Everton Logo

Everton 1 - 1 Coventry City

Half-time: 1 - 1


Coventry City Logo
FA Carling Premiership 1999-2000 – Game 10
3pm Saturday 2 October 1999
Goodison Park, Merseyside
Att: 34,839
Liverpool (a) Ref: Neale Barry Arsenal (a) 
[1999-2000 Fixtures & Results] League Position: 6th [Premiership Results & Table]
 MATCH SUMMARY
Paul Gerrard 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!

 

 MATCH FACTS
   GOALSCORERS  Debuts
EVERTON: Jeffers (2')
Coventry City: McAllister (11')
   LINEUPS  Subs Not Used
EVERTON: Gerrard; Dunne (83' Gemmill), Weir, Gough, Ball; Barmby (46' Cadamarteri), Collins, Hutchison, Xavier; Campbell, Jeffers.
Unavailable: Watson, Unsworth, Myhre, Williamson, Parkinson (injured); Branch, Farrelly, O'Kane (transfer-listed); Bilic (in limbo); Grant (on loan),
Simonsen, Ward, Johnson.
Coventry City: Hedman, Edworthy, Shaw, Konjic (58' Williams), Keane, Palmer, Chippo, McAllister, Telfer, Hall, Hadji. Strachan, Quinn, Nuzzo, Eustace.
   Playing Strips  Formations
EVERTON: Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks. 4-4-2
Coventry City: White & black shirts; black shorts; white & black socks. 4-4-2
   Yellow Cards  Red Cards
EVERTON: Dunne (80')
Coventry City: Edworthy (82'), Hall (84')

 MATCH REPORTS
 REPORTS BY EVERTON FANS
Rob Burns Everton Doze through Sky Blue Strike Back
Chris Lord Skill but no passion
Jenny Roberts "Fortress Goodison" – just!
Richard Marland Two minutes – as good as it got
 NEWSPAPER REPORTS
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Everton encounter familiar frustration
by Derrick Allsop
THE SUNDAY TIMES Everton left to lament missed chances
by Brian Glanville
THE INDEPENDENT
ON SUNDAY
Jeffers' early promise proves illusory
by Dave Hadfield
THE INDEPENDENT Moroccan Infusion Counters Everton's Home Brew
by a Journalist from The Independent 
THE TIMES Smith ponders the future
by Stephen Wood
 OTHER INTERNET REPORTS
EFC NEWS SITE Link to the Echo/Daily Post Match Report

THE OBSERVER Link to Football Unlimited Match Report
THE GUARDIAN Link to Football Unlimited Match Report
SPORTING LIFE Link to PA Sports Match Report
CARLINGNET Link to CarlingNet Match Report

 
 Everton Doze through Sky Blue Strike Back
Rob Burns
 
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 efforts.

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
Chris Lord
 
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 happened.

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? Danny 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 came back.

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 minutes.

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 dull game

  • Gerrard 7 - Competent. Maybe should have been out quicker for the goal.
  • 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 "reliable"
  • 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 passing sideways.
  • 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 tried.
  • 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 good enough.

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 enough.

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 every time.

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.


 
 "Fortress Goodison" – just!
Jenny Roberts
 
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 shooting....

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 first half.

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 angle.

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 got
Richard Marland
 
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 Coventry.

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.

Second Half

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.

The Players

  • 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 in him.
  • 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 defender.


 
 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 to earth.

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 netting.

Chippo was wasteful again 12 minutes from the end, miscueing from Carlton Palmer's cross.

Report The Electronic Telegraph

 
 Everton left to lament missed chances
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 the net.

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 equaliser.

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.

Report Times Newspapers Ltd

 
 Jeffers' early promise proves illusory
by Dave Hadfield, The Independent on Sunday
 
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 a draw.

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 unneighbourly fracas.

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 since 1980.

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.

Report The Independent

 
 Moroccan Infusion Counters Everton's Home Brew
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 to another.

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.

Report The Independent

 
 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.

Report Times Newspapers Ltd

 
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