Fulltime Thoughts - Everton did just enough here to get the winner with a minimum of fuss, leave without any hiccups or (more) injuries, and seal progress into the next round. Ironic that Gray got the only goal of the game considering he was not even expected to play today.
90+5’ - The game has petered out as a contest and there’s the final whistle, Everton have won 1-0 and are through to the next round.
90’ - Onana with a slaloming run right through the midfield before Baker fouls him, and is booked. Four plus minutes to be added on here.
88’ - Onana wins a freekick on the edge of the attacking third. McNeil lofts it in, and Onana cannot make decisive contact and it goes out.
85’ - Really not much to write about here. Fleetwood are trying but the Blues are doing well to keep them at bay, stepping into passing lanes and keeping them in their own half.
75’ - Hayes beats a handful of Everton defenders as he jigs his way into the box, but the Blues can clear. It’s goalscorer Gray coming off now, with Stanley Mills coming on.
71’ - Rondon nicks the ball and it’s a 3-on-2 suddenly, his pass to Iwobi on the left is poor and the Blue have a corner. Gray overhits it, Iwobi back across the face of the goal, Onana header blocked, goes out for a corner.
Gray again, Vinagre back into the box, falls for Rondon and his shot is blocked. Corner again.
Gray takes, cleared but only to Warrington, his shot is blocked and the danger is gone. Good spell that for the Blues.
68’ - Onana’s been clattered about five times today. Welcome to England, I suppose.
64’ - Lampard makes his first pair of changes, and it will be Lewis Warrington and James Tarkowski coming on. It’ll be Patterson and Welch coming off. Looks like a 4-4-2 now.
The hosts have made a couple of changes too, and the commentator tells me it’s an attacking change.
62’ - Onana shot from outside the box, blocked and cleared. Now Vinagre does well to beat his man and chips a cross into the box but Rondon is off the pace and it goes through to the goalkeeper.
Hayes has some space and fires in a shot, Begovic saves for a corner. Deep corner, hit back into the box, and headed wide.
60’ - Everton happy to pass the ball around and kill off any energy the home fans can generate here.
Ooh, Patterson so close to getting his first Everton goal. A ricochet in the box fell kindly to him at the top of the box, but he hits it straight at the goalie.
McNeil picks out Patterson, and his shot this time is much much worse as he lofts it out of this small ground.
55’ - Garner in the box, shot blocked by Keane for a corner. Hit long, Garner has all the time to bring it down before Coleman closed him down and blocked his shot.
48’ - The camera spent a lot of time on Anthony Gordon as he warmed up at the break. The youngster looked cheerful and light-hearted.
Vinagre brings Baker down as he flies past him and is booked. Freekick lofted into the box, Welch gets a head to it and Begovic has to parry it very well as it was going into the top corner.
The resulting corner falls into the box and Everton scramble to clear the danger. Whew.
47’ - Rondon finds Gray, who can play in Vinagre but the ball is behind him and the momentum is lost.
46’ - Second half underway. Fleetwood win an early corner off Patterson, but Keane clears well twice.
Halftime Thoughts - Everton are pretty much playing down to the level of their opposition today, who are taking this game very seriously. Fleetwood are doing their best to spread play around and get at Everton’s left where Reece Welch is making his debut.
45+1’ - Welch heads a cross away, it falls to McAdam and his shot is tame, Begovic collects and it’s halftime, Everton lead 1-0.
45’ - Onana wins the ball in the middle, but captain Danny Andrew barges him over anyway and is booked for his trouble.
Hayes cuts in past Vinagre and can shoot, saved very well by Begovic.
40’ - Inexplicable shot (over) from Patterson there. They’re trying out all these training ground trick shots here, and they’re not coming off. Gray had a shooting chance on the left, held off, and he kept going before finding Patterson.
35’ - Ref Tom Reeve pulls out his first yellow card, booking Jack Reeve fir hacking Onana down.
Great cross swung into the box by Vinagre, over Rondon and the defence puts it out for a corner. It comes to the striker but he is quelled by Fleetwod and the home side clear.
28’ - Everton goal! They try to walk the ball into the goal following a mistake and succeed. The misplaced pass fell to McNeil, who found Iwobi, and the Nigerian slid Gray into space to tuck it home, 1-0.
26’ - McNeil finds Rondon, he turns his man and shoots, wide of the far post.
23’ - It’s Fleetwood playing the more entertaining football here as they probe the Everton defence, and they win a corner. Welch rises highest to clear confidently.
19’ - Patterson skips past his man and centers for McNeil in the box... and he somehow skews that horribly wide. Embarrassing that from the former Burnley player.
16’ - Iwobi finds Vinagre wide open in space, his cross is just inches over a jumping Rondon’s head! Gray retrieves the ball and feeds Iwobi but his shot is poor and over.
13’ - McNeil shot is blocked, goes out for a corner on the left, first one of the game. Overhit, Iwobi puts it back in the six-yard box, feet flying at it and the Cod Army sweep it away with no blue shirt able to get a decisive touch on it.
10’ - Vinagre finds Rondon who is just a touch offside. Quick reminder, there is no VAR today.
9’ - Welch tries a long ball for Gray to run onto, just a touch too long and the speedy forward can’t get to it.
5’ - First time we’re seeing Coleman this season. His first long pass is lofted way too long. Reece Welch’s first defensive move doesn’t come off as Hayes takes him on and beats him handily. Keane does well to dissuade him from getting a shot off.
3’ - Quiet start to the game here. The Blues have had possession but mostly in their own half.
1’ - Underway at Highbury Stadium!
UPDATE: Tom Davies appears to have tweaked his groin in warmups and now it’ll be Demarai Gray starting, which likely pushes Iwobi back into midfield.
Frank Lampard has made a number of changes but has stuck with his favoured formation. Begovic has come in in goal, with Coleman, Keane and Welch in front of him. Patterson plays again, with Vinagre coming in on the opposite wing. Davies and Onana in the middle, with McNeil and Iwobi out wide and Rondon up top.
Pretty strong bench here if Lampard will need it, but very surprised not to see striker Tom Cannon at least making the squad. As reported, Dele Alli is not in Everton’s squad for the Fleetwood game with a loan move to Besiktas looming. Gordon is on the bench though, despite Chelsea having made a third bid for him earlier today, with rumours saying that the offer has been rejected.
Everton take on Fleetwood Town in the early rounds of the Carabao Cup for the second time in three seasons, having travelled to Highbury Stadium in a Third Round fixture in 2020.
The Blues are off to a rocky start to the season, having disappointed in all three games so far picking up a draw and two narrow losses. An anaemic attack has not been aided by injuries and suspensions, and with the transfer window only open for a week or so, Frank Lampard will be hoping for more reinforcements sooner than later.
Hosts Fleetwood narrowly stayed in League One last season ending 20th out of the 24 teams in the third tier of English football, and sit in 14th position early on this season, having won one and drawn three of their five games.
The Cod Army upset Wigan Athletic in the First Round of the competition, but have found the going tough in the league with two consecutive 0-0 draws leading up to tonight’s game.
Competition: Carabao Cup Second Round
Date and start time: Tuesday, August 23rd at 11:45 a.m. PT / 2:45 p.m ET / 7:45 p.m. BST
Stadium: Highbury Stadium, Fleetwood, England, United Kingdom
Weather: 66°F/19°C, mostly cloudy, 22% chance of precipitation, 5 mph winds
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The Blues have only played Fleetwood once before, that game in 2020. The Blues had scampered to a 2-0 lead with a brace from Richarlison before an error had allowed the hosts to pull back the deficit back to one just after the break. Alex Iwobi then scored immediately after, but Fleetwood scored again to keep things tense before late goals from Bernard and Moise Kean settled the game at 5-2.