I had absolutely no intention of going to this
one today I was supposed to be on a hot date. But
when you're blown out, you're blown out. So Wrexham, ah,
go on then.
A lovely sunny day, real pre-season
feel. Good showing from the Evertonians we easily
filled our end and had to spill into the main stand.
Usual subdued pre-season atmosphere, a couple of lads trying
to get it going throughout, a bit of a burst of song at the
start, but all quite low key.
The Racecourse is a pleasant, well developed,
lower-league stadium with piss-poor catering facilities.
Three sides all seater and one home end of
The weirdest thing about these friendly games
in summer is figuring out who is who on your
own team. A swap of haircut, a summer tan, a bit of
extra weight can make it hard enough to instantly recognize
even the regulars you know and love after a couple
of months never mind new signings and kids being given a
run out all of whom without names on backs. It
took me the first 10 minutes to get my eye
in. Which was quicker than the bloke next
to me took the whole first half to realise that Carsley isn't Gravesen.
Suppose the most interesting thing about our
starting line-up was the choice of Clarke and O'Hanlon as
center-backs. Neither did anything wrong, neither
caught the eye. Can't say that of Mr Wright. He
had nothing whatsoever to do the whole game, save a couple of
easy clearances in the first 20 minutes. He fluffed
three of them, and handed them a guilt edge chance that was
only kept out thanks to the lick of paint on the
woodwork. One wag tried to get a 'Are you Gerrard in
Disguise' going but folk were feeling too generous
to join in. It's pre-season, the whole point is to
get those early nerves out the way for him... hopefully!
All in all, it was a very tame first
half. Our only chance of note came when McLeod whipped
in a great cross for Alexandersson. Nice jumping
header. The bar kept it out. Other than that, we
had nothing until just before the break when Radzinski latched
onto a Rodrigo through-ball and, calm as you like,
the Tomasz put it away. So, in front at the
The second half was more interesting. We
saw Tal, Hibbert and Tommy G enter the game. But of more
significance was the debut of our new Chinese contingent, WeiFeng and Tie. The midfielder and
central defender. Don't ask me which is which I
haven't sussed that yet. Both proved that there is more
to their signings than making up the numbers on the
sponsorship deal. They can both clearly play a bit
of football and made an immediate positive difference.
The centre-back looked skillful, calm and assured. The midfielder
confident and with a sublimely measured pass. They
Tal also seemed to have the bit between his
teeth when he came on. He won the penalty and looked
determined to take it, but Rodrigo was more determined,
won the battle of wills between them, and coolly slotted
home. He enjoyed it. Looks another good signing.
Wrexham brought the game to us a little.
Their crowd had a couple of strong shouts for a penalty waved
off. These incidents were at the other end so I can't
confirm or deny their assertions that the referee was a
scouser in disguise.
We were reminded we were in the lower leagues
when the net fell down midway through the second half and
Freddy Boswell was sent on with his milk crate to repair
it. All good stuff.
Rooney came on for the last 10 or so but
didn't get too much of a chance to make any impression. Radzinski
should certainly have made it three in the last minute.
Still, a stroll in the sun when all said and done. 2-0.
I never read too much into these games; Wright
looked nervous at the beginning, the two Chinese looked
great. Bear in mind that on the basis of previous
pre-season showings I have predicted that Slaven Bilic and Jon
Oster were destined to become Everton legends and I've well
learned to keep my mouth shut now. Nothing means
anything for another fortnight.