Our Everton in the 80’s series continues with a look back at the dramatic 1985 League Cup 4th Round tie between Everton and Chelsea. Everton travelled to Stamford Bridge as favourites but after Kevin Sheedy was sent off inside the first half, Howard Kendall’s men were left to battle for a draw and a replay at Goodison Park.
26th November 1985: Match Report from the Daily Express
Kerry Dixon was kicking himself last night for failing to put Chelsea into the Milk Cup quarter finals after Everton were crippled by the sending off of Kevin Sheedy.
Dixon, Chelsea’s England centre forward, had scored his 16th goal of the season after just 53 seconds of this fourth round tie for the right to face QPR.
But it is a volley over the bar from eight yards in the 51st minute that will haunt Dixon as he contemplates a difficult Goodison Park replay on December 10.
Everton had valiantly recovered from Dixon’s early strike to take the lead before the controversial explosion point in the 27th minute.
It seemed that anger over a offside decision that was not given was what sparked Sheedy’s verbal confrontation with Oxford referee Dennis Hedges, an official I saw give 58 free kicks in a Third Division match at Plymouth last weekend. Chelsea manager John Hollins commented afterwards “The referee did warn us before the game he would not accept being sworn at and it would seem that is what Kevin Sheedy did.
“I think we all knew what the consequences of arguing with him would be.”
Sheedy’s dismissal undoubtedly affected the course of a match that had started with high drama and the promise of some invigorating football.
The first free kick of the match was pumped down the right by Colin Pates and headed on by Joe McLaughlin. David Speedie, with the deftest of flicks, put Dixon into the kind of situation he relishes, one against one with the goalkeeper, and he beat Neville Southall, one of the best in the land, to give Chelsea a dramatic lead.
Yet within a minute Everton had levelled. Nigel Spackman’s push on Graeme Sharp giving Sheedy the opportunity to direct a superb left-foot free kick into the top right hand corner.
It was exhilarating stuff and the drama heightened in the 12th minute as Sharp burst through on the right and squared for Gary Lineker to lay the ball back for Paul Bracewell to hammer another left-footer violently into the far corner.
The match was finely poised when Sheedy took the slow walk of shame that his erring tongue inflicted and the odds in Chelsea’s favour told in the 39th minute.
Dixon made an impressive break down the right, proving his strength is not restricted to the six-yard area and having muscled his way past two defenders, he squared to the near post to provide Pat Nevin with the simplest of tap-ins,
So it was all the more galling that Dixon failed to give Chelsea victory with his 51st minute miss,
Everton decided their safest policy was to try and contain Chelsea’s second half charge and they did it without too much discomfort, though Chelsea did not take the fullest advantage of their extra man.