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Saturday 27 September K.O. 12:45



4th August 2008 01:00

Colorado Rapids v Everton

Leon Osman's goal three minutes from time saw Everton sign off their pre-season tour to America with a win.

Colorado Rapids had their chances and the Blues were indebted to a string of fine saves from goalkeeper Tim Howard. But the Blues stuck to the task and deserved their late winner for work rate alone.

David Moyes' side got off to a fine start, Mikel Arteta firing home a blistering shot from the edge of the box. Conor Casey equalised four minutes into the second half but Osman ensured tomorrow's long flight home will be a happy one.

Arteta is congratulated by his teammatesArteta is congratulated by his teammates

Tim Cahill was the only member of Everton's 17-man squad unavailable to Moyes.

Osman made his first start of pre-season, with Jose Baxter dropping to the bench. The youngster was joined by both Nuno Valente and James Vaughan who both shook off knocks.

Following Wednesday's 2-0 defeat at Chicago Fire, the Toffees looked eager to make amends and made the perfect start.

It was all Arteta's doing. Picking up the ball in midfield, the Spaniard drove forward before unleashing a low shot from the edge of the box, beyond the reach of goalkeeper Preston Burpo.

Having fallen behind so early Colorado went in search of a quick reply. They almost found one on 15 minutes but Tim Howard produced a fine reaction save to turn away Casey's header.

Former Manchester United midfielder Terry Cooke, a one-time teammate of Everton captain Phil Neville, was a constant supply line down right for the hosts.

He almost pulled Rapids level himself but volleyed wide following Joleon Lescott's headed clearance.

Howard was clearly feeling at home, fisting away a close-range effort from Gomez in first-half injury time.

Christian Gomez and Pablo Mostroeni also saw shots sail wide - but Everton rode the storm.

The chances may have been falling to the hosts but Everton were not inferior to their opponents. Four minutes into the break though parity was restored.

Matchwinner Leon Osman in action in ColoradoMatchwinner Leon Osman in action in Colorado

Cooke was the provider, whipping in a cross which Joseph Yobo failed to clear. The ball fell perfectly for the unmarked Casey and he fired a first-time shot under the on-rushing Howard.

As at Chicago on Wednesday night, Steven Pienaar was at the centre of Everton's best moves. His pull back on 54 minutes should have resulted in a goal for the Toffees but Osman somehow steered his shot straight at substitute stopper Bouna Coundoul.

Howard then made another strong one-handed save from Herculez Gomez before Yobo went some way to rectifying his error, clearing Casey's dangerous centre.

Facundo Erpen's miscued header from six yards out was a let off, but in the main Everton's rearguard stood strong. Cooke continued to be a threat and another pinpoint pass saw Casey head marginally over with five minutes remaining.

Then came the moment Everton's travelling support had been longing to see.

Phil Neville started move, feeding substitute Jose Baxter down the right. Not for the first time the 16-year-old showed composure beyond his years, squaring the ball perfectly for Osman to stroke home from six yards.

Howard made one last, match-winning, save, palming away a blistering shot from Cooke in the final minute.



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