Everton 0 - 2 Middlesbrough
Half-time: 0 - 1
FA Carling Premiership 1999-2000 Game 38
4pm Sunday 14 May 2000
Goodison Park, Merseyside
The Season Finale. Everton, looking to finish off a solid season of
rebuilding by securing a psychologically important top-ten finish, have three teams below them just chomping away...
And one of them are the visitors today, who went into a surprise early lead
after three promising moves for Everton. Deane headed home out of
nothing, past a despairing Paul Gerrard.
joining Moore, Xavier, and Campbell on the sidelines, Jevons was given
another rare start alongside Mark Hughes. But it was an uncomfortable
partnership which yielded little.
The goal quickly took the wind out of Everton's sails, and they struggled
for the rest of the first half-hour to make any real impression on the Boro
defence, which made things very scrappy with a lot of silliness that lead to
four yellow cards for the visitors.
Walter Smith changed things a little for the second half, with Jeffers replacing
Jevons, and Jamie Milligan coming on for David Weir, whose hernia must have
been playing up.
Huff and puff, but nothing came of it. A very deflated finish to
the season for Everton... made worse by the sight of Juninho on a jinking
run through the massed Everton defence, playing a 1-2 off Brian Deane and
then slotting it past Gerrard for the winner, 3 mins from time. The
"lap of honour" was lame and hollow.
So, what of the pre-match questionnaire?
- Can we retain 10th place, and secure only our second top-ten finish in
the beastly Premiership? NO! Thirteenth!!! Nooo...
- Will Nick Barmby really turn it on for his old mate, Bryan Robson? NO!
- Will the new Puma-derived Everton kit win approval from the
fans? Not entirely... White side-stripes?
- Will Walter give any of the kids a chance? Yes: Phil Jevons
& Jamie Milligan
- Will Dave Watson be given a chance to make an emotional farewell from
the playing field? Nope.
- Can we attract just 192 more fans than Spurs, and thus clinch
7th spot in the Attendance Table? Not
- For how many of these players ironically not the old ones will today's
game be their last in the Royal Blue shirt? Don Hutchison?
Michael Ball? Richard Dunne? Francis Jeffers? Only
time will tell...
the rumours just don't bear thinking about...
Deane (8'), Juninho (87')
Subs Not Used
Gerrard; Dunne, Weir (46' Milligan), Unsworth, Ball; Barmby, Hutchison, Collins, S Hughes; Jevons (46' Jeffers), M Hughes.
Campbell, Cleland, Gough,
Jeffers, Moore, Pembridge, Williamson, Xavier (injured); Myhre (on loan).
Cadamarteri, Clarke, Simonsen.
Schwarzer, Cooper, Festa, Vickers, Fleming, Stamp (68'
Stockdale), Ince, Mustoe, Juninho, Campbell, Deane.
Beresford, Maddison, Gavin, Marinelli.
Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks.
Red shirts; red shorts; red socks.
Fleming (32'), Festa (36'), Stamp (38'), Mustoe (41') Ince
Much Promise; Little Delivered
After a satisfactory season, in many respects, today was to be a celebration
of sorts. There was
- the celebration of no relegation dogfight;
- the celebration of a future of promises to be fulfilled rather than
promises broken; and
- the celebration of a club on its way back to its former glories.
That was the script presented before us by vice-chairman and well-known
theatre impresario Bill Kenwright. It was decorated with a pre-match
musical thrill-a-minute by the Band of the Lancashire Fusiliers, if only I'd
been able to hear them. Someone forgot to put in a sound system.
Then the players were welcomed onto the pitch to an accompaniment of
fireworks, more celebration of the skills that were to be laid before
us. The reality bite came when the Z-Cars theme welcoming the players
onto the pitch welcomed nothing more than a pall of smoke and some oft
glimpsed images of players who seemed to wearing the blue of Everton.
Of course this blue was a new blue, a Puma blue replacing the Umbro blue
which was much welcomed earlier in the season. As the haze cleared the
white embellishments were plain to see, Where they too intrusive?
Possibly. Did they make the kit look less Evertonian, probably
not. At the moment I don't have an opinion, but by 1st July, when it
goes on general sale, I'll probably have decided whether its worth my £40.
A significant game this as it shows what can be achieved by a successful
youth policy. At kick off we had four players on the park who'd come
through the youth system (Ball, Unsworth, Dunne and Jevons) and a further
four (Jeffers, Milligan, Clarke and Cadamarteri) on the bench. 50% of
the players on view were home-grown. The next step is to move on and
convert those coming through into world beaters (or at least Premiership
beaters), rather than players getting a chance through injuries elsewhere.
The game started unusually, though in the same way for the second time in
as many home games. We faced the Gwladys Street at kick off. An
omen (as we lost the last one)? Surely not.
The early exchanges favoured Everton with Barmby and Collins both close
in early attacks. Indeed Barmby's opportunity had come within a minute
or so, as Jevons charged down a clearance and after some neat recovery work
pushed Barmby forward, but the ball went wide.
In fact, Middlesbrough had hardly had a meaningful kick when, on 8
minutes they were awarded a free kick just outside the Everton box. A
chip in found Deane unmarked at the far post forcing a header across and
beyond Gerrard into the net. 0-1.
After that we tried hard, but to no avail. Middlesbrough didn't
offer much either. We were all that Bill had promised, fluid,
committed but we couldn't do it where it counted, in front of goal.
The best chance of all really didn't happen. A concentrated spell of
pressure saw the ball zipping around the outside of the Middlesbrough box,
with no one confident enough to hit a shot.
Mark Hughes decided he'd had enough of pussy-footing around and tried to
work an opening for himself. Instead, he worked an opening for Phil
Jevons, clear on the keeper, with a clear channel through which to play the
ball. But the ball didn't come, Hughes snatched at a shot and the
moment was gone. Jevons was justifiably frustrated.
Such was the pattern for the rest of the half. We promised much but
delivered little. The final pass was never made, too often we played to thin
air or the opposition. By the time he blew for half-time, the referee
had lost the game. Several incidents saw a flurry of bookings and one
ludicrous moment where he measured 9 m, asked the Middlesbrough wall
to move back, saw them refuse and then asked us to take the free kick.
refused, the referee dithered and dallied then moved the ball back two
feet! The place erupted (in the stands)
and control and respect was lost. Half-time came not a moment too soon.
The second half was a dire end-of-season affair. Two substitutions at
half-time saw Jeffers replace Jevons and Milligan replace Weir. This
resulted in Collins moving to right-back and Milligan taking the place of
Stephen Hughes on the left, who stepped inside to replace Collins.
Milligan and Jeffers showed promise together, both putting in lively if
not crucial performances. Stephen Hughes put himself about to good
advantage, but produced little of invention. Mark Hughes suffered from the
distribution malaise, which seemed to grip the entire team. Why we persisted
with the long high ball forward, when we had no chance of winning the aerial
duals quite bemused me. Another reckless "air shot" from Dunne
nearly took out one Middlesbrough player, but such was the referee's sudden
desire to let the game flow, that an expected second yellow (and a second
successive red) didn't happen. Methinks the referee forgot.
In the end, the goal that killed us off was a cameo of the overall
performances of both teams. We huffed and puffed and tried to make an
opening whilst allowing Middlesbrough to play the ball freely. Middlesbrough, in contrast, harried and hustled and chased down everything.
We'd pressured their goal without effect, a quick ball out of their defence
and we allowed Juninho to make a bee-line for goal. He obliged, finding the
net with ease. 0-2.
By the end we were disjointed and dispirited. A disappointing end to a
useful campaign. Nevertheless, we've taken huge strides forward this year
and should be pleased with that at the end of a season, which could quite
easily have been catastrophic.
Today, after a bright start, Barmby disappointed. He had chances to make
the score sheet, but didn't; he drifted in and out of the game. But he tried
and that's almost as important as achieving. By way of contrast, throughout
the game, I felt that Hutchison was show-boating. Too often he did the
difficult thing badly rather than the simple thing well. Maybe I'm being
hyper-critical, but he seemed to be more interested in his own performance
rather than the team's.
Counterbalancing this approach was that of John Collins, who – as Captain
– has shown what a fierce competitor he can be. He tackles like a demon,
rarely losing the challenge. His distribution is often immaculate (maybe not
quite often enough today, along with everyone else) and his example should
be followed by everyone next season.
Man of the Match: John Collins
So, that's another season over. For those of you who've regularly read my
reports, I hope you've found them useful. With a hike in season ticket
prices accompanying a son no longer qualifying for concessionary seats, my
continued appearance every week is under review. Will the pocket stand it?
Probably, but I at least have to make some display of having a choice in
going to Goodison.
Addicted? Me? I could give it up any time, I just don't
Juninho makes case for permanent move
Peter Bainbridge, Electronic Telegraph
IT'S a sign of the times at Goodison Park when mid-table security earns a
fireworks-and-balloons reception. Bill Kenwright, Everton's owner, is
steeped in showbusiness and knows how to milk an occasion. Supporters
starved of success provide the perfect audience. They would even have
clapped had the programme sellers been presented to them.
Instead they cheered off their team despite a convincing defeat that saw
them slip to 13th place. Only once in the last seven years have they
finished higher. Take a bow.
The fans of Middlesbrough, another club who know about facing Premiership
relegation on the last day, are harder to please. Money changes everything.
Middlesbrough have it, Everton don't. Middlesbrough's fans are restless,
A mid-season blip saw the position of Bryan Robson, the manager, under
scrutiny. A final position of 12th may not have pacified the fans but it
apparently has failed to dim the faith of chairman Steve Gibson.
Robson has a rumoured transfer kitty of £20M but is unsure
whether to spend £5.9M on making Juninho's loan deal from Atletico
Madrid permanent. The Brazilian's 87th-minute goal here was well timed.
started his run 40 yards out and played a one-two with Brian Deane on the
edge of the penalty area before slipping the ball past Paul Gerrard.
Robson was criticised for dropping Juninho to the bench for much of
February and April but maybe it was a cunning plan. "He has been
buzzing since he came back into the team," said Robson. "Juninho
is really positive about staying, but I need to speak to Atletico and then
to the player before we know where we stand."
Juninho, part of a three-man attack, was the focal point of Boro's best
moments, although he had no part in the opening goal after nine minutes.
Deane outjumped Richard Dunne to head Steve Vickers' free-kick past Gerrard.
Everton, too often resorting to the long ball, were poor, generally in
keeping with recent form. Mark Hughes, partnered for the first half by
Philip Jevons, 20, chased shadows although the fact that Gianluca Festa and
Phil Stamp were booked for fouling him showed he caused some anxiety.
Walter Smith, the Everton manager, said: "It's disappointing to have
been in the top 10 most of the season and then drop out on the last day.
did not create any clear-cut chances after the first 20 minutes."
Disappointing? You must be joking.
Juninho's strike leaves lasting impression
by Neil Bramwell, The Independent
For much of his second spell at Middlesbrough, the fans' chants of
"Sign On Juninho" were more relevant to his uncertain prospects of
employment rather than any realistic chances that the manager, Bryan Robson,
might opt to make the current arrangement permanent.
But, while the other players struggled to make valid claims for their
side's inclusion in the top half of the Premiership, Juninho seized the
moment to leave a lasting impression for the summer months when his future
with Atletico Madrid will be cleared up. Although much of his industry was
unproductive, the Brazilian signed off with a beautifully crafted clincher
by bursting into the area and slotting into the corner, via a one-two with
Robson stated his intentions by opting to play Juninho as a dedicated
member of a three-man attack, instead of his floating role. That tactic
invited early Everton pressure but attempts to create a carnival atmosphere
at Goodison Park through fireworks and a brass band were soon scuppered.
A carefully flighted Steve Vickers free-kick deep into the Everton area
found Brian Deane rising clear of the static Richard Dunne to direct a
downwards header towards the opposite post. The goalkeeper Paul Gerrard was
unable prevent the ball squeezing home.
On anything but the final day of the season, Gianluca Festa might have
expected to receive his marching orders for an off-the-ball elbowing
incident involving Mark Hughes, spotted by both linesmen but deemed only
worthy of a caution by the referee Rob Harris. The incident set the tone for
a bad-tempered end to the half only rarely punctuated with footballing
Everton's answer was to introduce Francis Jeffers and Jamie Milligan in
an attempt to refresh their attacking options. Jeffers at least showed a
disposition to shoot on sight and one angled drive agitated Mark Schwarzer
as Nicky Barmby threatened to pounce on his fumble. It was Middlesbrough,
though, who continued to enjoy the lion's share of possession and Festa
planted a header marginally high from a corner as set pieces remained their
likeliest route through a stubborn defensive line. That defence was twice
reorganised, to first accommodate John Collins at full-back before the
Scottish international was switched back into midfield to support the final
push for a point.
That never really materialised and Vickers was next to profit from a
piece of slack Everton marking when he was free to thunder a volley, which
Gerrard did well to parry through a packed area. The keeper was afforded no
such chance with Juninho's exquisite finish with four minutes remaining.
Juninho supplies a timely reminder
by Martin Woods, The Times
The signature that the artist Juninho left on this game before his likely
departure of these shores was lengthy and curvaceous. With three minutes
left, the little Brazilian took possession just past the centre circle in
the Everton half and weaved his magic over 30 yards, employing Brian Deane
to take and give a pass before arriving in the penalty area and picking his
spot in the left corner of Paul Gerrard's net. It was Middlesbrough's second
goal without reply and earned them a place ahead of Everton in the final
table after an occasionally irritable encounter.
Even before the advent of
satellite, this was never going to be a contest to have people in their
homes gathered round the wireless. However, it is a tribute to Walter
Smith's powers of inspiration that Everton fans yesterday were not tuning in
with trepidation to see how rival Premiership teams were doing. While
flirtations with relegation in recent seasons educated the Everton fan in
the calculus of survival, Smith has introduced a much sought-after element of
tranquility. At least in the stands.
On the pitch the heat seemed to take its toll on the players in a
ten-minute spell before half-time. Fleming, Stamp and Mustoe were booked for
agricultural tackles, and Festa for an off-the-ball contact with Mark
Hughes. Everton were guilty of admiring their own keenness for the fray
when, after only eight minutes, a free kick by Steve Vickers sailed over the
home defenders and Deane rose alone to head home.
Bryan Robson, the Middlesbrough manager, refused to predict whether
Juninho would be re-signed from Atlético Madrid. "Since I left him out
he's come back and been buzzing," Robson said. "Juninho is keen to
His goal should be replayed during negotiations with Robson and his
Times Newspapers Ltd