Blackburn 1-3 Everton: Pre-Season Match Report

Nikica Jelavic scored two goals to help Everton claim a comfortable 3-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers in the Ewood Park curtain-raiser on Saturday.

The Croatia international endured a difficult second season at Goodison Park last term and is currently wanted by Bundesliga outfit Hamburg, but has now staked his claim for a place in Roberto MartinezÔÇÖs starting line-up this season.

Jelavic came on at half time and put Everton further ahead after Kevin MirallasÔÇÖ opening goal, before Scott Dann grabbed a late consolation goal for the hosts.

Leighton Baines was ruled out for Everton with a hip injury, while DJ Campbell could be out for two months after damaging ankle ligaments in BlackburnÔÇÖs 1-1 friendly with Preston on Tuesday.

Everton dominated the early possession but the first real chance fell to the hosts inside five minutes, as an unmarked Chris Taylor headed a few inches wide from Alan JudgeÔÇÖs corner.

Ross Barkley responded immediately for the visitors though, as he forced a fine one-handed save from goalkeeper Jake Kean with a driven effort from outside the area.

The tempo of the match slowed down after the early chances and Everton patiently worked the ball forward, with the hosts happy to sit back and defend.

Grant Hanley cleared an effort from Barkley off the line, after the midfielder turned Matt Kilgallon inside the box twice, but was unable to stop Mirallas on the follow up, as he turned the powerful left-footed strike into his own net in the 24th minute.

Mirallas almost netted a second moments later when he curled a fine free-kick around the Blackburn wall, but Kean pulled off a strong diving save to turn it around the post.
The Belgium international was at the centre of all EvertonÔÇÖs attacks and played a clever one-two to set up Steven Pienaar, who found the side netting, before going close with another curled free-kick.

Blackburn tried to force an equaliser but Jason Lowe volleyed over from close range after TaylorÔÇÖs header back across goal, before and Hanley headed wide from a Judge free-kick.

Arouna Kone went extremely close to netting his first Everton goal just before half time. The Ivory Coast striker burst through the Rovers defence and crashed a thunderous effort off the crossbar, which cannoned off the back of KeanÔÇÖs head and rolled wide.

Roberto Martinez brought on seven players for the second half, including Seamus Coleman and Steven Naismith, who combined to earn Everton a corner shortly after the restart.

And from PienaarÔÇÖs resulting set-piece, another substitute Jelavic timed his run into the box to perfection to nod home EvertonÔÇÖs second goal in the 55th minute.

The Premier League outfit continued to dominate proceedings and Jelavic went close to scoring another header, after ColemanÔÇÖs fantastic dribbling and chipped cross from the right of the box, but Kean saved well.
Blackburn had a great opportunity to pull one back but no red shirts were on hand to tap home MorrisÔÇÖ fizzed ball across the face of Joel RoblesÔÇÖ goal.

However, Jelavic put the result beyond doubt with another goal in the 78th minute. He saw his first close range effort saved well by Kean, after picking up Coleman’s cut back from the byeline, but slammed home the rebound to make it 3-0.

The hosts pulled one back with less than five minutes remaining as Dann headed home at the far post from a Morten Gamst Pedersen corner, but it was too late and Blackburn ended their pre-season campaign with a defeat.