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v Swansea City

Tuesday 23 September K.O. 19:45

2

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Prenton Park | 22nd July 2014 19:45

Tranmere Rovers v Everton

Goals either side of the break from Steven Naismith and Leon Osman weren't enough to get Everton's pre-season off to a winning start as the Blues were held at Prenton Park.

Roberto Martinez's men made the short journey across the Mersey to take on League Two neighbours Tranmere Rovers and looked to be heading for victory when they led with four minutes remaining.

However, substitute James Rowe broke through to beat goalkeeper Joel Robles and earn the hosts a late draw.

Naismith had earlier latched on to a pinpoint Luke Garbutt cross to open the scoring with a neat close-range finish, before Cole Stockton levelled with a fine chip.

Osman - one of 10 half-time substitutes for Everton - then restored his side's advantage on 70 minutes, only for Rowe to delight the home crowd with his last-ditch contribution.

Given the heat at kick off, it was little surprise the game started at a leisurely pace.

It came to life, however, when Garbutt drilled in a low cross from the left-hand side on 26 minutes, allowing Naismith to stab past goalkeeper Owain Fon-Williams from two-yards out.

And the Blues might have doubled their lead before the interval had winger Matthew Kennedy's thumping effort fizzled a metre or so the other side of the post.

Half-time saw Martinez change every outfield player as midfielder Darron Gibson made his first appearance since suffering a serious knee injury in October last year. 

And it was another of the subs, Osman, who found himself in the right place at the right time to meet a corner and bulge the net in front of a packed stand of Evertonians with 20 minutes to go.

A further change saw the previously impressive Garbutt come back on for Seamus Coleman soon after, the Republic of Ireland international taken off as a precaution having felt a tightness in his hamstring.

Despite the setback, the Toffees went in search of a game-killing third and after Osman came close to doubling his tally with a downward volley, striker Chris Long fired high into the stands. From a free-kick, Gibson was then denied a comeback goal by the full-stretch Fon-Williams.

And the Blues were made to pay for not taking at least one of their chances when Rowe followed up his own rebound off the post to side-foot past the stranded Robles and earn his side a spirited draw.

 

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