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v Crystal Palace

Sunday 21 September K.O. 16:00



Generali Arena | 14th July 2013 17:00

Everton v Austria Vienna

Ahead of it, Roberto Martinez said he viewed his maiden match in charge of Everton as 'an exercise'.

At the end of a week in which the Spaniard was properly able to put his players through their paces for the first time, he would be happy, he said, to get through the game with vital fitness acquired and no injuries gained.

The Spaniard wouldn't have wanted to lose of course. But, on his terms at least, this was pretty much the workout he desired.

A goal from Greek striker Apostolos Vellios seven minutes before the break gave the visitors hope of a comeback following an earlier brace from Austria Vienna's Marko Stankovic.

There was to be no leveller - but there were flashes of the direction the new man wants to take his team; neat spells of passing, moves built from the back and plenty of opportunities for those younger players with a first-team breakthrough in mind.

There were also the occasional - though given the scenario, forgivable -  errors. On a sticky Generali Arena pitch, the usually note-perfect Leon Osman played a pass too short and Stankovic was able to nip in, round debutant goalkeeper Joel and put the Austrian champions ahead.

Everton v Austria ViennaSteven Naismith goes for goal.

That came after a bright Everton start, one in which Frenchman Magaye Gueye - back in blue following his loan spell at Stade Brest last season - headed the first effort wide from a first-minute Leighton Baines free-kick.

The left-back may have mustered a quick equaliser too but fired just off target when presented with another set piece 20-yards from goal.

Likewise Steven Naismith, who pulled a decent stop from Heinz Lindner with an instinctive volley that stung the palms of the Austria international after some impressive control from Steven Pienaar's searching cross.  

But Vienna, whose title defence begins as soon as next weekend, were understandably the fresher side. And after Marin Leovac had gone close with a shot from the edge of the box, Stankovic was presented with a golden opportunity to double his tally.

A free-kick was floated into a crowded box and struck Shane Duffy's arm as the young Irishman attempted to ease it out for a corner. Penalty.

Stankovic ran up, shimmied and stroked the ball home past a wrong-footed Joel.

Everton v Austria ViennaApostolos Vellios celebrates with Leighton Baines.

The two-goal lead would last less than 60 seconds however. From the restart, the ball worked its way out to Baines and the England man delivered with typical precision.

The beneficiary was Vellios, who was unmarked and unflustered and gratefully headed past Lindner.

Half-time saw Martinez make eight changes, as only Joel, Darron Gibson and Duffy remained.

On came Sylvain Distin, Bryan Oviedo, Marouane Fellaini, Victor Anichebe, Tony Hibbert and Kevin Mirallas, joined by teenagers Matthew Kennedy and Conor Grant.

The alterations were always likely to affect the flow - and things weren't helped when Vienna made seven switches of their own on the hour, taking their total substitutions to 10.

Everton v Austria ViennaRoberto Martinez issues instructions from the sidelines.

Yet, the trickery of Mirallas gave Everton something new and after Leovac's long-range effort deflected off Distin and on to the bar, it was the Belgian who came closest to pulling the visitors level.

Collecting possession inside the box, he first displayed tidy footwork to baffle a defender but then showed too much to sub keeper Ivan Kardum and saw the ball plucked from his feet.

Distin kept the game alive late on in lunging to block a goal-bound shot from Thomas Jun but there was no way past Vienna and the full-time whistle signalled defeat.

Everton do take back to England 90 vital minutes. More important tests lies ahead.

By Adam Clark in Vienna



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