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#U21 #PL2 #MatchReport #Everton

10-man Under-21s see unbeaten run ended by Toffees

Sat 02 March 2024, 15:00|Tottenham Hotspur

Our Under-21s fell to their first Premier League 2 defeat of the season as Everton claimed a 2-1 win at Hotspur Way.

Having taken the lead at our Enfield training base with just four minutes played as Jamie Donley once again assisted Will Lankshear to score, we struggled to really take control of the game and were pegged back nine minutes before half-time with Tyler Onyango steering in from close range.

With the game in the balance though, the pendulum swung on 60 minutes as Onyango beat goalkeeper Aaron Maguire to an under hit back pass and was brought down by our man between the sticks - a foul which saw him dismissed by referee Robert Massey-Ellis. And with the man advantage, 10 minutes later, the visitors turned the game on its head with Omari Benjamin tapping home a rebound from close range

Lankshear produced a superb header in the final minute of added time as we mounted a charge to level but it was saved well as all three points headed back to Merseyside.

A team which only lost its 100 per cent record in the league last time out as second-placed West Ham claimed a point on their trip to Hotspur Way, after four minutes it looked for all the world like we would get back to winning ways as Donley - who provided the assist for each of Lankshear's strikes in last weekend's 6-0 Premier League Cup win over Fleetwood Town at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium - once again linked up with the centre forward, squaring the ball for him to put us ahead after just four minutes.

However, despite our fine start, it was we were not going to have the game all our own way as, while there were not many chances produced by the visitors, they were well organised and more than able to snuff out anything we looked to created. On 12 minutes though, the Toffees showed their threat through the 1.9m tall Onyango, who posed quite the presence in the box. George Abbott did well though to clear Charlie Whitaker's cross ahead of Onyango.

A golden opportunity presented itself for us to take a commanding lead in the game as we ticked just past the half-hour mark - Lankshear was released by Hall but, once into the are, the forward's fierce strike was blocked by the feet of goalkeeper Fraser Barnsley. And that was a missed opportunity we were left to rue as Onyango rattled the Toffees level on 36 minutes after being picked out by Whitaker.

Taking hold of game's momentum, the hosts almost had the lead just seconds after the restart as Benjamin sent the ball narrowly wide at the back post before Kyle John forced a smart save from Maguire at his near post. They then gained full control of proceedings on the hour mark as, when Abbott under hit his pass back to Maguire, Onyango was the quickest of the pair to the ball before he was brought down by our goalkeeper - an offence the referee deemed worthy of a red card.

With the man advantage, the men in blue turned the game on its head on 70 minutes with Benjamin hitting the target. Substitute goalkeeper Luca Gunter, who had come on in place of Max Robson, initially produced a good save to deny Lewis Warrington from range, but Benjamin was quickest to the rebound and had the simple task of tapping the ball home.

A goal behind and down to 10 men, we made a valiant attempt to get ourselves back on terms and preserve our unbeaten record, but the closest we came to levelling was via a well-directed header from Lankshear in the final minute of stoppage time, to which goalkeeper Barnsley was a match to.

Spurs - Everton (Premier League 2)

Maguire, Ashcroft (McKnight 79), Robson (Gunter 62), Cassanova. Abbott (c), John (Kyerematen 74), Soonsup-Bell (Williams 79), Hall, Lankshear, Donley, Santiago. Substitutes (not used): Andiyapan.

Everton: Barnsley, Onyago (Armstrong 66), Hunt, Welch, Jones, Warrington (c), Whitaker, Metcalfe (Djankpata 46), Okoronkwo (Kouyate 2), John, Benjamin (Heath 74). Substitutes (not used): Pickford.

Match data

Goals: Spurs - Lankshear 4; Everton - Onyago 36, Benjamin 70

Yellow card: Everton - Kouyate 87

Red card: Maguire 62

Referee: Robert Massey-Ellis

Venue: Hotspur Way

Weather: Partly cloudy, eight degrees