Everton U21s 3-1 Spurs U21s
Report from Goodison Park
18 May 2015|Tottenham Hotspur
The performance deserved more but our Under-21s were ultimately undone by Everton's clinical finishing in the first half and a brilliant display by goalkeeper Mateusz Hewelt as we succumbed to a 3-1 loss at Goodison Park on Monday night.
We fielded a young team in our final match of the Barclays Under-21 Premier League campaign.
Joe Muscatt made a his Under-21s debut and there were first starts at this level for Chris Paul and Armani Daly. In the second half, Charlie Owens came on for his Under-21s debut and there were second appearances for Cy Goddard and Zenon Stylianides.
It's also worth noting that seven lads - Paul, Muscatt, Anton Walkes, Shayon Harrison (who all started), Stylianides, Goddard and Owens - all flew in from the Terborg Tournament in Holland to play at Goodison.
Overall, there were many positives - not least Muscatt and Paul in the full-back roles - as we were denied time and again by Hewelt.
The lads kept plugging away and were finally rewarded four minutes from time when Grant Ward gave the goalkeeper absolutely no chance from 10 yards. That was after 86 minutes - Hewelt still had time to deny us twice more!
A 3-0 deficit at the break was hard to take as we gave as good as we got in the first half.
Ward and Kenny McEvoy both had early efforts before the pair combined to set up Shaq Coulthirst, who rose well to meet McEvoy's cross in the ninth minute but planted his header wide.
Goalkeeper Luke McGee did well to hold onto Kieran Dowell's free-kick on 10 minutes but the home side edged in front two minutes later. Sam Byrne picked out Chris Long's run through the middle, he was sent wide by McGee but somehow managed to scuff his finish between Paul and Alex McQueen.
We responded well and Hewelt was forced into a double save on 17 minutes, first parrying away Aaron McEneff's low drive before spreading himself to keep out McEvoy's follow up.
Ward connected well with another shot saved by Hewelt before we were hit on the counter-attack for 2-0 on 26 minutes.
This time Ryan Ledson intercepted Walkes' pass centrally and immediately sent Byrne away down the left. He drove into the area and fired across McGee into the bottom corner.
Once again we tried to hit back. McEvoy headed over Ward's free-kick and Coulthirst fashioned an opening after a one-two with Harrison but fired straight at Hewelt.
Everton grabbed a third on the stroke of half-time when right-back Jonjoe Kenny broke into the box, his first shot was blocked by Muscatt but, typical of the half, the ball rebounded straight back to Kenny who then drilled into the corner.
Stylianides made his second appearance at Under-21 level off the bench for Daly after 53 minutes as we started the second half well in terms of territory and possession. Chances were at a premium though in the first 20 minutes of the half and Ward came closest, shooting wide from 20 yards on 58 minutes.
Paul continued his impressive night with the next effort at goal on 65 minutes - and forced the next Hewelt save. Picking up the ball 25 yards out, he drilled low towards the bottom corner but Hewelt got down well to palm away to his right.
Goddard replaced Harrison on 70 minutes for his first Under-21s appearance of the season and he was followed into action by Owens, making his debut at Under-21 level.
Within seconds, Hewelt was again called upon, this time a sharp reaction save down to his right to keep out Ward from just inside the box. Ward was back in there on 76 minutes but couldn't connect with McEvoy's driven cross.
Play switched to the other end briefly on 80 minutes as Long broke down the right but McGee was always behind his shot from the right angle.
We finally got the goal we deserved on 86 minutes when McQueen's cross from the left fell at the feet of Ward and he made no mistake from 10 yards.
We kept piling forward and Hewelt denied us twice more - blocking Coulthirst from point-blank range with his feet before the final action of note as Ward dribbled into the area and let fly, only for the custodian to keep him out again.
Ugo Ehiogu said
“I thought we dominated possession at times even in the first half but didn’t have that killer instinct,” said coach Ugo. “We spoke about that at half-time and there was a difference in the second half and that was good.
“The players wanted to get into the box and risk passing forward, risk passing between the lines. We must have had 10 decent chances, so we’re disappointed not to have done better. Overall, it’s a tough one.
“I thought some of the youngsters stood out. Chris Paul was very good, Cy Goddard was excellent when he came on, he knitted us together and made us a threat.
Everton U21s: Hewelt, Kenny (Charsley, 82), Robinson, Browning, Connolly, Jones, Ledson (Walsh, 63), Williams, Byrne, Long, Dowell (Evans, 67). Substitutes (not used): Hunt, Langton.
Spurs U21s: McGee; Paul, McQueen, Walkes, Muscatt (Owens, 73); McEneff, Ward; McEvoy, Harrison (Goddard, 70), Daly (Stylianides, 53); Coulthirst. Substitutes (not used): Hayford, Miles (GK).