Everton Under-23s maintained their 100 per cent start to the 2016/17 season with a 2-0 victory over Derby County at the Merseyrail Community Stadium.
The young Blues got off to a flyer as Harry Charsley’s thumping half volley found the bottom corner inside two minutes after a sweeping counter-attack down the right flank.
Charsley later notched his second of the evening - after another clinical combination with Kieran Dowell - to ensure a third win in seven days.
Fresh from triumphs over Tottenham Hotspur and Reading in the opening week of competitive fixtures, David Unsworth’s side were buoyed by the return of Callum Connolly and Jonjoe Kenny from respective injuries.
The duo, both of whom made their first-team debuts last term, were partnered together at centre-back - but the action began at the other end of the field, with the Toffees taking control from the outset.
The opener came with less than two minutes on the clock and it was Charsley who started and finished the move.
The Republic of Ireland Under-21 international found Duffus in the right channel, before the Cheltenham-born striker played in Dowell on the overlap.
Charsley was then there on the edge of the area to thump the ball home on the half volley after Dowell’s cut-back deflected into his path.
The hosts continued to dominate possession as the half wore on and doubled their advantage with 15 minutes of the opening period remaining.
After a delightful one-two between Dowell and Charsley, the latter managed to squeeze his shot home off the inside of the post to register his and Everton’s second of the contest.
While Everton continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession in the second half, clear-cut chances for either side were few and far between.
Substitutes Calum Dyson and Antony Evans came close to making an immediate impact just after the hour mark, but the former’s powerful 20-yard shot was well saved by Rams goalkeeper Jon Mitchell.
After chipping in with two assists, Dowell came close to registering on the scoresheet in the closing stages - but, after skipping past his marker, his shot from an acute angle was half-stopped by Mitchell before being cleared off the line.
Next up for the Unsworth’s troops is a trip to Leicester City on 25 August.
Everton Under-23s: Hewelt, Robinson, Connolly, Kenny, Jones, Walsh (Baningime, 88), Davies, Dowell, Charsley, Henen (Evans, 57), C. Duffus (Dyson, 57).
Unused subsitutes: Gray, Foulds.
Derby County Under-23s: Mitchell, Santos, Macdonald, Guy, Wassall, Cover, Gordon, Vernam, Jakobsen, Babos, Walker.
Unused substitutes: Ravas, Bateman, Thomas, Rashid, Davie.