Everton v Bradford City

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FA Challenge Cup 96/97 - 4th Round
Saturday 25 January 1997
Goodison Park, Merseyside


Result: Everton (0) 2 - Bradford City (0) 3
Scorers:
O'Brien(og:54), Speed(91); Dreyer(49), Waddle(51), Steiner(59).

Everton: Southall; Barrett, Watson, Short, Phelan (58 Grant); Kanchelskis, Parkinson, Stuart, Speed; Barmby, Ferguson.
Booked: Stuart, Speed.
Subs Not Used: Gerrard, Unsworth. Unavailable: Hinchcliffe (injured), Thomsen (cup-tied).

Bradford City: Schwarzer, Sas, Jacobs, Dreyer, Mohan, O'Brien, Waddle, Duxbury, Steiner, Kiwomya (Stallard 46), Hamilton (Liburd 46).
Subs Not Used: Pinto.  Booked: Steiner.

Ref: Mike Reed Att: 30,007 3rd Rnd: Swindon Town  4th Rnd Results

Previous Match: Arsenal v Everton -- Next Match: Newcastle United v Everton


Match Summary

SoccerNet (Tony Lanigan, Mail on Sunday): Chris Waddle proved that class is everlasting as he steered Bradford to the finest moment in their recent history.  The legs and lungs may find it heavy going but, at 36, Waddle's football brain is still fast and fertile and he destroyed Everton in a dramatic fourth-round tie.

Waddle whipped in a 25-yard free-kick that rattled post and crossbar in the first half but that was just a warning. The second half was only four minutes old when he worked the ball down the right and Everton's defence failed to clear his cross. It fell to John Dreyer who volleyed a fine goal from the edge of the box.

Then came the moment of magic that shook Goodison Park to its foundations. Andrei Kanchelskis inexplicably gave the ball straight to Waddle 45 yards out. The old warrior sensed Neville Southall was off his line and hooked a high lob over the goalkeeper and into the empty net.

Everton pulled one back three minutes later with a messy own-goal by defender Andrew O'Brien but their hopes of saving the tie were diminished soon after. Waddle again got possession and when the defence failed to close him down, he directed a precision pass into the path of Robert Steiner who raced through to beat Southall clinically.

Everton gave everything to try to save the match with an all-out assault on Bradford's goal. Numerous chances came their way, mostly to Duncan Ferguson but he failed to convert any. He directed three headers wide of the target that he would normally have buried but his greatest error came in the 63rd minute when Nick Barmby put over an inviting low cross which he sidefooted wide from six yards.

Everton's non-stop attacking eventually brought a goal at the death from Gary Speed but it was too late to prevent their humiliation.

After an early exit from the Coca-Cola Cup to York and five Premiership defeats in succession this setback must pile the pressure on manager Joe Royle who had no excuses for this performance. He put out virtually his best team but they were not good enough to overcome an average Second Division side that had more heart, more determination -- and Chris Waddle.


Here Comes that Boot again

Guy McEvoy: Loving Everton can be like loving a particularly beautiful woman. She gives you magic moments, makes you feel special, your mind is constantly filled with warm thoughts of her, you would do absolutely anything and go absolutely anywhere for her. She is perfect. Well, almost perfect. The sheer perfection is ruined by one small but significant detail:

She repeatedly kicks you in the bollocks!

As kicks in the bollocks go, this was another thumper. Bradford City are a side struggling at the wrong end of the First Division. For a fourth round tie, given the home advantage, this was probably as good as draw we could have hoped for.

The home advantage though, was diminished by the fact that the visitors seemed to drag along each and every last one of their fans. Two thirds of the Bullens Road End echoed to the strains of "Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Yorkshire", a chant which brought back disturbing memories of some other minnow cup visitors earlier this season.

First Half

Nevertheless, we started with hope. Joe Parkinson made a very welcome return from his prolonged absence, Unsworth quite rightly got the kick up the backside he needed after Arsenal and so Short started at the back. The game kicked off and at first all seemed well. Probing, controlled pressure led to a couple of half chances. With Bradford seeming to have their backs to the wall a bit, you got the impression that it was just going to be a simple case of attrition and that the breakthrough would surely soon come.

Then that niggling doubt just started to creep in again, it first happened when Waddle broke free right down the middle in acres of space (Watson? Pieman? Short?) and laid it off to the man on his left also in acres of space (Barrett?) who fortunately spooned it over. Doubts were reinforced when Waddle cracked a free kick against the bar.

For all our so-so inventiveness in the first half we were only rewarded with two decent chances. The first fell to Stuart who did all the hard work in chesting and turning on a hard low cross from Speed but then sent the easy 8-yard volley he'd set up for himself well over the bar. The second came from a marvellous 30-yard pass from non other than Terry Phelan (after he had kippered a defender) which was headed magnificently by Ferguson forcing the very best from the first division keeper.

Thus the feeling at half time was that we had marginally the better of the play but in fairness they had picked up the clearer of the chances. With the score-line at 0-0, in truth, no one (myself included) was all that worried (do I never learn?).

Second Half

Whatever inspiring words Royle managed at half-time they again served to spur us on to a mini collapse. I thought the first was a bit dodgy, there seemed to be a hint of hand ball when their man controlled the ball just inside the box, his turn and pass was met by a fine clean enough volley though and with the 'infringement' having happened on the referee's blind-side all the moaning in the world from the main stand side of the Park End (where I again found myself lumbered, this time sat next to a man on two seats, one for him and one for his smell) wasn't going to change the fact we were one behind.

Seemingly moments later, Kanchelskis picked up the ball just inside our half, he calmly started to dribble backwards looking left and right but our defence was pushed up in front of him, he will then have felt someone breathing down his neck, Nev chased forward to get the simple backpass, Andrei foolishly tried to turn his man, didn't get away with it, the ball was laid off to Waddle who had already clocked that Southall was (correctly) off his line. His first touch, millimetre perfect 35 yard chip was as quality a goal as has graced Goodison for some seasons. The Bradford fans were unsurprisingly sent into utter delirium. A sporting fan would perhaps sit there and applaud this outstanding display of instinctive talent from a veteran. Me? Like most around me, I was on my feet bursting a blood vessel with a decibel-meter busting torrent of four letter words.

With the situation now hopeless and beyond rescue Everton did manage their now traditional futile bright spell. With the crowd suddenly finding it's voice Everton started to play like they meant it. Again though, possessional superiority means nothing if you can't find the goal and, err, we couldn't find the goal. One Bradford player did take a little pity on our noticeable problem and helpfully demonstrated to the rest of our forwards what to do with a Dunc flick on to the box by slotting it past his own keeper.

When you push forward you are always vulnerable to the quick counter, and so the slight glimmer of hope just restored was crushed when a fine ball (probably from Waddle) sent their forward racing clear of Dave Watson and with only Southall to beat, and showing no nerves whatsoever slipped in a cool finish. Goodnight.

The final 25 minutes were a comedy of attacking errors. Ferguson and Watson both missed clear cut sitters, Ferguson after being set up by Barmby, Watson from a loose ball. Bradford were content with running the ball in the direction of corners, hoofing into orbit, and picking up injuries that miraculously healed once sufficient time had been gobbled up.

Under normal circumstances, we would have hailed our last-minute consolation as a goal of the season, a 30-yard strike from an acute angle by Gary Speed. Still, given the result we shouldn't flatter anyone, I think we can all be honest and say that it was a flukey cross that only served to give an unreflective scoreline.

After the whistle Everton were quite rightly booed off the field, and Bradford who understandably lingered on the pitch longer were also rightly loudly applauded by both sets of fans as they left.

There is little worse feeling than that of departing a cup after a lesson in passion from a lower division team but it is a feeling I'm getting depressingly used to. The knot in the stomach, the aggressive anger, the suppression of a tear.

What went wrong today? Again, no-one can quite be singled out as abysmal, but the sum of many individually poor performances coupled with an imagination-starved game plan was that the performance of the team as a collective must be ranked as dire.

Full respect to Chris Waddle for showing what the term 'class' really means and full respect to the Bradford supporters for contributing to their teams success.

End of our season? Nah, we've got this relegation dog fight to look forward too yet. This begins with me taking a Geordie girl with me to see Newcastle win on Wednesday. I can hardly wait.

I'll no doubt get another kick in the bollocks then too...........

Individual Performances

Guy McEvoy -- Just Gutted.


Passing Game passes us by

Richard Marland: With almost horrible inevitability, Bradford were added to the litany of lower division clubs who have turned us over in cup competitions in recent years. For the second season in succession we have been knocked out of both cup competitions by lower league opposition. All this in a season in which we were supposed to be in contention for the league, what a laugh that notion now seems.

Let's get the nitty gritty of the game out of the way. As expected Short came in for the hapless Unsworth at centre half and Parkinson returned for the cup-tied Claus Thomsen. A late injury scare and talk of him being sacrificed for the sake of tactics proved unfounded as Andrei took his place.

First Half

The first half passed without too much trauma, there were portents of what was to come as Chris Waddle was given an obscene amount of space to weave his magic and we were, on occasion, made to look extremely uncomfortable at the back.

There were a few bright moments up front Dunc had a towering header tipped over and there were a few other half chances. But the overriding impression of the first half was of disappointment at the lack of football being played by the blues, passing movements involving more than three passes were a distinct rarity.

Generally speaking half-time is used to put things right, to give the team a good bollocking, tell them to knuckle down and play some football. I don't know what happens in our dressing room but, for the second time in a week, we came out for the second half and promptly handed the game to the opposition.

Second Half

Straight from the kick off Bradford put together a seven or eight touch passing movement, this was embarrassing on two counts:

  1. the ease with which we allowed them to achieve it, and
  2. the reminder that it was much more than we had managed to achieve in the match.

After a brief spell of Bradford pressure, and to no-ones great surprise, Bradford took the lead. Worse was soon to follow as they increased their lead. From our corner the ball was cleared and Andrei ended up as the last man clearing up the danger (don't ask me how this came to be as I don't know), Andrei, remembering that he is a footballer, tried to play his way out of trouble rather than pass it back to Nev, Unfortunately support for Andrei was desperately slow in getting to him and he was caught in possession, the ball fell to Chris Waddle and he chipped Nev from 40 yards. To be fair to Nev he was probably offering himself as a passback option to Andrei.

Within a few minutes of this we were suddenly back in the match as Dunc caused some consternation in the Bradford defence which resulted in an own goal. The crowd came to life and we had our best spell of the game as we pressed for the equaliser.

At this stage I really thought that we could do it, the players had a real sense of urgency, Bradford were reeling and the crowd was, for once, in full voice.

The optimism was short lived as Bradford caught us on the break to make it 3-1. Despite there being plenty of time left we never really looked like clawing two goals back. We did have the chances, Dunc being particularly culpable in the misses department, but no-one had the feeling that we could do it.

There was a brief flurry of excitement as Gary Speed scored in injury time, from somewhere near the corner flag he swung in a ball that arced over the keeper into the far corner, it was either genius or fluke, you don't really need to ask which it was. For a while the crowd was roused as we searched for an unlikely and undeserved equaliser but it wasn't to be.

The few that were still left booed our lot off and warmly applauded the Bradford team. They had deserved their win, they had worked hard, they played football and, unusually for a lower division side they hadn't resorted to kicking us.

Post Mortem

After a performance as abject as this people will probably be looking for scapegoats. The man behind me seemed to be blaming Earl Barrett for all our problems, Earl had a poor game but that isn't the issue, this was a collective failing.

Other people will talk about our buying policy, that we haven't bought enough world class players, but again that isn't the issue. The players we had out today are more than capable of beating the Bradford City's of this world, in fact they are capable of being a top eight team in the Premiership. The problem is that they are falling way short of that potential.

It is this issue which worries me the most, how can a team containing the likes of international class players like Southall, Ferguson, Barmby and Kanchelskis alongside good Premiership players like Joe Parkinson and Dave Watson put in a performance as abject as today's?

Even an untrained observer such as myself could see so much that was going wrong on the pitch. The passing skills demonstrated by the team were quite simply atrocious. Time and again we were unable to pass our way out of trouble at the back, time and again we had to use Nev as the get out option or the hoof towards Dunc.

On several occasions I saw Earl Barrett offer himself for Nev to pass or throw to him, Nev didn't take this option once, he probably thought "What's the point? They'll only play themselves into trouble and pass it back to me again".

The players were very slow in offering themselves as support to the man in possession, frequently as we were trying to build movements down the flanks through Speed and Kanchelskis the supporting full back was hanging back by 20 or 30 yards.

Crosses were frequently launched at Dunc from just inside their half, this despite there often being space for the player to move forward into. In the latter stages as we were desperately chasing the game we put Craig Short up front, this despite having already resorted to a back three by removing Phelan for Grant.

To be fair to Short he got himself in a few decent positions before being let down by his lack of skill. On one of these occasions I looked up and saw Tony Grant, a man with the skill to do something in those kind of positions, stood all alone at left back. It's hard to do justice to just how wretched a team performance this was.

Up until now I have, for the most part, been solidly behind Joe Royle. Now, for the first time, I find myself seriously doubting Joe Royle and Willie Donachie. We keep on hearing from the blue camp about the excellent team spirit and about how they train to play the passing game. Neither of these were on view today, and haven't been for sometime...

In fact, the idea of Everton as a passing team has only ever been evident on a handful of occasions. These failings ultimately fall at Joe Royle's doorstep, he is now under serious pressure and a loyal crowd is starting to turn against him, he is now fighting for his future at Everton Football Club.

Players

Team 3 Quite possibly the worst, most inept team performance I have ever seen from the Blues.


Progress (n), to advance towards perfection

Robbie Newton: Today started off OK, so I knew it was ultimately going to turn out quite bad. How wrong I was. It turned out to be very, very, very poor, sad, embarrassing and utterly humiliating.

It's time for Joe Royle to go. This is not just my opinion, but also the opinion of 87.5% of Radio Merseyside listeners, calling in to raise their voices over a situation which has gone behind a crisis and developed into an absolute disaster.

And yet, had Everton taken their chances, this could have been a satisfactory day and the crisis could have been somewhat halted, albeit just a tad.

But let's not start thinking today was a game Everton deserved to win. Bradford should have won by a mile -- indeed, 3-2 flattered us.

Joe Royle's after-match comments were again spot-on, but it takes more than a few harsh words to be forgiven for his third abysmal cup result (out of five) against struggling lower-division teams.

First Half

The match started with a bright and breezy tempo. Everton, unbelievable as it may seem, were almost at full strength with Parkinson and Short returning to tighten up the defence.

It soon became apparent that Bradford -- who hadn't won an away game all season -- were going to cause us more problems than we would them. Their forward line which cost about one twentieth of ours was actually causing our defenders a lot of grief.

And guess what? Everton's only threat came from corners and crosses. Everything was in the air. It's a sad situation when Bradford City FC have more players comfortable on the ball than Everton FC. But that's the simple and embarrassing truth. Gary Speed was taunted by the visiting fans when they sung "Gary Speed, Gary Speed, Gary Gary Speed, he gets the ball and does f*ck all, Gary Gary Speed". We found it hard to disagree.

It was a lack-lustre first-half performance from Everton, and we were lucky to go in goalless. Our only note-worthy effort on goal came from the head of Duncan Ferguson, which produced an outstanding save from the Bradford keeper.

It was surprising therefore, that there wasn't too much dissatisfaction from the Everton fans - or if there was, it was not heard, perhaps because the Bradford fans were making loads of noise clapping.

Second Half

The second half started, not for the first time, with the opposing team looking the livelier and the more determined to win. It was no surprise that they took the lead in the 49th minute. Two men tried to pick up Waddle on our left, and when the cross came in Short and Watson stood and watched while a player in the most vulgar kit I've ever seen volleyed home.

As if that wasn't a disgrace, just over a minute later it was 2-0, and fans all around the country were again laughing their heads off at Everton. Andrei Kanchelskis, for some reason in the position of sweeper and under pressure from a Bradford forward decided to do his own version of "See how many times you can give the ball away" and pushed the ball into space where Chris Waddle ran onto it and lobbed Southall first-time from almost forty yards. True, Kanchelskis isn't a defender and shouldn't have been the last man, but it's also true that good players shouldn't give the ball away like that. It was terrible. As soon as the ball left Waddle's foot, we all knew it was in: "It's two!!!" was the cry (literally) of 24,000 Evertonians, and immediately the ball nestled in the net the boos rang our loud around Goodison.

It was only know, at 2-0 down, once again, that Everton started to show a bit of urgency. A goal was pulled back on 58 minutes. But even that was farcical. How it went in is beyond me. All I can remember is three Bradford defenders refusing to take responsibility (or "doing an Everton") and the ball squirming past a bemused keeper, hitting the post and trickling over the line.

For the next five minutes Everton rallied but failed to produce. Duncan had a few good chances, but his headers went straight at the keeper.

With Everton being unable to stick chances aplenty away, Bradford took the piss out of us. They went straight up the other end and scored their 3rd. This was absolutely disgraceful and no mistake.

The final twenty minutes were laughable. Watching an expensively assembled Everton side struggle against a cheaply assembled Bradford side is about as depressing as it gets. Dave Watson missed a sitter when it was easier to score, while Kanchelskis, Parkinson and Barrett couldn't even keep their footing under a bit of pressure.

We got a goal back in the 90th minute. But even that was a complete fluke. Speed tried to get a cross in and it was so close to the keeper than it went in off the post. This still didn't appease anything -- in fact it made the score look a bit more respectable which was not necessarily such a good thing.

Kanchelskis had been poor. He didn't get much service, but when he did, he did nothing. Cut inside. Cut inside. Cut inside. Every single time. It was such a poor performance that HE WAS BOOED by the Gwladys Street every time he got the ball towards the end. It's time he got his bike out from the shed and rode it out of Liverpool and into Italy without stopping. If anyone from Italy wants him (at this point I'd like to say that Fiorentina now want David Rocastle instead of Kanchelskis -- shows how good their scouts are) then they are welcome to him. It'd be a great sale if we recouped what we paid.

Needless to say, the prideless blue boys were jeered off the park. Not one of them out there could claim that they had earned their money. Not even Parkinson who was probably our "best" - if that's the right word - player.

Aftermath

Someone who phoned in to Radio Merseyside said that we aren't even good enough to be in the Premiership. Whilst I think that is just a little OTT, I wouldn't be surprised if we were relegated at the end of the season if we carry on playing as we are.

Joe Royle's transfer dealings are atrocious - and people are starting to realise it. We're buying other teams has-beens and cast offs which is just not good enough. First there was Short -- over-priced at 3 million. Since then, Hottiger, Kanchelskis, Phelan, Thomsen, Barrett and Barmby have arrived - and not one of them was a regular at their previous clubs:

Yes, Juninho is good, but at the end of the day, we shouldn't have to settle for Boro's second best. Remember, nothing BUT the best. Reference to "Harrods" (in JR's first progamme notes he said he'd now be able to shop there in terms of buying players) and a few of the above signings is just a pure insult to Harrods and Evertonians.

Philip McNulty said "They're Just Not Good Enough." Absolutely bang on. His article was forthright and truthful -- it's about time somebody tried to get the message across to JR that Everton expect more than a top-ten finish. He seems happy to do everything the same as he did at Oldham. Let him go, PJ, before it's too late.

Player Ratings

Some of you may think that I'm being too critical, but I've spent 19 pounds on Everton today - 7 quid to get in, 12 quid for a coach-ticket to Newcastle, 1.70 on a programme and 1.00 on WSAG (which includes a great interview with Dave Prentice), so I think I deserve the right to have a go at Joe Royle and the players -- and not forgetting Willie Donnachie of course. I've been robbed today. I've still not had tea cos I've lost my appetite and, needless to say, I CAN wait till Monday morning in College.

Hands up those who want a return to the Mike Walker days when we at least tried to play football and signed some good players (Parkinson, Ferguson, Samways -- a good player in a side who plays FOOTBALL -- even Amo is looking cheap at 3 million compared to some of JR's forward signings ...)? Things WERE on the turn under Mike Walker, but JR took all the credit for Everton's escape from relegation. Thanks, MW.


True Colours

David Taylor: I've found out that my Irish mother-in-law has a sister in Prescott, and as she's over at the moment I suggested that we travel up from "darn sarf" to pay her a visit -- pure coincidence that we were at home to Bradford in the cup.

It wasn't until I settled down to my seat in the main stand, around the same area for the Sunderland game, that I began to get that feeling of deja-vous. I looked across to the massed Bradford fans who had every intention of enjoying their day out against the big boys. They were singing already, not disimilar to the support seen against Sunderland, and also Villa earlier in the season.

The only other home game I've made this season was Southampton, so as you can see I now make a connection between the volume of the away support and our chances of a result. Within 10 minutes of the start, the chap in front of me was cursing the defence of being "f***ing useless". Whatever happened to getting behind the boys in blue?

Bradford's No 4 had two chances in the first half when he should have got shots on target, and the No 9 had a good effort saved by Nev, and along with Waddle's free kick that hit the bar, the 1st division team started well.

But in all honesty Everton looked stronger the more the half went on, Stuart, Kanchelskis and particularly Ferguson all had good efforts on Goal: 0 - 0 at half time.

Second half started, and when a poor cross was controlled by a Bradford players arm (yes, he did, I checked the slow motion on the video yesterday morning), the No.4 who couldn't hit a barn door in the first half neatly volleyed over Nev.

Still no vocal encouragment from the 3 Everton sides of the ground. Minutes later, Kanchelskis picked the ball up in the right back position, and began dribbling across our back line. As the last line of defence, most players would look to knock the simple ball back to Nev for a big hoof up-field -- indeed, Nev came looking for it -- but that simple back pass never came.

Kanchelskis dribbled the ball up his own arse, so much so that he fell under a challenge, knocked the ball a couple of yards into the path of Waddle. 40 yards out, he did for Bradford what he couldn't do for England from 15.

Now the knockers really had a field day. "F***ing Kanchelskis", "useless f***ing git" - indeed from then on he was booed with every touch. Reality check here -- I'm in the Main Stand, Goodison Park, home of Everton FC -- we're 2 down at home to a struggling 1st division side. Bradford fans continuing to cheer their players on -- home fans booing ours.

Ferguson rose a couple of minutes later, Speed was accredited the goal over the tannoy, but even from seat D198 it looked an own goal. At last 24,000 fans started to cheer the boys -- it only lasted a couple of minutes though as our square defence was ripped open by Waddle's 1 - 2 with the No 9, who outpaced big Dave and slotted coolly beyond Nev. In between our goal and their 3rd, Grant replaced Phelan -- this was a strange decision as Phelan had shown pace and a willingness to get forward down the left, whereas Stuart had floundered in midfield all afternoon.

Grant tried to thread some passes through the packed away defence, they didn't come off, so he to started to get the boo-boy treatment too. God knows why, the thing about Granty in the middle is he wants to pass the ball -- always there, intelligent, prompting -- just what we've been lacking since he was injured v's Sunderland.

From my distant view, we had chances abound -- Barmby turned in the box and Dunc only appeared to have a tap in to score. Dunc also had a couple of good headers, and chances also fell to Barmby (?) and Watson. It was all Everton, but a combination of good saves and poor misses meant that our only reward was a fluke from Speed's cross from the left which drifted in at the far post. Boo's all round and plenty more f'ing.

Reading Toffeenet this morning, we're crap, useless and JR should get the sack. Mmmm, that should solve all the problems. And I suppose that the next home game against Forest we'll see even more empty seats and hear even more booing. Just what a team low in confidence and moral really needs. Yes we expect and deserve better, but the fans have a role to play as well.....


Nasty Medicine

Dave Shepherd: Bradford City. At Home? A tricky team with a history of upsets. Away? There was only one worry, and that was their attacking style. Once assured that they played two dinosaur strikers totalling 71 years between them, there seemed to be nothing to worry about but the 5th round draw. No fast breaks, no giant killings today.

Winter coats were discarded on a lovely spring-type day, and the Bradford fans had of course come for a party. You don't get to have real cup runs when you support Bradford -- you just have to make the most of one-off days out. Last year, for example, their cup run ended with a loss in appalling game at home to the diabolical Bolton on probably the most freezing day of the year.

The Everton team news was all good: Parkinson returned; Short returned and relegated Unsworth to the bench; and Grant was (the only other) outfield sub. Even AK's rumoured ankle problem seemed to have cleared up.

Unfortunately, rumours and reality clashed. Bradford played not the aged and inept Shutt, but a racing-donkey (the talent of Angell but with the speed of Branch) called Steiner, and this was to be fatal for an Everton defence stripped of it's fast cover man by Unsworth's nose dive in form/fitness.

First Half

No such worries at first. Everton made comfortable and steady progress to the Park End again and again, and most of the attacks ended up finding Ferguson's head. Just one good contact was going to be all that was needed, because Bradford not only had no-one big enough to challenge Dunc, they didn't even have anyone bright enough to get anywhere close to mark him.

The visitors recovered a little and played some balls in midfield, but their tactics were as basic and gritty as Yorkshire itself, and the only shots produced were long and hopeful and more scary for the Upper Gwladys Stand than for Southall. At least they were trying to play.

Graham Stuart had a good chance near a post near the end of the half, but most of the crowd had found it all strangely dull rather than just strange that Bradford had survived without conceding a goal. 2-0 would have told the story, and 3-0 would not have been excessive.

Second Half

In the second half, everyone expected more of the same. You would not have found anyone prepared to bet on 5 goals. Then that important bit of luck the professional game seems to need fell for City. A cross was deflected and found Dreyer alone in the D, and he hit a hopeful placement shot through a crowd. Somehow it missed everybody and tucked in the left-hand post. Not a serious problem in game terms, but a bad omen for Everton cup history.

A minute later as an effort was made to strike back, the ball found its way back to the last EFC cover man. For some very odd reason, it was Kanchelskis there, and he made a non-defender's mistake by stumbling around with it instead of clearing. A simple pickup and one touch shot by Waddle. Cover arrived and would have intercepted a run, but of course there was no run. The lob was well weighted but centrally placed, and too far out to cause any serious problem.. but no - to complete the joke, Southall was forward of his penalty spot, and didn't even have time to get back and have a go at tipping it over.

The scoreline suddenly looked like a complete joke. Something snapped and Everton shifted into a higher gear. Suddenly they looked angry and purposeful and every pass was faster and every tackle harder. They pressed towards goal like a driving rugby scrum, and scored so quickly, easily and inevitably that the only question left to ask was why the hell they didn't do this earlier... several games earlier in fact. The announcer gave the goal to Speed.

It had taken two spoonfuls of nasty medicine to kick their arses, but suddenly Everton looked like winners again. The team was there, the balance was back. They had all the cards and they were running the show. They strolled around midfield like aristocrats and passed arrogantly, then bit back hard if any jester-suited players managed to get hold of their ball. Even if Everton somehow didn't come back and save the game this would be a small price to pay relative to the rediscovering of the fighting spirit that brought us joy in 95! The crowd certainly responded, and for a few minutes the Goodison atmosphere drowned the manic claret and amber horde out.

Probably the enthusiasm was too much. Pressing forward just left Everton's Achilles heel hanging out in the wind. One hoof upfield, one player (Watson) for Steiner to accelerate away from, and the slightest balls-width of curve on a ground shot to evade Southall's otherwise perfectly placed and timely fingertips and slot in at the left post.

Pressing again for a second, the effort first slowly died as the Blue shirts either got tired or fed up or reverted to the useless 'patient buildup' that has plagued us this season (and many past Everton teams). Somewhere along the line, the enthusiasm drained away, and the crowd support with it.

The ball camped almost permanently in the Bradford half. Unfortunately, having discovered that Everton were vulnerable to the break, they only had to keep 10 men back and lurk Steiner on the half way line. This rather killed things, but still their keeper had a very busy time and was a bit fortunate only to be called on to make one difficult save, and one tricky high catch, the rest going straight to him.

All of the 25 minutes and hope had drained away when a Speed cross woke everybody up by giving the far post a mighty smack high up and bouncing in. Short grabbed the ball, and amazingly the final whistle did not go straight away. The crowd was on it's feet as a miracle finish was a very real possibility. Two more attacks followed, full of all the passion that was there half and hour earlier and needed throughout. But the defence held again and Bradford had won their mini-Wembley game.

Reflection

The magic of the cup makes such results possible, but it's hard not to begrudge bad fortune even when the returns can be as great as the final two games of the 1995 Cup campaign. Bradford's low position belied the day. In comparison if they deserved 8, York deserved 4, Swindon 2, Portsmouth 5, Stockport 5. A comparison of this performance with Everton's 4th round game of the 95 campaign at Bristol City tells the importance of fortune too. Bristol, like Everton today, deserved to win but lost.

It's been an Everton tradition to acknowledge good play by a lower division team (or even poor but industrious play, as long as it's not dirty). Thankfully a reasonable contingent of Everton fans remembered this and even after their disappointed boos for their own team gave prolonged applause to this visiting low-division team.

Such people are welcome. Those who left up to 20 minutes before the end can stay away for good as far as I'm concerned, as can the half dozen scattered lone middle-aged tossers who shouted abuse at a lone Bradford fan in the Park End who celebrated the first goal. I'd rather have quality than quantity in a crowd.

Yes, City were outrageously lucky and killed the game by defending, but outrageous is Bradford's middle name in big games recently. Just ask Blackpool. They will now expect to beat Sheffield Wednesday.

If it was 1000 to 1 that Andrei Kanchelskis would be the last man in possession, it was a 1,000,000 to 1 that he'd lose possession to just about the best chipper that the game has ever known, at the exact moment when Southall had come forward to support a backpass.

You can forget the six chances Everton had in the first half, and the seven in the second. You can forget dominating the midfield and you can forget that not marking Ferguson is suicide. You can forget that Bradford had only won 1 away game in 15 attempts in their league, scoring a paltry 11 goals. Why? Because the script was already pre-written on some other dimension, and the script said that this year's early cup rounds are going to be a testimonial showcase for 'Waddle's team'.

Players

TEAM PERFORMANCE 4 I'm not giving any credit today for short, brilliant bursts (which were the best since the Southampton game) - 'Performance' means 90 minutes.

Ref: M REED (Birmingham) Very intolerant of any illegal contact, but hadn't the bottle to make the call on a clear view of the same in the box. Otherwise good, clamping down hard with cards for a penalty- dive and timewasting by kicking the ball away, and threw an uninvited physio off.


Everton dazzled by Waddle's old sparkle

Derick Allsop, Electronic Telegraph: CHRIS WADDLE, 36 and shunned by the top division in the English game, revelled on the Goodison Park stage and sent Everton crashing out of the FA Cup. His timeless sorcery yielded a spectacular 40-yard goal and he set up Bradford's two others as Everton's fightback came too late to count.

Everton had looked, inevitably, to the aerial power of Duncan Ferguson but Bradford's goalkeeper, Mark Schwarzer, frustrated him throughout an eventful, if goalless, first half.

Five consecutive defeats had finally obliterated Everton's early-season illusions of a championship challenge and manager Joe Royle has faced mounting criticism. Recent cup football here has merely compounded Everton's anxieties with Stockport, Port Vale and York all avoiding defeat in the last 12 months. Bradford aspired to that list, despite their own problems at the foot of the First Division, and backed by 6,000 fans they set about Everton with relish. They were grateful when Ferguson headed straight into the arms of Schwarzer.

Neville Southall, in Everton's goal, was required to extend more energy to save from Robert Steiner. Waddle, with a change of direction and curled pass, instigated the move and Andy Kiwomya delivered the centre. Waddle's growing influence destabilised Everton and John Dreyer squandered the former England player's service, lifting the ball over Southall and the bar. Dreyer also picked up a loose ball in Everton's area midway through the first half and sliced his shot wide.

Waddle unsettled Everton again on the half-hour, his swerving free-kick nearly creeping inside the angle of crossbar and post. Schwarzer kicked out a near-post effort from Nick Barmby and the goalkeeper reached high to turn over a header from Ferguson. Graham Stuart spared Schwarzer further activity with a miskick from eight yards.

Waddle's guile and persistence were rewarded five minutes into the second half, his deflected cross reaching Dreyer, who beat Southall with a left-foot volley.

If Everton were shaken, they were about to be plunged into shock a minute later. Dave Watson's slip let the ball loose but, 40 yards out, there was no apparent danger for the home team. However, Waddle seized on the ball and dispatched it over Southall and into the vacant goal.

Everton pulled one back four minutes later when Ferguson headed on and Andrew O'Brien attempted to turn the ball back to his keeper. Instead, it crept through Schwarzer's legs and over the line.

Far from being forced into their bunker, Bradford countered and, on the hour, a throughball from Waddle released Steiner to convert an excellent third.

Gary Speed salvaged a second for Everton with a speculative shot-cross in the last minute.

Report Copyright The Electronic Telegraph


Everton crash to Bradford City at Goodison

Jim Munro, Sunday Times: CHRIS WADDLE inspired Bradford City to a 3-2 win over Everton at Goodison Park, lobbing their second goal from 35 yards, despite a prophetic warning to the Premier League team from Chris Kamara, the Bradford manager.

In the players' tunnel, Kamara overheard Everton's goalkeeper, Neville Southall, enquire whether Waddle was playing. "Chris told him he was and I said to Nev 'you had better stay on your line then!'," Kamara revealed.

John Dreyer opened the scoring for Bradford with a looping shot, and the lead was doubled with Waddle's stunning blow. Andrew O'Brien's own goal gave Everton hope of recovery but Robert Steiner made it 3-1, dispatching another Waddle through-ball. Gary Speed's injury-time strike was not enough to save Everton's blushes.

Report Copyright The Sunday Times


Bradford's new role relished by Kamara

Mark Hodkinson, The Times: FOOTBALL managers learn to disguise their emotions. They are the ice men, the long faces in the long overcoats. Chris Kamara, the Bradford City manager, is an exception. The heart of a child beats within him and when he is joyous his boots are filled with helium.

He celebrates a goal with rare panache -­ not for him a furtive smile or a hesitant leap from the dugout. As Waddle's elegant lob landed in the net he was off his feet and running towards the pitch. The pool of unbridled emotion lay before him and he dived in head-first, finishing with a forward roll of remarkable athleticism.

When Steiner collected a through-ball just minutes later and placed it beyond Southall, Kamara's studs were again racing across the turf. This time he stopped abruptly at the touchline and sent his right arm reeling in circles of joy.

Bradford, though they competed well and took their few chances with aplomb, caught Everton in wretched form. They are a team bereft of confidence, reduced to nervous six-yard passes because they are fearful of anything more adventurous. Their malaise is best illustrated by the loss of form of Kanchelskis. Where he once left full backs bewildered and disorientated, he now retreats timidly into his own half. His marker, Jacobs, a free transfer signing from Rotherham United, seldom had to proffer a tackle because the winger was continually out of range.

The first half was lively but largely uneventful with just hints of the action to come. Waddle lifted a free kick just over the bar and Dreyer did the same with two good chances, the first provided -­ tellingly in the circumstances -­ by Waddle.

Chris Waddle has spent most of the season avoiding crude, snapping tackles as Bradford have struggled to lift themselves out of the relegation zone of the Nationwide League first division. He has been blocked in and crowded out, his legs harvested like fresh corn. At Goodison Park he was back on home turf of a kind, relishing the extra time and space afforded to players in the game's top flight. Pace has never been part of his repertoire, but, at 36, his guile, craft and impudence is ripened to perfection.

His crossfield ball was met by Dreyer, who this time found his balance and struck it skilfully past Southall. Two minutes later Waddle intercepted a poor clearance from Kanchelskis just yards into Everton's half. Southall was already back-pedalling, but then froze as the ball lifted and dropped behind him into the netting. The goal was a marvellous piece of artistry and more than warranted Kamara's touchline tribute. "When the ball came to me I thought, 'why not?' When it dropped in it was a great feeling," Waddle said afterwards.

Everton responded immediately when O'Brien stumbled upon a Ferguson knock-down and pushed it past Schwarzer into his own goal. The fourth goal of a dramatic ten minute spell came when Waddle stroked a pass into the stride of Steiner. He steadied himself well and placed it low past Southall.

Watson and Ferguson both missed chances before Speed inadvertently lent the scoreline a pinch of honour when his cross looped into the Bradford net. He had earlier been booked for a peevish foul on Waddle as he meandered down Everton's flank.

Joe Royle, the Everton manager, said he was "disappointed and embarrassed" by his team's performance and saw more sleepless nights ahead. Kamara was happy to make camp at the after-match press conference, eulogising his playmaker, Waddle.

"I said beforehand that he would be the best player on the pitch and he was. He should be playing in the Premiership," Kamara said. "I am fortunate enough to have him. His goal was fantastic. It's funny, I said to Neville before the game that Wads [Chris Waddle] was playing and he'd have to stay on his line!"

Kamara relished the attention, offering metaphorical forward rolls to every question: "The scoreline flattered Everton." "We played all the football." "All three goals were top quality." Kamara, 39 going on 13, was excited and gleeful, like a boy celebrating both Christmas and a birthday simultaneously. Apt really, since he was born on December 25th.

Report Copyright The Times


Geordies on the mind for Everton

Phil Shaw, The Independent: As the claret and amber nectar flowed in Bradford at the end of a day when Chris Waddle's brilliance bubbled over, Joe Royle contemplated the cold reality that Everton's season had once again been reduced to the status of small beer.

Humiliated, as the one-word headline in Merseyside's football pink put it, by the side 22nd in the First Division, they visit Waddle's spiritual home on Wednesday knowing that defeat by Newcastle would leave them closer to the relegation zone than to a place in Europe. Royle has been manager for a mere 26 months, but a sixth successive Premiership defeat might push the Everton's board's tolerance to the limit.

The natives are certainly restless, and booed their team off before rising to Waddle. Embarrassingly for a club with their self-image, Everton's tactical and technical limitations were exposed by City much as they were by Port Vale and York in their other cup calamities of the past twelve months.

In theory, the 25 million pounds spent since Royle succeeded Mike Walker has improved the squad considerably; in practice Everton often look wretchedly one-dimensional. They seldom resist the temptation to aim for the head of Duncan Ferguson, whose confidence is so low he is laying off balls rather than going for goal when in heading range.

This aerial emphasis has had the effect of marginalising Nick Barmby, while their other potential match-winner, Andrei Kanchelskis, has seemingly forgotten how to take on a defender for pace. Responsibility for crossing often fell to Earl Barrett, a full-back once famous for his reluctance to venture into the opposition half. As a result Everton rarely had the width to stretch City's defence.

Throw in the dearth of midfield guile, a problem put into sharp relief by the wiles of Waddle, and Everton can look painfully prosaic. Neville Southall, defending Royle in his local-newspaper column, felt they needed to score 'off a player's backside' to spark a winning run. Their goals here were scarcely more stylish, and supporters steeped in more sophisticated football were singularly unimpressed.

Hence their appreciation, tinged with anguish, of Waddle. Now 36, and heavier and slower than when Graham Taylor picked Carlton Palmer and Geoff Thomas ahead of him for England, the Geordie enigma still shambles around with the posture of Harry Enfield's alienated teenager 'Kevin'. But the speed of thought, the vision and, in one exquisite cameo, the sheer sense of fantasy, set him apart from mere mortals.

One irony is that City's manager, Chris Kamara, spent much of his two decades as a 'ball-winner' stifling such skills by fair means or foul. Another is that City hardly had to fight off the competition when they rescued Waddle from Falkirk in the autumn, an anomaly which Kamara attributes to the job-security fears of his Premiership counterparts.

While City's recent record of 10 points from 30 indicates that Waddle has trouble sustaining his influence, he was clearly inspired by the setting on Saturday. After striking the woodwork with a free-kick, and spraying 30-yard reverse passes around, he created the opening goal for John Dreyer and another for the strong-running Swede, Robert Steiner.

The piece de resistance, however, was the middle goal in a burst of three in ten minutes by City. Kanchelskis, inexplicably the last line of defence, gifted possession to Waddle, whose instinctive chip from nearly 40 yards caught Southall off his line. Perfection, and from a man still horrified by the thought of the free shot from a third of that distance otherwise known as the penalty kick.

Everton twice cut the deficit without seriously threatening a replay. Royle anticipated a 'sleepless night' and may need an urgent upturn in results to survive. Bizarre as the prospect appears now, Kamara, who claims City are 'the best footballing side in our division', could be under pressure himself unless they pick up the points to back up his bravado.

In the meantime, as Bradfordians guzzle the heady brew that is FA Cup glory, Everton's task is to prevent one Newcastle exhibition being followed by another.


Royle faces sack after humiliation

Ian Ross, The Guardian: As the realisation that his club's end-of-season bash could safely be pencilled in for some time next week enveloped him, the Everton chairman Peter Johnson was asked to stand publicly by his manager. Perhaps significantly, he did not see fit to grasp the opportunity.

'I shall take a rain check on that one', said the food-hamper magnate with the dressing room full of damaged goods. 'You won't get me on a vote of confidence. I looked around the stadium today and saw our supporters watching their team getting whipped by a side near the foot of the First Division.'

Ominous words indeed from a hard-nosed businessman who has always regarded failure -- either individual or collective -- as a demon which must be exorcised.

Early last week it had taken just one joker with a malicious streak and a pocketful of 10p pieces to re-emphasise how swift can be the journey between adulation and infamy. Forty-eight hours after Everton had been overrun by Arsenal, a Scouse wag with time on his hands telephoned media organisations to report a burgeoning demonstration outside Goodison Park designed to secure the removal from office of the manager Joe Royle.

Sensing that the ugly beast of protest had crawled from its lair, reporters, photographers and television camera crews sped to the stadium. It was a false alarm but the significance of those wasted trips was that they were made at all; the uprising against the manager who was once a hero is clearly well advanced.

Everton had been courting disaster for weeks and for Royle the consequences of Saturday's dismal fourth-round surrender seemed obvious.

Only 26 months after his appointment and only twenty after he saw his side win the FA Cup, Royle is facing the very real prospect of dismissal. And what is more, those players he lured to the North-West with the promise of fat wage packets are actively helping him down the well-worn path to an uncertain future; now there is gratitude for you.

So how do a team of journeymen footballers marooned near the bottom of the First Division set about humiliating one who boast eight full internationals? Simple really. Give the ball, often and unapologetically, to your one truly outstanding individual, Chris Waddle, and then sit back, watch and enjoy.

Waddle, 36 years old and as slow and ungainly as they come, was utterly magnificent as Bradford swaggered arrogantly to a famous victory. With Everton's dreary midfielders and cumbersome defenders permitting him the time and space in which to flourish, he held the conductor's baton all afternoon.

His goal, the second of Bradford's three in 10 second-half minutes, was to provide a most knowledgeable audience with one probably final memory of his delicious ability. His clipped shot over Southall and beneath the bar from more than 40 yards was exquisite.

Everton's answer to Waddle should have been Andrei Kanchelskis but once again the Russian was a disgrace; in his present mood he could not find a settee in a bedsit.

Fine strikes by John Dreyer and Robert Steiner either side of Waddle's brush with perfection were sufficient to seal Everton's fate. An own- goal by Andrew O'Brien and Gary Speed's fortuitous last-minute strike were more than Everton deserved.

'I feel deeply disappointed and embarrassed,' said Royle afterwards. It was upsetting to see such a proud man humbled, but his was at least the only honest performance by an Everton representative on a quite wretched day for the club.


Postscript

Perhaps the most significant aftermath of this match was the departure of Andrei Kanchelskis from Everton.  Rumours had been rife, and finally, on the night of the next game (at Newcastle), the transfer of this one-time crowd idol and now fallen mercenary to Fiorentina in Serie A was completed for £8,000,000.

Follow this link to our Kanchelskis Fact-File for a summary of Andrei's all-to-brief rise and fall at Everton.


Fourth Round Results

Saturday, 15 February 1997

BLACKBURN ROVERS        1-2    COVENTRY CITY             21,123  
Sherwood(1)                    Jess(28) Huckerby(44)

Wednesday, 5 February 1997

MANCHESTER CITY         3-1    WATFORD                   24,031  
Heaney(24) Summerbee(61)       Noel-Williams (58)
Rosler (71)

Tuesday, 4 February 1997

WIMBLEDON               1-0    MANCHESTER UNITED         25,601  Replay
Gayle(63)
ARSENAL                 0-1    LEEDS UNITED              38,115  
                               Wallace(12)
BOLTON WANDERERS        2-3    CHESTERFIELD              10,854  
Taylor(14) Green(89)           Davies(7,50,75)
PETERBOROUGH UNITED     2-4    WREXHAM                    8,734  
Charlery(20)  Griffiths(47)    Ward(23) Watkin(57) Russell(58,64)

Sunday, 26 January 1997

CHELSEA                 4-2    LIVERPOOL                 27,950  
Hughes(50) Zola(58)            Fowler(10) Collymore(21)
Vialli(63,76)                   
NEWCASTLE UNITED        1-2    NOTTINGHAM FOREST         36,434  
Ferdinand(60)                  Woan(76,80)

Saturday, 25 January 1997

BIRMINGHAM CITY         3-1    STOCKPORT COUNTY          18,487  
Furlong(29) Devlin(48)         Angell(82)
Francis(69)
CARLISLE UNITED         0-2    SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY       16,104  
                               Whittingham(11) Booth(47)
DERBY COUNTY            3-1    ASTON VILLA               17,977  
Van Der Laan(36)               Curcic(76)
Sturridge(40) Willems(69)
EVERTON                 2-3    BRADFORD CITY             30,007  
O'Brien(og:54) Speed(91)       Dreyer(49) Waddle(51) Steiner(59)
HEDNESFORD TOWN         2-3    MIDDLESBROUGH             27,511  
O'Connor(14,90)                Lambert(og:26) Fjortoft(86) Ravanelli(88)
LEICESTER CITY          2-1    NORWICH CITY              16,703  
Marshall(32) Parker(pen:67)    Adams(pen 39)
MANCHESTER UNITED       1-1    WIMBLEDON                 53,342  
Scholes(89)                    Gayle(90)
PORTSMOUTH              3-0    READING                   15,003  
Hall(68) Bradbury(76) Hillier(86)
QUEENS PARK RANGERS     3-2    BARNSLEY                  14,317  
Peacock(20) Spencer(26)        Redfearn(13) Hendrie(86)
Sinclair(74)

Follow this link to Soccernet's FA Cup page for the results of the the reamining rounds in the 1997 FA Cup


This Compilation Match Report was prepared by Kermit the Blue Frog for Marko Poutiainen. 3 Mar 1997.