Football: Carbone fails to ease Wilson's woes

Sheffield Wednesday 0 Everton 2 Barmby 14, Gemmill 18 Half-time: 0-2 Attendance: 23,539
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The Independent Online
DANNY WILSON promised to maintain his battle to lift Sheffield Wednesday from the foot of the Premiership table for as long as his board allows him. Coming up are what could be severe tests of his future, away at Newcastle and in the Worthington Cup against Stoke. But first he must win his war with Benito Carbone.

Wednesday slumped to their sixth defeat of this unhappy season, leaving Wilson betraying increasing signs of exasperation at the distraction that the Italian, given a distinctly mixed reception when he came on midway through the second half, is creating for him. He admitted not having spoken to Carbone since he returned to the club after refusing to play as a substitute at Southampton two weeks ago.

"If he's committed, he'll play, but I'm not convinced about it," Wilson said afterwards. "I've also got to think of the rest of the lads in the dressing-room and what they think of that fiasco. He is having a disruptive effect on the dressing- room and it's got to be resolved one way or the other."

Wednesday were beaten by two first-half goals in three minutes, both exposing a terrible uncertainty at the heart of their defence. They had had the better of the opening stages when, out of the blue, Everton went ahead.

David Unsworth played in a long ball from the left, Kevin Campbell, an intelligent leader of the line for Everton all afternoon, chested it down and, although Francis Jeffers lost his footing in pursuit of the ball, Nick Barmby had the time and space to come in from the left to fire it past Kevin Pressman and into the far corner.

The second had striking similarities. Mitch Ward supplied Jeffers, this time down the right, and his low cross was destined to be met by Barmby. Instead it ran on for Scot Gemmill to dispatch.

If Jeffers had been at his sharpest, he might have had two goals of his own before half-time. It also took a superb reaction save from Pressman to keep out Campbell's header in the second half. Everton could have had a heftier scoreline with which to celebrate their rise to the heady heights of ninth in the Premiership table, but this was still more than satisfactory from their point of view.

Even after choosing to rest John Collins and Don Hutchison for most of the match after their midweek exertions for Scotland in Estonia, manager Walter Smith saw his side dominate midfield, where Gemmill was a model of energy and enthusiasm.

The veteran centre-back pairing of Dave Watson and Richard Gough, 75 years between them, had their occasional problems with Andy Booth in the air, but otherwise it was a thoroughly comfortable afternoon.

"If we look after them they might manage a few more games yet," said Smith, ending a week in which he became embroiled in Everton's long- running take-over wrangles with a result that at least hints at getting matters right on the pitch, if not off it.

"It's a pleasing result for us, with our first away win of the season, although we've played better in spells away from home and got nothing from it," he said. "In the first half, there were a few opportunities for either side and it could have been fairly high scoring. In the second half we tightened up a bit and didn't give away as many chances."

Against a Wednesday side which had only managed just two goals this season - both from Carbone - that was perhaps not surprising. Once the hard working Booth had gone close with a couple of headers, Everton were content to let the clock run down. For some at Wednesday, time is already running out.

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