Football: Strike role for Jackson

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Crystal Palace. . . . 0

Everton. . . . . . . .2

ROGER MILFORD, a referee whose bite rarely matches the ferocity of his bark, is no stranger to controversy. Many observers still believe that had he cautioned Paul Gascoigne for that dreadful chest- high challenge on Garry Parker in the opening minutes of the 1991 FA Cup final, then the recent history of English football might have taken a rather different course to that which culminated in last summer's Swedish nightmare. If the referee was lenient on that occasion then his performance at Selhurst Park yesterday was incomprehensible.

Forty minutes of an entertaining but otherwise restrained first- half had elapsed when Everton cleared a Crystal Palace corner. Palace's young midfielder, Bobby Bowry, panicked as a horde of blue shirts bore down on him and left Peter Beardsley in the clear. When Nigel Martyn sprinted some 15 yards from his area and crudely took Beardsley out of the game, Palace had good reason to fear the worse. It was no small surprise when Milford elected only to book the Palace keeper.

Everton were distraught, not least because their own keeper Neville Southall, had been dismissed against Queen's Park Rangers two weeks previously for a far less serious offence.

Five minutes after the interval, though, Milford allowed Ian Snodin to take the quickest of quick free-kicks in the centre circle and the Everton full-back, Matthew Jackson, needed no second bidding to take his chance with a striker's aplomb. Now it was Palace's turn to complain.

Palace's youngsters looked jaded after the heroic display against Chelsea in midweek. They packed midfield, deployed John Humphrey and Simon Rodger as wing-backs, but oddly chose the long ball as their stock delivery to Chris Armstrong.

But whatever their shortcomings this was a rejuvenated Everton, for whom Snodin and the teenager, Billy Kenny, excelled. When Beardsley prodded in the second goal late on, no one could argue about injustice.

Crystal Palace: N Martyn; J Humphrey, R Bowry (G Ndah, 68 min), C Coleman, E Young, A Thorn (R Newman, h/t), G Watts, G Thomas, C Armstrong, S Rodger, E McGoldrick. Sub not used: A Woodman (gk). Manager: S Coppell.

Everton: N Southall; M Jackson, G Ablett, I Snodin, D Watson, M Keown, P Radosavljevic, P Beardsley, P Rideout (S Barlow, 58 min), B Kenny, J Ebbrell. Subs not used: R Warzycha, J Kearton (gk). Manager: H Kendall.

Referee: R Milford (Bristol).

Goals: Jackson (0-1, 50 min), Beardsley (0-2, 84 min).

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