Everton secured a deserved 4-2 away victory over Championship outfit Blackpool in the penultimate fixture of pre-season.
The Blues came flying out of the blocks at Bloomfield Road, scoring twice — through Vitalii Mykolenko and Tom Davies — in the opening 11 minutes to take control of the contest.
The only blot on an impressive first half came in the final minute, when Jordan Pickford parried Josh Bowler’s curling effort up in the air, allowing Gary Madine to nod home from no more than a yard out to halve the deficit.
The Toffees restored their two-goal advantage inside two minutes of the restart, as Mykolenko turned provider, displaying excellent composure to keep the ball alive and square for Dele to notch his first goal in an Everton shirt.
But Blackpool, who begin their league campaign next weekend, hit back again, when two former Blues youngsters combined, with Callum Connolly heading in Luke Garbutt’s corner.
Dele had the final word on an entertaining afternoon on the coast, prodding home his second to seal a confidence-boosting win.
Manager Frank Lampard reverted to a 3-4-3 formation against the Tangerines and will have been buoyed by the commitment, confidence and attacking intent on display from his players in a lively encounter.
The Blues boss handed precautionary rests to Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Demarai Gray for the clash, making four changes from the side that started against Minnesota United just three days previously.
The Blackpool squad, meanwhile, had an air of familiarity, as former Everton youngsters Connolly, Garbutt and Josh Bowler were named in the starting line-up, while Shayne Lavery and Jordan Thorniley were among the substitutes.
All three of Everton’s starting centre-backs — James Tarkowski, Yerry Mina and Ben Godfrey — were impressive in possession and the move for the opening goal began with summer signing Tarkowski, who played a precise diagonal pass to release Nathan Patterson in the right channel. The young Scot dug out an inviting cross before Mykolenko expertly guided his first-time effort into the bottom corner with the Blackpool goalkeeper rooted to the spot.
The Blues made it a double blow minutes later, as Salomon Rondon sprung the offside trap to latch on to Godfrey’s lofted pass and cross for Davies to head home from inside the six-yard box.
Everton were in total control but allowed the hosts back into the game on the stroke of half-time when Madine was on the spot to turn in from close range.
Lampard's side responded in excellent fashion with the second period less than two minutes old, when half-time substitute Mason Holgate got to the byline and crossed for Rondon, who saw his hooked effort excellently saved — but Mykolenko kept the ball alive and squared for Dele to complete the simplest of tasks from two yards.
Michael Appleton’s Tangerines showed their resolve once again when Connolly headed home Blackpool’s second of the afternoon, before Dele ensured the win with his second goal of the match before celebrating in front of the thousands of Evertonians in attendance by making a heart gesture with his hands.
Next up for Everton is the ‘Match for Peace’ against Ukrainian side Dynamo Kyiv at Goodison Park on Friday 29 July (7.45pm kick-off), before the Premier League curtain-raiser at home to Chelsea the following weekend.
General tickets for the Dynamo Kyiv game are now on general sale, priced at £15 for adults (18 to 64-year-olds) and £5 for concessions (under-18s and over-65s).
Supporters will be given the option to add a donation of £1, £5 or £10 at the point of purchase, with the money raised bolstering the total raised for charity through ticket sales and other matchday activities.