Rooney finds out the hard way for Everton

Birmingham City 1 Everton 1

Wayne Rooney's headline-grabbing debut season took an unsavoury turn yesterday when Everton's 17-year-old goalscoring sensation was sent off for the first time in his fledgling career.

Employed as usual as a substitute by the Merseyside club, the precociously talented striker had been on the field for 15 minutes when he was dismissed by the referee David Elleray for a crude two-footed foul that left the Birmingham defender Steve Vickers needing eight stitches in a badly gashed ankle.

Eager as ever to make a decisive impact, as Everton pressed for a winning goal with 10 minutes remaining, the teenager went for what he presumably judged to be a 50-50 ball after spinning between two Birmingham players, but was late with his attempt to retain possession, crunching into Vickers with both sets of studs showing. There was no hesitation from the referee in producing a straight red card.

However, the Everton manager, David Moyes, jumped immediately to the youngster's defence, revealing that he had asked Elleray to look at a video replay of the incident in the hope that the decision might be rescinded, although he held little hope of the Harrow official changing his mind.

"In some people's eyes it might be seen as a sending off, but I felt it was a decent attempt to make a challenge, with both players going for the ball together," said Moyes. "I went to Mr Elleray and asked him to look at the incident again, especially the film from behind the goal. He reluctantly agreed to look at it, but would not comment. I do not imagine there is any chance of him changing his mind."

Apart from a possible three-match suspension, Rooney also faces a mandatory club fine, although Moyes hinted he might take a lenient view. He also insisted he would not ask Rooney to show greater self-restraint, even though he had picked up four yellow cards in 18 appearances before yesterday, having started only four times.

"I'll be reviewing the situation carefully," said Moyes. "If you look at Everton's recent record in terms of discipline, it may seem referees are not very keen on us at the moment. I will not be asking Wayne to change in any respect. You people [the media] are saying he is a bit rough and tough, but his enthusiasm is part of his game. I'm not going to stop him challenging for the ball."

The Birmingham manager, Steve Bruce, said that Vickers, whose season has already been disrupted by injury, faced another spell on the sidelines. "It would be wrong for me to comment on the tackle because I could not see it clearly," stated Bruce. "But Steve has a bad gash in a very awkward position and has needed six to eight stitches. I dare say he will be out for two to three weeks at a time when we already have a long injury list."

Bruce had already used his three substitutes when Vickers went off, which meant both sides finished with 10 men.

That incident apart, it had been a game of few noteworthy moments. The two goals had come at the end of the first half, Tomasz Radzinski's opener for Everton cancelled out within a minute by Jovan Kirovski.

Birmingham paid the price for playing for offsides as Radzinski struck after 44 minutes, their risky tactic backfiring just as one longed for the referee to put a drab first half out of its misery. The trap was sprung by Thomas Gravesen's well-timed ball along the right, and though the Canadian's first touch was not perfect he retained possession to shoot low past Nico Vaesen.

But Birmingham's gloom was short-lived, with an equaliser coming as the half entered stoppage time. Bruce had swapped an injured Damien Johnson for Stan Lazaridis on the left flank and the change realised an immediate dividend when the Australian winger delivered the cross from which the American Kirovski headed the home side level, the former Crystal Palace player scoring his second goal in three games.

Birmingham City (4-4-2): Vaesen 6; Kenna 5, Cunningham 6, Vickers 7, M Johnson 5; Devlin 5, Savage 5, Cissé 5, D Johnson 5 (Lazaridis 6, 42); Horsfield 5 (Hughes 5, 74), Kirovski 6 (Morrison 5, 61). Substitutes not used: Bennett (gk), Powell.

Everton (4-4-2): Wright 5; Yobo 6, Weir 5, Stubbs 6, Pistone 5; Carsley 5, Gravesen 6, Pembridge 5 (Watson 5, 65), Naysmith 5; Campbell 4, Radzinski 6 (Rooney 5, 65). Substitutes not used: Li Tie, Gemmill, Baardsen (gk).

Referee: D Elleray (Harrow) 6.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas