Everton continued their encouraging start to Carlo Ancelotti's first full season in charge by breezing past Salford City to set up a Carabao Cup third round date with Fleetwood Town next Wednesday.
The three goals his team scored and the comfortable nature of Everton's win would have pleased Ancelotti.
Perhaps most satisfying of all was the way 10 players making their first starts this season grabbed their opportunities to shine.
Anthony Gordon was magnificent and will go to bed wondering how on earth he didn't score.
Gordon nevertheless laid on Everton's second goal 16 minutes from time for Gylfi Sigurddson. He was fouled for the penalty Moise Kean rammed home 13 minutes later - the striker having twice hot the woodwork.
And when Everton seized the advantage early in the piece, Gordon was heavily involved in the lead up to Michael Keane converting from Sigurdsson's corner.
The one low note for Everton arrived on 24 minutes when Jarrad Branthwaite, on his fifth appearance for the Club and playing very well, sunk to the turf with no one near him.
Lucas Digne replaced the 18-year-old centre-back, filling in next to Keane with the minimum of fuss.
All those changes and it was the one man retained from Sunday’s consummate win at Tottenham Hotspur who assumed responsibility for sustaining the upbeat mood around Goodison Park.
In fairness to Gordon, though, we should briefly rewind to ensure the teenager receives the credit he is due.
From a standing start Gordon exploded down the left, disappearing past Oscar Threlkeld in a blur.
Salford right-back Threlkeld trailed Gordon by a good 10 yards by the time the Everton player struck a low centre which was diverted behind by Jason Lowe.
As Sigurdsson’s corner arrived in the box, Keane escaped the grappling of Lowe and leapt above Jordan Turnbull to bury his header with some gusto.
Turnbull was a busy man, trying to keep tabs on Everton’s spritely forwards.
Theo Walcott’s run off the back of the centre-half on four minutes was located by Bernard’s flighted pass but the forward perhaps lost his bearings and could only help the ball over.
Turnbull had a better view when Jonjoe Kenny sent a ball rushing across the turf for Gordon.
The forward moved ominously infield and unleashed a drive which was destined for the back of the net without Turnbull’s critical headed deflection.
Everton were on top in every respect.
The hosts had 14 shots to Salford’s two in the opening 45 minutes, a return which reflected Everton’s 72 per cent share of the ball.
One of Salford’s efforts did bring Joao Virginia into the game, the debutant goalkeeper confidently taming a rising Richie Towell strike.
Lowe’s attempt after only three minutes – following a brief flurry of Salford pressure – disappeared high into the deserted Howard Kendall Gwladys Street End.
Niels Nkounkou, the second Everton player making his first start for the Club, showed bundles of attacking intent from left-back.
The Frenchman dovetailed nicely with Gordon and Bernard, on the left of Everton’s midfield three, the trio’s interchanging and mobility disturbing Salford.
Vaclav Hladky beat out one Nkounkou blast at his near post and was alert to snaffle a low cross after the Frenchman alighted on possession when Gordon slammed a shot from distance which ricocheted off a defensive body.
It was the turn of Turnbull’s defensive partner Ashley Eastham to lose the flight of the ball on 17 minutes.
Kean peeled off the Salford captain to meet Sigurdsson’s lofted ball from deep but the Italian miscued his contact to steer past Hladky’s right post.
Indeed, for all Everton’s pressure Salford keeper Hladky – helpless when Keane scored – had not had a huge deal to do before the 42nd minute.
Tom Davies’s earlier attempt, after speeding forwards to receive Walcott’s cut-back, flew beyond the far post.
But when Davies fed Bernard three minutes before the break, the Brazilian took aim from distance and would have found the inside of the Hladky’s left post but for a fabulous fingertip stop.
Kean came to life following the restart.
His touch and spin followed by a perfectly weighted ball on the volley for Theo Walcott was glorious.
Kean resisted the temptation to admire his handiwork, progressing to the penalty box where he was found by Sigurdsson’s flat centre.
The striker’s header was true but fractionally too high, crashing into the meat of Hladky’s bar.
Everton really wanted to put this to bed.
The absence of extra-time in these games is a boon for the underdog and, only one goal behind, Salford had a puncher’s chance of getting to penalties.
No wonder Bernard looked furious when he thrashed wide on 55 minutes.
Gordon showed Threlkeld a clean pair of heels, again, and his delivery landed at Bernard’s feet, via a clearance of sorts from Turnbull, but Bernard was off target from 10 yards.
Then Salford came hunting for their leveller.
Ashley Hunter showed terrific awareness to guide James Wilson’s deep cross into the feet of Towell but the midfielder blazed over from 10 yards.
And Kenny made and important block when Brandon Thomas-Asante let fly from an angle.
Nkounkou continued to carry the fight to Salford down Everton’s left flank, the best of string of crosses in quick succession centimetres from Walcott’s toe at the back post.
And it was from the same avenue Everton put the outcome beyond doubt.
Gordon had been frustrated by Hladky flinging himself to his left to save when Everton came forward again.
Nkounkou, inevitably, was in the thick of it, transferring Digne’s pass to Gordon.
Two touches later the ball was in the net, Gordon squaring first time and Sigurdsson applying the finish.
A sprawling save from Hladky prevented Walcott from adding to Everton’s tally and a long-range effort from Kenny dipped too late to trouble the keeper.
Sigurdsson and Gordon were both close form distance before the latter was fouled in the box by Bruno Andrade.
Kean, after one of those deliberate jumps in his approach that are in vogue among penalty takers, stuck his kick in the roof of the net and, finally, the scoreline gave a fair impression of what we'd been watching.
There was still time for Keane to head against the post and the luckless Gordon to crack the bar on the rebound. His time will come.
Young Blues Flourishing
David Unsworth, Everton’s new Director of Academy and manager of the Club’s prolific Under-23 team since 2014, would surely have felt a glow watching this from his seat slap-bang in the middle of Goodison Park’s sparsely-populated Main Stand.
Four Everton Academy graduates were on the field from kick-off.
Tom Davies, Jonjoe Kenny and the newest-kid-on-the-block Anthony Gordon started for Everton.
At left-back for Salford City, meanwhile, was Ibou Touray, who joined Everton aged 16 in 2011 and had three years with the Club.
Touray was part of the Salford side which won successive promotions to reach the Football League in 2019.
Alex Denny, the former Everton Under-23 midfielder on the bench for Salford, made it a fifth Everton product across the two matchday squads.
“Youth development is in the DNA of this Club,” Unsworth stated after being appointed to his new post last week.
“There is no prouder moment than seeing young, homegrown progress into our Under-23s and, ultimately, into our First Team.”
Kenny, 23, was playing his 41st Everton game and first following a successful season on loan with Schalke 04 in Germany.
The right-back, an integral member of Everton Under-23s’ Premier League 2 title winning side in 2016/17, made his first senior appearance when Unsworth was in caretaker charge for a game against Norwich City in May 2016.
For 22-year-old Davies, this was a 123rd appearance for his boyhood Club, started for the first time in that Norwich game four years ago.
Both players were prominent in this game. Davies was busy, scuttling about the pitch, denying Salford space and looking to act as the link-man in Everton’s attacks.
Kenny reckons he’s returned from the Bundesliga a more complete footballer and his distribution, especially, was assured.
The defender’s movement in attack, too, is becoming more subtle.
Characteristically, Kenny never once allowed a direct opponent to run past him.
As for Gordon, his first Everton goal can’t be far away.
He was denied on multiple occasions by a mix of good goalkeeper and defending.
The forward’s exceptional pace, meanwhile, frightened the life out of right-back Oscar Threlkeld and indirectly led to Everton’s opening goal.
He had his assist for the second, demonstrating sound decision making to cross first time for Sigurdsson to stroke home, and won the penalty for Kean to complete the scoring.
A good night for Unsworth and Everton’s Academy.
Bernard The Middle Man
Bernard has almost exclusively been employed on the wings since joining Everton from Shakhtar Donetsk two years ago.
At the beginning of his third campaign the 28-year-old operated in a more central role.
It is a position where Bernard sees much more of the ball, which suits the silky Brazilian down to the ground.
He slips into gaps behind his opposing midfielders to receive possession and is adept at being in the right place to collect stray balls in dangerous areas.
Having the ball at his feet in more central positions enables Bernard to expand his passing range.
He quickly struck up an understanding with Theo Walcott. One ball lifted over Salford’s defence was headed too high by Walcott.
Another ushered the forward into the box for a shooting opportunity and a third was intercepted with Walcott set for a free run at goal.
Bernard can put his boundless energy to good use, too, darting forward to close defenders with aspirations of passing from the back.
When Bernard runs with the ball at his feet from his midfield spot he is driving at the heart of teams, creating uncertainty and drawing opponents to the ball.
He relished the defensive elements of his assignment, too, enthusiastically scampering back to cover the space vacated by overlapping left-back Niels Nkounkou.
On a similar note, Bernard isn’t shy of putting his foot in. He dispossessed the much bigger figure of Richie Towell with a well-timed tackle.
It was indicative of Bernard’s confidence that when he received the ball from Tom Davies 25 yards from goal shortly before half-time he had only one thought in mind.
He shifted it onto his right foot and directed an effort which spat off the turf and was brilliantly kept out by Vaclav Hladky fully extended to his left.
There was even a clearing header from the edge of his six-yard box soon after the restart.
A goal would have crowned Bernard’s performance and he was very cross with himself after shooting off target from 10 yards shortly after the break.
It was a lone moment of annoyance on a night when Bernard enjoyed his football – and those lucky enough to be inside Goodison Park enjoyed watching him.
Everton Up And Running
Everton’s season is only four days old but already it has forwards momentum.
Three Premier League points against Tottenham Hotspur and now this, safe passage to the Carabao Cup third round.
The overwhelming favourites in these games are typically thought to have little to gain.
This isn’t strictly true. Much like the opening two rounds of a golf major, where the main players can’t win the tournament but can certainly lose it with one poor afternoon, this was about making sure Everton remained in the cup for a visit to Fleetwood Town next week.
Equally, the players handed starting opportunities by Carlo Ancelotti were keen to put their best feet forward.
This was 90 minutes to metaphorically knock on the manager’s door.
Everton, in the words of Michael Keane, alone in retaining his place after playing at Spurs, set down a marker in London.
Maintain those standards and places in Ancelotti’s team will be precious commodities indeed.
Here, then, was a chance to both remain prominent in the Italian boss’s thoughts and play significant roles in a positive first step on this season’s attempt at claiming silverware.
Anthony Gordon, scorching down the left flank to win the corner from which Everton opened the scoring, made his mark early. By the time he struck the bar in the final 60 seconds he'd done everything but score.
Gordon was fabulous, awash with confidence, raining shots on goal and utilising his pace and close control to terrorise Salford and create a number of chances.
Gyfli Sigurdsson, captaining Everton, opened his account for the season and Moise Kean sandwiched two efforts against the woodwork with an accomplished penalty.
Plenty of claims staked from those who watched from the sidelines on Sunday.