Tranmere friendly ends all square

, 22 July, 57comments  |  Jump to most recent
Tranmere Rovers 2 - 2 Everton
Roberto Martinez's line-up for the first pre-season friendly of the summer at Tranmere featured a healthy mix of youth and experience.

The likes of Conor McAleny, John Lundstram, Ty Browning and Matthew Kennedy lined up alongside Steven Pienaar, Sylvain DIstin and Gareth Barry. Darron Gibson started on the bench but was expected to play a part as he feels his way back from long-term injury.

Though McAleny and Browning looked bright and Shane Duffy was marshalling the defence well, it was Luke Garbutt who was arguably the stand-out performer among the younger players for the Blues in the first half, showing his strengths in both defensive and offensive capacities.

And he laid on the opening goal for Steven Naismith with an excellent cross from the left that the Scot got to ahead of the goalkeeper to turn the ball home from close range.

Martinez switched all of his 10 outfield players for substitutes at half-time to give maximum playing time to each member of the squad.

The hosts levelled early in the second half when Cole Stockton latched onto a poor John Stones backpass and lofted the ball over Joel Robles.

Leon Osman restored the Blues' lead shortly afterwards from a corner, though, when an Aiden McGeady corner came to him and he scored in routine fashion.

Seamus Coleman had only been on the field for half an hour when he was withdrawn as a precaution with what looked to be a slight hamstring injury, Garbutt permitted to come back on to replace him.

Tranmere equalised a second time when James Rowe capitalised on space in behind Antolin Alcaraz and fired past Robles with a few minutes to go.

After the game, Martinez confirmed the precautionary nature of Coleman's withdrawal, saying, "It was a bit more precautionary. [Seamus] felt his hamstring and obviously since the start of pre-season we have accumulated a lot of volume and that type of reaction is normal.

"We will have to assess him well and prepare him well for the next work. We don't want to miss Seamus and so it was more about avoiding risks rather than any big worry.

"It is important we get the measurement right before we get to Thailand."

Everton: Robles; Duffy (46' Alcaraz), Browning (46' Coleman (75' Garbutt)), Distin (46' Stones), Garbutt (46' Hibbert); Barry(46' McCarthy), Pienaar (46' McGeady), Lundstram (46' Gibson); Kennedy (46' Long), Naismith (46' Hope), McAleny (46' Osman).

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Reader Comments (57)

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Michael Kenrick
1 Posted 22/07/2014 at 19:44:48
For those who can't make it to Prenton Park, the link for live coverage on EvertonTV is:
Shane Corcoran
2 Posted 22/07/2014 at 19:46:26
No sub 'keeper?
Kevin Tully
3 Posted 22/07/2014 at 19:47:05
Can't we have a live forum to give it to ozzy good and proper MK? I also need to discuss whether Ferry is suitable for his educational position in a developed country?
Jamie Crowley
4 Posted 22/07/2014 at 19:47:44
I hope Duffy does well.

I've always thought he's a good player from what I've seen and I hope he cements a place in the first team.

Patrick Murphy
5 Posted 22/07/2014 at 19:51:47
There is a live forum Kevin the link to it is close to the top of the front page
Kevin Tully
6 Posted 22/07/2014 at 19:52:33
On a thigh phone out of town pat - fucking no tinternet because of lightening 7 yeas ago.

Can't find a link - tell Ferry he's a twat from me

Mike Williams
7 Posted 22/07/2014 at 19:58:06
I don’t know if this works as it’s still counting down....


Dave Cook
8 Posted 22/07/2014 at 20:14:17
@Shane: What do you think Hibbert’s new contract was?
Andrew Hawes
9 Posted 22/07/2014 at 20:31:55
Well Pienaar is obviously fit and raring to go which is good news.
Mike Keating
10 Posted 22/07/2014 at 21:34:04
What a waste of 3 quid. Bloody awful.

Tranmere can take more out of that than us.

Some of those on the pitch should have been fighting for a start this season and didn’t look interested.

Mike Oates
12 Posted 22/07/2014 at 21:42:38
Keep fingers crossed that Coleman’s injury isn’t serious. Other than that it seem a good run out, but highlighted that we are so lightweight up front. McAleny and Naismith did alright in first half and Long showed some quality flashes, but we need 2 -3 top notch forwards.

Gibson did well, and McGeady crosses were begging out for a Lukaku type centre forward.

Mike Oates
13 Posted 22/07/2014 at 21:46:26
The commentator said he received news that Ryan Ledson just tweeted that he was prone on his couch with a ruptured Achilles heel!

I hope to god it’s not our player, as, according to all and sundry he was the next star to come through and he’s only 17 .

Kevin Rowlands
14 Posted 22/07/2014 at 21:48:17
I quite enjoyed that, stream was great, thanks Everton TV, was really pleased to see Gibson looking fit and sharp, he had a very good game, Mcgeady also looked good, now lets get someone signed already!
Anthony Millington
15 Posted 22/07/2014 at 22:16:01
Disappointing performance that but there were some positives. Gibson looked class when he came on barely wasted a pass and was pinging 40 yard passes round like a Paul Scholes. Garbutt looked good too great cross for the goal.
Sam Hoare
16 Posted 22/07/2014 at 22:25:59
Bad news bout Ledson. Likely out for the season just when he was poised to make his early debut.
Raymond Fox
17 Posted 22/07/2014 at 22:18:50
A disjointed performance which, with all the subs, it was bound to be.

McAleny, Kennedy and Garbutt stood out of the young players, Ossie showed his class and experience.

Stones was very average on the night, hope all the hype's not got to him.

Jim Bennings
18 Posted 22/07/2014 at 21:47:02
Surprise, surprise — the season has not even started yet already we are hearing about Everton players injured again.

We can only keep our fingers crossed that it's not a bad injury, with hamstrings you just play a waiting game, it would be a big blow to lose Coleman for a long period.

It's also why I can't stand it when other fans shoot down us realists when we say Everton need at least 7 signings this summer, we are Everton and we always always suffer injury crisis problems at some point.

Jim Bennings
19 Posted 22/07/2014 at 22:30:14

Let's see Gibson do that in the heat of the Premier League humdrum when you don't get any time on the ball in the midfield.

I never take much notice of friendlies, just keep my fingers crossed that we don't get injuries..

Sadly the worst has happened tonight.

Patrick Murphy
20 Posted 22/07/2014 at 22:36:23
Jim - Roberto has said that Coleman was taken off as a precaution so hopefully it won't be too serious. No news on the OS about Ledson or any injury he may have endured yet.

As for Gibson when the lad is fit he is more than capable of doing his stuff in the heat of battle in the Premier League - it's his injury record that has stopped him achieving throughout his career not his abilities or mindset.

Tony Twist
21 Posted 22/07/2014 at 22:32:11
Unprofessional, sloppy defending which cost us the game. Whether it's 4 or 7 new players required we need them in pre-season. I can see us ending up short of one or two players, lets hope it's not on the striker front. I am bemused by our pursuit of Lukaku, hasn't he stated he wants champions league?
Ian Bennett
22 Posted 22/07/2014 at 22:49:59
Commentator definitely mentioned Ledson injury, just didn't catch the first name. Achilles is a shocker if it is him.
Jon Ferguson
23 Posted 22/07/2014 at 23:44:00
How is Ledson supposed to have injured his achilles? He played a couple of days ago for the U21s but there was no mention of his injury in the match report.
Christopher Wallace
26 Posted 23/07/2014 at 00:12:46
Most injuries occur in training Jon. That's a nasty one if true. One of the serious injuries I really fear happening to myself, along with an ACL. Thankfully I've had neither!

Hope he's ok. I remember Yakubu picking up the same injury for us and being out for ages, and was never quite the same player when he came back.

Ant Dwyer
27 Posted 23/07/2014 at 00:20:08
Please please please tell me Ryan Ledson is not a victim of a bad injury!!!!

Barkley was held back for years after being unfortunate with injuries. I hope this lad is fully fit and ready to force his way into the Europa League team.

Lyndon Lloyd
28 Posted 23/07/2014 at 00:56:45
"The commentator said he received news that Ryan Ledson just tweeted that he was prone on his couch with a ruptured Achilles heel!"

Unless he has deleted something, Ryan Ledson hasn't tweeted anything since Sunday and it wasn't anything to do with his Achilles.

Derek Knox
29 Posted 23/07/2014 at 00:57:02
You can never read too much into pre-season games, I know, but with so many changes between first and second halves, I could not help myself, but making a comparison to "the curate's egg"!

Considering the resources of Everton against Tranmere, they won't have been on a fitness training programme in Austria.

I thought the first half was fairly well dominated by the Blues, and they deserved to be ahead at the half time whistle. I then thought we will make wholesale changes for the second half, which we did, and thought Tranmere will tire as the game goes on; in all fairness to Tranmere, they upped their game and assisted by schoolboy mistakes by us, were soon level... Twice!

Leicester will have a field day if we perform like that in Thailand!

Harold Matthews
30 Posted 23/07/2014 at 00:34:57
After listening to Unsworth and coach Dennis Lawrence on the official site I didn't expect anything special at Prenton Park. The squad is fairly fit but very rusty and sharpness training will gradually be increased along with an increased volume of fitness and gym work. Exactly what that entails, I haven't a clue, but it's all geared to having them peaking at the right time.

I thought the youngsters did ok but still have lots to learn. McAleny was sharp and intelligent and might have a future.

As for the others. They weren't match fit so criticism would be unfair. All I'll say is certain players who impressed the commentator and many TW members didn't fill me with joy.

Mark Nunnen
31 Posted 23/07/2014 at 06:43:24
Echo that #4. Duffy is a solid lad. Give him a chance this year. Let Alcaraz go instead.
James Richard
32 Posted 23/07/2014 at 07:30:50
I have heard Chelsea have upped the asking price for Rom and now we have to find a way of raising the funds. Worryingly, I heard the Lukaku deal will happen but we are selling McCarthy for around £25M to raise the funds. I hope to god what I heard is utter BS!
Karl Caslin
33 Posted 23/07/2014 at 08:16:19
With regards the panic over Ledson, I think it’s all okay.

I was watching the match and all through the game the commentators were reading out tweets from fans who were saying where they were watching the match, hopes for the season etc.

I think they basically read out a tweet from a fan called Ledson, saying he was watching the match on his couch with a ruptured Achilles. Hope I am right anyway

Sue Brown
34 Posted 23/07/2014 at 07:53:39
Agree with previous posts, it was a good run out and must have given Roberto a good idea how the young lads will fit in. McAleny, Duffy, and Garbutt were impressive and I hope get their chance this season. McGeady put in some good crosses and appears to be working hard.

The one that doesn't inspire any confidence at all is Robles, even in a friendly. Even Hibbo blocked more than he did!

Phil Walling
35 Posted 23/07/2014 at 08:33:20
A decent training run-out - and that's all it could be. What did we learn? Precious little apart from the fact that Garbutt has made great strides whilst on loan and Robles is as awful as he was a year ago.

But good to see Duffy looking more self-assured. Stones has a rival!

Mike Allison
36 Posted 23/07/2014 at 08:43:36
Can’t someone just tweet Ryan Ledson and ask him?
Dave Lawley
37 Posted 23/07/2014 at 08:56:26
Relax, blue brothers, it was not Ryan Ledson who tweeted he had an Achilles rupture, it was a bloke with the surname Ledson (can't remember his first name). I remember them mentioning it in commentary it was NOT Ryan! Ahh... and relax.

Decent workout last night. Garbutt, McAleny, Duffy, Browning and Long all did well. I'm desperate for Lundstram to perform at this level; he did some good things but then put a couple of stray passes out too. Kennedy looked a bit out of his depth though; he did not grab his chance.

Andrew Ellams
38 Posted 23/07/2014 at 09:12:00
Early pre-season games in a World Cup year are always a mixed bag until all the players come back from extended breaks. The games against against Porto and Paderborn will be the best place to judge.
Sue Brown
39 Posted 23/07/2014 at 09:20:24
If it's not our Ledson who is injured, I wonder why he didn't get a run out last night?
Mike Allison
40 Posted 23/07/2014 at 09:45:21
Well Sue he’s not even an Under-21 yet really, having played U17 for England in May, and we did use 20 other outfield players. He played in the ’Everton XI’, which is basically the Reserves/U21 side, at Southport the other day.
Sam Hoare
41 Posted 23/07/2014 at 10:39:52
Anyone know why McCarthy did not play?
Andrew Ellams
42 Posted 23/07/2014 at 10:46:32
He played the second half, Sam.
Derek Knox
43 Posted 23/07/2014 at 10:45:56
Sam # 41

He did in the second half, but I can understand your query, as basically he was anonymous for most of the time. He was not alone in that, but maybe the directive from Roberto was to let the younger lads have more of the ball, to see how they perform, and if struggling, then step in!

Well if that was the plan, it certainly didn't materialise that way. It did show that, despite a few missing, there is a lot of work to be done!

Sam Hoare
44 Posted 23/07/2014 at 11:00:27
Thanks, Derek. Sounds like there is work to be done on and off the field before the season starts.
Sue Brown
45 Posted 23/07/2014 at 11:37:40
Yes Mike, I saw he played the other day. Just thought as he made the bench last season he might have been included last night, but you are right; we forget he's still young as he makes his presence known in midfield.
Sam Hoare
46 Posted 23/07/2014 at 11:52:08
Just watched the 20 mins of highlights. I thought we looked very sluggish overall but maybe that's to be expected at this stage of pre-season. It does seem that our passing was worryingly inaccurate and, from what I saw, Lundstram in particular looked a bit slow and imprecise. Garbutt and Long of the youngsters looked the sharpest. Hopefully everyone will sharpen up over the next few weeks.

I know we have the World Cup players to come back but even so I think we are still a good four or five players short of having a squad capable of challenging for 4th. I've no doubt that lots is going on behind the scenes but I hope that our chase of Lukaku does not end up costing us too much time and missed opportunity.

It concerned me that Distin looked a little slower than usual; I hope Father Time has not finally caught up with him or else perhaps we need another senior CB as I'm not sure relying on Stones, Duffy or Alcaraz for a whole season is wise. Caulker for £8M looked good business to me for QPR but I suspect we cannot spend any good chunks until the Lukaku business is settled and God knows how long that will take.

Phil Sammon
47 Posted 23/07/2014 at 12:22:16

At the start of last year, I went to watch a few pre-season games and I was convinced Distin's legs had gone. I was completely wrong... so I won't be writing him off this year either.

Stones had a bit of a horror moment in the game, but I think we've all seen enough of the lad to feel positive about his development.

Pre-season games are always weird. I think you've just got to look at it as a fitness exercise and little more.

Derek Knox
48 Posted 23/07/2014 at 13:26:59
Phil # 47

It's all about opinions and perceptions at the end of the day, I have read a few posts suggesting Sylvain was a bit slow etc, I can only recall once when (because of the system – playing the high line) he nearly got caught out, but woeful finishing from the Tranmere player avoided any embarrassment.

Overall, I think if you were to choose between central defenders and effectiveness, I would have chosen Duffy and Distin over Stones and Alcaraz, in the second half.

Like I say, if Distin had played with Stones and vice versa, we will never really know!

The exercise did indicate that we are nowhere near ready yet (I know the World Cup players were missing) but hope those lessons have been well digested!

Mike Green
49 Posted 23/07/2014 at 13:33:34
Phil #47 - very true.

I was a bit frustrated last night that we seemed to have picked up where we left off (dominating a game for 90% playing pass the parcel to get done twice out of pretty much nothing) but:
a) Plenty of first-teamers didn't play (Howard, Jags, Baines, Mirallas, Barkley);
b) Some of youngsters looked pretty handy and it was good experience for them;
c) Everyone who played got a decent run out;
d) I'm sure there are signings to come; and
e) We've got players coming back.

My two concerns are we are desperate for a couple of strikers and a few more who can actually beat a player like McGeady and play a ball through or across rather than in a triangle. Other than that, I thought it was a pretty useful 90 mins.

Raymond Fox
50 Posted 23/07/2014 at 14:05:21
Phil 35, so what did Robles do wrong?

He had no chance with their 2 goals, made an excellent full length save to his left that many keepers wouldn't have reached.

For long periods he had nothing to do!

Harold Matthews
51 Posted 23/07/2014 at 12:50:42
Yes. The youngsters fared pretty well, apart from Lundstram who has grown into quite a big lad and looked a bit slow and heavy. Even slower was Barry, an old experienced pro who just stretched his legs a bit.

Of course, the young lads had to inter-pass with Pienaar. The little tough enigma who likes to stop, turn back, come inside and slow everyone up. Baines and Barry understand him but he must be a nightmare for anyone else.

Incidentally. It was easy to see that Barry has a defensive brain and protects the back 4. Gibson has an attacking brain and feeds the front 4. Folk who think they do the same job are way off the mark.

I was impressed by the way Roberto pulled people aside at half-time for a detailed critique of their roles. He obviously doesn't miss much.

As for the Leicester game. We look far from ready but I suppose it breaks things up a bit. Coleman's injury was a worry and a warning. So easy to pull things early on. Especially in the 2nd game after a break, when the "Bounce Factor" challenges stiff muscles.

Sam Hoare
52 Posted 23/07/2014 at 14:19:04
Phil@47. Yes, I hope you are right though I guess nature dictates that he must slow down eventually. Would have thought he surely only has one or two more seasons in him max before that recovery turn of pace drops off...

I also agree that you can't judge much from pre-season games but, at the same time, we've all been starved of Everton games to analyse for months so it's always going to happen!

Trevor Lynes
53 Posted 23/07/2014 at 14:27:01
To put the match into perspective Tranmere were relegated last season and our Under-21s should be good enough to more than hold their own. Only Garbutt and Stones are ready for first team duty and I am disappointed with most of the others on show from the reserves etc.

Other teams had big wins in their friendly matches and scoring goals brings confidence. The present squad will not do as well as last year IMO. It is already weaker and players coming back from long-term injuries are always vulnerable.

We really need a top class striker plus a midfield playmaker.

Harold Matthews
54 Posted 23/07/2014 at 14:43:25
Yeah. Distin played a coaching role last night. A half-speed workout and quiet words with Duffy and Garbutt. Alcaraz continues to be blamed for other peoples mistakes but I was pleased to see him looking fit and well. Hibbo was Hibbo. Mr Reliable.

Garbutt is a big improver with a great left foot but still very raw. McAleny, for me, is a must for the first team squad. Small in stature with an ever stronger upper body strength, he looks the real deal. Not sure about the orange boots but he's quick, reads the game and his through balls to a rusty Naismith were tremendous. Fingers crossed for the lad. He's had a tough time.

On a goalkeeping note. The 6'-4" Czech kid we bought from Sparta Prague in January appears to be coming on a ton. Think his name is Stanek. Still way down the pecking order, he is amazed with his progress under the guidance of our Tom Selleck lookalike goalkeeping coach.

Kris Boner
55 Posted 23/07/2014 at 16:22:21
Just had a watch back and heard that Ledson comment on injury. The commentator said Richard Ledson, a fan who tweeted in about watching the game.

Ryan Ledson is perfectly fine.

Ian Bennett
56 Posted 23/07/2014 at 19:47:09
Ledson is playing against Wrexham.
Martin Handley
57 Posted 23/07/2014 at 19:49:35
Basically guys last night was just a leg stretcher after the summer break for the senior lads who were there. Also it helps raise some much needed funds for Tranmere, which I've been led to believe is why we're playing the Celta Vigo game there as well, which if true fair play Everton for doing that.

It looks like Seamus will only be missing the game in Thailand but we have an able deputy in Tony Hibbert in that position. The likes of Ledson, Lundstram etc will get plenty of chances pre season as hopefully will Joel.

On a different note, does anyone know when the Europa League draw is?

Mike Allison
58 Posted 24/07/2014 at 09:25:33
There is nothing to read into this game in terms of readiness and ability, but can the guys who watched it give a bit more insight into the formation and the positions played by some of the youngsters?

The way Lyndon lined it up suggests Duffy at right back, but I’m assuming Browning in fact started there. Having not seen Browning, does he look like a centre back or a full back? I mean both in terms of physique, and does he look like someone who will bomb forward and create chances the way Coleman and Baines do (and Garbutt for that matter)?

Lyndon’s line-up suggest Pienaar played centrally, with Kennedy and McAleny on the wings and Naismith as the No 9. Is this accurate?

Where did Osman play? And finally, where/what roles did Hope and Long play when they came on? Were they a front two or was one of them pushed wide?

It may be that even these choices don’t mean much, but I, along with many I think, still don’t know much about the playing styles and positions of many of our youngsters who may break through this season.


Derek Knox
59 Posted 24/07/2014 at 09:47:56
Hi Mike # 58

Watched it on EFC TV so I will try to answer your questions:

Pienaar played more or less the same role we have seen him mostly, ie. left-mid but drifted into the centre at times, but to be honest he didn't really perform that well and lost the ball on several occasions.

McAleny played more up front and looked useful, but (difficult to assess after one game) does look like he could be a first-squad member (probably on the bench).

Osman played his usual centre-mid role and so easily could have had two goals instead of just the one. Not bad over all.

Hope and Long played up front and I was impressed at the quickness of both, more so Hope, although the end product was not really evident, but then again, one half of one game, it's hardly enough to comment one way or another!

Hope this helps mate, but being subjective, others may have interpreted the game differently...

Mike Allison
60 Posted 24/07/2014 at 14:47:13
Thanks Derek, I’m not even too worried about how good we think they are yet, as I don’t even know what type of player we can expect the young players to be.

Anyone else any thoughts?

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