West Bromwich Albion, who currently sit last in the Premier League North table proved to be the Everton U18s’s first real test of the season as the Baggies managed to not only hold the Toffees to a draw but also found themselves in front twice throughout the match.
A 3-3 draw is a far cry from the comprehensive U18 victories which we have come to expect from the young Blues so far this season. To date they have orchestrated the 6-0 destruction of Blackburn and showed their quality in the 3-0 win over fifth placed Manchester City but for some unknown reason they couldn’t maintain that momentum when up against the Premier League North bottom dwellers.
Though the youngsters managed to take the lead through in form striker Ellis Simms, by half time everything had changed and West Brom were in front. They maintained that lead until the 50th minute when Kieran Phillips, making up for a missed penalty mind you, slotted home an equaliser making it 2-2.
At this point the U18s manager Paul Tait would have been forgiven for thinking that perhaps his league-leading Toffees could find a way to win. Unfortunately for him and us that wasn’t to be the case as West Brom midfielder Peter Taylor decided to show his quality by scoring from 30 yards out, putting Tait’s side behind for the second time in the match.
However, that was where the buck stopped for the side from the West Midlands as they were unable to hold the lead, which has been staple of their season. Simms would score his second and the final goal of the match ensuring both a draw for Everton and the continuation of their unbeaten streak… just.
In the end it was a tense affair with both sides given chances to win the match and understandably Tait was both disappointed with how his side played but saw positives in the performance as well.
“The game was end to end - a bit like a basketball match at times,
“We were disappointed at half-time and we told the lads we needed more from them. In terms of the defensive shape, we needed to be better all the way around the pitch.
“I thought we came out for the second half and started really well and their third goal is a wonder goal but a bit of a sickener because we’d just got ourselves back in the game.
“But, again, we showed quality and character going forward, got the ball to Ellis in good positions and he scored a good goal.
“We created a number of half chances after that and, on another day, we might have nicked it 4-3.
“But the lesson we take from it is that we’ve got to start games better than we did today and defend better as a team.
”In our next game, we’ll be looking to be much better out of possession.”
The boys next league fixture will be against Newcastle United at USM Finch Farm where they will look to punish a struggling team in United who were recently beaten 8-0 by Derby County in their last outing.