With Newcastle’s youngsters having seven players in their side with Premier League experience it looked like a difficult task for the young Toffees to build upon their victory against Reading the previous fixture. On the stroke of halftime Adam Armstrong’s strike gave the Magpies the lead however Hallam Hope gave the Toffees a share of the spoils with a seventieth minute close-range strike.
After the international break there was little sign of rustiness with Newcastle by applying as much pressure and dominating through most of the encounter. Although it was Hope who was first to find the net on the 6th minute mark however an earlier transgression meant his effort was ruled out. Soon after Gael Bigirimana went close for the Geordies with the England U20 international having his long-range attempt tipped over by the impressive Mateusz Taudul. Then former Merseyside derby hero Dan Gosling came close twice once through a header from eight yards out and the second time shortly after Paul Dummett headed a chance wide of Taudul’s goal.
Adam Campbell, the most anticipated academy product from the Toon of recent years, came close however his effort was brilliantly cleared off the line by Jonjo Kenny in the 27th minute. Campbell had another attempt five minutes before the break, this time the striker lost his balance and fired over. This was the Toffees’ final warning as in the last kicks of the first 45 minutes Adam Armstrong found the net. The seven-time capped Slovenia midfielder Haris Vučkić ran at Tyias Browning and Ibou Touray down the Everton left finding James Tavernier who set up Armstrong to open the scoring from just inside the area. Vučkić was again causing Everton’s young defence problems just after the interval this time with a shot from long-range which was saved comfortably by Taudul.
When a lot of young teams would have sat deeper only providing the opposition with more of the ball and more time on it, Everton’s youngsters however attacked on the break. Chris Long had a close effort on 51 minutes with a drilled shot going inches past the post after going across the goalmouth. Bigirimana then produced the best out of Taudul in an already impressive performance. The Polish U19 goalkeeper tipped over Bigirimana’s deflected shot after clambering backwards and flinging himself at full stretch. On the edge of the box, Hallam Hope rushed and struck an effort over and wide of the goal in 68th minute. Kenny showed his worth at the other end of the field when he perfected a through ball for Long two minutes later. Long passed the ball across goal for Hope to equalise from near enough on the goal-line.
The Magpies pushed in response and just after Hope’s equaliser Sammy Ameobi, brother of cult Geordie hero Shola, found the post with a chipped effort. The last fifteen or twenty minutes or so was nervy for the young Blues but they defended valiantly with the only real attempt for the Magpies in the final stages again finding the frame of the goal; this time the bar, from six-yards out through Campbell’s swivel and hook shot. Everton’s young guns can take positives from this encounter against an experienced Newcastle U21 side, especially in defensive areas going into their next fixture at Goodison Park; home to Chelsea U21s next Monday.
Everton U21s: Taudul, Kenny, Browning, Pennington (Green 85th minute), Touray, Kennedy, Grant, Lundstram, Hope, Long and Ledson (Jones 64th minute).
Unused Subs: Springthorpe, Duffus, McLaughlin and Dyson
Newcastle U21s: Alnwick, Tavernier, Dummett, Bigirimana, Satka, Gillesphey, Vuckic (Aarons 84th minute), Gosling, Campbell, Armstrong and Sammy Ameobi.
Unused subs: Herdman, Mitchell, Gilliead and Quinn.