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Wednesday, 28 August, 2002, 20:58 GMT 21:58 UK
Ten-man Everton grab point
Stern John's penalty gave Birmingham the lead
Everton 1-1 Birmingham


A Birmingham own goal in the dying seconds of their game against Everton denied the Midlands side their first win of the season.

Everton midfielder David Unsworth's 25-yard shot rebounded off the Blues woodwork before striking defender Kenny Cunningham on its way into the visitors' goal.

The goal came as reward for 10 man Everton's late pressure after they went behind to a 49th minute Stern John penalty.

  Key incidents
6: Johns header is tipped over the Everton bar
31: Rooney has Everton's first serious chance on goal
49: John scores from the spot and Stubbs is red-carded
90: Cunningham's own goal levels matters

Striker John put the decisive spot-kick following a foul by Alan Stubbs who was sent-off as a result.

Stubbs was trying to make up for a poor back pass by team-mate Thomas Gravesen but was punished for bringing down John in the Everton area.

John picked himself up to score his spot-kick off the post for Birmingham's first goal in the top-flight since promotion.

It looked like that could be enough for the club's first Premiership win since promotion but Unsworth and Everton had other ideas and equalised in dramatic fashion.

The visitors had begun in a promising manner as Everton keeper Steve Simonsen, playing instead of the injured Richard Wright, was forced to tip over a John header after six minutes.

A Bryan Hughes cross was then touched away from the onrushing John by Alan Stubbs at full stretch.

David Unsworth
Unsworth celebrates Everton's equaliser

Robbie Savage was back after suspension for his first game of the season for Birmingham and he and midfield partner Aliou Cisse had the upper hand in the middle of the park.

And the visitors almost took the lead when Martin Grainger's 30 yard free-kick hit the crossbar.

Everton finally got their first serious effort on 31 minutes when Kevin Campbell fed Wayne Rooney on the left of the box.

But the youngster's shot was turned away by keeper Nico Vaesen.

Birmingham took the lead shortly after the interval through John's penalty to spice up the encounter.

And, even though they were down to 10 men, Everton bravely stuck to three up front in a desperate bid to rescue the game.

Chinese international Li Tie was influential for the home side as the Midlanders were put under severe pressure.

Li Tie and Rooney both went close before Everton's equaliser which preserved their unbeaten start to the Premiership season.


Everton: Simonsen, Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Naysmith (Rodrigo 85), Gravesen, Tie Li, Unsworth, Radzinski, Campbell, Rooney.
Subs Not Used: Alexandersson, Linderoth, Carsley, Gerrard.

Sent Off: Stubbs (49)

Birmingham: Vaesen, Tebily (Kenna 35), Cunningham, Purse, Grainger, Damien Johnson, Savage, Cisse, Hughes (Carter 70), Horsfield (Morrison 81), John.
Subs Not Used: Bennett, Mooney.
Booked: Damien Johnson, Savage, Hughes. Attendance: 37,197

Referee: E Wolstenholme (Lancashire)

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Charlie Lambert
"Everton deserved the draw"
Birmingham boss Steve Bruce
"We surrendered possession too easily"
Everton skipper David Weir
"It was all or nothing for us"
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