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Venue: Coleraine Fairground, N Ireland
 Saturday 14 July 2007; 4:00pm
N. Ireland 
Half Time: 0-1
  Vaughan (24'), Agard (76') 
Friendly 2
Referee: –

Match Summary

David Moyes took the slightly larger part of the Everton first-team squad along with a bunch of kids from the Academy, over to Ulster for the second friendly of the day while the rest of the squad had kicked off against Bury just an hour earlier.

James Vaughan lashed one in amidst a goalmouth melee, while in the second half  Kieran Agard (from the Reserves) came on as one of a number of subs to chip home elegantly (something he can only have learnt at Arsenal) to make the scoreline somewhat respectable.  Andy van der Meyde played a full game (the first time ever in a Blue shirt?), and Anderson da Silva looked tall if only moderately capable in midfield.

Jack Rodwell did well at centre-back

Michael Kenrick

Everton on Tour!

We flew out to Belfast on an early flight on Friday and after haggling for what seemed like an eternity to rent a car, we finally made a move into Belfast found our accommodation and basically hit the beers for the most part of the day. Adam, Dan and I decided to rough it in a cheap hostel whilst Ste, who despises the thought of using the same bathroom as people he doesn’t know, paid 8X as much to stay in a hotel!

Anyways, on the Saturday once we’d awoke and trying to dust our hangovers off with a nice big breakie, we went to get Ste from his hotel, and after much dithering we were on the road. Thankfully I’d bought my “sat-nav” with me, and with Coleraine only being 50 miles or so from Belfast, it shouldn’t have taken long to get to our pre-booked hostel up there. We got to a strange roundabout and, certain we knew better than the sat-nav, decided to go straight on instead of the girls “third exit” recommendation. Despite sat-nav’s continued protests and calls for a “U-turn” we relented and even switched her off so we could listen to Dan’s I-pod, convinced she was only sending us off course.

After travelling for at least an hour, we felt we must be close so turned it on again to check. Imagine our horror and above all (although we wouldn’t admit it) embarrassment then when we found that we were somehow still about 50 miles away as we’d clearly gone completely the wrong direction. As one of the more vociferous campaigners to ignore the sat-nav and continue forward at the time of the error, I just sat there in uncomfortable silence. So, to recap, having set off at 12pm for what should really have been about an hours drive, we finally arrived at about 2.30pm, parking up pretty much just outside the ground.

I for one was still pretty rough from the night before and just nursed a pint for a good hour until we decided to go in at about 3:30pm for the 4pm kick off game. We’d gotten chatting to a local Coleraine fan in the pub who was pretty hard core, going to every game home and away and even touched upon some European exploits of Coleraine. Their actually in the UEFA Cup this year having won their respective Northern Irish FA Cup last season.

We were in a terrace stand for the first time in a long while and thankfully Dan had the bright idea to stand in the cover therefore sparing us all of a drenching. As we got there the teams were still warming up and it was great to see Moyes was true to his word and did send a strong team out there. The stadium was mixed between supporters as well, although the Everton fans (who did have an excellent following from Liverpool, Northern and Southern Ireland) were somewhat outnumbered by the Ulstermen.

We’d heard the Northern Irish team were to be made up mostly of players still plying their trade in Northern Ireland so I guess a lot of them were in the shop window. Of the players I recognised Birmingham City’s keeper Maek Taylor played in goal whilst Steve Lomas (without a club at the moment) also played. I couldn’t tell you anyone else really but there was a lad from Nottingham Forrest and a lad from Leicester City playing, with the Leicester lad making a return to Coleraine as he was signed from there a few years ago.

As for Everton, we lined up with Turner in goal, Valente at left back, Lescott and Rodwell at the back and Lee Molyneux at right back. Playing left midfield was some lad whom I didn’t catch the name of, whilst Carsley and Da Silva played in the centre and Van Der Meyde wide right. Up front was the exciting combination of Andy Johnson and James Vaughan.

Northern Ireland, backed by quite a noisy, if a touch wacky, crowd started the game well and should have scored just a few minutes in when someone completely fluffed a great chance from a bit of a melee inside the box. Iain Turner was simply all over the place with kicking and catching although Northern Ireland failed to build on their bright start. It didn’t take long for Everton to settle and we were soon in our stride and, a close Northern Ireland free kick aside, were looking quite comfortable.

Andy Johnson was clearly a class above and caused problems throughout the first half. On probably about the 20 minute mark he cracked a low effort against the base of the post as Everton were basically in complete control. To Northern Ireland’s credit they gave it a good go but were up against far superior opposition at the end of the day, but the fans certainly enjoyed it, coming up with some creative, if a tad Portsmouth-esque chants, such as:

“Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little boy Jesus lay down his sweet head. The stars on the bright side shone down where Healy! Healy! Healy! Healy!”

I forget how it went but it was along the lines of “you can fuck your Gerrard and Lampard we’ve got Davis!”

And my personal favourite: “You fat bastard! You fat bastard!”…. to Iain Turner!

Still, they seemed to be enjoying themselves. Amidst all this I thought Everton had scored when Andy Johnson was through on goal and Taylor came racing out to save. From where I stood it looked as though it had bounced back of Johnson and looped towards goal and in. Johnson seemed to peel away celebrating and Vaughan stopped following it in as if it had bounced in anyway. I was convinced it was a goal and even cheered. A confused Dan said to me “was that a goal?” “no it wasn’t Dan” I said sarcastically, only to look up and find Everton were preparing to take a corner, much to my chums amusement. It mattered not I guess as from the corner and after I think everyone had queued up, and failed, to knock it in, James Vaughan wellied it into the corner to put Everton in the lead.

I think that was roughly it for the first half. Northern Ireland did have the ball in the net at one stage but it was offside and didn’t count. Otherwise, somebody else drilled wide for Northern Ireland before the whistle went for half time.

For the second half Northern Ireland made a few changes at half time but Everton kept the same team for the start of the half. It was pretty much more of the same with the only significant difference being Andy Van Der Meyde playing much, much better in the second half than he did in the first. On probably about 55 minutes Vaughan had a great chance from an inch-perfect Valente cross which he headed wide. For Northern Ireland somebody hit perhaps the worst shot I’ve ever seen from distance, scuffing terribly, and a combination of Lescott and Valente had to clear just short of the goaline in Northern Ireland’s best chance of the half.

As the game wore on Everton made a couple of changes although I’m sorry to say I’m not sure who came on. Some small lad who looked a bit like Kevin McLeod (remember him?) came on and did very well down the right hand side, whilst some other striker (again, apologies, no idea who he is) looked lively up front.

As it turned out, the two lads combined well to give Everton their second goal, thereby killing the game. The winger got down the byline and whipped across a lovely low ball. The striker watched it well, timed his run and finished nicely on the slide. He quickly got up and did an impressive Beagrie-backflip. I’ve learnt by now not to get carried away with young players but they both showed promise, especially the winger. We should have score just before that. Whilst a couple of Northern Ireland players showed how to really miss a good opportunity, Lee Carsley really showed them how it was done when he completely missed the ball from about 8 yards when presented with a glorious chance.

The game just petered out after that with perhaps Van Der Meyde of all people the most significant contributor with some good skill and positive forward running. At full time we got back in the car, found our hostel, eventually, and drank the night away.

All in all, as far as friendlies go, it weren’t bad at all.

Player Ratings:
Turner: All over the place in the first half. Perhaps still low on confidence after the Man Utd game last season. 5
Valente: Good to see him get a game under his belt as its been a while. 6
Rodwell: A big lad. He’s quite a positive player and seems to read the game well, although does seem a little slow. 6
Lescott: Perhaps his easiest ever game. Got through it effortlessly. 6
Molyneux: Seems fairly solid in the tackle although perhaps too small, too slow and too poor with distribution to make it at the top level. 6
Irving:  Looked half decent. A bit of a poor mans McFadden (if there’s such a thing). I doubt he’ll cut it in the Premier League but being left footed, fairly skilful and fairly nippy, you’d certainly expect him to forge a decent career in League One perhaps. 7
Carsley: Quite a comfortable display from Lee. Missed a sitter though. 6
Da Silva: It seems quite clear he’ll be no more than a squad player. 6
Van Der Meyde: After a dreadful first half, he improved dramatically in the second and has even earned my coveted man of the match award. Well done! 7
Johnson: You can tell he’s been training a bit longer than the others, as he looked very sharp. Clearly a class above the rest. 7
Vaughan: Was getting frustrated in the first half but was a lot happier once he got his goal. Was actually given the official man of the match award. 7

I can’t possibly remember who came off for whom etc, but the winger (no. 14) and the striker (who scored) both stood out for me.

Paul Traill

BBC Report

James Vaughan and Kieran Agard scored as Everton beat a Northern Ireland Select 2-0 in a pre-season friendly at Coleraine Showgrounds on Saturday. Grant McCann and Kevin Braniff went close for the home side before Vaughan bundled the ball home from close range after 27 minutes.

Andy Johnson was twice denied by Maik Taylor and also hit the post while Dean Shiels had a shot cleared off the line.

Agard chipped Michael McGovern after a Stephen Connor cross on 79 minutes.

McCann fired over early on and Braniff shot across the face of goal before Birmingham goalkeeper Taylor performed heroics to keep out England striker Johnson at the other end.

Taylor again saved from Johnson but Vaughan was on hand to score the opener after the ball fell loose inside the penalty area.

Shiels posed a threat for Northern Ireland and Vaughan headed over from a Nuno Valente cross.

Teenager Agard produced a cool finish for the second goal, beating McGovern, who had replaced Taylor between the posts.

Joleon Lescott, Andy van der Meyde and Lee Carsley were among the other first-team players to turn out for the Toffees but James Beattie, Mikel Arteta, Leon Osman, Phil Neville and Phil Jagielka were absentees.

Taylor, Sean Webb, Gareth McAuley, McCann, Steve Lomas, Ciaran Toner, Shiels, Braniff, Gary Hamilton and Sammy Morrow were in the Northern Ireland ranks with new international manager Nigel Worthington looking on.


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N IRELAND (4-4-2)
  Taylor (62' McGovern)
  Toner (85' McVey)
  Ward (69' Callaghan)
  Braniff (46' Shiels)
  Hamilton (46' Morrow)
  McCann (46' Clarke)
  Subs not used
EVERTON (4-4-2)
  Van der Meyde
  Molyneux (85' Harpur)
  Vaughan (72' Vaughan)
  Johnson (66' Agard)
  Subs not used
  Player (injured)
  Jagielka (?????)
  Yobo (injured?)
  Beattie (Transfering)
  Howard (On Leave)
  Cahill (Asian Cup)
  & the Bury squad


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