Football: Cadamarteri on hand to open account

Oxford United 1 Everton 1
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The Independent Online
EVERTON SELDOM looked in any danger of gaining the kind of result which would have made the second leg of this Worthington Cup second-round game at Goodison Park next week a formality. From the moment Danny Cadamarteri equalised Matt Murphy's opener for Oxford United, there appeared little chance of the sort of drama staged here 15 years ago.

A League Cup tie at Oxford's Manor Ground will always be remembered by Everton supporters as the catalyst for their heady days of the mid- 1980s. Oxford, riding high in the Third Division, were leading the top- flight side 1-0 in the quarter-final with seven minutes remaining before Adrian Heath nipped into to equalise.

The First Division team romped through the replay. They went on to reach the League Cup final, also lifted the FA Cup that season and subsequently won two League championships and the European Cup-Winners' Cup.

So there was no danger of Everton taking last night's second-round opener lightly, even if they did make eight changes from Saturday's win at Sheffield Wednesday, resting their first-choice centre-backs and centre-forwards.

Everton are ranked 50 League placings above Oxford, but found their work cut out when Malcolm Shotton's side took the lead after 21 minutes.

Having scored in each of the first-round games while on loan at Southend, Matt Murphy rose above Alec Cleland at the far post to head Joe Beauchamp's 21st-minute free-kick against the inside of the post. The ball rolled, tantalisingly, along the line before crossing it.

Everton might have started to fear the worst when Terry Phelan, starting a first-team game for the first time in 22 months, pulled up with a fresh injury two minutes later. But his replacement, Mitch Ward, created the equaliser six minutes after coming on, crossing for Danny Cadamarteri to turn and shoot home on his first start of the season.

The second half petered out as a spectacle, Everton always in control and Scot Gemmill, when released by Hutchison after 56 minutes, having a clear sight of goal. But he shot straight at Andre Arendse and the tie remains alive.

Oxford United (5-3-2): Arendse; Folland (McGowan, 76), Davis, Robinson, Lewis, Powell; Fear, Tait, Beauchamp; Lilley (Cook, 63), Murphy. Substitutes not used: Lambert, Weatherstone, Lundin (gk).

Everton (4-4-2): Simonsen; Cleland, Weir, Unsworth, Ball; Gemmill, Xavier, Collins (Campbell, 80), Phelan (Ward, 23); Hutchison, Cadamarteri (Jeffers, 80). Substitutes not used: Barmby, Gerrard (gk).

Referee: M Fletcher (Warley).