A hat-trick to young gun Anthony Gordon has helped Everton FC defeat Western Sydney Wanderers 5-1 to end a successful trip to Australia and relieve some of the pressure on Frank Lampard.
After defeating Celtic on penalties in last weekend's 0-0 draw, Everton overcame their well-documented scoring struggles in Wednesday night's game to close out the inaugural Sydney Super Cup at CommBank Stadium on a high.
Winger Gordon was a constant threat up front for the Toffees and it was his goal in the 30th minute that restored their advantage at the break.
When the 21-year-old scored his second against the run of play in the 59th minute, the Blues were home, eventually finishing with more goals than in any game since February 2021.
"When you get the opportunity to play in the opposition's half, you've got to work them and move them and create chances and we did that," Lampard said.
"We were clinical."
Everton were the more polished side early and had their reward in the 14th minute when an unmarked Nathan Patterson crossed from the right edge of the box and found Neal Maupay.
The Frenchman could have had his brace just a minute later but his shot from inside the box didn't bend quite enough to meet the back of the net, instead swiping the woodwork on the right.
Ramy Najjarine made his case for more minutes by helping the Wanderers to equalise with their first significant chance only three minutes later. He parlayed a slick 1-2 with Sulejman Krpic into a goal from straight in front.
The combination of Najjarine and Krpic nearly had the Wanderers in the lead when the former found the latter inside the box with a free kick. But Krpic's header was deflected and on the rebound, Tomislav Mrcela struck the crossbar as the Blues held on.
Western Sydney were made to rue their near-miss when Abdoulaye Doucoure linked up with Gordon at the other end just a minute later and pushed the Toffees ahead.
The reversal of fortune did not deflate the Wanderers, who came out of the sheds with renewed vigour and ready to probe the Everton defence.
But hopes of a comeback were dashed when Gordon pounced on a save made by back-up Wanderers goalkeeper Daniel Margush, who could not block the ball a second time.
"He's a big talent and an attacking threat," Lampard said of Gordon.
Margush could have been forgiven for Gordon's brace but he fumbled Stanley Mills' strike straight to fellow substitute Tom Cannon and the Blues confirmed a big win with the easiest of goals.
In the shadows of full-time, Gordon thundered one final goal home to heap more misery on the Wanderers, who conceded more goals on Wednesday night than in the first six games of the A-League season.
Wanderers coach Marko Rudan skipped the post-match press conference to watch the second half of Croatia's World Cup match against Morocco.
The Wanderers made six changes to the starting side that beat Sydney FC in their previous match, assistant Tomi Vidovic explaining the Everton clash was an important chance to give fringe players time on the pitch.
"The result is always important but it was a good opportunity for us to have a look at some guys who haven't had a lot of minutes thus far," he said.
"Obviously we'll have a look at that and move forward going into the next match."