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Everton 1 - 1 Sheffield Wednesday

Half-time: 1 - 0

Sheffield Wednesday Logo
FA Carling Premiership 1999-2000 – Game 27
3pm Saturday 4 March 2000
Goodison Park, Merseyside
Att: 32,020
« West Ham United (a) Ref: Graham Barber Chelsea (a) »
[1999-2000 Fixtures & Results] League Position: 6th [Premiership Results & Table]
Davey Weir - Unsung Hero Everton, unbeaten at home in the league, playing against lowly Sheffield Wednesday?  A dead cert?  But when did we last win four straight league games?  Over Christmas 1990!!! This is Everton: you can take nothing for granted... 

Hutchison was left out in the cold again, having trained on his own this week.  Richard Gough missed the match after sustaining a thigh strain at West Ham.  Surprisingly, Mitch Ward replaced him.

The match started sluggishly, with Everton struggling to recapture the flowing form that allowed them to show up West Ham.  Extensive possession, but difficult to make progress against a battling Wednesday side.

But after 33 mins, Campbell won a corner which was swung in beautifully by Barmby and Weir smacked a great header into the net for the opening goal.

But straight after the break, Wednesday equalised on a good move finished by Quinn.  Everton just never really got going and it ended 1-1. 



EVERTON: Weir (33')  
Sheffield Wednesday: Quinn (46')  
   LINEUPS  Subs Not Used
EVERTON: Myhre; Unsworth (capt), Xavier, Weir; Ball, Pembridge, Barmby, Collins, Ward (75' Dunne); Moore, Campbell.
Unavailable: Hutchison (transfer-listed); Cleland, Jeffers, Williamson (injured).
Watson, Gemmill,  Cadamarteri, Simonsen.
Sheffield Wednesday: Srnicek, Hinchcliffe, Walker, Atherton, Nolan (46' Briscoe), Quinn, Haslam, Sonner, Alexandersson, Sibon, De Bilde. Pressman, Cresswell, Rudi,  Staniforth.
   Playing Strips  Formations
EVERTON: Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks. 3-5-2
Sheffield Wednesday: Yellow, black & white shirts; black shorts; yellow socks. 4-4-2
   Yellow Cards  Red Cards
Sheffield Wednesday: Sibon (78')


Steve Bickerton Half-time tea-lacing scandal
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Best intentions earn Wednesday a point By
Derick Allsop
THE SUNDAY TIMES Quinn strike denies in-form Everton
by Ron Clarke
THE INDEPENDENT Mighty Quinn is in fighting trim
Dave Hadfield
THE TIMES Wilson in need of daring deeds
by Kevin McCarra
EFC NEWS SITE Link to the Daily Post Match Report

THE OBSERVER Link to Football Unlimited Match Report
THE GUARDIAN Link to Football Unlimited Match Report
SOCCERNET Link to SoccerNet Match Report
CARLINGNET Link to CarlingNet Match Report

 Half-time tea-lacing scandal
Steve Bickerton
So, it was 11 months since our last home defeat, and that was against today's visitors.  Then it was a classic 6 pointer; today it was a formality.  At least that's what the portents showed.  Wednesday languishing, adrift in 19th place, with us at a giddy 7th.  What a difference a year makes!  Other stats weren't so inspiring.  Over the years Wednesday have a good record at Goodison, which is probably their happiest hunting ground, that obviously couldn't be ignored.

So what was it to be today?  Current form or historical trends?

Gough failed an early fitness test and with Hutchison now apparently training alone and dispatched from the first team squad we were down to the bare bones.  Unsworth was named Captain for the day.

The first few minutes showed that Wednesday were up for a challenge.  They harried in midfield and forced Everton back.  Within three minutes, Alexandersson found himself in space and drove past Myhre only to find the post in his way.  A coat of paint away from a goal.

The rest of the half was spent watching that same coat of paint drying.  It was a yawnsome affair with Everton unable to string two passes together, in the main and Wednesday huffing and... huffing.  True the drudgery was punctuated by some flowing football from Everton (I can hear the shouts of "When?" from others at the game) one of which saw a clearance from Myhre find Unsworth wide left, a knock forward to Barmby, a lay-off to Pembridge and a screaming drive just over the bar.  Another effort from Pembridge (was it a case of, "Here you go Mark, knock one in against your old club?") finished with the same result, this from a short free kick taken by Unsworth.

Collins, too, after neat play with Ball, saw a right footed effort go wide and Joe-Max Moore was also guilty of missing the target.  That really was the tale of the half, with Wednesday there for the taking and us happy to be behind.  Oh, yes, there was a corner from Barmby and a goal from Weir...  the disbelief as it went in as we suddenly found ourselves 1-0 up against the poorest side to visit Goodison this season and that includes Exeter, Oxford and Birmingham, was tangible.

The second half, of course couldn't be anywhere near as bad.  A quick rocket from Walter, a few well chosen words from Archie and Bob's your uncle.  Problem was, I think they went into the wrong dressing room.  Wednesday finally came out looking as though they believed in themselves, we certainly didn't.  

A quick gift of a goal, 1-1 and that was it.  'Watch them react to that', I thought.  Wrong! Only a late drive from Unsworth and a late effort from Ball (with which he might have done better) caused Wednesday any real bother.  There had been goal mouth scrambles, but we were never the right side of the six yard box as the ball broke loose.

We didn't deserve a point from this display, so another three would have been a mugging.  We can be thankful that Wednesday were so poor, as Myhre had a 'mare.  He dropped the ball, kicked appallingly, was slow to react to balls coming onto him.  He couldn't be blamed for the goal, however, and did make one terrific full-stretch save to push the ball behind for a corner towards the end.  Is he simply lacking the sharpness that a long run in the first team brings?  I don't know.  He's certainly not as sharp as he was last season.

Its unfair to single out Myhre, though.  Campbell put up his worst performance since donning the Royal Blue.  His head finally dropped after he didn't get a decision go in his favour for almost the whole game.  Countless offsides (they can't all have been given correctly, surely?) took their toll.  Walker had him pretty much in his pocket.  Nobody else had a game worthy of note.

Man of the Match: A toss-up between the scoreboard operator and Michael Ball.  I'll give it to Michael Ball, as he actually kicked the ball.

 Best intentions earn Wednesday a point
Derick Allsop, Electronic Telegraph
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY may be doomed to the Nationwide League, but they are admirably intent on playing their way to the bitter end.

They deservedly earned a point from this forgettable encounter and, with more clinical finishing by Gilles de Bilde, might have claimed maximum points against an unco-ordinated Everton.

Walter Smith, the Everton manager, operated with a back three, which appeared to confuse his players and proved scant consolation for the absence of the ostracised Don Hutchison in midfield.

Their more direct game at least yielded a half-time lead, courtesy of David Weir's regulation header.  But when Wednesday, too, built on the foundation of three central defenders and a midfield five after the break, Everton were out-manoeuvred.

Alan Quinn's first senior goal pulled Wednesday level four minutes into the second half and de Bilde twice had the opportunity to complete an invaluable victory.  The Belgian striker will plead with some justification that he was illegally bundled out of his stride by a desperate David Unsworth as he homed in on the second of those chances.

By the end, Everton were grateful merely to preserve their unbeaten home record in the Premiership.  Remarkably, this point takes them to sixth in a league some would have us believe is the best in the world.

Everton's five-man midfield toiled to provide the guidance that has been Hutchison's consistent contribution to the club's cause.  The arrival of Stephen Hughes from Arsenal cannot come soon enough.

Smith conceded: "We can have no complaints at the result.  We never really created opportunities."

His opposite number, Danny Wilson, refuses to accept relegation is inevitable.  He said: "It was not a good game for the purist but we've got to be happy with a point.  We still believe we can stay up.

"There's still a third of the season left and we have to go on a run, starting now.  We showed we can battle, we were resilient and had terrific spirit."

Everton's efforts were high, wide and gruesome until, in the 33rd minute, Weir met Nick Barmby's corner with a firm header.

However, they were justly punished after Gerald Sibon, at the second attempt, found Quinn and the little midfield player gleefully beat Thomas Myhre to equalise.

De Bilde cursed himself for heading straight at Myhre and was rueful, too, when he stumbled clear of Unsworth's attention only to be thwarted by the goalkeeper.

Report © The Electronic Telegraph

 Quinn strike denies in-form Everton
by Ron Clarke, The Sunday Times

THIS game left the Goodison Park faithful as bemused as Sheffield Wednesday are beleaguered.  Expected to stroll it against condemned opponents, Everton rarely showed any signs of the revival which has got them to within touching distance of a European place.  Complacency rather than creativity were the hallmarks of a below-par performance which could have ended in an embarrassing downfall and given Wednesday their third successive victory on this ground.

After eventually taking the lead with a first-half header from David Weir, they allowed Wednesday straight back into the game after the restart, Alan Quinn scoring his first goal for the club.  It then petered out into a dull stalemate, leaving Everton unbeaten at home in the League this season and giving Wednesday only the merest hint of a stay of execution.

Before kick-off, Danny Wilson, the Wednesday manager, said his team needed at least seven wins from their remaining 12 fixtures to survive.  After this, the evidence for the prosecution still seems strong enough to send them down.

The first half was certainly more tepid than torrid and we had to wait a full 32 minutes for the first corner.  It fell to the visitors, and Danny Sonner's tame effort curved well wide of the goal.  Straight away, Everton showed how it should be done with their first similar set piece.  This time, Nick Barmby swung the ball in for Weir to tower above a static defence and head the ball into a gaping net.

That should have been the spark to ignite the game into some kind of positive performance from Everton.  But despite being given an earlier scare, when Niclas Alexandersson found himself in the clear only to narrowly screw his shot wide, they still seemed hesitant to take control of an opposition that looked like willing victims.

Before taking the lead, Mark Pembridge had twice come close to scoring, first firing Barmby's rolled free kick just over and then sending a rising effort too high after David Unsworth, the new Everton captain, and Kevin Campbell had combined well to supply the final ball.

But the breakthrough did not ease the Goodison complacency and this was their undoing almost immediately after the interval as they relinquished the advantage.  It was a case of pedestrian defending against pedestrian attacking, with Gerald Sibon allowed two slow-motion attempts to get the ball across the penalty area.  His second attempt trickled across to young Quinn who smashed the ball past Thomas Myhre, albeit with a hint of deflection.

Indeed, a previously despondent Wednesday, the last league team to emerge victorious at Goodison Park some 11 months ago, suddenly looked rejuvenated and the more likely victors.  Gilles de Bilde, the Belgian, headed straight into the arms of Myhre when he really should have done better and then was unfortunate to see the ball bounce away from him as he once again threatened to go through the Everton defence.

There was some reshuffling during the course of the game, with Lee Briscoe replacing Ian Nolan for Wednesday at half-time and Richard Dunne coming on for Everton's recalled Mitch Ward in the final quarter.

It was still a mystery why Everton, impressive 4-0 winners at West Ham last week, were so out of touch.  Barmby, the hat-trick hero of that game, was as subdued as his colleagues.

Even Joe-Max Moore, the free-scoring American with six goals in his past seven games, seemed unable to raise the pace of the game much above practice-match standard.

Before this game, we had more action off the pitch than there was on it.  With transfer-listed captain, Don Hutchison, no longer part of proceedings and a replacement 3-million midfielder, Stephen Hughes, on his way from Arsenal, at least the crowd had something to talk about there was certainly little danger of the game ever being a major distraction.

They would also have been heartened by the news that the veteran defender, Richard Gough, at the age of 37, has signed a new contract and will be staying with Everton for at least another two years.

As the game petered out into an inevitably dull stalemate, there was still time for Myhre to spare Everton's blushes as he marvellously tipped Sibon's 22-yard shot over the bar.

Afterwards, Danny Wilson remained optimistic: "There is still almost a third of the season left and we still believe we can get out of it. They showed that today by making a fight of it."

Everton's manager, Walter Smith, was perhaps more honest: "We never reached the level we have in recent games.  We never got started."  That could apply to the whole game.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

 Mighty Quinn is in fighting trim
by Dave Hadfield, The Independent

This was one of those results that is unlikely to do either club much good in the long term and neither of them truly deserved to prosper as a consequence of this thoroughly undistinguished draw.  When Wednesday's manager, Danny Wilson, declared it "not a good game for the purist", he was guilty of a serious understatement.  This was not even a good game for the dour pragmatist or world-weary cynic.

Everton, who moved into sixth place in the Premiership on the basis of one of their poorest performances of the season, must take most of the blame.  They have been in a productive vein of form recently and have not lost at home in the league all season, so it was reasonable to expect them to go about the relatively modest task of tackling relegation fodder like Wednesday with some zest.

Instead, as their manager, Walter Smith, admitted: "We never got started."  He had to reshuffle due to the absence of Richard Gough in the heart of his defence, but the way Everton performed without him and the unhappy Don Hutchison apparently on his way out of Goodison will only confirm his view that the club needs to invest if it is not to fritter away this season's progress.

With Peter Atherton and Des Walker solid at the back for Wednesday, Kevin Campbell and Joe-Max Moore with five goals in his last five games were barely sighted.  Even Nick Barmby, who has been playing so exuberantly in midfield and scored a hat-trick at West Ham last weekend, was anonymous.

Not that Wednesday truly looked capable of playing their way out of the deep hole they are in.  Niclas Alexandersson showed flashes of the ability that made Everton interested in his plans for next season if and when Wednesday go down, but there is not the firepower to get away from the trapdoor.

It was surprising that either side managed a goal at all. Everton's came 10 minutes from the merciful end of a sterile first-half when Barmby curled in a corner from the left and David Weir rose to meet it with a header of unanswerable power and accuracy.  It was by a distance the best moment of the half, but the lead did not last long after the interval.

Moore missed a chance to keep his scoring streak alive, and then a complacent home defence gave the ungainly Gerald Sibon two chances to cross from the right.  With the second, he pulled the ball back for Alan Quinn, whose rising drive beat Thomas Myhre, possibly with the aid of a slight deflection, to bring his first goal for the club.

Wilson thinks Quinn's youthful approach typifies a fighting spirit that still exists in his squad. "He's got fantastic enthusiasm," he said.  "He plays without fear, he's got a terrific work-rate and the goal will do a great deal of good for his confidence."  The manager refused to be down-hearted at the way time is running out.  "There is still almost a third of the season to play.  We've got to get something from every game and a point here was a bonus."

That might be true in theory, but Wednesday, for whom Gilles de Bilde had a number of half-chances in the second half, will know in their hearts that a woeful Everton were there for the taking.  It might have been an unexpected opportunity, but it represents a golden chance to edge towards safety wasted.  Wednesday cannot afford such carelessness.

Report © The Independent

  Wilson in need of daring deeds
by Kevin McCarra, The Times

THIS match turned out to be one of those freakish friendships.  With nothing whatsoever in common, Everton and Sheffield Wednesday turned out to be inseparable.  They muddled around together in a match of ropey football and neither side posed a clear threat for long.  Close as they were, it may be some time before the clubs run into one another again, because the visitors are virtually certain to be relegated.  

On Saturday evening Everton stood sixth in the FA Carling Premiership and Danny Wilson, the Wednesday manager, considered this a favourable result.  In practice, it was another hurtful afternoon.  With one more weekend scored off the football calendar, his team is no closer to Bradford City or Southampton and farther away from Derby County.

Severe though it may be to upbraid them after gleaning a point away from home, Wednesday need to be far more daring and ruthless.  They might just have won at Goodison and moved with relative smoothness against the error-prone Everton midfield, but a marginal superiority seemed so pleasant a surprise that the players forgot to turn an advantage into a victory.

The need for a spiky attitude also slipped a few minds.  Wednesday can ill-afford the bashful defending that allowed Everton their goal in the 33rd minute.  Nick Barmby floated over a corner and David Weir trotted in with time to calibrate the header that flew high into the net.

For the most part, the match was torpid and incidents that did promise excitement had a habit of trailing off into inconsequentiality.

Niclas Alexandersson might have scored in the fourth minute, but hit the outside of a post.  Graham Barber, the referee, had his part, too, in forestalling interesting developments.

Having been fouled from behind by David Unsworth in the 66th minute, Gilles de Bilde, the Wednesday forward, was refused a penalty, presumably because he stayed on his feet, however wobbly.  Four minutes into the second half, though, Wilson's side had equalised when Alan Quinn, a young Dubliner, converted Gerald Sibon's cross for his first goal in senior football.

Walter Smith, the Everton manager, is not the type to beam in self-congratulation if reference is made to an unbeaten Premiership record at home.  Eight of the 13 results have been draws.

After the dispute over a new contract, Don Hutchison has been dropped and Stephen Hughes's arrival at Goodison Park, in a 3 million transfer from Arsenal, will only take place this week.  In the gap between, Everton lost their footing against Wednesday.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd



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