Football: Cottee two sink Leeds

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The Independent Online
Everton . . . . .2

Leeds United. . .0

TONY COTTEE'S latest return for Everton provided some desperately needed respite to this embattled side of the Mersey. He was employed for only 72 minutes of his first appearance in six weeks but that was long enough to score the goals which punished a profligate Leeds United team.

Leeds' combination of guile and muscle threatened to bewilder and batter Everton into submission, yet Howard Wilkinson's side surrendered the initiative and Cottee, splendidly supported by the perceptive Peter Beardsley, seized his opportunities during a decisive period in the middle of the match.

Leeds' more progressive early play reflected itself in the anxiety coursing through Everton's defence.

Neville Southall struggled to turn away the ball from Gary Speed's none too venomous overhead kick and had to stretch again to cover a looping header from his Welsh international colleague.

The football had become as messy as the litter-strewn pitch when Gordon Strachan's hesitancy permitted Everton a breakthrough on the half-hour. Beardsley's tenacious challenge relieved Strachan of the ball and his vicious low cross invited Cottee to launch himself. The tiny striker did precisely that and his diving header beat the stranded Mervyn Day.

The goal ignited Everton and Beardsley in particular. He seemed to be involved in everything. His trick deceived Gary McAllister, though his shot failed to fool Day at the near post. Beardsley again fed Cottee, but this time the finish was tame and Day coped comfortably.

Carl Shutt's miss at the start of the second half proved another stroke of fortune for Everton. They swiftly reasserted themselves and Gary Ablett, served by Beardsley, rolled the ball across the face of the goal for Cottee to collect his second at the far post after 49 minutes.

Everton: N Southall; M Jackson, G Ablett, J Ebbrell, D Watson, M Keown, P Radosavljevic, P Beardsley, T Cottee (S Barlow 72 min), B Horne, P Beagrie (A Harper 72 min). Sub not used: J Kearton (gk). Manager: H Kendall.

Leeds United: M Day; J Newsome (C Fairclough 66 min), T Dorigo, D Batty, D Wetherall, C Whyte, G Strachan (Rod Wallace 66 min), C Shutt, L Chapman, G McAllister, G Speed. Sub not used: J Lukic (gk). Manager: H Wilkinson.

Referee: D Elleray (Harrow-on-the-Hill).

Goals: Cottee (1-0, 30 min); Cottee (2-0, 49 min).