Everton downs Heart

Everton has downed Hyundai A-League new boys Melbourne Heart 2-0 at Etihad Stadium, but the Heart put on an encouraging performance in the club's first serious hit out.

Everton has downed Hyundai A-League new boys Melbourne Heart 2-0 at Etihad Stadium, but the Heart put on an encouraging performance in the club's first serious hit out.

Jack Rodwell and Louis Saha scored a goal either side of half-time to give the Toffees fans something to cheer about. But it was the strong second half performance from Melbourne's young players which set tongues wagging just three weeks out from the Heart's A-League debut against Central Coast.

The inexperienced set-up utilised by coach John van 't Schip bossed the game for the final 25 minutes against the EPL side, giving plenty of reasons for the fledgling Melbourne Heart supporters to walk away happy.

Everton was causing the Melbourne Heart defence headaches inside the first two minutes, with Dutch import Rutger Worm bringing down Seamus Coleman in the box and referee Matthew Breeze pointing to the spot. But to everyone's amazement, Louis Saha sent his spot kick wide, keeping Heart in the contest.

After that shaky beginning, Heart worked themselves into the match with some well-organised defence and good build-up. After Dean Heffernan and Josip Skoko created some openings, the impressive Gerald Sibon beat three defenders and the goalkeeper only to slice his shot wide.

Everton looked to expose Melbourne down the flanks with Diniyar Bilyaletdinov creating most of the trouble. The Russian forced a hurried save from Clint Bolton after a dangerous cross on 23 minutes.

Josip Skoko impressed in his first game with his new club and on 33 minutes produced a long shot which had goalkeeper Iain Turner scrambling to save.

However, the ball soon went up the other end, where Everton finally broke through. Victor Anichebe set up Coleman clear down the wing and the cross was perfect for Jack Rodwell to knock home from close range.

Tim Cahill arrived on the pitch after half time, much to the delight of the crowd of 19,261. But it was Saha who was looking particularly dangerous and on the hour he was afforded too much space on the edge of the box. He turned and shot superbly into the top corner to double his side's advantage.

He then departed to be replaced by Jermaine Beckford, who would almost score with an even more spectacular effort within seconds of coming on.

Heart coach van 't Schip gave a few of his younger players a chance in the second half and Eli Babalj certainly made the most of it, first of all marking up on Cahill, then firing two shots straight at the keeper after some nice build-up. Nick Kalmar also spoiled his shot at glory, firing over.

Impressively for such a young team, Heart dominated the longer the game went on and could have easily had a goal. Michael Beauchamp headed wide, Babalj forced a desperate save and then Adrian Zahra fired over.

There was to be no fairytale goal but van 't Schip could be proud of the showing his men put on against the touring side, which now heads to Brisbane to take on the Roar on Saturday.

Everton 2 (Rodwell 34, Saha 60) Melbourne Heart 0 Crowd: 19,261 at Etihad Stadium