Football / The Premier Kick-Off: Waddle's cameo role

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The Independent Online
Everton. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

Sheffield Wednesday. . . . . . . . . . . . .1

SOME misconceptions needed to be cleared up right away: the bloke in the green jersey in the middle of the park waving his arms at Carlton Palmer was the referee, not a goalkeeper; when the Goodison Park PA announced that Kevin Pressman was substituting for Chris Waddle it was a mistake; Premier League teams are not allowed to play two goalkeepers; yes the interval was 16 minutes - it has been upped from 10 to 15 minutes and this one ran 60 seconds over.

You did not know all this? Clearly you must be one of those old-fashioned fans who actually go to matches and have not been watching it all on television. In time you will become one of a vanishing breed and appear on Wild Life programmes with Sir David Attenborough. 'Footballus Fanaticus,' Sir David will intone, his camera fixed on a scraggy, bescarved creature with dyed hair and painted face, peering nervously out of the undergrowth, 'once ruled large parts of the planet'.

The match, and the play, was good. We had bucketing rain for much of the first half which made the foothold, on a thick carpet of grass, difficult. There were three new players on show and all had their moments. Waddle played a part in Wednesday's goal which was, basically, an error by Neville Southall when he failed to hold the corner kick.

Waddle departed before the interval with a twisted knee (which keeps him out of the midweek game against Nottingham Forest) and without him, and in the continued absence of John Sheridan, Wednesday's attacking tended to be formalised and predictable.

Everton showed us Barry Horne who took his goal, extremely well but up to that moment had had an undistinguished half, slow and out of position. He, too, took a knock and was substituted. Paul Rideout might have had a sensational start with two goals but twice he over-elaborated inside the box and, as Peter Beardsley managed something similar, only worse, Evertonians could be heard complaining all the way through Stanley Park.

Rideout is an intelligent player who can do clever things, usually with a disappointing end result, but his combinations with Beardsley and Mark Ward were interesting and Howard Kendall does have Mo Johnston and Tony Cottee to feed into the permutations.

The most improved players were Wednesday's Paul Williams, sharper, stronger, more confident, and Chris Bart-Williams (who did replace Waddle), who is threatening more than ever to dazzle us.

It was a good enough afternoon to restore Kendall's sense of humour. 'I can predict that there won't be too many goalkeepers penalised for time-wasting,' he offered, adding, 'we're already a point ahead of the Premier League favourites.'

Goals: Pearson (14) 0-1; Horne (44) 1-1.

Everton: Southall; Jackson, Hinchcliffe, Ebbrell, Watson, Ablett, Ward, Beardsley, Rideout, Horne (Warzycha, 70) Beagrie. Substitutes not used: Johnston, Kearton.

Sheffield Wednesday: Woods; Nilsson, King, Palmer, Pearson, Warhurst, Waddle (Bart-Williams, 38), Hyde, Hirst (Watson, 83), Williams, Worthington. Substitute not used: Pressman.

Referee: K Morton (Bury St Edmunds).

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