Football: Fire of Ferguson safe for Alcock

Wimbledon 1 Roberts 8 Everton 2 Cadamarteri 32, Ferguson 59 Attendance: 16,054
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The Independent Online
PAUL ALCOCK'S day job is shopping centre manager and he would have had far more to deal with on a Saturday afternoon struggling with his duties there than he faced in refereeing this particular match.

The Kent official was the subject of huge attention after being pushed to the ground last week by Sheffield Wednesday's Paolo Di Canio, whom he sent off along with Arsenal's Martin Keown. The events last weekend then prompted him to be given a police escort at Selhurst Park yesterday but he ended up having a virtual day off in a low-key encounter.

"I was very pleased to get this game under my belt and move on," said Alcock, who reportedly was close to quitting the game after the incident with Di Canio. "I had a few rough days at the start of the week and had more nerves than usual before this game but I was happy with my performance."

Alcock was quicker to comment after the match than the Wimbledon manager, Joe Kinnear, who felt his side should have won. He also dismissed rumours that his central defender, Chris Perry, was keen to leave the club to advance his England prospects.

"We created enough chances to have won two matches," Kinnear said eventually. "We should have at least got something because we dominated the first half and then Perry hit the crossbar. But I told my players that if we play like that every week then we will win more than we lose. And Perry does not want to leave this club."

Kinnear was equally hacked off that he has so far failed to add to his squad, after having an offer rejected for the Bolton striker Nathan Blake, while the Swedish international, Johan Mjallby, another target, has had his pounds 1.5m price tag doubled after he scored against England last month.

But it was Wimbledon who took the lead and looked set to hold on to their third place in the Premiership. After eight minutes, Andy Roberts drifted to the left and picked up the ball 25 yards out, skipped past John Collins and drove his shot inside Thomas Myhre's left-hand post.

Everton's immediate response was to concede further possession to Wimbledon, but despite the home side turning on the style, playing back-heels and keep-ball, they failed to add to their lead and were punished after 32 minutes when Danny Cadamarteri chased down the inside-left channel and, after the teenager turned Perry inside the area, he shot inside Neil Sullivan's near post.

Wimbledon went back on the attack immediately but wasted two outstanding chances to regain the lead and seal victory. Five minutes before the break, an unmarked Jason Euell shot straight at Myhre and just before the whistle, Gayle missed a tap-in from six yards.

That was the cue for Everton to respond and Duncan Ferguson, who normally puts the fear of God into the Alcocks of this world, instead put his efforts into scoring and, on the hour, met David Unsworth's cross with power and accuracy to score the winner.

Ref under fire, page 10