Arsenal 19/10/2002 15:00
Evertonians that were not at Goodison Park this afternoon still won't believe in fairy tales. Those that were, most definitely will.
Arsenal's magnificent record of 30 months without defeat was shattered by a brilliant goal…in stoppage time…by a 16-year old boy!
It couldn't have been scripted more dramatically.
Freddie Ljungberg had given the all-conquering Gunners the lead in the 8th minute, Tomasz Radzinski restored parity on 22 and the game appeared to be heading for a draw when Wayne Rooney rifled a late, late rocket past David Seaman.
This was a win that The Toffees thoroughly deserved.
They matched the Champions in every department and the man of the match adjudicator had the most unenviable task of the afternoon.
Lee Carsley hit the post for Everton, Tony Hibbert (it was that type of afternoon!) fired over, and Seaman made a terrific save to keep out a Thomas Gravesen snapshot.
Seaman's friendly banter with the Everton crowd was a light-hearted feature of an amazing afternoon.
Ljungberg netted first when Everton failed to clear the ball from inside the penalty area and after a short bout of 'pinball soccer', the Swede shot past Richard Wright.
Radzinski levelled when he collected the ball on the edge of the box, danced his way past a couple of challenges and then blasted the ball past Seaman.
The 2nd half was short on genuine goalscoring opportunities, but rich in endeavour…particularly from Everton.
Francis Jeffers was roundly booed when he entered the fray late on, while Wayne Rooney was greeted with wild enthusiasm.
The passion was not misplaced.
The teenager, 17 next week, controlled a high ball in an instant and then placed a 25-yard shot into the top corner of the Park End net.
This was, for sure, an afternoon to remember for so many reasons…least of all Wayne's wonder goal. This could well be reflected upon as the afternoon that David Moyes' Everton came of age.