As the first team were exiting the FA Cup, the Everton Under-21s slipped to a disappointing 2-1 home Premier League 2 defeat against their West Ham counterparts on Friday night at Southport.
Two sloppy pieces of defensive play firstly by Reece Welch then Eli Campbell almost gifted the visitors the lead. In between those errors, we saw a strong 60 yard run by leading goalscorer Tom Cannon which ended with his good shot being palmed away and also a Francis Okoronkwo header, from a Stan Mills cross, straight at the goalkeeper.
Mills also shot narrowly wide following good work by Okoronkwo, who was playing as #10 rather than his usual centre forward or winger role.
Pressure told in the end in the 28th minute however as the unmarked Simon-Sawyer put the Hammers into the lead from a right wing cross. 0-1.
In the second half the Toffees fell further behind, this time really harshly. Robinson, for West Ham, went on a marauding run through the middle and as he was on the edge of the Blues area Welch made a perfect sliding tackle to win the ball. The West Ham player’s subsequent fall convinced the referee to award a ridiculous penalty and Mubama managed to score the spot kick, his shot evading Zan-Luk Leban’s fingers by inches. 0-2.
A great save by Leban following a West Ham break kept the score down as the Blues pressed to get back into the game. They did just that 10 minutes from time and in what style! After Seb Quirk had carried the ball forward towards Tom Cannon, the latter was upended 20 yards from goal to the slight left of centre of the penalty area. He took the free kick himself and it was perfection, up and over the defensive wall and nestling in the top left corner of the net, a great Beckham-esque goal, 1-2.
January 8, 2023
The young Blues pressed for the equaliser in the closing minutes, Mills heading narrowly wide from a Joe Anderson cross and with the last kick of the game substitute Liam Higgins’ drive from 20 yards appeared to strike a hand in the Hammers’ area but no penalty award this time.
As a positive from the game, we did see the introduction of Einar Iversen as the young Norwegian Under 21 midfielder came off the bench for his first appearance since March 2021 following a lengthy injury lay-off. Next up for Paul Tait’s side is the short trip to Blackburn Rovers on Sunday afternoon.