Watson's strike leaves Newcastle blue

FOOTBALL

BY GLENN MOORE

Everton 1

Newcastle United 0

Joy unconfined in the blue half of Merseyside. Liverpool out, Everton in; what a weekend to be a Blue. Such days have been rare for Evertonians over the last five years, and it was easy to understand the mood of celebration and relief which engulfed Goodison Park at the end of yesterday's quarter- final.

Their heroes were the two players who remember better days, Dave Watson and Neville Southall, the only survivors from Everton's last final, in 1989 - when they lost to Liverpool.

Watson scored the only goal of a game short on quality but long on tension with 25 minutes left. And with 12 minutes remaining, Southall played his part in making an outstanding save from Lee Clark as the game reached a pulsating climax.

Victory put Everton into their record 23rd semi-final for a meeting with Tottenham - conquerors of Liverpool - on 9 April. If it is to lead to their 12th final, they will have to transfer their home form to the semi- final venue.

This was their seventh successive victory at Goodison Park; they have only won twice away all season. Their football is limited in ambition but, in the right circumstances, effective. As the Newcastle manager, a bitterly disappointed Kevin Keegan, noted afterwards: "They are always dangerous from set-pieces."

And it was from one of these that Everton scored. Marc Hottiger gave away a free-kick by the touchline 30 yards from goal. David Unsworth bombed it in at Duncan Ferguson, who got ahead of Darren Peacock to head down. Hottiger failed to clear, and Watson lunged past him to head in. Scrappy, but not unexpected.

Everton created the better chances throughout, despite being manifestly second to Newcastle in terms of passing, invention and ball control. John Ebbrell failed to control just yards from goal after Anders Limpar had set him up after 16 minutes. Stuart Barlow, put clear after Ferguson headed on a Southall punt, then saw his shot tipped on to the bar by Pavel Srnicek after 27 minutes.

Barlow - a devastating finisher at reserve level, an inept one in the first team - then sprinted onto Gary Ablett's pass on the hour, but shot lamentably wide before Ferguson volleyed just over from outside the box.

The Scot had an even better chance to settle the match after Watson had scored, but chipped into Srnicek's gloves after Peacock had sold his goalkeeper short with a terrible headed back-pass.

By now, Newcastle were laying siege to Everton's goal, but the reshaped back four, in which Watson was outstanding, defended magnificently. And when Newcastle did break through they found Southall in excellent form. He had saved well from Paul Kitson in the second minute, and from Clark after 30, but his best moment came after 78 minutes.

An intelligent run took Kitson behind the Everton defence, he squared to Clark and Southall saved at point-blank range. The ball fell to Ruel Fox, but he thrashed it into the side-netting.

"The dream is over for another year," Keegan said. "I have nothing more to say, we're out." His team sorely missed the injured Peter Beardsley, and were further hampered by the suspension of Steve Howey and the early departure, through injury, of John Beresford. But Everton could argue that their potency was equally affected by the loss of Andy Hinchcliffe, whose left-foot crosses and corners have supplied so many of their recent goals.

His regular target, Ferguson, will miss the semi-final, unless Everton's appeal against his imminent four-match suspension is successful this week. In a vivid demonstration of his priorities, Joe Royle, the Everton manager, said that was a bonus as it meant he would be free for an extra League game.

Avoiding the drop remains the priority for Royle. As he found last year as manager of Oldham, reaching a semi-final is of little consolation if you finish the season in the relegation zone.

Everton (4-4-2): Southall; Jackson, Watson, Ablett, Unsworth; Ebbrell, Parkinson, Horne, Limpar (Stuart, 62); Barlow, Ferguson. Substitutes not used: Samways, Reeves (gk).

Newcastle United (4-1-4-1): Srnicek; Hottiger (Watson, 79), Venison, Peacock, Beresford; Bracewell (Elliott, 51); Gillespie, Lee, Clark, Fox; Kitson. Substitute not used: Hooper (gk).

Referee: K Cooper (Pontypridd).

FA CUP SEMI-FINAL DRAW

Manchester Utd v C Palace

or Wolves

Tottenham v Everton

Ties to be played Sunday 9 April

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence