Leicester City 2 -
Half-time: 2 - 0
FA Carling Premiership 1998-99 Game 2
Saturday 22 August 1998
Filbert Street, Leicester
|« Aston Villa (h)||Ref: Stephen Lodge||Tottenham Hotspur (h) »|
|1998-99 Fixtures & Results||League Position: 18th||Premiership Results & Table|
|Leicester City:||Cottee (11), Izzet (38)|
|LINEUPS||Subs Not Used|
|Leicester City:||Keller, Savage, Guppy, Sinclair, Elliott, Walsh, Izzet, Lennon, Zagorakis, Cottee, Heskey.||Arphexad, Parker, Kaamark, Campbell, Taggart.|
Myhre, Cleland, Short, Tiler, Materazzi (45 Unsworth),
Ball, Collins, Dacourt, Barmby (62 Hutchison), Ferguson, Spencer (45
Unavailable: Bilic, Dunne, Grant, Ward, Williamson, Phelan, Parkinson (injured); Jeffers (suspended).
|Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|Leicester City:||Zagorakis, Savage, Sinclair, Lennon.|||
|EVERTON:||Materazzi, Ferguson, Dacourt, Tiler, Collins.|||
|REPORTS BY EVERTON FANS|
|Guy McEvoy||Football is full of ironies|
|Jenny Roberts||Trial by Radio-Television Journalists|
|THE SUNDAY TIMES||
Izzet guile hides no punches
by Michael Hodges
Leicester's bright picture turns on sharp contrast
by Keith Pike
O'Neill shows Everton what might have been
by Alyson Rudd
|OTHER INTERNET REPORTS|
|THE EVERTONIAN||Leicester leave Smith in no doubt of task lying ahead|
|SOCCERNET||Link to SoccerNet Match Report|
|CARLINGNET||Link to CarlingNet Match Report|
|Football is full of ironies|
The happy memories of the result at Filbert Street last season had clouded
my memory of what a grubby little place it is. There were to be no happy
distractions this time.
Smith put out the same starting line-up that had briefly threatened to beat Villa a week earlier. In that game we'd managed 15 good minutes at the start. This week it was down to about 10.
Despite that early spell being our best patch, Heskey had already twice run rings round our defence, forcing one good save from Myhre and sending a cracking effort just wide. It was going to be one of those days.
Football is full of ironies. Irony one: Everton constantly play the long-ball game to a 6-ft 4 centre forward, to no effect. Leicester hoof the ball up once to a 5-ft 5 midget and with one touch he lobs the ball neatly over a flapping, stranded Myhre. Irony two: that midget was one of my favourite players of the decade: Tony Cottee. Well taken goal.
Everton's frustration, particularly the new boys, boiled over. You have to say that some of the challenges that Collins, Mazzeratti, and Dacourt were doing were perhaps overly generous with the amount of studs on display. Leicester didn't like it up them, and so tempers frayed. Eventually it was a Collins challenge on 'Lily' Savage that proved the last straw. Everyone piled in and it was difficult to follow who was doing what in the melee. I saw Ferguson swing an arm, in a separate scuffle, but in the main 'do' it was Michael Ball who got most stuck in. That either of these players stayed on the pitch was Everton's only fortune of the afternoon.
The scuffle was the highlight of the half which should give you an idea of how bad we were.
Leicester notched up another. Great wing great play down the flank and a ball which had them queuing up unmarked to knock in (Muzzy Izzet did the honours).
Somehow amongst this nothingness Everton did manage two shots. One a sitter, spooned well over by Barmby. The other a fine header from Ferguson forcing an equally fine diving save from Keller.
Half time was lightened up by a well wound-up bloke appealing on the tannoy to the home supporters to stop lobbing coins at us. The bloke nearly burst a blood-vessel as he threatened taking season-tickets off offenders. Nasty little fans they have at Leicester, for the third year in a row.
Walter made the obvious substitutions taking off the disappointing Materazzi to bring on Unsworth and the ineffective Spencer for Cadamarteri. Later on, Barmby made way for Hutchinson. All to no real avail though.
The half was characterised by everything that was bad about Everton's play last season. Sloppy control, sloppier passing, zero off-the-ball movement and a lot of players hiding. Collins and Dacourt would pick up the ball, look up, and be confronted with no obvious pass. They'd then be put under pressure and loose the ball. Leicester had taken their foot off the pedal which made our lack of drive even more embarrassing.
The only good thing from this period of play was that Unsworth looked more Rhino than Hippo. We threatened so little I was glad when the final whistle came so I could get out of the damn place.
Bring on Spurs, on this display they're about our level.
|Trial by Radio-Television Journalists|
Forced once again to stay miles from my team, and attempting to compensate
for the lack of live football, I began by watching Football Focus.
As they concentrated on West Ham and Liverpool, and the likelihood of any comment involving Everton gradually decreased, I began predicting our scoreline a confident two or three nil. I looked up at the screen it was a training ground, with a familiar face being interviewed.
An ominous, chilling stab of realisation struck my spine like a flash of lightning. I gasped, and felt the colour promptly abandon my face. "It's him," I groaned "he's going to score." Tony Cottee did not appear a great threat in his interview, in fact he constantly emphasized his age, telling the viewers that Michael Owen used to watch him play at Goodison. Nevertheless, my pre-match optimism had vanished. I attempted to reassure myself, with a reminder that we had a magnificent midfield. We had Dacourt and Collins, who would supply Duncan with the ammunition to potentially devastate the Leicester defence beyond recognition. However, I could not silence my fears.
Strangely enough, it was Everton who began much more brightly than Leicester, and in the earliest minutes, we won the first corners, and seemed quite dangerous in comparison to sleepy Leicester. Collins chipped over, and then tripped over, which greatly amused the Leicester fans.
Keller's knee injury meant that his reactions could perhaps be delayed, and so I hoped for several low shots at the goal, which would almost certainly defeat him. Ferguson's headers would probably be of minute or no threat whatsoever.
The commentator, who was not a local, was absolutely appalling. He began to irritate me with his lack of enthusiasm when we attacked, but when Leicester awoke, and began to break, he became sickeningly excited. He had an obsession for worthless statistics, and consistently fell behind play.
And then, after about ten minutes, when Everton were attacking, I heard "Is it going to be a goal?" which was followed by several seconds of unnecessary, uninformative silence. "It is!!!!" he bellowed victoriously down the microphone.
I still had no idea of which team had actually scored, but then I heard my worst fears confirmed. "Tony Cottee...... only had to lob Myhre...." The fact that we had conceded was tragedy enough, but the commentator's reaction was catastrophic. His voice developed a hideously smug streak as he described the goal.
When I watched the first goal on Match of the Day's 43 second coverage (including an eight second interview with O'Neill), the culprit that split the defence was a ball from Leicester's own half, which was not dissimilar to a John O'Kane cross. Short was working hard to restrain Cottee, who broke away with apparent ease after a tussle, and Cleland watched him coolly lift the ball past the outstretched hand of the helpless Myhre.
Tiler, who had been slowly proceeding at exactly the same pace as Short and Cottee, had lacked the foresight to imagine that Cottee could actually beat his team-mate. He did not realise how Myhre would be less effective when further away from his goal. Tiler should have raced immediately to the goal-line. He finally arrived in time to retrieve the ball from the net.
By the 20-minute mark, I was forced to seek Radio Merseyside, as Radio City's commentator had destroyed my patience. Instead of writing down the minutes of goals, I was scrawling derogatory comments about him over the page, and he was affecting my concentration on the game.
And so I was freed from the torturous sentence of listening to him, and instead, I had relatively biased people who genuinely wanted our misfortunes to be transformed. Even the mispronunciation of some names (we now had Thomas "Mya" in goal, and Marco "Materaysi" in defence) was worth the emotion in their voices.
However, the only excitement of the first half for us came in the form of a furious confrontation between Michael Ball and Savage, which occurred directly in front of the linesman, after Spencer was fouled. Dacourt began arguing with Lennon, until about ten players were involved.
Bad eventually, inevitably transformed into worst. Guppy was allowed to cross on the left wing due to poor defending from Cleland. Materazzi jogged into the box just in time to realise that an Izzet-bound cross was whizzing past his nose. Short ended up flat on his face, and Carl Tiler missed a diving header that would have been an own goal had the ball made contact with his forehead.
Myhre watched his defence collapse in dismay, and was unable to react when Izzet capitalised upon Tiler's missed header at the far post. There were around six Everton players in the box, including Barmby, who had not managed to even begin to prevent Leicester from scoring. The horror of my nightmare had increased beyond imagination's boundaries.
A double substitution, bringing about Unsworth's debut, made no difference whatsoever to the tragic scoreline, although Danny Cadamarteri apparently brightened Everton's prospects considerably.
Although we were winning some of the possession, we could not challenge Keller, save for some Ferguson headers. Cadamarteri missed a chance, which he may have put away, had the scoreline been a more comforting 0-0 or 1-0. But it seemed that the heads were down, especially after the goals.
I lost all consciousness of time, caught up in desperately hoping that this was not a return to the pain of last season, a repeat of the hunger, the starvation of points we were forced to suffer away from home. I don't want to believe that there are a further fifteen away matches to get through.
My only comfort of the afternoon came in the form of a Koppite on the Radio Merseyside phone-in. He was going on and on about how something didn't benefit Liverpool, and proceeded to proclaim that "It's like cutting off your face to spite your nose!"
But as Tommy said, we still have the whole season ahead of us - it IS only still the second game. This job is an astronomical challenge - Walker, Royle and Kendall could not manage to work miracles in 180 minutes just three hours. Why should we expect Smith to do so? Give him the necessary time if we call for his head and the board listens to us, who will succeed Walter Smith?
Hopefully, the Spurs defence will prove to be far more sieve-like than ours. Beware, this could be a multi-goal clash!
|Izzet guile hides no punches|
|by Michael Hodges, The Sunday Times|
COLLECTIVE madness, punctuated by insane nastiness, and that was just on
the pitch, so no surprise that the public announcer had to ask home supporters
why they were throwing coins at the visiting fans. He might have added an
inquiry about the poverty of Everton's ambitions.
It became clear early on that "give the ball to John Collins" must be felt-tipped on the Everton dressing-room wall. It had some effect when Collins broke wide and Duncan Ferguson rushed towards goal, a worrying sight for Leicester goalkeeper Kasey Keller, who uncharacteristically dropped the ball.
The mistake marked the end of Everton's realistic chances and from that point it was a case of look and learn as Leicester showed that an excellent coaching policy, rather than an excellent overdraft facility, leads to good football.
Muzzy Izzet should replace Filbert Fox as Leicester's club mascot, as his play embodies all that Martin O'Neill has achieved. Darting through the Everton area loosely known as their midfield he released the ball to Emile Heskey, who unusually was not on target. But Heskey made amends by returning the compliment shortly afterwards when he delivered the sort of ball to Izzet that Everton fans can only dream of their team providing.
Izzet missed as well, but Leicester's grief was brief and their response to the point. Theo Zagorakis produced an even better ball for Tony Cottee to run on to and the ex-Everton player had only to produce a training ground lob. Eleven minutes gone and the Toffees were crumbling and temporarily dependent on Olivier Dacourt, of whom it is reasonable to expect more, pumping balls upfield.
Really, they were that bad. It took Leicester's Neil Lennon to show them what they had obviously missed on Walter Smith's blackboard, namely that a Premiership midfield is supposed to be in place to create. Lennon won the ball, kept it and passed it. Simple stuff, but enough to bedazzle Everton. Combined with Izzet's endeavour and Heskey's hard work, it opened holes in Everton's defence.
With Everton's desperate efforts deservedly coming to nothing, the supposedly rejuvenated Nick Barmby sought to move up. He has the pace and some of the skill, but when a rare mistake by Matt Elliott left him alone with the goalkeeper he managed to put the ball over.
Then the fight started. There were those involved who probably don't know what it was about, and from the stands it seemed abject chaos.
Needless to say Ferguson was involved but the initial exchanges of jabbing blows were delivered on Collins' legs by Robbie Savage. Big Dunc couldn't resist, neither could Frank Sinclair. Savage, Ferguson and Sinclair were booked, although there were at least five other candidates, one of whom was Lennon. He soon got his way with a challenge that was less hot-headed than it was witless.
It was at this point that the Leicester supporters began to redistribute their wealth. Their team concentrated on distributing the ball. Guppy's cross from the left proved easy for Izzet to put away, and the fact that he was running put him in sharp contrast to Everton's static midfield.
Although Collins must have despaired at the company he was keeping it is possible to carp too much. Danny Cadamarteri came on and occasionally showed why he inspired such hope on Merseyside, David Unsworth's performance in the second half contained nothing that proved him an obvious waste of money and occasionally late in the day Everton did contrive a few attacks.
But purpose had left the match along with rage, Leicester had merely to mark time and Walter Smith to "work out where the deficiencies are". Relatively easy, that one. Apart from Collins, everywhere.
|Report © Times Newspapers Ltd|
|Leicester's bright picture turns on sharp contrast|
|by Keith Pike, The Times|
WHETHER the chant was based on the evidence of the kickabout or on several
years of chronic underachievement matters not, but before a ball had been
kicked in anger at Filbert Street on Saturday, the Leicester City supporters
had delivered their verdict. "You're an especially inferior team," it went,
roughly translated. "And you know you are." A couple of hours later, Everton
did indeed know. A long, hard winter stretches in front of them before August
Those same Leicester fans were later asked ever so nicely if they would please refrain from throwing coins at their guests, rather in the manner of a schoolma'am requesting that Johnny Bully remove the noose from around Timothy Swot's neck and detach him from the ceiling. Meanwhile, over in the posh seats, they showed their appreciation of some formidable first-half football from Leicester by bursting into bouts of sustained, if polite, applause.
And so the contrasts continued: a Leicester team of humble origins working their socks off against the strolling, expensively assembled, big-city aristocrats and, when they had finished outrunning them, out-skilling them, too; a vibrant club fervently looking forward to fresh conquests against one that can only look back and lament. And, at the end, an irrepressible Irishman followed by a sombre Scot, managers with three points and one headache between them.
"Brilliant . . . fantastic . . . unbelievable. As good as we have ever played in the Premiership," Martin O'Neill enthused and, for once, the Leicester manager, never knowingly underwhelmed, had got it spot on. His team is rightly praised for the energy and commitment it puts into each performance, but you had to see the fluency and inventiveness with which it decorated the first 45 minutes here to believe it.
The tone of contrasts, of inadequacy and near-ecstasy, was set at once. Collins made space, shaped to shoot and . . . fell over, untouched. The ball was whisked to the other end, Lennon dissected a statuesque Everton defence and Heskey, lightning quick to evade Myhre, shot just over the crossbar from a decreasing angle.
Izzet missed narrowly, too, after Heskey's laser-beam pass and Cottee's devastating run off the ball to create the opening, but come the goals must, and did. Cottee, expertly and immutably, lobbed the first, but not before muscling an embarrassed (and comparatively mountainous) Short out of the way, and Izzet tapped home the second from Guppy's cross.
There could have been more, but the game was already up for Everton, who had been hounded remorselessly into error in midfield and stretched beyond breaking-point at the back. Up front, too, Ferguson got no change out of the combative Walsh or spring-heeled Sinclair and, when Elliott did chuck a few forgotten holiday pesetas Barmby's way, he scooped over an open goal.
Leicester could not possibly maintain such a momentum and the second half duly tapered off into predictable, almost sterile, parity, but only after O'Neill's side had shown that it can scrap with the best. Nine bookings and an ugly mêlée, in which Sinclair and Ferguson appeared to trade blows, were testimony to the fact that Leicester are not easily kicked out of their stride, either.
Was his biggest worry the attack or the defence, Walter Smith was asked. "Both," the Everton manager replied. It is hardly his fault that he inherited a poor team, but he has spent £12 million on it without discernible improvement and time is not a commodity always freely given in the Premiership.
|Report © Times Newspapers Ltd|
|O'Neill shows Everton what might have been|
|Alyson Rudd, Electronic Telegraph|
THERE are those, perhaps married to the lethargic, who would like whatever
it is that gives Martin O'Neill his boundless energy bottled and marketed.
But if it is a gift then it is one O'Neill reserves for his team. His charges
pranced and danced and only just stopped short of sticking their tongues
out at the visitors.
Within the opening 10 minutes Everton were three times ripped wide open. On the third occasion Leicester took the lead, Theo Zagorakis releasing Tony Cottee for his second goal of the season. Everton did not stifle the other opportunities, it was just that Leicester were unfortunate with Emile Heskey and then Mustafa Izzet seeing their audacious efforts skim just wide of the target.
The week before Old Trafford had held no fear for Leicester, so what chance did Everton have to settle at Filbert Street? Capitalising on a rare mistake from the home team would have been the answer, but after Matt Elliott's misplaced clearance left Nick Barmby with only Kasey Keller, to beat the Everton midfielder lobbed inaccurately.
After half an hour the match's boisterousness very nearly careered out of control after referee Stephen Lodge stopped the game for Robbie Savage's crude tackle on John Collins. Duncan Ferguson and Frank Sinclair, making his home debut, became needlessly involved in a wrestling bout but Lodge stopped short of issuing a red card. The home fans were then warned against throwing coins at the visiting supporters.
But once the focus was back on the football, Leicester again took charge. Everton were failing miserably to contain Heskey and he set up Leicester's second with a pass out to Steve Guppy, whose cross was met by Izzet.
If John Gregory thought Heskey could bolster his dwindling numbers at Aston Villa then he may find he is simply one of many managers who covet the England Under-21 striker. Everton could not fathom how to contain him.
Ferguson managed to contrive a strong headed effort to reawaken Everton's first half hopes but Keller was equal to it.
The home side's defence was kept a little busier in the second half although an incredibly agile interception by Steve Walsh when Danny Cadamarteri seemed clear through underlined the fact that O'Neill's team were superior in every department. Cadamarteri had replaced John Spencer, the Scottish forward having seen so little of the ball. David Unsworth appeared for the second half too, his comical flirtation with life at Villa not nearly as amusing to the Leicester support as Everton's capitulation.
Sensibly perhaps, Leicester were less adventurous, a crisp long-range shot by Heskey that was parried by Thomas Myhre one of the main second-half highlights. Cottee might have done better with a far-post header but was stretching just to make contact and Guppy mis-hit a perfectly judged deep cross from Heskey.
But then in the final 20 minutes, Leicester, as if bored with what constituted an Everton fight-back, reintroduced a few dazzling touches. Most of all though, they worked for each other, and Walter Smith, the Everton manager, will want to know why whenever Collins' deft footwork took him down a cul de sac there were no Everton shirts in the vicinity to offer an outlet.
Cadamarteri found his close-range effort saved by Keller and Don Hutchison's 20-yard strike failed to fool the Leicester goalkeeper and that proved to be all the visitors could muster.
O'Neill, not surprisingly, thought no team could have matched Leicester's efforts, particularly in the first half. Smith, however, laid the blame squarely with his own players. "We caused our own problems," he said. "The goals were there for them."
Everton nearly brought the O'Neill magic to Goodison. Is it too soon for them to be wishing they had?
|Report © The Electronic Telegraph|
|FA CARLING PREMIERSHIP|
|RESULTS (Game 2)|
|Saturday 22 August 1998|
Charlton Athletic 5 Southampton 0 16,488 Robinson 3, Redfearn 46, Mendonca 63:pen,80,90 Chelsea 1 Newcastle United 1 34,795 Babayaro 23 Andersson 42 Derby County 0 Wimbledon 0 25,747 Leicester City 2 Everton 0 21,037 Cottee 10, Izzet 38 Liverpool 0 Arsenal 0 44,429 Nottingham Forest 1 Coventry City 0 22,546 Stone 52 Tottenham Hotspur 0 Sheffield Wednesday 3 32,129 Atherton 26, di Canio 35, Hinchcliffe 78 West Ham United 0 Manchester United 0 26,039
|Sunday 23 August 1998|
Aston Villa 3 Middlesbrough 1 29,559 Joachim 6, Charles 52, Beck 62 Thompson 78
|Monday 24 August 1998|
Leeds United 1 Blackburn Rovers 0 30,652 Hasselbaink 18
|LEAGUE TABLE (after 24 August 1998 )|
Club P W D L GF GA GD Pts Charlton Athletic 2 1 1 0 5 0 5 4 Leicester City 2 1 1 0 4 2 2 4 Wimbledon 2 1 1 0 3 1 2 4 Aston Villa 2 1 1 0 3 1 2 4 Liverpool 2 1 1 0 2 1 1 4 Arsenal 2 1 1 0 2 1 1 4 West Ham United 2 1 1 0 1 0 1 4 Leeds United 2 1 1 0 1 0 1 4 Sheffield Wednesday 2 1 0 1 3 1 2 3 Coventry City 2 1 0 1 2 2 0 3 Nottingham Forest 2 1 0 1 2 2 0 3 Manchester United 2 0 2 0 2 2 0 2 Newcastle United 2 0 2 0 1 1 0 2 Derby County 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 2 Chelsea 2 0 1 1 2 3 -1 1 Blackburn Rovers 2 0 1 1 0 1 -1 1 Middlesbrough 2 0 1 1 1 3 -2 1 Everton 2 0 1 1 0 2 -2 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2 0 0 2 1 6 -5 0 Southampton 2 0 0 2 1 7 -6 0