Portsmouth 1 Everton 2

Last updated : 13 December 2003 By Footymad Previewer

England star Wayne Rooney stepped off the bench to end a four-month goal drought and earn Everton their first win in four games, then was lucky not to be sent off in the closing stages as he lost his cool.

Rooney was relegated to the substitute's bench in deference of fit-again striker Kevin Campbell for the visit to fellow strugglers Portsmouth.

But the teenager responded in the perfect way after coming on as a 24th minute replacement for Steve Watson by drilling home the winning goal three minutes before the half-time interval.

Goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek could only half-clear a cross from the left to Rooney at the far post and the Everton substitute hit an instant first-time volley home to register his first goal since August 26.

But Rooney was lucky to escape with just the yellow card in the 79th minute after losing his temper following a strong challenge from Pompey's Steve Stone.

Rooney confronted Stone and pushed the midfielder to the ground before heading for the tunnel convinced that he would be dismissed by referee Uriah Rennie for his actions.

But Rennie let him escape with a caution as he showed Rooney the yellow card after he had been recalled by his Everton team-mates to the pitch.

Portsmouth, who now face a real relegation battle after their eighth defeat in 11 matches, had started the better, taking the lead through on-loan West Brom striker Jason Roberts.

Roberts had no trouble in beating goalkeeper Nigel Martyn in the 15th minute after being put through by Teddy Sheringham, but Everton were level 11 minutes later through Lee Carsley.

Defender Gary Naysmith cut the ball back from the left-hand byline and Carsley had no trouble in sidefooting home from 15 yards giving Srnicek no chance.