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On This Day in Everton History: May 7th

The first great escape is completed, and Big Dunc says goodbye in today’s feature

EVERTON V WIMBLEDON
Everton beat Wimbledon 3-2 on the last day of the 1993-94 season to stay up

Today, we look back at two happier memories for Everton - both of which took place on May 7 - including a last-gasp survival and how Duncan Ferguson closed the book on his Blues career with a late goal. Let’s go:

1994 - Wimbledon win keeps Everton up (just)

The 1993-94 proved one of the most tumultuous in recent times for Everton. After the summer sale of Peter Beardsley and some fluctuating early-season performances and results, Howard Kendall resigned on December 4, with Norwich’s miracle worker Mike Walker replacing him a month later.

An early 6-2 home win over Swindon Town in Walker’s reign should have set the tone, but momentum failed to carry; not once thereafter did Everton win consecutive league games. After a 3-0 defeat at Leeds in their penultimate fixture, the Blues lay 20th, and looked destined for the drop. They needed to beat Wimbledon, who would finish sixth, and pray for divine intervention elsewhere.

And for some time that day, Everton looked out of luck. In front of a three-stand Goodison Park (the Park End was being rebuilt) packed to the rafters, the side that had won just one of their last ten found themselves two down inside 20 minutes through a Dean Holdsworth penalty and a Gary Ablett own goal.

But Graham Stuart would soon halve the deficit with a spot-kick of his own, before a stunning half-volley from Barry Horne levelled the score midway through the second half. But only with nine minutes left did Stuart complete the comeback, smashing past Hans Segers to put Everton on course to stay up after all.

The Blues saw it, and when news broke that none of the relegation rivals - Southampton, Ipswich, Sheffield United and Oldham - had won, a mad surge of Evertonians burst on to the pitch to celebrate an achievement they would surely prefer to never witness again.

2006 - Big Dunc signs off with a goodbye goal

A middling campaign came to end on this day in 2006, when Duncan Ferguson netted what later proved his final goal in his last appearance for Everton, and indeed as a professional footballer.

Ferguson started the final-day clash with relegated West Brom who, after thumping Everton 4-0 in the reverse fixture, looked set to do the double over David Moyes’ men when Zoltan Gera and Williams Martinez put them two up inside 47 minutes.

But a late strike from Victor Anichebe, who netted his first goal for the club, gave Everton hope, before Martinez fouled Mikel Arteta in the box to present Ferguson, captain for the day, with the chance of a perfect sent-off.

In added time, Ferguson stepped up, but his tame penalty was saved Tomasz Kuszczak. All was not lost, though, as the Scot duly hammered home the rebound to rescue a point for the Blues, before hanging up his boots for good that summer.