Football: Speed puts foot down

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The Independent Online
The remarkable renaissance of Southampton came to a grinding halt against at Goodison Park as a rampant Everton swept into a five-goal lead in 35 minutes and ran out 7-1 winners with Gary Speed scoring a hat-trick. Perhaps the Saints manager, Graeme Souness, should increase the number of players in his autumn clear-out.

Graham Stuart started the first-half rout after 12 minutes when Gary Speed and Nick Barmby combined to set up the chance for a simple tap-in at the far post. Ten minutes later, a long ball by Dave Watson was worked, via Stuart and Tony Grant, to Andrei Kanchelskis. His left-foot shot gave Chris Woods no chance.

On the half-hour, Barmby beat the Saints' offside trap and Speed finished off with a fierce drive to make it 3-0. And still the goals came as Barmby and Kanchelskis linked to set up a close range header by Speed. Kanchelskis made it 5-0 before Egil Ostenstad pulled one back.

Southampton must have been thankful that the Everton manager, Joe Royle, had kept striker Duncan Ferguson, fit again and free of suspension after a combination of both kept him out for five weeks, on the substitutes' bench. The second half was less eventful but Barmby and Speed found time and space to score.

With strikers Stan Collymore of Liverpool and Celtic's Pierre Van Hooijdonk firmly in the thoughts of the Aston Villa manager Brian Little, a Midlands derby against his former club Leicester City was a useful time for Villa Park incumbents Tommy Johnson and Dwight Yorke to shine.

Instead, Villa slumped to a 3-1 defeat, losing their unbeaten home record in the Premier. They fell behind to a Steve Claridge goal in the eighth minute after a terrible mistake by the full-back Fernando Nelson, who sliced a clearance, giving the Leicester striker a simple chance from six yards.

Villa were level in seven minutes. Yorke's equaliser, his first goal for nine games, owed everything to his quick reactions as he was first to the ball when Kasey Keller parried Alan Wright's left-foot drive. But two minutes before half-time, Gareth Southgate collided in the area with Emile Heskey and referee David Elleray, to the surprise of many, awarded a penalty which Gary Parker calmly scored. Muzzy Izzet made it safe for Leicester with five minutes ramining.

Despite pre-match protestations that lack of match sharpness would force him to keep England internationals Darren Anderton and Andy Sinton on the substitutes' bench, the Tottenham Hotspur manager Gerry Francis uncharacteristically threw caution to the wind and thrust them both into the starting line- up against Sunderland at White Hart Lane. The gamble paid off after only 13 minutes when Sinton, who scored twice for the reserves on Monday, took off on a solo run, beat two players, cut in from the left and fired in. Sheringham made it 2-0 with eight minutes left. By that time, Sunderland had been reduced to 10 men when the former Spurs forward Paul Stewart was sent off for serious foul play.

In the First Division top-of-the-table clash at Burnden Park, leaders Bolton Wanderers had to share the honours with second- placed Crystal Palace.

The London side have never won at Bolton and the record looked safe when John Sheridan, on loan from Sheffield Wednesda, put Wanderers in front and a John McGinlay penalty made it 2-0. But fighting Palace equalised through David Hopkin and Dougie Freedman.

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