Football: Armstrong shows way

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Everton . . . . . .0

Crystal Palace. . .2

THE FACES may have changed, but Crystal Palace's ability to spring a surprise should never be underestimated. Aided by Everton's generosity in defence and deficiences up front, Palace won their first match of the season when their new pounds 1m striker from Millwall, Chris Armstrong, scored twice - as he did last week against Oldham.

Playing with what his manager, Steve Coppell, called 'the innocence of youth' and well supported by the speedy John Salako, Armstrong's directness was, ironically, just what Everton lacked.

Palace were on course for victory from the moment the Geordie striker dived low to head in Salako's cross after eight minutes. Ten minutes later the same duo cleverly plotted a second goal, Armstrong fastening on to the winger's pass before riding Neville Southall's lunge and steering the ball into an empty net.

Questions had to be asked about the amount of space allowed by the Everton back line. What made it more frustrating for home fans was that their new front man, Paul Rideout, sidefooted wide from four yards.

The Palace ploy of breaking blindingly fast from deep positions continued to cause Everton problems into the second half as Armstrong flashed another wide. On the hour Everton lost the focus of their attack when Peter Beardsley departed with a hamstring injury. The home side stuck with their neat passing game, but their finishing was slack.

As Everton tried to salvage something, Matt Jackson brought a good reflex save from Nigel Martyn, but the pattern of the game did not change.

Everton: N Southall; A Harper, A Hinchcliffe, J Ebbrell, D Watson, G Ablett, P Beagrie, P Beardsley (M Jackson, 58 min), P Rideout (M Johnston, h/t), T Cottee, B Horne. Sub not used: J Kearton (gk). Manager: H Kendall.

Crystal Palace: N Martyn; J Humphrey, L Sinnott, G Southgate, E Young, S Osborn, P Williams, C Coleman, C Armstrong, J Salako, E McGoldrick. Subs not used: D Patterson, S Collymore, P Heald (gk). Manager: S Coppell.

Referee: D Gallagher (Banbury).

Goals: Armstrong (0-1, 8 min), Armstrong (0-2, 18 min).