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Rooney stars in Everton victory

Liverpool: Teenage striker Wayne Rooney guided Everton to a controversial 2-1 victory over Newcastle United on Sunday and dealt a hammer blow to the Tynesiders’ title hopes.

Rooney, who helped England to a vital Euro 2004 qualifying win over Turkey on Wednesday, rounded of an unforgettable week for the 17-year-old by heading Everton in front after 18 minutes at Goodison Park.

French winger Laurent Robert rifled in a stunning equaliser just before halftime, but a superb solo run and pass by Rooney for Kevin Campbell led to a match-winning penalty converted by David Unsworth in the 65th minute.

However, Newcastle boss Bobby Robson was fuming after the referee ignored a knee-high tackle by Everton’s Danish midfielder Thomas Gravesen on Olivier Bernard before the ball even reached Rooney for his run.

“I thought it was an outrageous tackle, it’s almost a red card,” Robson told Sky Sports. “He already has a yellow card, so we know he has to go off. I just couldn’t understand Mr (Neale) Barry not seeing it and giving it.

“He played on for quite some time — he must have known the player was injured and on the ground — and then a penalty was awarded against us.

“It was a crucial decision. It’s actually cost us the match... I think Mr Barry will not sleep tonight.” Robson said he had not spoken to the referee after the game, adding: “I’d lose my rag (temper) with him and there’s no point doing that.”

Everton boss David Moyes also believed Neale should have stopped the move that led to his team’s winning goal and said he had tried to get his men to put the ball out of play. (Reuters)

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