There’s more than a little irony when, as a club whose first team has so painfully struggled to score goals this season, the teams at youth level have been in such good scoring form.
When Stanley Mills bagged what turned out to be a consolation goal for the Everton Under-21s against Arsenal last Friday it was his 14th goal across all competitions and Mills is a right winger! In addition to Mills, the club’s top scorer at Under 21 level, Tom Cannon, scored 16 cross-competition goals before making the short journey up the M6 motorway to score a further 8 goals for Preston North End in the Championship. So he has thus far scored 24 goals in 43 appearances for Everton or Preston.
Over the course of the season, the Under 21s, with one game to go, have played 42 games in total scoring 83 goals. You don’t need to be the world’s greatest mathematician to see that is 1 goal short of an average 2 goals per game. Disappointingly, there have been 74 goals conceded at this level which have included two 0-5 reverses so it has not always been one-way traffic but it is significantly better than the paltry 28 goals scored across 36 games at senior level!
At Under 18 level also the team have scored 47 goals cross-competition in 27 games conceding 44 in the process.
Nobody would suggest that it is anywhere near as easy to score at Premier League level as it is at youth level, of course it’s significantly more difficult. However, there are goalscorers in the youth ranks for sure. One (Cannon) is even proving himself more than capable in English football’s second tier, a place we hope we don’t familiarise ourselves too much with in the near future!
The recent games themselves? The last game at Under 21 level saw a heavy 4-1 home defeat against Arsenal despite Paul Tait naming the same side except for a goalkeeper switch (Billy Crellin for Zan-Luk Leban) that had fared so well in their previous 4-1 demolition of Leicester City. Stan Mills headed home Katia Kouyate’s cross to give the Toffees a 27th minute lead but were later steam-rolled by a good Arsenal side.
At Under 18 level, April fixtures saw them take on a trio of sides from the North East with a 1-4 reverse against Sunderland followed by a 3-0 victory over Middlesbrough and a 1-1 draw with Newcastle United. Most recently Leighton Baines’ team secured a 3-0 win over thier Stoke City counterparts. Below are the smartly taken goals from the Boro game.
Recently the hot goalscorers for the Under 18s have been right winger Jacob Beaumont-Clark with 3 goals and also attacking midfielder Owen Barker with 3 goals also.
So, although it has been a stinker of a goalscoring season for the first team it is at least encouraging to see the boys below that level having the confidence to find the back of the net regularly.
Next up for Paul Tait’s team is their final game of the season against recent opponents Leicester City on Monday 8th May. For Leighton Baines there are home and away fixtures against Manchester United on Tuesday 2nd May and Saturday 6th May.