Football:Blues break Speed limit

Everton 7 (Stuart 12, Kanchelskis 22, 35 Speed 30, 32, 72, Barmby 57) Southampton 1 (Ostenstad 39) Attendance: 35,669
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The Independent Online
Gary Speed struck the first hat-trick of his career as Everton halted Southampton's recent revival with an astonishing seven-goal rout. However, the Welshman's performance was overshadowed by that of Nick Barmby, who scored his first goal for Everton since his pounds 5.7m transfer and set up three more.

It was the biggest triumph of manager Joe Royle's two-year reign at Goodison Park and he was unsurprisingly delighted with his side's performance: "We were irresistible at times today. That has been coming for a while and a number of sides have got off lightly here."

The home side took the lead after 12 minutes, Graham Stuart turning the ball home at the far post after Andrei Kanchelskis had narrowly failed to connect with Barmby's angled pass.

Tony Grant then cleared up a rare moment of panic in the Everton box before racing forward and working the ball neatly to Stuart. He found Kanchelskis who calmly switched feet and drilled a low shot past goalkeeper Chris Woods.

Three further goals in five minutes sent the home crowd into raptures as Graeme Souness, the Southampton manager, glowed redder than ever. The hard-working Barmby was the inspiration. First a perfect throughball found Speed, who fired a blistering shot home from 20 yards on the half-hour. Two minutes later, Barmby chipped to the far post where the former Leeds' midfielder again provided the cutting edge as he headed in from close range.

Kanchelskis couldn't believe his luck when he completed Everton's first- half spree after 35 minutes. He headed Andy Hinchcliffe's cross tamely goal-wards, but the luckless Woods slipped and allowed the ball to pass over him and cross the line. Southampton's Egil Ostenstad put a temporary damper on proceedings after 39 minutes, poking a low shot home under Neville Southall, who was substituted at half-time allowing Paul Gerrard to make his debut.

After 57 minutes, Barmby grabbed the goal he so richly deserved, finishing off Kanchelskis' low centre after the Ukrainian was released by a beautifully- weighted pass from Grant. Speed completed his hat-trick, heading home after 71 minutes from one of a whole string of corners from Hinchcliffe.