Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Merseyside derby day madness

Everton v Liverpool is one of the biggest derbies in the Premier League and has given football fans over the world some great moments. With the first Merseyside derby of the season happening on Sunday, we look at the top four stand out moments from past games over the years.

#1 -13/03/12 -Steven Gerrard hat trick at Anfield
Liverpool's captain took centre stage during this game with a sublime hat trick at Anfield. Liverpool had not won a Premier League game in four games up till the derby and a comfortable 3-0 victory gave a much needed boost to the club's season. Gerrard's first goal saw the midfielder delicately chip the ball from the edge of the box with his left foot, evading Everton centre back Phil Jagielka who could only watch helplessly as it hit the net. Gerrard's next goal came soon after half time as he thumped home a Luis Suarez cross from close range. He sealed a fine display and hat trick as Suarez once again laid the ball on late on for Gerrard to net his second ever career hat trick for Liverpool. A memorable display.

#2 -20/10/07 -Tale of two penalties for Liverpool as Everton finish with nine men
Two Dirk Kuyt penalties was enough to take all three points at Goodison Park as ended the game with only nine players on the pitch. It was Everton that were deservedly ahead at the break after Sami Hyypia inexplicably turned the ball into his own net. The previous season had seen Everton stroll to a 3-0 home win in the derby leaving the red side of Merseyside humiliated. Times changed in the second half for Liverpool as they were awarded an early penalty after the break as Tony Hibbert brought down Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard. Up stepped Dirk Kuyt who place the ball into the right hand corner to level the scores. Hibbert was subsequently sent off leaving the Toffees a man down. Liverpool were awarded a last ditch penalty in the dying moments of the game as Phil Neville deliberately blocked a Lucas Leiva shot on the line with his arm leaving Kuyt with the responsibility of earning three points. Neville was rightly sent off as Kuyt expertly tucked the penalty away to give Liverpool a hard fought win.

#3 -09/09/06 -Everton 3-0 Liverpool 
Everton continued there excellent start to the season as they thumped rivals Liverpool at Goodison Park. It was there first win over their rivals in 2 years leaving the red side of Merseyside humiliated. Tim Cahill gave the hosts an early lead finishing from close range with a side footed effort. Liverpool had a number of chances in the game, but were not as clinical as their opponents. Everton soon doubled their lead as Andy Johnson took advantage of some poor defending from Jamie Carragher to arrow a shot past Pepe Reina. Chances came a plenty in the second half for the visitors but either were off target or were expertly denied by Everton keeper Tim Howard. Everton re-established control of the game nearer the end of the game and Andy Johnson capped a excellent performance by adding his second and the team's third late on. Pepe Reina fumbled a Lee Carsley shot allowing the alert Johnson to nod home. A poor day for the reds.

#4 -16/04/01 -Late McAllister goal takes all three points in Merseyside thriller
One of the greatest Merseyside derbies in the last ten years. The game included a missed penalty, 12 yellow cards and a red card. Five goals were shared between the two clubs in a thriller at Goodison which saw Liverpool come away with all three points. The win for Liverpool ensured a successful double over their rivals, and kept their Champions League qualification hopes still alive. It was the red side of Merseyside that took the lead as Emile Heskey raced away on 4 minutes to clinically score his 21st goal of the season. Despite their lead, Liverpool looked edgy and poor defending on the stroke of half time gave Everton an equaliser. A mix up between Stephane Henchoz and Jamie Carragher allowed Duncan Ferguson to power home a left footed strike. Having been pegged back, Liverpool took the initiative after the break as they regained the lead.
A wonderful through ball from Didi Hamann released Robbie Fowler whose ball across the six yard box was struck home by defender Markus Babbel. Fowler was once again involved moments later as he was given the chance to close the game for the visitors. Having been fouled in the box, Fowler stepped up for the penalty only to see his effort strike the inside of the post and roll away. The final third of the game continued at an astounding pace. Igor Biscan was sent off having received a second yellow card after fouling David Unsworth and moments after, Everton were given the chance to once again pull the game level. Sami Hyypia was adjudged to have fouled Duncan Ferguson in the box leaving Unsworth with the responsibility of the penalty. The Everton defender had no problems as he slammed the ball home to pull the game back level for the second time. It wasn't over there as Liverpool had one more chance to take the three points. Having been awarded a free kick mid way in the Everton half, four minutes into stoppage time, Gary McAllister took aim and hit a stunning effort from 40 yards, deceiving Paul Gerrard in goal to cap off an amazing afternoon on Merseyside.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

FA Cup: First Round Draw

Having seen rounds upon rounds of qualifying, the first round of the FA Cup begins seeing clubs from non-league face clubs from League One and Two. Teams in the Championship and Premier League don't come into the competition until the third round, giving some of the lower sides the opportunity for a cup run. 

Last years final was played in front of a massive crowd at Wembley which saw Chelsea beat Liverpool 2-1. Goals from Ramires and Didier Drogba saw the London side win the cup beating Liverpool whose goal was scored by Andy Carroll. Chelsea's win saw them go level with FA Cup final wins with Liverpool with both clubs on seven wins. Manchester United lead the table with 11 wins.

This year's final will be once again played at Wembley on Saturday 11th May 2013.

The first round will see 40 ties played between clubs from as low as the fourth tier of non-league in the Evo-Stick league. Arlesey Town of the Evo Stick Southern Premier league will face 1987 winners Coventry City in one of the ties of the round. Isthmian League side Met Police have also progressed through qualifying and face a first round game at home to League One side Crawley Town. 

Current conference leaders Newport County needed two late goals in their final qualifying game to take their tie against Yate Town to a replay. If they come through the test against the Evo-Stick southern south and west side then they will face League Two side Cheltenham Town. Cambridge City will host MK Dons while an Essex derby is guaranteed as Colchester United face the winner of Chelmsford City and East Thurrock who need a replay. 

Luton Town and Wrexham both made it through their qualifying games as they both face non-league opposition. The Welsh team face Alfreton Town while Luton have to also wait for a replay as they will host either Nuneaton or Telford United. Winners of the competition in 2008, Portsmouth, face fellow League One side Notts County, while Sheffield United travel to League Two side Bristol Rovers. 

The ties will be played the weekend of 3rd/4th November 2012. 

First Round Fixtures:

Kidderminster Harriers v Oldham Athletic
Boreham Wood v Brentford
Chelmsford City/East Thurrock v Colchester United
Met Police v Crawley Town
Luton Town v Telford Utd/Nuneaton
Portsmouth v Notts County
Bishop's Stortford v Hastings Utd
Fleetwood Town v Bromley
Forest Green Rovers/Dartford v Port Vale
Torquay Utd v Hyde/Harrogate Town
Bournemouth v Dag & Red
Morecambe v Rochdale
Swindon Town v Macclesfied Town
Cambridge City v MK Dons
Cheltenham Town v Yate Town/Newport County
Dorchester Utd v Plymouth Argyle
Coventry City v Arlesey Town
York City v AFC Wimbledon
Bury v Exeter City
Chesterfield v Hartlepool Utd
Doncaster Rovers v Bradford Park Ave
Gillingham v Scunthorpe Utd
Aldershot Town v Hendon
Lincoln City/Halifax Town v Walsall
Wrexham v Alfreton Town
Southend Utd v Stockport County
Crewe v Wycombe
Bristol Rovers v Sheff Utd
Hereford Utd v Shrewsbury Town
Mansfield v SLough Town/Gosport Boro
Barnet v Oxford Utd
Rotherham Utd v Stevenage
AFC Fylde/Ilkeston Town v Accrington Stanley
Gloucester City v Leyton Orient
Burton Albion v Altrincham
Guiseley v Barrow
Northampton Town v Bradford City
Preston NE v Yeovil Town
Braintree Town v Tranmere Rovers
Carlisle Utd v Ebbsfleet Utd