20 For 20: Farrelly's Rescue
The rundown of our most memorable Premier League games continues.
In a bid to discover the Club's most memorable games of the Premier League's 20 seasons, we asked fans to vote in an exclusive poll on evertonfc.com. Today, our countdown from 20 to one continues with 1998's dramatic great escape...
EVERTON 1-1 Coventry City, 10 May 1998
For the second time in four years, Everton produced a nail-biting great escape to earn their survival on the final day of the season.
Unlike four years ago, the Blues did not have to battle back from two goals down. Ultimately, they did not even have to win.
But any Evertonian will tell you, this was tense.
This was a football match that had just about everything. A quite spectacular goal from midfielder Gareth Farrelly, a missed penalty by Nick Barmby, a dramatic equaliser from Dion Dublin and minutes of excruciating tension as a great club desperately clung on to its 44-year top-flight status.
Arriving here on the back of two straight losses and occupying the third and final relegation spot, Everton knew defeat was not an option.
But their fate was also out of their own hands; they required Chelsea to do them a favour against Bolton.
Delivering on their own end of the bargain was all the hosts could do – and they got off to the perfect start.
Farrelly's inclusion in Howard Kendall's starting XI may have raised eyebrows ahead of kick-off but when his big moment came just seven minutes in, the youngster delivered.
He started the move, flicking the ball high towards Duncan Ferguson. Ferguson - at his unplayable best all afternoon long - was then strong enough to win his aerial challenge and direct the ball back towards the edge of the box.
In doing so, he picked out Farrelly, who had darted forward. Twenty-five yards from goal, the Irishman controlled with his chest and sent a thumping volley soaring towards the top corner. A magic moment.
Fear and tension continued to reign over Goodison as time ticked on with no further goals. But then came the good news from west London - Gianluca Vialli had put Chelsea in front.
Understanding Everton’s hopes still hung by a thread, Dave Watson did his bit, throwing his body on the line with a timely tackle to deny Darren Huckerby.
A penalty then came. And went. Paul Williams was adjudged to have fouled substitute Danny Cadamarteri, but Barmby couldn't capitalise from the spot.
Despite that blow, the last minute of normal time arrived. Everton, it seemed, had done it.
Until that is their former defender David Burrows - he of all people - sent a swirling ball towards the centre of the penalty box.
There, eight-yards from goal, was Dublin, primed to apply his trademark header - one Thomas Myhre clumsily let slip through his grasp. It was a mistake the Norwegian may have been left to regret for the rest of his days.
Indeed, a winner for Coventry or an equaliser for Bolton and Everton would have been down.
As it was, word came through that Chelsea’s Jody Morris had grabbed a second at the Bridge and the Blues held on.
The final whistle sparked frenzied scenes as a tidal wave of emotion tore free from the stands. Realisation hit home and the party could begin.
Farrelly (McCann 91)
Madar (Cadamarteri 49)
Manager: Howard Kendall
Breen (Williams 51)
Telfer (Hall 89)
Huckerby (Haworth 69)
"The fans responded today when the team coach arrived, when the players entered the field, when they played. There was never a negative thought in the fans' minds but it is a day I won't want to go through again while I'm manager." - Howard Kendall
"We didn't know what was happening at Chelsea. We could hear the crowd cheering but we were concentrating so much on our job. In the end it all turned out right but it was too close. I wouldn't want to live through another game like that." - Everton captain Dave Watson
"It was my first goal of the season and it couldn't have been a better one. I have never scored a more important goal." - Gareth Farrelly
- Aqua's 'Turn Back Time' tops the UK singles charts, while Scream 2 proves a hit at the cinemas.
- The first Euro coins are minted in Pessac, France.
- Arsene Wenger leads Arsenal to the Premier League glory in his first full season in charge. They later add the FA Cup to become only the second English club to do the double twice.
- Elsewhere in the top flight, a 1-0 final day win over Sheffield Wednesday isn't enough to prevent Crystal Palace finishing bottom.
- The following month Howard Kendall was sacked as Everton manager and replaced by former Rangers boss Walter Smith.
- Farrelly fell out of favour the following season and was soon sold to Bolton Wanderers. His strike against Coventry was one of only two in 30 appearances for the Club.
For a full 1997/98 fixture list, click here.