Everton Under-18s made it back-to-back victories after braces from Antony Evans and Daniel Bramall helped the young Blues to a comprehensive 4-1 win over local rivals Liverpool.
Blues boss Kevin Sheedy named an unchanged 11 after last weekend’s 6-1 demolition of Derby County, and his young Blues side rewarded the Irishman with an excellent start to the game.
Indeed, there were only 10 minutes on the clock when they took the lead. Beni Baningime released Evans with a defence-splitting pass and the forward, who turned 18 a day earlier, then coolly composed himself before firing first-time past Caoimhin Kelleher.
The Blues then had two chances in the space of three minutes to double their lead. First Evans headed a Daniel Bramall cross wide – before Bramall crossed again, this time finding Manasse Mampala at the back post, but the winger failed to control his volley which went well over.
Liverpool’s first chance of the game came on 24 minutes. Yan Dhanda’s in-swinging corner found the head of captain Conor Masterson, but the centre-back could only direct his header wide.
Shayne Lavery then saw his effort pushed over by Kelleher – before the final chance of the half would fall the way of the hosts.
Toni Gomes broke down the left before crossing for Rhian Brewster – the Liverpool winger instinctively flicked the ball goalwards but Chris Renshaw got down well to push it away.
The Blues got off to the worst possible start in the second half, as after only four minutes the Reds were level.
Liam Coyle drove forward before finding Gomes. The forward then cut inside before firing an effort which was spilled by Renshaw allowing Dhanda to pounce and finish inside the six-yard box.
But to their credit Sheedy’s side rallied well, and they went close to retaking the lead when good play between Baningime and Evans saw Lavery advance on goal – but for the second time in the game the forward's effort was pushed over Kelleher.
However, on 66 minutes the Blues would go back in front with Evans collecting his, and Everton’s second of the game. The England Under-18 international advanced forward before coolly stroking the ball beyond the reach of Kelleher and into the Liverpool net.
Two minus later, and things got even better for Sheedy’s side as they put breathing space between themselves and their neighbours. Jack Kiersey disposed Jordan Hunter in the middle of the pitch before finding Lavery. The forward then released winger Bramall, who tricked his way into the box before seeing his cross loop over the goalkeeper and into the corner of the net.
The Blues sealed all three points and local bragging rights 15 minutes from time. Evans released Baningime who drove into the area before superbly picking out Bramall with a low cross that the wideman tapped home to complete his brace.
Speaking after the game to evertonfc.com Blues boss Sheedy was delighted with his performance.
"I’m really pleased," he said. “We had a game plan to sit back and hit them on the counter attack. We’ve got loads of attacking options and in the second half particularly we looked a real threat when they had the ball we intercepted and we broke really quickly culminating in three goals in the second half.”
Despite the Blues' dominance, Sheedy admitted he was frustrated in the manner in which his side failed to keep a clean sheet.
“I was disappointed in the manner in which we conceded. They hit us on the counter attack - we were in a good position on the edge of their box and we didn’t make the most it. They’ve then broke and equalised.
“Then for five minutes they were on top, but once we got our heads together and got the second goal we were totally in command of the game. We had some really good individual performances but what I was really pleased with was the work ethic and willingness to stick to the game plan. It was a really good day's work.”
Next up for the young Blues is a home clash with Sunderland.
Liverpool: Caoimhin Kelleher; George Johnston, Adam Lewis, Conor Masterson (c), Michael Parker, Liam Coyle, Rafael Camacho, Jordan Hunter, Toni Gomes, Yan Dhanda, Rhian Brewster.
Substitutes: Glen McAuley, Ben Williams, Kris Owens, Okera Simmonds, Diego Mattie.
Everton: Chris Renshaw; Liam Morris, Ryan Harrington, Beni Baningime, Callum Lees (c), Morgan Feeney, Daniel Bramall, Jack Kiersey, Shayne Lavery, Antony Evans, Manasse Mampala.
Substitutes: Ben Pierce, Nathan Moore, Mike Virtanen, Stephen Duke-McKenna, Fraser Hornby.