Everton show raw courage

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Everton 2

Wetherall 6 og, Kanchelskis 51

Leeds United 0

Attendance: 40,009

EVERTON lost their commanding captain and central defender Dave Watson, sent off for a second bookable offence in the 17th minute, yet were still capable of dispatching, without undue effort, the Christmas conquerors of Manchester United and Bolton.

Their whole performance, on this raw afternoon, was a testimony to their resilience and tenacity. They are well worth backing to keep the FA Cup.

All this was done in sub-zero temperatures in the bitter wind which made control, on a surface suspect despite the under-soil heating, occasionally awkward. Leeds, it is true, were without Tony Yeboah, with Ghana, and Carlton Palmer, suspended, but Everton, too, were robbed of Daniel Amokachi, with Nigeria, and the injured Anders Limpar.

Yet there is never any doubt as to which team had genuine zest for the contest and the appearance of Duncan Ferguson, from the start, had warmed Goodison hearts.

It was the tall Ferguson's awkward presence, running on to Neville Southall's long kicks with the wind, that disconcerted Leeds immediately. In the fifth minute Ferguson beat a defender to the ball, Graham Stuart ran to collect and David Wetherall, trying to clear, turned the ball into his own net.

In all the jubilation, a booking for Watson, for a foul on Gary Speed, went almost unnoticed but its relevance was all too apparent a little later when Brian Deane went down under a heavy tackle. Watson, as soon as he saw the referee Jeff Winter's finger, turned without waiting for the red card.

Leeds were thus presented with a glorious opportunity for continuing their run of success, yet their only goal attempt in the first half was a shot from Richard Jobson that Neville Southall fielded comfortably.

Six minutes into the second half Andrei Kanchelskis, in danger of hypothermia on the exposed right flank, suddenly steamed inside. With Leeds backing off and expecting a pass, he suddenly and deftly, with his left foot, flicked the ball between the diving Mark Beeney and the further post.

Again Leeds tried to regroup, Rod Wallace putting a little flickering flame into their attack and actually contriving a second attempt on goal but not until the 72nd minute did Joe Royle forgo his attacking options when he withdrew Ferguson for a defender. Even then, Everton continued to show the more enterprise in going forward.