2 Leicester City
Half-time: 1 2
FA Carling Premiership 1999-2000 Game 21
530 pm Monday 3 January 2000
Goodison Park, Merseyside
Live on Sky TV
The first match of the new millennium sees a Leicester City side featuring
Tony Cottee but missing Emile Heskey through suspension, and depleted
by illness and injury, running a dire Everton side ragged at aging Goodison
Park. And to cap it all, Sky Tv were there to again expose Everton's frustrating
frailties to the world.
Walter Smith lost the services of Dunne, Ball and Xavier who were supposedly
recovering from the flu (Dunne and Ball were actually absent as
a disciplinary measure by Smith), and Alex Cleland, whose calf injury
will keep him out for a couple of weeks. He was rapidly joined by Barmby,
who was flattened by an extremely dangerous Flowers charge
Flowers came off worst, and went to hospital, but the
effect of losing Barmby was mortifying to the subsequently moribund
In Dunne's place, Dave Watson was well off the pace in a defence
that attempted to make a mockery of the word. Everton gifted two totally
stupid goals to the terrier-like Foxes after taking the lead rather flukily
when a Weir drive was deflected away from the keeper by Hutchison's body.
Kevin Campbell was back in attack with Francis Jeffers, who must suffered
his worst-ever game in a blue shirt, following his New Year's Eve shenanigans.
Every touch was bad and as for telepathy with Campbell? Forget
it! Walter Smith again left it very late to employ Joe-Max Moore as a sub
for Jeffers, after Everton's only second-half strike on goal was a lucky
penalty executed coolly by Unsworth.
Uefa Cup place? On this performance, Everton will be very lucky to finish
any higher than 14th.
Weir (15'), Unsworth (pen:56')
Elliott (26', 31')
Subs Not Used
Gerrard, Unsworth, Gough, Watson, Weir, Pembridge,
Hutchison, Collins, Barmby (9' Gemmill), Jeffers (70' Moore), Campbell.
Unavailable: Dunne, Ball (disciplined), Xavier (flu);
Cleland, Williamson (injured); Branch, Myhre,
Phelan (on loan); Bilic (in limbo); Parkinson (retired).
Ward, Clarke, Simonsen.
Flowers (8' Arphexad), Taggart, Walsh, Sinclair, Savage,
Lennon (90' Thomas), Zagorakis (79' Campbell), Oakes, Eadie, Elliott, Cottee.
Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks.
Yellow shirts; dark blue shorts; yellow socks.
Watson (70'), Pembridge (83').
A match best forgotten
When asked what I felt the outcome of today's game would be, I was a little
reticent to predict a win for us. I know that's not in keeping with being
a fan, when blue-tinted glasses means that you never criticise those in the
Royal blue, but you must know what I mean... a forward hasn't scored for
3 years and who does he score against? A team doesn't win away all season
till they visit Goodison, first goal for a club... you see the sort
of thing I mean. So when Leicester City arrive here in the middle of a slump,
haven't won for four games, odds are the run'll end here.
Nevertheless, having demolished Sunderland and come away from the Bradford
and Bingley Stadium with a point, I had a sneaking feeling we might be in
for a repeat of Boxing Day. How wrong could I have been?
The game was a shambles from first to last. We were inadequate, they were
appalling. The referee had a nightmare. So did the fans. Quite simply the
match is best forgotten and consigned to the annals (yes... like the M word,
double "n") of history. So on this occasion I'm not going to dwell on it
for very long. A quick summary then:
We scored (a fortunate deflection past the substitute keeper). They scored
twice (dismal defending). We scored again from the penalty spot defender
should have been dismissed for deliberate handball.
Four goals, not a forward on the scoresheet (Elliott for Leicester, who got
both of theirs, was playing as a makeshift striker; Weir was our best forward,
playing at right back and Rhino tucked away a neat penalty having been completely
lacking in control for the rest of the game.)
Best moment of the whole afternoon was the arrival of Alex Young to receive
his Millennium Hero award biggest disappointment was Bob Latchford
not turning up to receive his. Was Duncan MacKenzie (yes, I know he was magic)
really a worthy substitute for him?
Anyway, the scoreboard showed an attendance of 30,409 (I don't believe it
was as few as that) and Man of the Match was Nicky Barmby who went
off after only 9 minutes. After he left the field we lost all shape and purpose.
Of those who remained on the park only Davey Weir looked as though he was
up for a game.
Team of the
A new year, a new century, a new millennium (the media has said so) but more
importantly a new decade offering Evertonians the chance to leave the 1990s
behind. Sadly, the Everton of the 90s hasn't read the script and exited right
because it is still there.
Every time the team looks like it's going somewhere, every time the media
sits up and takes notice, Everton lapse into their bad old ways. Following
the 5-0 hammering of Sunderland, Everton had once again risen to prominence
in the media and much was expected from this first televised game of 2000
City, who came into the game on the back of 4 straight defeats, were faced
with a catalogue of injuries and a key suspension to Emil Heskey that forced
Martin O'Neill to force a patched up side and defender Matt Elliott as a
makeshift striker. The script was written...
The game began as it was to continue in scrappy fashion with both sides giving
possession away too easily. 6 minutes in, though, Don Hutchison put a deft
chip into Nick Barmby's path and as he raced into the area and fired over
the bar he was hit like a freight train by Tim Flowers' two-footed assault.
The result was not the penalty and red card some might have expected but
both players leaving the field with what looked like long-term injuries.
Certainly it looked miraculous that neither player broke a limb; as it turned
out both suffered heavy bruising and nothing more serious. By this stage,
Leicester had fired a warning shot through former Blues target Darren Eadie
when the record Foxes signing hit a powerful shot from the angle which Paul
Gerrard could only parry for a corner.
However, it was Everton who took the lead. Mark Pembridge hit a good-looking
cross that was headed out only as far as David Weir who turned his marker
and unleashed a shot that took a wicked deflection off Hutchison and flew
into the left-hand corner of the net past the despairing Pegguy Arphexad.
At this point you were wondering how many we would get this time.
Unfortunately, on a day when Dave Watson was honoured along with 9 others
as a player of the Millennium (in his case, for the 1990s), the 38 year-old
was probably at fault for both of Leicester's ensuing goals.
In the first instance he and Gough went for the same ball and Zagorakis was
able to slip the ball between them for Elliott to slot home after 26 minutes,
although how he wasn't penalised for the blatant off-the-ball flattening
of John Collins in the build-up was astonishing.
Then, just 5 minutes later, Watson and Gerrard made a complete hash of defending
another Leicester incision and Elliott stole in to ram the ball past the
'keeper into an open net. Yet more evidence against the geriatric central
defensive duo as the usually impeccable Gough was shown in Andy Gray's analysis
to have stood still after losing an aerial challenge with the double goalscorer.
At this point, Everton looked a million miles from the team that so
comprehensively humbled Sunderland and looked even further from winning this
game. Play in the midfield was sloppy, up front Francis Jeffers looked slow
and disinterested and the centre of defence didn't inspire much confidence.
Minutes before Leicester's goals, they could so easily have scored when Zagorakis
fired goalwards from 7 yards but Gough reacted quickly to block the shot
and deflect it wide for what should have been a corner but was overlooked
by referee Winter.
On the plus side, Weir was having the game of his life, playing the full-back
role to perfection. Quite simply, he was a revelation to these eyes who recall
his "frightened rabbit" performances in the same position last season.
Kevin Campbell was also his committed self up although he was getting no
charity from a dogged Leicester defence while John Collins was having one
of his better games. Everton were plainly missing Nick Barmby and the match
illustrated what a key member of the team he is.
To the Blues' credit they came out a better side in the second half. Hutchison
began to orchestrate their forward thrusts and the visitors became nervous
as he nearly put the forward two through on a few occasions. When he did
9 minutes after the interval putting Jeffers in with a gilt-edged opportunity,
the 18 year-old mis-controlled badly allowing a defender to sweep it clear
of the penalty area.
Not to be outdone, however, Hutch delivered a perfect chip over the defence
for Campbell two minutes later but before he could bring it down, Frank Sinclair
had deliberately elbowed the ball out of his path. Already on a booking after
fouling Hutchison 10 minutes earlier, you'd have thought that the former
Chelsea man would have been sent off. He wasn't even yellow-carded for what
was a clear attempt to prevent a goal.
Everton were awarded a penalty though and handed an avenue back into the
match. David Unsworth stepped up and duly slotted the ball past Arphexad
for his 5th of the season. Cue a another reversal with Everton stepping up
a gear to claim victory? Well, no, it was more of the same bluster and
Leicester continued to be a threat, especially from set pieces and Oakes
went close with a free kick that nearly caught Gerrard out at the far post
but slid inches wide. Gerrard then had to nervily punch two corners clear
from under his cross bar.
With just under 20 minutes to go, Jeffers was replaced by Joe-Max Moore and
it was at this point that my fiancee rang me to say she'd had a minor car
accident 200 yards up the road. I didn't get back in until the 92nd minute
by which time the game was heading for a draw.
With the amount of anticipation before this game of a win that would have
put us 7th, this was more than a little disappointing. It seems as though
we are destined for a mid-table finish this season simply through the complacency
that sinks in after a run of good results.
Jeffers in particular appears to suffer from this, believing he has already
made it and that he doesn't need to try. He is a talent and we are lucky
to have him but he has to realise that the ball isn't going to just arrive
at his feet all the time.
Pembridge has come under heavy criticism this season as has Collins but I
felt they both worked hard today and produced some of our better moments.
Personally, having argued to the contrary at the Watford game, I'd rather
have Pembridge than Gemmill in the side after a woeful display by the no.11.
Hutchison grew in stature as the game wore on and proved that he can be the
team's real playmaker when he's up for it.
At the back, news of Dave Watson's imminent retirement will probably be welcome
after a poor performance and Gough was uncharacteristically slow as well
Man of the match for Everton for me would have to be David Weir with Hutchison
his only real challenger.
The twisted logic of
Oh the joys of following the blues a thumping victory against high
flying Sunderland closely followed by a wretched performance against an injury
hit Leicester side who are on a run of four straight defeats. Go work out
the logic in that.
Our problems started with an enforced defensive reshuffle (at least I assume
it was enforced) with Richard Dunne unexpectedly absent. With Cleland injured
the man to step into the breach (and thus extend his Everton career into
a third decade) was Dave Watson, this meant the breaking up of the Gough-Weir
partnership as Weir was shunted to right back. The line-up then was Gerrard
in goal, a back four of Weir, Watson, Gough and Unsworth, a midfield of Barmby,
Hutchison, Collins and Pembridge, with Jeffers and Campbell up front. The
bench served as a stark reminder of the paucity of our squad Simonsen,
Ward, Peter Clarke, Gemmill and Joe-Max Moore.
From the outset, it was clear that things weren't quite as they should be.
We had trouble in keeping possession and there just seemed to be a general
lethargy about the team. Leicester, meanwhile, were doing what Leicester
generally do, working hard for each other and closing space down effectively.
The net result wasn't exactly pretty on the eye with neither team looking
like they had the ability to take control of the game.
Within six minutes there was a potentially game changing incident. Nick Barmby
was put through by, I think, Don Hutchison. He just got to the ball before
the on-rushing Flowers but his shot was off-target, not that Barmby saw the
outcome of the shot as he was taken out, high up the leg by Flowers. Personally
I thought it was a shocking challenge by Flowers and a potential leg breaker,
certainly if it had been an outfield player who had committed such a lunge
then it would have been an unquestioned red card. But, different rules seem
to apply to 'keepers. Flowers left the game on a stretcher and Barmby hobbled
off to be replaced by Scott Gemmill.
With Barmby went any semblance of width and a large chunk of our attacking
potential. However, we did seem to recover from that setback when we, somewhat
fortuitously, took the lead. Weir, coming in from the right, took a pot shot
from distance, his shot was on target but would probably have been covered
by the 'keeper, Instead it took a wicked deflection off Don Hutchison and
went into the opposite corner of the net. Both celebrated the goal as if
it were their own but it goes down to Hutchison as it probably wouldn't have
gone in without his unwitting intervention.
I hoped that that goal would settle us down and that we could go on and take
control of the game. Sadly that wasn't to be as some shocking defending let
Leicester back in the game. First John Collins was caught in possession in
our half, Leicester picked up the ball and proceeded to carve through the
centre of our defence with alarming ease, the end result was a Leicester
equaliser for Matt Elliot.
Worse was soon to follow, a long ball ended up at the edge of our box, Watson
was dealing with it under pressure from Matt Elliot. Gerrard should have
come to take control of things, certainly Watson seemed to be waiting for
him, Gerrard eventually arrived just as Watson attempted some sort of panicky
back-header, Gerrard just got fingertips to this but only succeeded in setting
it up for Matt Elliot who just had to strike it into an empty net.
That was about it for the first half, we could but hope that during the half
time interval, whilst we were being reminded of our glorious history, Walter
was in the dressing room sorting out the current rag-tag bunch.
Sadly the second half didn't bring much of a change. It wasn't a simple case
of re-organising, I don't suppose there's too much you can do when so many
players fall short of their best, and there's no-one sitting on the bench
who is going to make a profound difference to proceedings.
Our passing game was still woefully astray and in all honesty we didn't really
look like we were going to score, certainly I can't recall a save the 'keeper
was asked to make, or many in the way of chances that went begging. It was
sadly indicative of our form that we required help from Leicester to score,
a high awkward ball into the box and Frank Sinclair, under pressure from
Kevin Campbell, needlessly handled the ball. A clear penalty and fortunately
the referee agreed with us. Unsworth stepped up and converted with his customary
Once again we had a springboard to go onto better things, but once again
we failed to take advantage. We huffed and puffed but never managed to attack
with any kind of conviction. Franny Jeffers was finally released from, what
for him, was a fairly disastrous performance and replaced with Joe-Max Moore.
However, Moore still looks like he's finding his feet and this never looked
like it was going to be a match winning substitution.
Long before the end we had given up on seeing a winner and as Leicester were
probably happy with what they had the game petered out rather tamely. The
final whistle was greeted by near silence. So, all in all a hugely disappointing
game. After Sunderland we had expected so much but our whole game seemed
to be unhinged, firstly by the defensive reshuffle and then by the loss of
Barmby. Hopefully more normal service will be resumed soon....
Gerrard 6 A few shaky moments and I definitely put their second goal
down to him as he was too slow to take charge of the situation. One excellent
save from Savage.
Weir 7 Defended well and frequently got forward. Yet another accomplished
Unsworth 6 Not one of his better days, but still defended more than
adequately (something he never seems to get the credit for) and showed his
character by calmly dispatching the penalty.
Gough 6 Defensively OK but gave the ball away an awful lot today.
Watson 5 Decidedly ring rusty and really needs to be allowed to retire
Barmby not on long enough.
Hutchison 7 One of our better performers. The general malaise didn't
completely escape him but at least he tried to make things happen.
Collins 6 Opinion seemed to be split on Collins' performance today.
Personally I thought he didn't do too bad (although his losing possession
for the first goal doesn't help my argument much). What I like about him
is the way he is always trying to get the ball down on the deck and to get
the passing going.
Pembridge 6 Worked hard and delivered a few dangerous crosses but
will never make the difference when the team is playing as poorly as this.
Campbell 6 Never looked like scoring, he tried but it's just not happening
for him at the moment.
Jeffers 5 His worst performance? His touch deserted him and he looked
ineffectual. Surprised he stayed on as long as he did.
Gemmill 6 Clearly short of match fitness and is never going to offer
what Barmby can out wide.
Moore 6 Still not seen anything yet to impress me. Lets hope the reserves
get a run of games in the New Year and some of the fringe players can get
the games they clearly need.
Team 5 Pretty awful today with everyone seeming to struggle for form.
Our passing was abysmal, we were second to the ball all day long, our defending
was shaky to say the least and we were impotent up front. Deserve some credit
for keeping going and dredging out a draw from the shambles.
Man of the Match David Weir.
Unsworth's equaliser counters Elliott's
by Dave Hadfield, The Independent
Matt Elliott, acting as a makeshift striker, ended Leicester's run of four
defeats, but David Unsworth's equaliser from the penalty spot ensured that
neither of these sides got the win that would have taken them to seventh
place in the Premiership.
Elliott, no stranger to the odd stint up front in his days with Oxford United,
moved up field to partner Tony Cottee in the absence of Emile Heskey and
struck twice in six minutes of the first half at Goodison. Often a terror
in the air for Leicester from set-pieces, Elliott showed his ability on the
ground as well as he wiped out Everton's early lead.
That lead had been seized in the 15th minute when Leicester failed to clear
Mark Pembridge's cross and David Weir's shot not a particularly fierce
one was deflected past the stranded Pegguy Arphexad by Don Hutchison's
chest. Arphexad was only on the field because of a sickening collision between
Leicester's first-choice goalkeeper, Tim Flowers, and Everton's Nick Barmby
10 minutes earlier. The two clashed knees painfully as they pursued a 50-50
ball in the area: Flowers was taken off on a stretcher and Barmby limped
out of the action soon after.
Despite their one goal advantage, Everton seemed to be the worst affected
by the enforced change as Leicester belied their recent form and their
below-strength line-up with enterprising play which was converted into goals
by the marauding Elliott. He was perhaps a shade fortunate in being allowed
to play on when Cottee appeared to be marginally offside as the impressive
Theo Zagorakis threaded a pass through. Elliott had no interest in such niceties,
striding on to drill the ball pass Paul Gerrard for the equaliser.
He was soon at it again, first winning a long clearance in the air and then
running on to take advantage when Cottee's pressure forced an error from
the Everton defence.
Dave Watson was unveiled as Everton's player of the 1990s at half-time but
would not win any awards for his work 14 minutes earlier, his header coming
back off Gerrard's chest.
Elliott's finish for the second goal was crisp and authoritative, but Leicester
could perhaps have done with him back at his usual post at the heart of their
defence when Everton drew level 12 minutes into the second half. Hutchison,
generally subdued, chipped the ball in towards the ever alert Kevin Campbell
and Frank Sinclair, already booked for a foul, flung out a hand to intercept
it. He escaped a second card, but Leicester could not preserve their lead,
Unsworth shooting low past Arphexad. Both sides had their chances after that,
with Gerry Taggart almost snatching it when had his shot whipped round the
O'Neill's gamble pays off with brace
by David McVay, The Times
REPORTS of Leicester City's demise are perhaps exaggerated. Those bulletins
concerning the well-being of Everton should also be regarded with a high
degree of scepticism.
Invoking the ghosts of past glories with a parade at half-time of Goodison
Park favourites including Howard Kendall, their most successful manager,
only served to underline the relative mediocrity of the teams that settled
for an FA Carling Premiership point each last night.
Although, like Leicester, the ambition is to strive for a top six position,
the nature of this latest encounter indicates that the road ahead to Europe
will be fraught with problems, many self-inflicted.
"We didn't play well enough to get a result," Walter Smith, the Everton manager,
said. "Basically, we gave away two scrappy goals, which summed us up."
Consolation for Everton, scant as it is, came with the home side's recovery
and retention of their unbeaten record after Matt Elliott, the Leicester
central defender who led the line to good effect, scored twice in six first-half
minutes with the instinct of a natural predator.
Fearful that they might be too fragile in attack without the suspended Emile
Heskey, Martin O'Neill, the Leicester manager, had promoted his captain to
The jig of delight that Elliott's equaliser elicited from O'Neill in the
dugout area was vindication of his tactics as the player demonstrated a calm
assurance to steer a low shot beyond Paul Gerrard, the Everton goalkeeper,
in the 26th minute. Less than six minutes later Elliott repeated his efforts
when the lines of communication between Gerrard and Dave Watson became tangled,
allowing him a simple finish.
"You may have thought it was a bit of a gamble but Matt is a cultured
centre-half, despite the size of him," O'Neill said. "He's delighted and
I'm very pleased for him."
O'Neill was less charitable about Frank Sinclair, who allowed Everton back
into the game just when a contagious discontent among the home supporters
was threatening to reach epidemic proportions. After 57 minutes, Sinclair,
scorer of two spectacular own goals in the first two games of the campaign,
pressed the panic button again, raising what seemed a needless arm to deflect
the ball away from Kevin Campbell. It was a clear penalty that David Unsworth
converted with style.
The draw ended a sequence of four losing league games but, while they were
encouraged by the return of Neil Lennon to their midfield, Leicester were
deprived of Tim Flowers, their goalkeeper, who was taken off on a stretcher
after a ninth-minute collision with Nick Barmby. Both men were substituted.
It was the third time that Flowers had been carried off this season, the
goalkeeper having been injured twice within a month, away to Middlesbrough
and Crystal Palace.
Pegguy Arphexad, his replacement, scarcely had the opportunity to survey
his goalmouth when Everton took a rather fortuitous advantage after 16 minutes.
David Weir's shot carried little venom until it struck Don Hutchison, whose
deflection proved crucial.
Times Newspapers Ltd
Elliott's forward thinking is matched
by Everton's resolve
Paul Walker, Electronic Telegraph
MATT ELLIOTT almost stole the show for Leicester with two goals as stand-in
striker but had to share the honours as Everton defender David Unsworth saved
the Merseysiders' unbeaten home record with a second-half penalty.
Scottish international defender Elliott found himself pressed into service
up front in the absence of the suspended Emile Heskey and it proved to be
a move that paid dividends.
Martin O'Neill's battling midlanders have had a painful last few weeks but
Leicester are nothing if not competitive and after going a goal behind they
fought back with Elliott grabbing two in six minutes.
For Everton, though, the draw must be viewed as a chance lost.
On a night when they honoured their Millennium heroes from Dixie Dean
to Howard Kendall with special on-pitch awards collected by family,
friends, or in Kendall's case in person with a standing ovation, the current
team got swept up in a knockabout holiday clash.
Everton would have gone seventh if they had won but they were too frantic
and erratic to deserve more than a point.
The game was only seven minutes old when it lost two England internationals
after a sickening collision, with Tim Flowers carried off and Nicky Barmby
helped down the tunnel.
Don Hutchison's chip sent Barmby clear in the box, and the midfielder volleyed
the ball inches over the bar as Flowers charged into him. Both players lay
stricken as Everton players and fans claimed a penalty.
But referee Jeff Winter ignored the pleas, and after lengthy treatment Flowers
went with a damaged right knee the third time this season that he
has been forced off in a match.
Barmby was able to limp away but he too was suffering from a damaged left
knee, and Scot Gemmill substituted while Pegguy Arphexad took over in the
Leicester goal from Flowers.
Ten minutes later the Frenchman was picking the ball out of the net as Everton
took the lead.
David Weir lashed in a 20-yarder that was clearly on target but hit Hutchison,
wrong-footed the goalkeeper and bounced into the corner of the net.
Weir could have grabbed a second after 25 minutes when Kevin Campbell played
him into the box, but the defender scuffed his shot wide.
A minute later Leicester were level when Zagorakis went on a determined run
through midfield, and when the ball broke free on the edge of the box it
was Elliott who drilled it home.
Six minutes later Elliott, who has played up front before and frequently
gets sent forward in emergencies, scored again.
Gough's poor back header was compounded by Dave Watson's nod back to the
onrushing Paul Gerrard. The ball then bounced off the goalkeeper for Elliott
to once again be first to the ball before driving Leicester in front.
Everton's attacks, certainly early in the second period, were laboured and
disjointed, and Savage almost grabbed a third after 54 minutes when he embarked
on a long run from right-back before unleashing a low drive from the edge
of the box that Gerrard palmed round a post.
An out-of-sorts Francis Jeffers wasted a clear opening set up by Hutchison
but Everton were to level up after 56 minutes. Campbell flicked the
ball into the box, and Frank Sinclair clearly handled. The defender had been
booked for a bad tackle just minutes beforehand, but the referee chose not
to show him a second yellow card. Unsworth stepped up to calmly push home
the spot-kick for his fifth goal of the season.
Leicester hit back when Gerry Taggart charged forward and forced Gerrard
into another full-length save, before Savage also surged into the box to
test the Everton goalkeeper.
American striker Joe Max-Moore took over from Jeffers and could have become
an instant hero had he not failed to react quickly enough to turn in a
close-range chance that hit him and bounced to safety after 80 minutes.