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What a night, it's great going to see Leeds at home; being in with the noisy Leeds fans chanting away all night and coming out of the ground a little hoarse; watching our beloved Whites camped in the opposition's half; singing in the pub next to the ground beforehand.
But wait; don't Leeds play at Elland Road? The sign on the outside of the ground says Goodison Park, and I was sure we don't have Division Three standard stands at our home ground?
Welcome to the topsy turvy world of Premier League footy in England, where the away fans make the noise and the home fans sit munching Scouse Pies (whatever the f*** they are). You have to feel sorry for Everton fans sitting through that s***e week in, week out. Walter Smith must have seen how so many teams have beaten us this season: string forty or so players behind the ball, frustrate our unwilling-to-shoot-from-distance forwards and then wait for our defence to make a couple of schoolboy errors.
It almost worked.
On one of their very rare first half visits to our end of the pitch Nige decided to punch the ball politely to Druncan Disorderly who slotted the ball home.
That shut us up.
We swarmed over Everton like ants over sugar and in the blink of an eye half time arrived with Leeds 1-0 down; and it should have been 2-0, Cambell blazing over with only Nige to beat. There was no way Everton could beat us, surely?
Half time came, so we sat down. Natch.
Second half and Leeds spend even more time in the Everton half. We could have stuck Nige's goal at the half way line.
Fortunately Harte suddenly found a burst of confidence to cut inside and smash one, right footed, from thirty odd yards. He made amends for giving the ball away for the first Everton goal.
Let's go f***ing mental we sang. And we did. :-)
Now, surely we'd score another and win. We did. :-) And we didn't. :-(
Rio "unbeatable" Ferdinand was twisted inside out by some bloke in a blue shirt with a nosebleed from being so far up the pitch; he [Everton joker] crossed to Cambell who looked suspiciously like he handled the ball and beat the thirty odd Leeds "defenders" who were hounding him; even when his first shot came back off Nige he had enough space to hit it back over our prostrate 'keeper into the net.
We hauled out the tents and camped back in Everton's half. Ollie shot with his usual accuracy (none) but it bounced off some dirty Everton defender and skidded past the hapless Gerrard. Cue more delerium under the quaint excuse for a stand.
"We're all going on a European Tour" and "You're all going on a Nationwide Tour" we taunted the Everton fans. Don't bet against either.
Leeds supporters: 10
I can only think that Mr. O'Really has been studying Mongolian Numerology or summat. He has discovered that the numbers 9 and 17 together bring dire bad luck, and so they cannot be allowed to appear on a substitution board together. 7 and 17 are fine though, even when the player denoted by '9' is as knackered as a Sunday League pub player who's spent all night in the cells sobering up.
Loads of possession, few attempts on goal, two shoddy goals given away and clawed back by players who weren't actually afraid to shoot.
1-0 22 mins. Harte gives it away, ball isn't cleared and is pumped back into the area for Nige to er, punch, the ball straight onto Drunken's toe and watch it trickle back into the empty net.
1-1 66 mins Harte comes down the left, cuts inside and hits it with his right into the far corner from 20 yards. Keeper could've done better possibly, may've seen it late.
2-1 70 mins Tal gets the ball out left, beats Rio to get the cross in, which pinballs to Campbell. Nige makes a good block but it spins straight back to Campbell who taps it in.
2-2 75 mins. Ollie gets the ball unchallenged in midfield and drives forward to hit it from a similar position to Harte. It takes a deflection and leaves the keeper throwing shapes like a man who's just been asked to make an impossible move in 'Twister' before bobbling into the same corner about thirty seconds later.
Scores on doors
Got back to the car to find I'd left it unlocked. Obviously all the local tea-leaves are Evertonians.
What is it about Mark Viduka that I dont like ? I'm sure he does actually try but far too often for my liking it looks like he isnt arsed. Maybe its because he's that bit fatter than your average footballer then he cant move his bloated limbs as quickly as others. Maybe cos he's a millionaire he doesn't care what people think or say. Maybe he knows O'Leary wont drop him so he can just mince about day dreaming about the "meal for 6" special at his local chinky takeaway.
Leeds are a bit random at the moment. We play well - we lose, we play badly - we win. Well against Everton we were back to our enigmatic best.
We should be sponsored by Pampers - shit at the back, piss up front. At least the midfield totally ran the game.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 08/02/2001.
The standing ovation afforded to both these sides at the death was undoubtedly born of sheer undiluted relief. After much effort, some drama and the occasional dash of flair there were no winners but at least Everton's crawl towards safety and Leeds United's drive for a European berth were both maintained.
If nothing else, this curious affair reminded those present of two undeniable facts: Everton remain incapable of defending an advantage, and Leeds never give up the fight.
"We dominated the game and played most of it in their half," said Leeds's manager David O'Leary. "The problem was we gifted them two goals. We had won our previous three games but this was the best we have played for a while."
Copy from The Independent of 08/02/2001.
A deflected shot from their old boy Olivier Dacourt deprived Everton of all three points, and a game as full of graft and endeavour, if not of attendant quality, a watching England manager could hope to see.
Dacourt's hopeful effort from outside the area took the nastiest of thick edges off a defender to spin beyond Paul Gerrard and into the corner of the net, but it was a piece of good fortune Leeds deserved on the balance of play.
Only three minutes earlier they had gone behind when Kevin Campbell followed up when his first shot was blocked but a rough sort of justice was done when Dacourt found the net.
A match Everton needed to win to keep them above the relegation zone marked the first return to Goodison of Olivier Dacourt, a signing from a more optimistic phase of the club's history who was sold on when financial reality began to bite.
In a rare attack of stability in a season that has seen both sides struggle with injuries, Leeds were unchanged while Everton's only alteration was to bring back Duncan Ferguson in place of Idam Tal.
On the bench for a potential first appearance since September was Francis Jeffers. His six goals in the early weeks of the season made him still Everton's joint top scorer and a player who could be of some future interest to the watching Sven-Goran Eriksson.
The Swede would not have been much impressed with Everton's early defending as they backed off to invite a sweeping move that ended with Lee Bowyer almost getting a touch to Ian Harte's cross.
Robbie Keane also looked elusive on a couple of sorties, but the first 20 minutes produced no clear-cut chances.
So it was out of the blue when Everton took the lead midway through the half. A good ball in from Steve Watson their most effective player in recent weeks began it. Kevin Campbell's effort was blocked and the ball cleared to Thomas Gravesen, whose header was punched out by Nigel Martyn.
It only reached Ferguson, unmarked and largely immobile on the edge of the area, who steered it into the net almost as an after-thought.
Mark Viduka came close to an equaliser when he brought the ball down on his chest and saw his shot deflected past the post. Viduka had another effort blocked at close range by Paul Gerrard.
By that time, Everton had lost their main striker with Ferguson, struggling even before his goal, limping off to be replaced by Tal.
Even with the game's most expensive defender on the field, Richard Gough often looked a class apart, showing why Walter Smith wants him to continue next season.
Leeds continued to put Everton under heavy pressure in the second half, until the inevitable goal arrived. It was Harte who made up for his earlier miss with a swerving shot from the left-hand angle of the penalty area, always going beyond Gerard's fingertips and inside the post.
Copy from Yorkshire Evening Post of 08/02/2001.
THERE was no singing, not even a hum, throughout the entire 90 minutes from the Everton faithful.
They were regaled for the thousandth time with a pre-match ancient dirge-like tune which induced a kind of sickness and the players wearily emerged to the theme of Z Cars, in the dusty annals of British television history as a third-rate programme about policemen.
No wonder the Goodison Park air is filled with dread and that plodding is their game.
Was there ever an Everton team so bad as this, so devoid of talent and artistry; even a will to win?
Excruciating as they were, and they would have been mistaken by any neutral as the away side, Leeds should have taken them to the cleaners.
That they failed to do so is an accurate reflection of their own prevailing shortcomings.
On a night when Everton did their level best to speed Leeds to a fourth successive Premiership victory with many more passes to opposition feet than their own numbers, it was goalkeeping pair Gerrard and Martin who did their best to make a game of it.
Twice Leeds came from behind with long-range shots which any self-respecting keeper would swear he would save if they came at him again; twice the initiative had been wrested by the boys in blue via rebounds.
A pitch that resembled a giant sticky toffee pudding was hardly conducive to fast, free-flowing football, but how the game lacked a Gascoigne and a Kewell; players who can put their foot on the ball, dictate the pace and process invention.
For watching England manager Sven Goran Eriksson, it was something of a freak show.
Again he will have liked most of what Rio Ferdinand did at the heart of the Leeds defence, but as for the rest a trip to the snooker as he familiarises himself with the English way of life may have been a more beneficial way to have spent his evening.
United were unchanged from the side which plundered the maximum at Ipswich and Everton, wholly understandably on this evidence with just one win in their previous 10 games, were able to include, for a short but ultimately telling time at least, the allegedly marauding Duncan Ferguson up front.
Everton were ahead in the 23rd minute when, after good work down the right by Watson, Gravesen looped a header across goal and Martyn, under pressure from Campbell, could manage only a poor punch which Ferguson sent straight back into the empty net.
That was a remarkable development because, with Leeds dominating, the big Scot had barely had a touch, ambled aimlessly through proceedings and looked distinctly unfit.
Apparently a newly-sustained shoulder injury picked up in the course of his brief presence was his latest inconvenience.
And talking of struggling strikers Viduka almost got the equaliser in the 32nd minute, but Gerrard sprang across goal to keep out his deft touch towards the bottom corner.
Campbell looked odds-on to increase Everton's lead five minutes before the break but ballooned his volley over the top from substitute Tal's excellent delivery.
Everton held on to their lead to the break despite their tactical and territorial inferiority and Leeds were kicking themselves.
The Blues' defending had been harem-scarem, worrying and at times suicidal, but United's final ball, too, was all too frequently going astray.
When Viduka won a corner in the 53rd minute the unmarked Harte had a free header from Bowyer's cross but, statue-like, his measured effort came back off a post.
On 66 minutes United finally got the equalier they deserved when Harte, considering his crossing options from the left, surprised Gerrard with his right-foot shot instead from 20 yards into the far bottom corner.
In the 71st minute Everton, with their first attack of the half, edged back into the lead when Tal crossed from the left and Campbell first had his shot beaten out by Martyn only for the rebound to fall perfectly for him to stab home.
But six minutes later Everton old boy Dacourt, 25 yards out, decided to try his luck and his low shot took a deflection on its way into the same bottom corner as Harte's effort.
He wanted so badly what the home contingent had dreaded and he emerged from his mobbing with a smile as wide as the Seine.
In the closing stages Martyn saved well from Weir's good header as Everton finally and tentatively came out of their shell like a reluctant snail.
Incontrovertibly, this was two points lost by United against a side who, on this wretched showing, stand as good a chance of going down as they do of survival.
Said United manager David O'Leary: "We gifted them two goals while dominating the game. The idea at half-time was to up the tempo, but after getting back into it we conceded another sloppy goal.
"The game didn't change much throughout the 90 minutes. We had all the ball, attacking and dominating them in the last third of the field, and after both their goals we were soon back in full command.
"It was always going to be a physical challenge, but we met that. We are not anywhere near our best, but our spirit is great and I thought that was the best we've played for a few weeks.
"We tried to play football, and for all that we have been winning matches recently we haven't played as well in those victories as we did here.
"We are ticking along and grinding things out and we are sitting on a nice little product here."