Ferguson double marks return to Goodison

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The Independent Online

After a spectacular start in the Premiership, Charlton experienced the other side of life in the top flight as the sending off of Carl Tiler reduced them to an uphill and ultimately fruitless battle against the odds.

After a spectacular start in the Premiership, Charlton experienced the other side of life in the top flight as the sending off of Carl Tiler reduced them to an uphill and ultimately fruitless battle against the odds.

Tiler made an unhappy return to Goodison when he was dismissed seven minutes before half-time, after aiming a kick at Mark Hughes when the two had clashed and Hughes had gone to ground. It might well have been an offence that deserved a red card of its own, but Tiler, already booked for a previous clash with the same player, saw a second yellow and Charlton were on their way to defeat after that.

The scale of that defeat owed most to an infinitely happier Goodison comeback by Duncan Ferguson, who scored twice in the last seven minutes to mark his second coming. Hailed as a hero when his name was read out among the substitutes and again when he finally came into the action after 66 minutes, he sent his old admirers into paroxysms by turning a narrow lead into a resounding victory.

The match was also something of a triumph for Paul Gascoigne, one of a fistful of new Evertonians making their competitive debuts at Goodison. He had an admirable game, before retiring to an ovation that almost matched that for the arrival of Ferguson when he went to the bench 13 minutes from the end.

During the time that he was on the field, Gascoigne impressed with his immaculate touch, both in dead-ball situations and, more tellingly, in the hurly-burly of midfield, where he was rarely caught in possession and usually managed to find the right pass for the occasion.

Everton's first goal was a product of his willingness to run at a defence - an aspect of his game widely supposed to have gone missing some seasons ago. It was, however, very much in evidence in the 53rd minute when he laid the ball into the path of Francis Jeffers, who scored with an instant right-footed shot, low into the corner of the net. That was a relief for Everton, who had often found themselves out-played by a confident Charlton when their opponents had 11 men on the field.

There was a particularly sticky period midway through the first half when Gascoigne had to make an uncharacteristically effective tackle to keep out Claus Jensen, John Robinson shot over an inviting net and another ex-Evertonian, Graham Stuart, had a low shot saved.

Everton even struggled to assert themselves after Tiler's sending off, but once Jeffers' goal went in the need to throw themselves forward in the search of an equaliser left opportunities, especially for Ferguson.

The first came when Thomas Gravesen, more at home when moved inside in the second half, gave him the ball on the right for him to fire his shot across the goalkeeper.

In time added on, it was Jeffers who supplied Ferguson on the other side of the area and this time his left-footed shot looped over Dean Kiely and dipped below the bar.

That, rather than Tiler's, is what you call a home coming. "The big fellow's back," an Evertonian said as he rose from his feet, and there was no doubt which of the two he meant.

Everton (4-4-2) Gerrard; S Watson, Weir, Gough, Pistone (Unsworth, 39); Gravesen, Nyarko, Gascoigne (Moore, 77), S Hughes; M Hughes (Ferguson, 66), Jeffers. Substitutes not used: Simonsen (gk), Gemmill.

Charlton Athletic (4-4-2) Kiely; Kishishev, Rufus, Tiler, Powell; Stuart, Kinsella, Jensen (Newton, 70), Robinson (Parker, 64); Hunt, Lisbie (Brown, 41) Substitutes not used: Ilic (gk), Konchesky.

Referee: N Barry (Scunthorpe).

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