Middlesbrough Logo

Middlesbrough 2 - 1 Everton

Half-time: 1 - 1

Everton Logo
FA Carling Premiership 1999-2000 – Game 13
3pm Saturday 30 October 1999
Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough
Att: 33,915
« Leeds United (h) Ref: Andy D'Urso Newcastle United (a) »
[1999-2000 Fixtures & Results] League Position: 10th [Premiership Results & Table]
Davey Weir – Red Card Everton got off to another great start with a very early goal, again from Kevin Campbell. It came from a corner that incensed Paul Ince – he was adamant that Hutchison had handled... Nonetheless, Pembridge swung it in, a poor headed clearance fell to Campbell 2 yards out, and he poked it over the line.

On 15 mins, Middlesbrough equalised with an excellent free kick from Ziege. The battle then ebbed to and fro, with referee d'Urso predictably starting to wield his yellow card...

Everton resisted stuburnly for nearly an hour, with numerous fine saves from Everton's protector, Paul Gerrard, before Brian Deane's flying header put them into the lead. But Everton's chances were severely dented when last week's hero, David Weir, became this week's villain, justifiably dismissed for holding back Hamilton Ricard. Cadamarteri and then Johnson came on to beef up Everton's attack, but it was all to no avail.

Walter's Smith Manager of the Month award for September extracted its usual toll: no wins in October for Everton.



Middlesbrough: Ziege (15'), Deane (61')
EVERTON: Campbell (3')
   LINEUPS  Subs Not Used
Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Stamp, Fleming, Vickers, Pallister, O'Neill, Juninho, Ince, Ziege, Ricard, Deane. Beresford, Maddison, Armstrong, Summerbell, Gavin.
EVERTON: Gerrard; Dunne, Weir (76' Sent Off!), Gough, Ball (70' Cadamarteri); Barmby (77' Johnson), Pembridge, Collins, Unsworth; Hutchison, Campbell
Jeffers (suspended); Xavier, Gemmill, Myhre, Williamson, Parkinson (injured); Grant, Phelan (on loan); Branch, Farrelly, O'Kane (transfer-listed) Bilic (in limbo).
Cleland, Ward, Simonsen.
   Playing Strips  Formations
Middlesbrough: Red shirts; white shorts; red socks. 3-5-2
EVERTON: Royal Blue shirts, shorts, and socks. 4-4-2; 3-4-2
   Yellow Cards  Red Cards
Middlesbrough: Pallister (38')
EVERTON: Pembridge (10'), Collins (32') Unsworth (43') Weir (76')


Mikey Blue Eyes Iceberg, schmiceberg. Full steam ahead
Rob Burns Need to start the winning habit again
Dave English 90 minutes please, lads!
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Ziege and Deane too much for Everton
by Derick Allsop
THE SUNDAY TIMES Early setback inspires Boro
by Ron Clarke
THE INDEPENDENT Gerrard defiance in vain
by Scott Barnes
THE TIMES Middlesbrough opt for security
by Nick Szczepanik
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

 Iceberg, schmiceberg. Full steam ahead
Mikey Blue Eyes
Baad result, people. Baad day all round. Not yet time to start imbibing the panadol... but have the bottle ready, hand on the top.

Guess what? ANOTHER bum-numbing minibus ride up through Yorkshire and into Bandit Country. Yes, that's right...this time there was something wrong with the bus and it couldn't get above 50 mph. Took four long hours to get there and four VERY long hours coming back in the pouring rain.

There was a saving grace: Our Fave Wool didn't need to do a North Circular Road jobby. He was, however, the only one to ask for a piss-stop after downing but a single beer. This time we all managed to pile into a Morrison's supermarket public bog before yon Andy did his passable imitation of Niagara Falls.

One of the reasons I came back to Blighty was to enjoy my first full Autumn transition. I've enjoyed this immensely so far. And yesterday was no exception.... especially as we chugged our way through the north Leeds suburb of Scarcroft, a particularly nice part of the planet... all Autumn hues and York stone houses. Very nice. Made me forget the gradual deadening feeling creeping into me arse. Took us two hours to get to Leeds. Then it took another two to get to the ground. Oh aye, yeh. Defrigginlightful.

About twenty minutes from the ground we stopped at a pub called The Shoulder of Mutton...or it might have been the Arse End of a Cow.... I was past caring at this point. We're talking serious derriere deadness here, people!

So we get into Middlesbrough. Now I'm sure there are better approaches to the place. If so, Boro would be well advised to find them and signpost them accordingly. THIS approach was like a journey through Quatermass country. It is VILE... all chemical and engineering plants, half of them rusting away... all of it in the middle of unkempt, scrubby wasteland that looks not unlike a set for Moonwatcher when he falls over the sentinel and invents you and me.

At very first glance, from a distance, the stadium isn't that bad. It has the same kind of spidery braced/suspended roof as Pride Park. The difference is, lower down the architect has made more effort to do something with the elevations. The external cladding is MUCH better than Derby's "must have looked good on the screen/drawing board" jobby.

Up close, though, it doesn't have much to recommend it and the initial impression soon gets lost amongst a general mediocrity of cheap detailing. Inside, the only difference with Pride Park is that the stadium extends in a continuous sweep instead of being interrupted in one corner with a grossly emphasised exec/admin building. For all practical purposes the rest of it is the same. Not surprising really....Boro and Derby are about the same kind of club, possibly separated by the different personality of Gibson, Boro owner, and whoever runs Derby.

Anyway, we got to the ground at about 2:58 pm and I was first through the gate, up the steps, turned just as we took a corner at the far end... the ball skidded around in the penalty area... Pallister and another defender made a total cock-up of clearing it... and KC casually side-footed it home. Suddenly me arse got all excited and wasn't dead any more. Funny that....

But the Blue Bellies just couldn't settle. Dunno what it was... not much to do with Boro at this stage, I can tell you... but it looked... well, funny. After a few minutes more I said to the assembled company, for no particular reason, "Betcha that useless bastard Deane gives us problems today." Again, dunno why I said it because he was doing sod all. Nor were Boro really, though they had most of the ball and the territory. We looked like we could attack any time we got the ball.

But gradually Boro started playing it through the middle, where Goughie wasn't having a good game, mistiming tackles and getting no clearance on his headers.

Eventually they got a free kick left of our defence, just outside the box. Paul Gerrard had enough men in the wall and had them placed OK. But then Ziege took it and from my position right out on the extreme left it looked like it bent right around the wall and left Paul totally flat-footed and unmoving as it went in. None of us could believe it.

When I saw the tape at half time, our end man on the wall moved and it squeezed between the end two. So it was really a hit and miss shot. Don't want to take anything away from Ziege though because he went on to be man of the match.

From then on our game gradually deteriorated to the bad old days. I've no doubt where the trouble lay: The midfield failed completely as a unit. Each of them did odd good individual things... but as a unit – aaaarrrggghhhh! Win it... give it away... How many friggin' times have we said this in the past? Well, on Saturday it was back in spades.

We could win it often enough, but then, incredibly, it would go straight to a Boro player. And Juninho was in the mood to make sure he did maximum damage. His short passing and combination play was the key to their win. Nicky, Unsie, Pembridge and Collins were no match.

In the meantime, Richard Dunne was well on the way to being one of our only two players to come out of this with any credit. In fact I made him our best. His tackling and timing were about as good as I've seen from anyone this season. It was a real pleasure to watch him amongst the general chaos. Paul Gerrard made his by now usual catalogue of excellent saves, though he missed a couple of maddeningly swerving crosses from Ziege.

Boro's well deserved second came after the break when we lost the ball yet again in midfield and it got switched out to their right back, way out on the right. He crossed it better than Beckham (and that's saying something) right on to the head of Deane. He still had it all to do though, but he managed it... got right in there between Goughie and Davey Weir and it bulleted in past a helpless Paul. Game shot.

Boro poured forward and could have added more as our midfield completely collapsed through it's own inabilities to pass the ball straight. Come back, Abel... the sooner the better!

The inevitable happened when Ricard got one-on-one with Davey Weir, turned him, got downed... and D'Arsehole had no option but to give Davey an early bath. Yes... it was THAT D'Arsehole... the same soft twat we had at Derby. Now I don't like criticising refs but there's no question THIS one is a complete and utter waste of space. There's just no wisdom in the dickhead, none at all.

Danny was sent on in place of Bally but, try as he did on the right wing (and the boy does look TREMENDOUS on the ball) he did his usual slip slidin' away act and made no impression whatsoever. Pity.

At the back, Bally looked up for it at the beginning but faded and it was noticeable that almost all Boro's first half attacks came down his wing. Buggered if I can make the lad out. In the end neither he nor Unsie could cope properly. Sad to report, Goughie was deffo out of sorts for some reason. Where before his headed clearances were well clear, now they were falling short in midfield and being picked up by Boro mostly. Davey Weir had a good game until he got sent off. He's GOT to stay at centre back.

Up front, KC was, as usual, mostly on his own. The Don was supposed to be partnering him from slightly deeper but he had another one of his fitful games and only ended up annoying everybody. In one incident, right in front of our end when we were trying to get back in the game, we had one of our few second half attacks which ended up with him just outside and right of the goal area and stumbling, but with the ball within touching distance of a score. All he had to do was fall on the bastard ball and it was over the line. Instead he opted to dive for an illegitimate penalty, which he didn't get. We were not amused.

It was blessed relief when the whistle went.

We deserved to get absolutely sod all from this game. It was maddening all the same because Boro are no great shakes... in fact, take out Ziege and the Little Man and really they've got nobody. Had we performed at the improved level we've had most of this season we would have beaten them. Before the game I was confident we would.

The questions we now face are these: Are the vet legs getting tired? What can we do midfield to stop this kind of total collapse? And when the hell can we get Big Ears back to help KC?

Another display like this next week against Toon and we can open the Panadol. We have to get at least a point from that match. Lose....and it's all hands to the pump again.

Iceberg, schmiceberg. Full steam ahead.

 Need to start the winning habit again
Rob Burns
I thought my luck was in when one of the nubile MFC Dancers (sponsored by HMV Middlesbrough) gave me a clear come-to-bed wink which hit like a slightly blurred bolt of lightening from her frequently altering position in the centre circle to my resting place high on the back row of the visitors' end. Then I realised that there was a small blob of someone's spit on the lens of my glasses and the only glint I saw was in the deliriously happy stare of that fuckin' lion.

Apparently Everton thought their trip was also blessed when Kevin Campbell scored from a corner which, for the sake of avoiding arguement, was the result of an act of god. The ball appeared to drop at the far post and KC fired in. 'Boro looked like they would be eclipsed by the fluent Everton midfield, with Pembridge again impressing early on and Collins playing some great passes long and wide to supply Unsworth on the left and Barmby on the right. The forces of darkness were in ascendancy, however and a ridiculous booking for Pembridge after an innocuous aerial collision seemed to set the tone.

Everton's dogged persistence time and again resulted in the home side being awarded free kicks, a linesman with the look of one of the swarthy, tanned Hawaii 5-O detectives showing ferocity in the unfurling of his flag. And it was, of all our exiled friends, Paul Ince who played a swan-diving lead part in the Middlesbrough equaliser and in collusion with the man in black set up that Kraut with a shot that curled around Gerrard's 6-man wall and into the net.

Game on and Everton found themselves pegged back. 'Boro attacked from the wings and lashed crosses at speed. Everton fell back in numbers and blocked shots from Rickard, Deane et al. Weir and Gough stood firm whilst Ball and Dunne (showing the great form he found before injury) held up the flanks to the best of their ability.

But it was going forward where the game was won and lost. The Everton midfield failed to support the front men and balls which were won dropped into no-man's land where Brazilian Pygmy and Stamp were happy to clean-up and start the counter. Everton's often lethargic response to a lost ball allowed Boro to make lightening breaks which dragged the defence around and gave us real problems. Collins was not committed to the tackle and Pembridge was obviously suffering with a booking hanging over him. It was a quick break that led to the winner with another hard low cross from the right which Deane converted.

Everton struggled to recover. Hutchison was of no help at all as he dropped to the floor under the slightest pressure, most notably after he intercepted a poor goal kick and fell to the floor as he met the 'keeper. As he retreated to midfield with the introduction of Cadamarteri for Ball and Johnson for Barmby, his passing became sloppy and that 'couldn't be arsed' quality showed through. Barmby was far less effective on the right wing and we must be looking to him to be restored to the left in front of Unsworth or Ball next game.

A special word for Cadamarteri who floated less like a butterfly and more like a piece of dead wood on the canal. Aimlessly he wandered first in the middle and then on the right, with the occasional lesson in wing play coming from Dunne who maintained his energy and pace to the end.

Another break forced Weir, having another excellent game, to make the push on Rickard and the red card was inevitable (unless you were at the Leeds game). Weir was unlucky and deservedly applauded off by the travelling support.

Franny Jeffers was sorely missed, not just for striking ability but for his ability to hold up the ball and make the runs wide to take the pressure off. The way that Everton are playing means that there's no need for depression yet. But today was three points which we gave away and if we want to stay with the big boys to the end we need to start the winning habit again. Now I'm off to get my Zebra striped Land Rover and blunderbus and shoot that bastard Lion......


  • Gerrard 9 MOM
  • Dunne 7 Good game
  • Weir 6 Not his best game had to be sent off
  • Gough 7 Solid throughout
  • Ball 6 Good first half
  • Unsworth 5 Poor
  • Collins 7 Brilliant first half then faded
  • Pembridge 5 Didn't look fit
  • Hutchison 5 Terrible second half
  • Barmby 6 Quiet
  • Campbell 6 Lacked support

The worst thing about the game was that we did not compete in the 2nd half.

 90 minutes please, lads!
Dave English
The first wave of depression that hit me was that, for the fourth game running, we were unable to hold a lead. When Boro equalised you could see a visible shift in the body language, an air of inevitability about what was to follow. And yet it needn't have been so. A fairly bright start with the boys playing neat football across the pitch against Boro's hit it early for Ricard and Deane to try and hustle Weir, back at Centre Back and Gough.

A good feature was Everton's willingness to put bodies behind Boro's shots and our goal, so much so they didn't really look like scoring.

An early Everton goal, a bit of a trade mark now, when a corner on our right was played right across the goal, everyone missing it except a startled Campbell at the back post.

In fairness we didn't really put their keeper under any real pressure even though we huffed and puffed. The closest to adding to our goal was when Hutchison took a quick free kick from outside the box which had Schwarzer diving full length to knock it around the post.

In the meantime the ever fussy D'Urso had booked Pembridge (who played centre midfield) Collins and Unsworth. And this despite the spitting snarling monster that is Ince challenging every decision with menace.

Boro equalised straight from a free-kick outside the box, left on centre of our goal. There was a suspicion of a foul on an Everton player immediately before that. But it was a well taken free-kick and was some reward for Boro's efforts.

As you fear, we started the second half slowly and gave Boro all the time they wanted. It looked like some of our players were not up to it in the second half. Barmby, playing wide right with Unsworth wide left, continued with his recent run of poor form. Collins, despite criticism on an earlier posting on this board, kept looking to pull the strings. Typical of his efforts was when Boro broke from one of our corners and made a cracking tackle in the box.

Who told Richard Dunne that he can dribble? Because he can and as he gained confidence kept pushing forward from his right back position. One notable moment was a drag back to leave a Boro midfielder for dead.

The winning goal came from nothing but was well finished. Stamp legged it down the right wing, Michael Ball nowhere to be seen and delivered a cracking cross for Deane to stick a big head on it, like Dunc used to do. And suddenly you knew it was over.

Late on yet another long ball eluded Weir for once and his pull back on Ricard was the typical non-violent professional foul. He had to go.

Disappointing stuff then yet there were enough glimpses against an ordinary but battling Boro to reinforce my view that we can play. But for ninety minutes please.

 Ziege and Deane too much for Everton
Derick Allsop, Electronic Telegraph
SPECTACULAR goals from Christian Ziege and Brian Deane allowed Middlesbrough to demonstrate their powers of recovery and spike Everton's new-found self-belief at the Riverside yesterday. Everton, later reduced to 10 men with the dismissal of defender David Weir for a professional foul, early on played a controlled, purposeful game and might have made more of their invention.

Boro, in contrast, combined aggression with subtlety, Juninho providing the intelligent passes for his frontmen and supporting midfield players. The consequence was a vibrant, open contest, given the additional ingredient of the unexpected by two defences prone to self-destructive errors.

Middlesbrough had achieved a semblance of stability with a run of three consecutive wins before this match, all in the absence of the injured Paul Gascoigne. However, Bryan Robson, the Boro manager, must have been perturbed by the loss of central defender Colin Cooper, serving a suspension.

Robson's fears were well-founded as Boro's defensive reorganisation was found wanting in only the fourth minute. They disputed the award of a corner kick to Everton but had only themselves to blame for the subsequent goal. They failed to deal with Mark Pembridge's delivery and Kevin Campbell punished them at the far post.

The home side's response was rousing, runs by Paul Ince, Hamilton Ricard and Deane stirring the natives and forcing Everton onto the back foot. Boro's shooting was less inspiring. Ricard's effort was blocked and a pumped up Ince miss-cued embarrassingly, to guffaws from the Everton following.

Ziege, however, gave his colleagues a master-class in the art of dead-ball striking in the 15th minute. His left-foot shot from a free-kick left the Everton goalkeeper, Paul Gerrard, virtually motionless.

Everton then escaped their house arrest and almost regained the lead. Nicky Barmby, the former Boro player, crossed from the right and John Collins was unfortunate to have his lunging header blocked.

A sublime pass from Juninho sent Ziege through to confront Gerrard again in the 26th minute, but this time the goalkeeper had the opportunity to narrow the angle and saved. Juninho created another chance four minutes later. He played the ball straight along the ground from a free kick to Ricard, who turned and pulled his shot across the face of the Everton goal.

At the other end, Boro were equally relieved when Mark Schwarzer scampered across his line to keep out Don Hutchison's quickly taken free-kick. Juninho and Ince exercised Gerrard, and Ricard was thwarted by Richard Dunne's tackle early in the second half. Everton countered but David Unsworth was squeezed out as he converged on goal.

The miss proved costly as Boro went into the lead with a classic header after 61 minutes. Phil Stamp crossed from deep on the right and Deane climbed to meet it with an emphatic hammer blow of his brow. Everton's plight was compounded by the dismissal of Weir, who, as the last defender, held back Ricard 13 minutes from the end.

Report © The Electronic Telegraph

 Early setback inspires Boro
by Ron Clarke, The Sunday Times
IF THE Prime Minister believes it is important enough to come and see you then you must be doing something special. Tony Blair, who was on Teesside on the eve of this match to open Boro's new £7 million training complex, would have been impressed by such a show of red solidarity in one of the most pulsating performances of the season at the Riverside.

After weathering an initial storm, the men in red were simply irrepressible, even without the injured Paul Gascoigne. Everton, who contributed much in the early exchanges, eventually left the field lucky not to have conceded four goals for the third game in succession. They also left the field with only 10 men following David Weir's second-half sending-off.

The heroic efforts of Paul Gerrard in the Everton goal kept the scoreline respectable, aided and abetted by the ever dependable Richard Gough.

Boro's new training facilities, deemed to be among the best in Europe, includes a sports-science laboratory. There is obviously much work to be done here as the men from the Goodison school of science took the lead with the easiest of goals after three minutes.

Mark Pembridge swung in the corner, nobody in the Boro team seemed to know how to clear it and the ball fell to the unmarked Kevin Campbell to thump home from inside the six-yard box.

Its naiveté was returned only 10 minutes later when Boro were awarded a free kick only 20 yards from goal. With Christian Ziege around, it was as good as a penalty. He duly fired an unstoppable shot past the helpless Gerrard.

The ebb and flow of a thrilling game continued with regular opportunities for both sides. Juninho, finding his feet back on English soil, was the main architect, constantly supplying incisive passes for his front runners Hamilton Ricard and Brian Deane.

But it was Everton who nearly scored one of the season's most bizarre goals shortly before half-time. From a free kick just outside the area, Everton captain Don Hutchison looked up and saw Boro's giant Australian keeper Mark Schwarzer looking at his feet rather than the play. But he recovered just in time to tip the quick shot round a post and save face.

The last game of the summer by now saw Everton's defence going back almost as quickly as the clocks, the Teesside tempo forcing the Merseysiders into damage limitation. Such sublime football was translated into a tangible result on the one-hour mark. Phil Stamp floated in a glorious cross from 35 yards for Deane to rise majestically in front of Gerrard and head it home.

Frenetic action followed with Juninho's mesmerizing dribble forcing another fine save from Gerrard. The busy keeper then made two stops from the resulting corner, saving point-blank from Deane and Ziege in quick succession.

Everton, who had all hands to the pump, then saw a man overboard, when Weir was sent off in the 76th minute for blatantly pulling back Ricard as he raced towards goal. Middlesbrough manager Bryan Robson said in terms of sustained pressure it was his team's best performance of the season.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

 Gerrard defiance in vain
by Scott Barnes, The Independent
Although the scoreline suggests Everton were handily positioned to produce another last gasp equaliser, their respectability at the Riverside Stadium yesterday was largely due to their goalkeeper Paul Gerrard, whose one-handed brilliance ensured they did not leak four goals for a third match in succession.

In the last 15 minutes, with his side reduced to 10 men, Gerrard's bravery and agility prevented Middlesbrough from matching the recent scoring tally of Leeds and Arsenal against the Toffeemen.

"Our second-half performance was our best of the season for sustained pressure and quality of ball, but we never got the third goal because Gerrard was outstanding," the Middlesbrough manager, Bryan Robson, said. "The save from Christian Ziege's free-kick, which took a deflection off the wall and was about to drop into the top corner, was top class."

That save came in the 77th minute when Everton were already one behind and one short. The free-kick had been awarded when David Weir pulled back Hamilton Ricard as he trudged on to a Juninho throughball. Despite the Colombian's sloth, the Scot was the last defender and had to go.

Gerrard, though, can also look back proudly at how he dealt with Brian Deane's brave but foolhardy 85th-minute header. The striker threw himself in among David Unsworth's studs but Gerrard somehow tipped the header over the bar.

The goalkeeper will also be pleased that he left the game with his head still on his shoulders. In the 64th minute, Gerrard rushed bravely to repel Ricard. Weir then bought the keeper time by clearing Deane's follow-up shot from the line, but when Gerrard made it back he was greeted by a vicious throat-high screamer from Ziege which he instinctively turned away to save both his face and the goal.

"He made a few good saves but a lot of our problems came from corners that were excellently taken by Ziege," said Walter Smith, Everton's manager. And as superbly as Gerrard stopped shots, he flapped wildly and worryingly at corners.

Yet it was a corner that embarrassed Middlesbrough in the third minute. It was Everton's second of the game and was controversially awarded as Don Hutchison appeared to handle Unsworth's cross long before the Boro keeper, Mark Schwarzer, bounced the ball out of play. When Mark Pembridge flapped a flat corner kick into the near post, it slid off Curtis Fleming's head and squirmed through Gary Pallister's legs to the back post where Kevin Campbell hooked in gleefully.

Middlesbrough mounted their first attack of the game in the 12th minute. Deane and Ricard played pinball against Richard Gough and Paul Ince raced 20 yards on to the inviting rebound only to trip as he shot from the edge of the area.

His embarrassment was only momentary, for in the same spot in the next move Pembridge up-ended Ince. Juninho eyed up the free-kick with wicked intent but it was Ziege who calmly curled the ball around the wall and into the net. The Brazilian's ingenuity soon showed itself when, on the half-hour, his sublime pass put Ziege in behind Weir. However, from a tight angle the German was unable to add a fitting finish.

Then, on the stroke of half-time, Pallister brushed a Ziege corner narrowly over his own bar. Just after the break, another corner made a more forceful impact with the back of Ince's head and drew the first of a series of one-handed saves from the goalkeeper. But Gerrard could only keep Middlesbrough at bay single-handedly for so long and, in the 61st minute, Phil Stamp flung a deep right-wing cross on to the forehead of Deane who, deadly from five yards, won the match.

Report © The Independent

 Middlesbrough opt for security
by Nick Szczepanik, The Times
UP TO sixth place on Saturday evening and on a roll of three successive FA Carling Premiership victories, Middlesbrough are in good heart for the big North East derby next weekend. That, of course, is against Sunderland – with Newcastle United in the bottom three, the struggle for regional supremacy is between Teesside and Wearside.

The last time Middlesbrough were in the top division their second season was a desperate anticlimax, with foreign signings destabilising the ship and relegation the end result. This time round, they show every sign of consolidating, rather than collapsing, and the arrivals from abroad are part of the reason, rather than the problem.

After Everton had been gifted an early lead, Kevin Campbell scoring from close range when Curtis Fleming failed to clear, it was Christian Ziege who equalised, bending a free kick around the wall and past Paul Gerrard, stationary for the only moment of a match in which he made at least half a dozen outstanding saves.

The other chief import is, of course, an old Middlesbrough hand, Juninho, and although not directly involved in either of his side's two goals, he ran Everton ragged as they slipped out of the game after half-time. For all his artistry and endeavour, the match was won by what Bryan Robson, his manager, called "a brave old-fashioned centre forward's header," by Brian Deane, his sixth goal of the season.

But discussion afterwards centred on Middlesbrough's failure to capitalise on their dominance, with the heroics of Gerrard and the failures of Hamilton Ricard largely responsible. Ricard's main contribution was his part in the dismissal of David Weir, sent off after 77 minutes for pulling back the Colombian. The question, bearing in mind Ricard's scoring form, is why Weir felt he had to bother.

Everton have now taken and lost leads in four successive matches, gaining only two points. At least they stay ahead of Liverpool in the Merseyside mid-table struggle. Middlesbrough, for now, have their eyes on higher things.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd


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