Aug 062014

Aiden McGeady’s early opener proved in vain as a first-half Nolito hat-trick condemned Everton to defeat against Celta Vigo at Tranmere Rovers’ Prenton Park.

The Blues were looking to build on Sunday’s 1-1 draw at home to FC Porto and took the lead when McGeady angled the ball past goalkeeper Sergio.

However, Nolito levelled soon after with a neat first-time effort – the first of three goals from the 27-year-old in just 16 minutes.

Despite the result, the Blues’ penultimate friendly of the summer did allow manager Roberto Martinez to give more minutes to new boy Muhamed Besic, while Darron Gibson was back in action after sitting out Sunday’s game at Goodison Park.

Aiden McGeadyAiden McGeady fires Everton in front.

A bright enough Everton start was rewarded on 10 minutes when Steven Naismith miscontrolled a Leighton Baines cross but inadvertently played in McGeady. The Republic of Ireland international took his shot first time and cleverly placed the ball low into Sergio’s bottom right-hand corner. 

A stooping Naismith headed over from a John Stones delivery on 16 minutes, before Ross Barkley pushed an effort wide less than 60 seconds later.

And having almost doubled their advantage twice, the Toffees immediately found themselves level.

A ball was delivered into the Everton box from the right and Nolito found room to side-foot an unstoppable effort low into the net.

Five minutes later, the former Benfica man caught Stones off guard, stealing the ball from the youngster before racing through and coolly lifting the ball over goalkeeper Tim Howard.

Young Evertonians wait by the tunnel in the hope of getting an autograph.Young Evertonians wait by the tunnel in the hope of getting an autograph.

Leon Osman headed over the crossbar on the half-hour mark as Everton looked to respond, but Nolito completed his hat-trick four minutes later, the Spaniard’s shot deflecting in via the leg of Tony Hibbert.

Martinez made five changes at the interval as Besic and Gibson were introduced – and Everton almost got back in it when Barkley found Naismith in the box on 51 minutes.

The Scot did well to shift away from his marker but toed his shot agonisingly wide of the post.

Barkley himself then tried his luck after good play involving himself and Stones – but his eventual shot was easily gathered by Sergio.

Naismith was off target with his head once again on the hour, before Barkley saw a thumping shot crash back off the crossbar.

Leon OsmanLeon Osman takes on Celta Vigo’s Fabian Orellana

Besic, looking to build on his impressive first outing against Porto, later fired one narrowly over following a corner, but there was to be no way back for the Blues.

Martinez’s men now head to Germany for the final stop of their 2014 pre-season and a meeting with newly-promoted Bundesliga outfit SC Paderborn.

For more stories like this, delivered straight to your PC, please subscribe to the RSS feed or the daily insider newsletter. Click here to read football fan reviews of Everton bags.

 Posted by at 9:20 pm

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>