Seamus Coleman’s brave header secured Everton’s first pre-season victory as the Blues edged out Monaco in Bagnes, Switzerland.
Coleman met Oumar Niasse’s stray effort on goal to win the aerial battle with goalkeeper Diego Benaglio and put the Blues in front on 73 minutes, despite taking a clattering in the process.
GOAL! Seamus Coleman is brave to head Oumar Niasse's deflected shot and give the Blues the lead.— Everton (@Everton) July 19, 2019
Watch live: https://t.co/2VsWpyRq02 pic.twitter.com/5HW6U3rPdi
In a fairly tame affair, the Toffees also had Maarten Stekelenburg to thank for his penalty save from former Manchester City midfielder Rony Lopes.
The Dutchman got the Blues out of jail midway through the first half after Morgan Schneiderlin’s wayward pass sold youngster Lewis Gibson short, before the centre-half was punished for a rash challenge on Gelson Martins inside the box.
But Stekelenburg ensured the game remained goalless, keeping out Lopes’ poor spot-kick, before grabbing the rebound from Moussa Sylla.
| Maarten Stekelenburg in penalty saving mode— Everton (@Everton) July 19, 2019
Watch: https://t.co/2VsWpyRq02 pic.twitter.com/sPXyUfQwPM
Toffees manager Marco Silva made six changes to the side which started Sunday’s 0-0 draw with FC Sion, and while the match proved a solid test and an important fitness booster, it took Everton a while to get going.
Winger Nathan Broadhead, was the liveliest player before the break, and saw his header from a corner and a shot from close-range both saved by Benaglio within the first five minutes.
Broadhead was also involved in an impressive one-two with Coleman on 38 minutes, before the Irishman fired wide with a clear sight of goal.
CLOSE! Seamus Coleman almost opens the scoring for the Blues.— Everton (@Everton) July 19, 2019
Watch: https://t.co/2VsWpyRq02 pic.twitter.com/DuHSo17hJ5
In truth, Stekelenburg’s only other involvement before the half-time whistle was a diving save from Cesc Fabregas after Martins, who gave Gibson a tough afternoon, escaped his clutches once again to set up the Spaniard.
And he had virtually nothing to do after the interval, as Everton took a stronger hold of proceedings.
Gibson and Michael Keane both forced saves from Benaglio from Gylfi Sigurðsson corners early in the second half, before Niasse hit the post after almost tripping over his own feet.
But eventually, through Coleman’s effort, Silva’s men took the lead they deserved, before Theo Walcott almost added a second in the final minutes as his shot was cleared off the line, and Tom Davies hit the woodwork in injury time.
All in all, though, it was a much-needed workout against better opposition for Everton, who were able to send the particularly vocal travelling fans home happy with a positive performance and result.
Everton team (4-2-3-1): Stekelenburg; Digne, Gibson, Keane, Coleman; Gomes (Adeniran 83’), Schneiderlin (Davies 46’); Bernard (Mirallas 78’), Sigurðsson (McCarthy 75’), Broadhead (Walcott 46’); Niasse.