Watford 1 - 3 Everton
Half-time: 0 - 2
FA Carling Premiership 1999-2000 Game 18
3pm Saturday 18 December 1999
Vicarage Road, Watford
The battle of the winless ones. Everton's dire record since that glorious
day way back at the end of September is turning into a serious problem for
Walter Smith, who managed to avoid much of the blame for the poor run of
form since he was given the dreaded Manager of the Month award.
Injuries are starting to bite, with Franny Jeffers down with the flu, and
Gough declared unfit. You'd expect that would be an opportunity for Joe-Max
Moore to make his full debut for the Blues, but Walter Smith
instead deployed Hutchison up-front, and it worked a treat in
the first half, with The Don making an early goal for Barmby, then scoring
In the second half, Everton lost their shape and their will to win, and were
in real danger of being swamped as Ngonge scored an excellent goal.
But it all came good in the last five minutes, when Barmby was hauled down
in the area and Unsworth converted from the spot after the linesman had to
persuade Alan Wilkie that it really was a penalty. So Everton finally win
a match after 2½ months!
Barmby (4'), Hutchison (37'), Unsworth (pen:86')
Subs Not Used
Chamberlain, Cox (91' Sent Off!), Palmer,
Page, Robinson, Hyde (88' Foley), Williams, Johnson, Miller, Ngonge,
Day, Gibbs, Bakalli, Perpetuini.
Gerrard, Cleland (72' Watson), Weir, Dunne, Unsworth,
Barmby, Xavier, Collins, Pembridge, Campbell, Hutchison.
Unavailable: Cadamarteri (suspended); Jeffers (ill),
Gemmill, Gough, Ward, Williamson (injured); Branch, Myhre, O'Kane,
Phelan (on loan); Bilic (in limbo); Parkinson (retired),
Farrelly (transfered to Bolton Wanderers).
Ball, Moore, Grant, Simonsen.
Orange shirts; red shorts; red &
Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks.
Johnson (61'), Miller (64'), Robinson (72')
Campbell (61'), Gerrard (89')
Walter, sort it out
So that we are all clear, we won this game because they were worse than we
were. With a couple of exceptions, Walter will know that we were very poor
and the 2-2 draw which looked on the cards was spared us by the keen eye
of the linesman. (Not often we get help, but I think we did on Saturday.)
First half was not bad at all; we scored two well-taken goals, and we looked
tidy enough, but switch to Stadler and Waldorf mode we were
terrible after half time (of which more later). Gerrard started his own,
'lets-get-Watford-back-into-this-game' with a reasonable save, a kick straight
at the number 9, a walk too far and indirect free kick, at least two missed
not fumbled crosses... This indecision was met momentarily
by Weir, and away went Ngonge. Unsworth almost saved the situation, but Ngonge
took it well.
And a game in which we were strolling became one that Watford could smell
saving. The midfield, as at Old Trafford, went missing. Pembridge tried,
but is nowhere near up to it. Xavier and Collins were bossed by a midfield
who are one off the bottom. Weir was not his usual self, Dunne was capable
enough better I thought when he moved to right back and Cleland
proved why Walter doesn't fancy him. He's a crap right back. Going forward
he's better, but not much.
And it won't be long before there's an incident at Watford. One steward at
the gate saying sit where you like, was always going to be trouble. And there
was. And its nice to have an end to ourselves, but one with toilets like
the ones at Anfield with standing room for eight that's
With Room For Eight. And no room to pass under the stand. Blockages are a
certainty, god forbid the ambualnce people ever need to get in/through. I
think the Park End is ok, loads of room down below, but this place wasn't
worthy of the words 'Safety Certificate', there'll be injuries or worse there
before long. Rant over.
Walter, sort it out. Lose Pembridge, play Hutch in midfield, and have Jeffers
fit soon. Oh, and keep an eye on Gerrard, he's not long left before
I Guess That's Why They Call Us The
Yawning, I pull myself out of my pit ....... bizarrely enough, the sun shines
in, the smell of bacon fills the air, a smile replaces the yawn. A shower
and a most enjoyable breakfast later and I'm up and about, ready to take
on the world.
The last-minute checks are done and we are ready to leave, goodbyes are said
and the front door opens....... Two extra layers of clothing later and I'm
de-icing the car.
Anyway, eventually we head down to Watford, probably one of the most uninspiring
drives ever, M56, M6, M1 end of, I hate motorways. Arriving at Junction
5 and we're following directions courtesy of Carling web as good as
they are, they aren't used. Watford, unlike most stadiums these days, is
very very well sign-posted. Half an eye is kept open for the "Happy Hour"
pub, were Evertonians and the NTAS were meeting up. It wasn't spotted, we
After parking the car up on some industrial estate rubble just behind the
Stadium, we walk up the side of the ground, allotments on one side, backs
of houses with garages to the other. Graffiti adorns the walls, most of it
anti-rugby; strange that... Strange, that is, until we reach the stadium
itself and a big sign tells us that Vicarage Road is also the home of Saracens,
that explains it then.
Your average man in the street is asked "Where can we get a pint mate?" Now
forgive me if I'm wrong but, is our accent that bad? Do we sound like we
are speaking double Dutch or Portuguese maybe? The reason I ask is due to
the blokes reply; "There's a take away just up the road." Errm... thanks
Further up the road and a pub is spotted: no chance; season ticket holders
only must be a great laugh in there. I can just imagine the three
of them and Elton having various, riveting conversations, possibly containing
boy scouts, probably not. Once again a local is asked, "Where can we get
a pint mate?", "Eh?" was the steward's reply. This is going to be a long
day I think to myself.
After some gesturing (a bit like when you're on holiday and the barman can't
speak English) we eventually have some directions to a nearby pub. Off we
trot following the directions given to us. We arrive at "Mac's" shortly after,
three locals on the door talking about hub-caps suspiciously, hmmmm.
Anyway, into the bar we go, bloody hell my living room is bigger
but it did have a nice open fire and friendly staff. Soon after, more and
more blues arrive at this pub, until it's full and it's 100% blue. We
hate Bill Shankly and we hate St John fills the air more than once. In
fact, almost every song I've ever heard is sung at least four times, including
a new version of Ooohh Everton, oh we are Everton and we love our etc
etc, this version named every player in the current squad it went
on for a while! No one was leaving the pub, mainly due to the freezing cold
outside, so it was getting fuller and fuller, still efficient staff meant
not long to wait to be served. The ale was flowing, the fans were singing,
it was brilliant this is how away matches should be.
It got a little bit silly; a fire extinguisher was set of to the tune of
Ev-er-ton and a load of empty glasses accidentally fell off the fruit machine,
down the back, a huge smashing noise stopped the singing for maybe a split
second, if not shorter. Not a million minutes later the local constabulary
came to huge cheers, louder singing, and plenty of cheap jibes. They
walked around the pub, which took about 2 minutes and then left; the noise
After about seven pints, and at roughly half-past-two, we headed back to
the ground. From outside, the away end looked the best stand out of them,
with a half-decent frontage. We entered the turnstile, wondering about the
pay-on-the-gate turnstile that was open to Everton fans? Bizarre that, seeing
as Everton had sold all their tickets...
Anyway, in we go, and after a visit to the portable loo, we enter the seating
area to be told by a steward not much older than Franny Jeffers
that you could sit where you like! Ridiculous, in this day and age... Anyway
we decided to sit in the seats actually allocated on our tickets.
In a moment of madness, caused mainly by the aforementioned seven pints of
Stella, it was like being at home, Z-Cars blasted the stereo system as the
teams ran out! The game itself was there for the taking, we all knew that,
and the singing from the pub found its way on to the terrace. The usual early
Everton goal came via Nick Barmby, latching onto The Don's pass, he tucked
a neat low shot into the far corner, get it you beauty.
Everton looked in control for the remainder of the first half, and when we
got the ball on the floor we looked three divisions higher than Watford.
Unfortunately for the loud, huge away following, we didn't do it often enough
and so entered the interval only two up after Hutch had scored a neat half-volley
from Campbell's pass.
The second half brought the inevitable attempted fight-back from Watford;
Ngonge managed to finish well to make it 2-1 but he should never have got
near it, with Dunne and Weir both closing him down. The ball should have
been cleared; it wasn't and a good turn and shot rippled the net. Once again,
no blame at the hands of Paul Gerrard who wasn't really troubled for the
Everton became nervous, giving possession away far too cheaply and this led
to Watford having the majority of possession. They couldn't however turn
the possession into decent chances and the closest they were to come for
the rest of the match was a free kick which was far away enough to be watched
over by Gerrard.
As we entered the final five minutes, Barmby started to see more and more
of the ball and was playing well down the right-hand side. He burst into
the box and was tripped before latching onto a pass. Alan Wilkie , this week's
inept referee waved play on but the Linesman's flag went across his
chest. Wilkie, to his credit, saw this and had enough faith in his linesman
to point to the spot.
Unsworth stepped up and, after a word in his ear from Don Hutchison, he slotted
the ball in, running off to the celebrating blues fans. A few jumped the
barrier and entered the pitch; stewards and police quickly moved in but not
before Hutch could run twenty yards, grab one of the invader's hats and lob
it full force into the traveling blues, much to the amusement of us
not so much to the arrested pitch invader.
With the game in effect over, Jingle bells rang out from the Evertonians
and the Watford fans headed for the exits. In the final minutes, Campbell
chased down a loose ball, which looked to have been kept in by Neil Cox but
the linesman (yes, the penalty-giving one) gave a corner, Cox had a word
with the linesman, who in turn spoke to Wilkie, who obliged and Cox walked.
So the three points secure, and we needed them, especially with Sunderland
next up, albeit at home. On looking back to the game, Watford have got a
few things that Everton could learn from: lids on the beers at half time
and hot dogs in crusty french bread. That however is it: Vicarage Road is
by no means a Premiership ground; Watford are a team of, at best, First Division
players the bald centre-back Page the exception to this.
Not to worry; by the end of the season, Watford will not be a Premiership
Visit Ste Daley's
Everton leave down-hearted Taylor in
need of tonic
Steve Curry, Electronic Telegraph
ABYSS beckons for Watford. Everton, no great shakes themselves, found a visit
to Vicarage Road therapeutic, as so many other Premiership sides have done
this season and, sad to say, Watford's chances of survival are now minimal.
Just two points from a possible 30 is no vehicle for top-flight status and
Graham Taylor, absent with flu, might feel inclined to prolong his stay in
bed once he sees the video. Despite being an absentee he left his mark in
his programme notes when he rounded on his players, sparing nobody, not least
himself. But then the fans deserve an explanation.
He suggested that the FA Cup defeat by Birmingham a week earlier had left
him feeling more down-hearted than he had been since he returned to the club.
"We will start winning again as soon as we get rid of all the excuses and
stop wallowing in self-pity," he wrote.
"Some of my players seem to have forgotten that whenever you point your finger
at someone there are usually three fingers pointing back at you. Everybody
has problems and what separates the winners from the losers is how you react
to them. We are underachieving and it is my job to give the lead as to how
we are going to alter that."
You cannot do much from your sick-bed and, in any event, Taylor's assistant,
Kenny Jackett, did his job in terms of making the team fight. However, the
fact is that Everton ended a run of nine games without a victory.
Manager Walter Smith said: "We did dictate matters for spells but never for
long enough. Maybe that is because we lack a bit of confidence. We have been
in a winning position in too many matches and not imposed our football."
That might apply to the team in general but for Don Hutchison and Nick Barmby
there was no shortage of class, the Scot dictating matters from midfield
to such an extent that he could have been wearing pips on his shoulder.
The goal Barmby scored after four minutes was a delight to see. He was instigator
and finisher with a superb run, receiving a return ball from Hutchison and
taking a yard in pace out of Paul Robinson before finishing well.
It was 20 minutes before Watford got a shot on goal and that was a weak one
from Charlie Miller. Everton fortified their position with a second goal
in the 38th minute. There was poor defending from first Steve Palmer, who
failed to prevent Kevin Campbell from pulling the ball back from the byline.
Hutchison then got across Robert Page to volley the ball home.
Game over, Watford have not scored three all season. They did pull one back
from Michel Ngonge, who shielded the ball well from the chasing Richard Dunne
before firing home powerfully. Any hope of parity was ended by a linesman,
who decided Mark Williams had fouled Barmby in the penalty area. David Unsworth
sent Alec Chamberlain the wrong way with his penalty.
The foul and abusive language subsequently used by Neil Cox against the linesman
earned him a red card and three-match ban. Hardly what Watford need.
Barmby sets the pace as Watford
by Kim Fletcher, The Sunday Times
POOR Watford. Out of the FA Cup before Christmas and now without a win in
the Premiership since September 18. After a stirring comeback against an
Everton side that showed why it has so frustrated its fans this season, they
had the stuffing knocked out of them when the visitors converted a late penalty
given after the referee's assistant had flagged for a foul. Alan Wilkie,
the referee, had missed it but that Watford must have thought as they
trudged off the pitch is what happens when you are at the bottom.
In truth, Watford never deserved to beat an Everton side arrogant and jittery
by turns, but the enthusiasm of their second-half performance, rewarded by
a fine goal from Michel Ngonge, who burst through the defence to blast the
ball into the roof of the net, had promised at least a point.
But Watford will have to start taking their chances. Yesterday they didn't,
with Everton goalkeeper Paul Gerrard twice saving well from Tommy Smith,
and Paul Robinson going close with a free kick from the edge of the area
after 82 minutes.
Four minutes later, Nick Barmby, who had set Everton off to a great start
in the fourth minute, tangled with Mark Williams in the box. Mr Wilkie waved
play on, but saw his assistant flagging and changed his mind. David Unsworth
scored with confidence and that was the end of Watford. The end of Neil Cox,
too, the Watford full-back being sent off a couple of minutes later for using
foul and abusive language to Mr Wilkie's linesman.
Watford must have doubted at first that the game would go that far, having
let Everton in so early and shown a first-half reluctance for the fray. With
the teams just finding their feet, Barmby played a neat one-two with Don
Hutchison and discovered himself running clean through a flat-footed Watford
defence. Everton hadn't won in the previous eight games, but he reacted coolly
and placed the ball inside Alec Chamberlain's right-hand post off the
goalkeeper's despairing arm.
Everton had the better of the half, looking slick and intelligent and threatening
to score more, though it wasn't until the 37th minute that Hutchison swooped
on a near-post cross from Kevin Campbell and, with the Watford defence standing
obligingly still, he rifled home.
Everton showed in patches the form of which a talented side is capable, but
proved that they are still prone to disaster in the face of a purposeful
assault. Their fans must wonder when their team will consistently perform
to the standard of which they are capable. As for Watford, they must be wondering
where help is coming from. The panto at the town's Palace Theatre is Robinson
Crusoe. The way things are going, it is Graham Taylor who is going to be
by Ronald Atkin, The Independent
A late David Unsworth penalty sealed a victory which brought to an end Everton's
sequence of eight games without a win. After a first-half of total domination,
Everton came close to being pegged back by a determined Watford, but this
latest setback pitches them into even deeper trouble. They have not won since
After 12 games without a victory, Watford came in for a blast from Graham
Taylor, their manager. Having admitted in the programme notes that last week's
home FA Cup defeat by Birmingham was "the lowest I have felt since returning
to the club", Taylor put the boot in.
Perhaps the manager expressed similar thoughts before sending out his team
yesterday but, if chastened, Watford could hardly be described as alert when
they leaked a goal after only five minutes. Nick Barmby, exchanging passes
with Don Hutchison, ran through a static defence and, though Alec Chamberlain
half parried the shot, he could not prevent it creeping in near the goalkeeper's
It took Watford 20 minutes to put together a decent attack, one which carried
the ball the width of the field and culminated in a Charlie Miller drive
which Paul Gerrard held comfortably. Suitably inspired, Watford came again,
but Michel Ngonge miscued his header from Paul Robinson's inviting cross.
Soon enough, however, Everton resumed a control that bordered on the
contemptuous, with John Collins masterful in midfield and Hutchison winning
everything in the air as he pushed forward to partner Kevin Campbell.
Watford had a stroke of luck when Mark Williams miskicked an Alex Cleland
centre, but the loose ball did not bounce kindly for Everton in the subsequent
mêlée. Then Mark Pembridge and Campbell combined to offer Barmby
another sight of goal, but a flick with the outside of his boot landed on
the roof of the net.
Watford's respite was brief. After 38 minutes, a punt into the penalty area
by Richard Dunne reached Campbell, who touched it back for Hutchison to earn
reward for a fine first-half display by scoring easily. Right on the interval,
it could have been 3-0 as Collins and Barmby linked to send Campbell through,
but Chamberlain's fine deflecting save averted further misfortune for Watford.
Watford resumed in altogether livelier fashion and, when a corner from the
right skidded off Ngonge's head to the feet of Tommy Smith, he wasted a good
chance by shooting straight at Gerrard. The goalkeeper made a hash of the
clearance and Smith raced in on goal again but, with the unmarked Ngonge
screaming for a pass, Smith elected to shoot, once again straight at Gerrard.
Home hopes were raised as Gerrard was penalised inside his area, but the
free kick was repelled by a mass of blue shirts. With an hour gone, however,
Watford's determination was rewarded. Micah Hyde threaded a fine pass through
the heart of Everton's defence and Ngonge, holding off Dunne's challenge,
left Gerrard helpless. It was the Watford top scorer's fifth goal of the
As Everton came under pressure, manager Walter Smith soon replaced Dunne
with the experienced defender Dave Watson, soon after referee Alan Wilkie
cracked down on mounting nastiness by booking Everton's Campbell and Watford's
Johnson and Robinson. Though Everton had gone off the boil, Chamberlain had
to sprawl to turn away a Barmby left-footer, while, at the other end, Gerrard
did equally well to clutch Steve Palmer's half-volley from outside the area
as he fell to his left.
Twice more, Watford came close through Johnson, only for their hopes to be
dashed five minutes from the end. Williams blocked Barmby and, though the
referee saw nothing untoward about the tackle, a linesman flagged for a penalty.
Mr Wilkie confirmed the award after a chat with his colleague and Unsworth
struck a low left-foot shot inside Chamberlain's left-hand upright. When
a couple of ecstatic Mersey fans had been wrestled off the field of play,
there was just time for Gerrard to go into the referee's book for dawdling
and then, sensationally, Neil Cox to be shown a red card, apparently for
something he said.
Taylor in need of rapid
by Russell Kempson, The Times
ON SATURDAY evening, the Watford players, officials, spouses and a select
group of supporters gathered at one of the town's nightspots. It was an
£85-a-head, black-tie affair, a convivial get-together to mark the festive
season and a memorable year in which the club had risen to great heights.
Fabba, the tribute band, sang nostalgically and a good time was had by all.
The Coliseum was an appropriately named venue. Hours earlier, at Vicarage
Road, Watford had done battle with Everton and did not survive. They were
teased gently, toyed with, allowed a brief respite and then dispatched with
a clean blow. As the Watford fans streamed to the exits, away from the gloomy
amphitheatre, they muttered their disapproval. Thumbs down for the bloodied
It is easy to sympathise with players and punters. They knew life was going
to be difficult in the racier environment of the FA Carling Premiership;
they knew it would not take long before wide-eyed optimism was replaced by
grim reality. But now that it has happened, defeat after demoralising defeat
is hard to stomach.
Even Graham Taylor, the Watford manager, sees the signs. "We will start winning
again as soon as we get rid of all the excuses and stop wallowing in self-pity,"
he wrote in his match programme notes. "Some of my players seem to have forgotten
that whenever you point your finger at someone, there are usually three fingers
pointing back at you. Everybody has problems and what separates the winners
from the losers is how they react to them."
Taylor was absent on Saturday with a heavy cold. Had he attended, shivering
and snuffling as the temperature plummeted, his physical and mental health
would have only deteriorated. "The spirit is still good," Kenny Jackett,
Taylor's first-team coach, said. "Southampton were in the bottom three all
of last season but got out of it at the death. If that's what it takes, then
we'll do it. We're not just going to lie down."
Southampton had Kachloul, Pahars, Hughes, Le Tissier; Watford, lamentably,
do not have such instant game-turners. Yet it is in defence that Watford
are hurting most. In the opening nine games of the season, they conceded
nine goals. In the nine since, they have conceded 27. Everton scored twice
in the first half, Barmby brushing off Robinson to beat Chamberlain and Hutchison
guiding the second in at the near post.
Watford replied when Ngonge barged past Unsworth and Dunne to reduce the
gap. The home fans sang the theme tune from The Great Escape but their hopes
proved premature. With five minutes left, Williams and Barmby collided in
the area, Alan Wilkie, the referee, heeded the advice of Andrew Butler, his
assistant, and Unsworth popped in the penalty.
In the last minute, Cox was sent off for verbally abusing Butler over the
spot-kick decision. "I've been in and apologised," Cox said. "I was frustrated."
Happy Christmas? Bah, humbug.
Times Newspapers Ltd