Football: Everton cling on for Walker

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The Independent Online
Bolton Wanderers. . . . . 1

Patterson 47

Everton. . . . . . . . . .1

Rideout 44

Attendance: 21,702

IF MIKE WALKER likes a hefty challenge as well as a hefty pay packet he has chosen his new club wisely. He obviously has mountainous problems to overcome at Everton, who were desperately fortunate to escape with a draw at Burnden Park yesterday.

For most of this season they have been so wayward that any self-respecting social services department would have long ago sent them for a break in the sun. There were parts of their play yesterday that merited at least a year in California. Walker may have other destinations in mind for some of his charges.

He was, however, remarkably upbeat about the performance afterwards. He talked of his side's hard work and their determination after the midfielder Barry Horne was sent off 10 minutes into the second half for a fashionable, if unspectacular, use of the elbow.

'There are a few things I'll have to tinker with to try to fit in better with the way we play,' Walker said. 'But at least I know from that they won't lie down and die.'

Somehow Everton took the lead on the half-time whistle. It was as undeserved as it was unexpected. For most of the opening period Bolton, buoyant and assured, had pressed their case.

David Lee was never less than a handful for Paul Holmes down the left wing, and twice John McGinlay might have scored. Neville Southall scrambled to save his header in the 18th minute and his side-footer a little afterwards was rather loose. And then, just as it seemed Everton had weathered the storm, they kicked up a fleeting breeze of their own. Peter Beagrie threaded a neat ball through for Paul Rideout on the edge of the area, and he did what was necessary.

It was a psychologically splendid time to score, a footballing truism that Bolton clearly decided was piffle. Within three minutes of the resumption they were level. Hapless Holmes, attempting to clear, volleyed against his own bar. The rebound reached Mark Patterson whose shot went under Southall's groping body.

Walker and Everton's world might have caved in when Horne was dismissed. His push with hand and elbow at Jason McAteer looked tame as these things go, but referee Robbie Hart is obviously one who knows his elbow from other parts of his anatomy. Tame it might have been, but the red card was shown.

If Bolton were to win the tie this seemed as good a time as any to do it. They attacked down the flanks, were denied by Southall, by some aberrant finishing, by frustration and, in the final minute, by the post when the ball cannoned off McGinlay's outstretched foot. Of such moments are Cup runs made.

Bolton played positive, pleasant football throughout, and Lee, with his runs and his stream of crosses, was outstanding. But it was Walker's day. He followed Everton as a teenager, the team of Alex Young, of the so-called golden vision. There have been some auric sightings at Goodison Park since, but the present team could hardly be mistaken even for fool's gold.