Football: Everton are Gwladys all over

FA Premiership: Goodison salutes saviour Campbell as Charlton fears grow

Everton 4 Charlton Athletic 1

Hutchison 24, Campbell 31, 60 Stuart pen 81

Jeffers 75

Half-time: 2-0 Attendance: 40,089

RARELY HAS mediocrity been so roundly acclaimed. But then this is Goodison Park in April, scene of more escapes than Colditz, and when springtime has traditionally heralded the vision of visits to Tranmere and Port Vale, three straight victories and an early end to relegation jitters is a good enough excuse for a party. Some of the home supporters left their seats early, safe in the knowledge that, barring calamity, Everton are safe for another year. A hearty - and slightly patronising - cheer even greeted Liverpool's victory over struggling Blackburn.

Everton's saviours have come in many guises in recent years. One of them, Graham Stuart, who wrote himself into local history by scoring twice against Wimbledon three years ago, was appearing in Charlton's colours and was given a rousing reception. But few expected Kevin Campbell, discarded by Arsenal and Nottingham Forest and rescued on loan from Turkey, to be the instant panacea for another head-aching season.

Campbell was again the man of the moment, scoring once in each half to bring his tally for his three games to six, comfortably the leading scorer for goal-shy Everton this season, and securing Everton's first trio of successive victories for 15 months: 40 points and 14th place. Hallelujah.

Whether Walter Smith can bring the Goodison faithful any semblance of long-term joy is another matter. There is much wheeling and dealing to be done both in the boardroom, where Everton's financial future has to be secured, and on the pitch where the side is worryingly short of class.

He has been pleasantly surprised by Campbell's form. "People told me he wasn't an out-and-out goalscorer, but he's done enough in the last three games to convince me. If we'd had someone with his physical presence earlier in the season, we wouldn't have struggled so badly." Somewhere in the North-east, Duncan Ferguson might be interested to hear that.

No one was too bothered about tomorrow at the final whistle yesterday. Evertonians will enjoy the strange luxury of mediocrity while it lasts; deep down, they might even dream of something a little more ambitious, like graduating to the top half of the table. They will rarely meet such obliging end-of- season fall guys as Charlton, whose own hopes of survival are fading fast.

Everton did not need to play very well to see off a Charlton side high on endeavour, low on defensive basics. Two-up by half-time, through a revived Don Hutchison and the revelatory Campbell, Everton doubled their money in the second half, the only sign of their old fallibility emerging late on when Stuart, back among old friends, clipped a penalty past Thomas Myhre after David Unsworth's clumsy challenge on Martin Pringle.

For all the presence of three ex-Evertonians, Carl Tiler and Eddie Youds, besides Stuart, all well-trained in the art of escapology, Charlton's weakness shone in neon. Though playing neat football in the middle of the field, their defence ricochets from the cumbersome to the downright chaotic. Any side capable of conceding two goals in seven minutes to Everton hardly needs to look for trouble.

It took Everton all of 12 minutes to probe the Londoners' soft spot. A clumsy offside trap, a through ball by Hutchison and Campbell was left with the goalkeeper to beat. His well- telegraphed lob did not fool Andy Petterson in the Charlton goal. But just before the half-hour Everton did break through, though there was a touch of fortune about the goal as Hutchison drove a left-foot shot beneath Petterson's body. Charlton's appeals for handball were turned away by Paul Alcock.

Then Campbell, the adopted darling of the Gwladys Street End, who punished Charlton's tissue-thin central defence. Picking up the ball mid-way inside the Charlton half, he outpaced Youds with a bullocking run, drove his first shot against Petterson's body and clipped the rebound into an empty net from an acute angle.

Any thoughts Alan Curbishley might have harboured of sneaking back into the game were ended early in the second-half, Francis Jeffers fashioning a skimming cross which again evaded the outsize Charlton defenders and landed on the gleaming head of Campbell. The merest hint of a deflection was enough to secure Everton's victory, even before Jeffers himself scored the best of the lot 15 minutes from time.

After that, Everton could afford a certain complacency. For once, their finale - away to Chelsea and Southampton, home to West Ham - can be enjoyed in relative sobriety. Charlton must beat Blackburn next Saturday to ease their plight. "The time has come to get out there and do something about it," Curbishley said. Everton will know the feeling.

News
US comedian Bill Mahr
people
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Sport
football
News
Rob Lowe
peopleRob Lowe hits out at Obama's snub of Benjamin Netanyahu
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Davies (let) says: 'Everybody thought we were having an affair. It was never true!'
people'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
News
Staff assemble outside the old City Road offices in London
mediaThe stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century at Britain's youngest paper
Life and Style
The Oliver twins, Philip and Andrew, at work creating the 'Dizzy' arcade-adventure games in 1988
techDocumentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Arts and Entertainment
Krall says: 'My hero player-singer is Elton John I used to listen to him as a child, every single record
music
News
Friends for life … some professionals think loneliness is more worrying than obesity
scienceSocial contact is good for our sense of wellbeing - but it's a myth that loneliness kills, say researchers
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
News
i100
Environment
Number so freshwater mussels in Cumbria have plummeted from up to three million in the 20th century to 500,000
environment
Life and Style
Models – and musicians – on the catwalk in Dior Homme for the men’s 2015/16 fashion show in Paris
fashionAt this season's Paris shows, various labels played with the city boys' favourite
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Ashdown Group: PHP Web Developer / Website Coordinator (PHP, JavaScript)

£25000 - £28000 per annum + 25 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: PHP Web...

Recruitment Genius: Estates Projects & Resources Manager

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in London, Manchester, Br...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us