U21s special - Ramsey's treat!
Chris Ramsey felt our Under-21s played some of their best football of the season against Everton on Monday night to book a place in the Barclays U21 Premier League Final.
Jon Obika’s last-minute diving header secured a thrilling 3-2 victory against the Toffees at the Lane and we now travel to Liverpool or Manchester United in the final. United host Liverpool in their semi-final tonight. A date has yet to be confirmed for the final.
We led twice but an impressive Everton side - unbeaten in the second phase of the competition - kept coming back for more.
Alex Pritchard opened the scoring but after a fine display in the first half in front of a vociferous crowd, Everton found an equaliser seconds before half-time through Conor McAleny.
Obika struck for 2-1, but Everton levelled again minutes later through Chris Long.
Both teams then had chances, goalkeepers Jordan Archer and Jan Mucha were both tested and Everton struck the post but as the clock ticked into the 90th minute, Christian Ceballos crossed from the left and Obika threw himself in to plant home a diving header.
“I thought our first half performance was up there with the best this season,” said Chris, our Senior Professional Phase Coach, some statement after the team’s 17th win out of 27 and now racking up 80 goals.
“We knew it was going to be tough because Everton have that grit and determination but we stuck to the philosophy of playing the football we want to play and that was really pleasing.
“We were in front a couple of times but the disappointment of Everton coming back twice didn’t stop us playing in the style we want to play.
“It was an outstanding performance and a great victory.”
We played both United and Liverpool in the Elite Group phase of the competition, beating Liverpool at home and at Anfield and toppling United at home, but losing 1-0 away.
“The final is the last building block in the players’ development this season,” added Chris. “We’ve played both teams and we know what we’re up against either way.
“But as I said, the most pleasing aspect for me was that we played in a style that we feel that is befitting of our club. That remains most important to us all.”