Football: Barmby keeps Everton afloat

Everton 1 Ipswich Town 0
Click to follow
ONE OF the few bright spots for Everton during a barren Premiership campaign has been the form and influence of Don Hutchison.

A player generally regarded as an unreliable luxury during his time across Stanley Park with Liverpool has returned to Merseyside after his travels to become central to Everton's hopes of achieving anything this year.

In the absence of Olivier Dacourt and John Collins on Saturday, Hutchison, promoted to captain, had not only to provide much of the attacking thrust from midfield, but also to anchor it. He did it so effectively that Everton overcame their customary lack of scoring potential plus the added handicap of playing almost half of the game with 10 men with some comfort.

Hutchison made an important contribution to the winning goal, showing great tenacity in pursuing a mis-hit shot from Danny Cadamarteri - who was later booked for diving by the referee who took a more lenient view of David Ginola's tumbles last week - almost to the side-line and then putting in a telling cross that was eventually converted by Nick Barmby.

They were not helped by the sending off of Marco Materazzi for a second booking after tangling with David Johnson. It was his second dismissal of a season during which he has already served three suspensions - a record that has limited his value to his new club.

Everton, in fact, have defensive problems building up. Apart from Fabian Wilnis's disallowed strike in injury time, they kept Ipswich at bay with some ease, but they could find their resources stretched by Materazzi's continuing disciplinary strife and the addition of Alex Cleland to their injury list. Cleland, performing well in an unaccustomed role in a back three, will be out for six weeks with a calf injury.

For all Hutchison's industry, Everton's relative security in the Premiership is based more on defensive solidity than anything else. If they start to struggle in that department, as well as in front of goal, it could yet be a hard winter at Goodison.

Goal: Barmby (39) 1-0.

Everton (3-5-2): Myhre; Cleland (O'Kane, 87), Materazzi, Unsworth; Ward, Grant, Hutchison, Barmby, Ball; Oster, Cadamarteri (Branch, 75). Substitutes not used: Jevons, Milligan, Simonsen (gk).

Ipswich Town (3-5-2): Wright; Thetis (Tanner, 84), Mowbray, Venus; Wilnis, Dyer, Stockwell (Bramble, 68), Holland, Clapham; Johnson, Petta (Naylor, h-t). Substitutes not used: Holster, Bracey (gk).

Referee: M Riley (Leeds).

Bookings: Everton: Barmby, Cadamarteri. Ipswich: Thetis, Mowbray, Johnson, Bramble. Sending-off: Materazzi.

Man of the match: Hutchison.

Attendance: 28,854.