Osman gives Everton resolve

Everton 2 - West Bromwich Albion 1
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The Independent Football

If you wanted a cameo to demonstrate economic lunacy and why Wayne Rooney had to leave Goodison one day, then the 63rd minute of this match provided it. Off came Kevin Campbell, on came Duncan Ferguson and as they passed £70,000 in combined wages brushed against each other. Not a year, but £70,000 a week.

If you wanted a cameo to demonstrate economic lunacy and why Wayne Rooney had to leave Goodison one day, then the 63rd minute of this match provided it. Off came Kevin Campbell, on came Duncan Ferguson and as they passed £70,000 in combined wages brushed against each other. Not a year, but £70,000 a week.

If anything is designed to have Everton supporters banging heads against walls it was that. Not because the club is more of a fiscal basket case than others but because of the rarity of having both strikers on a pitch at the same time. Last season Ferguson managed 13 starts, Campbell eight, which goes to show £3.5m a year gets very little in football these days.

No wonder David Moyes wore weariness as an accessory to his smart suit. He was relieved that Everton's fight against relegation had been eased by three points but he looked worn by the unrelenting nature of the battle and the 'brat leaving a sinking ship' saga that is the Rooney transfer. England's 18-year-old striker will leave within the next two days, but even if all the £25m-plus goes into the manager's transfer budget, and debts of £40m suggest it will not, it is unlikely he have time to spend it.

"I feel like a cracked record," Moyes said, as he reiterated that he did not want Rooney to leave, but as Manchester United and Newcastle edge closer to Everton's £30m asking price, he is bowing to the inevitable and facing up to the frustration he is unlikely to get a replacement before transfer deadline. "I doubt if we'll have time," he said. "My knowledge is we have money, but whether we could get things done by Tuesday, I doubt it."

So it is back to Campbell and Ferguson, if they can stagger off the treatment table, and Marcus Bent, who showed plenty of running but little aerial prowess. Instead it was the diminutive winger, Leon Osman, who rose to the occasion to score twice with his head. "He's about 4ft 1in," Moyes said with a degree of exaggeration.

They were goals that infuriated Albion's Gary Megson - "If we can't deal with balls slung into the box we might as well go home now" - but reinforced Evertonian resolve before a visit to Old Trafford today.

It is an unappetising prospect for Everton fans whose chants, increasingly bitter towards Rooney on Saturday, are unlikely to lose their edge. Just the prospect of his forming a partnership with Alan Smith will be a bitter one because Moyes attempted the feat in the summer. "Aye, it was my plan to bring those two together," he said wistfully. "But it was Alan Smith's choice."

A relegation battle at Goodison or Champions' League at Old Trafford? You can fathom Smith's thinking.

Goals: Osman (2) 1-0; Dobie (7) 1-1; Osman (69) 2-1.

Everton (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Stubbs, Yobo, Pistone; Osman, Carsley, Gravesen, Kilbane; Campbell (Ferguson, 62), Brent. Substitutes not used: Wright (gk), Watson, Weir, McFadden.

West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Hoult; Scimeca, Gaardsoe (Albrechtsen, 23), Purse, Robinson (Moore, 64); Gera, Johnson, Clement (Haas, 53), Greening; Dobie, Kanu. Substitutes not used: Kuszczak (gk), O'Connor.

Booked: West Bromwich: Scimeca.

Referee: P Walton (Northants).

Man of the match: Gravesen.

Attendance: 34,510.

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