Everton were left saluting their bright young things as they ended AZ's unbeaten home record in Europe stretching back over 32 matches. James Vaughan, 19, stepped off the bench to score the winner in the 80th minute after being set up by Victor Anichebe.
It means Everton finished the group stages of the Uefa Cup with a 100 per cent record after four games. No one will fancy facing them in the last 32 when the draw is made in Nyon today. "They all performed really well against a good AZ side," said manager David Moyes.
"I think we're getting stronger as we go along. We've not won anything but that takes time. We've got players in good form but they have to keep their form up because they've seen there are players pushing to come into the team."
Moyes' much-changed side managed to extend their unbeaten run to 13 games in all competitions. They got off to a perfect start and took the lead after just 63 seconds. Andrew Johnson shook off the attentions of David Mendes da Silva to score at the near post, his fourth goal of the season. AZ equalised with a counter-attack when Graziano Pelle clipped a shot into the corner after good work by Simon Cziommer.
Everton regained the lead two minutes before half-time when Phil Jagielka headed home after Gretar Steinsson had cleared Joleon Lescott's shot off the line. It was the defender's first goal since his 4.5m move from Sheffield United in the summer.
Everton almost added a third in the 51st minute when Lee Carsley got on the end of James McFadden's corner, only to send his header narrowly over the top. Instead, AZ drew level again in the 66th minute as Kew Jaliens was left unmarked when substitute Julian Jenner swung in a corner and the skipper beat Stefan Wessels at the far post.
But Vaughan showed a cool head to send his effort into the corner after being set up by Anichebe. "You just want to take your chance when you get the opportunity and that's what I've tried to do," said Vaughan. "Hopefully I can carry on from there."
AZ Alkmaar: Waterman, Jaliens, Opdam, Pocognoli (Agustien, 77), Mendes Da Silva, Cziommer (El Hamdaoui, 66), Dembele, De Zeeuw (Jenner, 65), Steinsson, Vormer, Pelle. Substitutes not used: Romero, Koenders, Donk, Medunjanin.
Everton: Wessels, Hibbert, Jagielka, Lescott, Nuno Valente, Pienaar (Vidarsson, 69), Gravesen (Rodwell, 80), Carsley, McFadden, Anichebe, Johnson (Vaughan, 68). Substitutes not used: Ruddy, Jutkiewicz, Boyle, Irving.
Referee: S Dereli (Turkey).Reuse content