|Venue: Gigg Lane, Bury||Friendly||Saturday 15 July 2006; 3:00pm|
|Tipton (41')||Half Time: 1-2
|Attendance: xx,xxx||(Friendly #1)||Referee: —|
Did we even get a week's break? No, the football rollercoaster is ready to rock and roll once more, with the confusing pleasures of pre-season friendlies to kick things off.
David Moyes performs the seemingly impossible today, with Everton being in two places at once to set up a nice trick question for those Pub Quizzes: "Where was Everton's first pre-season friendly of 2006 played?"
Simultaneous 3 pm kick-offs in Bury and Port Vale saw the full and reserves team squads evenly split to provide plenty of opportunity for some real match training. Apart from the three World Cup players (Valente, Cahill & Howard), the only others missing were Hibbert, Pistone and Vaughan, who are all working on recovery from injury.
The throngs of Evertonians had all come to see Andy Johnson bang in some goals but it was Victor Anichebe who got Everton off the mark on 9 mins. Mikel Arteta doubled the score after 20 mins with a nice free-kick but Matthew Tipton pulled a goal back for the home side before half-time.
Victor Anichebe popped in another one after the break to make it a nice 3-1 scoreline.
Inside the opening minute a stray pass from Mikel Arteta fell invitingly to Marc Goodfellow midway inside the Everton half. He charged into the box before driving a left-foot effort narrowly wide of the near post.
Minutes later and, as the sun's rays drenched Gigg Lane, young midfielder Scott Phelan floated a ball deep into the Bury penalty area. Alan Fettis misjudged its flight and it took a block from former Tranmere defender Dave Challinor to prevent Bjarni Vidarsson's effort from a tight angle finding the target.
Mikel Arteta, having recovered from a bout of chicken pox, skimmed the top of the netting with a well struck free-kick from 20 yards as the Blues began to take control of the contest.
And that growing control of proceedings was confirmed in the ninth minute when Victor Anichebe netted coolly at the back post from a Leon Osman centre.
Having gone close from an almost identical position, Arteta fired in with a superb free-kick in the 22nd minute after Leon Osman had been felled on the edge of the box.
The lead could have been extended minutes later when Andy Johnson received the ball in the penalty box and looked to have rounded Fettis, only for the keeper to claw the ball back as the striker prepared to shoot.
Fettis frustrated the summer signing again on 27 minutes with a good stop with his legs after Osman had robbed Tom Kennedy on the edge of the Bury box before feeding in the £8.6m man.
As the pressure from the visitors intensified, Phil Neville blasted an effort against the foot of a post shortly after the half-hour mark and Anichebe sent a header over the bar. But the third goal did not materialise and instead the Blues - wearing their new mustard third kit for the first time - went in just 2-1 up at the break.
Striker Matthew Tipton produced a goal from nothing to the delight of the home crowd, firing in a left-footed drive from 25 yards that flew beyond the dive of Iain Turner inside the near post.