Everton Under-23s boss David Unsworth hailed his players’ “first-class attitude and desire” after their 3-1 victory at Bamber Bridge on Wednesday night.
Unsworth also declared himself “delighted” with how his side implemented the patterns of play they have been honing on the training pitch in their win at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.
Nathangelo Markelo, Fraser Hornby and Harry Charsley were on target for the young Blues in an entertaining clash, with Michael Potts hitting a consolation for the Lancashire side, who will play their football in the Northern Premier League Premier Division this season after winning promotion in May.
“It was a really good fixture for us,” Unsworth told evertonfc.com. “It was a good pitch, against a team that likes to play football.
“Bamber Bridge have played a few more games than us so it was a decent test for our second game.
“I was very happy with the first hour. We played some good stuff, scored some good goals and it was a really good workout.
“The players’ attitude was first-class and we showed that desire is always there.”
Unsworth’s side got off to a flying start. Dutchman Markelo, playing in central midfield, worked some space 25 yards out before rifling a shot into the bottom corner with just five minutes on the clock.
Nathan Broadhead then had a header brilliantly tipped onto the crossbar by Lloyd Rigby but the Bamber ‘keeper could do nothing about Hornby’s effort on 27 minutes.
Markelo was the architect this time, curling in a pinpoint left-wing cross which the Scotland Under-21 international headed home from six yards out.
After going into the break two goals to the good, the young Blues had their third nine minutes after the break, substitute Harry Charsley powering a shot in off the crossbar from inside the box.
Unsworth made a raft of changes as the second half progressed, with Matty Foulds and Brendan Galloway the only players to last the 90 minutes.
The game became stretched and Michael Potts got one back for Bamber just after the hour mark with a stinging effort that flew past substitute ‘keeper Nico Hansen.
And while Bamber threatened sporadically, Unsworth’s side saw out the game in relative comfort.
The Under-23s boss saw many positives in the young Blues’ performance – with their appliance of the ideas and methods worked on in training particularly impressing.
“We made a lot of changes after an hour, and it became and open game then, but for an hour everything that we worked on in pre-season was happening,” he said.
“We were getting what we asked for, so I’m delighted.
“We’re talking a lot about partnerships and working with the player alongside you, in front of you and behind you. We’ve worked a lot on that and I’m happy with how things were looking."
Match photography: Stefan Willoughby