Everton revelling in simplicity

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The Independent Online
GUY HODGSON

Everton 2 Queen's Park Rangers 0

November does things for Everton. Last year they lit the blue touch paper at this time of the year and headed upwards and a third consecutive victory suggests more of the same could be on the way. Certainly Joe Royle's claim that his side could make the Uefa Cup places suddenly does not look so daft.

Last night they casually brushed aside a QPR team whose fragility is on a par with bone china. Indeed if you could quibble about Everton at all it was that they carried the sang-froid too far and did not do a thorough demolition job, scoring only through Graham Stuart and Paul Rideout.

Not that there was any shortage of quality about the first goal in particular. Indeed, one of Everton's endearing qualities is their ability to suddenly burst out of their prosaic clothes and display their finery and their 18th-minute goal was about as good as you can get.

Anders Limpar hit a wonderful pass from the left touchline that travelled a full 50 yards before arcing over Steve Yates and into the path of Stuart. Such was the precision of the ball that the Everton striker could extend a boot and delicately lob it over Juergen Sommer. It was pure Route One but glorious for it.

There was a simplicity, too, about the second goal, the ball finishing past Sommer barely seconds after he had cleared it from his area. Joe Parkinson headed back and Rideout beat the QPR goalkeeper with a low half- volley from 20 yards.

Rangers, meanwhile, managed only two chances, volleys from Trevor Sinclair and Matthew Brazier that were stopped at close range by Southall, and, short of power at both ends of the pitch, they are finding the downward drag difficult to resist.

This result means they have taken only two of their last 18 points and even Manchester City are suddenly looming in their rear-view mirror.

Everton (4-4-2): Southall; Jackson, Short, Watson, Unsworth; Kanchelskis, Ebbrell, Parkinson, Limpar; Rideout, Stuart. Substitutes not used: Hinchcliffe, Horne, Amokachi.

Queen's Park Rangers (4-4-2): Sommer; Ready, Yates, Maddix, Challis (McDonald, 82); Impey, Barker, Zelic, Brazier; Gallen, Sinclair (Dichio, 52). Substitute not used: Wilkins.

Referee: P Danson (Leicester).

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