Everton hit the woodwork five times on their way to defeating a spirited Salford City to set up a Carabao Cup third-round visit to League One Fleetwood Town.
Michael Keane’s first-half header, Gylfi Sigurdsson’s first-time finish and a late Moise Kean penalty secured victory for Carlo Ancelotti’s much-changed side.
Italy forward Kean (twice), Sigurdsson and Anthony Gordon (twice) had efforts that struck the bar or post in the second half as Everton had 32 shots throughout the 90 minutes, the most attempts they’ve had in a game since February 2016.
Having seen his side open their Premier League campaign with a deserved win at Tottenham on Sunday, Ancelotti made 10 changes for the visit of League Two Salford.
And it was Keane, the only survivor from the side that started in north London, who broke the deadlock after meeting Sigurdsson’s corner, before the Iceland midfielder doubled the lead.
However, it was a far from straightforward victory for the big-spending Premier League club.
Everton, who have invested about £60m to bring in Brazil midfielder Allan, attacking midfielder James Rodriguez and French midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure since the end of last season, lost 18-year-old defender Jarrad Branthwaite to injury in the first half.
With Mason Holgate potentially out until the end of October with a toe injury, Ancelotti admitted after the game he may have to strengthen his options in defence before the transfer window closes next month.
“Holgate is out and Jarrad we don’t know his injury and how bad it is, we have to look tomorrow,” said the Italian.
“There is a possibility to find a centre-back and I think we have to.”
Portuguese keeper Joao Virginia, 20, marked his senior debut for the Toffees with a clean sheet, while 19-year-old full-back Niels Nkounkou, signed in the summer from Marseille, also got an outing.
Despite the result Salford, who are only in their second season in the English Football League, were not overawed by the occasion and came close to scoring themselves.
At 1-0, Richie Towell should have equalised but shot over from about 12 yards.
The Toffees wrapped up the tie when Gordon teed up Sigurdsson before Gordon was fouled, Kean slotting home the penalty.
‘Team spirit was key’ – what they said
Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti: “The performance was good, the spirit was the most important part of this game, a good attitude, a good sprit and all the team showed this.”
- 31Neves Virgínia
- 32BranthwaiteSubstituted forDigneat 24′minutes
- 10G Sigurdsson
- 18ThrelkeldSubstituted forGibsonat 74′minutes
- 16TurnbullBooked at 58mins
- 19WilsonSubstituted forCarvalho Andradeat 61′minutes
- 37Thomas-AsanteBooked at 67minsSubstituted forElliottat 74′minutes
- 11Carvalho Andrade
Match ends, Everton 3, Salford City 0.
Second Half ends, Everton 3, Salford City 0.
Offside, Everton. Tom Davies tries a through ball, but Niels Nkounkou is caught offside.
Attempt saved. Bernard (Everton) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Moise Kean.
Attempt missed. Anthony Gordon (Everton) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Jonjoe Kenny.
Anthony Gordon (Everton) hits the bar with a left footed shot from the left side of the box.
Moise Kean (Everton) hits the left post with a header from the centre of the box. Assisted by Jonjoe Kenny with a cross.
Anthony Gordon (Everton) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Ashley Hunter (Salford City).
Foul by Niels Nkounkou (Everton).
Ashley Hunter (Salford City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Lucas Digne (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Tom Elliott (Salford City).
Goal! Everton 3, Salford City 0. Moise Kean (Everton) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the high centre of the goal.
Penalty Everton. Anthony Gordon draws a foul in the penalty area.
Penalty conceded by Bruno Andrade (Salford City) after a foul in the penalty area.
Attempt missed. Anthony Gordon (Everton) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Niels Nkounkou.
Anthony Gordon (Everton) hits the right post with a right footed shot from outside the box. Assisted by Bernard.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton) hits the left post with a right footed shot from outside the box. Assisted by Anthony Gordon.
Foul by Niels Nkounkou (Everton).
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