Gallant Sky Blues go down 1-0 to Everton

Hyundai A-League 2010 Champions Sydney FC more then hold their own against the EPL's Everton at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night, with a lone goal the only thing seperating the two sides.

Hyundai A-League 2010 Champions Sydney FC proved they could match it with the best after a strong showing against English Premier League side Everton at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night, falling 1-0.

In front of 40,466 football fans, Sydney FC was not overawed by their more fancied opponent with a goal in the opening minutes of second half the only difference between the two sides.

Nigerian international Victor Anichebe punished Sydney FC in the first minute of the second half scoring the only goal in an otherwise even match.

The Sky Blues created plenty of chances throughout the match with the speed and combination of strike duo Alex Brosque and Mark Bridge causing the Toffees defence several headaches whilst keeper Ivan Necevski was a standout at the back.

Sydney FC coach Vitezslav Lavicka was pleased despite the loss, praising the Sky Blues effort.

“We played compact in defence and created some good moments in attack but they punished us early in the second half, we made some mistake and they scored,” Lavicka said.

“It-s a very good experience for all of us and a great present for Sydney FC fans as well. I am happy to be playing this game as there are not many opportunities to play against a good international team, which Everton is.'

Captain Terry McFlynn also praised his team-s effort, who more than matched it with some of the world-s best footballers. “Intensity wise it was great for us to put ourselves against a premier league team to see where we sit in the spectrum of football,” McFlynn said.

“Both sides are in the pre-season. It-s about fitness; it-s about preparation for our season so I think it was a good outcome for both sides tonight.”

The first half was not the goal fest either set of fans was hoping for as both sides had their chances to open the score. Equally both sides defence was up to the challenge with the majority of shots either heading over the goals or hit straight into the arms of the keeper.

Brosque looked the most dangerous for Sydney FC and his first chance came early in the game. He intercepted a lazy defensive pass from Leighton Baines in the 5th minute and unfortunately for the Sky Blues his shot was sent powerfully to the hands of Everton-s Scottish keeper Iain Turner.

Everton-s right field players were causing headaches for Sydney-s defence throughout the first half. James Vaughan slipped through Sydney defensive line numerous times with one shot just well saved by Necevski and Jack Rodwell also had his chances, his best coming in the 12th minute but his shot drifted over the bar.

Dwight Yorke proved he has not lost any of his skills when in the 22nd minute he skillfully tackled from behind, winning a free kick in Sydney-s favour.

Less than a minute later it was Yorke again took possession of the ball sending it on to Scott Jamieson on the left side. Jamieson lobbed the ball into the goal square only for the Toffees to remove the danger.

Brosque was on goal again in the 26th minute with Sylvain Distin forcing the ball out and conceding the corner but the Sky Blues could not capitalize on their attack after fouling in the box as the corner was taken.

Sydney best shot of the half was in the 31st minute after Brosque passed wide to Jamieson and Sydney-s new left midfielder sent the ball back into the goal square. After a slight Bridge miss-hit, the ball fell to Brosque but his powerful shot went straight to Turner.

Jamieson had his best chance in the 42nd minute after Sebastian Ryall lobbed the ball over to the left side but Jamieson-s shot flew over the bar and into the Cove.

The second half began perfectly for Everton as Victor Anchebe opened the scoring within the first minute after Leighton Baines threaded the ball to Anichebe with his back to goal. Anichebe spun and drilled left footed to the top left corner of the goals, leaving Necevski with no chance to save.

Brosque was again leading Sydney-s attack in the second half and his first chance came in the 55th minute with a header falling safely to Turner.

Mikel Arteta had two shots within the space of a minute in the 74th with the first coming from a lovely one-two set up from Phil Jagielka but his shot was parried back into play by Necevski. Arteta-s second chance came 20 seconds later but again Necevski denied the Spanish midfielder with a suburb save.

The home fans cried out for a penalty in the 78th minute after Brosque was brought down in the box but the referee did not answer their prayers.

Sydney had their best chance to level the game in the 87th minute with a cross from Brosque finding Dimitri Petratos in space but Petratos touched the ball one too many times and the Everton defence forced him to lose control over the line.

Yorke was delighted with his return to the Sky Blues. “It was absolutely first class. It was great for us to put ourselves against a Premier League team.”

Sydney FC-s next preseason clash is against the Central Coast Mariners at the Sydney Showground on Saturday 17 July.

Sydney FC: 20. Ivan NECEVSKI, 12. Shannon COLE, 3. Stephan KELLER, 2. Sebastian RYALL, 22. Sung Hwan BYUN, 15. Terry McFLYNN, 19. Dwight YORKE (28. Hirofuni MORIYASU 62-), 7. Brendan GAN (17. Terry ANTONIS 67-), 9. Mark BRIDGE (29. Blake POWELL 83-), 21. Scott JAMIESON (26. Dimitri PETRATOS 86-), 14. Alex BROSQUE.

Subs not used: 1. Liam REDDY, 5. Hayden FOXE, 13. Antony GLOEC, 26. Dimitri PETRATOS.

Everton: 12. Iain TURNER, 2. Tony HIBBERT, 3. Leighton BAINES, 15. Sylvain DISTIN, 6. Phil JAGIELKA, 7. Diniyar BILYALETDINOV (9 Jose Baxter 64-), 21. Leon OSMAN, 10. Mikel ARTETA, 26. Jack RODWELL, 14. James VAUGHAN (17. Tim CAHILL 46-), 28. Victor ANICHEBE (8. Louis SAHA 71-).

Subs not used: 31. Seamus COLEMAN, 11. Magaye GUEYE, 16. Joao SILVA, 25. Shkodran MUSTAFI, 23. Lukas JUTKIEWICZ.