Football: Stuart sneaks in

Everton 2 Speed 67, Stuart 83 West Ham United 1 Watson og 23 A ttendance: 34,356
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The Independent Online
A Late goal from Graham Stuart gave Everton their first win of the season and consigned West Ham to their first defeat. With just seven minutes remaining, the midfielder found enough space to turn and fire the ball past a startled Ludek Miklosko from six yards.

Howard Kendall, the Everton manager, has shuffled the side which lost to Crystal Palace on the opening day, signing the midfielder Danny Williamson from West Ham and letting the former England defender David Unsworth go in the opposite direction.

West Ham defended with style and composure, with Rio Ferdinand outstanding at the back, but although West Ham finished the first half deserved leaders, Everton's comeback was sustained and powerful, and finally wore the visitors down.

West Ham justly went ahead after 23 minutes. The goal came after Slaven Bilic had been booked for a foul on Eyal Berkovitch, which resulted in John Moncur also being cautioned for his part in the resulting dust-up.

When the free-kick was taken, John Hartson powered in a 20-yard shot that Neville Southall would have saved to his left had Watson not been standing right in front of him. The defender lunged in to divert the ball home for an own goal.

Within a minute of the restart, Nicky Barmby got behind Ferdinand to produce a great close-range save from Miklosko. The Everton pressure mounted after John Oster was sent on to produce some width on the left, Stuart stabbing a close-range shot wide.

The visitors were having to endure an aerial bombardment, most of it aimed at Duncan Ferguson. In the end, Everton had four big men going for every set piece. Kendall sent on Craig Short to add to the height of Ferguson, Bilic - also playing against his old club - and Watson.

Yet it was skipper Gary Speed who pulled Everton level after 67 minutes. Barmby's left-wing corner swung in, and Speed ducked to guide a fizzing low header home through a packed box.

West Ham looked to have done enough to take home a point, but with the end in sight, up popped Stuart to produce that moment of inspiration in the box, and Everton's season was up and running.

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