Everton Under-18s fell to a 3-1 defeat to current Under-18 Premier League champions Manchester City at Finch Farm on Saturday morning.
The visitors, who are managed by former Blues midfielder Lee Carsley, dominated the opening half but only broke the deadlock on 55 minutes through Joe Hardy.
Everton searched for an equaliser but any hopes of getting back into the game where dashed as both Ian Carlo Poveda-Ocampo and Jadon Sancho netted late on for City.
Blues midfielder Fraser Hornby fired home from a corner deep into stoppage time but it would just be a consolation for Kevin Sheedy’s side.
Before the match began, both sets of players and coaching staff paid tribute to Everton scout Sid Benson, who sadly passed away on Wednesday, with a one-minute silence.
City started brightly and had the ball in the back of the net with just 10 minutes on the clock when Sancho, who was lively throughout, slotted the ball past Chris Renshaw, but - to the relief of the hosts - his effort was ruled out for offside.
With the visitors having the lion’s share of possession, Everton seemed content with hitting City on the break and with the pace of Daniel Brammall and Shayne Lavery, the tactic was bringing some joy for the young Blues.
Brammall created space for himself in the box before bringing the ball onto his right foot but his curling effort was straight at the keeper.
He then turned provider as his in-swinging corner found Hornby at the back post but the Scotland youth international couldn’t direct his strike on target.
Everton then had keeper Renshaw to thank as he denied Hardy twice in quick succession to ensure the Blues went into the break on level terms.
Moments into the second half though, and it was third time lucky for City striker Hardy as he slotted past Renshaw on 55 minutes to give his side the lead.
Northern Ireland youngster Lavery was just inches away from poking home a Brammall cross with less than 10 minutes remaining but the Blues were dealt a heavy blow when City immediately went up the other end and doubled their advantage through Poveda-Ocampo.
Sancho then made the task even harder for Sheedy’s youngsters when the midfielder added a third with a sublime strike that flew past Renshaw and found the top corner.
Hornby netted late on for the Blues when the visitors failed to deal with a corner but that couldn’t prevent Everton from slipping to their second defeat of the new campaign.
Despite the loss, coach Sheedy praised the character shown by his youngsters and drew on plenty of positives.
“We came up against a good side in Manchester City today,” Sheedy told evertonfc.com. They dominated the game in terms of possession and we didn’t do so well when we had the ball which was a big disappointment.
“But we kept on going, we were 3-0 down towards the end and we scored from a set piece which shows the character was there from the lads. Their heads didn’t go down, they kept on fighting.
“Even though we are disappointed, we’ve got a lot of things out of the game. We know what we need to work on but as usual the players gave everything which is all you can ask for. On the day we were just beaten by the better side.
“One or two of our players did really well, there were some really good individual performances which was a real plus for us so although it is disappointing to get beat, a lot of things will come out of the game and we can certainly take some positives from it.”
Everton Under-18s starting XI: Renshaw, Duke-McKenna, Harrington, Ouzounidis, Lees, Scully, Withe, Denny, Lavery, Bramall, Hornby.
Everton Under-18s subs: Pierce, Virtanen, Mampala, Moore, John.
Manchester City starting XI: Muric, Rosler, Latibeaudiere, Coveney, Wilson, Francis, Bolton, Smith, Hardy, Foden, Sancho.
Manchester City subs: Blackshaw, Anderson, La Rosa, Beeman, Poveda-Ocampo.