Everton coast to friendly win over MK Dons

, 26 July, 68comments  |  Jump to most recent
MK Dons 1 - 3 Everton
Alex Morton/Getty Images
Everton's second official friendly of the summer provided another good run-out and three more goals in a 3-1 win over League One MK Dons.

Strikes by Gerard Deulofeu, Kevin Mirallas and Muhamed Besic (the first and last goals may have technically been own goals) lifted the Blues to their third pre-season win.

Brendan Galloway was named among the substitutes by manager Ronald Koeman and eventually made it onto the field as a substitute among a raft of changes with an hour gone and the score at 2-1.

Koeman selected Ramiro Funes Mori and Matthew Pennington as the central defensive pairing in the starting XI. Maarten Stekelenburg was in goal, Seamus Coleman returned at right back, Bryan Oviedo played at left back and Tom Davies moved into his more natural central midfield berth.

Up front, Shani Tarashaj started alongside Gerard Deulofeu and Kevin Mirallas but came off at half time with an injury. John Stones was on the bench after missing the game at Barnsley through injury.

In terms of absentees, none of the club's three strikers from last season travelled with the squad. Romelu Lukaku remains on his summer break until next Monday while Arouna Kone and Oumar Niasse were again omitted.

Other notable omissions were defensive midfielders Gareth Barry and James McCarthy, with both rumoured to be carrying slight knocks picked up in training or, in the latter's case, a continuation of the muscle problems that affected his preparations for Euro2016.

Everton got off to a great start when a Keystone Cops moment in the home defence gifted them a goal in the second minute.

Deulofeu raced into a poor back-pass where the ball squirmed through the legs of the MK Dons keeper and the Spaniard beat him to the ball which ended up in the net with the help of a covering defender.

Deulofeu turned provider eight minutes later with a superb ball into the box for Mirallas but the Belgian over-elaborated a touch and the chance was lost as he was closed down in front of goal.

Daniel Powell had MK Dons' first sight of goal but he dragged a 14th-minute effort wide of Stekelenburg's goal before Deulofeu put Mirallas in again with a terrific chance but with just the 'keeper to beat he side-footed weakly and it was easily saved.

After a tame Carruthers shot was saved at one end, Everton doubled their lead after 20 minutes when Deulofeu raced down the right flank, beating the fullback for pace and cutting it back for Barkley to side-footed home from a central position.

The Dons' best chance to that point came shortly afterwards with a direct free-kick attempt that Stekelenburg pawed away from his near post with a one-handed stop.

The Dutchman was beaten, however, a few minutes later when Rasulo swept an excellent shot into the top corner from the edge of the box as the Blues' defence backed off a little.

The second half could have seen two goals inside five minutes when a shot took a heavy deflection off Funes Mori and Maynard seized on the loose ball but Stekelenburg was off his line quickly to smother the ball.

At the other end, a lovely touch by Mirallas saw him lay it off to Deulofeu but the Belgian miscued the Spaniard's cutback from the left and his shot sliced wide of goal.

Koeman made a number of changes with an hour gone, which saw all the outfield players bar Deulofeu go off but they didn't result in further changes until Holgate popped up at the far post but his header was saved.

A minute later, McGeady missed an absolute sitter when he found himself unmarked in front of goal with the whole net to aim at but he put it straight at the keeper after great work down the left by Baines.

Everton sealed the win late on when good work by Dowell ended with Lennon surging forward and clipping a cross in that Besic headed in off the defender in front of him.

Everton: Stekelenburg, Coleman {c} (Holgate 61'), Pennington (Galloway 61'), Funes Mori (Stones 61'), Oviedo (Baines 61'), Tarashaj (McGeady 46'), Cleverley (Besic 61'), Davies (Gibson 61'), Mirallas (Lennon 61'), Barkley (Dowell 61'), Deulofeu (Grant 80')
Subs not used: Robles, Hewelt


Reader Comments (68)

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Colin Glassar
1 Posted 26/07/2016 at 18:57:53
At least Stonesy is on the bench. That's a good sign, I suppose.
Mark Tanton
2 Posted 26/07/2016 at 19:02:04
Mirallas seems right back in the fold, about time.
Daniel Lawrence
3 Posted 26/07/2016 at 19:03:40
I know the friendlies are coming thick and fast, but looking at that line up, you can't help but hope that signings are in the pipeline!!
Gareth Clark
4 Posted 26/07/2016 at 19:05:25
Anyone have a link to watch the game? Please please please!
Jay Harris
5 Posted 26/07/2016 at 19:07:05
When does Lukaku report back?

Interesting line up with presumably Tarasaj and Delofeu up front.

Good opportunity for Pennington to show his worth

Jay Harris
6 Posted 26/07/2016 at 19:07:39
Gareth its on Everton TV.
Duncan McDine
7 Posted 26/07/2016 at 19:07:56
Kev was looking really good in the early stages of pre season last year, but OFM clearly had a big bust up with him.

Come to think of it, seeing as he was supposidly such a nice guy, Roberto fell out with a lot of players. Hull will do well to avoid him.

I'm interested to know how many of you have signed up to get the pre season games on EvertonTV? I couldn't be arsed this year.

Jay Harris
8 Posted 26/07/2016 at 19:10:07
I signed up for it, as I do every year.

Quality was good apart from a 10 minute iffy spell with the streaming.

Much better than the early days.

Denis Richardson
10 Posted 26/07/2016 at 19:13:48
Interesting line up with Mirallas, Deulofeu, Tarashaj and Barkley all in - we playing 433 with Barkley in the middle 3?

Also Stecklenburg starting, wonder if Robles is now No.2 again.

Duncan McDine
11 Posted 26/07/2016 at 19:15:31
Glad to hear it Jay... I remember the shambles when they first started it!

I'm still waiting to 'feel' something about the new season... With a new manager etc I should be more interested than I am.

I must be getting old!

Frank Wade
12 Posted 26/07/2016 at 19:21:23
I signed up Duncan, as I do every year. Do you think there is a cure or will my weakness for Everton continue until I pop my clogs ?
Jay Harris
13 Posted 26/07/2016 at 19:21:46
Join the club.
I have been following the team since 1960 and ups and downs doesnt even come close.
From the Frustration of the 70's to the euphoria of the 80's and the depression of the 90's.
I feel very optimistic about this new regime but it is tinged with apprehension after all the previous false dawns.
Kevin McNab
14 Posted 26/07/2016 at 19:22:16
Links for tonight's game:



Lee Jackson
15 Posted 26/07/2016 at 19:25:49
Long time reader... first time post.

For any exiled Toffees in the States (like me), it's on ESPN3 (website) as long as you are subscribed to ESPN through your cable/satellite provider. They had the first 2 friendlies on already — same EFC TV commentary team, so I suppose Everton sold the rights to ESPN.

Ian Burns
16 Posted 26/07/2016 at 19:26:23
I was looking forward to this game until I read the rumour about Villa's Gueye!
Dave Abrahams
17 Posted 26/07/2016 at 19:39:58
It is interesting that Koeman has put two goalkeepers on the bench, maybe he wants to have a look at Hewlett in a proper game.
Mick Davies
18 Posted 26/07/2016 at 19:42:40
Tony Draper
19 Posted 26/07/2016 at 19:46:18
Bein Sport España.

Via Mobdro/Kodi.

Mick Davies
20 Posted 26/07/2016 at 19:46:53
Captain Coleman...don't you just love that lad?
Ed Fitzgerald
21 Posted 26/07/2016 at 19:51:27
Del Boy audacious goal!
Dan Davies
22 Posted 26/07/2016 at 20:09:31
Kodi sports devil, good picture, no commentary, marvellous.
Phillip Mark
23 Posted 26/07/2016 at 20:15:49
Deulofeu going to get plenty of game time this season. He looks very lively in a more central position. Barkley solid. Davies looks composed and talented. Not impressed by tarashaj so far. Striking reinforcements needed
Michael Connelly
24 Posted 26/07/2016 at 20:43:20
Looks like Ron was after him as soton manager also: http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/southampton-boss-ronald-koeman-targeting-5780757
Victor Jones
25 Posted 26/07/2016 at 20:48:28
At least we are winning these friendlies. And McGeady on the bench......Why???
Ciar�n McGlone
26 Posted 26/07/2016 at 20:48:45
Aidan McGeady on... Koeman is annoying me already.

(Helmet on)

Joe O'Brien
27 Posted 26/07/2016 at 20:51:24
It's better that McGeady is on, Ron will see that he's not up to it and will be moved on this window
Olalekan Taofik
29 Posted 26/07/2016 at 20:55:08

Del boy is really enyoying his game and two goals in 20 mins is okay but we've conceeded a goal in preseason.

Kelvin should not too eager to score and not waste chance upon chance.

Ciar�n McGlone
30 Posted 26/07/2016 at 21:04:01
Fairly even game this.. Lot of work to be done.
Thomas Surgenor
31 Posted 26/07/2016 at 21:08:47
Besic wearing Ossies old number?
Andy Crooks
32 Posted 26/07/2016 at 21:10:47
Ciaran, why the downer on McGeady? Surely he is entitled to the same amnesty that any Everton player is who suffered under the worst coach we have ever had.
Ciar�n McGlone
33 Posted 26/07/2016 at 21:15:55
I've never rated him, Andy. That fluffed chance just sums him up.

Don't think his lack of consistency over his career can be blamed on Martinez.

Joe O'Brien
34 Posted 26/07/2016 at 21:25:21
Andy, I'm all for giving everyone a clean sheet but in the case of McGeady I think the result will be that he's just not up to it.

He's been the same all through his career. Shows flashes of skill but he needs more than. I could be wrong and he'll show that he can do a lot more, and I hope I am, but I seriously doubt it.

Eugene Kearney
36 Posted 26/07/2016 at 21:32:04
Good result. Nice to see Besic get a goal...
Jeff Armstrong
37 Posted 26/07/2016 at 21:37:44
McGeady is tripe, always will be, no matter how many opportunities he gets, end of.
Jay Harris
38 Posted 26/07/2016 at 21:44:03
Thought this game underlined our need for forwards and MF players.

Why isn't Kone in the squad and why hasn't Lukaku reported back this week?

Thought Holgate and Conor Grant stood out again as did Barkley, Deulofeu and Baines.

Galloway had a much better showing and Besic grew into the game.

Davies, Pennington, Tarashaj and Dowell didn't do themselves justice tonight.

Oliver Molloy
39 Posted 26/07/2016 at 21:53:10
McGeady is done in my opinion, he has shown nothing the last couple of seasons and how he missed that sitter tonight is beyond me, yet it totally sums him up.
Koeman will offload him if he can.

Jay @ 38 - if Lukaku is not back at the club by Friday, I reckon something's up .

Mike Allison
40 Posted 26/07/2016 at 21:59:12
Jay, Oliver, the OP states that Lukaku isn't due to report back until Monday.

Andy, the downer on McGeady is because he's never been good enough.

Mick Davies
41 Posted 26/07/2016 at 22:08:38
Jay @ 38, 'Davies didn't do himself justice tonight'?? Did you watch the game? He bossed the midfield like he's been there for years, and I hope he stays at Everton for a long time: I'm convinced he's going to be a 'great' player
Ray Roche
42 Posted 26/07/2016 at 22:17:49
I agree Mick, I thought that Davies yet again gave a glimpse of a terrific young player who'll grow into a great player, hopefully still with us.
Colin Malone
43 Posted 26/07/2016 at 22:22:11
Jay (38). Conor Grant stood out again. He was only on for about 10 minutes. Tom Davies was excellent considering he's age.

Anticipation from Ross has got to be better.
Eivind Nyhus
44 Posted 26/07/2016 at 22:23:41
Davis was good, but he was no where near bossing the midfield.
Eugene Ruane
45 Posted 26/07/2016 at 22:30:02
Again difficult to take much from the game, all about fitness and letting Koeman watch them play matches.

Davies continues to show promise, he shows real intent and puts proper effort into his performances.

Our midfield/forward line - hard to say how that will all shape up when the season kicks off, but hopefully, come Spurs, the manager will have a good idea of what will work best (some of the shooting tonight from 4 or 5 of them was woeful).

McGeady looks like he's got some kind of problem (taps temple) here.

My only real concern right now is our defence (including keeper).

I don't mean our defence tonight, I mean what's possible with the defenders in our squad.

The best 5/4 I can pick in my head are followed up with me saying.. 'really?'

Oh and as a unit, I don't believe we're physically as strong (50/50s, shoulder-to-shoulder, headers etc) as Stoke, Swansea, Leicester, West Ham...

Time will tell I suppose.

Tony Abrahams
46 Posted 26/07/2016 at 22:33:49
A goalkeeper, and a centre half who can go and head the fucking ball, and organise, have got to be our main priorities.
Michael Polley
47 Posted 26/07/2016 at 22:55:59
McGeady is a goner, I reckon.
Peter Cummings
48 Posted 26/07/2016 at 23:05:44
All very well winning friendlies against so called 'lesser' opposition but the continued lack of action in the transfer window from the powers that be (so what's new??) can't be a reason for confidence amongst the hoi polio.

I recall a team that won every friendly leading up to Euro 2016, and guess what happened to them against other 'lesser' opposition???

Kerry Frahm
49 Posted 26/07/2016 at 23:07:26
Missed the game due to heavy cold and not getting up at 5am but just watched Koeman's post-match interview on Twitter. I'm very impressed by his diagnosis and his thoughts.

Interesting he thinks Del is the main option if Lukaku leaves. Most interestingly he didn't mention anything about possible incomings. I like the way he's playing his cards close to his chest.

Oliver Molloy
50 Posted 26/07/2016 at 23:14:30
Mike @ 40,
According to Phil Kirkbride at the Echo , Lukaku has already returned to Finch Farm this week to begin pre season training.

If he's right the club kept that quiet !

Ian Jones
51 Posted 26/07/2016 at 23:18:45
I think Ronald Koeman has just suggested the same about Romelu being back at tbe club in his reaction to tonights game. Very quiet. Slipped in without being noticed!
Mike Green
52 Posted 26/07/2016 at 23:19:04
I thought Tom Davies was the most notable player tonight. I'm not a Mirallas fan but I think he's looking quite good as are Ross and Delboy, so all good there.

I thought the new keeper looked pretty solid too its just the wreck he's got infront of him though. I thought we looked pretty poor / shit at the back. We need a no nonsense centre half who sees balls coming over and just heads them out for fun and commands the others around him. And quick. In my opinion.

As for Holibobs Lukaku – not back till Monday? What is that all about? I guess he agent would know...

Lots of work to do still, but I think Ron might have a plan we've just got to sit it out.

Eugene Ruane
53 Posted 26/07/2016 at 23:20:42
Peter (48) You think 'the hoi polio' are dragging their feet?

(Geddit? ohh suit yourself dear.)

Dan Davies
54 Posted 27/07/2016 at 00:07:14
Another win. Happy days.
Mike Dolan
56 Posted 27/07/2016 at 03:03:16
McGeady was ok in Scotland decent in Russia but is not a player at this level. Totally agree with Abrams (#46):

"A goalkeeper, and a centre half who can go and head the fucking ball, and organize, have got to be our main priorities."

I think finding a rock of a centre half is the biggest need. Stones might be the most over rated centre half ever. A nice footballer but can not defend reliably.
Saegaran Kana
57 Posted 27/07/2016 at 04:31:15
I'm happy everyone's getting a good run out and give the gaffer more chance to watch his charges.
I'm sure signing will come in thick an fast very soon but we are left with little time to bed in the newcomers. I trust Mr Walsh and Koeman to get their players. COYB!
Richard Lyons
58 Posted 27/07/2016 at 07:26:19
Why am I reading a sentence like "McGeady missed an absolute sitter"?

OK, I know the fact that McGeady missed an absolute sitter is no surprise, but what in heaven's name was he even doing on the bench, let alone on the pitch?

Brent Stephens
59 Posted 27/07/2016 at 07:55:04
"we are left with little time to bed in the newcomers".

Unless we see this as the start of a longer-term improvement at Everton. It's not all about the first six months or so.

Brin Williams
60 Posted 27/07/2016 at 09:34:48
I see that Stones got on the pitch - no comment on here about his performance! How did he get on, or are we not talking about him now?
Brian Mahoney
61 Posted 27/07/2016 at 09:56:14
Brin, Stones played 30 minutes and made no cock -ups. He was confident and was back playing the ball out of defence taking it past players as is his trademark defending.

On another note, I was quite impressed with MK Dons stadium. It would put half the Premier League grounds to shame. The facilities, ease of parking and seating (cushioned) were superb.

Mark Andrews
62 Posted 27/07/2016 at 10:15:17
For a League One club, that's a fine stadium. I especially liked the Peregrine Falcon that swept from above our heads to the other end of the stadium... I digress.

It was a typical pre-season friendly, played at slow pace but it was good to run the rule over a few new and up-and-coming faces:

A lot has been said about Davies but he didn't shine tonight, the vast majority of his touches were sideways or backwards, it's only one game though and he's got potential. Holgate looked good, Deulofeu was easily my MotM, though it's apparent we need additional striking options as it seems by Koeman's comments that it's over for Niasse and Kone.

Stekelenburg looked assured but Pennington and Funes Mori backed off for their goal, the opportunity coming from Ross losing the ball further up the pitch. Saying that, Ross looked strong and committed.

I spent a bit of time watching McGeady, his confidence is shot. He spent a lot of time getting into positions he knew he wouldn't get the ball and his missed sitter summed him up. His time with us looks like it's coming to an end.

Kim Vivian
63 Posted 27/07/2016 at 10:21:53
Looks like Mo's spent most of the break working on his tats.
Joe Duffin
64 Posted 27/07/2016 at 10:29:28
re- Brin; Stones came on around 60mins in. He was composed enough and did his usual twisting and turning runs out from the back. Didnt have that much to deal with and did what he needed to.

Its hard to judge, Everton changed 6/7 players at the same time, so it wasnt as fluid as first half. Dowell looked good when he came on.

One thing I didnt like was Delufeo shouting at one of our younger players for a bad pass - he went into a hissy fit. I think he needs to have someone take him aside and tell him to wind his neck in.

Great to see Coleman as captain.

John Louis Jones
65 Posted 27/07/2016 at 10:52:44
I thought Davies did really well in the first half considering that he had Cleverley who has to be the most anonymous central midfielder I have ever seen next to him. I would like to see Davies and Besic in the middle.

Koeman said after the match that he was not happy, which better than the "phenomenal" bullshit we have had to listen to for the last couple of years.

McGeady is crap; I think we might struggle to get rid of him. I actually think that there are a few players, playing for their future at the club. Oviedo, McGeady, Cleverley... It looks like Kone, Barry and Niasse might already be gone.

David Milner
66 Posted 27/07/2016 at 10:54:59
I signed up for the pre-season package, and so far have enjoyed it more than previous seasons. I except that not all the internationals are available, but it is nice to see how the slightly lesser known youngsters performed.

Deulofeu was the star of the show but Barkley, Tarashaj, Mirallas & Davies also looked good. Nice to see a goalkeeper who will come off the line to claim a corner. Not something we have seen in a long time. Stekelenburg is an improvement on Robles, very solid.

Stones & Galloway looked very solid in the second half. Stones did not look like a player just coasting ready for a transfer. Holgate is definitely our best bet for a right back after Coleman.

Danny O'Neill
67 Posted 27/07/2016 at 11:04:00
Well summed up Joe.

Yes, it was only MK Dons, yes it was pre-season and yes at times the players looked a bit rusty and the fluidity wasn't always there - particularly in the second half after the mass change. That's normal for these type of matches.

However, even despite all of the above, I walked away quite impressed with what I saw. I thought we already look sharper and are playing with more purpose / tempo. All of the players seem fitter and leaner - even McGeady!!

Ross at times looked a different level on the ball - add consistency and he will become the player many believe he will be.

Stones oozed class and again looked a different level; nice to see him go towards and show appreciation to the fantastic following (3000 + for a midweek friendly 3hrs away from Merseyside...not bad!!). I'm not reading anything into that, it was just good to see from a player that, according to most media outlets, has requested to leave. At least he is acting professionally and respectfully if that is the case.

Must mention the keeper; when he was called upon, he pulled off a few really good point blank saves and seemed commanding. This is after all, someone who has appeared in a World Cup final. Good back up or astute business?

Colin Malone
68 Posted 27/07/2016 at 12:08:50
Talking about high tempo. In my opinion, Koeman was concerned about Ross slow decision making. Great vision, two footed, etc, but dwindles on the ball too much.
Paul Ward
69 Posted 27/07/2016 at 14:10:28
Very hard to be assess personnel, formation or our future in what was like a training ground routine. To be a little critical, I see we are still over passing and prepared to pass all the way back to the keeper from attacking positions. As stated post match Koeman does not like it either.

Seamus Coleman has been quoted this week as saying 'We need time to change our style to suit the new boss". I think it is essential they do this quickly because there are still a lot of Martinez's bad habits on show today.

Stephen Coles
70 Posted 27/07/2016 at 14:18:05
I agree Paul Ward. It felt like I was watching a game from last season!
James Wong
72 Posted 28/07/2016 at 05:21:15
Robles must be kind of pissed that he's going to be number 2 again this season.
Gareth Oughton
73 Posted 28/07/2016 at 12:54:19
Really glad to see Mirallas back in the fold. Him, Geri and Rom could be a pretty dynamic front three if he stays focussed – like Pelle, Tadic and Mane were at Southampton.

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