Chadwick left to rue wasted opportunity

Everton 1 Crystal Palace 1 aet; 1-1 at 90 minutes; Crystal Palace win 5-4 on penalties
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The Independent Football

Palace's previous visit to Merseyside saw them routed 5-0 by Liverpool with a place in the Worthington Cup final at stake. Returning for a mediocre second-round tie at Goodison Park, they answered Duncan Ferguson's early spot-kick with one of their own from Dougie Freedman, and won a shoot-out by converting all their penalties after Kevin Campbell blazed over from Everton's first.

In a match which marked the latest comeback by Paul Gascoigne, Freedman had almost spared the sparse crowd extra time, but his 20-yard shot came out off the underside of the bar late in injury time at the end of 90 minutes.

For Everton, Nick Chadwick missed his kick completely when Kevin McLeod's cross fell to him in front of goal after 115 minutes. His misfortune looked all the more costly when Morrison scored Palace's final penalty with aplomb.

Only five of the Palace side whose run ended at Anfield in January were used by Steve Bruce. Walter Smith, meanwhile, was without nine players, only one of whom, Scot Gemmill, was rested for Saturday's visit by Liverpool.

Everton's depletion prompted Smith to give Gascoigne his first start since last November. Looking tanned and slim, he lasted 120 minutes, albeit at a stroll. In only the third minute a swiftly taken free-kick showed that Gascoigne's brain still works quickly, even if his feet no longer dance, and Matt Clarke saved with difficulty.

What followed suggested the rival managers had agreed not to wait until 10.40pm for a shoot-out. In the fifth minute, Tony Popovic hauled down Kevin Campbell as the Everton captain burst clear. Ferguson's spot-kick beat Clarke as Palace's new keeper dived the wrong way.

Within four minutes Palace were level after Freedman was wrestled over by Paul Gerrard. The Scot scored emphatically from the penalty, yet wasted a clear-cut opportunity after 32 minutes with a shot more akin to a back-pass.

Gascoigne became involved in the odd skirmish and played a few sweet passes. Lesser names, however, had a greater impact, Joe-Max Moore forcing a fine save from Clarke just before half-time and then Kevin McLeod volleying inches over.

In between, Morrison cleverly made room for a drive which stung Gerrard's fingers. The Tooting Irishman's ill-judged comments before Palace's semi-final on the other side of Stanley Park did Gérard Houllier's motivational work for him, but this time he really did have the final word.

Palace had been forced into a change just before the hour, replacing the injured Gregg Berhalter with Aki Riihilahti. Yet the contest was less in need of a Finnish journeyman than the finished article, someone like the young Gazza. While the latter-day Gascoigne showed glimpses of class, his main contribution to the later stages, apart from scoring in the shoot-out, was a booking for dissent.

Everton (3-5-2): Gerrard; Abel Xavier, Stubbs, Weir; Watson, Moore (Hibbert, 91), Gascoigne, Tal, McLeod; Campbell, Ferguson (Chadwick, 91). Substitutes not used: Cleland, P Clarke, Simonsen (gk).

Crystal Palace (3-5-2): M Clarke; Austin, Popovic, Berhalter (Riihilahti, 58); Smith, Mullins, Kirovski (Thomson, 91), Rodger, Gray; Morrison, Freedman. Substitutes not used: Harrison, Black, Kolinko (gk).

Referee: J Brandwood (Lichfield).

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