Football: Blue still the colour as brittle Everton stay cold

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Everton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

Queen's Park Rangers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

THE moment arrived when it became too much for one Everton supporter. 'Oh God,' he moaned, 'I don't think I can bear to be here for the derby. I'll have to avoid Liverpool fans for weeks.' You could understand his shame.

It was there for all to see. Not the home defending, nor Anders Limpar's performance, although both were enough to have Goodison practising synchronised seat- squirming, but something far worse. The words to the new club song - to the tune of 'Bad Moon Rising' - were on display and the crowd were paralysed with embarrassment.

One does not like to mock the afflicted - because the commercial department is clearly suffering from chronic bad taste - but the lyrics made 'Blue is the Colour' seem the work of the poet laureate. 'Join in,' a voice on the tannoy urged, and most did in a Mexican wave of nausea. Not a whisper was heard in accompaniment.

Maybe there is somewhere that deserves 'I see a city that is changing, I see there's only one team remaining,' (although outside Sodom it is hard to imagine where) but in a place where the great rivals have won the championship 18 times, and when you are three points adrift at the bottom of the table?

After this things could only improve and, to accentuate the positive, Everton might at last have cracked who should be up front. Daniel Amokachi, their new Nigerian, is strong, has the pace to catch Roadrunner and is the sort who makes things happen.

Alongside him, Paul Rideout responded like a striker who had found the partner of his dreams, and he played his best match since joining the club.

Both scored - Amokachi after a flicked-on corner and Rideout with a header from Limpar's cross - and their combination suggested that Muller's exorbitant demands were not the only reason for the Brazilian's transfer to Goodison collapsing on Friday.

That leaves just the other nine players to sort out, and manager Mike Walker must feel like a man in a boat which springs a leak no sooner than he mends another. Last season Everton could not score but the back four was sound; this time the defence would quiver if the team of old boys on parade beforehand was facing them.

Dave Watson, short of confidence and pace, appears to have been worn away by adversity while David Unsworth has lost the assertiveness that marked his arrival and propelled him into England's Under-21 side. Fingers of guilt were pointed in his direction for both Les Ferdinand's goals, excellently though they were executed.

For the first, the England striker was unopposed when he headed in Ian Holloway's cross, while the second was a total dereliction of duty as Ferdinand was given free passage into the area from an innocuous pass down the right. 'Different people are making different mistakes,' Walker groaned afterwards. 'There's only one answer, work. Hard work.' The back four face a grilling, but nothing compared to what you suspect is awaiting Limpar. 'The least said about his performance the better,' Walker commented.

The club song had earlier pronounced: 'I see players that are trying'. When it came to the Swedish winger, the lyricist had better vision than most.

Goals: Ferdinand (4 min) 1-0; Amokachi (10) 1-1; Rideout (24) 2-1; Ferdinand (47) 2-2.

Everton (4-4-2): Southall; Jackson, Watson, Unsworth, Burrows; Stuart, Ebbrell, Samways, Limpar (Snodin, 70); Amokachi, Rideout. Substitutes not used: Angell, Kearton (gk).

Queen's Park Rangers (4-4-2): Roberts; Bardsley, Yates, McDonald, Brevett; Impey, Holloway, Barker, Wilson; Ferdinand (Ready, 85), Penrice. Substitutes not used: Gallen, Dykstra (gk).

Referee: R Gifford (Llanbradach).

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