Young Blues Undone By Wolfsburg Fightback

Everton lost their opening Premier League International Cup match against VfL Wolfsburg at Southport.

James McCarthy started the game for a young Blues side and will have been pleased to get 45 minutes under his belt but the visitors were the better team and deserved their 3-1 win.

Wolfsburg started brightly but Everton quickly found their feet and almost took the lead courtesy of some splendid improvisation from Harry Charlsey who blocked a clearance from the keeper, Phillip Menzel, and chipped the ball towards goal only to see it cleared off the line.

Everton took the lead in the 23rd minute when Boris Mathis forced the ball past Menzel following a scramble in the goalmouth.

The Blues were playing some decent stuff and when Luke Garbutt swung in a corner from the left, Nathan Broadhead glanced a header just over the bar.

On 33 minutes the lively Charsley controlled the ball on the edge of the box, skilfully turned his marker and was only denied a splendid individual goal by a smart save from Menzel.

At the other end, Louis Gray produced a sensational save of his own to preserve Everton’s lead. Julian Justvan was no more than a couple of yards from goal and looked certain to score until Gray somehow palmed the effort up and over the bar.

Wolfsburg finished the half strongly and were probably slightly aggrieved to be in arrears at the interval.

Josh Bowler appeared for the second half as a replacement for McCarthy but, again, it was Wolfsburg who were quickest out of the traps and it was no surprise when Murat Saglam equalised on 59 minutes with a precise finish from the edge of the box.

Shane Lavery, another second-half substitute, raced away down the Everton right but after crafting an opening for himself he scuffed his final effort into the grateful arms of Menzel.

It was, though, a rare Blues attack in a second period dominated by the Germans.

Wolfsburg took the lead in the 74th minute through substitute Abdallah El-Haibi, who rounded off a fine move with a composed finish.

The visitors almost scored again shortly after but when the ball fizzed across the face of the Everton goal, Nathangelo Markelo did superbly well to clear. Then Gray produced another excellent save to deny Dominik Franke.

Wolfsburg wrapped up the victory with a wonderful breakaway goal six minutes from the end. After clearing a corner the men in green ripped through the Everton rearguard and Blaz Kramer applied the finishing touch.

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