Lewis Dobbin’s terrific goalscoring form continued on Tuesday night when he netted yet another hat-trick in Everton Under-23s win at Chorley.
The non-league outfit provided a tough test for David Unsworth’s side but a string of fine performances all over the park saw Everton through to a 3-1 success.
“Lewis got a bit of a roasting at half-time!” said Unsworth. “It’s not all about scoring goals, we wanted our strikers to get hold of the ball tonight against big defenders.
“But Lewis has been really, really good in pre-season and as coaches we are always trying to better him.
“In the final third when he gets the opportunities, I expect him to score. His ten goals so far in pre-season don’t surprise me because the way we are playing we will create loads of chances.”
The Blues took the lead in the seventh minute when in-form Dobbin ran on to a perfectly weighted pass from Sebastian Quirk and placed a neat finish past James Aspinall.
The Chorley goalkeeper was in action again two minutes later when he dived to his left to push away a goal-bound shot from Charlie Whittaker.
Everton crafted another opening just before the half hour. Tom Cannon guided a header into the path of Dobbin who played the ball first-time to Isaac Price. Price’s touch inside the box was heavy and the angle was against him when he drilled the ball high over the crossbar.
Chorley equalised in the 31st minute through Connor Hall, who showed commendable composure to create half a yard of space for himself on the right of the box before pulling his effort across Harry Tyrer and into the bottom corner.
The goal put a real spring in the step of the hosts and they had their best spell of the half.
Oliver Shenton fired a low shot wide and a prodigiously long throw from Andy Owens induced panic inside the Everton box before the ball was hacked to safety.
Just before half-time, Everton should have regained the lead from a classic counter-attack. Price headed clear a Chorley corner, Whittaker chased the ball down and fed it to Dobbin, who released the galloping Price inside the area. Aspinall raced off his line and did enough to block the final effort.
Chorley were on the front foot from the start of the second period.
Tyrer was well positioned to safely gather an Andy Owens header and then had to be acrobatic to tip over a looping half volley from the same player.
The know-how and physicality of the far more experienced National League North team was threatening to overwhelm Everton, but the young Toffees stayed resolute with Ryan Astley producing a real captain’s showing at the heart of the defence.
“That’s why we play these games in pre-season,” said Unsworth. “It’s a different challenge for the players. I want to see how they cope with transition from Academy football to men’s football. They will be better players for this game tonight.
“Chorley posed us so many different problems that you don’t get at our level and we found a way to win, which was pleasing.”
“You can never say that Ryan (Astley) doesn’t stand up to be counted. That’s why he’s the captain and that game tonight is the type he loves.”
Dobbin’s second goal was Everton’s first effort of the second-half. 77 minutes had elapsed when Mackenzie Hunt slipped the ball wide to Stanley Mills, who crossed low for Dobbin to turn it past the keeper.
The in-form striker clinched his treble when Charlie Whittaker played him in for another smart finish with eight minutes remaining.