"It was Twenty Years ago today!"
article published November, 2017
FA CARLING PREMIERSHIP
Saturday 29th November, 1997
EVERTON 0(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2(0)
Referee:- P. Jones
Everton (3-5-2) Southall; Short (Cadamarteri, 73min), Bilic, Tiler;
Ward, Williamson, Speed, Farrelly (Oster 65), Phelan (Hinchcliffe 69);
Booked Bilic, Ferguson.
Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2) Walker; Carr, Vega, Campbell (Scales 44),
Wilson; Fox, Calderwood, Neilsen (Anderton 58), Sinton; Ginola,
Ferdinand (Iversen 78).
Booked Carr, Vega.
I regret there is no formal Spurs Odyssey report for this first win for Christian Gross's Tottenham. Spurs were 17th in the table (and remained there despite the precious win), whilst Everton were bottom. Both teams would ultimately avoid relegation. Spurs secured their status in their penultimate game with that 6-2 win at Selhurst Park against Wimbledon. Everton would stay up by the narrowest of margins on the last day with a draw against Coventry, condemning Bolton on goal difference only.
Everton fans stayed in their stadium for as long as fifteen minutes after the game venting their anger at then club chairman Peter Johnson.
The match had been drifting towards a goalless draw until Spurs grabbed two through Ramon Vega and David Ginola. Significantly, Gross had reverted to a traditional 4-4-2 for this game.
Neville Southall played his 750th senior game for the "Toffees", but it would be his last. Slaven Bilic was in the Everton back line, and their team also featured former Spur Nick Barmby. The Everton team also included Gary Speed, whose life would end so tragically in 2011.
Gross dropped five players from the Monday defeat by Crystal Palace, a game he watched but didn't interfere with, leaving Chris Hughton in charge. Out went John Scales, Darren Anderton, Justin Edinburgh, Steve Clemence and Steffen Iversen.
Everton nearly went ahead through a Duncan Ferguson header which, thankfully, was cleared off the line by Clive Wilson. Ian Walker then held a driven shot by Speed. Everton's efforts faded and Spurs were able to contain their attacks. Sinton and Niesen both had shots go over, before Barmby cut inside Campbell, hitting his shot over Walker and onto the bar.
Campbell had to be replaced by Scales, after coming off worse in a Ferguson challenge. Speed just missed the outside of the post with an early shot in the second half, but Everton soon reverted to type, playing long ball football, without reward, or real threat.
After Anderton came on for Nielsen the game changed. Ginola had got nothing for an apparent foul then had three chances in the space of five minutes. Spurs went ahead after 71 minutes when Ramon Vega dived forward to head home a Wilson touch after Sinton had floated a cross into the box. Four minutes later Ginola made it 2-0, after a run down the right and a smashing shot into the roof of the net.
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