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Saturday, 16 December, 2000, 16:57 GMT
Sporting Di Canio spares Everton
Everton 1-1 West Ham United
Frederic Kanoute's late equaliser gave West Ham United a deserved point at Goodison Park - but the game will be remembered for Paolo di Canio's sportsmanship.
Kanoute struck seven minutes from time to earn the Hammers a point after Danny Cadamarteri had struck for the third successive game at Goodison Park.
It was a fitting reward for the French striker, and stopped West Ham slumping to their seventh straight defeat at Everton.
But Everton were then indebted to a remarkable act of fair play from di Canio for escaping with a draw.
The Italian picked the ball up rather than take a goalscoring opportunity after Everton goalkeeper Paul Gerrard slumped to the ground with what looked like a serious injury.
Goodison Park rose to di Canio, so often criticised for his controversial style - but Gerrard was stretchered away in agony.
Everton boss Walter Smith will be disappointed his side failed to hold their lead, but Hammers counterpart Harry Redknapp will rightly claim his side's performance warranted a share of the spoils.
Everton were looking to bounce back from their 5-0 defeat at Manchester City - and a performance which prompted boss Smith to cancel the club's Christmas party.
It was hardly a festive atmosphere inside rain-soaked Goodison, but there was almost some early cheer for the home fans when midfield man Stephen Hughes tested Shaka Hislop with a long-range drive.
Kanoute was West Ham's main danger, and he produced a moment of individual inspiration to escape the Everton defence, but shot across the face of goal.
Referee Clive Wilkes was officiating in his first Premiership game, and he had no difficulty making his first major decision, rightly showing Cadamarteri the yellow card for a wild challenge on Rigobert Song.
Kanoute followed him into the book for a foul on Everton captain David Weir, but it was a rare moment of passion in a dull opening half.
Mark Pembridge should have broken the deadlock after 33 minutes, but he could only hit the side-netting when he was unmarked eight yards out.
Kanoute's pace and strength was causing Everton problems, and he started the second half with another surging run that was only ended by a desperate clearance by Steve Watson.
Kevin Campbell was making life difficult for West Ham's rearguard, and he was on the end of Thomas Gravesen's cross on the hour, but his header was off target.
Kanoute wasted a great opportunity to give West Ham the lead three minutes later when he stole in on Nigel Winterburn's cross, but his weak header was easily saved by Paul Gerrard.
West Ham were dominating the second half, and Gerrard was breathing another sigh of relief after 73 minutes.
Frank Lampard's shot was straight at Gerrard, but he fumbled an easy save and was fortunate to see the ball bounce to safety.
Everton took advantage of the reprieve to take the lead with 15 minutes remaining.
Hughes's corner was met by Watson, and even though his header was goalbound, Cadamarteri made sure by nodding in from virtually on the goal-line.
Everton's joy however was short-lived as West Ham struck back after 83 minutes, Kanoute turning on di Canio's pass to beat Gerrard in the bottom corner.
Gerrard's injury meant the game ended on a sour note for Everton, and di Canio will claim the headlines again, this time for all the right reasons.
Everton: Gerrard, Steve Watson, Weir, Hughes, Pembridge, Ball, Naysmith, Gravesen, Gemmill, Cadamarteri, Campbell. Subs: Unsworth, Alexandersson, Simonsen, Moore, Tal.
West Ham: Hislop, Stuart Pearce, Song, Ian Pearce, Sinclair, Lomas, Winterburn, Lampard, Carrick, di Canio, Kanoute. Subs: Potts, Suker, Diawara, Tihinen, Bywater.
Referee: C Wilkes (Gloucester)
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