Football: Lombardo rallies

Everton 1 Ferguson 85 Crystal Palace 2 Lombardo 36, Dyer pen 77 Attendance: 35,716
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The Independent Online
Attilio Lombardo raised Crystal Palace's hopes by ruining Howard Kendall's league homecoming at Goodison Park. The 31-year-old import from Juventus seemed to be feeling the pace for the first 20 minutes but, when he finally got into the match, his grace and style caused Everton all sorts of problems.

Lombardo scored the first and caused the stand-in defender Graham Stuart to concede the penalty which finally sunk Everton. Duncan Ferguson pulled one back at the death, but Palace deserved to win. They defended in depth and with calmness and managed to hit everything on the break far too often for Kendall's peace of mind.

Kendall's side relied too much on the height of Ferguson, and his headed goal five minutes from time from Stuart's cross was the only serious attempt on goal Everton managed.

Palace started with great energy, but it was Everton who appeared to be taking control in the first half, even though they created little to justify any thoughts of a comfortable victory. Then after 34 minutes, Lombardo snapped up a Paul Warhurst pass to slip the ball clinically under Neville Southall.

Thomas did not come out after the break, forcing Stuart into defence at right-back and Michael Branch on up front. Stuart was then promptly booked for a foul on Lombardo. The left flank proved Everton's Achilles heel. Lombardo got in behind Stuart and when Stuart managed to get back and tackle all he could do was fell the Italian in the box for a penalty that Bruce Dyer drove home.

Kendall threw on Nicky Barmby, but Everton rarely troubled Kevin Miller, although he did have to be strong in the air to combat Ferguson. The big Scot finally got the ball in the net with a header with five minutes to go, but it was too little too late and Everton were off to the worst possible start.

The Palace boss Steve Coppell, delighted with Lombardo, said: "I gave him the freedom to go where he wanted and to do what he liked. It seemed to work."