Villa 3:0 Everton (19 Jan)

           Aston Villa striker Julian Joachim fired a two-goal blast to send his side back level on points with
           FA Carling Premiership leaders Chelsea, as they easily disposed of 10-man Everton 3-0 at Villa

           Joachim enabled Villa to put a disappointing first-half performance behind them after Everton defender Alex
           Cleland was sent off for two bookable offences after 11minutes. 

           Watching England coach Glenn Hoddle saw the former Leicester player break the deadlock in the 40th minute
           and then effectively kill off the contest with his second goal six minutes into the second period. 

           It took Joachim's goal tally into double figures for the campaign, and he is on course to surpass his previous best tally 
           for a campaign of 14 with The Foxes five years ago. 

           Everton defended with plenty of grit and determination in the first period, but in the second half, it
           was purely a damage-limitation exercise for Walter Smith's side who have now taken two points
           from the last 15. 

           Villa seldom showed their usual fluency but they still won in a canter again demonstrated they do not
           intend to give up their quest for a first League crown in 18 years without a tremendous fight. 

           There was even the luxury of icing on the cake in the form of a Paul Merson goal as he put his
           misunderstanding with manager John Gregory behind him in his first outing for two months after his
           back injury lay-off. 

           Cleland collected his first yellow card in the 10th minute after bringing down the pacey Joachim in
           full flight just outside the area after he had cut in from the left wing. 

           Sixty seconds later, the former Rangers player - Howard Kendall's last signing before the start of
           the Smith era - saw red from Scunthorpe referee Neal Barry after a touchline challenge from behind
           on Dion Dublin. 

           Smith switched Oliver Dacourt into Cleland's right-back berth, and unsurprisingly, Villa enjoyed the
           lion's share of the possession with their numerical advantage. 

           But the home side struggled to break down a determined Everton side who had gone into the game
           operating a 4-5-1 system with Ibrahima Bakayoko the lone striker. 

           Joachim shot across the face of the goal when well placed after being found in space by Lee
           Hendrie, but Villa were guilty of too much slipshod passing in the opening 45 minutes. 

           Ian Taylor, who today spelt out his desire to stay at the club for life, sent a 25-yard effort just wide,
           and Riccardo Scimeca was a yard too high with a volley from just outside the area. 

           But that was the total of Villa's threat to Thomas Myhre's goal before Joachim broke the deadlock
           in the 40th minute after Dublin had been fouled by Dacourt near the touchline. 

           Hendrie curled in the free-kick which was headed back by Taylor, and in an instant, Joachim
           controlled the ball and volleyed past Myhre via the underside of the bar. 

           Everton tried to retaliate and in the 43rd minute Villa 'keeper Michael Oakes saved Villa skipper
           Gareth Southgate from conceding an embarrassing own goal. 

           The England defender, under pressure from Bakayoko, toe-poked the ball back towards his own
           goal, and it needed Oakes to tip the ball over the bar at full stretch. 

           Gregory brought on Stan Collymore for Dublin at the start of the second half, and Villa immediately
           stepped up a gear after their lacklustre opening 45 minutes. 

           They needed only six minutes to double their lead courtesy of a another clinical finish by Joachim
           which rounded off a delightful move. 

           Scimeca and Taylor were involved before Hendrie's first-time pass found Joachim who raced clear
           of the defence before beating Myrhe with a cross-shot into the left-hand roof of the net. 

           Collymore almost added to the lead with a good header from a Steve Watson cross which Myhre clung onto away to 
           his left. 

           Then Myhre turned behind a powerful effort from Watson after Joachim had turned the ball invitingly into his path. 

           One of the biggest cheers of the night came after 59 minutes with the introduction of Merson. 

           He quickly made his presence felt with a darting run from midfield although his final shot was easy meat for Myhre. 

           But he made no mistake in the 78th minute from close range after  Watson headed a cross from that man Joachim 
           back into his path.

Martin Sivorn © 1999.E-Mail Me