FA PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 29TH AUGUST, 1998
EVERTON 0 (0) - SPURS 1 (1)
Referee:- Peter JONES
Everton:- Myhre; Cleland (sub Spencer, 75), Ball, Dacourt, Unsworth, Collins, Barmby (sub Hutchison, 75 ), Ferguson, Short, Materazzi, Cadamarteri. ( NB FORMATION NOT CONFIRMED )
Subs not used:- Gerrard (GK); Watson,Tiler
Spurs:- Baardsen; Carr, Vega, Campbell, Tramezzani; Fox, Anderton, Calderwood, Nielsen; Ginola, Ferdinand (sub Armstrong, 72 )
Subs not used:- Walker (GK); Wilson, Clemence, Allen
Bookings:- Everton:- Cleland, Ball
Spurs;- Vega, Anderton, Ginola, Ferdinand, Carr
Christian Gross went through every emotion in a cavorting, dancing touchline performance as his crisis club won their first match of the season against hapless Everton at Goodison. He had to thank an early goal from Les Ferdinand - another man with something to prove - for the crucial Premiership victory.
Whether it will be enough to save Gross's job is anyone's guess - but with Jurgen Klinsmann's name again being mentioned as a likely replacement you must fear for the Swiss coach.
But Spurs' display flew in the face of the theory that the players had no heart and that their team spirit had disintegrated. Whether they did it for Gross or their own professional pride is equally anyone's guess - but every man fought until he dropped.
Gross paced the touchline, urging, demanding, and spent the last 15 minutes on his haunches just feet from the pitch as near to open prayer as you are likely to get. At the final whistle he punched the air, embraced coach Chris Hughton and strode away from the arena. If he is to go in the next few days, he will do it with his head held high. He was determined to achieve at least that.
Spurs had five men booked and Everton two in a display of commitment that left the Goodison Park side in bitter frustration. Everton, through Duncan Ferguson, had produced a stream of glittering second-half efforts but failed to force the equaliser.
The critical goal came after five minutes when Ferdinand rose to power home a header. It was his clear answer to England coach Glenn Hoddle, who had dropped him earlier in the week from the squad to play Sweden next Saturday, pointedly saying the big striker needed form and goals to win his place back.
You would not have thought Spurs were in a crisis from the way they battled. Gross dropped Ian Walker and Chris Armstrong, and the north Londoners dominated long spells of the first half. Even before the Spurs goal, Everton had had plenty of warning. A David Ginola run ended with Allan Nielsen's cross and a Ferdinand header that Thomas Myhre held.
Spurs' next attack produced a Darren Anderton cross that saw Alex Cleland clear under intense pressure on the far post from Nielsen. But from that corner, fired in by Ginola, Ferdinand climbed above not only Ferguson but three towering defenders to plant a firm downward header that gave Myhre no chance.
Everton pulled themselves together after the shock, and the excellent Olivier Dacourt was at the heart of everything, producing a 35-yarder that whistled over the bar. After 13 minutes Ramon Vega was booked for cutting down Danny Cadamarteri as the little striker skipped away from him in the centre circle.
After 14 minutes Cadamarteri had a great chance to equalise when he pounced on a blocked shot from Dacourt that fell invitingly for him just 12 yards out. His shot was instant and fierce, but goalkeeper Espen Baardsen beat the ball away with a brilliant reflex save.
Ferdinand thought he should have had a penalty - and he had good cause to complain - after 24 minutes when he beat Craig Short to the ball, pushed it away from the big defender and was clearly shoved by the Everton man in the box. Referee Peter Jones was only 15 yards away and amazingly waved play on.
Spurs almost snatched another goal after 26 minutes when Ferdinand fed Ruel Fox out on the right, and the winger's pass put full-back Stephen Carr clear in the box. Only an excellent save at his feet by Myhre saved Everton.
After 28 minutes Cleland, hopelessly beaten for pace and guile by Paolo Tramezzani, stuck out a leg to trip the full-back and was cautioned. Baardsen justified his inclusion with a stunning fingertip save after 32 minutes to turn over a fierce Dacourt free kick, awarded after Vega had clattered into the back of Ferguson.
Ginola got himself booked for a trip on Dacourt after 41 minutes, having got away with a blatant dive on the edge of the box minutes earlier that enraged the Everton crowd.
The Frenchman's diving antics continued to go unpunished in a private war with John Collins and Dacourt in midfield.
Ferdinand was booked for a foul on Collins early in the second half, but then an amazing show of anger and frustration from Ginola stole centre stage. He raced down the left, cut inside and left David Unsworth - on his second Everton debut - trailing in his wake. The big defender stuck out a leg, and Ginola went flying. It looked a clear penalty but again was not given.
Everton powered forward in the later stages, and Ferguson had one effort disallowed for offside, despite angry protests, and then forced Baardsen into two acrobatic saves to keep out towering headers from crosses by Cadamarteri and Michael Ball.
Substitute John Spencer had a shot hacked off the line by Sol Campbell after 81 minutes, and in keeping with referee Jones' policy seemingly not to give penalties the Loughborough official waved away protests after Italian defender Marco Materazzi was sent crashing in the box by Darren Anderton with just eight minutes left.
(REPORT PROVIDED BY SPURS CHANNEL)
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