Football: Cooper places fitful Forest in pole position: Everton failings exposed

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The Independent Online
Everton. . . . . . . .1

Nottingham Forest. . .2

PERHAPS changing the music Everton take the field to from Z Cars to Also Sprach Zarathustra was a mistake. Given the start they have made this season they will not need a Liverpool supporter to point out it could be the year 2001 before they make a half-decent team.

Everton rallied last night to score through Paul Rideout but by then the damage had already been done by goals from Andy Hinchcliffe (in his own net) and Colin Cooper. The result means Everton have accrued just one point from their four matches this season while newly-promoted Forest, who had Steve Chettle sent off in the closing minute for two bookable offences, are top of the Premiership.

It was a thoroughly disappointing match for the home team, who began the evening by parading their new pounds 3m striker signed from Club Bruges, Daniel Amokachi, but finished it looking like the same old side that narrowly escaped relegation last season. The new dawn heralded by Peter Johnson's arrival as chairman is looking like a false one.

Forest played fitfully, mixing the inspired with the mundane, but they did not need to reach particularly high to win this match. For the first hour, they were easily the better team and even when Everton improved, they still had an effort from Stan Collymore headed off the line by Hinchcliffe.

If only the full-back had been as dependable in the 25th minute. On this occasion, there seemed to be no danger when Ian Woan's corner drifted beyond the Forest attackers but, in their current mood, danger can lurk almost anywhere for Everton and Hinchcliffe headed lamely into his own goal.

Brett Angell and Vinny Samways forced point-blank saves from Mark Crossley just before half-time to suggest better things might lie ahead for the home team, and Samways brushed the bar with a free- kick at 49 minutes.

But this improvement was halted comprehensively by Cooper's overhead kick from Chettle's head-down on the hour, and you suspect the Everton supporters had given up hope of getting a reply when Rideout struck.

Graham Stuart passed to Samways on the right after 68 minutes and the pounds 2.2m signing from Tottenham crossed to the near post, where Rideout headed in from five yards.

Everton, duly encouraged, pressed hard for an equaliser but were denied by outstanding saves by Crossley from Stuart and Angell.

Everton (4-4-2): Southall; Jackson, Unsworth, Watson, Hinchcliffe; Stuart, Samways, Ebbrell, Limpar; Rideout, Angell. Substitutes not used: Parkinson, Kearton (gk), Barlow.

Nottingham Forest (4-4-2): Crossley; Lyttle, Cooper, Chettle, Pearce; Stone, Phillips, Gemmill (Bohinen, 25), Woan; Roy, Collymore. Substitutes not used: Lee, Rigby (gk).

Referee: G Ashby (Worcester).

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