Sign him up: Everton fan who helped Ukrainian refugees given Toffees debut and scores penalty

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Dwight McNeil celebrates scoring for Everton in friendly win over Dynamo Kiev. Credit: PA Images
Dwight McNeil celebrates scoring for Everton in friendly win over Dynamo Kiev. Credit: PA Images

An Everton fan who has been working to help Ukrainian refugees was brought on to take a penalty during their pre-season friendly against Dynamo Kyiv at Goodison Park.

Paul Stratton came on towards the end of the ‘match for peace’ after travelling to Poland in March to help refugees fleeing the Russian invasion.

The Evertonian, who works for Liverpool Council, had planned to use a week off work to ‘watch Netflix and eat Pringles’ but instead travelled 1,300 miles with his brother to Przemysl to aid the people streaming over Poland-Ukraine border.

On Friday night, he was rewarded with the chance to take the field for Everton.

He was given instructions on the touchline by manager Frank Lampard before striding on to the pitch in full Toffees kit to take the penalty.

Stratton tucked away his spot-kick in front of the Gwladys Street End and celebrated in front of the fans before being congratulated by Everton’s players.

Everton led 3-0 at the time, with Dwight McNeil having climbed off the bench to score twice on his first Toffees appearance after Dominic Calvert-Lewin opened the scoring inside four minutes in front of 30,000.

“I thought it was a really good evening,” Lampard told evertontv after the victory. “It was a great game – and for the reasons we played it, everyone really respected what it was there for.

“It was good for us, it was a really good start and we got an early goal with good football.

“We wanted to start brightly. Sometimes you have to put your own energy into these pre-season games. There was a big crowd today, which was great for us, but we also needed to inject our own energy and we did with our play. We were purposeful with our passes, playing some longer balls to get up the pitch, staying on the ball, creating some early chances and then the goal came. It was a nice start.

“They are a good technical team and they came into it a little bit at different times, but what we wanted out of the game was more fitness, the feeling of Goodison and working on some combinations with the way we want to play, because pre-season seems to have flown by for everyone.

“There are still a lot of things to improve but there were some good things on show. Then, having more than 30,000 inside Goodison was brilliant.

“I’ve got my two older daughters here tonight and they didn’t get a chance to come up at the back end of last season because it was too tense – I told them to stay at home! They were here and they couldn’t believe it.

“I’d told them about the atmosphere and even tonight, albeit a friendly, you feel it. You feel what this club means to the fans. The players certainly appreciate that.”

The article Sign him up: Everton fan who helped Ukrainian refugees given Toffees debut and scores penalty appeared first on Football365.com.

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