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Everton 1-0 Stoke: Fairytale Rooney Strike Hands Toffees Opening Day Win Over Potters

90min logo 90min 4 days ago Tom Power
FBL-ENG-PR-EVERTON-STOKE © OLI SCARFF/GettyImages FBL-ENG-PR-EVERTON-STOKE

Wayne Rooney's romantic Everton return is complete after the striker bagged the only goal in the Blues' 1-0 opening day victory over Stoke City.

On his second league bow for his boyhood club, Rooney rose to meet Dominic Calvert-Lewin's inviting cross and send a bullet header into the net to cap a scintillating Toffees break - his first goal for the club for a Premier League record 4,869 days.

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Stoke proved a tough nut for the Blues to crack and had their fair share of chances to nick something from the contest, but it was to be Rooney's day in the sun.

Everton v Stoke City - Premier League © Jan Kruger/GettyImages Everton v Stoke City - Premier League

Everton struggled to gain a foothold in the game in the early stages, and it was the purposeful Potters who found their rhythm sooner as they probed with intent.

It was the away side who, through a Mame Biram Diouf burst down the right, that almost carved out the match's first chance, but Jordan Pickford was alert to turn the auxiliary wing-back's cross behind for a corner.

The first half-chance for the Toffees, meanwhile, came through debutant Sandro Ramirez. The striker collected Rooney's lay off but, after darting infield, dragged his right foot shot wide of the target.

FBL-ENG-PR-EVERTON-STOKE © OLI SCARFF/GettyImages FBL-ENG-PR-EVERTON-STOKE

Idrissa Gana Gueye drew a fine stop from Jack Butland after a storming run into Stoke's half, and the midfielder pinged another effort wide from the Blues' first corner just shy of 25 minutes.

A Stoke counter brought Bojan into play down the inside left flank, but the Spaniard fired his left foot drive over the bar as Michael Keane bore down on him.

Rooney's moment, from the match's first genuine passage of play, brought about the game's first goal on the stroke of half-time. Rooney played a one-two with Gueye, and immediately fed Sandro down the inside right channel.

The Spaniard turned and fed Calvert-Lewin out wide, and his first time cross was met by the head of the on-rushing Rooney who guided a superb header past Butland to send Goodison into raptures.

Stoke wasted no time in trying to level proceedings at the start of the second half - Berahino's curling shot, however, flew wide of the goal.

Kurt Zouma's expertly-timed tackle on Calvert-Lewin prevented the young forward from potentially making it 2-0 from Rooney's through ball soon after.

FBL-ENG-PR-EVERTON-STOKE © OLI SCARFF/GettyImages FBL-ENG-PR-EVERTON-STOKE

Rooney was certainly pulling the strings now, and his perfectly weighted ball found Baines in acres down the left. The veteran full-back's cut back, however, was only scuffed into the arms of Butland by Davy Klaassen.

A scrappy phase of play was finished off by Darren Fletcher just shy of the hour mark, but the Stoke debutant's fierce low drive whistled past the post, before Calvert-Lewin flashed a header wide of the mark from substitute Cuco Martina's cross at the other end.

Kurt Zouma's slip allowed Calvert-Lewin to bear down on goal to try and wrap up the points, but Butland was equal to his shot as he turned it around his near post.

A late flurry of activity from Stoke - and in particular the towering figure of Peter Crouch - caused a nervy end to the game, and Pickford produced an outstanding one handed save from Xherdan Shaqiri's ferocious strike in the final moments to hand Everton all points.

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