Starting with the Everton Under-18s, a quite sensational 12th minute solo goal on Saturday by right back Roman Dixon against Manchester City secured all three points for Leighton Baines’ team. He picked the ball up in his own half before simply bursting past several defenders and shooting home from wide of the goalkeeper. The match ended 1-0 to Everton and though the Toffees had to defend robustly they did enough to inflict a first defeat for their Manchester neighbours. Whenever the City team did get through on Everton’s goal they found Seb Jensen (son of former Burnley stalwart goalkeeper Brian Jensen) in good form.
In conclusion, a thoroughly deserved win against a good team, there were strong performances throughout the team but the headliner was not in doubt. Without wanting to put too much pressure on Dixon’s shoulders, Everton may one day actually have an excellent attacking right back who cost even less than “sixty grand”! I have seen glimpses of Dixon before and there is more than a passing resemblance to the style of our club captain Seamus Coleman. Like Seamus in his prime he has outstanding pace and close control and the ability to ride tackles well. It seems he can also now score goals!
The Under 21s meanwhile had fallen 2-0 to their Fulham counterparts on Friday evening in appalling conditions.
The Blues fell behind after a couple of chances for Stan Mills just would not go into the goal, one powerful drive was deflected wide when heading for the corner of the goal while after 25 minutes left back Mackenzie Hunt picked out Mills again for another chance and this time a fortunate deflection off a Fulham defender forced him to miscue his shot over the bar from close range. The swirling wind may have been a contributory factor as Fulham’s Dibley-Dias pinged a shot from fully 25 yards from the corner of the penalty area, his shot arching high over the diving Everton goalkeeper Zan-Luk Leban. If he meant it, then it was a spectacular goal. If it was a cross then he was very fortunate. 1-0 to Fulham.
Everton pressed well and just to prove that it was not to be their night, Charlie Whitaker set up Mills again nicely and this time his rocket of a shot hit the Fulham goalkeeper on the shoulder before he could move his arms and it went over the bar rather than in the net for a deserved equaliser.
There was a further degree of fortune that favoured Fulham on the hour mark when a right wing corner was headed towards the far post, appeared to deflect off the inside of Everton’s woodwork and roll very kindly into the path of the Fulham player Ablade just one yard out from goal, 2-0 to Fulham. Everton players protested strongly that a Fulham attacker had handled in the immediate aftermath of the ball hitting the post. It simply wasn’t their night.
Next match up follows quickly for the Under 21s on Tuesday 4th October as they travel to Yorkshire to play Harrogate Town in the Papa John’s Trophy competition. Always a test for the Under 21s playing against more senior opposition who play in League 2 of the Football league. Harrogate are 5th from bottom in their league table so will no doubt look upon this tie as a relief against our youngsters.
The Under 18s meanwhile travel to London to take on Chelsea on Saturday 8th October.