Kanchelskis rules

Sheffield Wednesday 2 Hirst 9, Degryse 64 Everton 5 Amokachi 4, Ebbrell 10, Kanchelskis 21, 54, 65 Attendance: 32,724
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The Independent Online
Andrei Kanchelskis tore the Owls apart on the wing and left the relegation candidates to pick over their remains.

Running rampant on the right, the Russian international was unlucky to score only three; he also had one disallowed for a marginal offside and blasted another chance against a post. And Wednesday were lucky to concede only five: Tony Grant curled the ball past Kevin Pressman but struck the woodwork. So fragile was the Owls' defence that it looked like breaking every time Daniel Amokachi - a real bull in a china shop - raged through.

It was the Nigerian who began the rout in the fourth minute and revived Everton's European ambitions. He selfishly shot from a tight angle, but fortuitously found Pressman sleeping on the near post. Five minutes later, David Hirst had barely finished his celebrations for the equaliser when Kanchelskis's first meaningful involvement, a cross from the right, allowed John Ebbrell to score. "We never coped with Kanchelskis or Amokachi's pace," the Wednesday manager, David Pleat, said. His side's inability to keep possession added to their predicament. Kanchelskis and Amokachi combined in the 21st minute when John Sheridan surrendered the ball to Grant. His long pass allowed Kanchelskis to scorch past Lee Briscoe and score.

The second half was supposed to be Chris Waddle's swansong after four years at Hillsborough. On as a substitute for the wayward Sheridan, his first touch was an immaculate 40-yard pass which Regi Blinker failed to control. His second went straight to Grant, who sent Kanchelskis away. Des Walker back- pedalled furiously, allowing the Russian to pick his spot beneath Pressman's body.

Marc Degryse did volley an undeserved measure of respectability into the scoreline in the 64th minute, but within 30 seconds it was preserved only by the linesman's flag. Kanchelskis clearly was not to be denied. In the 66th minute, one of David Unsworth's surprisingly frequent forays from the back ended with Kanchelskis delightfully curling in his first Everton hat-trick.

With the four sides hardest on their heels all winning, Wednesday need a point from next weekend's visit to West Ham.

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