Football: Rennie unsettler

Everton 2 Hutchison 10, Ferguson 38 Leeds United 0 Attenda nce: 37,099
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The Independent Online
EVERTON leapt a pair of places in the Premiership yesterday when two crude lunges from Lucas Radebe handed Howard Kendall's men a priceless numerical advantage for most of their game against Leeds and, ultimately, the three points. Radebe was stretchered off, with knee damage, after a tackle on Don Hutchison, for which the Leeds defender - who had already been booked - was sent off by the referee Uriah Rennie. Leeds, too, failed to rediscover their feet.

By that stage, George Graham's side were already trailing, although much against the run of the early exchanges - Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink had missed Leeds' best chance when a Thomas Myhre fumble presented an open goal.

But the industry of John Spencer set Everton rolling when he chased down a wayward Michael Ball pass and allowed Ball to cross. Robert Molenaar blocked Duncan Ferguson's instinctive shot, but only as far as Don Hutchison, whose strike was threaded in through a crowded penalty box. Molenaar followed Lee Bowyer and Gavin McCann for a late tackle on Ferguson, a common trait on a skiddy surface which encouraged the sliding tackle. The punishment was reinforced when Ferguson rose high above the Leeds defence to head John O'Kane's floated free-kick down and beyond Nigel Martyn's dive.

The game was developing a head of hot-headed steam and Ferguson joined the list of yellow cards for diving in the area when challenged by Molenaar. The interval, during which the Dutchman was substituted, served to calm tempers.

Leeds dictated the second half and, in Harry Kewell, posed a constant threat. Hasselbaink headed over from a deft Kewell cross at the far post and, when the Australian again reached the byline to drill low across the six-yard area, his striker was fractionally too late to convert.

Graham accepted Radebe's second bookable offence, but believed the first yellow card, for a tackle on Nicky Barmby, was unjust. The Leeds boss, an admirer of Mr Rennie, said: "I think he was expecting a tough physical game and overreacted."

Kendall said: "We went about the job in the right way and took the game to Leeds. We cannot guarantee other people losing. The one here was the most important result."

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