McNeil Bags Brace As Blues Sign Off Pre-Season With Win

Dwight McNeil stepped off the bench to bag a brace on his first Everton appearance as the Blues concluded their preparations for the 2022/23 season with an impressive 3-0 win over Dynamo Kyiv on an emotional night in front of more than 30,000 spectators at Goodison Park.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin struck the opening goal of the game inside four minutes, expertly glancing a header home after an inch-perfect lofted pass from James Tarkowski.

McNeil, who only completed his move from Burnley a little more than 24 hours earlier, was handed a maiden outing in royal blue off the bench and took less than 12 minutes to open his goalscoring account, picking up possession just inside Dynamo Kyiv territory before arrowing a shot into the corner from 25 yards.

The 22-year-old winger doubled his tally on 78 minutes, converting a cross from fellow debutant Ruben Vinagre to ensure a comfortable win.

Manager Frank Lampard stuck with a wing-back system, but made four changes from the side that defeated Blackpool 4-2 at the weekend, with Tom Davies and Yerry Mina left out completely in a precautionary move.

The Blues came flying out of the traps ahead of the Premier League curtain-raiser against Chelsea next weekend - and there was an increased sharpness about the Blues in possession throughout.

Summer signing Tarkowski has quickly caught the eye of Evertonians in pre-season for his dominance in defence and impressive range of passing and that was on full display here, with the centre-back registering an assist for the opener.

Afforded space on the halfway line, Tarkowski picked out Calvert-Lewin with an excellent pass - and the Blues striker made no mistake in applying a deft finish to put the Toffees ahead.

Tarkowski then introduced himself to the Howard Kendall Gwladys Street End at the other end of the pitch, with two superb tackles that earned a standing ovation.

The 29-year-old was first on hand to block a goal-bound shot, before returning to his feet quickly to dispossess Denys Antiukh with a crunching sliding tackle in the same passage of play.

Everton's lead was almost doubled on 17 minutes when Demarai Gray - a constant live wire in the opening period - swung in a corner that bounced at the near post before Calvert-Lewin improvised to connect with his thigh - but the Dynamo Kyiv goalkeeper provided an excellent reaction save to tip the effort over the crossbar.

The visitors grew into the contest and went closest to a goal of their own on the stroke of half-time, but Jordan Pickford was on hand to pull off a world-class save at full stretch to keep out Oleksandr Andriyevskyi venomous 25-yard free-kick.

McNeil was introduced off the bench just after the hour mark and wasted no time in making an impact, rifling a shot home into the bottom right-hand corner to put Everton in total control.

The two debutants then combined for Everton's third, as Vinagre's delicate chipped cross was finished by the head of McNeil inside the six-yard box.

The Toffees return to Goodison Park next weekend, as Premier League action return with the visit of Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea in a 5.30pm (BST) kick-off on Saturday.