Everton ride their luck

 

Everton ended the millennium with a theatrical flourish at Goodison Park but started the new one with much less style.

At least they preserved their unbeaten home record in the Premiership this season with an improved second-half display that earned the reward of a penalty equaliser from David Unsworth and a point. The draw had looked unlikely for 20 minutes before half-time as Leicester, typically, made two route-one attacks count through the considerable strength in the air of Matt Elliott.

Elliott was pushed into an emergency striking role alongside Tony Cottee because of injuries and the suspension to Emile Heskey, and the captain created all the damage.

Leicester's problems multiplied in the sixth minute when Tim Flowers was taken to hospital with knee ligament trouble after a collision with Nick Barmby. His replacement, Pegguy Arphexad, combined with Elliott to produce Leicester's goals after they fell behind in the 16th minute, when a 25-yard drive by David Weir hit Don Hutchison on its way into the net.

Then the first long-range one-two between the Leicester goalkeeper and Elliott stunned the Everton crowd. Arphexad's long clearance was headed on by the Scot and he continued his run to pick up a ball from Theo Zagorakis and drill the equaliser past Paul Gerrard.

Another long ball from Arphexad was headed on by Elliott and Cottee's nagging presence prompted a mix-up between Dave Watson and Gerrard. Again Elliott profited with a goal.

Everton: Gerrard, Unsworth, Gough, Watson, Weir, Pembridge, Hutchison, Collins, Barmby (Gemmill 9), Jeffers (Moore 70), Campbell. Subs Not Used: Ward, Clarke, Simonsen. Booked: Watson, Pembridge. Goals: Weir 15, Unsworth 56 pen.

Leicester: Flowers (Arphexad 8), Taggart, Walsh, Sinclair, Savage, Lennon (Thomas 90), Zagorakis (Campbell 79), Oakes, Eadie, Elliott, Cottee. Subs Not Used: Gunnlaugsson, Gilchrist. Booked: Sinclair. Goals: Elliott 26, 31.

Referee: J Winter (Stockton-on-Tees).