Football : Everton fall to Waddle

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The Independent Online
Chris Waddle was heading into the prime of his football life 10 years ago when he played in the FA Cup final. Everton fans might be excused for thinking that, at 36, he is still in it after seeing him inspire Bradford City to dump the Merseysiders out of the fourth round yesterday.

Having served notice by hitting the bar from a free-kick in an uninspiring first half at Goodison Park, Waddle set up John Dreyer for the first goal in the First Division strugglers' 3-2 victory, scored one of the best goals of his career from 35 yards and, after Bradford's Andrew O'Brien deflected Gary Speed's effort into his own goal, he laid on a decisive third for Robert Steiner. Speed's second was irrelevant.

"I have never been a giant-killer before, it's a nice feeling," the former England winger said. Of his outrageous chip over goalkeeper Neville Southall, he said: "When it came to me I thought 'why not?' When it dropped in it was a great feeling. I've scored some great goals in my career but that is up there with the best of them."

Everton's manager Joe Royle talked of disappointment and embarrassment. "Since winning the Cup [in 1995] the first division clubs have been a curse to us or we have been a curse to ourselves," he said.

Bradford's manager Chris Kamara was naturally delighted. "I've been telling everyone that Chris shouldn't be with me, he should still be in the Premiership," he said. "No one would take a chance with him but I was quite happy to have him with me and I am sure he still believes he should be playing at the top."

Woking and Hednesford, the non-League clubs in action, did their best to provide romance, Woking drawing at Coventry and Hednesford losing only 3-2 at Middlesbrough, but most of the action had more in common with a marriage than a frenetic fling. Flights of fancy were short-lived in the third and fourth-round games and third-round replays played.

Typical was Second Division Luton's second-half submission at Bolton, after Tony Thorpe's double had put them 2-1 up. The Premiership hopefuls then scored five after the break to win 6-2. Leicester and Norwich played their fourth-round match 10-a-side from the 34th minute, when the Premiership team were 1-0 up through Ian Marshall. There was then an exchange of penalties, which left Norwich to concentrate on promotion from the First Division.

Queen's Park Rangers played a man short for 40 minutes against Barnsley in the fourth round, but the Londoners, having beaten Barnsley 3-1 in the League, won this one 3-2, with a sensational goal from Trevor Sinclair proving decisive.

The all-Premiership Midlands duel at the Baseball Ground was clear cut. Derby, without six players, lost two more by the 19th minute - Jacob Laursen did not last the warm-up - but they were too good for Aston Villa, winning 3-1.

Cup reports, page 20

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