In what we hope will be a good omen for the senior side this weekend in the FA Cup, David Unsworth’s Everton Under-23 side travelled for a Premier League Cup game to Chesterfield’s ground in Derbyshire to play Sheffield United on Thursday night. A very pleasing 3-1 to the Blues was the final score.
Things got off to a poor start after just three minutes when the usually reliable Zan-Luk Leban in Everton’s goal spilled the ball into the path of a Blades striker Osula and he finished to give the Blues a real challenge to come back into the game.
Before they got better, things got worse three minutes later as the Blues’ young forward Charlie Whitaker, who had appeared to be fouled in the build up to Sheffield’s goal, was helped off the pitch to be replaced by Katia Kouyate. After some attractive but ultimately unproductive play scores were levelled just before the half hour mark as Stanley Mills, playing centrally as opposed to his normal right wing position, fed the overlapping Mackenzie Hunt on the left and from his fine cross substitute Kouyate planted a great header into the net. Game on!
Whereas we had suffered bad timing at the start of the game, the perfect time to score a second arrived in the 44th minute as Everton’s first corner of the game by Lewis Warrington was turned home by the impressive Mills.
After the restart, in the 49th minute, Mills, full of confidence scored an excellent second for himself and third for the Blues as he took the ball onwards and walloped the ball home from just outside the opposition penalty area.
The Toffees were good value for their lead and had chances after the goals but also crucially defended really well to preserve the 3-1 scoreline as they headed to the top of the Premier League Cup group.
The match was therefore most notable for Mills’ fine display in his changed midfield role and also the rare appearance of a few youngsters from the bench, Sebastian Kristensen, a young Danish centre back and young Welsh winger Liam Higgins. Next Premier League Cup game is 11th February against Burnley but much sooner than that they face Crystal Palace at home next Monday night. Things are looking up for Unsworth’s men.