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Frustrating day for Everton’s U23s

The return of Beni Beningime a highlight in an otherwise disappointing matchup with Arsenal

Annoyed.

That is how the Everton U23 manager David Unsworth was left feeling after his young side failed to capitalise on clear cut chances in front of goal and were forced to share the spoils of war with an Arsenal side who suffered from the same mistakes and bad luck the Blues did.

Both sides walked into their Premier League 2 clash at Meadow Park yesterday sharing top position and both teams no doubt wanted to leave knowing exactly where each other stood. Unfortunately for all involved that would not be the case as the match finished 0-0 with Everton only holding onto first place with a better overall goal difference.

The fact we couldn't score no matter how hard we tried wasn’t the only takeaway from yesterday's disappointing matchup. An early penalty request was flat out refused by the referee after in form Bassalu Sambou was brought down inside the box which as you can imagine infuriated Unsworth.

“I thought it looked a blatant penalty.

“The only reason I can think why the referee hasn’t given it is because it’s so early. But if it’s a penalty, it’s a penalty.”

Couple that with what looks to be a serious injury to defender Lewis Gibson who was stretchered off in the first half and you have the makings of a really bad day.

When players such as Dennis Adeniran, Morgan Feeney and Nathan Broadhead are denied time and time again by the Gunners you have to sit back ask yourself, why is this happening? Not even a long shot from Tyias Browning in his own half could do the trick. Did I mention that particular shot went over the goal keeper who then had to chase it down? It was that kind of day.

Now it would remiss of me not to mention that the squad was missing the likes of Fraser Hornby, Antony Evans, Josh Bowler and Brendan Galloway yesterday, but by the way the match played out I don’t think it would have made a difference in the eyes of Lady Luck.

Now we had plenty of players out but we did have a major return in the form of midfielder Beni Beningime who played a full 90 minutes which for all those watching and anticipating his return should be pleased with. Does this signal a return to the senior team at some point? Time will tell.

Speaking through Everton's official website Unsy was livid, especially after his team seemed to be on a tear this season but he did make sure to single out his defensive players as the stars of yesterday’s effort since they were able to ensure Arsenal had a horrible day too.

“We should have won the game. The back five were outstanding - we limited Arsenal to a couple of opportunities.

“Kyle John, on his first start, was outstanding, and Tyias and Morgan look a class above at this level. It was a good defensive display but I am leaving here thinking we should have had three points.”

Stale performance aside, the boys are still technically first and should be proud but need to pick up their game as their next league fixture will be against an ever game Manchester City who are 6th on the PL2 table at Goodison Park over the weekend and the young Blues will no doubt be looking to brush aside yesterday’s match and start fresh with a convincing win against the Sky Blues.

Score: Everton 0 - 0 Arsenal

Everton: Sambou, Broadhead, Markelo/Lavery, Adeniran, Charsley, Baningime, Gibson/Gordon, Feeney (YC), Browning, John, Virginia

Remember to keep checking in with RBM for updated news on Everton’s U23 and U18 squads as well as updates from the Academy as they happen.