In the Premier League Next Gen Cup currently being held in India, a young Everton side followed up their last minute 1-0 win at the weekend against Sudeva Delhi with Tuesday night’s 2-1 victory over Reliance Foundation Young Champs.
It’s perhaps a sign that Kieran Driscoll’s squad is now adapting to the oppressive humidity in Mumbai after a week there. Perhaps it was the quality of the goals in the second half on Tuesday but there was an added spring in the step and the dismal opening day performance against Premier League side Wolves’ youngsters seems a distant memory.
Saturday’s match against Sudeva Delhi in 66% humidity was an exhausting one to watch and, I am sure, to play in was 100 times worse. Never has the phrase “last gasp” been a more appropriate one to use to describe the joyous moment when Jacob Beaumont-Clark finished off nicely after excellent work by Halid Djankpata. The soaring temperatures clearly affected some of the players but they kept going to the end and got a great reward!
Leaving it late in Mumbai #PLNextGen @PLforIndia pic.twitter.com/lnY8h6g2Pq— Everton Academy (@EvertonAcademy) May 20, 2023
On Tuesday, against Young Champs, the first goal was all about the endeavour and skill of promising midfielder Matthew Apter. It was the first of three very similar runs that he made in quick succession, two of them yielding goals and the other effort would see the crossbar shake for several seconds after his shot. Smart finish by Coby Ebere for the first mind you, he made up the ground, saw the space and seized the chance like good strikers do.
Sending us on our way to the win #PLNextGen @PLforIndia pic.twitter.com/T5s5xAqadC— Everton Academy (@EvertonAcademy) May 23, 2023
The second goal on Tuesday was a beauty too as Apter’s run and clever lay off as he lay on the ground, found skipper Djankpata and he weaved his way to get a smart shot in for 2-0.
@halidtop #PLNextGen @PLforIndia pic.twitter.com/vLMFVLp0U1— Everton Academy (@EvertonAcademy) May 24, 2023
In amongst all of that, the game against Young Champs was fiercely contested with some tasty challenges from both sides, Jenson Metcalfe in particular was in the thick of it. The Toffees had to be thankful for some good goalkeeping by Dylan Graham although there was nothing he could do for Mohamed’s consolation goal as an extremely unlucky bounce off Blues defender Daniel Maher fell into the Young Champs’ striker’s path.
The Blues now play West Ham at 3.30pm (BST) tomorrow.
Last words go not to Kieran Driscoll on this occasion but to Tuesday’s man-of-the-match Matthew Apter who gave some insight to what he and the team are being asked to do
Driving forward in the middle— Everton Academy (@EvertonAcademy) May 23, 2023
Matty Apter reflects on tonight's #PLNextGen win... pic.twitter.com/rZHYfHvMqO
Good luck in Thursday’s game!!