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 Saturday, 14 December, 2002, 16:56 GMT
Everton see off Blackburn
Wayne Rooney celebrates scoring his third Premiership goal
Rooney enjoyed a sensational all-round game
Everton 2-1 Blackburn

The Wayne Rooney show resumed at Goodison Park as the youngster's goal helped Everton come from behind to beat Blackburn - and halt a run of three consecutive defeats.

The win also means that Everton are now above Liverpool in the Premiership table.

Blackburn took an early lead through Andy Cole, but Lee Carsley soon equalised before Rooney notched his third Premiership goal.

Key moments
6 mins: Cole heads Rovers into the lead
12 mins: Carsley equalises after Rooney hits the post
25 mins: Rooney puts Everton in front
The 17-year-old, making his first Premiership start since 22 September, delighted a capacity Goodison Park with his well-taken strike.

And the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year - who had been brought into the team for Tomasz Radzinski - also caught the eye with a vision and maturity that belied his age.

But after surviving an early Kevin Campbell chance, it was Rovers who took control of the match, with two David Thompson free-kicks creating chances for Garry Flitcroft and Dwight Yorke.

And Cole put Rovers ahead after connecting with yet another Thompson free-kick.

Cole met Thompson's inswinging ball and headed home past a stranded Richard Wright for his 150th Premiership goal.

The players are doing very well - which makes my job easier

David Moyes
An error from Tony Hibbert almost led to a second goal for the visitors but Yorke failed to hit the target and Everton equalised soon afterwards.

Campbell crossed to Rooney, whose shot rebounded off the post for Carsley to stroke the ball home from three yards.

Yorke had another chance to score for Rovers but headed Duff's cross over the crossbar - and again Everton punished the striker's profligacy with a goal.

Blackburn's Craig Short struggled to contain Wayne Rooney
Rooney gave Short a torrid time
Rooney created a shooting chance with a deft header that took the ball away from Craig Short and slipped the ball past Brad Friedel - another demonstration of his dazzling skills.

The influential Thompson was unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when he appeared to be fouled by Joseph Yobo.

And with half-time looming Cole shrugged off Yobo's challenge and hit the post with Yorke narrowly failing to smash home the rebound.

Rooney created a shooting chance for Carsley early in the second half but the midfielder shot wide and Gravesen narrowly missed the target after Everton hit Blackburn on the break after 52 minutes.

Everton's goalkeeper had a very good afternoon

Graeme Souness
But it was Blackburn who dominated possession and caused huge problems with their set pieces.

Martin Taylor met yet another Thompson corner and Richard Wright did well to prevent Rovers restoring parity.

Midway through the second half Lucas Neill was dismissed after receiving his second yellow card but Blackburn continued to press forward.

Former Everton player Short - who had endured a torrid time from Rooney all afternoon - almost equalised with a bullet header but Wright made a sensational save to deny him.

And Wright was again on hand to deny both Damien Duff and Nils-Eric Johansson in the closing stages.


Everton: Wright, Hibbert (Pistone 90), Yobo, Stubbs, Unsworth, Carsley, Tie Li (Weir 64), Gravesen, Naysmith, Campbell, Rooney (Radzinski 90).
Subs Not Used: Simonsen, Gemmill.

Booked: Hibbert.

Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Short, Taylor, McEveley (Gillespie 45), Thompson, Flitcroft (Johansson 76), Tugay, Duff, Cole, Yorke.
Subs Not Used: Kelly, Ostenstad, Danns.

Sent Off: Neill (74).

Booked: Neill, Gillespie.

Attendance: 36,578

Referee: G Barber (Hertfordshire).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 BBC Five Live's Stuart Hall
"Blackburn gave Everton a stiff examination"
 Everton boss David Moyes
"Our performance was average"
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