Everton Under-23s climbed to the top of the Premier League 2 table with a 2-0 victory over Manchester United at the Merseyrail Community Stadium.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin slotted home his first goal in royal blue in the first half before Oumar Niasse wrapped up victory after the break.
The game also saw Joe Williams make his comeback from a serious knee injury, as he made a second half cameo.
The first meaningful attempt on goal of the evening went Everton’s way in the 10th minute, but Sam Johnstone comfortably claimed Callum Connolly’s speculative drive.
Up to that point, and soon after, both sides fought for possession for long spells, but it was the hosts who managed the breakthrough.
A poor back pass was much too short for United keeper Johnstone and Calvert-Lewin slotted into an empty net for his first Toffees goal.
A half of few chances ended with United’s Charlie Scott almost catching Mateusz Hewelt out with a mishit cross but the Blues went in ahead at the break.
United’s Matthew Willock shot wide before Kieran Dowell forced a decent stop down to his right from Johnstone, as the second period opened with a bang.
Minutes later, Liam Walsh released Niasse and the Senegalese squared for Calum Dyson. The striker connected well but a flying Regan Poole came to United’s rescue with a brave block.
Everton continued to press forward looking for a second – Tom Davies trying to curl an effort into the corner, only for Johnstone to beat the ball away.
The Blues did soon find their second goal – and it was Niasse who grabbed it. Dowell’s clipped cross was perfect for the forward to stoop and guide it past Johnstone.
That was Niasse’s nights work complete – off he went for Williams, the midfielder’s first appearance of the season after recovering from the knee injury he sustained in the last game of the previous campaign at Chelsea.
Combination play down the right saw Gethin Jones almost squeeze a shot past Johnstone at his near post, while sub Courtney Duffus was denied by a strong Axel Tuanzebe block - but the hosts had struck decisive blows and United could not find a way past a resolute royal blue rearguard. They did come mightily close - Hewelt saving well from Demetri Mitchell, before Jonjo Kenny deflected the follow-up over the bar.
The result handed David Unsworth's side their second successive win, and saw them sit atop the pile in the league standings.