Everton Logo Everton 5 - 0 Middlesbrough
Half-time: 2 - 0
Middlesbrough Logo
FA Carling Premiership 1998-99 – Game 25
Wednesday 17 February 1999
Goodison Park, Merseyside
Att: 31,606 
« Coventry City (h) [FAC 5] Ref: Keith Burge Leeds United (a) »
1998-99 Fixtures & Results League Position: 15th Premiership Results & Table
EVERTON: Barmby (1', 15'), Dacourt (62'), Materazzi (67'), Unsworth (74') Sub: David Weir
   LINEUPS  Subs Not Used 
EVERTON: Myhre; Ball, Unsworth, Materazzi, Dunne; Dacourt, Barmby, Oster (75' Weir), Grant; Jeffers (78' Bakayoko), Hutchison (c).
Unavailable: Bilic, Collins, Branch, Short, Cleland, Farrelly, Ward, Williamson, Phelan, Parkinson (injured); Gerrard (on loan).
Simonsen, O'Kane, Cadamarteri.
Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Gordon, Pallister, Cooper, Stockdale, Mustoe, Gascoigne (71' Ricard), Townsend, Vickers (71' Summerbell), Beck, Campbell (80' Maddison). Moore, Beresford.
   Yellow Cards  Red Cards
EVERTON: Dacourt (12'), Ball (23').
Middlesbrough: Townsend (40'), Pallister (78'), Summerbell (88').

Jenny Roberts One Two Three Four FIVE nil!
Richard Marland Hutch is the key
THE INDEPENDENT Barmby sparks Everton deluge
by Neil Bramwell
THE TIMES Everton raise goal standard
by Alyson Rudd
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Everton rampant after Barmby's flying start
by Peter Gardner
THE EVERTONIAN Link to Echo Match Report

THE GUARDIAN Link to Football Unlimited Match Report
SOCCERNET Link to SoccerNet Match Report
CARLINGNET Link to CarlingNet Match Report

One Two Three Four FIVE nil!
Jenny Roberts
It was a horrible, cold and wet evening at Goodison. We left home earlier to fit in an appointment at the doctor's, in order to sort out my throat, which was even worse off after the excitement of the Coventry game. "No shouting at the match!" I was ordered.

We were a little disappointed that the side would be changed again from that which beat Coventry. However, we still lined up in a 4-4-2, even though Dunne was pushed across to right back.

Buoyed by our performance against Coventry, it was easy to be optimistic. I was convinced that as long as we did not concede any free kicks on the edge of the box (Gazza's range), then we would win. Nevertheless, I still made the sign of the cross as the players ran out.

First Half

Within just a few seconds of Keith Burge blowing for kick-off, we were attacking. This was exactly what we had watched against Coventry, exactly what we have been crying out for all season. Suddenly, John Oster intercepted the ball, and passed to Dacourt. The ball was returned, and Hutchison was brought into the move. He eventually passed to Jeffers, who crossed after flying down the right wing. Barmby was the lucky recipient of the excellent cross, and tapped it in. 1-0! And within the first minute! Goodison erupted.

Olivier Dacourt was booked in about the 13th minute, which most felt to be unjust, as there was no real malice involved. Fortunately, it did not seem to affect his game too much, although he must have felt just as infuriated as the fans.

We definitely had the upper hand, and made Middlesbrough look mediocre. Every time that we charged through their frail defensive barriers, we looked likely to score. We were not made to wait too long for our second. The ball was lobbed out of defence, and as a Middlesbrough player nodded it down, Franny Jeffers was there to steal it away. Don Hutchison sent Barmby down the middle with an accurate through ball. Barmby only had to lift it above the helpless Mark Schwarzer: 2-0!! After 16 minutes, the game looked completely beyond the clutches of Middlesbrough. I could hardly bear to tear my gaze away from the scoreboard. Everton 2 – in a home League match?!

A clumsy challenge involving Michael Ball in the 23rd minute lead to more intervention from the referee. He awarded the free kick Middlesbrough's way, and after speaking to Bally, waved them away. However, as an insolent Ball walked past a Middlesbrough player, he allowed his shoulder to brush against the other player's. The referee then booked Ball. I think that it was for the aftermath, rather than the actual challenge. Ball must learn to keep his temper. The retaliation was worthless, needless. But it will cost us.

The minutes flew by, with several Everton attacks. However, half-time eventually arrived. The players were given a standing ovation off the pitch, and the officials were booed off after them. I took one last long glance at the scoreboard, savouring the scoreline. "When was the last time we had a 2-0 half-time lead at home?" asked the man next to me. "Leeds in April?" I suggested. It has been a long time.

By the time the players had reappeared, there was a real feeling in the air that something was going to happen. If the shameful Street End scoring record was to be broken, then it had to happen tonight. I realised that if we scored again, then we would have doubled our home League goals tally.

The second half could be split into thirds. First, came the third of little excitement. There were no goals, and the team seemed to relax a little and enjoy their lead. The scoreboard was eventually switched on to reveal the scoreline "Everton 0." It then went completely mad and self-destructed.

The middle third was by far the most enjoyable. It began with Olivier Dacourt on the half way line picking Hutchison out in the centre of the pitch. Hutchison passed to Jeffers, who returned it. Hutchison's fierce low shot was spilled by Schwarzer, and Olly, with whom the move had begun, was there to tidy up, and make amends for his silly booking earlier on. 3-0!!! He was delighted, as were the crowd.

Goodison was on fire with excitement. It seemed that we were absolutely invincible. The style of play reminded me of that Southampton 7-1 game. The game flowed, with an excellent combination of skill, pace and confidence.

Just a few minutes later, Richard Dunne was fouled on the edge of the box. The referee did not hesitate to award us a free kick. A dilemma quickly ensued. Who would take it? The ball was not visible through the blue mist which had surrounded it. Dacourt, Hutchison, Materazzi, even Barmby competed to take it. Eventually, just Olly and Marco remained. The tension was increasing. Who would take it? As the referee blew, both players ran towards the ball. Dacourt crossed behind, and Materazzi swung his left foot back. The ball floated through the untidy Middlesbrough wall and into the bottom left hand corner. 4-0!!!! A brace for Barmby and first league goals for Dacourt and Materazzi? This was unbelievable.

The players knew it and the fans knew it. We had completely outplayed, outshone and outclassed Middlesbrough. But the team still kept pushing for one final goal. We were not to be disappointed. We won a corner through Don Hutchison, who also took it. The crowd groaned audibly as he played it short to Grant. Granty passed back, and Hutchison's cross connected with the Rhino's head. 5-0!!!!! The fans were completely delirious, ecstatic, disbelieving yet nevertheless celebrating. Three Street End goals, a home league tally of eight, and of course, three points. What could be better?

We continued as such, deep into the goalless, final third. The only downer being the sad and sudden death of the scoreboard. It would have been nice to have seen "Everton 5 Middlesbrough 0" in lights, but the whole experience of the game was breathtaking enough, even without confirmation of the scoreline. Bakayoko's appearance of a few minutes showed why Smith has preferred Jeffers recently. Weir looked sharp in his few minutes, a bargain at £200,000.

The final whistle was welcomed, and whilst the Middlesbrough players trudged somberly off the pitch, our own were given a fully deserved standing ovation.

We could hardly believe the result, to the extent that only a few fans were taunting Middlesbrough's followers with Wembley related chants and "One Two Three Four FIVE nil!"

Thomas Myhre had little to do, but was excellent with all crosses, and the few shots which he had to contend with. His defence played very well, and impressed as a unit. Richard Dunne coped particularly well in an unfamiliar role.

We competed for possession well in midfield. Only Grant looked slightly uncomfortable. Don Hutchison was involved in most of the goals, and deserved one himself. Barmby and Jeffers played excellently together. It is pleasurable to watch these two in the same side. They work excessively hard for each other and for the side. Jeffers, despite not making it onto the score sheet, assisted in several of the goals.

Man of the Match: Don Hutchison just edges it from Franny Jeffers, for his admirable performance as captain. He was superb - a mixture of passion, pace, skill and grit.

 Hutch is the key
Richard Marland
What a day for the scoreboard to stop working! After all those days of inactivity, when we didn't really want a constant reminder that it was still Everton 0, it chooses to breakdown – today of all days!!! On the day that we needed it, the day that we needed and wanted a reminder that it was indeed Everton 5 - nothing.

Enough of the scoreboard, back to basics. It was 4-4-2 again, Materazzi returned to rest Watson's ageing limbs, Unsworth also returned and Dunne was shunted to right back confirming that O'Kane has no place in Walter's plans. Elsewhere it was as you were, midfield of Oster, Grant, Dacourt and Barmby, Hutchison and Jeffers up front.

First Half

We attacked the Park End in the first half, we also had the kick off. We managed to make a mess of the kick off, the ball was played back to Grant, he attempted to find Barmby on the left flank however he hit it slightly behind him and in turning to retrieve the ball Barmby slipped and the ball went out of play. Hardly an auspicious start.

If I feared that it was a foretaste of what was to come I didn't need to worry too long. We regained possession after the throw in and after some good interplay involving Hutchison and Dacourt, Hutchison released Jeffers down the right flank, Jeffers swept in a low cross and Nick Barmby appeared between two defenders to sweep the ball home. A beautifully simple goal, and not even 1 minute on the clock.

After this the rest of the game was relatively untroubled sailing. There was a slight worry when Dacourt picked up an early booking, yet another harsh one to add to his collection – a slightly mistimed tackle on a greasy surface the player on the receiving end is immediately up and away yet the referee feels the need to book Dacourt. Dacourt immediately asked to be substituted, he clearly didn't trust the referee anymore, fortunately the bench told him to get on with it. It did however leave Ollie treading the disciplinary tightrope and affected his game throughout. [Are you sure, Richard: he was still tackling a lot -Ed.] It also left us with the danger of being reduced to 10 men.

Our second goal came on about 20 minutes. Again it came as the result of good passing and movement. Hutchison was at the fulcrum of it again and it was his superb pass into the penalty area which was met by another well-timed run from Barmby, a good finish and it was 2-0. We were approaching the comfort zone.

Throughout the first half we always looked capable of scoring. We were bright, lively and inventive up front, we had won the midfield battle and the defence were keeping everything tight at the back. Myrhe was a virtual spectator being called into action just the once to palm away a shot from long range.

Second Half

Naturally there were no changes for the second half and we carried on from our second half performance. We were in almost total control and there was no chance of ceding any advantage to Middlesbrough. Being the pessimists that we are, we still felt the need for another goal to put ourselves at ease. I still harboured worries about a potential sending off for Ollie, or about what would happen to our new-found resolve if Middlesbrough sneaked one and put us under pressure.

For once, my worries were unfounded. The third goal deservedly came and once again Hutchison was the instigator. He attempted a curling shot from outside the box, Schwarzer parried the ball and Ollie was following up to put it in the net. This was a notable feature of our play all game, every time a long range shot went in one sometimes two players were following the ball in in case the 'keeper fumbled it.

It was now party time at Goodison. The crowd were ebullient and the players were clearly enjoying themselves. Encouragingly though the players didn't ease up, they kept their shape and their resolution. There appeared to be a real determination to keep Middlesbrough out, not that Middlesbrough did too much to threaten but what they did manage was ruthlessly stamped out.

A fourth goal soon arrived, Richard Dunne won – somewhat fortuitously I thought – a free kick on the edge of the box. It was to the right of goal, in Marco territory. Marco and Ollie both lined up but I had no doubt it would be Marco to take it. He duly did and scored with a low screamer that he bent round the end of the 'Boro wall.

Somewhere around this time Walter started making substitutions. David Weir came on for John Oster, I assume he was resting Oster, there didn't appear to be an injury. Weir slotted into the right-hand side of midfield. I actually thought that Weir had scored the fifth with his first touch. Hutchison took a corner on the left, he played it short to Grant who played it back to him, he crossed and a tall dark haired player met it with a free header. It turned out to be Rhino chipping in with a deserved goal.

The remainder of the game passed without much further incident. Weir should have scored with another free header, but that would have been getting greedy. Bakayoko came on for Jeffers and actually showed a few half-decent touches. The final whistle blew and the players were given a standing ovation off the pitch,

So, where exactly has this sudden upsurge in form come from? The easy answer is to say it's the 4-4-2, but as with any footballing transformation that is too simplistic. Yes the 4-4-2 has undoubtedly helped but it wouldn't have been possible without the improving form of Barmby and Oster giving us the attacking width that hasn't really been available to us all season. Another contributory factor is the defensive solidity we have, mostly through Dunne, Materazzi and Unsworth (yes, Unsworth!).

But, for me the key that makes it all work is Don Hutchison. He was quite superb last night, he played a major part in 4 of the goals, he ran all night, he held the ball up, he brought others into play, if there had been the goal he deserved it would have been the complete performance.

Player Ratings

  • Myhre 6 Very little to do, what he did he did OK.
  • Dunne 7 Defensively he is getting better and better. As a full back he lacks the instincts of a natural but still does enough.
  • Materazzi 7 Another accomplished display from Marco. The timing of some of his tackling is quite superb.
  • Unsworth 7 Continuing his recent good form. Much maligned but he is doing the business.
  • Ball 6 Still not firing on all cylinders but did OK.
  • Dacourt 7 Another influential performance. He has got what it takes to be the complete midfield player.
  • Grant 6 Still not quite there but doing his job.
  • Oster 7 With his growing confidence we are starting to see more and more of his tricks. He is a very talented lad and is getting better. Another good performance.
  • Barmby 8 Excellent. Worked his socks of all game and got two deserved goals as well.
  • Jeffers 6 A bit more peripheral than on Saturday but still more than proved his worth.
  • Hutchison 9 Quite simply magnificent. Three outright assists, another goal where he supplied a telling pass, all it needed was a goal for Don himself.
  • Weir 6 Coming on at 4-0 up was a fairly comfortable introduction. Looked comfortable on the ball and was able to find blue shirts with his passes.
  • Bakayoko 5 Did OK but nothing special.

Team 7 A very good performance but I still got the feeling that there was a bit more to come. All departments functioned well but it has to be said that 'Boro were very poor.

 Barmby sparks Everton deluge
by Neil Bramwell, The Independent
The raging Goodison Park thirst for goals was quenched with a vengeance last night. Everton almost trebled their Premiership home tally of just three goals going into this game with an all-round display of excellence against a Middlesbrough side that are showing the signs and form of an outside bet for relegation.

In contrast, a spring has returned to the Everton step and Walter Smith's accent on youth has invigorated a previously weary season.

Middlesbrough were caught on the hop and were hopping mad. Intricate approach play involving Don Hutchison and Olivier Dacourt released man-of-the-moment Francis Jeffers down an exposed left Middlesbrough flank. A formality of a cross was tucked away by the unguarded Nicky Barmby.

The recriminations within the Middlesbrough ranks were immediate and forceful but remedies were hard to find as Everton dominated the midfield with a confidence belying their League position. The build-up for the second goal capitalised on more Middlesbrough confusion as a first-time Hutchison pass split three defenders to find Barmby arriving late into the box. His deft touch caressed the ball over the on-coming Mark Schwarzer and into the vacated goal.

Middlesbrough, who conceded three goals in the first half of their previous League game at Anfield, fought to avoid a repetition and Mikkel Beck twice forced Thomas Myhre into action but Everton, continually prompted by Hutchison dropping deep to feed his supporting wide men, kept their visitors stretched.

Both sides had entered the contest with just two points from their last six outings but the contrast could not have been more sharp. Middlesbrough, battling with a long injury list and laboured in their movement, appeared the side with the more pressing problems.

The post-interval Middlesbrough displayed an aggression more appropriately directed towards their opponents, with a revived formation which pushed Colin Cooper into a four-man midfield. Worryingly for Bryan Robson, there was little extra thrust as a result and it was Everton who continued to hold all the aces.

The third goal arrived on the counter attack when Hutchison cleverly waited for support from his young partner Jeffers, who teed up a curling Hutchison effort that Schwarzer spilled into the path of Dacourt for a regulation tap-in. The fourth goal followed shortly afterwards when a free-kick on the edge of the area was stroked nonchalantly around the wall and low into the far corner by Marco Materazzi.

More considered work from Hutchison from a short corner and his subsequent delivery into the heart of the Middlesbrough area produced a point-blank header for David Unsworth to rub salt into open wounds.

Report © The Independent

 Everton raise goal standard
by Alyson Rudd, The Times
GOODISON PARK has been awash with pity this season - mainly self-pity for the scarcity of FA Carling Premiership goals, with even a sympathetic thought for the visiting teams subjected to dour and listless opposition. Yet against Middlesbrough last night gaiety flowed, confidence spilled over and, in one swoop, all fears of relegation were dispelled.

You could forgive concern that Everton's spirited display in the FA Cup at the weekend had been a one-off. Would the Premiership curse return with spiteful haste, the fans wondered? Few would have predicted that the answer would come in the first minute of this encounter, but it did, with a splendid goal. Hutchison, whose touch was astounding throughout, slid the ball through to Jeffers, his striking partner, and his slick pass across the face of goal was gratefully pounced upon by Barmby.

The travelling supporters jeered their former favourite, but they soon gave up when Barmby scored again 17 minutes later. Once more, Hutchison was the architect, rolling the ball over the penalty spot, and Barmby seemed to surprise Schwarzer, in goal, with his pace. He made the finishing touch look simple.

Middlesbrough were being unravelled, appearing to be heavy limbed and lacking in confidence as the home side displayed a jauntiness in every position that was in stark contrast to their previous league games at Goodison this season. At times, the midfield battle was a stroll for Dacourt and Grant, with Gascoigne and Townsend so over-stretched it was almost comical. As a result, Everton could build with ease and threatened to score at every turn.

The third goal came in the 63rd minute, when Schwarzer failed to hold a curled shot by Hutchison and Dacourt was first to the loose ball. Schwarzer, not at his best, also failed to track the flight of a free kick by Materazzi five minutes later, allowing the Italian defender to make it 4-0, and Unsworth headed the fifth in the 74th minute.

Walter Smith, the Everton manager, was as downbeat about his finest hour so far on Merseyside as he has been upbeat after his team's rather less attractive performances. "We were very pleased to get that win," he said.

Middlesbrough are left with surgery surely the only option as they continue the spiral downwards that followed their victory at Old Trafford in December.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

 Everton rampant after Barmby's flying start
Peter Gardner, Electronic Telegraph
EVERTON'S goal famine ended with a glut last night following a stunning display of finishing that saw the home side almost triple their home goals ratio for the season in destroying a wretched Middlesbrough side who are clearly in freefall.

Nick Barmby provided a timely reminder of his finishing prowess to new England manager Kevin Keegan with two early strikes.

Further goals from Olivier Dacourt, Don Hutchison and Dave Unsworth provided Everton with their most comprehensive victory for some time and their first success in the League since a narrow early December home win over Southampton.

Clearly FA Cup success - they have qualified for the quarter-finals - has rekindled Everton's appetite for survival in the Premiership.

A goal inside 45 seconds and a second after 16 minutes made nonsense of earlier scoring failings which had seen a mere three obtained in the previous 12 home league outings.

Boro, whose last victory at any level was against Manchester United at Old Trafford in December, were too easily ripped apart. The Teessiders' defence repeatedly backed off on a treacherous surface as Everton, inspired by their flying start, created sufficient chances to have more than doubled their advantage by the break.

The opening salvo was a warning of what was to come as captain Hutchison set up 18-year-old Francis Jeffers. In only his second senior start following a promising opening in the weekend cup victory over Coventry, Jeffers moved sweetly down the right before clipping in a low cross that Barmby met with aplomb at the far post.

Boro were completely outclassed in the second half. Dacourt followed up for a 63rd minute tap-in when Schwarzer could only parry Hutchison's angled shot. Materazzi drove in a powerful free-kick four minutes later and Unsworth completed the rout on 75 minutes with a close in-header.

Report © The Electronic Telegraph

 RESULTS  (Game 25)
Saturday 13 February 1999
Charlton Athletic      1 - 0  Liverpool               20,043
K Jones 70
West Ham United 2 - 1 Nottingham Forest 25,458 Pearce 33, Lampard 39 Hjelde 83
Wednesday 17 February 1999
Aston Villa            1 - 2  Leeds United            37,510  
Scimeca 76                    Hasselbaink 7,31
Chelsea                1 - 1  Blackburn Rovers        34,382
Morris 43                     Ward 83
Everton                5 - 0  Middlesbrough           31,606
Barmby 1,16, Dacourt 62,
Materazzi 67, Unsworth 74
Manchester United      1 - 1  Arsenal                 55,171
Cole 60                       Anelka 48
Newcastle United       4 - 1  Coventry City           36,352
Shearer 18,75 Speed 55,       Whelan 17
Saha 58

 LEAGUE TABLE (after 17 February 1999 )
Club                          P    W    D    L   GF   GA   GD   Pts
Manchester United            26   14    9    3   60   28   32   51
Chelsea                      25   12   11    2   36   20   16   47
Arsenal                      25   12   10    3   29   12   17   46
Aston Villa                  25   12    7    6   37   27   10   43
Leeds United                 25   10    9    6   38   25   13   39
Liverpool                    25   11    5    9   47   30   17   38
Derby County                 25    9   10    6   25   22    3   37
West Ham United              25   10    6    9   27   36   -9   36
Wimbledon                    24    9    8    7   29   35   -6   35
Newcastle United             25    9    7    9   33   33    0   34
Middlesbrough                25    7   11    7   33   36   -3   32
Tottenham Hotspur            24    7   10    7   29   31   -2   31
Leicester City               24    7    9    8   25   29   -4   30
Sheffield Wednesday          24    8    5   11   27   23    4   29
Everton                      25    6    9   10   19   27   -8   27
Blackburn Rovers             25    6    8   11   26   32   -6   26
Coventry City                25    6    6   13   24   36  -12   24
Charlton Athletic            25    5    8   12   29   37   -8   23
Southampton                  24    5    5   14   23   47  -24   20
Nottingham Forest            25    3    7   15   21   51  -30   16
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Last updated: 18 February 1999