A few senior players were involved in Friday evening’s Premier League Cup tie between Burnley and Everton. Both Ashley Barnes, who has played over 200 first team games for Burnley and Jean-Phillipe Gbamin, who has played way too little for Everton because of injury helped their younger team-mates in a closely fought fixture. Both senior players were substituted later in the game but will have earned valuable playing minutes for their respective teams.
Rhys Hughes, dead-ball specialist for the Everton Under-23s, had hit the post in the opening stages but the Blues were grateful shortly afterwards to Billy Crellin, their deadline day goalkeeper signing from Fleetwood Town. He made a fantastic double save from Barnes and fellow Burnley attacker Tucker around the 20 minute mark before Lewis Dobbin, also gaining competitive minutes, opened the scoring for David Unsworth’s team on the half-hour. It was a trademark run by Dobbin, cutting inside at pace with good close control from the left of the opposition penalty area before firing home.
Burnley were not to be denied however and former Everton scholar Bobby Thomas headed home from a corner just before the half time interval. 1-1 at the break.
Blues’ left back Joe Anderson narrowly failed to convert a good chance following a corner in the 75th minute and the Toffees were frustratingly made to pay for that with a minute of normal time left as Burnley substitute Joe McGlynn coolly finished past Crellin.
Everton’s continued participation in the knockout stages of the competition now depend on results in Peterborough and Sheffield United’s final matches yet to be played.
To round up the younger teams’ action this weekend, Everton Under 18s bounced back from their disappointing FA Youth Cup exit to secure a good league win away at Nottingham Forest thanks to a goal from promising winger Halid Djankpata. Interestingly, a little like the first team over the weekend, the young Blues registered a high number of shots at the opposition goal, maybe a sign of things to come throughout the different levels? As the old adage goes “if you don’t shoot you don’t score”!