Rooney winner seals Everton win, Swansea draws

Wayne Rooney proved the hero for Everton as his first-half header sealed a narrow 1-0 win over Stoke City, while Swansea City and Southampton played out a goalless draw.

Wayne Rooney enjoyed a dream return to his boyhood club, as he netted his side's winner in its encounter against Stoke City.   -  Getty Images

Wayne Rooney enjoyed a dream return to Premier League action for Everton with the only goal in a 1-0 win over Stoke City at Goodison Park on Saturday.

Quiet for much of the opening 45 minutes, the homegrown hero exploded into life with a well-taken winner in first-half stoppage time.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin assisted Rooney's opener and twice went close after the restart but the solitary goal proved enough for Everton to kick-off its campaign with a win for the first time in five attempts.

Everton had earlier struggled for fluidity as Ronald Koeman fielded five new signings from the outset, with Jordan Pickford comfortable in claiming a clean sheet.

Stoke looked bright in patches but, with only five teams scoring fewer goals last season, its troubles in attack still appear to need solving.

Both teams began with three at the back and it was the away side who looked more incisive early, targeting the space in behind Everton's wing-backs.

Mame Biram Diouf forced Pickford to push a wayward cross around his near post while the host was restricted to shooting from range throughout the opening 25 minutes, midfielder Idrissa Gueye twice trying his luck to little effect.

Stoke, without an opening day win since 2009, looked the likelier of the two to score before the end of a cagey first-half until Rooney rose high and headed Calvert-Lewin's delivery back across Jack Butland to the delight of the home fans.

-Swansea and Southampton play out a goal-less draw-

Southampton's miserable record on the opening day of a new season continued on Saturday as Mauricio Pellegrino's side were held to a 0-0 draw by Swansea City.

Only once in their previous 10 Premier League seasons had the Saints claimed all three points on the first weekend, and it was unable to improve that record despite dominating proceedings.

Under the guidance of new boss Pellegrino, the host impressed in the opening 45 minutes with 13 shots to Swansea's two, Dusan Tadic and James Ward-Prowse going closest for the hosts.

Swansea was limited to half chances for loanee Tammy Abraham and he was unable to test Fraser Forster on his first top-flight start.

It was Southampton who posed the greatest threat, though, as more chances came the host's way but its profligacy in front of goal proved costly as Swansea clung on for a point.

Pellegrino's reign began with a lively start from his players, Manolo Gabbiadini and Tadic going agonisingly close inside five minutes.

Gabbiadini's header clipped the top of the crossbar, while Tadic could not steer the ball beyond Lukasz Fabianski after Ryan Bertrand's marauding run down the left.

Southampton's high-pressing game gave Swansea little room to manoeuvre, but with 10 minutes on the clock a swift Wayne Routledge counter-attack gave Abraham a glorious chance – the debutant heading wide.

It was a brief attacking moment for the visitor and the impressive Ward-Prowse was denied the opening goal by a superb block from Alfie Mawson.

The home side demanded a penalty on the half-hour mark as Gabbiadini was felled by Federico Fernandez, but referee Mike Jones waved away its protests and a dominant Southampton then saw Maya Yoshida's acrobatic strike go wide before the break.

A refreshed Abraham produced an excellent Cruyff turn inside the penalty area in the opening minute of the second half, but his shot was deflected wide by Cedric Soares.

Southampton quickly resumed its control of the encounter, with Tadic and Gabbiadini both heavily involved without stretching Fabianski.

That became an all too regular occurrence for the host as Swansea defended deeply in search of an opening day point on the road.

And cling on they did, but only thanks to misses from Yoshida and Tadic – the latter finally testing Fabianski before the Japan international inexplicably headed over and then sent a free-kick bouncing just wide.

Support Sportstar

Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos