Tolson inspires humiliation of Everton

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The Independent Online

York City 3 Everton 2 York City win 4-3 on aggregate

The joy of an opening day victory over Newcastle is now just a fond but distant memory to Everton. They have not won in eight matches since and last night suffered a humiliating defeat to York City, a struggling Second Division side.

Everton fans may look back at Manchester United's exit on the same picket- fence-ringed ground last season for consolation but United, unlike Everton, do not take this competition seriously. The Everton manager, Joe Royle, was recently given pounds 10m to spend and with Duncan Ferguson already booked in for an operation the pressure on him to spend some of that is now overwhelming.

For York such riches are beyond their dreams - they are even sponsored by Portakabin - but last night they showed that however much money Premiership clubs lavish on their teams they will not succeed without matching the application and inspiration of their supposed lessers.

An irony which Royle will not enjoy is that the man who did most to defeat his multi-million pound team is Neil Tolson, a player he once gave away as a makeweight in a part-exchange deal when both were at Oldham Athletic. Last week he scored the goal that earned York a draw at Goodison Park. Last night he scored the crucial equaliser that hauled Everton back into the abyss just as they seemed to be drawing clear.

It appeared that everything had gone to plan for Everton when they took the lead on 23 minutes. The goal was fortunate but it also showed the quicker speed of thought of Premiership sides. Joe Parkinson's shot ricocheted off John Sharples, Paul Rideout was first to react and his mis-hit volley looped over Andy Warrington and in.

Ten minutes before the break Adrian Randall cut the ball back from the right for the unmarked Tolson to score his sixth goal of the season.

Everton brought on Michael Branch at the break and the 17-year-old's pace immediately caused problems, but as Everton sought to push forward they left gaps at the back and after 55 minutes Andy McMillan picked out Paul Stephenson with a raking crossfield pass. The former Newcastle winger cut inside before shooting against the far post. First to the rebound was Gary Bull who scored with an aplomb more commonly seen from his cousin, Steve.

Everton could have had a penalty when Branch appeared to be brought down with five minutes left, but were then stunned as York added a third to confirm a thoroughly deserved victory. The goal came from Graeme Murty - a Liverpool supporter who said afterwards his affiliation made it all the sweeter.

Gary Speed scored an injury-time consolation, but it was too late.

"I feel hurt, anger and disappointment," Royle said. "I heard fans shouting `what's going on?' and I'm asking the same question. We were appalling at times. For a season that started so full of hope we're now on a retrieval mission.

"We should have had a penalty, but that would only have glossed over the underlying problems. We are not in as bad a position as when I arrived, but if we keep playing like that we will be."

For a change the York manager, Alan Little, had more to celebrate than his brother, Brian. "We approached the first game light heartedly - we knew what a good side they were," he said. "They might have scored five at Goodison, but they didn't and we punished them for that."

York City (4-4-2): Warrington; McMillan, Sharples, Barras, Hall; Murty, Pepper, Randall, Stephenson; Bull, Tolson. Substitutes not used: Clarke (gk), Bushell, Cresswell.

Everton (4-4-2): Southall; Hottiger, Barrett, Unsworth, Hinchcliffe; Kanchelskis, Parkinson, Speed, Limpar; Stuart, Rideout (Branch, h-t). Substitutes not used: Jackson, Gerrard (gk).

Referee: S Lodge (Barnsley).


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