Football: Day of Duff justice

Blackburn Rovers 3 Gallacher 57, Duff 81, Sherwood 84 Everton 2 Speed 7, Ferguson 55 Attendance: 25,397
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The Independent Online
Duff and Everton are words that it has been too easy to associate in the same sentence this season, so it seemed inevitable that a player of that name would be instrumental in thwarting Merseyside's blue faction yesterday.

Everton were only 10 minutes away from their first away win since the 1-0 victory at Derby last December when substitute Damien Duff scored his first senior goal for Rovers to level the match at 2-2. Tim Sherwood then headed the goal that sent Rovers up to second place in the Premiership.

Disappointed they may be, but Evertonians should not feel cheated. This was Blackburn's game; the only interruptions came when Gary Speed scored with the first shot of the match and Duncan Ferguson restored Everton's lead with his first goal since the opening day.

Everton's manager Howard Kendall acknowledged that the defeat was the result of his side's poor defending. "It's not bad luck if you concede three goals the way we did. We invited too many crosses and conceded too many corners," he said.

He exempted Neville Southall from blame. The 39-year-old goalkeeper marked his 800th senior appearance with a string of fine saves despite playing with an injury to his right foot that has forced him out of Wales' squad to play Brazil next week.

Blackburn had hardly got into their stride when Ferguson headed a cross down to Danny Cadamarteri, who set up Speed to put Everton ahead.

Rovers had a barrage of attacks and Southall was called into his first serious action by Billy McKinlay from 25 yards. He then saved brilliantly from Flitcroft's header, but from the resultant corner in the 36th minute Gary Croft drove the ball back in for Kevin Gallacher to equalise.

Flitcroft hit the crossbar from 20 yards before the visitors retook the lead against the run of play. Substitute John Oster crossed after good work on the left for Ferguson to score from close range.

Rovers set about restoring order and Stuart Ripley had a header cleared off the line. Duff brought Blackburn level from the rebound after Southall kept out Chris Sutton's header, and then Ripley's corner set up Sherwood's winner.

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