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Blackpool 2-4 Everton: Instant Reaction | Dele for the win

Entertaining pre-season friendly at the seaside for the Blues

Blackpool v Everton - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Starting Lineups

Everton went back to their relatively more stable three-man defence, with Frank Lampard choosing Ben Godfrey, Yerry Mina and James Tarkowski from right to left. Fullbacks Vitaliy Mykolenko and Nathan Patterson were in as wingbacks and Tom Davies partnered Abdoulaye Doucoure in the middle again.

Demarai Gray and Dominic Calvert-Lewin were held out as a precaution with Salomon Rondon getting the start, and the pair of Anthony Gordon and Dele Alli behind him.

For Blackpool, former Toffees Callum Connolly, Rhys Williams, Luke Garbutt and Josh Bowler all started, with Shayne Lavery on the bench.

Match Recap

Unlike the last time a couple of years ago when the Blues took on the Seasiders and found themselves three goals down within a dozen minutes just two years ago, it was Everton making the hot start this game.

The Blues looked to emphasize the long balls over the top for the wingbacks to run into, and within ten minutes were two goals ahead. A fantastic ball from Tarkowski found Nathan Patterson in space, a quick pass to Gordon gave the Scotsman space to cross and he found Mykolenko making a lovely late run into the box, and he met the ball with a perfect volley into the far corner to put the Blues up after six minutes.

With no VAR to pull it back, Godfrey found an offside Rondon in acres of space, and his cross into the six-yard box was pinpoint to the head of Davies running into the box to make it 2-0.

At that point the game felt over as the Blues retained a chokehold on possession for most of the half, varying short and long passes as Blackpool chased shadows for most of it. However, with just a couple of minutes to go in the half Everton made their first mistake of the day, through captain Pickford from a sweetly-struck shot by Bowler. The England #1 didn’t make good contact on his save, and instead of parrying it away put it on a plate for Garry Madine to head home from point-blank range. 2-1 going into the half and it looked like we would have a game after all.

The second half started with a couple of changes for the Blues as Mason Holgate and Michael Keane came on, with Mina and Godfrey sitting. Immediately Holgate was involved making a good run towards goal, and his cross was hit goalwards by Rondon. The goalie pushed the ball away straight to Myko making a run and he centered the ball for Dele to tap in, no miscues like happened against Minnesota this time.

With the two-goal lead restored Everton again proceeded to fall asleep and within minutes the Seasiders pulled one back. Garbutt’s inswinging corner from the Everton left was met by Connolly and he headed home gleefully to make it 3-2.

However the Blues did not stay down for long. Rondon came off and Alex Iwobi came on for him and immediately was involved in a goal. Gordon and Iwobi combined well for a Patterson cross into the box, and Dele did well to nip in front of his man and beat the goalie from a narrow angle to get his brace, his first two goals in an Everton shirt.

Blackpool kept pushing for another goal, but a raft of changes from both sides made for some disconnected football as the sun finally broke out from the cloud cover that had dropped some rain showers for parts of the game.

Quick Thoughts

James Tarkowski was excellent today. Playing on the left side of the back three, his vision was impressive as he swung long balls straight and across the pitch to release the wingbacks time and again. We had heard that his ability on the ball was underappreciated, but today we saw the best of him in that area.

Both wingbacks were excellent providing with today as their tireless running provided an outlet for the ball all game long. The Blues have clearly been working on the long balls out wide, and today Vitaliy Mykolenko and Nathan Patterson profited with the Ukrainian player getting a goal and an assist, and the Scot bagging two assists.

Much better from the Blues today against a Blackpool side playing their last preseason game before the start of their campaign. The gulf in quality between the Championship side and Minnesota United was quite visible, but if anything it gave the Blues a big confidence boost after two disappointing performances and results.