Paul Tait’s Everton Under-18s had to come from behind not once but twice during their most recent Premier League North fixture against Derby County over the weekend, ensuring they walked away from USM Finch Farm with a 4-2 win in the process.
The Rams, who themselves came into the match having not lost in their last seven fixtures of the season ensured that the Blues had to earn all three points and thereby maintain top position in the league with a four-point cushion between themselves and Liverpool who have a game in hand.
Once again, Ellis Simms and Kieran Phillips proved to be the Toffees most potent weapons up front bagging a brace each and adding to their already gigantic goal tallies. Simms with 16 and Phillips with 9 in as many matches.
Blues manager Paul Tait was understandably pleased with side’s performance especially as they were able to come from behind twice and win at home.
“When you look at intensity levels, the pace of the game and the competitiveness of it, it was by far the toughest challenge we’ve had this season,
“We produced quality when we needed to and it was a really good learning process for the lads. For them to come out on top is very pleasing.
“We got a few messages over at half-time, we had a good chat with each other and had a plan for the second half, and the lads carried it out brilliantly.
“It was tough [in the second half] and Harry Tyrer had to make a couple of good saves late on when it was 3-2.
“Then we got a corner in the last minute and, when you’re 3-2 up at that stage, you maybe keep the ball in the corner and see the clock out… but the lads weren’t having any of that! We put bodies in the box and Ellis got on the end of a great ball and made sure of the win.”
Everton’s next league fixture is the Merseyside Derby and a much anticipated top of the table clash against Liverpool who have been nipping at the youngsters heels all season. It won’t be an easy victory for the boys but if the match against Derby County showed us anything, it’s that they can dig deep and find a way to win.
Like most Evertonians, Tait is beyond excited to be apart of the Merseyside Derby but is equally excited at the prospect of maintaining top position in the Premier League North standings.
“We’re looking forward to that one and we’re planning for it now,
“It’s a quick turnaround from Saturday.
“We’ve got to get the lads rested, get them refreshed and we won’t need to motivate them for that one – they’ll be ready.
“It will come down to whether we can continue the improvement we’ve shown – the win against Derby was another game where we’ve got better.
“If we continue that against Liverpool, we’ll take some stopping.”
Score: Everton 4 - 2 Derby County
Everton: Tyrer, Zuk, McKeown (YC), Anderson, Warren, Adedoyin/Warnock, Iverson, Carroll(YC)/Hughes, Hunt (YC)/Quirk, Simms (37’, 88’) & Phillips (21’, 40’)
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.