The “R word” is clearly spreading through the ranks of Everton Football Club. The oft-used Sean Dyche expression “relentless” has clearly made an impact on all quarters.
To be fair, it has been a fashionable idea around the Under-21 set up for some time. Katia Kouyate’s equaliser against Chelsea FC Under 21s on the stroke of half-time was the 5th time that Paul Tait’s team had scored in first half stoppage time this season. If you add the 7 goals scored in the last 10 minutes of other games, including 3 match-winning goals in second half added-time, then it’s a nice habit that’s been there all season at this level.
The game itself saw the Blues, playing in an attractive 4-2-3-1 formation, fall behind to a very avoidable 7th minute goal. Chelsea’s Burstow managed to get goal-side of Everton defender Reece Welch before lobbing Zan-Luk Leban from the edge of the area. 0-1.
Everton almost equalised within 4 minutes of that setback as the impressive Sean McAllister, making his return from injury in a #10 role, made space for himself to arrow a curling drive towards the top corner of the goal only for the giant Chelsea goalkeeper Bergstrom to claw the ball away.
In an end to end game firstly Leban made a fine stop from close range in the 27th minute and then McAllister, revelling in his attacking role broke forward 50 yards and saw his low drive crash back off the far post.
That “resilience” made its mark on the stroke of half-time as Isaac Price’s low vertical ball was cleverly dummied by Francis Okoronkwo on the half way line allowing McAllister to feed Kouyate. Despite the close attentions of two Chelsea defenders and the goalkeeper he managed to control the ball and swivel to plant a low shot into the corner of the net. 1-1.
The second half saw more pressure on Everton’s goal but the defence and Leban in goal were up to the task of maintaining the scoreline. A star jump save by the BLues stopper in the 65th minute to deny Chelsea dangerman Burstow was the pick of the bunch of saves he made.
It wasn’t all one way traffic though and a great move involving McAllister saw him feed Okoronkwo and his powerful left foot drive was expertly tipped away by Bergstrom. The game finished 1-1 with Everton having the last chance of the game in the last minute as substitute Isaac Heath fired narrowly over the bar.
The young Blues now have to wait until Friday 31st March to get back to winning ways at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers.