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Match Reports

Report: Rovers 3 Everton 0

Goals from Lenihan, Samuel and Dack seal an emphatic win for the hosts against the Premier League side

26 July 2018

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A dominant Rovers display resulted in Tony Mowbray's side seeing off their Ewood Park pre-season with a 3-0 victory against a strong Everton side on Thursday evening.

The goals came at good times for Mowbray's men, who scored early through Darragh Lenihan's header before Dominic Samuel's strike five minutes before the break sent Rovers in with a two-goal advantage.

A third goal came midway through the half thanks to the mercurial Bradley Dack made it a brilliant night for the hosts, who produced a really accomplished display on a fine Ewood evening.

The core of last season's promotion-winning squad all started against the Toffees, but Derrick Williams missed out on the squad with a slight knock.

That meant Amari'i Bell came into the side, with the ex-Fleetwood Town man starting on the left side of a back four against the Merseysiders.

Graham continued his starting run, having returned from injury to play against Liverpool at Ewood last time out.

Summer captures Joe Rothwell and Jacob Davenport were both available from the bench for Tony Mowbray.

Opponents Everton included former Rovers loanee Michael Keane in their squad, with the England defender named as a substitute on his return to East Lancashire.

Star man Sigurdsson started for Marco Silva's side after representing Iceland in the FIFA World Cup this summer.

New signing Richarlison started his Toffees career as a substitute after arriving from Watford for a £50m fee this week, with the Brazilian joined on the bench by experienced duo Morgan Schneiderlin and England man Leighton Baines.

A bright start from Rovers saw Bradley Dack unleash a wicked attempt from 25 yards which whistled past 2010 World Cup runner-up Maarten Stekelenburg's left-hand post just a minute into the encounter before Tom Davies thumped an effort wide of the target in the visitors' first shot in ager soon after.

Just 10 minutes in and Rovers earned the opening goal as a nicely worked short corner started by Dack found Richie Smallwood and his hooked ball in was looped into the net off the head of defender Lenihan.

Rovers were looking comfortable against Marco Silva's Merseysiders, who didn't trouble David Raya in the Rovers goal in the opening half an hour, and after Dack smashed over, Dominic Samuel went close to doubling the lead but his effort from range flew into the side-netting.

The visitors did create their first clear-cut chance of the game with nine minutes to go until the break, but after fine one-touch play from Kevin Mirallas, Oumar Niasse and Tom Davies resulted in Gylfi Sigurdsson nipping in but firing straight at Raya with his left foot.

With five minutes to go Rovers had a second for their fine first half efforts and it all came through the mesmorising feet of Dack again, who was strong against Sandro, evaded the challenge of Matthew Pennington and although Danny Graham missed the pullback, the ball fell into the path of Samuel who rifled home for a confidence-boosting first goal of 2018.

That was to be the final real action of the half for a Rovers side who were looking confident and dominant against a shell-shocked Blues, who were struggling to cope with our attacking play.

Everton brought on a number of big names at the break, including Cenk Tosun, and the Turkish frontman went close to grabbing a goal back after latching onto a Seamus Coleman cross with the thumping header, but Raya was on hand to tip the ball around the post just five minutes into the half.

Rovers were still creating chances of their own and Elliott Bennett twice kept Stekelenburg busy with a couple of shots from range soon after as the chances began to come for both sides.

It was almost 3-0 just after the hour, with Dack almost capitalising after Stekelenburg's poor clearance only fell to Samuel, and after setting Dack free, last season's top scorer narrowly curled wide.

But Dack wasn't to be denied his second and Rovers' third and he put the game to bed with a precise and cool finish to shrug Phil Jagielka off the ball before curling past Stekelenburg high into the net to make it three for Tony Mowbray's men.

Tosun went close to pulling a goal back with 15 minutes but scuffed a header over the upright after Richarlison's cross into the box.

Just over five minutes later and Baines was this time the provider, but once again a header drifted over, this time from Richarlison as the visitors continued to search for what would have been a late consolation goal on a warm Lancashire night.

And that was to be the final action of the game as Rovers ran out deserved winners, three goals and a clean sheet. It was a great display from the hosts, who enjoyed plenty of possession and produced creative sparks throughout the encounter.

Don't forget, Rovers are back in action away at Accrington Stanley on Saturday as we sign off our pre-season preparations. You can be there to back the lads by clicking here and purchase your ticket for the game against the League One newboys

Rovers: Raya, Nyambe, Lenihan, Mulgrew, Bell, Evans (Travis, 83), Smallwood, Bennett, Dack, Samuel, Graham.

Unused substitutes: Leutwiler, Downing, Davenport, Whittingham, Tomlinson, Rothwell, Nuttall, Conway, Fisher.

Goal: Lenihan, 10, Samuel, 40, Dack, 68

Booked: Mulgrew, 32

Everton: Stekelenburg, Kenny (Coleman, 46) Robinson (Baines, 46), Williams (Keane, 46), Pennington (Jagielka, 46), Besic (Gueye, 46), Davies (Schneiderlin, 46), Sigurdsson (Dowell, 46), Sandro (Vlasic, 79), Niasse (Richardlison, 46), Mirallas (Tosun, 46).

Unused substitutes: Hewelt.

Booked: Davies, 33

Referee: Martin Atkinson.

Attendance: 7,478 (3,345 away)

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