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Two-goal Cottee earns Everton another chance

Two-goal Cottee earns Everton another chance

by Colin Gibson of "The Daily Telegraph"

 

Tony Cottee, one of Merseyside's footballing outcasts, made the most of two moments of Liverpool chaos last night to take Everton into yet another 5th round replay - at Goodison Park, next Wednesday.

 

Never in the previous 172 matches between the two Merseyside giants has there been a game filled with such incident and excitement as this 4-4 draw, after extra-time.

 

Four times Liverpool inspired by their re-united strikeforce of Beardsley, Rush and Barnes, took what seemed to be a decisive lead. But each time Everton, once in the dying seconds of normal time, somehow found the strength and determination to rescue the tie.

 

Even the most partisan of Everton supporters will recognise the debt their side owes to Liverpool's defensive disarray. Every Everton goal was gift wrapped in red. It would be churlish, though to over-emphasize those Liverpool lapses, especially when they, like Everton, provided the sort of footballing spectacle that can only be found in this corner of England.

 

For a long time on this momentous evening, it appeared that Beardsley would hog the headlines. For, having been recalled to the Liverpool side, he responded in familiar and effective fashion.

In the first 20 minutes, he was outstanding, giving a perfect illustration of why his lengthy absence - he had not started a match for Liverpool since December 15 - had prompted so much debate on Merseyside. He looked as sharp as he had been at the start of the season when his goals contributed to Liverpool's remarkable opening run of 10 successive victories in their first 11 games.

 

His exclusion from recent events had been a mystery to everyone, including Beardsley himself. Although he gave Liverpool the lead in the 33rd minute, he will no doubt pay tribute to the presistence of his striking partner, Rush, the most prolific goalscorer in this series of Merseyside derbies.

 

His goal seemed to come from nothing, Staunton's left-wing pass fell harmlessly at the feet of Ratcliffe but, before he could move, Rush had stripped the ball from him.

 

Rush rounded Southall but his shot was blocked on the goalline by Hinchcliffe. However, Beardsley - lurking as ever - was there to slot home the rebound.

 

So dominant were Liverpool at that stage that any Everton revival seemed unlikely.

 

But the revival came when Liverpool's defenders began to panic as Everton fought back. In the 48th minute, the Liverpool defence froze and, to compound the error, Grobbelaar made only a token attempt to keep Sharp's header out of the net.

 

Beardsley's magnificent second goal - a shot from 20 yards on the run after Nicol, Molby and finally Burrows had managed, somehow, to wriggle out of the tightest of right-wing situations - was of little value.

 

For, two minutes later - in the 74th minute - Liverpool gave Sharp another simple goal. A long, defensive clearance was being ushered back to Grobelaar by Hysen but the ball ran beyond both - and Sharp held off Nicol's tackle to equalise again.

 

There should have been no way back for Everton, though, after Rush's 24th goal in 28 matches against Everton, for there were 13 minutes to go. Molby, who had minimised the effects of the absence of such key players as McMahon and Whelan, had the time to locate Rush in the heart of the Everton defence. The striker's glancing header was simple and decisive.

 

Time was ticking quickly away when Everton then mounted their final attack. Ratcliffe's long free kick sounded alarms for Liverpool once more - and again they were not heeded.

 

McCall, whose arrival as the second-half substitute had given Everton more solidity, swept the ball into the path of Cottee - also a substitute - and the striker's low shot beat the exposed Grobbelaar.

 

However, in extra time, Liverpool went ahead again in the 102nd minute with an inspired, curling, right-foot shot from Barnes.

 

With only seven minutes separating Liverpool from a quarter final-tie at West Ham next month, however, their defensive discipline collapsed and Cottee equalised again.

 

Kenny Dalglish, the Liverpool manager, gave the best illustration of how memorable last night's replay was at Goodison Park. Mr Dalglish was capped 102 times by Scotland, played in European Cup Finals, won FA Caps and lifted championships north and south of the border.

For Mr. Dalglish to regard last night's game as one of the greatest he had witnessed showed the standards that were reached by the Merseyside rivals last night. He said: "if there has ever been any better cup-ties than that, then I wish that someone would send me a video of them. I have never been involved in a game like that before."

 

Howard Kendall, the Everton manager, was just as effusive about the 4-4 draw that means a third match at Goodison Park next Wednesday. He said: "It was one of the greatest cup-ties that has ever been seen on Merseyside, if not in football. I thought my side were absolutely tremendous, I cannot speak too highly of them for coming back to equalise four times."

 

Tony Cottee scored two of the Everton goals but was brought down to the earth with the news that he will be in for training this morning while the rest of his team-mates get the day off.

 

Copyright - Daily Telegraph

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