Whether the Everton senior side have their act together or not in the Premier League, the Under-23 side continues to fly the Blue flag high in the Premier League 2.
Led by David Unsworth, the young Blues have been crowned youth champions of England for the second time in three years after beating fellow contenders Brighton & Hove Albion in the penultimate round of the league last night at Goodison Park.
The Toffees looked to have the title completely sewn up over a month ago following a famous 2-0 win at Anfield in the mini-Merseyside Derby, but two unfavourable results meant the title race came right down to the second last weekend with Everton hosting Brighton who were just three points behind.
Young winger Josh Bowler got the all-important goal in the title decider, firing home midway through the first half for the winner.
There was even some time for late drama after March Under-23 Player of the Month Lewis Gibson conceded a penalty, but with the championship on the line Viktor Gyokeres fired over to preserve the lead.
Speaking after the game, an elated David Unsworth commended the youngsters.
“I’m very proud and it’s a great night for the Club. We should have been out of sight and scored maybe three, four or five goals. But we won the game and that was the main thing.
“I’m so proud of this group of players and my staff as well, because they have worked so hard. It was a great performance tonight. At 1-0, it’s always a little bit nervy and then they get the opportunity with the penalty.
“Fortune favoured us a little bit, but I think we deserved that tonight, because we’ve been fantastic all season.
“Since the first day of pre-season, on 1 July, the players have been amazing. We work them very, very hard – and to get over the line and achieve something like this is a great feeling.
“They are all very together as a group, they’ve got a real desire to win and they’ve just got better and better as the season has gone on.”
Everton lineup against Brighton:
Starting XI: João Virgínia; Astley, Galloway, Nathan Markelo, Feeney (c), Gibson; Bowler (Gordon 91’), Adeniran (Denny 88’), Hornby (Foulds 72’), Sambou, Broadhead
Subs: Foulds, Hewelt, Gordon, Mampala