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  Sunday, 10 March, 2002, 14:54 GMT
Middlesbrough thrash Everton
Nemeth celebrates scoring Middlesbrough's second
Middlesbrough 3-0 Everton
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Middlesbrough sealed a place in the FA Cup semi-final and piled the pressure on Everton boss Walter Smith as they cruised to victory at The Riverside Staduim.

A sterile encounter was dramatically transformed from an opening half-hour of stalemate as Middlesbrough rocked Everton with three goals in a seven-minute spell before the interval.

  Key moments:
35 mins: Whelan gets the first for Boro
37 mins: Nemeth quickly makes it two
42 mins: Ince buries Everton with a third

Noel Whelan opened the scoring after 35 minutes following a dreadful defensive mix-up between Everton defender Alessandro Pistone and goalkeeper Steve Simonsen.

And when Szilard Nemeth and Paul Ince added to Everton's agony in swift succession, Steve McClaren's side had taken another giant stride towards Cardiff.

It was a performance that underscored Boro's recent improvement as they climb up the Premiership table and reach the latter stages of the FA Cup without conceding a goal in the competition.

Will I stay? Definitely. I will soldier on, I have done so before and I will do so again
Everton manager Walter Smith

Everton boss Smith, in contrast, is left to contemplate an uncertain future and another battle against relegation as he was subjected to angry taunts from the club's travelling support.

Smith has been under fire from a section of fans as they slumped into the relegation zone and Everton's abject display will not have helped his cause.

Everton left David Ginola out of their squad and gave Paul Gascoigne one last shot at FA Cup glory - but it was not be as Middlesbrough strolled to victory.

Everton goalkeeper Simonsen's acrobatics

It was a match that threatened to live up to its billing as a bore draw until a fatal Everton error in the 35th minute.

Ince's pass posed no danger until Simonsen came rushing needlessly from his goal, panicking Pistone into a header which left Whelan with an open invitation to pass into an empty net.

Middlesbrough were effectively home and dry two minutes later as Everton descended into defensive disarray.

Whelan and Alen Boksic stripped Everton bare, and when the Croatian's effort came back off the bar, Nemeth was on hand to nod home the second.

It's great to be in the semi-finals - when you get to this stage anything can happen. But we still have a lot of work to do in the league
MIddlesbrough manager Steve McClaren

Everton's misery and Boro's joy was complete when the third goal stamped their ticket into the semi-final for only the second trime in their history after 42 minutes.

Gascoigne was caught in possession by the excellent Jonathan Greening, to release Boksic.

Simonsen saved well from Boksic, but the ball fell invitingly for Ince to supply the easiest of finishes.

Hapless Everton boss Smith made a double switch at half-time, sending on youngster Nick Chadwick and Niclas Alexandersson for Tobias Linderoth and Joe-Max Moore.

Festa wrestles with Radzinski

It sparked a mini Everton revival, with Boro goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer saving well from Alexandersson and Tomasz Radzinksi.

But Boro were content to hold on to their lead - and the impression left from this cup tie was of two teams travelling in opposite directions.

Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Festa, Southgate, Queudrue, Stockdale, Ince, Greening, Mustoe, Boksic (Debeve 73), Nemeth (Marinelli 84), Whelan (Windass 87). Subs Not Used: Crossley, Gavin.

Booked: Greening.

Everton: Simonsen, Pistone, Stubbs, Weir, Unsworth, Clarke, Gascoigne, Gemmill (Blomqvist 73), Linderoth (Alexandersson 45), Radzinski, Moore (Chadwick 45). Subs Not Used: Gerrard, Cleland.

Booked: Stubbs.

Attendance: 26,950.

Referee: A Wiley (Burntwood).

BBC Sport's John Murray
"A remarkable quarter-final"
Middlesbrough captain Paul Ince
"We killed the game off at half-time"
Everton's Paul Gascoigne
"You don't lose an FA Cup quarter-final the way we did"
Should Walter Smith stay at Everton?



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