Football: Palmer sums up Everton's sorry state: Wednesday deepen Goodison gloom

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The Independent Online
Everton. . . . . . . . .0

Sheffield Wednesday. . .2

NO OWNER, no manager and precious little going to plan on the pitch made for a depressing time at Everton last night. Two goals in the 10 minutes before half-time consigned them to another defeat.

On the day when the future ownership of a troubled club became even more confused, Everton looked reasonably positive until Mark Bright's 35th-minute strike.

Even here, misfortune played a big part, because if Dave Watson had been on the field rather than carried off with a broken nose after only 11 minutes, Andy Pearce would surely not have risen unchallenged for the powerful header that was cleared off the line by Mark Ward before Bright followed up to score.

Until then, Wednesday and Chris Waddle, who provided Pearce with the cross, had looked to be in one of their less focused moods. If they had any doubts that this was their night, however, they were answered before the break with a bizarre second goal from Carlton Palmer.

The Bill Kenwright and Peter Johnson consortiums might be disputing who will own the club, but there is no doubt to whom the dunce's hat belongs today.

Neville Southall had just tipped over Bright's header after another nice flash of skill from Waddle and Graham Hyde. When the resulting corner brought a cross from Roland Nilsson, Southall clearly felt he had done his work with a punch clear and watched casually as Palmer's speculative header from all of 20 yards dipped over him and into the net off the bar. Southall, justly famous for remonstrating with all and sundry, looked as though he was going to blame the woodwork, but even he knew that there was no doubt where the fault lay.

Everton never recovered the early dash that produced efforts from Peter Beagrie, Stuart Barlow, John Ebbrell and Graham Stuart, all of which had to be saved by an alert Kevin Pressman, preferred to Chris Woods in the Wednesday goal.

After the two goals, Everton's fragile sprigs of self-confidence withered and they showed little else, not even a great deal of fight. Their only tactical response to a match which had slipped away from them was to replace Radosavljevic, who had at least shown the occasional idea after arriving as substitute for Watson. He was plainly disgusted and there will be plenty of Evertonians feeling much the same way about the current state of their club.

The fourth match in a row without a win since Jimmy Gabriel took over as caretaker-manager ended with chants of: 'Sack the board'. If terrace humour lived on in the era of all-seat stadiums on Merseyside, someone might have asked: 'What board?'.

After the Everton board delayed a decision over the rival takeover bids, a confident Bill Kenwright said: 'There are questions to be sorted out but I want to get started and it will be me. All I want for Everton is to return to the days of the 'School of Science'.

Everton (4-4-2): Southall; Jackson, D Watson (Radosavljevic, 11; Warzycha, 74), Snodin, Ablett; Ward, Stuart, Horne, Ebbrell; Barlow, Beagrie. Substitute not used: Kearton (gk).

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Pressman; Nilsson, Pearce, Walker, Worthington; Waddle, Palmer, Hyde, Bart-Williams (Jones, 56); Bright, Jemson (G Watson, 82). Substitute not used: Woods (gk).

Referee: R Dilkes (Mossley).