Football: Hinchcliffe off on wrong foot

Derby County 3 Hunt 23, C Powell 33, Sturridge 66 Everton 1 Stuart 28 Attendance: 27,828
Click to follow
The England defender Andy Hinchcliffe's hopes of forcing his way back into Glenn Hoddle's plans for next month's World Cup qualifier in Rome suffered a serious setback when his first start for nine months ended with a red card as Everton slumped to defeat yesterday.

Hinchcliffe, who had overtaken Phil Neville and Stuart Pearce in the left-back pecking order before a knee injury last December, was sent off in the second half of an ill-tempered match after a cynical foul on the Derby forward Francesco Baiano. The referee Michael Riley issued eight yellow cards as well as Hinchcliffe's red.

Goals by Jonathan Hunt, Chris Powell and Dean Sturridge powered Derby to a second win of the season in their impressive new Pride Park stadium, although the home side were probably flattered by the margin of victory. Everton, having overcome the early loss through injury of the striker Michael Branch, had their hosts under pressure for long periods.

Hinchcliffe's return gave added potency to the aerial strength of Duncan Ferguson, who thrives on the service supplied. The teams presented a contrast in styles, with Derby teaming up Baiano and Sturridge - both 5ft 9in - for the first time since the Italian's summer arrival from Fiorentina. It was ironic, then, that a high cross should provide Derby's opening goal, delivered from the left flank by Powell, who was released by Hunt's clever flick. Powell looped the ball towards the far post, where Hunt arrived to head his first Derby goal.

No one yet had the edge, however, and neither Everton's swift equaliser nor Derby's second goal came as a surprise. Sloppy play in the home side's midfield benefited Everton, Danny Williamson winning a loose ball and feeding Ferguson, whose through-ball left Graham Stuart with only the goalkeeper Matt Poom to beat. Four minutes later it was Williamson's turn to give the ball away, and when Aljosa Asanovic set up Powell in the penalty area on the left, a moment of indecisiveness from the Everton keeper Neville Southall, making his 200th Premier League appearance, let Powell squeeze the ball home.

Everton twice had efforts cleared off the line but their task became all the more difficult when Derby stretched their lead after a 66th-minute corner delivered by Hunt and headed home by Sturridge. If that were not bad enough, they were reduced to 10 men with Hinchcliffe's dismissal a minute later.

Comments