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 Thursday, 26 December, 2002, 17:00 GMT
Rooney off in stalemate
Referee Elleray shows Rooney the red card
Referee Elleray shows Rooney the red card
Birmingham City 1-1 Everton

Wayne Rooney was sent off as Everton were forced to hang on for a point at Birmingham City to stay in fourth place in the Premiership.

Referee David Elleray showed Everton substitute Rooney the red card late in the 1-1 draw at St Andrews for a foul on Steve Vickers.

I thought at most it should have been a yellow card

David Moyes on Rooney's sending off

It was the first dismissal of the 17-year-old's top flight career he let his aggression boil over in a physical encounter with Steve Bruce's side.

A dour game was only illuminated by two goals in the dying seconds of the first half, with Tomasz Radzinski giving Everton the lead and Jovan Kirovski equalising almost immediately for Blues.

Everton boss David Moyes kept Rooney on the bench, but Joseph Yobo returned at right back in place of the injured Tony Hibbert.

The first half was mainly a tale of two tough-tackling sides cancelling each other out in a colourless affair.

Referee Elleray was doing his best to keep the game flowing, but he was forced to book Everton's Lee Carsley for a foul on Michael Johnson.

Birmingham suffered a blow after 42 minutes when the limping Damien Johnson replaced by Stan Lazaridis.

Kenna leaps as Carsley dives in
Kenna leaps as Carsley dives in

But the game burst into life on the stroke of half-time, with both sides striking in the dying seconds before the interval.

Radzinski collected a pass from Thomas Gravesen and kept his cool to beat Nico Vaesen.

But within a minute Birmingham were back on level terms as Kirovski met a cross from Lazaridis and headed past Richard Wright.

All I know is that Vickers is the ultimate professional and he's got eight stitches in his ankle

Birmingham manager Steve Bruce

The second half started as much of the first had been played out, with little quality on display.

Everton boss Moyes decided to make the inevitable change after 65 minutes, sending on Rooney for Tomasz Radinski and Steve Watson for Mark Pembridge.

Rooney's stay was short-lived as he was shown the red card with ten minutes left for a late challenge on Vickers as his control let him down.

Everton were then happy to claim a point as they held out comfortably.



Birmingham: Vaesen, Kenna, Vickers, Cunningham, Devlin, Savage, Cisse, Damien Johnson (Lazaridis 43), Michael Johnson, Kirovski (Morrison 61), Horsfield (Hughes 76).
Subs Not Used: Bennett, Powell.

Booked: Morrison.

Everton: Wright, Weir, Stubbs, Yobo, Pistone, Pembridge (Rooney 66), Naysmith, Gravesen, Carsley, Campbell, Radzinski (Watson 66).
Subs Not Used: Tie Li, Gemmill, Baardsen.

Sent Off: Rooney (81).

Booked: Carsley.

Attendance: 29,505

Referee: D Elleray (Middlesex).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 BBC Five Live's Nigel Adderley
"Rooney's challenge was high and late"
 Everton boss David Moyes
"It could easily have been a yellow card"
 Birmingham manager Steve Bruce
"It was a big test for us"
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