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Saturday 23 August K.O. 17:30

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Bloomfield Road | 5th August 2012 15:00

Blackpool v Everton

Summer signings Steven Pienaar and Steven Naismith made their first starts of pre-season but it was an afternoon of frustration for Everton as they were condemned to defeat by the seaside.

David Moyes' men went into the meeting with Ian Holloway's Blackpool - a testimonial for former Blues Academy star Keith Southern - looking for their third warm-up win in four games.

But second-half strikes from Alex Baptiste and trialist James Caton were enough to give the hosts victory and allow Southern to bow out victoriously from Bloomfield Road before starting a new chapter of his career at Championship newcomers Huddersfield.

Click here to view images from the game.

Naismith, starting a match for the first time since suffering a serious knee injury playing for Rangers in October last year, managed an impressive 70 minutes, while Pienaar also showed promising flashes of creativity in marking his latest Blues comeback with a 45-minute run-out.

Steven Pienaar returns to the Blue jersey.Steven Pienaar returns to the Blue jersey.

There was also a first appearance of the summer for left-back Leighton Baines, but it was Pienaar, making a fourth Everton 'debut' following the completion of his permanent move from Tottenham this week, who thought he had helped get the visitors off to the perfect start with less than two minutes on the clock.

The South African skipped down the left wing, checked his run and crossed right-footed, only for Marouane Fellaini's perfectly planted header past goalkeeper Mark Halstead to be ruled out by the linesman's flag.

Soon after, a travelling Evertonian throng of 2,100 were treated to a first glimpse of Naismith working in tandem with last season's star arrival Nikica Jelavic - a sight so familiar during their days together in Scotland.

Steven Naismith in action.Steven Naismith in action.

Naismith picked up the ball in midfield and bided his time before threading Jelavic through down the right. The Croatian quickly created space to pick out his former Ibrox cohort in return but his cross was well headed away.

Argentine midfielder Gerardo Bruna then tested Jan Mucha with a rasping drive from 30 yards, before Bloomfield Road rose to its feet to greet the planned 15th-minute withdrawal of Southern with rapturous applause.

Blackpool continued to frustrate the Blues and following the breakdown of a neat one-two attempt between Naismith and Jelavic, Bruna was again stinging the palms of Mucha from range.

Tom Ince, Bruna's former Liverpool academy teammate, then jinked his way through the Everton defence only to fire wildly off target after his momentum pulled him wide.

Of more pressing concern to Moyes would have been the sight of Pienaar sprawled out on the ground following a meaty collision in the middle of the park, though the 30-year-old was thankfully back on his feet and moving freely after some attention from the Everton physios.

The Scot also saw his side improve as the break neared but still they couldn't muster an effort to truly test Halstead.

His reaction was to make three changes at the break as Jelavic, Pienaar and Mucha made way for Victor Anichebe, Leon Osman and Tim Howard.

Yet it was Naismith and Blackpool old boy Seamus Coleman who linked up to create the first opportunity of the second half, the Irishman's whipped centre being headed goalward, though not beyond Halstead, by the Scot.

A scuffed effort from Gary Taylor-Fletcher was then easily gathered by Howard before good work from Anichebe created a corner that flashed across the face of goal.

Blackpool's reply was to force a corner of their own - and they made it count, Baptiste climbing highest to break the deadlock with a thumping header from eight-yards out.

The Blues may have responded immediately when Fellaini put Osman one-on-one but the midfielder opted to shoot first time and his side-footed effort was comfortably rebuked by Halstead.

A raft of Everton changes followed as Rodwell, Vellios, Barkley, Garbutt and Bidwell entered the fray in quick succession and, predictably, the flow of the game suffered.

A shout of handball went up when a ferocious Barkley effort was drilled at Craig Cathcart and Coleman saw an effort blocked by Stephen Crainey after he had cut in cleverly from the right.

But it was Holloway's Tangerines who had the final say, substitute Caton latching on to a perfectly-timed throughball before calmly slotting past Howard with just four minutes remaining.


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