MONDAY 20TH AUGUST, 2001
FA BARCLAYCARD PREMIERSHIP
EVERTON 1 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (1)
Ferguson (pen) 63
Referee:- David Elleray
Everton (4-4-2):- Gerrard; Watson (sub Moore, 72), Weir, Stubbs, Pistone; Alexandersson (sub Tal, 87), Gemmill, Gravesen (sub Unsworth, 42), Pembridge; Ferguson, Campbell (Capt)
Subs not used:- Simonsen (GK); Chadwick
Booked:- Pistone, Ferguson, Weir
Spurs (3-4-2-1):- Sullivan; Doherty, King, Bunjevcevic; Taricco, Freund (sub Clemence, 75), Anderton, Ziege; Poyet, Sheringham (Capt); Iversen
Subs not used:- Keller; Perry, Thelwell; Davies
Sent off:- Doherty, 62 (Professional foul?), Poyet, 65 (Violent conduct?)NB:- Gary Doherty's red card was expunged by the FA on 28.8.01 after David Elleray reviewed his decision.
Booked:- Sheringham, Ziege
Everton fans had been screaming for referee David Elleray's head long before he really upset them by allowing Darren Anderton's goal just before half-time, when Steffen Iversen strayed offside during the build-up, and then within a minute the home side had a seemingly good goal by Alexandersson disallowed, possibly for a push by Kevin Campbell. In the toffees' eyes everything was going against them, but surely it was Spurs who could feel most aggrieved when Mr Elleray sent off Gary Doherty and Gus Poyet within minutes of each other in doubtful circumstances?
Everton fans shut up, not only because the ref had suddenly turned things in their favour, but then because Tottenham's nine-man army (plus a very vocal and supportive Spurs crowd) rallied and defended marvellously to repel the threat for the last half hour. My, Spurs even managed a couple of genuine threats in attack after this massive set-back. It was a marvellous result, and, in my view the turn of events will do more for team spirit, than a 3-0 victory, such was the feeling of unity in adversity.
Spurs had an early threat, when Gus Poyet fed Taricco, whose cross was dropped by Gerrard, only for Teddy Sheringham to be thwarted as he tried to capitalise. However, Spurs attacks became sporadic, and the pressure mounted against them, as the Everton wing-men were allowed too much room, and Ferguson and Campbell put the defence under pressure. Hoddle seemed to start with 4 at the back, with Ziege allowed to stay forward, and Bunjevcevic working on the left, whilst Ledley King and Doherty took the defensive duties in the middle. Alexandersson, in particular made use of the space allowed to him.
Darren Anderton was left trailing by Scott Gemmill after 7 minutes, but the midfielder's long range effort was cosy for Neil Sullivan. Iversen did have some good scoring opportunities - the first given to him by a threaded ball by Poyet after 13 minutes, then later from a chipped ball from Teddy Sheringham. From right and left respectively, Iversen shot wide across the goalie. Sullivan was being tested regularly at the other end, and had to stretch to reach a Ferguson header from a free kick on the right.
The pressure mounted on the Tottenham goal with a number of corners. The impressive Alexandersson hit the underside of the bar from 20 yards, and Darren Anderton was on hand soon after with a goalmouth clearance, as Kevin Campbell blocked one of his own men's shots. Pistone got booked whilst on the floor for a clash with Iversen, and Anderton and Sheringham tried "the old corner routine" from the free kick, failing dismally. Spurs were trying their tricks in the first half, and too often failing against the passion of the home side closing them down. Once again, there were times when Ziege looked lazy.
Today's press is full of quotes about Elleray missing the worst challenge of the night, by Taricco against Gravesen, but from my position (admittedly on the opposite side of the ground), it didn't look a red card offence. The influential Gravesen could however, take no more part in the game. Then came the Anderton goal. He ran through the middle and advanced on goal, with assistance from Sheringham and Iversen, finishing off from within the 6 yard box for his first goal since February. Mr Elleray needed protection after that disallowed goal, at the interval.
Spurs started brightly, and played their quick, short passing play in a build-up that ended with Taricco crossing from the right to the back post, and Iversen failing to get a decent contact on the ball. There were also chances for Poyet and Sheringham, before the furore. Gary Doherty chased Campbell in the area as the Everton skipper twisted and turned. Glenn Hoddle later described Doherty's challenge as an excellent tackle, and in my view, whilst it may have been a penalty, there was no way that a red card was deserved. Mr Elleray's decision can only be based on the "last man rule", but Campbell was at a fairly sharp angle to goal, and there were others in the area. Ferguson made no mistake from the spot, and Spurs were dismayed by Poyet's sending-off within 3 minutes. This was a late challenge upon Watson, but surely not "violent conduct" which must have been the decision. Hoddle will appeal both decisions, but otherwise Doherty will miss one, and Poyet three games after this Saturday's clash at Ewood Park.
That last half-hour was a fantastic backs to the wall battle. In these circumstances, Ziege showed that he could defend, and that he could carry the ball well out of trouble, even laying on one or two good opportunities. Bunjevcevic and King were ever so strong in the middle. Clemence replaced Steffen Freund, and Teddy Sheringham marshalled his troops tremendously. On the whole Everton were restricted to 20-25 yard shooting attempts, their best chance coming from a counter attack as Unsworth crossed to Ferguson, who headed to Campbell, who turned and fired at Neil Sullivan.
We saved it till the end to sing "We only had nine men", and Teddy brought the team over to acknowledge the terrific support and recognition they had. It was mutual respect, and I am heartily glad to have witnessed this heroic ending in person, rather than in front of the Sky TV.
· Brian Judson's Preview for this game can still be read here
· Declan Mulcahy's Last Five Stats for this game can still be read here
· Check the current team appearances, cards and scorers in all competitions
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