Leicester City v Everton
Everton suffered their first defeat of pre-season as they were beaten 1-0 by Leicester City in Bangkok.
Gary Taylor-Fletcher’s second-half strike proved the difference at the Suphachalasai Stadium.
The Blues’ best opportunities arrived before half-time but two good saves from Kasper Schmeichel denied Luke Garbutt and Aiden McGeady.
20 members of Roberto Martinez’s squad got more important minutes in the testing, humid Thailand conditions, including Darron Gibson who made his second appearance since returning from a long-term knee injury.
Indeed, play was stopped midway through each half for a drinks break such was the heat.
Schmeichel’s first save was to deny Garbutt who, wearing number three, tested the Danish stopper with a free-kick typically associated with the regular occupier of that shirt, Leighton Baines.
McGeady, looking lively on the right, was then thwarted by the Leicester keeper when he created half a yard of space, cut in and fired goalwards from 10 yards out.
Gareth Barry curled over with a right-footed effort and Steven Pienaar was similarly off-target with a header that looped onto the roof of the net.
The Blues had the majority of the chances in the opening period, though Leicester thought they had broken the deadlock on 37 minutes when boyhood Evertonian David Nugent struck a first-time volley past Joel Robles – only to see the goal disallowed for offside.
Nugent went close again a short while later with a deflected drive from distance as the Foxes finished the first half strongly.
Similarly to the 2-2 draw at Tranmere Rovers in midweek, Roberto Martinez made a host of substitutions at half-time. There were six changes in total as the formation shifted to a three-at-the-back.
John Stones was one of the players introduced – and the England international’s first contribution was to make a brilliant slide-tackle on another substitute, Jamie Vardy, on the edge of his own area after the Leicester striker had powered forward.
The Foxes continued the momentum they had gained at the end of the first half as Andy King then forced Robles into an agile low stop.
Indeed, Leicester went ahead halfway through the second half when Vardy got to the ball before Robles and centred from the right, presenting Taylor-Fletcher with the chance to tap in from just two yards out.
Everton couldn’t find their passing fluency as much in the second period as a much younger side ended the game.
The lively attacking duo of Conor McAleny and Chris Long, who both came on at the interval, were joined by fellow Academy graduates John Lundstram and Hallam Hope for the final quarter of an hour. The only players to play the full game were Robles and Tony Hibbert.
Leicester almost doubled their advantage late on when Riyad Mahrez fired just wide of the target, but the game ended with a slender victory for the Foxes.
Everton will now jet back home, with three more friendlies on the pre-season schedule before they face Leicester again at the King Power Stadium in the Premier League opener on Saturday 16 August.