Dogs of war meet match in Emerson

Everton 1 Middlesbrough 2

Some victories have a symbolic value over and above the three points they generate. The jubilation of the Middlesbrough players and supporters suggested this was such an occasion.

Goodison Park was where it began going pear-shaped for Middlesbrough halfway through last season. Fifth in the Premiership and boasting its best defensive record, they were overrun 4-0 by Everton. The next 10 games produced a solitary point, a sequence which convinced Bryan Robson of the need to re-invent his side during the summer.

Just five of the 14 on duty in the December debacle took part as Boro scaled a psychological barrier by winning away for only the second time all year. Moreover, they did it - under the gaze of Glenn Hoddle and at the end of a week when the shortcomings of British huff and puff were again laid bare in Europe - by trusting in skill and mobility.

Nick Barmby, the antithesis of the battering-ram striker, scored their first and made the second for the waif-like Juninho. Hauled off on his first trip to Goodison, the latter now struck to secure only their fourth win in 44 visits. Yet it was the performance of another supposed South American softy, Emerson, that proved the real difference between two unexceptional sides.

When the Middlesbrough line-up was peppered with the dour names of hard men like Craggs and Boam, Maddren and Spraggon, buying a Brazilian would have been tantamount to signing a Martian. As the third from that country to join in a matter of months, in a deal overshadowed by Fabrizio Ravanelli's arrival, Emerson's welcome was almost blase. Attitudes are changing fast.

His touch is as you would expect of a son of Rio de Janiero. Faced with the so-called "Dogs of War", the dreadlocked 24-year-old also showed a facility for the physical dimension which bodes well for the winter. "His all-round ability is outstanding," the Middlesbrough manager said of his pounds 4m recruit from Portugal. "The few times I saw him play for Porto he dictated the pace of the game.

It was the same story here, at least in the second half, when Emerson imposed a rhythm on Middlesbrough's ground-level attacks which contrasted starkly with Everton's tendency to look for Duncan Ferguson's head. However, when Craig Short headed home inside 10 minutes - exactly as he had on Boxing Day - things looked bleak for the visitors.

Suddenly, Barmby was racing clear to lob Neville Southall for his first club goal since January. The former Tottenham striker, with a back-heeled pass out of the Hoddle manual, also set up Juninho for his fourth goal in six games, already double last season's tally.

"It all hinged on little incidents," a perplexed Joe Royle said, citing Andy Hinchcliffe's cross-shot inches wide immediately before Barmby struck. And three minutes before the winner Alan Miller made a brilliant reflex save to stop one of several towering headers by Ferguson.

Middlesbrough have now won three in a row; Everton have lost the last three. For all Royle's bafflement, the lack of midfield guile is transparent, the dependence on power outmoded. A Coca-Cola Cup home leg against Second Division opponents on Wednesday provides a chance to break the spell, but York City will be inspired by the memory of last September's crushing defeat of Manchester United.

On the subject of lightning striking again, five bookings in a game bereft of malice took Paul Danson to 19 yellow cards and one red in four Premiership fixtures. The referee had Gary Speed's name after two minutes - for flattering to deceive, one cynic suggested - and issued cautions as if on commission until half-time. After that, of course, Emerson was running the show.

Goals: Short (8) 1-0; Barmby (61) 1-1; Juninho (81) 1-2.

Everton (4-4-2): Southall; Barrett, Short, Unsworth, Hinchcliffe; Kanchelskis, Ebbrell, Parkinson, Speed; Branch (Stuart, 56), Ferguson. Substitutes not used: Rideout, Hottiger, Grant, Gerrard (gk).

Middlesbrough: (5-2-1-2) Miller; Cox, Whyte, Vickers, Whelan, Fleming; Mustoe, Emerson; Juninho; Barmby, Ravanelli. Substitutes not used: Moore, Hendrie, Stamp, Branco, Roberts (gk).

Referee: P Danson (Leicester). Attendance: 39,250.

Bookings: Everton: Speed, Hinchcliffe, Unsworth; Middlesbrough: Vickers, Mustoe.

Man of the match: Emerson.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Wes Brown is sent-off
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower