Everton 1 - 1 Coventry City
Half-time: 1 - 1
FA Carling Premiership 1999-2000 Game 10
3pm Saturday 2 October 1999
Goodison Park, Merseyside
Everton began brightly with an early goal from Francis Jeffers, but lost
a bit of shape after 10 mins, and a good block by Gerrard was volleyed in
smartly by Everton's nemesis, Gary McAllister. So much for that nice
run of four clean sheets! Everton's midfield then played too deep
to help feed the front runners. Weir did get the ball in the Coventry net,
but it was disallowed for offside.
Everton remained frustrated throughout the second half, unable to really
make much of an impression on Coventry, the high-spot being Gough and
Hutchison having an altercation between themselves. Despite the usual late
flurry, which saw three bookings in the last 10 minutes, and Campbell hitting
the side netting, Everton couldn't rekindle the incredible spirit of last
Monday. So much for that unattainable run of four Premiership wins
on the trot!
Subs Not Used
Gerrard; Dunne (83' Gemmill), Weir, Gough, Ball; Barmby
(46' Cadamarteri), Collins, Hutchison, Xavier; Campbell,
Unavailable: Watson, Unsworth, Myhre,
Williamson, Parkinson (injured); Branch, Farrelly, O'Kane
(transfer-listed); Bilic (in limbo); Grant (on loan),
Simonsen, Ward, Johnson.
Hedman, Edworthy, Shaw, Konjic (58' Williams), Keane,
Palmer, Chippo, McAllister, Telfer, Hall, Hadji.
Strachan, Quinn, Nuzzo, Eustace.
Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks.
White & black shirts; black shorts; white &
Edworthy (82'), Hall (84')
Everton Doze through Sky Blue Strike
Everton's early promise faded and died as the Blues lost control of a scrappy
midfield. The thoughts being banded around were that Everton couldn't raise
their game to the standards of the Derby match on Monday. In reality it took
only 90 seconds for Franny to find the net from a seemingly lost chance on
the left of the penalty area that squeezed into the Coventry net. The through
ball was the only memorable involvement of Barmby, who had quiet game generally
before being substituted in the second half for Cadamarteri.
The game was generally poor, Everton were slow to attack the space in front
of the Coventry defence, increasing the fan's frustration, and Don Hutchison's
poor choice of pass, too often lifting the ball into the air for the big
defenders and midfielders to easily win, made the game a dull spectacle far
too often. Also reading long balls at Hutchison school, Goodison, was Paul
Gerrard. If KC lost the header once he lost it 20 times and with no blue
shirts immediately behind the front men Coventry mopped up most of Everton's
Defensively Gough looked a little strained - this was literally the first
time Everton have been pegged back at home this season. They looked a little
shocked - put out even, as they realised they had to start all over again.
Ball and Dunne operated well in the wide positions, although Ball was a little
short on confidence once Barmby left the field and so was reluctant to stray
too far forward. (Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of his game before
he was dropped). Dunne was in receipt of a horror tackle and was stretchered
off in the second half, Xavier moving to right back with Gemmill on the right
of midfield. Weir played well but did struggle with the occasional long ball.
The midfield seemed cold, with Collins and Xavier looking a little slow,
especially to the second ball, although neither's workrate or commitment can be criticised. Cadamarteri was (hopefully) playing for his Huddersfield
place. His control was poor generally, and he seemed keen to stand in acres
of space and show frustration at not receiving the ball (on the left wing)
rather than get forward to win the loose ball. Not the balance, control and
trickery of the dreadlocked DC, although did link up well with Campbell once
on the left of the area to bring a good save from his right footed curler
to the near post.
Up front Jeffers was well shackled, Campbell strong on the floor but failing
to respond to the high balls supplied. KC should have sewn the game up with
a chance late on, hitting the side netting from 8 yards, and then realising
it wasn't his day.
But the real villain was Don Hutchison. As on Monday he took risks, with
quick and frequently unsuccessful flicks which placed his defence under pressure.
One moment of inspiration in the second half - turning his man on the edge
of the box and controlling on his chest into the area - ended in a predictable
and wasteful dive which surely helped his reputation with referees all over
the country. It is no coincidence that he is suspended from the next Scotland
game - his condemning booking for taking a free kick too quickly - he is
quickly becoming a liability to the side. An incident which I did not witness
but was well reported after the game where Hutchison took a swing at Gough
proves that he may also be a disruption to his team mates. So far he is doing
little towards retaining the POTS award which he received from the Irish
supporters club - or the faith of Evertonians who may be reconsidering whether
a reported move to the North East would be a bad thing.
Skill but no passion
And so let the backlash begin.
But first, the players the arrogance they showed today was incredible.
They played exactly like they did against Soton and Wombledon AFTER
the fourth goal had gone in. No effort. Thought that they could walk it,
and the three points would come their way. And it didn't happen it
didn't happen for exactly the same reason that Man Utd came to Goodison and
couldn't win, despite the early goal. Coventry worked hard, were first into
every challenge and rode their luck when the other teams class broke through.
And they were full value for their point.
It started so well. We broke through three times in the first two minutes.
Third time lucky (make that VERY lucky) as Jeffers broke through the offside
trap, miss-hit a shot which threw the keeper, and placed into the empty net.
1-0, and the floodgates would surely open.
Sadly, that was a thought not only going through my head, but the head of
11 players on the pitch. And so the walking started there. After a few more
minutes of attack, without ever really looking like scoring (and for the
third game in a row, Richard Shaw looked absolutely TERRIFIED of Jeffers.
He had the deer-in-car-headlights look on him the whole game), the unthinkable
A running through ball to the ever alert Robbie Keane (not worth 6 million
according to John Gregory ... the man who bought Stan the man who can't...),
which Gerrard reached at the same time as Keane. A blocked shot fell straight
to McAllister (has he not died of old age yet?), who volleyed it perfectly
into the empty net.
Silence for minutes, save the sound of Coventry fans chanting "You don't
know what your doing". It has not yet been established whether they were
chanting at the Everton players, Richard Shaw, the Everton fans (who amaze
me with record levels of quietness as each week goes by we can't even
use the "what have we got to cheer for" excuse anymore) or the linesman nearest
to the Street end. Probably a combination of all of them.
It's probably worth noting that Richard Gough had previously run about 30
yards for a header, and hadn't got back in position by the time Robbie Keane
was streaming through. Neither Ball not Weir had got in position to cover,
despite having plenty of time to do so. Says a lot about where the real quality
is in defence. If Gough ever does get injured (although it probably would
take a direct hit nuclear strike), we would be in serious trouble.
From there, it wasn't really downhill nor uphill either. More of a
desert plain with nothing interesting to see for miles around. We played
a bit, they played a bit. We definitely had the better chances, but you can
never really say we did enough to deserve the three points.
We did have a goal disallowed. A set-piece broke down, with the ball falling
to Barmby on the corner of the penalty area. A quick cross found the in-running
Weir, who headed from about 12 yards into the net. Problem was, someone was
offside. Who exactly, I'm not sure. Weir, I'm 99% sure, was onside. There
were a couple of players that were offside, caught by the defenders that
were pushing out. But they were following the defenders, running away from
the goal and not interfere with play. There was one other player, who may
have been standing offside the whole way through but he wasn't interfere
at all. Suffice to say, it seemed to me to be the sort of goal that you see
given all of the time. I thought that this was the sort of decision that
you get given your way if you are near the top of the table?
Half time, Barmby subbed, must have been an injury. Now, we've all seen Barmby
struggle slightly on the left, with his weaker left foot, but he's always
been able to make up for it with his other play, especially his workrate.
In the absence of a player like this on the bench, it would require some
sort of rejigging by Walter to get this sorted out.
Or he could just play Cadamarteri on the left wing... WHAT!? Cadamarteri?
What followed was the worst performance in an Everton shirt Goodison has
witnessed since the days of Brett Angel. It was pitiful. We were left with
a situation identical to the one we would have been in if Barmby had got
himself sent off. No, scratch that. It was worse than that if Barmby
had been sent off, passes would have been played towards other players, still
giving us hope in attack. With Danny, the ball went to the left and never
With a handicap comparable to a horse carrying Richard Dunne as a jockey,
we struggled. Campbell wasn't winning anything in the air, seemingly baffled
by the strong wind that was blowing through Goodison.
Dunne, although his performance is one that is bound to get rave reviews
on Bluenose, wasn't superb. He made some great tackles, and sometimes his
strength helped him a lot. On the other hand, I've lost count of the number
of crosses that come in from the left. I'll say it again Dunne is
and always will be the weak link in the back four. I'd take a right back
who knows that position and has the pace and skills to execute well, rather
than a strong one who sometimes looks good but gets skinned with alarming
regularity any day of the week.
What Dunne didn't deserve is a disgusting tackle that could have put him
out for a long time. It looked terrible. He was stretchered off after having
a hell of a lot of looking and his leg, with a large amount of bandages on
his leg. Looked bad.
Not that we have that much room to complain, seeing as Campbell wanted to
prove something. A couple of minutes earlier, a Coventry player (Hadji??)
had faked an injury (which included the trainer treating the other leg to
the one that his limp suggested), which had soured the Evertonians view of
any Coventry injuries.
Then Campbell slashed the legs away of one of their central defenders, in
a vicious Hutchison / Gerrard / Owen would-be-proud-of type tackle.
It's the sort of tackle that ends players' seasons in August. Campbell leapt
to his feet, holding his arms up in a "Don't send me off for fuck's sake"
gesture. He needn't have worried the ref gave us a throw in. The
Evertonians however, booed the Coventry bloke as he lay in agony for several
As he was stretchered off, he got booed. When he finally was able to stand
about 3 minutes later, he was still booed for faking injury. As he limped
along the line, there were cries of "Nothing wrong with '''''im". To his
credit, he came back on and battled on, but had to be subbed several minutes
later. As he left, there were still loud boos. Use your friggin heads, lads!
Not many real attempts on goal though. For the only real chance, Hutchison
FINALLY competed for a header, which put Campbell through. His shot made
the net bulge, but only by hitting the side netting.
Individual players much shorter than usual, as it was a pretty
Gerrard 7 - Competent. Maybe should have been out quicker for the
Ball 7 - Shows his class, but let us down for the goal, when he certainly
should have been closer to Keane.
Gough 8 - A mortal performance.
Weir 7 - Nothing stands out.
Dunne 7 - Is still exposed when one-on-one. Probably his most convincing
right back performance to date, yet still not what you would call
Barmby 8 - Showed us exactly why we need him by not being there in
the second half. Good running, and a great cross to Weir for the second 'goal'.
Collins 7 - More class than I've probably seen from him in blue, yet
anything good that he does continues to be heavily diluted by that mistakes,
the effort in winning the ball and the unwillingness to be the one to take
responsibility to put his foot on the ball and be the one to make telling
passes something that he still leaves for Hutch to do. He's a far
improved player with someone like Ball outside of him, but he's a 10-yard
passer. There were times when we were crying out for a 40-yard cross-field
pass (Xavier was in acres of space virtually the entire game), but it still
went 10 yards backwards. Still not doing anything that gives him divine right
of a place in the first team over Gemmill.
Hutchison 8 - It seemed to me a few times that he wanted to go for
something, but pulled out on second thoughts. I think he has probably been
told that he needs to be careful, but he over-did it. His entire game is
based around physical activity, and take that away and your left with....
Collins! Not a good thing. But still, he shows that he's the only midfielder
who really knows how to pass to Jeffers, and seeing as that is our main attacking
threat it makes Hutch probably our best midfielder on the day.
Xavier 8 - Not as crisp passing as Monday, but he still was able to
make himself available all of the time. It's such as shame that his team-mates
ignored him. In the first minute, he showed great vision with a cross to
the far post to Barmby. I'm not sure he was given the ball in a position
to do that again. He looks like he could be a class act, even though quite
a few passes went wrong I'm more willing to forgive that if the pass
in question is an attacking one, rather than for Collins who makes mistakes
Jeffers 8 - Got very little service. He is learning how to use his
body far more, which has to be a good thing he's no longer the skinny
bloke who can be shoved off the ball. Sometimes he runs far too intelligently
for our midfielders nobody seems willing to hit a diagonal pass over
the top of the defence for him to run onto, which seems to annoy him somewhat.
Got lucky with the goal, and never threatened too much again. At least he
Campbell 5 - Didn't work for him today. He couldn't win a header at
all, possibly because of the wind. Had one really good chance, and didn't
hit the target. Apart from this he looked unsure. Probably would have been
a good time to introduce Johnson.
Cadamarteri 2 - Oh my god this was bad. Sometimes he couldn't control
the ball to stop it going into touch. Other times he stopped it, and then
kicked it into touch accidentally anyway. Just a nightmare performance. He
gets 2 because he should never have been there in the first place.
Gemmill 6 - Bizarrely placed on the right wing when Dunne got injured,
which is just weird. Swapping Barmby and Xavier for Cadamarteri and Gemmill
is just a horrible exchange. At least swap them over.
Walter Smith 3 - Showed exactly what his weakness is. When things
are going well, as in previous games, he does all right keeping it going.
But when it isn't working, and some change is needed a moment of genius
from the manager to pick out a weak spot Walter is unable. Just not
Even when their central defender was barely able to walk, how many times
did we attack him? How many times did we play the ball behind him to make
him turn and have to keep up with Jeffers? Zero. None. Nada. Just not good
With Cadamarteri playing crap, does Walter sub him? Does he move him to the
right wing? Does him move him upfront, and play 4-3-3, seeing as he's useless
as a left wing and so we may as well play him where he could be some use?
Or does he leave him to suffer in silence? Just not good enough.
Everton have once again managed to pull off what most other teams can only
imagine making Carlton Palmer look good. Does he have something on
us or what? Has he got proof we bribed Hans Segars? It's amazing how it happens
Basically, we did show one thing we do have some players with a bit
of class. However, the thing that Everton Football Club has lived for many,
many years is passion. Without skill, you can get by with passion. With skill
and passion, you have the making of a great team. With skill but no passion,
you end up with boring, inconsistent football. This is what we had yesterday.
Give em a kick up the backside Walter. If you know how.
Every time I go to Anfield, I get ill. I don't know why, but it happens.
So, after coughing, spluttering, croaking and dying my way through last week,
Saturday finally arrived. Revision for my GCSE mocks? No.... I'll start that
next week (I'm sure I said that last weekend too). So, to Goodison for the
next exciting installment in the gripping serial which we call Everton.
It was so hard to expect anything, to even begin to shape a scoreline. Our
Blues are unpredictable at the best of times, and who could call this result
after Monday's performance?
The Goodison mood was very much one of uncertainty. Everyone just hoped we
could maintain our home league unbeaten record, and keep our stadium's much
deserved title Fortress Goodison. But half of the first team had been
tackled to shreds during the Derby with the exception, of course,
of our very own Franny "No-one bullies me" Jeffers.
I watched most of the warm-up, and even saw Cadamarteri's impression of Taibi,
which was quite funny, although he should really have been practising his
Eventually, the delicate first notes of Z-Cars were carried around the gusty
Goodison, and the teams appeared. Upon lining up, we lost the toss, and for
the first time this season, we were shooting towards the Street End in the
Neale Barry blew to begin the game, and we immediately pressed forward. The
ball did not leave the Coventry half. Just on one minute, Xavier found Collins,
who spotted Barmby in space. Nick lifted the ball over the Coventry defence
to find Jeffers. What his first touch lacked he made up for when he took
it past the keeper, and poked the ball into the back of the net from a delicious
Coventry were stunned, we were delirious. Surely, our climb up the league
ladder had not ended on Monday. What Les Ferdinand is to us, Francis Jeffers
has become to Coventry. This must be his favourite fixture!
However, after the goal, we gradually worsened. After only a few minutes,
the Derby was beginning to take its toll. Collins' free kick which flew wide
was one of the brighter moments.
On 11 minutes, our vulnerable and slender lead was cancelled out. Robbie
Keane broke away, and Gerrard was forced to come out to challenge. The shot
was blocked, alas, only to land directly at the feet of a certain Mr. McAllister.
The goal was empty; the finish irrelevant. 1-1.
Anyone who had missed the goal could not be blamed for wondering what all
of the depression was about after all, the scoreboard proclaimed for
quite some time afterwards that we were still leading 1-0.
Things went from bad to worse. Davey Weir's headed goal was ruled offside,
and coupled with a few obligatory dodgy refereeing decisions, it seemed as
though we had one pretty frustrating afternoon on our hands.
Half-time came and went, cold, drizzling, and breezy. Cadamarteri replaced
Barmby, and made little difference.
Both Campbell and Weir missed crucial chances, which really could have changed
the tone of this little piece. Unfortunately, Campbell hit his shot with
the wrong foot, and Weir's header was saved. Ball created a chance out of
nowhere for himself, and was unlucky not to convert it.
We were all duly concerned for Richard Dunne when he was stretchered off,
with thoughts of broken limbs hovering in the backs of minds. Fortunately,
it just turned out to be bad bruising. Dunne has been fantastic for us over
the past few games a real defensive rock. You can see him learning
from those around him especially Gough. I would be sorry to be without
him, especially when you see how well the defence has ben working as a unit.
Even as a make-shift right back, he is far better than anything else the
squad currently has to offer.
However, the REAL incident of the match came after a Coventry free-kick down
by the Street End in the second half. Hutchison, as captain, was organising
the defensive wall. Gough must have contradicted him somewhere, and there
must have been words, because after the free kick was cleared, Gough was
hit by his own team-mate.
My Paddock view, which was directly opposite, provided me with the following.
Play continued, but Gough was felled on the edge of the box. I looked around
for a Coventry player hard enough to do this, and was instead met with the
sight of Bally restraining Hutchison.
The man who sits next to me turned towards me "Did you see that?" he asked
incredulously. It was one of the most bizarre incidents I have ever seen
at a match, and it dominated conversation more than the game itself.
This was why various people who had seen the incident began to boo Hutchison
when he was on the ball. Now, I would never treat any player wearing the
precious royal blue like that, but their fury was understandable. He could
have been sent off for it.
At the final whistle, we held our breath. Gough and Hutchison. What would
happen? Just as Gough walked away from congratulating a Coventry player,
Hutchison began to walk towards the same player. Hutch stretched out his
hand towards Gough, only for young Richard to ignore him. I have no idea
what was said between them out there, but it looked like our team spirit
is about to have a huge rift torn down the middle of it.
Don Hutchison apparently left the stadium at 5.10 pm. He should be fined
and stripped of the captaincy for at least one game. He behaved disgracefully,
irrationally and immaturely. Don't be surprised if he is on his way out.
Next up - Arsenal. With the biggest fan meet ever to look forward to, and
with this game being the last before my birthday (I turn 16 on the Sunday),
let's hope the Blues can manage at least one point.
Two minutes as good as it
This was being set up as a good test of our revival. It wasn't that Coventry
were particularly fearsome opposition, it was more a test of our consistency.
Could we 5 days after a rousing derby victory and performance
still do the business in the more mundane atmosphere of a home game against
With none of our injured players being fit in time to challenge for a recall,
Walter didn't have much of a decision to make in saying "Same again." His
only real selection was the bench which comprised of Simonsen, Ward, Cadamarteri,
Gemmill and Johnson.
The way we started the game it looked like we were going to be in for a feast.
We lost the toss and ended up attacking the St End but we had the kick off.
Straight from the kick-off Don Hutchison took the ball and ran at Coventry.
He got crowded out but it set the tone. Slick passing and good movement saw
us encamped in the Coventry half, it was a delight to behold as Coventry
chased shadows. As is becoming our wont, we were able to turn early pressure
into a goal. A delightful pass from Barmby put Jeffers through, he miscontrolled
it slightly but managed to push it wide of the onrushing Hedman, he then
kept his composure to find the back of the net.
Less than two minutes on the clock, Coventry had barely had a kick, the ball
hadn't been in our half, and we were 1-0 up. I settled myself down for the
rout that was to surely come.
Sadly it never arrived, that opening two minutes was as good as it got. It
was distressing to watch as we slowly but surely lost our way. Coventry to
their credit soon regained their composure and began to wrest control of
the midfield from us. They also possessed a real threat up front through
Robbie Keane and the two Morrocans. Within ten minutes they had equalised,
Keane was played through the middle, Gerrard did very well to come haring
off his line to block at Keane's feet, alas the rebound fell to
McAllister and he found the now vacant net.
On Monday we had, as a team, looked wonderfully cohesive. Today we didn't.
I can't really put a finger on where, precisely, we lost it. Gough and Weir
didn't look anything like as assured as they have done recently. They weren't
desperately bad but there were mistakes being made and opportunities being
given to Coventry. Likewise in midfield we didn't quite get going, again
we weren't desperately bad, just not as effective as we have been recently.
We reached half time without any further scoring and on balance level terms
was correct. Both teams had had opportunities but neither had taken real
control of the game.
For the second half we lost one of the inspirations of our current season
Nick Barmby. there had been no indication of a problem but clearly
there must have been. Danny Cadamarteri came on in a direct swap, otherwise
it was same as you were.
The football in the second half became increasingly scrappy. Both sides had
opportunities but neither side looked convincing. As a unit we actually appeared
to get worse as the game wore on and it began to look like Coventry were
the more likely winners, certainly I began to start steeling myself for a
disappointment. In fact, with a touch more composure in front of goal, Coventry
may well have made us pay.
As it was, Gerrard wasn't called into action too much and the second half
could just as easily have gone our way. Campbell was put through by a delightful
Jeffers back-heel, he seemed a certain scorer but found the side netting
with his right foot when a left-footed strike was called for; then in the
dying minutes David Weir had a free header which he put over.
After the games that had gone before this one, and indeed the manner in which
we started this one, there was a sense of disappointment as we left Goodison.
But we shouldn't be too disheartened provided this proves to be merely a
blip and not the start of a gradual decline. There was still plenty to admire
in this performance and we showed yet again that we will always possess a
threat up front.
Gerrard 6 Couldn't be faulted with the goal, in fact he did well to
thwart Keane initially. Had his habitual wobble when he came for a cross
and failed to get it. This seemed to affect him for a while as his kicking
suddenly went to pieces. This aspect of his game still worries me: he can't
get through a game without making a mess of something and when he does mess
up it appears to affect him for a while afterwards. Thus far he's got away
with his gaffes, but what happens when one of his gaffes gifts someone a
goal? What's going to happen to his general play then?
Dunne 8 Truly excellent today. Coventry obviously decided he was the
weak link and had a go down his flank repeatedly. They didn't get anything
out of him all day. He tackled superbly and generally looked rock solid.
Picked up his usual non-sensical booking (some play acting by one of the
Moroccans, who went down pole-axed but got up totally uninjured almost as
soon as he won the free kick), and a very nasty looking injury. Pity about
that as he really seems to be finding his feet and justifying Walter's faith
Ball 8 Another good performance, his rest has clearly done him good.
Defended well, got forward to good effect, impressive performance.
Gough 7 A definite step back from his performances of late. Not bad,
just not as good as he has been.
Weir 7 Another who went back from recent performance levels. Got caught
out a few times but did Ok in the main.
Barmby 6 Excellent pass for the goal, but a quiet performance from
Barmby, must have been injured.
Collins 6 Did OK but nothing exceptional.
Hutchison 6 Not a day he'll want to remember. Started off really well
but lost his way, one of the prime culprits of over-elaboration. His altercation
with Gough must leave question marks over his long term future at Goodison.
His position as captain strikes me as a little odd. He is the captain yet
it is Gough who everyone seems to look to for leadership, I also noticed
that when Dunne went off Walter called over John Collins to impart the tactical
changes to and not Hutchison. I think that Don is a cracking player but he
can be a liability he's only one yellow away from his first ban of
the season and I think it's only a matter of time (and getting some
cover for Campbell) before he is sold on.
Xavier 6 Can't help feeling that his talents are wasted stuck out
wide. Had a few good moments going forwards but also gave the ball away more
than he has done in his other games. I have no doubts about his talent I
just reckon he's much better in the centre.
Jeffers 6 Not one of his better days but there was still a goal, a
delightful back heel to put Campbell through, and several other moments of
genuine menace and threat.
Campbell 6 Another not at his best. Spent much of the second half
whingeing to the referee rather than getting on with things, also guilty
of a bad miss when put through by Jeffers.
Cadamarteri 5 Came on for Barmby and had a fairly torrid time. Wasn't
helped by coming on at a time when the team was already losing his way and
in a position, wide left, which starkly showed up his one-footedness. I'm
not sure what Walter had in mind when he stuck him out there, clearly whatever
it was it didn't work out.
Gemmill 6 Came on fairly late for Dunne, did OK.
Team 6 Fell away badly after a scintillating opening. Still, we came
away with a draw and at least looked like we got could have got more out
of the game. This time last year we probably would have lost this game.
Man of the match - Richard Dunne - showed himself to be a quality
Everton encounter familiar frustration
Derrick Allsop, Electronic Telegraph
RUMOURS of Everton's renaissance may be exaggerated. All the old frustrations
closed in on the long-suffering club as Coventry City hauled them back down
Everton had a goal from Francis Jeffers in 98 seconds and the look of a team
certain of their superiority and destiny. However, Gary McAllister equalised
after 11 minutes and Coventry confronted Everton with self-belief and no
little quality of their own.
McAllister disputed the authority of fellow Scot Don Hutchison in an absorbing
contest of the playmakers, and the Moroccan, Mustapha Hadji, provided the
ingenuity to complement Robbie Keane's menacing instincts. Hadji, whose goal
defeated West Ham a week earlier, should have capped an outstanding first-half
performance by putting Coventry ahead.
Everton's unlikely elevation to the leading pack has earned Walter Smith
the manager of the month award. Now, buoyed by their victory in Monday's
Merseyside derby courtesy of Kevin Campbell's goal, they were intent on
confirming their best start in the Premiership.
The confidence garnered in recent weeks was evident in Everton's early play,
orchestrated by their captain, Hutchison. Their opening thrust could not
quite produce a goal but the follow-up attack did.
Nick Barmby chipped the ball beyond Coventry's advancing back line and into
the path of Jeffers, who judged his run perfectly. He hesitated as he confronted
Magnus Hedman, the goalkeeper committed himself and the young striker was
left with a simple goal.
John Collins, Hutchison's compatriot and midfield accomplice, tested Hedman
with a rising free kick and this time the response was assured. The save
kept Coventry in the match and three minutes later they were level. Keane
chased a through ball from Hadji, and although Paul Gerrard was swiftly out
of his goal the ball rebounded off him to the visiting captain, who returned
it on the volley and with interest.
Keane might have put Coventry ahead but failed to connect with Marcus Hall's
cross from the left. Campbell and Jeffers threatened for Everton before Hadji
was presented with an opportunity he ought to have put away.
That near miss jolted Everton but also served to expose a lingering vulnerability
that has yet to be eradicated. Hutchison endeavoured to scheme them back
into control but somehow the momentum had been checked, the fluency stifled.
Keane's darting runs served as a reminder of his potency and with Gordon
Strachan barking instructions from the touchline Coventry had a fresh urgency
which palpably unsettled Everton.
The anxiety was evident in the stands and it took a shot from substitute
Danny Cadamarteri, acrobatically turned away by Hedman, to raise the locals'
hopes again. Campbell, whose pass gave Cadamarteri his sight of goal, accepted
the responsibility to go it alone two minutes later and stretched the goalkeeper
to a fingertip save.
Gerrard was less convincing after 63 minutes, flapping at a high, speculative
punt into his area and he was grateful that Youssef Chippo blazed off-target.
Campbell was still more culpable after chasing Jeffers' flicked through-ball.
The muscular striker, one-on-one with Hedman, planted his shot into the side
Chippo was wasteful again 12 minutes from the end, miscueing from Carlton
Everton left to lament missed
by Brian Glanville, The Sunday Times
A GAME which began so brightly fell away so disappointingly. It revived in
the second half, but did not go Everton's way, since Kevin Campbell and David
Weir missed concrete chances. After the blood and thunder of a successful
Merseyside derby, Everton returned to Goodison to face a diminished Coventry.
They opened the scoring within two minutes but held the lead for barely 10.
Coventry's three-man rearguard were embarrassingly split after 88 seconds
by Nick Barmby's through pass. The gifted young Francis Jeffers raced on,
outflanked the goalkeeper, Magnus Hedman, and coolly placed his shot into
Coventry might have been forgiven had they been traumatised by conceding
such an easy early goal, but after 12 minutes they had one of their own.
The talented Moroccan international Mustapha Hadji, playing up front in
combination with Robbie Keane, that other highly precocious figure, played
a through ball to rival Barmby's. Well, perhaps not quite, since it was odds-on
that the Everton goalkeeper, Paul Gerrard, would reach the ball before Keane.
He did, but it rebounded to that old fox of a Scottish midfielder, Gary
McAllister, who calmly lobbed over the stranded keeper for Coventry's unexpected
After this dramatic start, the game subsided into mediocrity. Jeffers, who
has substantial pace, came racing through again, but Hedman dived, played
the ball against his leg, and got away with a goal kick.
At the other end, when the intelligent and adventurous Hadji sent a long
pass through, Everton centre-back Weir missed it completely, enabling Keane
to run on to the ball. Alas, the young Irishman could do no better than hoof
it well over the bar.
Their midfield reinforced by the veteran Carlton Palmer, who has arrived
on loan, Coventry found it a good deal easier to frustrate Everton than they
might have expected after that second-minute shock. The two Moroccans, Hadji
and Youssef Chippo, scorning shinpads, were always ready to combine to good
effect, and Everton's tendency to give the ball away out of defence made
things harder for the home team.
There were those who believed that Everton succumbed to over-confidence,
but even against a Coventry team without so many first choices, it was never
going to be quite easy.
After the break, things got livelier. Twice in the 58th minute only spectacular
saves by Hedman denied Everton a goal. First Campbell, cleverly holding the
ball, initiated a move that ended with a neat pass to the promising substitute,
Danny Cadamarteri, and a fierce drive that Hedman turned round the post.
Almost immediately, Campbell slipped past the injured Muhamed Konjic for
a high drive that Hedman tipped over the bar.
After 65 minutes, Campbell incomprehensibly missed, failing even to get the
ball on target when sent clear by Jeffers. Hall committed a dreadful foul
on Richard Dunne and, right at the death, Weir headed Don Hutchison's cross
over the bar.
Jeffers' early promise proves
by Dave Hadfield, The Independent on
EVERTON FAILED to maintain their upward momentum in the Premiership as neither
they nor the game lived up to a bright opening. In the lead before Coventry
could settle and full of running and enterprise, they faded badly as the
game went on and, despite chances to win it, finally deserved no more than
Rarely in their troubled recent history can Everton have gone into a home
match with more solid reasons for confidence. A dizzying sixth in the Premiership
following a stormy but successful Monday night at Anfield, they were able
to field an unchanged team, including Francis Jeffers, sent off in that
Then there was Coventry's woeful record at Goodison, with just one win in
11 visits. Injuries also made inroads into Gordon Strachan's team with forwards
Noel Whelan and John Aloisi among those missing, although Moustapha Hadji
was fit after treating a bruised instep with raw steak a recipe more
appropriate for Everton after the blood and thunder of the Merseyside derby.
Coventry also had unhappy memories of their last visit to Merseyside
a 5-1 drubbing by Tranmere Rovers in the Worthington Cup, not the sign of
a team that could prevent Everton equalling their best start to a season
The portent pointed even more obviously at Everton as, inside two minutes,
Coventry's hesitant defence was opened up. Nick Barmby, who had already
threatened on his own account, chipped a through-ball to put Francis Jeffers
clear on goalkeeper Magnus Hedman, who forced the young striker a little
wider but could not keep his shot out.
Hedman could easily have been beaten again after eight minutes, when a foul
on Kevin Campbell by Bosnian defender Muhamed Konjic produced a free-kick
by John Collins that was deflected and tipped over.
That made it all the more startling when Coventry equalised three minutes
later. Hadji played the ball through to Robbie Keane and, when Paul Gerrard
saved at his feet, Gary McAllister floated the ball into the empty net from
outside the area. Hadji, partnering Keane up front in a change from his usual
role, made a run from deep to underline his abilities.
It was perhaps inevitable the game would quieten down a little and Everton
appeared to be establishing control in midfield with Barmby, Collins and
Don Hutchison closing down where gaps were likely to appear. They had the
ball in the net when Barmby played it back in after a corner for David Weir
to head home, but the flag was already waving.
Hadji continued to present problems with one perfectly weighted pass down
the left and then releasing Keane for a high shot with a subtle flick.
Danny Cadamarteri came on for the injured Barmby at half-time, but the sense
grew that Everton had lost their way. The best they could manage was a high,
rising shot from Michael Ball on his 20th birthday.
There was then a real chance of recapturing the lead, Cadamarteri's shot
being saved after he was cleverly set up by Campbell. Better still from the
latter was a run and shot after Richard Dunne picked him out, but it flew
narrowly over. After 64 minutes, Campbell should have scored. Put through
by an exquisite touch by Jeffers, his shot went into the side netting.
Jeffers had a penalty claim rejected after Paul Williams' challenge, although
Youssef Chippo could have scored at the other end if he had connected with
Carlton Palmer's cross. Three players were booked towards the end, with Dunne
being stretchered off.
There was still a hint of an Everton winner when Campbell lost Williams and
Jeffers' shot was deflected over and when Weir headed onto the roof of the
net, but an afternoon which had promised so much ended in frustration.
Moroccan Infusion Counters Everton's
by a Journalist from The Independent
THE OVERSEAS tide has flowed in opposite directions for Everton and Coventry
this year. Everton, forced by financial constraints to shed the bulk of their
imports, can be pleased with what a largely home-grown side, fleshed out
with the descendants of football's first foreign mercenaries, the Scots,
has achieved this season. But Coventry have continued to recruit far and
wide and, in their two Moroccans, Moustapha Hadji and Youssef Chippo, they
had the men who could have won this match.
Hadji, pressed into service as an emergency striker after treating his bruised
instep with raw steak all week, faded in the second half and was eventually
upstaged by his captain, Gary McAllister, as the game's most influential
figure. Some of his touches including setting up the equaliser, before
the pressures of an unaccustomed role wore him down were sublime.
Chippo's confidence on the ball is barely inferior and, if he could have
finished more clinically in the second half, this would have been an unlikely
Coventry win, made in North Africa.
Gordon Strachan is already a gushing admirer of what his two charges have
to offer. "Any young kid who wants to be a footballer, I'd take them along
to see these two in training," he said. "A lot of people said `Moroccans?
They'll be pretty soft'. But the honesty they play with is refreshing."
Like everyone else, the Coventry manager has seen his share of "dodgy foreigners"
some of them at Highfield Road. "But born players like these we can
do with," he said.
Strachan was also well served by his Swedish goalkeeper, Magnus Hedman, and,
until he went off injured, the Bosnian defender, Muhamed Konjic.
Everton, by contrast, had just one overseas in-comer among the 16 who got
changed, the recently arrived Portuguese midfielder, Abel Xavier. Despite
this, Walter Smith, the manager, has little reason yet to be dissatisfied
with his mix. Even a performance falling well below the standards they have
now set for themselves saw Everton create enough chances, for their early
scorer, Francis Jeffers, Kevin Campbell, and the substitute, Danny Cadamarteri,
to have won this with something to spare.
If Everton were less than convincing, that had much to do with the hangover
from the intoxicating intensity of their stormy Monday at Anfield. However
much you try, it can be hard to transplant the passion from one occasion
Smith's side still managed to sneak up into fifth place, on a day when most
teams above them played their European card. That might still prove to be
a little more than they can sustain, but at least Everton are now going into
matches expecting to score.
Smith ponders the future
by Stephen Wood, The Times
WHEN Walter Smith says that he does not know how far his side can go this
season, the Everton manager is, for once, not indulging in his habit for
circumspection. He really does not know what fate lies in store for his club,
for the suddenness with which they have assumed an air of invincibility has
produced confusion in their perspectives.The fifth place that they occupied
in the FA Carling Premiership on Saturday night was again their highest for
three years, providing more testament to the managerial powers exhibited
by Smith. If he will not hazard a guess as to where Everton's season may
take them, there are, nevertheless, two extreme schools of thought to do
it for him.
Kevin Campbell, the striker, believes that he and his team-mates are good
enough to qualify for European competition next season.
The other alternative, and the most likely one, is that Everton will still
find themselves in a relegation battle come next spring.
While the club crawls through its financial and ownership crisis, Smith cannot
dream of improving his squad significantly. Moreover, the run of games that
Everton face could see them in the bottom three by Christmas.
Arsenal, Leeds United, Newcastle United, Chelsea, Aston Villa and Manchester
United all await them and for the first three of those games, they will be
without the Kevin Campbell / Francis Jeffers partnership.
Jeffers is suspended for three matches because of his sending-off in the
Merseyside derby. His goal, after one minute and 38 seconds against Coventry
City, owed something to luck, but the rest of his display owed everything
to sheer talent.
He twice set up Campbell in the second half for what appeared to be certain
winning goals, but the opportunities went astray.
Coventry's delight at a point, secured with the help of a well-taken equaliser
by Gary McAllister, was tempered by the news that Robbie Keane, the £6
million striker, is carrying an ankle injury that looks certain to force
him out of Ireland's European championship qualifying match against Macedonia.
Times Newspapers Ltd