Everton 0 - 2 Newcastle United
Half-time: 0 - 0
FA Carling Premiership 1999-2000 Game 30
4 pm Sunday 19 March 2000
Goodison Park, Merseyside
Same say the season ended once Everton secured the magic 40 points against Sheffield
Wednesday to ensure top-flight survival for yet another season.
And Everton do seem to have played with their collective minds away
somewhere on some sunny summer beaches since that match... but this clash between two teams with the strongest of
Premiership followings was fully expected to be a passionate affair.
Sadly, it fell far short. even though it did feature the first return to
Goodison Park of one Duncan
Ferguson, Everton idol and braveheart warrior/thug
from a previous era (depending on your viewpoint!).
Add to that the
presence of another previous Everton captain and boyhood blue in Gary Speed
– who received his customary aggressive reception – plus
the first managerial visit of four-time Everton hot-seat target, the
geriatric Bobby Robson; the result was a tense and fraught tussle.
Everton home fans and armchair viewers got their first views of
the cousins Hughes (No, they are not really cousins, silly!) as Stephen and
Mark both making their home debuts.
Everton started very poorly, with schoolboy errors allowing Newcastle to
apply relentless pressure for most of the half – but to no effect.
Frustration got the better of the geordies, who picked up three yellows
cards including Speed and Ferguson. Everton improved towards the break, but
corners and crosses were generally inadequate, and there was hardly a single
notable attempt on goal from either side.
Everton appeared to play better in a dull second half, until the last 10
mins when they decided to throw the match and their excellent unbeaten home
record. Two stupid goals, both silly, childish defensive errors, made
the difference in a match where Everton's second (third?) string attack
could not produce one single goal-scoring chance.
Europe? Ha!!! Quite pathetic. On this performance, Everton
will finish just outside the drop zone...
Hughes (78'), Dyer (86')
Subs Not Used
Gerrard; Unsworth, Weir, Gough, Xavier; Pembridge, S.
Hughes (76' Ball), Collins, Barmby (85' Dunne); M. Hughes, Moore
Campbell, Degn, Jeffers, Williamson, (injured); Hutchison (transfer-listed).
Given, Hughes, Dabizas, Howey, Barton, Gallacher (68' Domi), Speed, Lee,
Solano (76' Dyer), Ferguson, Shearer.
Goma, Harper, Ketsbaia.
Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks.
Black & white shirts; black shorts; _ socks.
Xavier (70'), Hughes (91')
Speed (21'), Ferguson (23'), Howey (33').
Mark Hughes lost us the game
Today was a day for reflection. A day for weighing up how far we've
progressed over the last 12 months.
A cloudy Sunday afternoon match, was prefaced by the presentation to the
club of a symbolic cheque for £2.5M from renewing sponsors One-2-One.
With a further £6M to be added to the coffers by Puma UK for the new
sportswear (kit) sponsorship, the promise of a handsome prize cheque from
Sky for finishing 6th or 7th, and the advance fee of some £5M from Sky for
next year, we might see a situation where the club fleetingly crawls into
the black over the next couple of months. All we had to do was to turn
it on, at home, in front of the cameras.
Not a promise I expected to be fulfilled, yet I didn't expect much better
from Newcastle, poor travellers, even under their contender for Manager of
the Year (Bobby Robson) – if the press are to be believed. But what
of our own contender? How has he done this year? From the point
where we lost at home to Sheffield Wednesday and the drop staring us in the
face, to the lofty position of challenging for Europe, how and where had
Walter made those improvements?
Was it a better quality of player? Hutchison, Materazzi, Dacourt
– all key components of last year's struggling side, all gone or
going. Stephen Hughes brought in to replace Hutchison; as far as I'm
concerned, a single game today is far too soon to judge the wisdom of that
Gough for Materazzi has been a spectacular success, the benefit of
experience over youthful exuberance. But it would be stretching it a
bit to compare the swap of Pembridge for Dacourt as a move in the right
direction, wouldn't you think? Yet, maybe that's the most salient
comparison of all. The promise, the gift and the class of Dacourt was
wasted in last year's side. He had far too much to do on his own, the
expectation of the crowd and he had the referees to contend with as
Book it if it moves (last year) has been replaced with move if it needs
booking (this year). How Ollie could have flourished. But
Pembridge is far more suited to the workaday role we need in a side
stretched to its limits in terms of both skill and quality. He
symbolises more of the "dogs of war" attitude engendered by Joe
Royle than the silky skills hoped for last year by Walter Smith. Today
was to be a measure of what had become of us over that twelve month
period. Over-achievers or European aristocrats?
The game was a poor affair, plenty of effort put in all around the field
of play, with no real penetration from either side. For the first
twenty minutes in the first half, Newcastle seemed to hold the upper hand as
we struggled with an unfamiliar and unbalanced looking line up.
I've held it up to be a 4-4-2 formation, but it could equally have been a
3-5-2 or 3-6-1 as both Xavier and Moore, at various times, drifted into
midfield instead of holding their positions. This was further
complicated by Stephen Hughes moving into a middle area, treading on
Pembridge's toes and leaving no width on the left.
There were spaces galore for Newcastle to capitalise but, poor as we
were, they were unable to find a way. And that about sums up the first
half. No drama, nothing to get fired up about, except for the now
tedious diatribe at the returning Gary Speed. He expects it now, its
water off a duck's back – or rather it's the fuel to his boiler, it drives
him on. It's time to let it go. We need to look forward now, not
"If, you know, you're history" may be our favourite chant, but
I'm sure it refers more to the "Glory of the Blues" that the
revulsion which raises its head every time Gary Speed appears. But I
digress. Half time 0-0 – all to play for, if only one side can find
that ignition switch.
The second half was a bit more passionate. We held them
comfortably, in the main, for 30 minutes, without having a shot on goal at
all, ourselves. Several corners, less-than-half-chances and Newcastle
on the back foot, but quick on the break. And break they did. 79
minutes and the ball is bobbling about in the Everton penalty area.
David Weir, so often the hero this year, fell asleep and failed to clear, in
nipped the Newcastle Hughes (A) and the ball was in the net. 0-1.
Cadamarteri had already come on for the tireless, but ineffective Moore
("more" of that later). He'd had a couple of runs at the
defence, had shown promise, but now it was time to deliver. Hughes (S)
was running on empty when he was replaced by Ball and Walter then baffled
everyone by pulling off Barmby (to a chorus of jeers and boos) to replace
him with Dunne. I can only assume that idea was to give us a target
man in the dying embers of the game. Barmby was by far our most
inventive player, on the day. But the only target we saw was the one
hit by Kieron Dyer, a Newcastle substitute, who ran half the length of the
field before dinking the ball over the statuesque Gerrard for a second
Newcastle goal. 0-2.
After that it was all over – almost our first shot of the game (or was
it?) flashed across the face of the Newcastle net as Cadamarteri tried a
cheeky one, but that was it. What a surrender of a proud undefeated
home record. As Mr Barber blew the whistle for full time, it was not a
moment too soon.
So, where did it go wrong? Well, the first twenty minutes apart, when we
were overrun in midfield, we were reasonably secure. Pembridge in
particular and Collins were harrying and chasing, tackling and passing in as
effective a midfield pairing as I've seen this year. But out on the
left, Hughes (S) looked lost. He still hasn't picked up the pace of
the game after his long absence from Premiership regularity. He showed
a few neat touches, but its early days, I'll reserve judgement.
Barmby was his usual self, up and down, beavering away. But he was
playing for two. Xavier was ineffective at right back. Too
often giving the ball away and finding himself out of position. On the
left, Unsworth was steady (mainly) in defence, but his distribution was
very, very poor. Gough and Weir looked comfortable, with Ferguson
having one of those "going through the motions" sort of games,
that so often used to infuriate us. Then Weir went to sleep and we
paid the price, losing the first goal due to dallying and the second through
trying to rescue our unbeaten record.
But I've not mentioned the forwards, have I – because it was here, in
my opinion, that we lost it. If God loves a trier, then he must
idolise Mark Hughes, because he tries my patience every time I see
him. Now I know defenders aren't all angels, but Mark Hughes, he pulls
at them, digs them, jumps into them without challenging for the ball and is
an outright cheat – in my opinion (© Rodney Marsh).
Mark Hughes lost us the game, because in a one-on-one tussle with a
defender, he's a marked man. We never got the benefit of the doubt and
we never got the advantage. Why? Because Hughes's reputation is
deserved and goes ahead of him. It's no wonder Moore was
ineffective. How can anyone be expected to play well alongside the
Welsh Manager? Cadamarteri faired a little better, but only because he
had the ball played directly to him more often.
Overall we got no more and no less than we deserved. On another day
I'd have been philosophical and said "C'est la vie". But not
today. Newcastle didn't deserve a point either. The loser today was
"Nil satis nisi optimum".
Man of the Match:
A toss up between Barmby, Collins, Pembridge and Gough. Little to
choose between any of them. I'm going to give it to Pembridge
because of all those on show, he was the one who got stuck in the most.
Lineker the real villain
Walter Smith, Manager of the Season? Spherical rotundities – 'balls' to
the rest of you. Three substitutions (a record?) in one game and not
one of them the player who contributed least to the team. Get a grip,
Walter, others may think you're the answer but you're just reinforcing my
prejudices against you with your selections and tactics.
For openers, Abel Xavier was as effective as Earl Barrett used to be –
can't match the pace of his opponent so stands 4-5 yards off and tries to
get him to stay out wide, hoping he'll run off the field or turn back onto
his right foot so he can catch up or, if he gets a cross in, it won't be his
problem. When Weir (or anyone else) goes across to cover for him, he
dithers in no-man's land around the edge of the area making space and
leaving an uncovered attacker behind him. His distribution is
Barrettesque as well.
Pembridge continues to make progress and may yet be Barry Horne II – if
only he could pass to another Everton player. Collins had the best
game I have seen him play for Everton but just occasionally his last minute
lunge tackles are so mis-timed that he's lucky to stay on the pitch.
Yesterday he didn't even get booked such was the leniency of Mr Barber –
surely the most home-biased referee we've had at Goodison in years. If
only he could have contrived a penalty for us, we might have scored.
There was no other way we were going to.
Mark Hughes was all I expected. Grit, determination, a great deal
of skill, some lovely ball control and (unusually) as many fouls for as
against. Pretty much any other referee than the Everton-friendly Mr
Barber could easily have seen more to penalise than he did in Mark's
'getting-stuck-in performance' but nevertheless it was a performance of
stunning mediocrity. For all his endeavour there was no penetration
either by himself or those alongside him. It might be better after
some work on the training ground but I'm not going to hold my breath.
Still it's early days yet ...
Barmby was as energetic as ever but not particularly effective – not
one of his better days. Stephen Hughes was largely peripheral; some
nice touches but a promising rather than a major contribution. Joe-Max
Moore ran around a lot – Walter says he does that during games – but he
never got into any dangerous positions.
Unsworth's distribution was no better than usual but at least he gave
Shearer a hard time, as did Gough; Weir managed to get an arm over
Ferguson's shoulder in most challenges which reduced his ability to make the
most of his heading ability.
As for the substitutes: Cadamateri did nothing that Joe-Max Moore hadn't
tried and Ball may have touched the ball once or twice but to no great
effect. The 'masterstroke' was the introduction of Richard
Dunne. The sight of him stripping off to come on with 5 minutes to go
almost redeemed my views of Walter for a second or two. Now, surely,
Xavier would be put out of his misery but, no, Dunne went to centre-forward!
I have the feeling that if the FA allowed 10 substitutes in a game, Walter
would still have had Xavier on the field at the end.
Apart from that, Gerrard did play the ball out short once but otherwise
every clearance was a Southall signature punt up-field. Everton's
corners were equally unimaginative crosses. With Ferguson and Shearer
coming back to defend, surely one or two short corners could have been
Of course, the real villain of the piece was Gary Lineker. His last
comment on MotD was to the effect that if Everton beat Newcastle they
would go 6th in the table. I went to bed knowing that we couldn't win.
Goodbye to our unbeaten home record
My enthusiasm for writing match reports has gone the way of the teams
motivation these days, so I'll restrict myself to some observations this
At the start of the game I thought we looked distinctly ropey and
disorganised. I guess that was largely due to a bit of a reshuffle
with Unsworth coming back into defence and Collins returning to centre
midfield. Newcastle had us under quite severe pressure early on and I
started to fear the worst.
Fortunately we got better, we began to get more organised and gradually
we worked our way back into the game, starting to spend some time in their
half. The general play was fairly fast and frenetic with midfield
being by-passed in a bit of a blur. In all, though, the first half
came to naught. Neither 'keeper had had a save to make and defences
had, more or less, been on top.
The second half brought no discernible change to this pattern. Both
teams had their moments in the opposition penalty area but these were
invariably scrappy opportunities which never led to clear cut chances.
It started to look like a 0-0, certainly neither team had imposed themselves
upon the game and neither looked worthy of a goal.
Of course there was always the danger of a scrappy goal and it duly
arrived for Newcastle. It was another one of those catalogue of errors
type things, first there was a panicky clearance from our penalty area (not
sure who it was) that fell straight to a Newcastle player just outside the
box. The ball was played back into the area where David Weir picked it
up, he tried to work it clear but lost possession and Aaron Hughes found the
back of the net. A bad goal to concede and another instance of us
getting caught out by failing to defend positively in our own penalty area.
With our lack of attacking invention, that looked like it. We went
through the motions, Walter made some changes but we never looked likely to
drag ourselves back into it. Any faint hopes we may have harboured
were soon killed off by Kieron Dyer. His burst from midfield caught us
horribly square and flat-footed, Gerrard came out but not decisively enough
and just set himself up to be lobbed. Dyer applied the necessary touch
and that was that, game over and goodbye to our unbeaten home record.
Whilst being disappointed at losing our unbeaten home record, it has to
be acknowledged that it had led a sometimes charmed life, and our current
run of form had always made it's loss a possibility. The fact is we
haven't played well at home for some time now – possibly Sunderland on
Boxing Day was the last time we played well. I don't think that we
deserved to get beaten today but we certainly didn't deserve to win.
- Gerrard 6 Not at his most convincing today. No
saves to make but didn't command his area as he should.
- Xavier 5 Fast becoming the target of the boo boys and
frankly with performances like this he isn't doing his case much
good. I certainly didn't think he was as bad as some were making
out but there is definite room for improvement.
- Unsworth 7 A competent defensive performer who isn't
quite at his best at the moment.
- Gough 8 Shearer and Ferguson barely got a sniff all day
and that's largely down to Gough. Another masterful defensive
- Weir 8 The other reason why Shearer and Ferguson were so
quiet. It's just a pity he blotted his copybook by getting caught
dallying on the ball for their first goal. Still, after the marvelous
consistency of his performances this season, he's allowed the odd
- Barmby 7 Another exceptionally energetic performance from
Barmby, he really does work so hard for the cause. Unfortunately
he needs a little more going on around him to be truly effective.
- Collins 7 Continuing his recent run of form. Worked
hard, tackled well and used the ball quite well. Even managed one
sweeping cross-field pass to put someone away down the left flank.
- Pembridge 7 Another who worked hard, he must have run
miles just trotting across to take the corners and throw-ins.
- S Hughes 6 Peripheral for large portions of the
game. Showed some nice touches, particularly in the first half,
but needs to contribute more.
- M Hughes 6 Pretty much what we expected – combative and
put himself about a bit. Showed a decent touch on the ball and, on
occasion, did well in linking up the play. Heavily penalised by
the referee for the physical tussles with Dabizas and ultimately
booked. In instances like that it is impossible to tell from the
stands who is fouling who, and I often wonder how the referee
adjudicates on things like that. I personally thought that with
Hughes and Dabizas it was six of one and half a dozen of the other and
would have expected the foul count to have reflected that, instead it
was heavily weighted against Hughes.
- Moore 6 Eager and willing as ever but fed on scraps
- Cadamarteri 6 Always looks keen, eager and full of
running but never really looks like he's going to achieve anything of
- Ball 6 Not on long and didn't get too involved.
- Dunne 6 Don't think he'll make a centre-forward somehow.
Team 6 Looking at the individual scores it doesn't look that
bad. That, though, partly reflects the fact that everyone worked hard
without really achieving too much. Defensively we coped pretty well,
but it was further up the field that we struggled. Once again we
didn't pass particularly well and any kind of creative spark was sadly
missing, we never really looked like scoring.
Man of the match – Gough just ahead of Weir.
Everton undone by third man
Nicholas Spencer, Electronic Telegraph
ON THE day Everton introduced two home debutants called Hughes it was
perhaps inevitable that the third man on the pitch boasting that name should
score the goal which would cost Walter Smith's team their unbeaten home
spectators anticipating a decent contest, Aaron Hughes, Newcastle's Northern
Ireland international defender, waited until the 79th minute to produce the
first shot on target of a desperate game.
The chance only fell his way courtesy of David Weir's misjudgment in
trying an elaborate drag-back on the edge of his own six-yard box. Hughes
duly took his chance to steal the headlines from his namesakes, Mark and
Stephen, by driving the ball past Paul Gerrard.
Hughes owed his chance to the speed of substitute Kieron Dyer, whose
energetic burst had unsettled the Everton defence. Eight minutes later the
England player rounded off a mesmerising contribution by sprinting clear of
three defenders and calmly lobbing Gerrard to complete the job.
Bobby Robson deserves credit for a typically shrewd gambit in sending on
Dyer and Didier Domi. The pity is that he waited until the final 20 minutes
to release a combination of pace down either flank which shredded the
Everton defence at regular intervals.
Newcastle headed home in 11th place, a point behind Everton. Robson
praised his players' climb from the relegation places to 40 points, a total
he considers sufficient for safety. Possible FA Cup glory awaits.
"What we have acquired is a tenacity and resilience to weather
storms when things aren't going our way. With the quality in the side we
will get forward and score goals," said Robson.
The last time these sides met Everton achieved a victory which was
overshadowed by the sale of Duncan Ferguson to their opponents for £8
million, which precipitated the departure of chairman Peter Johnson and
ultimately a change of ownership and a new confidence at the club.
The warmth of Ferguson's greeting from the Everton faithful quickly
dissipated in the wake of a late tackle on Weir which earned a booking.
Speed, a less welcome old boy, also transgressed with a foul on a Wales
team-mate, Mark Pembridge.
The enforced absences of Kevin Campbell and Francis Jeffers has prompted
Walter Smith into the transfer market and meant a home debut for Mark
The game's failure to breathe did little to help Stephen Hughes assert
any of his class following his £3 million move from Arsenal in an
unbalanced midfield, in which he found himself the widest of three
Everton toiled long and hard in search of an opportunity and Smith sent
on Danny Cadamarteri in the hope that his pace would disrupt Newcastle.
was overshadowed by Dyer, who flicked the ball past Weir and John Collins
and beat Abel Xavier before lobbing home.
Dyer rises above mediocrity
by Phil Shaw, The Independent
Two goals in the final 12 minutes, after neither
team had managed a shot or header on target in the previous 78,
simultaneously propelled Newcastle into their highest position this season,
11th, and plundered Everton's unbeaten Premiership home record yesterday.
More importantly for the exultant Toon Army, victory also took Bobby
Robson's revitalised side to within two points of Sunderland. When
Newcastle last tangled with Everton, in November, they were slumming in 17th
place as Robson sought to restore order amid the debris of Ruud Gullit's
reign. Moreover, they were 16 points adrift of their neighbours and
had a solitary draw to show for seven away fixtures.
Aaron Hughes, the Northern Ireland defender, eclipsed his better-known
namesakes, Mark and Stephen, on their home debuts for Everton by breaking
the deadlock. After beating Kieron Dyer to a cross by Didier Domi,
David Weir committed the cardinal error of trying to dribble the ball
clear. He was promptly dispossessed by Hughes, who cleverly dragged
the ball forward before angling it past Paul Gerrard.
If that goal owed more to persistence than virtuosity, the same could not
be said for the second. Dyer, feeling his way back to fitness as a late
substitute, was in Newcastle's half when he received Warren Barton's
throw-in. Lifting it over Weir and John Collins in one touch, the
England midfielder galloped towards goal, performing another audacious flick
over Abel Xavier en route. As Gerrard tried to narrow the angle, Dyer
deftly lobbed him from 18 yards – a sublime piece of skill to round off a
contest characterised by a dearth of refinement and a surfeit of ruggedness.
For an event that had no bearing on the relegation issue, and only a
tenuous connection with the question of qualifying for Europe, the match
generated passions which might have surprised neutrals. The reason
could be summed up in two words: Duncan Ferguson.
The manager who brought Ferguson to Everton, Joe Royle, once described
him as being "a legend before he was a player". The Scot's
cult status obviously survived his transfer to Newcastle, the mere
announcement of his name provoking a huge roar from the Goodison
faithful. Gary Speed is less fondly remembered by Evertonians after
his defection to the north-east: his every touch prompted booing, his early
booking a cheer.
Newcastle's players knew that anyone sent off would be suspended for next
month's FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea. Yet their early
fractiousness seemed designed to test the tolerance of Graham Barber, who
will also referee their game at Wembley. Ferguson had already got away
with a potentially dangerous swing of the forearm against his former Rangers
team-mate, Richard Gough, when the referee booked him for a feisty challenge
Steve Howey received Newcastle's third yellow in 12 minutes, for dissent,
and Speed flirted with red by blatantly body-checking Collins. The
latter, meanwhile, was fortunate when his sliding tackle on Aaron Hughes
passed without so much as a foul being awarded.
As for the more wholesome first-half action, only isolated moments stood
out. Everton's Mozambique-born Abel Xavier startled the crowd with a
stylish back-heeled clearance; like his two-tone quiff, which would have
done Little Richard proud, such ingenuity is seldom seen from
defenders. Howey, hooking the ball behind as Joe-Max Moore prepared to
shoot, curtailed Everton's best move, while Speed headed over Newcastle's
only half-chance from Nolberto Solano's corner shortly before the break.
For a long time, the second half was no better. Mark Hughes and
Abel Xavier also had their names taken, the 37-year-old Gough policed
Ferguson and Alan Shearer with embarrassing ease, and a game featuring no
fewer than 21 full internationals stuttered along until Hughes and Dyer
Quite what Hughes, a left-back, was doing in the centre-forward position
was a mystery. For the sake of the spectacle, it was as well that he
Newcastle rise above Ferguson furore
by Stephen Wood, The Times
THE dross contained in the corresponding fixture last season was
overshadowed by the furore of Duncan Ferguson's departure, but not even the
interest created by the return of the former Everton talisman could disguise
the lack of quality at Goodison Park yesterday. It appeared as though
Newcastle United had won by default but, given that it represented Everton's
first home defeat in the FA Carling Premiership season, they will claim a
worthy achievement. Within reason, Bobby Robson, the Newcastle manager, felt
justified in doing that. Their fourth win in five outings lifted them to
eleventh place and Robson said: "When I was appointed earlier this
season, my brief was to help the club avoid relegation, which was a real
"It is only the second week of March and, with 40 points, we are
already safe and there is still an FA Cup semi-final to look forward
Newcastle certainly displayed the "resilience and tenacity"
yesterday that Robson believes has characterised their revival, but the
saddest indictment of the game was contained in the statistic that only two
efforts were made on target by either side. Waiting for them to arrive was
certainly the hardest part and, when they did, in the final 11 minutes,
their sources contrasted sharply.
A mistake by David Weir, the Everton defender, precluded the
breakthrough. The Scotland international attempted to dribble out of his own
penalty area but was dispossessed by Aaron Hughes and the Newcastle
defender, making his fiftieth appearance for the club, toe-poked the first
goal of his career.
Moments before the final whistle there was a treat to savour. Kieron
Dyer, the England midfield player who had been on the pitch for ten minutes,
lifted the ball over Weir and then tempted Xavier into a rash challenge
before advancing on Gerrard and arcing the ball over the stranded
It mattered little to the outcome, in fact, that Ferguson, who had passed
a fitness test to play six hours before the kick-off, was in the black and
white of Newcastle. It looked as though the only significance attached to
his presence, 16 months after the £8 million transfer that led to the
downfall of Peter Johnson, the former Everton chairman, would be to
highlight the progress made by his former employers.
Alas, even that was not possible for Everton. Victory would have elevated
the home side into the top six of the Premiership, but perhaps dreams of
qualifying for European competition are premature at the moment. Yesterday
was the perfect example of their shortcomings.
Times Newspapers Ltd