Everton 3 West Ham United 0
The media had been primed to expect fireworks on the night Duncan Ferguson returned for Everton and they duly arrived. A player made for the tunnel, his head bowed in shame, except it was not Barlinnie's best centre-forward in years trundling towards the unflattering headlines, but Ludek Miklosko.
The West Ham goalkeeper was sent off after 42 minutes last night when he stiff-arm tackled Daniel Amokachi as he was about to shoot. The only doubt then was how many Everton would score and Graham Stuart, David Unsworth and John Ebbrell provided the answer. The fact that the latter two were against Julian Dicks, who substituted unconvincingly for Miklosko, did not exactly endorse this as a compelling home display.
"I'm delighted with three goals," Joe Royle, the Everton manager, said. "I don't think we played well enough to get more. It was probably our worst performance in weeks."
The first Everton goal had an element of fortune about it. Amokachi passed from the right after 33 minutes, the ball bounced off Andrei Kanchelskis and fell to Stuart, whose shot was miscued. However, Miklosko's weight was going the other way and as he fell to his right, the ball trickled to his left.
That was unfortunate for Miklosko, but worse was to follow nine minutes later when he clattered Amokachi. The visitors were without a substitute goalkeeper, so Dicks took over and was sent the wrong way by Unsworth's penalty.
With a two-goal lead and numerical superiority, the situation cried out for Ferguson and he was brought on after 62 minutes. At 6ft 4in he must have been a fearsome sight for Dicks, but hardly more so than a shot from Stuart that the new keeper all but put into his own net.
Dicks parried the ball, it bounced off his shin and was heading between his legs until he bent down to save his embarrassment. The West Ham fans responded with a chant of "England's, England's No 1".
This unorthodox technique could not withstand another test from Amokachi after 68 minutes, however. He dived to his left, but the ball bounced away and Ebbrell tucked away the rebound. There remained just enough time for Dicks to have the last laugh, flinging himself inelegantly to scramble a header from Ferguson round the post. With that, he was named Sky's man of the match.
Everton (4-4-2): Southall; Jackson, Watson, Short, Unsworth; Kanchelskis, Ebbrell, Parkinson, Limpar (Ferguson, 62); Stuart, Amokachi. Substitutes not used: Horne, Kearton.
West Ham United (4-4-2): Miklosko; Breacker, Rieper, Potts, Dicks; Slater, Williamson, Bishop, Hughes; Dowie, Cottee (Rowland, h-t). Substitutes not used: Harkes, Boogers.
Referee: M Reed (Birmingham).
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