Football: Amokachi offers hope

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The Independent Online
Everton. .2

Amokachi 10, Rideout 24

QPR. . . .2

Ferdinand 4, 48

Attendance: 27,285

EVERTON are clear at the foot of the Premiership, thanks to their inability to deal with one of the small army of goalscorers linked with their increasingly confused and confusing quest for the right chemistry up front. Les Ferdinand was an outstanding figure for Rangers, not only scoring both their goals but also prompting virtually all their attacking progress with his deceptively subtle repertoire of glides and glances.

The consolation for Everton - and a side slipping as far adrift as they are at this early stage of the season needs consolation - came exclusively in the form of Daniel Amokachi, the one striker they have come up with. The Nigerian's home debut was the source of rich encouragement for Everton. His speed, strength and willingness to chase lost causes will make him an important asset, provided he has players of comparable effectiveness around him.

His first Everton goal - equalising Ferdinand's first - was a side-foot into a vacant net after Matthew Jackson's flick- on at the near post. It was simple enough, but his overall contribution was handsome. He also played a crucial role in the goal that put Everton ahead, reacting first to snap up a loose ball in the QPR area and feeding the otherwise anonymous Anders Limpar. His cross found Paul Rideout, a striker who must sense that he is only keeping a shirt warm until Everton find an exotic import willing to pay his own tax. Tony Roberts stopped his header but not until it had crossed the goal-line.

Rideout missed a couple of other clear opportunities as Everton, lifted by Amokachi's energy and enterprise, threatened to take control. But there was always the lurking figure of Ferdinand hinting at problems still to come.

The new Everton club song, to the tune of 'Bad Moon Rising' and unleashed yesterday to coincide with the official opening of their new stand, foretold the way they would be found wanting with the line 'I see players that are trying'.

After the collective paralysis that allowed Ferdinand on to Ian Holloway's chip for an arching header to open the scoring, an individual error from David Unsworth tried Mike Walker's patience further. Unsworth's hesitation allowed Ferdinand to latch on to David Bardsley's long ball and stroke home the equaliser into Southall's far corner.

Ferdinand finished the match under treatment for concussion after getting in the way of Southall's effort to punch away his header. Gerry Francis was hopeful that he will be available for Coca-Cola Cup duty on Tuesday and Walker's headache could prove the longer lasting. Trying times indeed.

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