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BBC Sport's Dave Woods
"Everton take another solid step toward safety"
 real 14k

Sunday, 8 April, 2001, 16:09 GMT 17:09 UK
Everton add to Man City woe
Everton striker Duncan Ferguson
Ferguson scores Everton's equaliser
Everton 3-1 Man City

Everton ensured that Joe Royle's first competitive match at Goodison Park since he the club in March 1997 was not a happy one.

Goals from Duncan Ferguson, David Weir and Michael Ball secured three vital points for the home side after Manchester City had taken an early lead thanks to Jeff Whitley.

The result eased Everton's relegation worries but pushed City further into trouble.

And Manchester City boss Joe Royle is sure to have had a few choice words for keeper Nicky Weaver, who was at fault for two of the goals.

The game started brightly for the visitors, with former Everton player Andrei Kanchelskis seeing his shot from the edge of the box drift just wide in the second minute.

  Key incidents
9 mins: Man City's Jeff Whitley heads in from close range
17 mins: Ferguson scores from six yards to draw Everton level
20 mins: Steve Watson's deflected shot is tipped over by Weaver
40 mins: Michael Ball puts Everton ahead, slotting home the rebound of his saved penalty
84 mins: David Weir's weak header trickles past Weaver
88 mins: Alessandro Pistone and Paul Dickov sent off for violent conduct
Kanchelskis was involved again moments later when his cross spun off transfer-listed Paulo Wanchope and into the path of Paul Dickov.

However, just as he was shaping to shoot, Weir stepped in to make a timely block.

Wanchope was making his first start for City since January and justified his place in the starting line-up with some excellent link-up play in attack.

City's early pressure was rewarded in the ninth minute when Whitley headed home a free-kick from Danny Tiatto after Everton defender David Unsworth had been pulled up for a foul on Kanchelskis.

This victory has made our situation a bit more pleasant and it is not often we get two wins in a row
  Walter Smith
Everton missed several chances to draw level in an open game played at a frenetic pace, before Ferguson managed to score in the 17th minute.

City defender Richard Dunne headed Niclas Alexandersson's cross up in the air, Kevin Campbell got the slightest of touches and Ferguson swept the ball past keeper Nicky Weaver.

With three points a must for both sides in their fight to avoid relegation, City and Everton continued to press for goals.

Everton keeper Paul Gerrard had a lucky escape in the 25th minute.

He could only parry Whitely's shot but Dickov failed to get good contact on the rebound.

Everton took the lead five minutes before the break as Ball went route one for Everton.

He hoisted the ball forward, and while the City defence remained static, Campbell homed in on goal only for Weaver to bring him down.

Referee David Elleray had no other option but to award a penalty.

Weaver got a hand to Ball's spot kick but the young England defender swept in the rebound.
Manchester City's Jeff Whitley
Whitley's opener cancelled out by Ferguson

After the exertions of the first-half, the pace of the game slowed in the second period and play was made difficult by the slippery conditions at a rain-soaked Goodison Park.

Smith introduced Francis Jeffers at the interval to replace Ferguson but the unsettled striker was forced to come off after sustaining an injury in a collision with Tiatto.

Royle brought on Huckerby for Kanchelskis in a bid to bolster his own team's attacking options as they went in search of an equaliser.

But it was Everton who grabbed another goal to put the game beyond doubt.

From a corner kick, skipper Weir rose above the City defence and headed a weak shot that Weaver somehow managed to let slip into his goal.

The final minutes of the game were marred by the sendings-off of Everton's Alessandro Pistone and Dickov for an off-the-ball incident.

But by that time the points were already in the bag for a relieved Smith.

Everton: Gerrard, Steve Watson, Weir, Ball, Pistone, Alexandersson, Gemmill, Gravesen, Unsworth, Campbell, Ferguson. Subs: Pembridge, Simonsen, Jeffers, Hibbert, Tal.

Man City: Weaver, Haaland, Howey, Dunne, Granville, Kanchelskis, Wiekens, Whitley, Tiatto, Dickov, Wanchope. Subs: Nash, Huckerby, Ostenstad, Charvet, Kennedy.

Referee: D Elleray (Harrow-on-the-Hill)

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