battle too his former club. Tiler immaculate as ever. Ball a superb game again. Danny had his toughest test since the game at Newcastle and ran all day despite the repeated assaults by Stimac and Carsley. Oster suffered the same treatment but went under. Thomsen always looked the most likely to score and got stuck in quite a bit, he's done okay lately.

We need to put this one behind us and try to keep the positive mood going.


 
When shooting just ain't good enough
Jenny Roberts
 
This game saw what is surely the worst display of refereeing ever witnessed at a football match. Before kick-off, Howard Kendall was presented with his thoroughly deserved Manager of the Month trophy (and a bottle of champagne). The Evertonians gave him a standing ovation, and Gwladys Street broke into a chorus of "There's only one Howard Kendall."

Everton started brightly, winning corners and showing exactly why we had not been beaten in 1998. The corners came ever closer to connecting with Big Dunc's head, despite the fact that he was pushed and his shirt was constantly tugged by two Derby defenders. We were all confident that we would see him adding to his goal tally again, and that as the game progressed, he would command the team to a huge win over this mediocre opposition. I have no idea how they can be so high in the league.

The surprise inclusion of Oster in the starting line-up appeared to be an excellent decision by Howard Kendall – he worked really hard on the wing to supply Duncan, and was inspired. At one stage, he wove in and out amongst several Derby defenders, who stood amazed that such a short, thin, angelic-looking player could display such trickery and awareness. Unfortunately, the final ball let him down, and he tried to cross it despite being in an excellent scoring position.

Within about 10 minutes of the kick-off, Madar had been injured. He staggered off the pitch, obviously suffering intense pain in his back. This was merely the first of numerous ferocious, crunching, career-threatening Derby tackles to go unnoticed by the referee. Everton won a corner, and Duncan called Madar back onto the pitch. He tried to continue, but was substituted for Cadamarteri a few minutes later. This was extremely unfortunate – two in-form attacking players, Barmby and Madar were injured. However, I remembered the matches in which the partnership between Cadamarteri and Ferguson had flourished, in particular the October derby game.

Cadamarteri has not figured in a first team fixture since he got a bang on his hip, and it seemed as though he was still not fully fit. But surely with the inspirational Ferguson in the side, he would play well. Tragically, Cadamarteri played only about two minutes with Duncan. I think it was John Oster who crossed the ball. Tiler headed it on for Ferguson, who was in a goal-scoring position, and he would have scored, if Wanchope had not pulled his shirt back.

It was such an obvious penalty that Ferguson grew frustrated with Wanchope. He tore his arm away from Wanchope, who fell to the ground and rolled about very unconvincingly, holding his face. I strained to see in Gwladys Street. I had heard the whistle go, and was trying to find a good position to watch the penalty from. My sister, a Red who hates Ferguson immensely, said to me "It's red." Great! I thought, red for Wanchope, the cheat. But then, to my utmost horror, I realised that it was FERGUSON who was leaving the pitch.

FERGUSON was throwing his armband to Watson. The very same Ferguson whose behaviour on the pitch has been impeccable throughout the season. I could not believe it. I thought that referees had finally started to give our captain the benefit of the doubt. Evidently, this is not so. Just because of one dubious incident at a former club, Duncan is discriminated against on a permanent basis. Don't believe for one instant that this was an isolated bad decision. Countless errors that were almost comical followed.

My overall point is that the referee should never, never, never send off a player for an incident which he has only seen the aftermath of. He should have been severely yelled at by the ref, reminded of his influential position as captain, and have been shown at the most, a yellow card from the referee. But I'm certain that not even Steve Dunn himself can justify Ferguson's dismissal.

From my vantage point Wanchope deliberately held Ferguson back from a clear goal-scoring position. Ferguson naturally lashed out with the sole intention of freeing himself from Wanchope's vice-like grip. It was inevitable that contact would be made. Then to add insult to injury, Wanchope hit the deck and writhed in agony clutching his face. How many times have we seen this tactic? Of course, it's Ferguson the famous Head Butter, so if you are close enough to make contact, fall down and clutch your face.

At this point, the referee was still running in to the situation. Two Derby players immediately surrounded Duncan and jostled him before being pulled off by other players. Only then did the referee produce his card. If the referee was in complete control of the game then surely he would have been present at the time of the incident and not allowed the further involvement of trouble-seeking Derby players. In my opinion, Wanchope was guilty of two bookable offences:

  1. He prevented Ferguson from scoring.
  2. He feigned injury in a cunning plot to divert the referee's attention from the previous incident.

Therefore, having committed two bookable offences, Wanchope should have been dismissed. After all, we saw Clemence (Spurs) dismissed in their Cup match against Barnsley for "cheating" with a penalty-box dive.

If any Duncan critics remain, then they should have seen how the players performed without the passionate commitment of Ferguson. As soon as Ferguson left the pitch, I felt that the players could never win the fixture (and I'm an optimist). There was no shape to the side, no front line, and definitely no tall man to cross the ball for. Cadamarteri tried to get forward, but he is too short to capitalise on crosses.

The John Oster who had started explosively was now becoming the John Oster that we don't like to watch – the frustrated, practically ineffective one. However, he certainly looked dangerous up until the departure of his captain, and troubled the defence when he had both Madar and Ferguson to feed. He even took some corners, which were pretty good (although he's no Andy Hinchcliffe yet). His confidence went down the tunnel with Ferguson.

Then again, the entire team's confidence accompanied the captain off the pitch. The team sorely missed the presence of Ferguson, and I wanted Kendall to bring Gerrard on, and to put the tallest player on the pitch – Thomas Myhre – up front! When Duncan was on the pitch, there was this great atmosphere, Derby would never score against us. But, as he wasn't on the pitch, Derby only needed one attack to score. Myhre was unfortunate not to save the shot. He was obviously distraught with the sending off of Ferguson – he always goes crazy whenever he scores. Perhaps distracted by this, Stimac's shot which would otherwise have been kept out, slipped through his hands, an unusual and upsetting mistake.

At half-time, all that anyone was talking about was the ridiculous sending off. We briefly diverted our attentions to Tranmere, in the vain hope that they were 0-0, or even beating, Judas' new team. However, they too were 1-0 down.

A few minutes after the game re-commenced, Wanchope, who had been constantly (and deservedly) jeered at by every Evertonian in the ground, managed to score at the far post where he was unmarked. There were still 40 minutes to go, and I hoped that we could get a consolation goal.

Mid-way through the second half, Everton embarked on their first really confident attack since the sending off. I didn't see who got the final touch, but everyone in Gwladys around me saw the net move. 2-1! Yes! We all started to cheer, but then we realised that Park End wasn't cheering. The ball must have gone wide, and hit the side netting, because Poom was getting ready to begin the tedious five minute long ritual, which is more commonly known as the goal kick. He should have been booked for time wasting, I am certain that if Myhre had taken half as long as Poom to take the kick, that he would have instantaneously followed Duncan down the tunnel.

The most amusing incident of the match came when the linesman on the Bullens Road line went to wave his flag, and did a double take. He realised that the flag had fallen off, and he was left waving this pathetic stick! He was so alert and sharp that it took him around five minutes to realise. A witty Evertonian a few rows behind me yelled "You're waving your f***ing magic wand!" It was so unbelievably funny that I was actually crying with laughter. The crowd roared each time that he tried to run back to where the flag lay, only to notice that the play was moving back to Park End. Eventually, the reserve official ran over to him with a replacement flag, but that is certainly the funniest incident I have ever seen (and probably ever will see) at a football match.

The atmosphere was suffering, and one member of the band to my left stood up and began to bash out a beat on the drum very loudly. The crowd joined in, and this helped to contribute to the players' confidence considerably.

In the 85th minute, a small slice of consolation came from none other than the Dane who has been the subject of criticism from Evertonians (including myself) ever since he came to the club. Michael Ball took a long throw-in, Slaven Bilic nodded it down, and it came to Thomsen, who took an ambitious overhead kick. It deflected off a defender and off Poom into the goal, but despite the deflections, it had that edge of class to it. If I had known that Thomsen could score goals like that, I would not have blamed him as often as I have done.

Everton finally began to dominate as they had done before the fatal sending off, but sadly there were not enough minutes in the match for us. Had the goal come five minutes earlier, I would be writing about a captivating 2-2 draw, but sadly that was not the case. Everton seemed to be learning how to play without Ferguson, but I sincerely hope that his suspension won't fall on the three matches beginning with a certain Anfield game.

Kendall said that Grant will be out for 4-5 weeks with the injury that brought him off. Duncan will probably be suspended for 3 matches, and I suspect that Madar was quite badly injured. Hopefully Barmby and himself can shake off their injuries in time for the Derby. If not, we may be forced to play inexperienced strikers such as Jevons and Jeffers, with Cadamarteri playing in a Barmby type role behind them.

I feel so maddened, so furious with the actions of this pathetic excuse for a referee, that I will be writing to the FA regarding his status as a Premiership referee. You may all think that this is a pointless exercise, but I wrote to the FA in March about Paul Danson, the referee in our home match against Arsenal. The very same man is only allowed to referee Nationwide matches now. I honestly believe that if the FA receives enough complaints from fans about a certain referee, that they are compelled to take action. I did receive a reply from the FA telling me that they were looking into my allegation.

We are all aware that if Kendall complains, he will be fined. However, the FA cannot fine us, and as fans of this club, we have earned a right to freely express our views on displays of dire refereeing such as this. So join me in writing to Mr G Kelly at Lancaster Gate, London. It's really important that we do complain, for the sake of our club, our captain, and ourselves. So please, drop the FA a line, telling them of Steve Dunn's incapability to referee a Premiership match, demand that Ferguson's ban is abolished and that Dunn makes a public apology to the club and Ferguson for his mistake.


 
Ferguson's dismissal sinks sorry Everton
by Adam Parsons, The Sunday Times
 
IT IS EASY for clubs to excuse the antics of their most famous players, yet surely the time has come for Everton to wonder what demons are haunting the mind of Duncan Ferguson.

He has shone in recent matches but, barely a quarter of an hour into this game, he was sent off in ignominy. The ovation he received from the crowd as he trudged from the field, with no sign of contrition on his face, cannot cover the fact that Everton's defeat owed everything to Ferguson's misguided violence. He is the their captain, a player of international quality, yet his dismissal would have shamed a pub game.

Ferguson's mitigation, that he had been pulled back in the area but denied a penalty, was absurd. In clear view of the referee, he elbowed Paulo Wanchope, Derby County's attacker, in the throat and then closed his hands around the neck of another Derby player, Rory Delap, who was making his debut. The red card was as predictable a dismissal as you could ever wish to see.

Ferguson has barely played 100 games for Everton, yet already he has been sent off four times. There were signs that he had calmed down this season, and was responding well to his recent promotion to captain, but such optimism now looks misguided and naive. His self-destructive streak will be hard to remove. Perhaps it will prove too much a part of his character to ever take away.

His dismissal changed the character of the match and, ultimately, doomed Everton to defeat. It took them 10 minutes to reorganise without Ferguson or Mickael Madar, the other forward, who had limped off shortly before Ferguson's departure. By the time they had come to terms with their predicament, Everton were a goal down.

It came from Igor Stimac, Derby's Croatian defender, who arrived unmarked at the far post to head home a corner. A second goal could have followed quickly as Everton's youthful team struggled to keep up, but it duly arrived in the early minutes of the second half, courtesy of Wanchope.

The Costa Rican, who was booed throughout the game by supporters who felt he had over-reacted to Ferguson's assault, slid in to nudge Dean Sturridge's cross past Thomas Myhre and into the Everton net. Shortly afterwards Sturridge should have extended the lead, but shot straight at Myhre when well placed.

Derby threatened to score more but, curiously, they retreated into their shell and gave Everton a surprising amount of space. Craig Short was pushed into attack to support Danny Cadamarteri, Everton's promising substitute, and the pair created a series of good chances. With five minutes remaining Claus Thomsen, another substitute, conjured a shot on the turn that sneaked into the net to give the home side a hope that could not be fulfilled. The final whistle brought only disappointment.

For Derby, there is the ongoing hope of a place in the Uefa Cup, but for Everton, there is little to look forward to except a battle to avoid relegation. If that happened Ferguson, and his furious demons, would have a lot to answer for.

Report Times Newspapers Ltd

 
Everton pay for Ferguson's folly
by Nick Szczepanik, The Times
 
TO LOSE one striker in the first 15 minutes of a game may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness. In Everton's case, it was lack of discipline on the part of a player entrusted with the captain's armband – but then Duncan Ferguson, like Paul Gascoigne, is the type of person these things happen to.

With Mickael Madar already off the field injured, Ferguson was simultaneously struggling to reach Tiler's header from Oster's free kick and free himself from the attentions of Paulo Wanchope when he flung out an arm and the Costa Rican went down clutching his neck. Steve Dunn, the referee, who missed a lot of the unpleasantness that went on in the remainder of the match, saw that all right and Ferguson, in turn, saw the red card.

Howard Kendall, the Everton manager, said: "Duncan was pulled back in the area and he reacted to that. The penalty should have been given and then Duncan sent off. He did swing out. I'm not sure whether the contact was as severe as the player made it out to be. That part of our pitch is very even, anyhow. I don't think it needed rolling."

Jim Smith, the Derby County manager, said: "You'd roll about if you had your Adam's apple halfway down your throat." Predictably, he had no views on the non-award of a penalty for the initial foul.

However, Everton were unnerved. Within five minutes, they were behind; Myhre got both hands to a Stimac header, only to push it into his own net. The ten men fought hard, as bruised Derby shins will confirm, but squandered an excellent chance to equalise when Short, with only the goalkeeper to beat, was betrayed by his first touch. And his second, and his third.

Derby kept calm and doubled their lead soon after half-time, Wanchope converting a Sturridge cross from close range. The Goodison band tried to raise hopes by playing the theme from The Great Escape, but Thomsen's deflected overhead kick proved too little, too late.

Derby's victory, their first at Goodison Park since 1971 and only their third away from home this season, stalled Everton's climb away from the foot of the FA Carling Premiership.

"I'm disappointed, because of all the effort that we put in, that the players didn't get something from the game," Kendall, who had received that traditional pre-match kiss of death, a manager-of-the-month award, said. "I couldn't have asked for more from them." Except, in Ferguson's case, for a little self-control.

Report Times Newspapers Ltd

 
Ferguson sent off as Derby target Europe
Derek Potter, Electronic Telegraph
 
DUNCAN FERGUSON was sent off for the fourth time during his career in England as Everton's revival was halted by a first defeat in six League games stretching back to a 2-0 loss against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Boxing Day.

The dismissal was a major setback not only to the team but also to those supporters who hoped Ferguson would change his mind and make himself available for Scotland's campaign in the World Cup.

Ferguson received his marching orders after an alleged elbowing incident involving Paulo Wanchope after 15 minutes – Everton's confidence suffered another crushing setback five minutes later when Derby captain Igor Stimac headed his team into the lead to boost their chances of claiming a UEFA Cup place at the end of the season.

Wanchope lay writhing after his airborne challenge with Ferguson, who was immediately shown a red card by referee Steve Dunn, Everton's team captain handing his armband to the club captain David Watson as the striker left the field.

Everton supporters angrily booed Wanchope when the Derby striker returned to the field after treatment on the side-lines, presumably because they felt the Costa Rican play-acted. But the referee was close to the incident following a corner and did not hesitate or consult his assistant before making his decision.

Ferguson has been inspirational since his manager Howard Kendall first made him captain against Bolton Wanderers on Dec 28. It was a revival that had won Kendall the Carling Manager of the Month award for January.

Everton's problems had begun in the 13th minute when Mickael Madar, the other half of the strike force, injured his left hip and was unable to resume his role in Everton's first home game for a month. Short was pushed forward to partner substitute Danny Cadamarteri but it was Watson who twice troubled the Derby defence.

Stimac's goal followed a corner by Gary Rowett that swung in teasingly. Stimac's header from close-range at the far post flew through the arms of goalkeeper Thomas Myhre, who could be questioned for not intercepting the ball earlier in its teasing flight.

Everton wasted a chance of equalising a minute from half-time. Craig Short was on course for a shot but delayed and passed the buck and the ball to Cadamarteri. His shot was cleared and the indecision was underlined in the 49th minute when Derby doubled their lead.

Wanchope silenced the still-angry Everton supporters when he slid the ball past Myhre, rewarding the direct service of Dean Sturridge and Stefano Eranio.

Everton clawed a goal back in the 84th minute when an overhead shot by defender Claus Thomsen was deflected by Lee Carsley into the Derby net.

Report The Electronic Telegraph

 
FA CARLING PREMIERSHIP
RESULTS  (Game 26) — Excludes FA Cup 5th Round matches
Wednesday 18 February 1998
Aston Villa
0 - 2 Manchester United
Beckham (82) Giggs (89)
Southampton
Le Tissier (pen 79)
1 - 2 Coventry City
Whelan (14) Huckerby (29)
Saturday 14 February 1998
Everton
Thomsen (85)
1 - 2 Derby County
Stimac (21) Wanchope (50)
Sheffield Wednesday
Carbone (7), Di Canio (63), Hinchcliffe (69)
3 - 3 Liverpool
Owen (27, 73, 78)
Tottenham Hotspur
Calderwood (51)
1 - 1 Leicester City
Cottee (34)

 
LEAGUE TABLE (after 18 February 1998 )
Club                          P    W    D    L   GF   GA   GD   Pts
Manchester United            26   16    5    5   54   19   35   53
Liverpool                    26   13    7    6   44   25   19   46
Chelsea                      25   14    3    8   52   27   25   45
Blackburn Rovers             25   12    9    4   44   27   17   45
Arsenal                      24   12    8    4   44   26   18   44
Derby County                 26   12    6    8   41   32    9   42
Leeds United                 25   11    5    9   34   28    6   38
West Ham United              25   12    2   11   37   35    2   38
Leicester City               26    9   10    7   29   23    6   37
Coventry City                26    8    9    9   31   35   -4   33
Newcastle United             25    9    5   11   25   30   -5   32
Southampton                  26    9    4   13   30   37   -7   31
Sheffield Wednesday          26    8    7   11   40   51  -11   31
Coventry City                26    8    9    9   31   35   -4   33
Aston Villa                  26    8    6   12   27   36   -9   30
Wimbledon                    24    7    8    9   25   27   -2   29
Everton                      26    7    7   12   31   39   -8   28
Tottenham Hotspur            26    7    6   13   25   42  -17   27
Crystal Palace               25    5    8   12   21   37  -16   23
Bolton Wanderers             25    4   11   10   22   41  -19   23
Barnsley                     25    6    4   15   22   61  -39   22

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Michael Kenrick 1998
Last updated: 18 Feb 98