Everton certainly weren’t pretty in their 1-0 win over Fleetwood Town but manager Frank Lampard was relieved to rest some key members of his squad while giving some playing time to other players on the fringes of the first team squad.
In the three-man backline club captain Seamus Coleman and Michael Keane both got their first minutes of the season while youngster Reece Welch made his first team full debut. Amadou Onana got his first start in the middle but then came in for a severe buffeting as the Cod Army players seemed to make him target #1 for all manner of flying boots and elbows throughout the game.
Youngster Lewis Warrington and Stanley Mills came on to reinforce the side in the late part of the game and did well too, though Ruben Vinagre didn’t really advance his case to start ahead of Vitaliy Mykolenko.
Dwight McNeil and Salomon Rondon finally got some time together but didn’t really seem to be on the same songsheet for most of the game while Demarai Gray — who was not even supposed to play until Tom Davies got injured during warmups — was his usual livewire self. The man of the match though was once again Alex Iwobi who has been at the heart of everything good Everton have done so far this season.
Speaking after the game, Lampard was guarded with his praise.
“We played better in certainly two of our games and not got what we deserved. Tonight, the win is nice, parts of the performance I liked, individuals got minutes. We can improve, we can be a bit more intense.
“Moments when we could make a killer pass or take control of the game we were a little loose. It was a good test for us but in terms of our performance, I am not going to say it is amazing, but I’ve played in many of these types of games and I have been beaten. I know they are not easy.”
The draw for the next round will be done after tomorrow evening’s fixtures in the Second Round are completed.