Football: Everton exposed again

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The Independent Online
Everton. . . . .1 Coventry City. .1

EVERTON'S false promise was again revealed at Goodison Park yesterday as Coventry City, uplifted by a splendid, if naive, Peter Ndlovu, retained their unbeaten away record.

Having restored Peter Beardsley and Martin Keown to their side, Everton confronted one of the Premier League's unlikely forces with growing self-belief. A spectacular goal by Peter Beagrie was their reward and, the faithful dared hope, perhaps represented a landmark in their season.

Instead, Ndlovu, the 19-year-old Zimbabwe international, plundered an equaliser late in the first half and the course of the match began to change. Coventry assumed greater composure, while Everton struggled for cohesion.

Ndlovu gave a sneak preview of his capabilities in the fourth minute, cleverly working the ball into space on the left, but Lee Hurst then hoisted the ball way over Everton's goal.

For much of the first half an under-employed Ndlovu had to watch from the other end as Beardsley, 12 years his senior, gave him a demonstration of his mature skill and perception.

For all Beardsley's creativity and Everton's ceaseless movement off the ball, they took the lead from a routine set play after 28 minutes. There was, however, nothing routine about the goal. Beagrie accepted the free-kick, took the ball and, from 20 yards, propelled the ball just inside the far angle of crossbar and post.

Everton might have extended their advantage from another free-kick, although the referee, Bob Hamer, may be relieved they did not. To the amazement of Ogrizovic and probably everyone else inside the stadium, he penalised the goalkeeper for picking up what was patently an unintentional pass back from Brian Borrows. The entire Coventry team took station on their goal- line as the ball was placed on the six-yard line and Ogrizovic's rush blocked the drive from Andy Hinchcliffe.

Coventry's fortunes changed a minute before the interval when Ndlovu at last had the opportunity to display his pace and control with a blistering run down the left. His eventual shot struck the challenging Barry Horne and was launched over the stranded Neville Southall to give Bobby Gould's side the equaliser.

Generally it was Coventry who made more convincing progress in the second half and they will long wonder how they failed to force a second goal in the 71st minute. A combination of crossbar, Southall and sundry Evertonian limbs kept out efforts from Andy Pearce, Terry Fleming and John Williams.

Everton: N Southall; R Warzycha (P Radosavljevic 80 min), A Hinchcliffe, M Keown, D Watson, G Ablett, B Kenny, P Beardsley, T Cottee, B Horne (I Snodin 87 min), P Beagrie, Sub not used: J Kearton (gk). Manager: H Kendall.

Coventry City: S Ogrizovic; B Borrows, K Sansom, P Atherton, A Pearce, P Ndlovu, L McGrath, L Hurst, T Fleming, S Robson, J Williams. Subs not used: P Babb, T Sheridan, J Gould (gk). Manager: B Gould.

Referee: R Hamer (Bristol).

Goals: Beagrie (1-0 28 min), Ndlovu (1-1 44 min).

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