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Fowler secures point

Evertonian Robbie Fowler ensured Mersey pride was shared with the late goal that prevented Joe Royle's men claiming their first Derby double in 11 seasons.

Andrei Kanchelskis looked to have left Everton singing in the rain when he ran the ball into the net after John Ebbrell had hit the angle of post and bar in the 18th minute.

 

But just as Goodison was beginning to celebrate the way Everton's rearguard action in the second half had repelled all that Liverpool could throw at them, Fowler stepped in with his 36th of the season.

 

Stan Collymore, so unlucky not to have celebrated his England recall after raining in a torrent of shots on Neville Southall's goal, swung the ball in from the left three minutes from time.

Fowler had done little else, but when the ball came over he was first to react, poking home from close range to salvage a point.

 

It was not enough to realistically keep Liverpool's fading title dream but was just about deserved after Roy Evans' men had bossed the second half of a game played in dreadful conditions.

Liverpool, amazingly lacklustre, could have no complaints at the interval as Everton, revelling in the awful conditions, simply swept them off Goodison.

 

Barry Horne and John Ebbrell had won the midfield battle within minutes of the start, and Duncan Ferguson, a handful throughout, was giving a display that delighted watching Scottish boss Craig Brown.

 

Before he found the target, Kanchelskis had completely miskicked twice in front of goal, and Ebbrell had fired at David James. But he made no mistake in the 18th minute. Neville Southall's clearance was routine, but this was not a routine night. Ferguson pressured John Scales into missing the ball, which bounced into the box. James came and slipped, Ebbrell nipped in to hit the woodwork but Kanchelsksis was on hand to add to the two he had scored at Anfield in November.

Liverpool just were not up for it -- the exception being Collymore, lucky to escape with just a warning after an ugly second minute scuffle with David Unsworth and it needed a fine save by James, denying Ferguson, to delay the opener.

 

The goal appeared to waken the Reds and Collymore fired narrowly wide, but Jamie Redknapp and Neil Ruddock in particular were having nights to forget. Daniel Amokachi was also lively for Everton and the Nigerian's 39th minute shot from Dave Watson's cross might have brought a second.

 

James could not hold but bravely regathered his feet to stop the converging Ebbrell and Ferguson. Still the danger was not cleared but, when Amokachi reached the ball six yards out, he blazed over.

 

Whatever excuses were offered at the break, they clearly cut no ice, and Liverpool were a changed side afterwards. Collymore's goalbound effort was blocked by Dave Watson and then he headed over from Jason McAteer.

 

Redknapp also started to influence proceedings, with Steve McManaman probing down the right, but the pace of Kanchelskis threatened to expose the visitors.

 

The rain was unrelenting, but Liverpool, by now, deserved to be on terms, and they could not have been closer in the 65th minute.

 

Barnes squared for Collymore 25 yards out and he unleashed a trademark powered curler that flashed past Southall but back off the bar.

 

They kept coming, Southall far the busier keeper, and the pressure was shown when Tony Grant joined the earlier-cautioned Ruddock in the book for a foul on Rob Jones.

 

When Southall denied Collymore twice, it seemed destined not to be. But that was counting without Fowler, whose goal also served to savage Everton's UEFA Cup hopes.

 

Liverpool boss Roy Evans conceded his side's championship challenge was over after the Anfield side salvaged a late draw at Mersey rivals Everton.

 

Andrei Kanchelskis, who scored both Everton goals in the 2-1 win across Stanley Park in November, looked to have claimed all three points for Joe Royle's men when he ran in an 18th-minute rebound after John Ebbrell had hit the woodwork.

 

Everton dominated before the break and Liverpool after it, but all the hard work of Stan Collymore appeared to be going to waste until three minutes from time when the man recalled by England boss Terry Venables for next week's friendly with Croatia crossed for Robbie Fowler to poke home his 36th goal of the season.

 

Evans was happy enough with a point but admitted Fowler's goal was too little, too late.

"In terms of the championship that's probably finished it," said Evans. "Mathematically it's still possible but that's probably finished it."

 

Evans was disappointed in his side's lacklustre first-half performance and said: "We played like individuals, not as a team in the first half. In fact, we were rubbish."

"But it was different in the second half. We played as a team and when you do that you've got a chance." Everton counterpart Royle, still unbeaten in four derby matches since taking charge at Goodison 17 months ago, said that his side's injury problems had cost them dear.

"The problem we had was that three players needed to start the game and we brought on Graham Stuart when he's just trained for one day after being out for a month. We swarmed all over them in the first half. The adrenaline was there and we played very well. It should have been beyond them at the break but in the second half they pushed on in midfield and the lack of fitness caught up with us."

 

Copyright -"Press Association"

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