Nathan Broadhead grabbed his sixth goal in two games as Everton Under-23s defied horrendous playing conditions to record a 1-0 friendly win over Chorley at USM Finch Farm on Tuesday night.
The Welsh forward, who bagged five goals in the young Blues' 7-1 triumph against Runcorn on Saturday, found the back of the net again just before half-time to get the better of the National League North visitors.
Gale-force winds and constant driving rain at USM Finch Farm made it extremely difficult for both sets of players but Everton manager David Unsworth was pleased with how his team coped.
“Both teams deserve a lot of credit for the way they played,” said Unsworth. “Particularly in the first half when there was some good football.
“We were very good in possession and conditions dictated throughout and, all things considered, I thought it was a good game.”
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HIGHLIGHTS: UNDER-23S 7-1 RUNCORN TOWN
The decisive goal came from a well-worked move. Einar Iversen broke down a Chorley attack and carried the ball forward at pace before sliding a perfect pass into the path of Broadhead who showed great composure to lift the ball over the advancing keeper.
“It was terrific goal and we’ve been asking Einar to get on the ball and drive forward like that,” said Unsworth. “He’s got great energy and great drive and he looks a real player when he picks the ball up and carries it forward. And the finish was outstanding. Nathan looks really sharp and he’s banging the goals in.”
Prior to that, Rhys Hughes had a direct free-kick well saved and Chorley midfielder Mike Calveley fired just over from long distance.
By and large, though, despite some good possession football, clear-cut goalscoring opportunities were few and far between on a very challenging evening more typical of mid-winter than pre-season.
Josh Bowler came off the substitutes' bench at half-time and he was lively, pulling a low shot wide and then testing the keeper after some fine link-up play with Callum Connolly.
Unsworth was justifiably pleased with another victory in what has been a bizarre summer.
“It’s been a different sort of pre-season,” he said. “We didn’t get the opportunity to get a pre-season camp away and we’ve been limited to single training sessions because of circumstances.
“It’s been a unique experience for everyone but the way the players have been able to adapt and the attitude they’ve shown and the way they’ve worked has been first-class.”