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 Venue: Deepdale, Preston Friendly  Wednesday 19 July 2006; 7:45pm
    Half Time: 0-0
 Attendance: 9,227 (Friendly 3) Referee: N Swarbrick

Match Summary

Andy Johnson: building a partnership?

Have Preston really replaced Tranmere as our perennial pre-season opponents?  No: last time we played them was three years ago.  And this time, it's the occasion of a testimonial for Preston stalwart, Paul McKenna.  Preston also featured David  Nugent, a Blue who has been repeated linked with a move to Goodison.

Everton fielded a fairly strong team but the list of absentees was noticeable:

  • Andy van der Meyde: suffering already with the same old groin problem.
  • Tim Howard:  Only just back from his hols
  • Joleon Lescott: recovering from a virus
  • Tim Cahill: Still on his hols...
  • Nuno Valente: ~ ditto ~
  • Pistone: getting closer to his comeback

Preston did pretty well in the first half, and carried the game to Everton.  Andy Johnson did get a shot off but it was high, wide, and not very handsome. Paul McKenna also had a shot on Wright's goal.

James Beattie, partnering Andy Johnson for the first time also fired his first attempt wide of the target.

At half-time, Everton rang the changes but it was much of the same, although Lee Carsley did hit the bar with a 20-yard effort from a free kick. Carsley had the ball in the net on 60 minutes, but it was ruled out for offside. Ian Turner, who had replaced Wright at half-time, pulled off a fantastic point-blank save to keep the scores level. 

Patrick Boyle and Victor Anichebe came on later, along with South African trialist Delron Buckley.  And Victor definitely livened things up but could not prevent the testimonial ended in a fitting stalemate.  But it was a good run-out for the lads, who should be just a little fitter now, and ready to face Celtic on Sunday.

Michael Kenrick

Match Report - Wackiness Strikes!

With our numbers depleted due to people being on holiday, it was only late on Tuesday night when we decided to make the relatively short trip to Deepdale.  I hate driving at the best of times but this time stepped into the void, picking up Gary and Andy from work.  We got onto the M62 and then I think the M57 relatively easy enough and parked up near the ground at about 7pm. 

By the time wed got our tickets we realised there was no point in finding a pub so just went in ground and got a pint.  Just before kick-off, we went up and found some seats in strangely enough almost an identical place to when we last came here for a friendly about three years ago.  Kilbane, on his return to Deepdale, led the team out and the two teams made a tunnel for the testimonial man, Paul McKenna, who thanked everyone for coming, including the strong support from Everton. 

Preston attacked our goal in the first half and actually knocked it about pretty well.  Generally speaking, Weir and Yobo had everything covered and nothing really happened in the opening exchanges.  On about 15 minutes, Johnson had a glimpse of goal and tried to chip the keeper but got so dreadfully under it that it just looped up into the air very high and very wide.  Beattie came closer with his effort however when found by Davies once hed been switched into the middle to put Arteta out on the right.

Overall, it was very poor to watch.  Time for an uncharacteristic bout of wackiness from the Everton contingent.  First, an inflatable ball was launched into the air by somebody and everybody seemed to thoroughly enjoy pinging this ball around more than watching the match.  The ball ended up on the pitch on countless occasions and on one occasion nearly got blown into the goal by the wind.  It was all good-natured though as Wright kept booting the ball (or at least trying to) back into the crowd.  The ball boy and on one occasion Phil Neville were also very helpful.

Next thing, somebody else wanted in on the act and a blow-up sheep was bouncing around.  Everyone was in stitches... and then would you believe it a big inflatable Stella bottle was getting hurled around (I even got a touch!).  Just before half-time it got wackier yet when another blow-up ball was getting launched around.  In-between all this, Wright had to make a smart save while Yobo over-exaggerated a limp again for most of the half.

The second half was perhaps a little more lively without the distraction of the great inflatables but was still generally poor.  For the start of the second half, Turner replaced Wright, Stubbs replaced Yobo, Neville replaced Arteta and Osman replaced Johnson.

Early on, Carsleys excellent free kick bounced off the top of the bar and over.  Everton failed to build on this, however, and the game fell back into a drab slog.  As it was, following a slew of substitutions, somebody forced Turner into a spectacular save as Preston pressed.  Amongst all this for Everton, Patrick Boyle replaced Naysmith, South African trialist Derlon Buckley replaced Captain Killa, and Davies hobbled off to be replaced by Victor Anichebe (moving Osman into midfield).  Straight away, Anichebe burst down the flank and had to be hacked down by the Preston centre-back, lifting the Everton fans as he did so.  Meanwhile, the Deepdale Duck decided to sit down in the Everton dugout.  What a joker!

Everton did carve out one great chance towards the end when Lee Carsley was teed up by Osman.  He smacked it hard and first time but the keeper made an excellent stop.  Shortly after, the whistle went and we trudged off home.  We somehow managed to get lost on the way home and, after dropping the lads off and getting back to Greasby, it was 11:30pm.

I hate driving.

Player Ratings:
  • Wright: No confidence with crosses and the  defence had no confidence in him = bye bye. 5
  • Hibbert: Did OK. Decent distribution as well. 7
  • Yobo: Mopped things up well. 7
  • Weir: Usual steady stuff from Weir, had Nugent pretty much in his back pocket. 6
  • Naysmith: Generally poor, I thought, both defensively and attacking.  Id bite the hand off if Celtic want to pay 1Mfor him. 5 
  • Kilbane: A bit Jekyll and Hyde from Killa. Nice touch making him captain for the day. 6
  • Carsley: Good to see him back. Looking forward to a good season out of Lee after last season's frustrations. Twice unlucky not to score. 7
  • Arteta: Was never really in the game as it was congested in the middle. Moved out wide for a little while but was then subbed at half time. 6
  • Davies: Was never really in it when on the right but improved dramatically in the centre, and then hobbled off injured. 6
  • Beattie: Laboured.poorly. 5
  • Johnson: Hes got pace, hes got guts, but as yet no goals.  Hope it works out but Im still sceptical... 6
  • Turner: Much more confident than Wright. 6
  • Boyle: Got forward well and nearly nicked the ball under the keeper's nose once form a misdirected shot.  Naysmith, take heed. 6
  • Stubbs: Usual Stubbs. Not a great deal to do really. 6
  • Buckley: Was a bit disappointed really. Considering hes essentially playing for a contract, I dont think he got involved anywhere near as much as he should have. 6
  • Neville: I must foul every player on the fieldtwice. 5
  • Anichebe: Livened things up instantly and no-end with his aggression, pace and power. Will be a useful weapon this season. 6
  • Osman: My man of the match. I know it sounds silly as he only played half a game but he was extremely lively and very efficient with the ball. 7

Paul Traill

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PRESTON (4-4-2)
  Subs not used
EVERTON (4-4-2)
  Wright (46' Turner )
  Yobo (46' Stubbs )
  Naysmith (70' Boyle )
  Arteta (46' Neville)
  Davies (74' Anichebe )
  Kilbane (70' Buckley )
  Johnson (46' Osman)
Subs not used
  Player (injured)
  Player (injured)
  Player (unfit)


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