The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
The normally restrained Fifer, whose calculated and controlled approach had for twenty-one years been his football trademark, made no attempt to hide the emotion he felt as he walked through the guard of honour created by his fellow professionals and made his way to the centre circle to acknowledge the applause of both sets of fans in a crowd of over 6,000.Man of the moment Maurice Malpas was applauded onto the pitch by both sides, but once the match started, almost inevitably, Everton debutante Paul Gascoigne was in the spotlight. After reminding everyone of his brilliance after just three minutes with a clever back-heeled pass he was soon at the centre of controversy following an incident with United's French trialist. Joachlm Fernandez went down, though play was allowed to go on. After treatment the incident escalated. Fernandez, clearly still angry, sprinted twenty yards towards Gascoigne and confronted him. Players and referee Gary Mitchell intervened before Everton skipper Dave Unsworth finally shoved the apparently furious Frenchman away. As this was a testimonial, the ref signalled to the United bench that they should make a substitution before he was forced to produce a red card. Fernandez was therefore replaced by Jamie Buchan. Fifteen minutes later Gascoigne began the move which brought Everton their goal. He struck a pass out to Mark Pembridge on the left and his cross found Francis Jeffers in front of goal. His header was brilliantly pushed over the bar by Alan Combe, but the keeper could do nothing to stop ex-Hearts' David Weir scoring with a header from Stephen Hughes' corner. Everton controlled the first half and Gravesen was unlucky not to add another on half-time when his swerving shot crashed off the bar. Walter Smith made seven changes at half-time and an unchanged United took full advantage of that by scoring two goals before the visitors had settled. First, veteran Dave Watson sent a short passback towards Simonsen and Steven Thompson nipped in to round the stranded goalkeeper, and score. Five minutes later a superb cross from Craig Easton reached Alex Mathie, who steered a close-range shot past the keeper After seventy-one minutes Maurice Malpas, who had shown he can still nullify the danger of top class strikers, went off to be replaced by David Partridge. He left to a standing ovation and few players from any club, have deserved that more.Manager Paul Sturrock and club chairman Jim McLean were loud in their praise of the United support which turned out in greater-than-expected numbers for Maurice Malpas's big night against Everton.Said the chairman,"It was an outstanding and deserved tribute for a wonderful servant to Dundee United". Malpas himself was overwhelmed by the reception given him by the Tangerines fans. "The response of the supporters was simply unbelievable. I cannot thank them enough".