Football / Coca-Cola Cup: Creaney deepens Everton gloom: Portsmouth show no pity

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

Portsmouth. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

EVERTON's season, already laden with gloom after six Premiership matches without a win, darkened further last night when they were beaten in the second round of the Coca-Cola Cup. The second leg in a fortnight offers only a threadbare lifeline.

It required a goal from Vinny Samways and Graham Stuart's penalty to spare home blushes, which after 56 minutes, with the visitors 3-0 ahead, were approaching a brighter shade of scarlet. A home defeat to a First Division team is not designed to appease an increasingly hostile Goodison crowd, many of whom voted with their feet.

'It was not so much the result that was disappointing,' Mike Walker, the Everton manager, said, 'but the attitude of the players. They seemed frightened to go forward, to make it a Cup tie. We seem incapable of playing more than half a game.'

The man who principally spread the early-season depression from the League to the Cup was Gerry Creaney, who scored twice in the first 15 minutes. It was not lost on the home supporters that he had a four-day trial with Everton in January. Nor did Walker's words in the programme go unnoticed. 'To be honest', he wrote, 'we didn't think he would be quite what we wanted.' Rarely has a sentence come back to haunt a manager so quickly.

The first goal arrived after two minutes when a short corner on the right was played to Mark Stimson and then inside to the overlapping Paul Hall. Neville Southall, the Everton goalkeeper, tried to suppress the danger but the Portsmouth winger went round him and passed to Creaney, who flicked the ball into an empty net.

Worse was to follow 13 minutes later. Ray Daniel passed to Alan McLoughlin, whose cross was met by Creaney from a range of eight yards. The ferocity of the header gave Southall no chance, but the absence of defenders hardly did him any favours either.

The Everton back four did not distinguish themselves, too, with Portsmouth's third goal. Daniel, marauding down the left from his wing- back position, crossed from near the corner flag and an unmarked Bjorn Kristensen headed in at the far post. Again the mystery was what had happend to the defence.

Not much had been seen of the home attack either up to that point but it sprang to life in a matter of seconds. Samways charged through midfield after 57 minutes and hit a 20-yard shot past Alan Knight.

Everton glimpsed hope and Daniel Amokachi, one of few home players to escape criticism, began to create havoc with his pace and strength. It was hardly a surprise when he was brought down by Jon Gittens in the 71st minute. Stuart converted the penalty that heralded a frantic final spell in which the ball bounced around the Portsmouth area but would not go in.

'We're not used to being ahead at Premiership grounds,' Jim Smith, the Portsmouth manager, said, 'and we sat back too far. We encouraged mountains of ball into our area.

'When we drew at Manchester United and Blackburn in cup competitions last season I didn't really fancy our chances in the replay, but this time I think we might have a chance.'

Everton (4-4-2): Southall; Jackson (Snodin, 60), Watson, Unsworth, Burrows; Stuart, Samways, Parkinson, Hinchcliffe; Rideout (Angell, 10), Amokachi. Substitute not used: Kearton (gk).

Portsmouth (5-3-2): Knight; Kristensen, Symons, Gittens, Awford, Daniel; Powell, Stimson (Radosavljevic, 85), McLoughlin; Hall (Pethick, 63), Creaney. Substitute not used: Poom (gk).

Referee: M Reed (Birmingham).

More football, page 39

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