Monday, 2 January 2012

Everton v Swindon 1994 Gary Ablett

Very, very sad news about Gary Ablett. I'd be a bit surprised if anyone said he was their favourite player, but I remember him as being one of the few reliable & reliably available Everton players in my introduction to football - from 92-94 - when Everton were at best ramshackle.
Hopefully not to trivialise an upsetting, young death, this is the game i first thought of when i heard that Gary Ablett had died, maybe because its a similarly crisp, chilly January day....

Build up
Des Lynam - CLB/HWF
Mike Walker.....
"a great appointment" "the best thing that's ever happened at this club.."
Well, we can all go back and find things we've said that maybe weren't 100% true in hindsight but these chaps set a high-watermark for 'bad shout that'. In some bad early 90s sports-casual too.
Crowd 'One Mike Walker!!!'. I'd cringe if i didn't not go to this game, still I think recovering from a hideous 0-1 defeat to West Ham on New Year's Day followed by an all-nighter playing Batman on the Megadrive at my cousin's....
This in the days when MOTD went with one big game and really went with it, lengthy highlights, which got lucky here in an eight-goal thriller, otherwise the 25 mins allocated could take some padding..

02.47 ~ nice turn there by Ablett, self-parodic twisty turney dribble by Beagrie, whose shot is blocked but the move is salvaged by Horne & Ward, Jackson gets in behind, Cottee lays it back and John Ebbrell slots in an atypically classy finish.

Brett Angell, imovable from all Everton Worst Players lists and with sound reason. Clive Tyledsley just said on commentary he'd been out of the Southend team since early December. So we signed someone who wanst getting a game for Southend?! Someone who also had already been on loan at us once and in their only game lost 1-5 against Norwich. From that its not really a surprise that he was somewhat underwhelming is it...

06.20 ~ after an iffy looking period where Swindon could have got a goal, it looks like its a bit against the run of play when we double our lead. Angell, silencing his post-facto internet wise-ass critics, hold the ball up, lays it off to Beagrie. Somehow Swindon fail to get onto the fcat that he's going to jink inside onto his right and shoot. He does just that and gets off a shot that you'd expect the keeper to do better with - if you had any preconceptions about Nicky Hammond at all other than 'rubbish' - but Michael Rappaport spills it & Ebbrell rolls it across for Tony Cottee to tap-in.
2-0 (Half-Time)

08.20 ~ after a bit of waffle about how much fans & Mike Walker are going to put style ahead of results, presumably as an expectation setter for Vinny Samways' arrival, Cottee latches onto a long ball and thwacks a good effort back off the crossbar.
09.00 ~ from that corner, Swindon clear in the ensuing midfield melee, Andy Mutch elbows Ebbrell and his gnarled, horrible face is rightly sent off. As Tyledlsy quips "not many people will have too Mutch sympathy for him"
10.30 ~ two up versus ten men, Everton inevitably decide to ease-off and the crowd are getting growly even before Summerbee skins Hinchcliffe and puts in an excellent cross which is headed in by John Moncur

12.30 ~ classy play by Ablett leads to a counter-attack, then corner which Cottee nearly turns in. Swindon then go up the other end, and Ian Snodin (who I never liked) attempts an hubristic outside of the foot flick which he was never good enough to anywhere on the pitch on the edge of his own box, giving the ball away to his not-really name-sake Paul Bodin, who slots home with aplomb

14.40 ~ a 45 year old Terry Fenwick clatters Beagrie on the left. Beagrie takes on the free-kick and from under the Nicks Shoes hoarding....yup, cuts inside onto his right foot, floats the ball in and after Jackson's header hits the bar Ablett is on hand to smuggle the ball home. A scruffy but vital goal. After the replays you can just hear a slightly imperfect 'oh gary, gary..gary,gary,gary, gary aaa-belllll-ettt' chant.

16.00 ~ This would have been taking the piss. Swindon come straight back at us and Jan Aage Fjortoft neraly levels again with an outrageous volley. Then lets himself down a bit with a flambouyantly camp wave of the hand afterwards.'Scorpion Dry Lager'. I bet that was nice.
16.30 ~ Strong midfield battling by Ebbrell & a good ball gets it to Mark Ward's feet. Ward, who I remember being absolutley loathed by the pensioner-centric Lower Bullens group my granddad was part of at this point, ignores their 'you're no Tommy Eglington' unimpressedness to slot a nice ball through to Cottee who puts the ball away & game to bed.

17.30 ~ clive Tyledsley uses the word "spectacular" twice in one sentence to decsribe Beagrie robbing a labouring Fenwick to rampage forward and lash a shot over. Immediatley afterwards, Ward pings another ball through to Cottee, the ball break to Ebbrell who balloons a shot over an unguarded net. Noteable mainly for how much he wouldnt be allowed to be playing on now with blood all over his face.
18.30 ~ slightly obnoxious crowd 'wahey'ing ends with another good link-up between Ward & Cottee with teh winger being pushed over for a penalty. Further interplay betwixt the diddy ex-West Ham players results in Cottee ("whhhhhhhhy not??") going for his hat-trick nad putting it away despite the goalie gettiung both hands to it.

20.25 Stuart Barlow replaces Cottee, and its played into acres of space on the right. From his cross, Angell & Ebbrell keep the ball alive for Beagrie to head in and unfurl his trademark - spectacular - celebration.

Everton 'basking in the glory of a famous day' is the commentary sign-off...'and in the longer-term, who knows what (Mike Walker) can achieve here?'

*spoiler alert* It didnt go that well.

Its easy to look back and get fed up of Moyes' inflexibility & predictability, but when you look back at this less than stellar couple of years it easier to appreciate that. Players just used to turn up after not being near the team for months (Warzycha, Mo Johnston), signings were complete scattergun affairs (Kenny Sansom, Preki)...and in succesive games three QPR players got hat-tricks against us in scores of 2-4,3-5, 0-3.

Gary Ablett had a great career and was one of the better players for Everton in a period that was essentilly awful, but will always be remembered fondly by me & people of my age. RIP.