For the openming pre-season game ahead of the new season, David Moyes took a fairly strong side to Gigg Lane but rested a handful of his stars for the first half, where the Blues, looking very samrt in tehir now kit, played some fins passing footbnall to take a 4-0 lead by the break.
Mikel Arteta could have done better with his first free kick when Yakubu was fouled on the edge of the area. But he was pinging in good corners from the Everton left and one of these led to the oipening goal, Osman heding it behind him to Fellaioini who nodded it goalwards where Yakubu close in powered his header into the net.
For the second goal, Magaye Gueye did well to intercept a poor ball from Mark Hughes (once of this parish) and scampered in on goal but could only shoot at the keeper. However the ball came right back to him and he made no mistake with the rebound.
The best goal of the half was down to Leon Osman after good work by Arteta coming in from he left laid the ball back for Nevill who squared it for Ossie in teh Dee. His first touch was excellent controlling the ball well for a lovely left-foot shot dipping into the corner of teh net.
EWhgat would be the last goal came a minute later as Osman was involved in some good cross-field play that saw Magaye Gueye take command form the same position as Ossie jhad just scored, putting the ball sweetly in the same part of the Bury goal to, er... bury the home side.
Moyes rang some limited changes at half-time and it looked that Yakubu then Beckford would carry on as before but their shots were off-target as was a sweet turn and drive by Bilyaletdinov. But Bury got a goal back when Stehen Schmacher (also once of this [parish) struk a sweet free-kick from a good way out that seemed to take a slight deflection which must have fooled big Jan Mucha, who failed to prevent the ball entering the Everton net.
A worrying m,oment then when Jermaine Beckford pulled up after chasing a long pass, and he was taken off, leaving Everton to play down the clock wioth 10 men. In the end, a fine run out for the lads, with all the meaningful action occuring in a very good first half.
Marouane Fellaini was playing his first game for five months since hobbling out of the 2-0 home win over Sunderland on February 26 with a season-ending ankle injury. With two years remaining on his current contract, Evertonians are desperate for the midfielder to pen a new deal at Goodison Park this summer to avoid having to cash in on their most valuable asset.
Also back in a royal blue jersey was striker Ayegbeni Yakubu, turning out for the club for the first time since the 2-1 win over Tottenham on January 5. The Nigerian, who netted 21 times in his debut campaign with the Blues but had found the net just once in the first half of last season, spent the second half of 2010-11 on loan at Championship club Leicester City where he scored 11 times.
With Beckford picking up a knock midway through the second half, Moyes’ other striking options limited and suitors seemingly unwilling to take on Yakubu’s wages, there could yet be a route back for the former Portsmouth and Middlesbrough marksman, who looked the sharpest he’s been in a long time.
Seeing as regular keeper Tim Howard had been given extra time off following his CONCACAF Gold Cup exploits this summer with the USA, Slovakian international Jan Mucha was given a rare chance between the sticks while Everton’s Bury-born skipper Phil Neville started at left-back against his home town club.
This was mirrored with Liverpudlian midfielder and former Everton starlet Steven Schumacher captaining the Shakers.
So far 2011 has been a good year for Bury with new manager Richie Barker steering them to promotion into League One with six consecutive wins at the end of last term.
However, they’ve started this pre-season slowly and came into this fixture on the back of a 3-0 home reversal to Lancashire rivals Burnley three days earlier.
Apart from a wayward early effort in the early stages from Lenell John-Lewis, an assured looking Everton, clearly benefiting from the early ball work in last week’s Austrian training camp, took control of proceedings.
The two returning duo combined for the Blues’ opener on 18 minutes as a left-wing Mikel Arteta corner-kick was flicked on by Fellaini – whose afro was displaying a distinctive henna hue – and Yakubu headed home from a central position just two yards out.
Operating on the right-flank, youngster Magaye Gueye was causing Bury plenty of problems with his direct running. The former Strasbourg man forced a mistake out of ex-Everton defender Mark Hughes, a player handed his Blues debut by Moyes but now back in England as Barker’s first signing following a season in Australia with North Queensland Fury. Under pressure from Gueye, Hughes surrendered possession cheaply and the French under-21 international was given a clear run on goal. Although keeper Cameron Belford parried his first shot, Gueye slotted in the rebound on 31 minutes.
At this stage, Bury were hardly getting a look in and a ruthless Everton started to assert their authority. The game was killed off as a contest with two goals inside a minute just before the break.
With two minutes to go until the interval a smart move down the left-hand side saw Mikel Arteta cross to Neville and the captain neatly laid off to Leon Osman who was given plenty of time to pick his spot and curl a low effort into the bottom left-hand corner of Belford’s goal.
Barely 60 seconds later the Blues added a fourth as Arteta slipped the ball through to Gueye who found the target from 20 yards out. With the result in the bag, Moyes made four changes at the interval introducing Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and Victor Anichebe for John Heitinga, Sylvain Distin, Arteta and Fellaini respectively.
The visitors understandably took their foot off the gas and shortly after Bilyaletdinov had flashed a left-foot effort across the goal, there was some consolation for Bury in the shape of a Schumacher dead ball cracker on the hour mark.
Fully 35 yards out, the thunderbolt free-kick from the former Everton junior and England Under-19s skipper was undoubtedly the goal of the match and World Cup keeper Mucha had no answer to the spectacular effort which must have been sweet for the Kirkby lad, now 27.
Midway through the second half, Jermaine Beckford pulled up through injury and had to be withdrawn but although Moyes still had Tim Cahill on the bench as his final substitute, he chose to continue with 10 men with the continual flow of Bury substitutions ensuring the game closed without much more incident.
This was undoubtedly a good work out for Moyes’ men and an enjoyable evening for the 1,706 travelling Evertonians who made the short 30-minute dash down the M62 to outnumber their hosts but far sterner tests now lie ahead.
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