Everton end dry spell

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The Independent Online
THE rivers are running dry and the reservoirs are as parched as the Gobi Desert but, to general sighs of relief, the early season goal droughts have ended at Everton and Queen's Park Rangers.

The stormy saga of Andrei Kanchelskis's transfer to Everton reached its logical conclusion when the Russian international made his debut for the Merseysiders against Southampton at Goodison Park and the Blues were given wings. But it was their other wide player, Anders Limpar, who, after 31 minutes, played a one-two with Paul Rideout before letting fly from 25 yards, giving Dave Beasant no chance.

Eight minutes later, the Nigerian international Daniel Amokachi used his strength to bustle a second goal after Gary Ablett's long clearance baffled the Saints' all-too easily confused defence. He headed in off the post to send Southampton to the bottom of the Premiership.

QPR, without a goal or a point at the start of the home game against Manchester City, put the visitors under tremendous early pressure with City's central defenders Alan Kernaghan, in for Ian Brightwell, and Kit Symons making important tackles.

Rangers broke their duck for the season when Kevin Gallen set up Simon Barker. The midfielder powered forward and beat Eike Immel, the former Stuttgart goalkeeper, with a low right-foot shot into the corner.

Soon after the restart, Gallen himself twice went close, once failing to get sufficient power into his shot - Daniel Dichio and Ian Holloway had fashioned an opening for a shot which Immel saved easily - and once carving a chance for himself out of nothing. City's spluttering start stutters on.

Middlesbrough, unchanged from last Sunday's draw at Highbury, celebrated the opening of their own palatial ground, the new Riverside Stadium, which at pounds 16m costs roughly the equivalent of a couple of Collymores. Also present at the festivities: Chelsea, who had started the season in less than flamboyant style with two 0-0 draws.

Fittingly, it was Boro who scored the first goal at the new Stadium, after 39 minutes. A fine flowing move ended when the unmarked Craig Hignett fired a hard shot into the roof of the net. Chelsea's Ruud Gullit went close with an equally powerful but only slightly less accurate effort soon after.

Jan Age Fjortoft added a second for Boro after 79 minutes as Bryan Robson's side recorded its first Premiership win.

Bruce Rioch chose the same XI Arsenal players who had battled hard for their win at Everton to start against Coventry City at Highfield Road. But Ron Atkinson's adventurous Sky Blues played the more expansive soccer with former Benfica midfielder Isaias linking from just behind the strikers Dion Dublin and Peter Ndlovu and John Salako supplying width.

The Sky Blues soon had Arsenal under pressure - Steve Bould was booked in the second minute - and later in the first half Coventry missed three chances in four minutes, Ndlovu, twice, and Paul Telfer culpable.

The Gunners full back Lee Dixon hobbled off with a back injury after 50 minutes, John Jensen coming on into midfield and Martin Keown moving to left back.

Coventry's pressure remained relentless and Ndlovu missed a third good opportunity when Bould's clearance was intercepted by Telfer whose quick, crisp pass put the Zimbabwean forward clean through. As the striker hesitated, England goalkeeper David Seaman made a crucial save. It was inspiration enough for the Londoners to cling on for another point.

Finally, congratulations to free-scoring Roger Freestone, the Swansea City goalkeeper who scored his second penalty of the season in the Swans' 3-1 win over Chesterfield. He tucked his first away on the opening day of the season against Shrewsbury and was spot-on from the spot after 36 minutes of yesterday's 3-2 win. A fine way to celebrate the clubs' 75th anniversary of Football League membership. They even let children in for 5p.

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