Home » EPL, Latest » Pre-season Friendly: Birmingham 1 Everton 2

Everton recorded their third pre-season win in four attempts with a 2-1 win over Birmingham City at St Andrew’s and the goals came courtesy of two very familiar sources.

Another perfectly judged free kick from Leighton Baines fired the Blues ahead and last season’s top scorer Louis Saha marked his return from injury with a well taken second before Adam Rooney found the net for the hosts.

A lot has changed since Everton’s last away day against City, their hosts have won the Carling Cup, been relegated and changed their manager, but the pattern of this game was remarkably similar to the victory they recorded at the same ground in the Premier League last October.

Chris Hughton’s new-look side slightly edged the first period before Everton showed their class after half time to win the game.

Tim Howard didn’t feature for Everton in America after a hectic Gold Cup campaign but he was restored in goal as one of six changes made by David Moyes from the side that started against DC United. There was also cause for optimism on the bench with Saha involved for the first time since injuring his ankle against Fulham in March.

In the opening exchanges at St Andrew’s Howard was kept busy as Birmingham enjoyed some success down their right hand side.

After just three minutes young striker Rooney played in Chris Burke and his shot was beaten away by Howard.

On the quarter hour an almost identical pass meant the American custodian was in action again. This time it was Keith Fahey who found fellow countryman Stephen Carr but the veteran full-back was denied at the near post.

Birmingham then twice went close to breaking the deadlock from corners in the space of five minutes as David Murphy managed to peel into space at the back post at consecutive set pieces.

His first effort on 21 minutes was well directed but headed off the line by John Heitinga and the far simpler second opportunity failed to find the target.

Everton’s first chance of the game came courtesy of some smart footwork by Jermaine Beckford. The former Leeds man shimmied and side-stepped away from Curtis Davies but shot too close to City debutant Boaz Myhill.

Three minutes before the break David Moyes’ side produced their best piece of football and it almost produced the opener. Diniyar Bilyaletdinov’s cross-field ball found Seamus Coleman who jinked past Murphy and found Osman but the midfielder stroked his effort just wide of the post.

In the second half after an audacious long range effort from Jordan Mutch was well dealt with by the back-pedalling Howard, Everton took control of the game.

On 58 minutes the visitors went ahead through a set piece after Seamus Coleman was tripped on the edge of the penalty area. Boaz Myhill gave Baines far too much space to aim at and it was almost predictable that the England defender’s curling effort left the City goalkeeper grasping at thin air.

Baines was promptly replaced by Louis Saha, a welcome sight after four months on the sidelines, and it did not take him long to rediscover his scoring touch. The Frenchman’s low effort from the edge of the area crept just inside the post.

After substitute Ross Barkley had fired not far over on 78 minutes, Birmingham soon halved Everton’s advantage thanks to Rooney. Morgaro Gomis drilled a low ball into the penalty area and a deft touch from Rooney evaded Howard’s despairing dive.

Everton nearly restored their two goal cushion with another free kick but this time Myhill managed to scramble across to deny substitute Magaye Gueye.

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