Everton reserves were hoping to teach the seniors a lesson against Aston Villa who failed at the weekend.

Alan Stubbs’s men were desperate to get their season off the mark having lost 2 of their opening games and drawing the other. The visitors were also looking to get off the mark as they had drawn their previous 2 games.

David Moyes watched from one of the boxes as Alan Stubbs brought a very strong team to the Halton Stadium in Widnes including their two transfer deadline signings, Denis Stracqualursi and Royston Drenthe.

Everton opted for a 4-4-2 as they kicked off in front of a very healthy crowd, Villa made the first attack of the game on the left through Courtney Cameron but Tyias Browning slid in with a timely challenge that forced the ball out for a throw in.

The new recruit took a knock in the early stages forcing him to limp as Everton won a free kick for the foul against the Dutchman. Villa showed early signs that they were in control forcing a corner in the first 2 minutes but a strong headed clearance from Mustafi ensured Everton’s safety.

On 5 minutes Browning Everton’s full back instigated their first attack playing the ball to Baxter who found McAleny but Villa’s defence were equal to the threat and got the ball away. 3 minutes later Browning again found Gueye on the right in space who then played a nice one two with Stracqualursi but Villa’s defence had it covered.

Mucha was the first of the keepers called into action as Samir Carruthers hit an explosive shot which Mucha did well to keep out and 60 seconds later Mucha this time keeps an effort from Cameron out to keep the game goalless as Villa were evidently the more dangerous of the two sides inside the first twenty minutes.

Drenthe showed good attacking movement down the left after receiving Baxter’s pass he then tried his luck only for Lowry to block his effort and force a corner taken by Baxter but nothing materialised from the corner kick. McAleny was the next to try his luck from outside the area as the ball fell into his path following another Baxter corner yet again Villa held out and cleared their lines.

The visitors played a nice move between Carruthers and Johnson to beat Everton’s back line only for Johnson’s effort to go past Mucha’s left hand post and out for a goal kick.

Villa’s full back Herd played a beautiful 40 yard diagonal ball to Cameron hugging the left touch line as the Villa player caught out Browning with some nifty footwork to concede a free kick from an awkward angle which Carruthers took only to hit the side netting. Cameron was seeing a lot of the ball on that left hand side in the early stages of the game as the visitors pressed and Everton’s defence stood solid to block two successive shots.

22 minutes and a lapse of concentration by Nsiala as he was beaten by the bounce of the ball which Robinson the Villa forward took and played in Burke with a touch who then rattled the bar from 22 yards and let the home side off the hook.

Everton up until 26 minutes still hadn’t tested Siegrist in the Villa goal and Gueye reacted with a hurried shot that went well wide of the goal which was disappointing.

At last Everton did better than get their first shot on target but to actually make it count and score with a good move and finish. Gueye collects Browning’s pass who then delivers the ball from the right to Barkley who put into the corner of the goal from 20 yards which made the home side ooze with confidence and turn this contest around.

The Argentine striker was nearly in with a good ball from goal scorer Barkley with a ball played over the top of the Villa defence but Siegrist was eager to get to the ball before Everton’s big number 9.

Mustafi won a round of applause from the crowd for holding off Robinson with a very strong challenge and again the crowd showed their appreciation as Herd plays a deep ball which Mucha claimed with two hands as the onrushing Williams was waiting for the spill only to be disappointed.

The lively first half was drawing to an end, Drenthe hit a shot first time on the volley which hit the roof of the stand behind the goal which was more appropriate for the game that’s normally played there by the Widnes Vikings and brought laughter and cheers for his effort.

Everton scored a goal on the break after Villa were awarded a free kick given away by Drenthe, as the visitors were waiting to take the kick, Mr Holmes the official had to have words with Mustafi for some pushing in the box with Carruthers, as the ball came off the Everton wall fell to Gueye who found Drenthe who showed pace which he is noted for and put the home side into a comfortable two goal lead on 41 minutes.

Gardner had the last throw of the dice for the visitors after forcing Garbutt into making an error but never troubled Mucha with his shot.

Half Time

Everton Reserves 2 Aston Villa Reserves 0

Conor Taylor came on for Graham Burke at the start of the second half as Everton kept the same eleven.

Carruthers was the first to show the first attack of the half but Drenthe covered well forcing Carruthers tight but the delivery sailed over Mucha’s crossbar.

The match official Mr Holmes was having a good game himself letting the game flow but like he did in the first half had to have words with players from both sides as Everton gained two free kicks and Nsiala and Herd were guilty of pushing each other in the box, Drenthe was fouled on the edge of the box for the second free kick and from the set piece Garbutt was released on the right by Baxter but his cross was then snuffed out by Lowry’s header.

McAleny was fortunate to escape a yellow card for a foul in the centre circle on his opposite number but Mr Holmes was lenient towards him. Drenthe was being a regular victim of being fouled as offences seemed to be featuring too often.

Mucha was at hand again for the blues with some good handling and his back four also took some credit for keeping the visitors at bay when Carruthers ran from deep inside his own half but failed to find a way through.

Stracqualursi made a chance out of nothing with a snapshot which was harmless but full marks for his thinking. The Argentinian won a free kick on the edge of the ‘D’ which Drenthe hit and Siegrist reacted well to force the ball out and stop the home side from going further ahead.

On the hour a scene from the wild west broke out as McAleny was fouled by Gardner near to the touchline and all the players with the exception of the goalkeepers tried to restore order as Mr Holmes and his 2 officials tried to break up the brawl. Once the situation was sorted the yellow card was produced from the ref’s pocket to Gardner even though Straquaursi gestured to the match official not to book him.

Villa made a substitution bringing off the busy Carruthers and sending on Darius Darkin in his place. Straqcullursi tried a spectacular shot with his back to goal but as much as the effort was appreciated the ball rose over the cross bar.
Man of the match Drenthe went off to a great reception as Femi Orenuga took to the field on 62 minutes as Everton were now well and truly on top of this game, Stracqualursi headed a lovely ball to Gueye as Everton pushed but Siegrist was first to it.

Mucha who had made some top saves on the night got himself injured depriving Robinson from sneaking a goal but Mucha was soon to his feet after receiving treatment. The visitors looked a shadow of themselves in the second period but came close to a goal only for Garbutt to be on the line and clear the ball away.

Forshaw replaces McAleny on 71 minutes and twice Orenuga the substitute got involved into creating chances, the first was a pacy run and a delightful delivery from him was pinpoint for Gueye’s head but the Villa defender read it well and cleared.

Nsiala gave away a free kick with 10 minutes remaining and from a forceful Gardner free kick Mucha responded well with a fantastic stop but the ball kindly fell into Johnson’s path from close range to prod home and give Villa a lifeline. Villa now put Everton under a little pressure forcing Everton to concede corners but the home side held out.

Stracqualursi again was warmly applauded for taking the ball on his chest and releasing it first time from 35 yards out, although it never threatened the keeper the fans liked his initiative.

Bidwell replaces Gueye with only 2 added minutes remaining

Attendance 1,225


Everton; Mucha, Browning, Garbutt, Barkley, Mustafi, Nsiala,Gueye (Bidwell 89),Baxter, Stracqualursi, McAleny (Forshaw 71), Drenthe ( Orenuga 62). Unused Subs Davies (GK), Hope

Aston Villa;
Siegrist, Herd, Williams, Gardner, Donacien, Lowry, Carruthers (Darkin 62), Johnson, Robinson, Burke(Taylor 45),Cameron. Unused Subs Barrett, Ciara, Bryan

Match Officials Mr A Holmes, Assistant Referees Mr P Gibbons Mr J Simpson 4th Official Mr I Jones

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