Everton hosted West Ham at Goodison Park on December 16th 2000 but this game will be remembered for the actions of Paolo Di Canio.

Di Canio refused to take a goal scoring chance late in the game because of an injury to Everton goalkeeper Paul Gerrard.

It is fondly remembered as one of the most sporting gestures ever in the Premier League.

The game

The Hammers had lost six consecutive games at Goodison Park and were hoping to avoid a seventh straight loss there. But the game started disastrously as Danny Cadamarteri put the hosts ahead.

West Ham battled hard and finally found themselves level through Frederic Kanoute in the 83rd minute.

But could the Irons push on and claim their first win at Everton since 1994?

Late on in the game, they had the golden chance and it fell to Di Canio…

Paolo Di Canio

19 Sep 1999: Paolo Di Canio of West Ham United in action during the FA Carling Premiership match against Everton at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England. Everton won the match 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Clive Brunskill /Allsport

Di Canio came in for a lot of criticism for his antics on and off the field. He was a maverick and an entertainer; producing moments of magic and moments of madness in equal measure.

But despite grabbing the headlines for all the wrong reasons in the past, Di Canio showed his true sporting nature with this late gesture.

Everton stopper Gerrard came rushing out for the ball and was left in a heap on the ground, clearly injured.

Play went on and a cross was sent into the box towards Di Canio. However, rather than heading a late winner into an open goal, the Italian caught the ball and pointed to Gerrard instead.

The aftermath

Everton fans gave Di Canio a standing ovation for his act of sportsmanship and manager Walter Smith also praised his actions.

Smith said: “Paolo has taken a fair bit of abuse for his behaviour in the past, but this time he deserves the fullest credit.”

Later, Di Canio was awarded the FIFA Fair Play award for a special act of sportsmanship.

This event lives long in the memory of not only West Ham and Everton fans, but also Premier League fans.