Hearts 1 - 3 Everton
The big man scores a hat-trick... but misses at least another hat-trick of guilt-edged chances
Everton took on Scottish League (not Premier League) Champions Hearts this afternoon in their fourth pre-season match, this time under the watchful eye of Goodison and Tynecastle legend, Alex Young.
Leighton Baines returns after being injured late last season, and is joined by Bryan Oviedo on the Everton bench with Pienaar the latest to contract a hamstring injury in training.
Live coverage is available to subscribers via Everton's pre-season TV service. At ToffeeWeb, our Live Forum will also be open.
Joel Robles was apparently selected in goal, but Tim Howard actually started in goal. In front of him, Baines joins Phil Jagielka and John Stones with Seamus Coleman at the back.
Martinez looks to have gone for a 4-2-2-2 formation against Hearts, with Gareth Barry and James McCarthy in midfield flanked by Kevin Mirallas and Leon Osman, with Arouna Kone joining Romelu Lukaku up front.
Subs include: Kieran Dowell, Matthew Pennington, Antonee Robinson, Tyias Browning and Ryan Ledson join senior Tom Cleverley, Ross Barkley, Steven Naismith and Conor McAleny.
The game started with Everton moving the ball around reasonably well. Everton won the first corner, Mirallas swinging in a nice one from the right. Hearts won their first after 7 minutes and Paterson converted with a simple header, towering above a gaggle of three Everton defenders.
Hearts won a second corner on a good attack down the right but this was defended away. But poor passing, especially from Barry, conceded Everton possession again as Hearts massed their defence to create the kind of brick wall this Everton side have such difficulty in breaking down.
Some better football from Mirallas and Baines set up Osman for one of his classic weak daisy-cutters scuffed well off target.
A good attack saw Coleman cross well and Lukaku headed goalward but saved, only for Barry to shoot goalward and see it blocked on the line, deemed a penalty... somewhat dubious but Lukaku converted stutter-style from the spot inside 20 mins.
A good move saw Kone get behind the Hearts defence but he was ruled offside. Baines swung in a dangerous free-kick that almost caught out Alexander in the Hearts goal. Baines delivered a good corner in from the left and Osman should have done better with a free header.
Everton were getting forward well but it wasn't clicking in the final ball until Lukaku whacked in the second goal with his left foot, driven in off a nice setup from Coleman. Lukaku came close to his hattrick with a lovely left-foot strike that just curled over the angle.
Lukaku was gifted the ball by Hearts in the middle and laid on a nice ball for Mirallas but his clip past the goalie also went past the far post. Everton were looking much stronger and more confident at the break and should have been more than one goal ahead.
After the break, Cleverley replaced McCarthy and Mirallas was tripped by McHattie as he entered the Hearts area and Lukaku took the chance to seal his hat-trick from the spot.
Everton attacked with vigour, Kone scampering down the right and setting up Lukaku but his shot was lackadaisical at best. A number of times, Lukaku was fed with excellent service but made the wrong decision at the crucial moment and the advantage created by that excellent service was squandered by the Big Rom.
Cleverly was playing an impressive role in the middle, one superb forward pass picking out the toes of Romelu Lukaku but he did not follow through with a strike. Oviedo was understandably rusty when he came on for Baines. Kone was particularly lively in setting up Lukaku again who fluffed his lines yet again. Stones decided to come up and play centre-forward, with Lukaku crossing in for him at one point.
A slew of substitutions disrupted the tempo of the game, with most of the senior Everton players getting a run-out, and just one of the youngsters, Kieran Dowell making a token appearance for the last few minutes.
Hearts: Alexander (77' Hamilton); Paterson, McHattie, McGhee, Ozturk, Rossi (69' Smith), Walker, Gomis (67' Anderson), Sow (65' Reilly), (78' McKirdy) (78' Nicholson).
Subs: King, Oliver, Buchanan.
Everton: Howard; Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Baines (64' Oviedo); Barry, McCarthy (46' Cleverley); Mirallas (83' Dowell), Osman; Kone (78' Barkley), Lukaku (77' Naismith).
Subs: Robles. Browning, McAleny, Robinson, Pennington, Ledson.
Referee: Billy Collum
Reader Comments (60)
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1 Posted 26/07/2015 at 14:38:24
3 Posted 26/07/2015 at 15:14:12
4 Posted 26/07/2015 at 15:24:03
5 Posted 26/07/2015 at 15:25:18
6 Posted 26/07/2015 at 15:30:40
Just like last season and the season before this will continue to be our Achilles Heel.
Sadly despite a whole summer to try and rectify this problem that has been obvious to every man, woman, boy, girl and their dogs and cats, we still have not solved it.
7 Posted 26/07/2015 at 15:46:30
8 Posted 26/07/2015 at 15:49:11
Overall, I think we are doing okay. I would like us to take this as an opportunity to really put a team to the sword.
11 Posted 26/07/2015 at 15:54:46
Kone does not stand out even at this level and Barry's passing has been poor.
Still concerned about defending in midfield where we consistently stand off the opposition.
13 Posted 26/07/2015 at 16:05:53
14 Posted 26/07/2015 at 16:05:16
Teams like Watford, Swansea and Leicester are teams that we are supposed to beat but I see them coming at us and I see more of the same from last season.
15 Posted 26/07/2015 at 16:42:19
I do feel positive about the size and quality of the squad.
16 Posted 26/07/2015 at 16:47:13
17 Posted 26/07/2015 at 16:46:52
Some positives, but not enough to get excited about. The Scottish Championship (not the Scottish Premier League) which Hearts won last year is mostly comprised of part-timers so nothing really to write home about. We should have really taken Hearts apart in the second half but again wasted opportunities to do so.
These pre-season games are the time to show we can do things like that without mercy or we are looking at a struggle again this coming season.
18 Posted 26/07/2015 at 16:50:58
19 Posted 26/07/2015 at 16:59:29
20 Posted 26/07/2015 at 16:57:38
We need a Number 10 to keep providing ammunition plus another striker in case Lukaku gets injured. Kone is still not likely to score goals and that is the main job for a striker.
21 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:05:00
Howard played the whole game....
22 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:00:35
The quality and decision-making in and around the penalty area are still a big concern, however, and the lack of service to Lukaku... er, No. Actually, Lukaku had the ball played to him plenty of times and he should have had two hat-tricks, which again is a real worry, as our ability to convert remains unconvincing at best.
Even so, some of the comments, and especially the dire projections for the new season, are tiring at best. The season hasn't even begun and there seems to be a rush to write it off already. Any chance you could just sit on your hands rather than cluttering up the threads with these unwanted prophecies?
23 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:06:45
24 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:11:39
Getting rid of Martinez is NOT the answer.
25 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:23:56
Hopefully Cleverly replaces Osman and Kone is replaced by Naismith or someone else?
Yes, I do believe so of the other youngsters should have been given some time but they will probably play against Leeds.
26 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:27:39
I'd say we have a great set of fixtures in which we can show that we will hopefully have a much better season than the last one.
27 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:26:32
We moved the ball well, plenty of width, Coleman and Baines looked sharp. As noted by others, we missed a hatful of relatively straightforward chances in open play. I was a little surprised that McAleny wasn't brought on, or Barkley brought on earlier.
28 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:15:38
I thought we looked sharp, the opposition wasn't great but apart from Osman who struggled somewhat, I thought we played well, on another day we could have had 6 or 7.
Their goal was a bit soft though, its not like he wasn't marked, there were four defenders in front of him but as usual they couldn't get off the ground!
Oh, and lay off Kone, he's not half bad, he had a decent game.
29 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:35:22
I was surprised when Leighton stopped taking penalties given his outstanding record but to be fair to Rom he has scored seven out of seven including friendly games, so I not quite sure what he needs to do to gain your confidence.
30 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:40:31
That is the positivity we need! My natural pessimism came to the fore there but the sentiment was meant to be a positive one.
31 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:30:43
I share Everton's opening schedule with my Chelsea, Man Utd, and Arsenal friends and they all react the same which is something along the lines of, "Dear God, who did you guys piss off?"
We're gonna need to be positive and supportive of the boys in these first 10; especially since some of the key ones are at home. We already look light years better than at the same time last season.
32 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:42:44
I also though Kone did ok today. I have not seen much of him but I thought he looked reasonable.
33 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:44:27
Qualifying for the Champions League would be like winning the league for me. Without huge investment, we are where we are.
To be honest I am not sure I want us to sell out. When we won the league in the '80s, we earned it with hard work. With the exception of Man Utd and Arsenal, what other team has not bought their success? (And please don't say Blackburn.)
34 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:41:00
35 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:50:25
I didn't recognise Kone at first, minus the blonde hair... He's not the answer! When he went down in the 2nd half, holding his knee I thought... "Here we go again!" At least if he was crocked again, Martinez would be forced to bring a striker in.
We need to bring in a quality striker like Austin or Pato, just for another option. Tbh, I would have liked to have seen Conor McAleny or Chris Long play today. In the case of McAleny, while he won't make the grade at Goodison, he would have offered more than Kone this afternoon.
36 Posted 26/07/2015 at 18:11:04
37 Posted 26/07/2015 at 18:13:59
Cleverley is a tidy and intelligent player, and will add much-needed creativity to us. Great to see Baines back and even a cameo from our Bryan.
The team look a lot fitter than this time last season; let's hope we carry on like this and hit the ground running when Watford come to town.
39 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:42:45
[If you catch my drift.]
40 Posted 26/07/2015 at 18:09:39
Good result though and glad to hear we are looking sharper than in previous pre-seasons.
41 Posted 26/07/2015 at 18:15:42
As far as today's game is concerned, I thought it was a good run out, as was the friendly at Swindon. The challenge facing RM and the boys is to take these performances into matches involving teams of far higher quality.
I want to be positive but am I allowed to question whether we have the quality and guile to match the early season opponents mentioned above?
42 Posted 26/07/2015 at 18:42:14
I haven't heard much or seen much of the kid Dowell but he seemed to do okay when he came on. Anybody know a bit more about him?
MotM for me was a toss-up between Mirallas and Ossie.
43 Posted 26/07/2015 at 19:08:37
47 Posted 26/07/2015 at 19:46:54
Anyone else notice Stonesy waving at the end? I hope he is not going anywhere...
48 Posted 26/07/2015 at 19:55:49
If Lukaku scores 3 per game and misses several sitters to boot in every game this season I will settle for it. These games are different to watch for us because there is nothing riding on them so imagine how the players must feel. Not easy to be as mentally tuned in as when the season starts but it sounds like we are coming along fine to me.
We should all take note of what Ross said the other day about how he lost confidence last season and really get behind the boys this time out. Screaming abuse usually has a detrimental effect on a player and Ross (and others) need encouragement. Cleverley took abuse at Man Utd and failed to develop -- a new start here and he is looking a damn good player.
Let's give them all a chance!!
49 Posted 26/07/2015 at 20:25:13
51 Posted 26/07/2015 at 20:20:09
As far as today's game goes, a decent run-out against a very poor team. We won, got another 90 minutes under our belt and, whisper it quietly but, actually created chances.
I am of the opinion that the first 10 games of the season are a blessing rather than a curse. It should mean that we have to hit the ground running from the first whistle and having hard games should help us rather than hinder.
To an extent, I understand the calling for pessimistic comments to be tempered as the season has not stared yet, however, we should not go overboard either. Last season's nightmare is still raw in everybody's mind and the only two meaningful pre-seasons games have been with Stoke and Arsenal, which were a snoozefest and a bit of a hiding, so I apologise sincerely to all for not having the optimistic outlook that others have at the moment. It's going to take a bit more than a win over Hearts to convince me that we are in much better shape than last season.
52 Posted 26/07/2015 at 21:08:07
I agree with you Phil. We have to be realistic. We do not have a line of billionaires waiting to buy us. And we don't want just anybody with money owning EFC. If the right buyer comes along, great, but how likely is that? We have to do it the hard way.
We are not going to win the league under our current circumstances but, if we play to our potential, we can challenge the likes of Liverpool and Man Utd. A big ask but we have done it before.
Being realistic doesn't mean to say we can't be optimistic at the same time. It's certainly a big season for RM -- make or break.
53 Posted 26/07/2015 at 21:21:33
At this time I would prefer to build honestly with the hope that we achieve what we really all want... Yes, I am in dreamland... but that is the whole point!
54 Posted 26/07/2015 at 21:23:46
Still, you can only beat what is put in front of you, so keep it up, Blueboys.
I would like to see two up front in the rest of our friendlies, as it obviously helps share the load, and fair play to Kone (who I have bashed as much as anyone), the lad put in a real shift, did well and showed a turn of pace. Perhaps he is now getting properly fit and we may see what Martinez saw in him.
55 Posted 26/07/2015 at 21:25:48
Great point, mate. Lukaku looks a lot better with another big presence alongside him. The most important thing is Lukaku was getting chances!
56 Posted 26/07/2015 at 21:28:44
I still think our build-up play is slow and laborious. Barry is shocking.
Mirallas definitely MotM. Not only for the excellent work he did when on the ball but his off the-ball movement was particularly good.
Though he was only on for a short while, Naismith caused Hearts lots of problems just outside the area with lay-offs and flicks. The only midfielder we have that thinks of a forward ball before anything else is Darron Gibson who is unfortunately permanently injured; all the rest take the easy option of the square ball.
Martinez will be made up tonight having about 70% possession and hundreds of passes.
We still haven't started practising defending corners and free kicks -- bloody awful!
57 Posted 26/07/2015 at 22:56:39
58 Posted 26/07/2015 at 23:04:43
As far as their goal was concerned, he was marked by at least 3 players, do the players have to be told to jump up in the air! As usual they appeared glued to the floor; big Dunc should be able to give them a tip or two.
59 Posted 26/07/2015 at 23:24:09
I can't make RM, out, he plays him gives him rave reviews and then leaves him on the bench. But there's always a place for Kone, who in my view isn't good enough. But to be fare he didn't play to bad today.
Let's be truthful, these game don't mean anything, they're just a warm up. Because, if they're more than that, we have problems.
60 Posted 26/07/2015 at 23:31:17
I see people are saying its make or break season for RM. I would like to know what every Evertonian would fell the least he would have to do this season for RM to keep his job?
6th 7th 8th because we are getting left behind in the transfer market and I think all the other clubs above us normally, are investing in quality players.
I hate to be negative before a ball is kicked but the truth is that 6th 7th or 8th is were we are and that's the best RM can get us so I think we have to get behind him this season you never know we might win a cup! Or there might be a few freaky results that maybe we might get back into the Europa league for the following season.
61 Posted 26/07/2015 at 00:10:02
So on that evidence do you think he's going to become an Everton regular, Jack? I don't, when he can't get a game over Kone. I think McAleny should have been loaned out for a full season last year, and if he doesn't get a full season somewhere this year, he'll move on to a Championship club for a nominal fee.
62 Posted 27/07/2015 at 00:32:57
Let's be truthful: RM bought Kone, so he as to justify his decision buying him. What does he see that we don't? We can't all be wrong can we?
And yes, Gavin, I rate McAleny. We will see.
63 Posted 27/07/2015 at 00:49:28
He may as well have gone out on loan for a season to a club like Brentford (Chris Long did okay there). At least he'd have had some competitive football instead of sitting in the U21s.
I hope you're right, Jack. I just think age and circumstance are stacked against him doing anything in an Everton shirt.
64 Posted 27/07/2015 at 00:59:54
If we had an abundance of strikers that were far superior to him, well I maybe would think differently but we don't. So put him in and see what he can do.
65 Posted 27/07/2015 at 01:26:23
Onwards and upwards.
66 Posted 26/07/2015 at 05:33:17
We seem to raise our game against the big boys and they never really like playing us.
I still think no matter what, Martinez's job is safe. He has a ready made excuse: "Sorry, Bill, we have the toughest opening in the history of football and you won't give me any money."
Bill replies: "But there's no more Wigan players left to buy."
67 Posted 27/07/2015 at 07:19:11
Oh, good to see the injuries are returning just in time for big kick off, the back room fitness and medical team should take a bow.
I would take 7th place now given another summer of failure in the transfer market.
68 Posted 27/07/2015 at 09:01:45
Steve (#50), I can live with finishing up 6th, 7th or 8th so long as the team gives its all and maximises its capabilities. I am well aware of where we are at and, to be honest, finishing in those places would represent a decent season. What will lose Martinez his job this season is if we witness the same style of football we had last season.
As much as football is all about winning, there has to be a degree of entertainment and that was sorely missing from last season. If Martinez can speed up the team by 100%, be able to play and compete for the full 90 minutes, then he shouldn't go far wrong in my eyes. If not, then his position should become untenable. I can not go through another season of gross underachievement like last year
69 Posted 28/07/2015 at 13:56:28
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