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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 August, 2003, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
Rooney inspires Everton win
Steve Watson scores Everton's third
Watson scores Everton's third

Everton 3-1 Fulham

Everton struck three times in a scintillating opening 45 minutes to set up their first win of the season against Fulham at Goodison Park.

Wayne Rooney was back in business and was the catalyst as David Moyes' men wrapped up the points in convincing fashion.

Gary Naysmith, David Unsworth and Steve Watson were all on target as Fulham struggled to contain a lively Everton.

Substitute Barry Hayles pulled a goal back for Fulham after the break, but boss Chris Coleman will have been bitterly disappointed at his side's swift capitulation.

Coleman axed striker Steve Marlet before kick-off after the France striker revealed he wanted to quit the Londoners.

Everton boss Moyes decided to restore Rooney to the side after an ankle injury - and it was a decision that brought a rich reward in a devastating first half.

Fulham, ironically, could have taken the lead in the opening minutes when Unsworth's back-pass evaded goalkeeper Richard Wright and rolled narrowly wide.

KEY MOMENTS
7 mins: Naysmith fires Everton ahead from 20 yards
21 mins: Unsworth doubles Everton's advantage
35 mins: Rooney sets up the third for Watson
69 mins: Substitute Hayles pulls a goal back for Fulham

But Everton were soon into their stride and tore hapless Fulham apart.

Naysmith put Everton ahead after seven minutes, firing home from 20 yards after Watson fed Rooney.

Everton doubled their lead 14 minutes later when Rooney's long ball was flicked to Watson by Naysmith, and a slick move ended with Unsworth lashing a low drive past Fulham goalkeeper Edwin van der Saar.

And Everton were out of sight ten minutes before the interval when they added a third, with Rooney again involved.

The England youngster forced Alain Goma into an error, and when he tried to score from almost on the by-line, Watson was on hand to score from close range.

Fulham boss Coleman made an inevitable interval change, sending on striker Barry Hayles for Sylvain Legwinski.

Rooney, who had earlier missed a great chance when clean through, was clearly tiring because of a lack of match fitness, and he was taken off after 73 minutes and replaced by Nick Chadwick.

But by then the hard work had been done and Everton had picked up their first points of the new campaign.


Everton: Wright, Pistone, Yobo, Stubbs, Unsworth, Watson, Linderoth, Pembridge, Naysmith, Radzinski, Rooney (Chadwick 74).
Subs Not Used: Weir, Li Tie, Simonsen, Osman.

Booked: Pistone, Watson.

Fulham: Van der Sar, Volz, Goma, Djetou (Knight 56), Bonnissel, Malbranque, Clark, Inamoto (Buari 62), Legwinski (Hayles 46), Saha, Boa Morte.
Subs Not Used: Sava, Crossley.

Booked: Hayles, Volz, Malbranque, Goma.

Attendance: 37,604

Referee: N Barry (N Lincolnshire).




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Conor McNamara
"Wayne Rooney made the Fulham defence squirm"


Everton goalscorer Steve Watson
"The first half was as good as we've played for a long time"




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