If the Everton U18s were looking forward to another easy win, and perhaps another big goal tally like the one they earned against the Rovers last week then they were surely disappointed yesterday when Stoke City were able to keep the Toffees scoreless at home until the 89th minute.
Not to say we didn’t have our chances which included strikes from Bobby Carroll, Joe Anderson and last weeks ‘one goal isn’t enough, I’ll score four’ Ellis Simms.
Through the first 45 minutes Paul Tait’s young squad was able to keep Stoke on the defensive so much so that Blues Goalkeeper Harry Tyrer could have been excused if he decided to run into the USM Finch Farm gym for a quick session to keep warm.
The second half played out much in the same way as the first with Everton maintaining the offensive while Stoke found ways to keep the score level, though errors on goal from the Toffees front line helped with that to.
As the 90th minute grew closer a foul committed on Carroll by Potter’s defender Ethan Stanton saw Everton given the chance to take the win in a frustratingly even game. Skipper Kieran Phillips was able to convert the penalty easily thereby ensuring a 1-0 victory for his side.
Tait would comment after the game insisting that they were lucky in the end. Stoke played defensively and his side, even with the addition of an extra forward late couldn’t capitalize.
“Stoke defended really well with blocks and clearances making it really difficult for us,
“We threw an extra forward on at the end to try to win the game and thankfully we have had a bit of luck with some good play and Kieran has stepped up and slotted home the penalty.
“We are full of confidence at the moment. It’s then the effort and endeavor but we have to back that up with the quality to unlock the door and thankfully we were able to do that today.”
Next up for the Toffees is a trip to Manchester City who currently sit fourth on the Premier League North table after only two wins in five attempts. However City have scored 16 goals in those five games which is two more then Tait’s youngsters. The U18s manager isn’t worried though and feels the confidence currently imbued within his players will carry them to yet another victory.
“It’s a really good game for us and we go there full of confidence. They have top players and it’s a top academy. The lads are all looking forward to it and we go there with nothing to fear.”