Motherwell v Everton
Steven Naismith made his Everton debut as the Blues drew an entertaining pre-season clash at Motherwell.
Shane Duffy headed a first half opener but Nicky Law’s eye-catching volley levelled matters early in the second period.
Naismith got a 20 valuable minutes at the end and there were even hints of the old understanding with Nikica Jelavic as he buzzed about off the Croatian.
The summer signing’s registration had been withheld by the SFA in the administrative aftermath of his Glasgow Rangers exit but with the red tape now sorted he is free to play a full part in pre-season.
With numbers thin and the reserves in action in Airdrie, David Moyes took the opportunity to give some of his established stars some more minutes on the pitch.
Leon Osman, Victor Anichebe, Sylvain Distin, Tony Hibbert and Duffy kept up their records of having started every game in pre-season, while Tim Cahill, Darron Gibson, John Heitinga, Jelavic and Naismith will all have benefited from a first taste of the action.
The Blues started the game with an accomplished spell of possession as they made the most of the pristine Fir Park surface.
Their superiority in the early stages soon manifested in chances with Osman stretching his neck to aim a header just over and Anichebe pummeling a shot narrowly wide after the better-placed Marouane Fellaini had passed up the opportunity to go for goal.
That seemed to liven the hosts after a ponderous start and Michael Higdon and Law tested Tim Howard before the American saved another point-blank effort with his face.
Testimonial man Steven Hammell watched a deflected free-kick land on the roof of the net before Distin blocked another Law effort.
It was a good spell for the hosts but just as they got into their stride they were behind.
Anichebe worked a yard wide left and crossed deep to the back stick where Duffy was waiting to nod back across goal and in off the post.
That was good enough to give Everton the lead at the break and as the second half arrived so did Jelavic, Gibson, Rodwell and Junior.
That added plenty of quality to the Blues personnel but soon it was a home player showing a touch of class as Law rifled a spectacular left-footed half-volley high into the roof of the net.
There was almost an instant response from the Blues but ex-Finch Farm scholar Adam Cummins cleared Rodwell’s shot off the line.
Former Everton man James McFadden arrived to a great reception which was in stark contrast to the welcome the home fans reserved for ex-Rangers man Naismith as he donned Everton Blue for the first time.
And within minutes the Scotland international almost gave them more reason to jeer him as he forced Lee Hollis into a sprawling save.
Law came close to a second as what was a very entertaining pre-season clash neared its conclusion but his shot arrowed wide.
Howard palmed away a Tom Hateley free-kick, while at the other end Rodwell sent a low shot narrowly wide.
Neither side could find a winner though and an even and competitive encounter ended all square.