The start of the real UK winter with plummeting temperatures has already seen extremely late highs and lows for Everton’s Under 21s. Two cup ties, one in the Papa John’s Trophy and most recently, the Premier League 2 Cup had very different outcomes for Paul Tait’s team. Last Wednesday saw a dramatic comeback 2-1 win with goals from a revitalised Liam Higgins and who else but Tom Cannon in the 91st and 94th minutes. That was under the lights of Goodison Park against a strong Mansfield Town team in the Papa John’s Trophy. By contrast, on Saturday in the Midlands, in the 92nd minute they fell to a Premier League 2 Cup defeat after having created multiple chances to put the game to bed.
So to the game on Tuesday night and the most extreme high of the lot, again in the Premier League 2 Cup. A dominant Everton side, playing a 3-5-2 formation, thrashed Colchester United 7-2 at Southport, adding to a run of miserable heavy defeats for the Essex outfit. They had conceded 12 goals to Southampton in 2 recent games.
Far from leaving the goals till late in the game the Blues got off to a flyer with a goal from Tom Cannon in the first minute. Poor defending allowed Everton’s top scorer to create the chance for himself to score with ease. 1-0.
That lead was doubled in the 17th minute by Katia Kouyate, playing in a front two with Cannon as opposed to the left-wing role he has mainly occupied. He chased down a long pass down the right wing, rode a tackle and cut inside before finishing under the goalkeeper. 2-0.
KOUYATE!— Everton Academy (@EvertonAcademy) December 6, 2022
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The third came following a powerful Cannon drive which was parried sideways for Mackenzie Hunt to show his good control in keeping a difficult shot under the bar and into the net for 3-0.
In first half injury time Halid Djankpata harried a Colchester defender in his own area, won the ball and squared for Kouyate to notch his brace, 4-0.
The second half saw a much more spirited performance from the opposition and the Blues defended well and rode their luck at times. Everton did have chances to increase the lead, the most notable effort being a great right footed curved shot by Cannon which clipped the post with the goalkeeper beaten.
The goal-fest continued in the 74th minute and it was a fifth for Everton and what a goal it was!! A measured long ball from centre back Joe Anderson found Hunt in space on the left and his perfect cross was expertly dummied by Isaac Price in the centre of the area for the ball to run through to Kouyate who thundered a shot into the net. A truly outstanding team goal, 5-0.
KOUYATE HAT-TRICK!— Everton Academy (@EvertonAcademy) December 6, 2022
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There was a sense of disappointment in the 82nd minute as Colchester’s Redgrave pulled a goal back following a goalmouth scramble but few would deny they did deserve something from the game, 5-1.
That five-goal margin was restored a minute later as a great ball from Isaac Heath found Cannon to the right of the penalty area and his composed and clever finish beat the goalkeeper at his near post, 6-1.
Another good team goal saw the Blues go 7-1 up as Kouyate turned provider and Cannon likewise as Kouyate’s great cross found Cannon and despite the urge to grab his hat trick as well he laid the ball for Price to score with ease.
Drakes-Thomas for Colchester grabbed an injury time consolation goal with a great left-footed shot to take it back to a 5-goal margin but it could not take the gloss off a great night for Paul Tait’s men.
Full highlights and all the goals here -
It was a much-changed line up as the youth teams try to juggle fixture congestion across competitions between the Under 21s, the Under 18s and with the FA Youth Cup looming. Add the inclusion of several of these players into first team training squads and it was especially rewarding to see so many younger players featuring with Sam Coughlan, Odin Samuels-Smith, Troy Smikle-James making their first appearances at this level and the successful return from long term injuries by right wing back Liam Higgins and midfielder Lucas Butterfield.
Manager Paul Tait was clearly delighted.
“The lads were very professional, applied themselves really well and there was some really good performances.
“To score seven goals is brilliant. We started well, and scored after 48 seconds, so it was a great start. We then kept creating chances and got the goals, even though I thought they had quite a bit of possession in the first half.”
“We talk about application all the time with them, they come up with the answers when we ask them questions.”