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Everton 2 West Ham 1 By Paul Walker, PA Sport
Graham Stuart gave Everton their first win of the season and sent West Ham
tumbling to their first defeat.
The tough little midfielder somehow managed to create space for himself in the
box with just seven minutes to go but it was enough for him to spin and fire the
ball past a startled Ludo Miklosko from six yards.
It fired life into Everton's season, that had started so badly with the opening
day defeat by newly-promoted Crystal Palace.
Howard Kendall's re-constructed side have had to wait since then, through a
fortnight's inactivity because of international demands, to put that awful start
In that time Kendall has signed midfielder Danny Williamson from West Ham, and
let former England defender David Unsworth go in the opposite direction.
Both played well for their new clubs, and certainly early on it looked like
Unsworth was going to have a happy return to Goodison Park, where he received a
fine ovation from his old fans after 10 years on Merseyside.
West Ham defended with style and composure, with Rio Ferdinand outstanding at
But although West Ham finished the first half deserved leaders, Everton should
take great heart from the strength and determination of their comeback.
It was sustained and powerful, and finally wore West Ham down. They just
couldn't break out of the stranglehold of Everton's bombardment.
It wasn't very sophisticated, most of it was in the air and aimed at Duncan
Ferguson. In the end Kendall had four giants going for every set piece. He sent
on Craig Short to add to the height of Ferguson, Slaven Bilic - also playing
against his old club - and Dave Watson.
West Ham were always under the cosh now, but it was skipper Gary Speed who
pulled them level after 66 minutes.
Nicky Barmby's left wing corner swung in, and Speed ducked to guide a fizzing
low header home through a packed box.
West Ham had been ahead after 22 minutes. It was their just reward for a half
of clever skills. It came after Bilic had been booked for a foul on Eyal
Berkovic, which resulted in John Moncur also being cautioned for his part in the
When the free-kick was taken, John Hartson took control and powered in a
20-yard shot that Neville Southall would have saved to his left.
But Watson was standing right in front of his keeper and lunged in to divert
the ball home for an own goal.
West Ham had looked very dangerous on the break, and Hartson and Paul Kitson
caused considerable trouble. But if Everton were being outshone by West Ham's
skills, they came out after the break hell-bent on a siege.
After just a minute, Barmby got behind Ferdinand to produce a great
close-range save from Miklosko.
Terry Phelan bounced a high cross onto the West Ham bar as the Everton
pressure mounted. John Oster was flung into the fray to produce some width and
skill on the left, and then Stuart stabbed a close-range shot wide after
Ferguson had headed down a Phelan cross.
The equaliser had to come, and skipper Speed obliged, and soon after Miklosko
saved superbly from Barmby.
It looked as if West Ham had managed to survive, and they probably deserved a
point for the efforts of Steve Lomas in midfield alone.
But with just seven minutes left, up popped Stuart to produce that moment of
inspiration in the box, and Everton's season was up and running.
Everton:Southall, Barrett, Phelan, Williamson (Short 78),
Watson, Bilic, Stuart, Barmby, Ferguson, Speed,
Farrelly (Oster 58).
Subs Not Used: Gerrard, Thomas, Branch.
Booked: Bilic, Williamson, Barmby, Ferguson.
Goals: Speed 67, Stuart 83.
West Ham: Miklosko, Breacker (Dowie 87), Unsworth, Rieper,
Ferdinand, Moncur (Hughes 81), Lazaridis, Lomas,
Berkovic (Lampard 81), Hartson, Kitson.
Subs Not Used: Forrest, Potts.
Booked: Moncur, Breacker.
Goals: Watson 23 og.
Ref: P Jones (Loughborough).