Fortuna Sittard 2 -
Half-Time: 0 - 0
1998 Pre-season Tour, Game 6
Saturday 8 August 1998
|« VV Una (a)||Ref: J de Graaf.||Aston Villa (h) »|
|1998-99 Fixtures & Results|
|Fortuna Sittard:||Bouma (50), Simons (80)|
|LINEUPS||Subs Not Used|
|Fortuna Sittard:||Juffing, Zegrean, Hofland, Roest, Hermans (Dassen 88), van Bommel (Gesthuizen 80), Burke, Kool, Jeffrey, Hamming (Lee 45), Bouma (Simons 75).|
Myhre, Short, Bilic (45 Watson), Materazzi, Cleland, Dacourt,
Barmby (77 McCann), Hutchison (56 Branch), Collins, Farrelly (56 Madar),
Unavailable: Gerrard, Dunne, Ward, Cadamarteri, Williamson, Phelan, Parkinson, Grant (injured). Unsworth (signing not resolved)
|Woods, Tiler, Thomas, O'Kane, Spencer.|
|Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|REPORTS BY EVERTON FANS|
|Sorry, none filed|
Madar's mystery as fortune turns against Blues
by Paul Joyce
|OTHER INTERNET REPORTS|
|Madar's mystery as fortune turns against Blues|
|Paul Joyce, The Evertonian|
Russia was once described by an American president as an enigma, wrapped
in a riddle, contained by a mystery. Mickael Madar's character is almost
as complex. Troubled, tetchy, at times ill-disciplined and yet technically,
if not maybe mentally it seems, the most clinical finisher at the club.
His sending-off against Fortuna Sittard was the classic example of everything infuriatingly absurd about the Frenchman. An unnecessary challenge just 13 minutes after appearing as a second half substitute which left Everton chasing a morale-boosting win before the real action starts next weekend.
Walter Smith and Archie Knox didn't blink as Madar trudged, head-bowed towards the dressing room. And if first impressions count it would seem he isn't long for his Goodison career.
But Smith may not be able to banish the striker from his thoughts just yet as he searches for the attacking blend to back up the foundations he has laid in defence and midfield.
Everton have made progress since the Scot arrived at the club, although expectations at home by far outstrip anything that could be gleaned from the actual performances during the tour of Holland and Belgium. Take it as read, however, that Smith isn't under any illusions about the size of the task ahead of him.
The nucleus of the side to face Aston Villa is in place and may yet include Slaven Bilic's name despite the fact he has played only 45 minutes under Smith. Michael Ball is a certainty at the back, Italian Marco Materazzi improved with each game and Craig Short has probably been Everton's most consistent player even as a right-back on Saturday.
The midfield three of John Collins, Olivier Dacourt and Don Hutchison forage as a pack and have done more than enough to warrant a continued run in the engine room.
But the overall problem which has dogged successive Everton managers for more than a decade still remains the same. Smith must now decide inside six days how best to juggle the options available to him and discover the kind of potency, both in creating and converting chances Ð that has not been in evident so far in pre-season.
Playing Duncan Ferguson as a lone striker failed to stretch a Sittard side knocked out of the Inter-Toto Cup by Austrian side Salzberg during the previous week.
That was partly because of the quality of the service directed towards him, but also due to his own lethargy. When it really matters, of course, he will be a different proposition.
Priorities elsewhere mean Smith is unlikely to plunge straight into the transfer market to solve the problem, which could hand Madar a lifeline. Or possibly John Spencer. Maybe even both?
Whatever the faces and whatever the formation, the cutting edge will need to be more evident than against Sittard, who finished seventh in the Dutch league last season.
Everton were the better side in the opening half and were twice denied by the woodwork from taking the lead. An indirect free-kick just inside the area saw Collins, Hutchison and Gareth Farrelly huddled around the ball.
The Irishman looked the likliest to shoot, but when Hutchison touched the ball Collins wrongfooted half of the Sittard team by checking onto his left and driving a low shot which Roger Juffing did well to turn onto the post. Farrelly then saw his 25-yard shot strike the post from Dacourt's pass six minutes before the interval.
Nick Barmby should have made it third time lucky within a minute of the restart but scuffed a shot from eight yards, and Sittard finally opened the scoring on 50 minutes.
Dave Watson allowed a pass to slip under his foot and Wilfred Bouma capitalised on the mistake to give Thomas Myhre little chance from the edge of the area.
Madar's wild lunge on Kevin Hofland when there was no need severely hampered Everton's chances of regaining a foothold, but Smith pointed out afterwards he was unhappy with the reaction of his players to falling behind.
Substitute Regillio Simons sealed the win with 10 minutes left after Scouser Michael Jeffrey, formerly of Newcastle United and Doncaster Rovers, played him through. Maybe not the ideal result, but then nobody said it was going to be easy. Least of all Walter Smith.