Everton Logo

Everton 0 - 2 Middlesbrough

Half-time: 0 - 1

Middlesbrough Logo
FA Carling Premiership 1999-2000 – Game 38
4pm Sunday 14 May 2000
Goodison Park, Merseyside
Att: 34,663
« Leeds United (a) Ref: Rob Harris Pre-Season Fixtures »
[1999-2000 Fixtures & Results] League Position: 10th [Premiership Results & Table]
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.

With Pembridge 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 TableNot a chance!
  • 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...

  Some of the rumours just don't bear thinking about... 



EVERTON: Collins, Hutchison, Barmby
Middlesbrough: Deane (8'), Juninho (87')
   LINEUPS  Subs Not Used 
EVERTON: 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.
Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Cooper, Festa, Vickers, Fleming, Stamp (68' Stockdale), Ince, Mustoe, Juninho, Campbell, Deane. Beresford, Maddison, Gavin, Marinelli.
   Playing Strips  Formations
EVERTON: Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks. 4-4-2
Middlesbrough: Red shirts; red shorts; red socks. 4-4-2
   Yellow Cards  Red Cards
EVERTON: Dunne (27').
Middlesbrough: Fleming (32'), Festa (36'), Stamp (38'), Mustoe (41') Ince (82').


Steve Bickerton Much Promise; Little Delivered
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Juninho makes case for permanent move
by Peter Bainbridge
THE INDEPENDENT Juninho's strike leaves lasting impression
by Neil Bramwell
THE TIMES Juninho supplies a timely reminder
by Martin Woods
EFC NEWS SITE Link to the Echo / Daily Post Match Reports

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

 Much Promise; Little Delivered
Steve Bickerton
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.  We 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 want too.

 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, Everton's grateful.

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.  He 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.  We did not create any clear-cut chances after the first 20 minutes."  Disappointing?  You must be joking.

Report © The Electronic Telegraph

 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 Brian Deane.

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 incident.

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.

Report © The Independent

 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 stay."

His goal should be replayed during negotiations with Robson and his chairman.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd



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