Football: Kendall draws on the right experience

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The Independent Online
Leeds United 0 Everton 0

Of two managers at the opposite ends of the job security spectrum, it was Howard Kendall who came away from Elland Road marginally the happier.

After a run of five defeats, merely avoiding the same fate at one of the Premiership's in-form clubs counted as a minor triumph. If Gary Speed's penalty had not been saved admirably by Nigel Martyn, it would have been an even better and more unexpected afternoon. Everton, after all, had not won at Leeds since 1951.

Although Everton's point took them above Barnsley at the foot of the table, the uncertainties about Kendall's position amid the power struggle that is going on at Goodison remains.

Purely in playing terms, he is entitled to the patience for which he appeals. "It's not my team yet," he said on Saturday. "When it is, I'll stand up and be counted."

Kendall stood up to be counted with two selections for this match, sticking with vast experience in one case and reluctantly discarding it in the other - and being vindicated both times.

His new goalkeeper, Thomas Myhre, was preferred to Neville Southall and had an excellent debut, with two first-half saves preventing Leeds from taking control. At 24, Myhre can give Southall 16 years and, on this brief sample, could be the replacement Everton need.

Conversely, Kendall brought back one of his old stalwarts from his previous reigns at the club, opting for Dave Watson ahead of Slaven Bilic, who is due to begin a five-match suspension.

Watson's presence at the heart of a back three gave Everton a potentially statuesque look, but the old stager was the most accomplished defender on show, holding them together during their shaky phases and coming close to poaching a goal at the other end.

George Graham has become the Premiership's most comfortably ensconced manager with a lucrative new contract that will keep him at Elland Road well into the new millennium, by when, on previous form, Kendall will have left Everton and returned at least once.

Graham was philosophical about his side falling so far below their recent, rousing standards. Their one difficulty of late has been in stirring themselves before being given a jolt by the opposition. Speed's penalty failure should have been that jolt, but Leeds only showed the urgency they needed when Jimmy Hasselbaink was belatedly introduced for the last 20 minutes.

Hasselbaink presented Harry Kewell with a sitter, which the Australian wasted, but Everton, after their recent horrors, deserved to leave with something.

Leeds United (4-4-2): Martyn; Halle, Wetherall, Radebe, Robertson; Kelly, Bowyer (Hasselbaink, 72), Ribeiro, Haaland; Kewell, Wallace. Substitutes not used: Lilley, Maybury, Molenaar, Beeney (gk).

Everton (3-5-2): Myhre; Short, Watson, Tiler; Ward, Williamson, Farrelly, Speed, Hinchcliffe; Ferguson, Barmby. Substitutes not used: Oster, Ball, Bilic, Cadamarteri, Southall (gk). Referee: P.Durkan (Dorset).

Bookings: Leeds: Radebe. Everton: Farrelly, Speed.

Man of the match: Watson.

Attendance: 34,869.

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