Everton 1 - 1 Manchester United
Half-time: 0 - 1
FA Carling Premiership 1999-2000 Game 1
4 pm Sunday 8 August 1999
Goodison Park, Merseyside
As if the prospect of facing Manchester United on the opening day of the
season, in front of the cynical Sky cameras, was not daunting enough, Walter
Smith had to contend with the turmoil created by Francis Jeffers' stunning
transfer request, made public just two days before the kick-off.
Smith's team selections verge on the bizarre, and today was no different,
with Jeffers nowhere to be seen, and Ball on the bench along with star England
U-21 goalie, Steve Simonsen. Age and experience was the theme du jour, with
Gerrard in goal, and Richard Gough debuting at the back.
Early defense-splitting work form United boded ill, and Yorke scored on the
second lethal strike. But Everton consolidated well, and went on to dominate
the rest of the first half. They should have scored early in the second after
an excellent shot by Hutchison was parried; follow-ups by Barmby and Campbell
were both heroically blocked by United defenders.
Late on in a fairly even match, an off-target header by Barmby was bizarrely
headed home by the dazzled Jaap Stam, and Everton were deservedly level.
A much better performance against United than in recent years, and all-in-all
a promising start to the campaign.
Subs Not Used
Gerrard, Ward (Cadamarteri 70), Watson, Gough, Weir,
Barmby, Gemmill, Collins, Unsworth, Hutchison (Phelan 85), Campbell.
Unavailable: Myhre, Williamson, Parkinson
(injured); Bilic, Branch, Grant, Farrelly, O'Kane
(transfer-listed); Jeffers (in dispute).
Ball, Pembridge, Simonsen.
Bosnich, Neville, Berg, Stam, Irwin, Beckham, Keane, Scholes,
Cole, Yorke, Solskjaer (Butt 76).
Van Der Gouw, Sheringham, Curtis, Cruyff.
Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks.
Red shirts; black shorts; black socks.
Collins (14'), Watson (78'), Gough (90').
Passion and Commitment
When I woke on Sunday morning everything was ideal. I poked my head outside
the tent and looked down at the Scottish Lough. Perfection. I seriously toyed
for a few seconds not going I was certain we'd loose, and I could
catch the slaughter in the pub in the afternoon. But no matter how crap we
are or how certain defeat seems, there is always that glimmer of 'you never
know'. So I packed my stuff, left the lads to it, and headed south.
As I eventually hit the M58 the radio very faintly began to pick up 'Radio
Everton'. The teams were announced; no Jeffers at all. Not even a space on
the bench. A hard task now looked mammoth.
Time was knocking on when I parked up and my cynicism was underlined as I
trundled down County Road. Normally the first game of the season fills me
with excitement, joining the one-way stream of blue trekking towards the
ground should be powerfully evocative. This time I felt nothing but ambivalence.
I was going only because my feet were taking me there.
Bought a couple of fanzines on the way in. Pity the poor editor who put a
picture of Franny Jeffers under the headline 'Good News' on the front cover.
Made my way up to the seat. Pleasantly surprised to see the same familiar
faces putting themselves through more of the same for yet another season.
In no time at all Z-cars was on. Finally, a tingle of adrenaline could be
I still for the life of me could not see how a team with Gerrard in the nets;
with a back four with Weir, and Unsworth wide of the ageing Watson and Gough;
a midfield of Ward, Collins, Gemmill and Barmby, and an attacking duo of
Hutch and Cambell could be described as anything kinder than adequate. Whilst
describing United's depleted line-up would be still be misleading to use
anything less than awesome.
Commitment and Passion can be great equalizers though, and unexpectedly Everton
found buckets of the stuff.
It seemed to take an age before we got a touch of the ball. When we did Barmby
put his head down and made a good run whipping a long shot well struck but
just a fraction over the bar. United were not ruffled; in the space of a
couple of minutes they split our central defenders open twice. First Scholes
demanded a great stop from Gerrard, then Yorke found himself in a carbon
copy situation but this time there was too much momentum on the ball for
Gerrard to see it safe. Worst-case start: United with an early lead. Not
a rout, please God, not a rout.
The Park End had the usual verbal ding-dong with the United Support. 'Where
were you when you where shit?' Came us. "Who the Fuckin' Hell are you?".
Came them. I suppose if you're a United fan and deluded that football was
only created around 1990 then this is a fair enough question. "If you all
hate Scousers clap yer 'ands" came them again. "If you all hate cockney's
clap yer 'ands" came us.
The game settled into a pattern and the rout started to look less and less
likely. We were tackling like men possessed. Hats off to John Collins and
the Don. Also respect to Ward who started to whip in several accurate crosses.
The most frustrating of which saw us within a whisker of an equaliser when
Don's header hit the post.
United don't like it up them. The battle between Keane and Collins made for
the most amusement. It all got a bit silly for a spell with a brief 20 man
fracas near the centre circle after another dodgy tackle from the frustrated
Other entertainment was provided by the flapping Mark Bosnich who seemed
to slice every backpass. The Park End rightly gave him the 'David James
We held on well till half time and the usually pessimistic bloke next to
me echoed my own thoughts; if we stick at this we might well snatch something.
We started the second half right where we had left off. Christ, we came close.
Hutch swung a shot but Bosnich stretched, Barmby picked up the loose ball
and fired it across the narrow angle, this time it was cleared from the line
off a retreating defender, it fell to Cambell and again the shot was cleared
off the line. How did that stay out?
More tackles, more commitment. Richard Gough take a bow.
United pressed the attack more. But Gerrard was more than equal to all they
threw at him. Smith sensed there was still something to grab and risked sticking
on Cadamarteri; Ward made way.
Time was knocking on and we pressed forward. Unsworth hurled forward another
long cross. Barmby met it with his head, what happened next was obscured
by several shirts jumping up at once. All I did see was the ball fly into
the back of the net.
A moment like that explains why my feet took me to this game when all rational
thought told me not to bother. Goodison roared. The Top Balcony shook. Smiles
cracked lips. Stick that up your jammy treble.
The last few minutes where anxious, but the fourth official showed only a
minute of extra time to play, and from that sign being held up to the final
whistle didn't even seem that long. You can imagine the cheer.
I walked home and like most people the ambivalence had vanished. I still
think we badly missed Jeffers but the key to us surviving with this current
squad will remain in keeping that level of passion and commitment. One point
down, another thirty-nine odd to go.
Gerrard 8 - Great. What we were told to expect when we bought him.
Several crucial stops.
Weir 6 - the quietest worker on the day.
Watson 7 - OK, but the real inspiration came from Gough
Gough 8 - Another player teaching the obvious: don't slag a signing
till you've seen him do the business for us. This performance was class.
Unsworth 7 - Started to get frustrated with his long balls, but in
the end one did pay the dividend. Certainly couldn't be accused of hiding
in this game.
Ward 7 - Surprised me with the quality of his crossing. Put in some
great ones, particularly in the first half.
Gemmill 7 - Good. He's going to be crucial over the coming season.
Collins 8 - Best performance I've seen him put in for us. More please.
Barmby 8 - A real asset. Passion and commitment? Just look at how
many miles he must have run.
Hutchison 7 - A determined performance, though I think he always looked
more like another midfielder than the attacker he'd been played as. Unlucky
with the one that hit the post.
Campbell 7 - Held the ball up very well, won more well-directed flick-on
headers than the previous holder of his shirt would have. Only thing that
was missing was him looking like he'd score. Missed Jeffers.
Cadamarteri 6 - Come on Danny, with Franny playing silly beggars this
is your chance to stake a claim. Whatever happened to the dread-locked lad
who burst on with all that talent a couple of seasons ago. Keep it simple
and the goals will come. Try and do too much every time and you'll look a
Phelan 6 - Only one real contribution.
Walter managed to totally wrong-foot us all with his selection and formation.
I anticipated 5-3-2 with Phelan at left back in place of Ball. The only thing
I got right was the omission of Ball. We lined up 4-4-2 with Unsworth at
left back and the totally unanticipated inclusion of Mitch Ward on the right
of midfield. Gerrard was in goal, with a back four of Weir, Watson, Gough
and Unsworth, Collins and Gemmill in central midfield with Ward and Barmby
on the flanks, and Campbell and Hutchison were up front. The bench comprised
Simonsen, Ball, Phelan, Cadamarteri and Pembridge.
The match started very ominously. United took the kick-off and promptly kept
the ball for what seemed like an eternity, there must have been about 20
touches before we got any kind of a look in. By the six-minute mark it looked
like it could have been curtains. Scholes had already been put through in
the third minute only being denied by very good work by Gerrard. On six minutes
it was Dwight Yorkes turn, some slick United interplay through the middle
saw Yorke being put through and despite Gerrard getting a touch to the ball
it ended in the back of our net.
The alarm bells were well and truly ringing. The ease with which they had
carved us open, and the control they had exerted on the play were extremely
ominous. At this point we could quite easily have folded. That we didn't
said a lot about the spirit of the players and the sheer hard work and endeavour
we were putting in. All over the pitch we were hard working and organised.
Yes United were controlling large periods of the game but for the most part
we kept them at arms length and when we did get the ball we used it quite
Half time was reached without any further addition to the score. Man Utd
had the better chances but we'd had our moments too, 1-0 was about right.
The second half didn't bring any changes in personnel and didn't bring any
changes in the pattern of play. They passed the ball well and saw a lot of
possession, we continued to work hard to deny them space. They continued
to carve out chances but a combination of profligate finishing and continuing
good work form Paul Gerrard kept them within touching distance.
For our part we continued to take the play to them when we did get the ball.
Frequently we foundered on the rock that was Jaap Stam (he was exceptional),
but we did create the best chance of the half. Hutchison recieved a long
ball into the box, he did exceptionally well to get in a shot on the turn,
Bosnich parried and it fell to Barmby who took it round the scrambling 'keeper
only to see his goalbound shot stopped by a desperate defender, the ball
then fell to Campbell whose own goalbound shot was deflected away, this time
to safety. It had been an amazing let off for United, and as the match wore
on it looked like our best chance could have gone in that moment.
Walter started to make sensible substitutions: Cadamarteri came on for Ward,
initially in a straight swap, although later again Hutchison and Danny exchanged
positions. As the match wore on I started to get the feeling that we were
starting to run out of steam a little. United started to force a number of
corners and although we defended them well you got the feeling that a second
for them was starting to look a little inevitable. With five minutes to go
I decided that I would settle with what we had a one goal reverse
against the best team in the land but with the satisfaction of an encouraging
It's a good job the players didn't think like that. Unsworth advanced down
the left and launched a long cross beyond the far post, Barmby met the ball
with his head and headed it back across goal and Stam, making possibly his
first mistake of the match, nodded it on into the far corner past Bosnich.
There was still a little time left, time enough in fact for a ball to flash
across our six yard box, from the St. End it looked like one of those where
you don't know quite how it failed to find the back of the net. Fortunately
our agony didn't last too long and after a minimum of injury time the referee
blew and we could celebrate a point.
Such is the low level of expectation at Goodison this season I don't think
any of us expected even a point from today's game. In all honesty it was
a game in which we couldn't really have complained if we had been beaten.
United's quality was there to see and they certainly created enough chances
to have killed us off. But, having said that, we did enough to show that
a draw wasn't an absolute steal. In fact our performance gives us a lot of
heart for the remainder of the season. This was in all respects a team
performance, one in which everyone pulled their weight. Continue in this
vein and we will be alright this season. Don't shout it too loud but I reckon
we can take quiet encouragement from this performance.
Gerrard 8 At least three very good saves and all round this was an
assured, confident display. Joe Royle always said he was a good 'keeper and
Joe was generally a pretty good judge.
Weir 6. I quite like this guy. He quietly gets on with his job, nothing
flashy but he's a decent defender who does his job.
Unsworth 6 Someone else who continues to a decent job for us. Kept
Beckham fairly quite and defended well.
Watson 7 A few dodgy moments but generally handled the United front
line very well.
Gough 8 On this evidence well worth his salary. Defended impeccably,
read the game brilliantly. Forget the age thing if he continues like
this it is totally irrelevant. The guy is a top class defender.
Ward 6 At times seemed a little lost and out of it. But did contribute
some decent crosses (which is precisely what I reckon he was there for) and
got stuck in and worked hard for the team.
Barmby 8 His attitude and work rate continue to be an example to all.
Was bright and lively all game and worked so hard it was untrue.
Gemmill 7 Another good performance from our "Forest reject". Links
the play well and rarely gives the ball away.
Collins 7 Undoubtedly had lots of good moments but still has a worrying
tendency to get caught in possession. You can see that he is trying to do
the right thing but sometimes he plays with fire and got us into trouble
on a couple of occasions.
Hutchison 6 Worked hard but struggled to have an impact either in
attack or in midfield when he frequently dropped back.
Campbell 7 Fed on scraps but did OK. Gives us a prescence up front
and at least gives the opposition something to think about. Fortunately he
won't come up against Jaap Stam every week.
Cadamarteri 6 Showed his usual eager running, but didn't really produce
Phelan 5 Came on for the tiring Hutchison for about the last 8 minutes.
Barely touched the ball.
Team 8 Showed character and determination to stay in the game. Worked
very hard and also, on occasion, played some nice football.
Man of the match - Gerrard and Barmby deserve consideration but ultimately
it has to go to Richard Gough who was a tower of strength and could prove
to be an inspired signing.
Stam's late slip lifts Everton
Henry Winter, Electronic Telegraph
THE champions of England and Europe discovered yesterday that opposing teams
are now stirred even further by the sight of the red and black of Manchester
United. Everton's breathless passion-players, running themselves into the
ground as Goodison screamed itself hoarse, finally secured the point their
work-rate deserved when Jaap Stam headed into his own net to cancel out Dwight
United had the chances to win but Everton had the character to draw. A game
played at breakneck pace, United's first competitive outing since the Treble
was achieved proved a tale of two centre-halves, of Stam's unfortunate
intervention and a classic display of the stopper's art by Richard Gough,
aged 37 but with all the coltish enthusiasm of a 17-year-old.
On his debut, Gough confirmed his reputation as one of those professionals
who never gives less than everything. His unwavering effort here set the
tone for Everton's performance, so delighting those faithful whose heads
were already spinning with news of further takeover talks involving Bill
Gough was magnificent, his contribution making a mockery of those who voted
Dwight Yorke man of the match. As United threatened to swamp Walter Smith's
team, as Roy Keane and Paul Scholes charged forward in wave after wave, Gough
held firm, making tackle after tackle, interception after interception, despite
sustaining a facial injury.
When the Scot was booked after one full-bloodied but clean challenge on Andy
Cole, Goodison roared its disbelief. In tandem with Dave Watson, another
37-year-old, Gough may prove one of Smith's most inspired recruits. The old
ones, it seems, are the best.
"I know Walter Smith well," said Sir Alex Ferguson, United's manager. "I
know he can generate the right team spirit, particularly with two warhorses
like Gough and Watson. As long as they're fresh, Everton will make it difficult
for teams. Everton showed their fighting spirit."
As for rumours linking United to Barcelona's Brazilian, Rivaldo, Ferguson
added: "You don't expect me to respond to whispers."
Smith, inevitably, agreed with Ferguson's assessment of his team. "We deserved
something for our level of commitment. We showed we can fight our way through
90 minutes against one of the better teams around."
Everton's manager, whose team looked well organised and busy in their 4-4-1-1
formation, was clearly relieved to hear about the renewed takeover talks.
"It's not been an easy period for anyone working here," he said.
In a statement, Kenwright said: "I can confirm that over the weekend I've
had what I hope are positive discussions with Peter Johnson regarding the
acquisition of the majority shareholding in Everton Football Club. These
discussions will continue tomorrow and I hope to make an announcement shortly
after that." By close of play today, Everton's future could be gaining a
One further pressing issue remains: the Francis Jeffers conundrum. Everton's
highly-regarded teenager, who requested a transfer on Friday, was excluded
from the matchday 16 and the game of brinkmanship may be drawing to a conclusion.
Quick, exciting and already familiar with England training, Jeffers would
be a huge loss to Goodison, particularly as Kevin Campbell needs to prove
himself over an entire season, not in the series of bursts that have
characterised his career.
Campbell never looked like scoring yesterday. Indeed, in the opening minutes
he never looked like seeing possession such was United's control. Keane,
whose locked contract talks may have precipitated the Rivaldo rumours, released
Scholes who drew the first of some good saves by Paul Gerrard.
Everton's keeper appeared more confident than United's. But despite the generally
nervy nature of Mark Bosnich's kicking, particularly when addressing the
ball with his left foot, the Australian provided the launch-pad for Yorke's
seventh-minute strike. The ball flew across the pitch until it was met by
Watson, whose clearance bounced back off Yorke towards Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
In a blur of movement around Everton's box, Solskjaer found Cole, who in
turn, released Yorke first-time through the middle. Gerrard narrowed the
angle but Yorke found the target off the goal- keeper's trailing hand.
Thoughts of a rout were dispelled when John Collins and Scot Gemmill began
to impose themselves on midfield, their industry matching that of Gough and
Watson. Don Hutchison, set up by Mitch Ward, went close with a header before
the game briefly turned nasty. Keane went into Hutchison, a legacy of an
earlier confrontation, and suddenly 16 players were involved, though it was
more bawling than brawling.
Three minutes into the second half, Everton should have equalised. Bosnich
failed to hold Hutchison's shot, Nicky Barmby's effort was cleared off the
line by Phil Neville and United then needed Henning Berg to deflect Campbell's
United, though, then displayed their qualities, attacking from all angles.
Keane was denied by Gerrard and Solskjaer fired wide but Everton held firm
and equalised with four minutes remaining. David Unsworth's deep cross from
the left was headed back by Barmby and Stam headed in.
United's turn to suffer
Stam's late own goal cancels out early strike by Yorke to bring unfancied
Everton their just reward
DRAMATIC LATE goals are Manchester United's stock in trade, but it is safe
to say that the one scored by Jaap Stam in the final stages of yesterday's
fiery North-western derby will not rank alongside the last- gasp strikes
which added the European Cup to Old Trafford's heaving trophy cabinet.
United were just three minutes away from starting the defence of their
Premiership title with a victory when Everton probed, more in hope than
expectation, along their left flank. Whether through complacency, tiredness
or fading concentration, Nick Barmby was allowed a free header, though the
ball was passing across goal before the shaven head of Stam intervened to
divert it past Mark Bosnich.
Everton, who had trailed to Dwight Yorke's goal with less than six and a
half minutes of the new season played, ultimately deserved their good fortune.
After a summer of defections from Goodison Park, a line-up liberally laced
with Scots displayed commendable disinclination to bow to the seemingly
inevitable. If, as expected, Bill Kenwright completes his takeover of the
club from Peter Johnson this week, the future may not be as grim as some
Evertonians have feared.
Nor should United be unduly dismayed by this setback. After all, last season's
Treble-winning feats had their inauspicious origins in a home draw against
Leicester. Sir Alex Ferguson admitted he was "a bit disappointed - we didn't
kill the game off", yet praised his team's "good performance". Since he also
found kind words for Everton's resilience, and even for the referee for allowing
a relentless game to flow, perhaps the United manager is mellowing at last.
Whatever the truth, he was as positive as ever yesterday, setting the tone
with a team formation which could transform itself in an instant from 4-4-2
to 4-3-3 or even 4-2-4.
Ferguson's tactical bravado was in marked contrast with the approach adopted
by Walter Smith, his Everton counterpart. Having had his already slender
attacking options further diminished by the disaffection of Francis Jeffers
- who did not even make the bench after demanding a transfer on Friday -
Smith sent out a side evidently designed to stop rather than scare the champions.
The result was that until Don Hutchison pushed forward after half-time, Kevin
Campbell never had the support he would require to repeat last spring's scoring
spree. Whereas United began by attacking in swarms and defending in depth,
Everton could at first emulate them only in the latter respect. Even then,
their game plan was rumbled the second time it was tested.
A good job, said one press-box wag on noting that Everton were fielding two
37-year-old centre-backs, that United are short of pace up front. In the
event, Dave Watson and Richard Gough were seldom sucked into situations where
they would be outsprinted, but the sharpness and mobility of Yorke and Andy
Cole were always problematic.
Paul Gerrard had already denied United a third-minute lead by blocking Paul
Scholes's drive following an exquisitely chipped pass by Roy Keane.
However, after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had seized on a Watson header which hit
Yorke, the ball was helped on at break-neck speed by Cole for Yorke to score
briskly with a shot that the goalkeeper touched but could not keep out.
Despite such an early and devastating demonstration of United's powers, Everton
responded with vigour and occasional flashes of style. They were doubtless
encouraged by the rare sight of uncertainty in United's goal, where Bosnich
began his career as Peter Schmeichel's replacement by nervously slicing a
succession of clearances.
Everton's problem was that they could not exploit the Australian's unease.
They came tantalisingly close twice. After 28 minutes Hutchison's header
from Mitch Ward's cross was deflected on to and behind the far post by a
Then, with three minutes of the second-half played Bosnich enjoyed a remarkable
triple escape. No sooner had he spilled Hutchison's shot than he saw Barmby's
follow-up cleared off the line by Phil Neville and Campbell's attempt to
convert the rebound founder on Henning Berg's sliding tackle.
Hutchison had an eventful afternoon. On being scythed down by Keane in the
first-half he leapt to his feet as if intent on exacting retribution when
the referee broke up the 15-man fracas which ensued, the United captain was
perhaps relieved to be merely cautioned after holding his adversary in a
As the second-half continued in similar helter-skelter fashion, the image
seemed to sum up his team's grip on the points. Solskjaer nearly added to
their advantage on two occasions, while Nicky Butt shot across the six-yard
area as stoppage time beckoned. But Everton's fighting spirit, as much as
United's inability to conjure the goal which would surely have broken it,
conspired to create the kind of finish that Ferguson's men are accustomed
to inflicting on others.
Everton make their point
by Oliver Holt, The Times
THE route has already been mapped out for Manchester United on their journey
to the mastery of the universe. The circles on the globe have been drawn
round Monaco, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro. Somehow, Goodison Park was left off
Interspersing the glamour of their attempts on the Super Cup, the
Intercontinental Club Championship and the World Club Championship, there
will be a multiplicity of matches like that of yesterday, contests in which
United's domestic opponents give their all to try to rob the treble-winners
of some of the exoticism that has built up around them.
On Merseyside, the rare air that United have been breathing since they won
the European Cup was knocked out of them by an Everton side that looked far
more cohesive and determined than many had predicted.
In a match seething with raw challenges and dripping with sweat and toil,
any illusions United may have been under that their achievements of last
season had somehow elevated them to a cut above the rest of the FA Carling
Premiership were dispelled.
As opening statements go, this was nowhere near as persuasive or articulate
as Chelsea's demolition of Sunderland at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. United
were brilliant in spells, stretching and teasing their opponents with some
breathtaking one-touch football in the first half.
They should have had more to show for their supremacy than a neatly taken
seventh- minute goal from Dwight Yorke, but, after the interval, as Everton
refused to let their work-rate drop and Richard Gough continued to play
flawlessly, the champions became more ponderous and predictable.
They still created chances but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, in particular, was guilty
of uncharacteristic profligacy and, four minutes from the end, Nick Barmby's
header across goal was deflected into his own net by Jaap Stam, who had been
utterly unbeatable until then.
There was more good news for Everton after the game when a statement from
Bill Kenwright suggested that he had moved closer to agreeing a deal to buy
the club from the unpopular Peter Johnson. Walter Smith, the manager, said
he would decide this week how to react to the transfer request from Francis
Jeffers, the young striker, who was left out of the squad yesterday.
United's failure to kill off the game when it was at their mercy in the first
half reflected more on their strikers than the creativity of their midfield.
But the unwillingness of their manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, to rest on his
laurels, was hinted at again after the game by a flurry of rumours linking
United with a bid for Rivaldo, Barcelona's Brazil midfield player.
The gossip could be a product of the continuing struggle to persuade Roy
Keane to sign a new contract. If he continues to stall on the deal United
are offering him, it appears increasingly likely he will be sold, possibly
to Internazionale and possibly as early as this week. "I don't comment on
whispers," was all Ferguson would say about the move for Rivaldo.
Keane had shown as early as the third minute why the manager is desperate
to keep him at Old Trafford. His passing is often overlooked because of his
other, more combative strengths, but his early slide-rule ball freed Paul
Scholes, whose shot was well saved by Paul Gerrard.
Four minutes later, United looked as though they were about to cut loose.
Yorke made a clever run and was picked out by an equally astute pass from
Cole that took him beyond the Everton offside trap. Gerrard got his left
hand to Yorke's shot, but it bounced slowly into the net.
For the next 20 minutes, United controlled the game with ease, pulling Everton
from pillar to post, but when their possession failed to create more chances,
Everton dragged their way back into the match.
To begin with, they did it by harrying United out of their composure. Keane
was rattled by a series of uncompromising challenges from Mitch Ward and
Don Hutchison, and one irritable exchange between Gough and Beckham brought
Ferguson leaping to his feet.
Despite that, United should have gone farther ahead two minutes before half-time.
Yorke spun away from Dave Watson and Beckham played his pass over the top
of the defence to perfection. Yorke controlled it, but Gerrard was equal
to his stinging low shot.
Immediately after the interval, though, Everton signalled their intent. Mark
Bosnich, whose bungled clearances were a constant source of concern for United's
defence, failed to hold a volley from Hutchison and a mad scramble ensued.
Barmby took the ball round the goalkeeper but his shot was kicked off the
line by Phil Neville. Kevin Campbell tried to turn it back in, but his attempt
was blocked and the danger passed.
Everton looked vulnerable when they allowed United's forwards to turn and
run at them. On one occasion, Cole alarmed Watson with his pace and laid
a pass square to Solskjaer. The goal beckoned but he sliced his shot wide.
After Nicky Butt had been brought on to try to steady the ship, Everton grabbed
the equaliser they deserved. David Unsworth swung a cross deep to the back
post and when Barmby headed it back, Stam flicked it past Bosnich.
"It was a game played at a real English pace and I know that Walter Smith
can generate that kind of spirit in his sides," Ferguson said. "Everton deserved
a point because they worked their socks off and their level of commitment
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