English Premier League club Everton have beaten new A-League franchise Melbourne Heart 2-0 as part of their Down Under tour. The Toffees had some problems throughout the match against a brand new entire in the Heart but came out on top thanks to goals on either side of half-time from Jack Rodwell and Louis Saha.
Pre-season friendlyMelbourne Heart: 0 Everton: 2 (Jack Rodwell 35', Louis Saha 60')
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Melbourne Crowd: 19,261
There was no Tim Cahill to start the match but the occasion of Everton being in Australia was marked with a montage of the Socceroos star on the big screen with highlights of goals he scored in a Toffees shirt for all the fans to see.
The crowd slowly made their way into Etihad Stadium, which was an odd venue for the event, what with an English team up against a team yet to play a competitive match but nevertheless, the Melbourne people did their best on a cold Wednesday night.
The first goal should have come in the 2nd minute when Heart midfielder Rutger Worm brought down Seamus Coleman in the area but Louis Saha's nonchalant spot-kick went wide of the mark in what was a huge let off for the home side.
The atmosphere early in the match was as soggy as the Melbourne weather but things slowly picked up as did the state of proceedings on the pitch. The Heart came close to opening the scoring in the 18th minute when Dutchman Gerald Sibon used great touch to get through the Everton defence but his final shot from a difficult angle on an open goalmouth was not precise enough, sparing the blushes of the Premier League outfit.
The new A-League club were on top in the mid-stages of the first half with Alex Terra, Aziz Behich, Worm and Sibon causing problems for the Toffees defence which contained key squad members Sylvain Distin, Tony Hibbert and Phil Jagielka. They again came close to a goal when ex-Socceroos midfielder Josip Skoko forced Everton keeper Iain Turner into a diving save.
GOAL - Finally, Everton put some good play together and opened the scoring through promising youngster Jack Rodwell who found space at the back post and knocked in a Coleman cross which came about after good lead-up work from Victor Anichebe. The goal certainly would have calmed the nerves of manager David Moyes.
The second half saw the introduction of Tim Cahill and Everton captain Phil Neville whilst the Heart made some changes of their own and fifteen minutes in, GOAL the Toffees went two up when Saha found space on the edge of the area and had enough time to pick his spot and coolly finish past Clint Bolton who was helpless in goal for the Heart.
Everton's summer signing Jermaine Beckford came on for Leon Osman just after the second goal and almost made it 3-0 with a blast from way outside the area but his intent would have pleased the Toffees coaching staff who brought him in from Leeds United where he has been prolific in the lower tiers of the English Football Association in the past few seasons.
The contest went on with plenty of new additions entering the field of play but neither side could add to the 2-0 scoreline despite the Heart peppering the goals late and the Merseyside club held on for what was a victory not without its negatives, especially in defence.
MH Clint Bolton (gk), Michael Marrone, Brendan Hamill (Taseski 76'), Simon Colosimo, Michael Beauchamp, Rutger Worm (Babalj 61'), Gerald Sibon (Hoffman 73'), Alex Terra (Ibrahim 56'), Aziz Behich (Zahra 68'), Josip Skoko (Kalmar 46'), Dean Heffernan
Subs - Nick Kalmar (46'), Kamal Ibrahim (56'), Eli Babalj (61'), Adrian Zahra (68'), Jason Hoffman (73'), Kliment Taseski (76')
EV Iain Turner (gk), Tony Hibbert (Neville 46'), Sylvain Distin (Mustafi 84'), Phil Jagielka, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (Baxter 73'), Louis Saha (Silva 63'), Magaye Gueye (Cahill 46'), Leon Osman (Beckford 63'), Victor Anichebe (Jutkiewicz 73'), Jack Rodwell, Seamus Coleman