Everton Under-18s made it back-to back wins as braces from Anthony Gordon and Fraser Hornby helped them overcome Manchester City 5-3 in an thrilling contest at USM Finch Farm.
City arrived in Halewood looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the season, but the young Blues - fresh from an emphatic 5-1 win over Sunderland in their last outing - continued where they had left off against the Black Cats by taking the lead here, inside the opening minute.
Manasse Mampala latched onto Anthony Gordon’s through ball before coolly finishing past City keeper Pawel Sokol.
Two minutes later and Tait’s side were handed a golden opportunity to double their lead when Tommy Doyle tripped Gordon inside the City box, with the referee having little hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot.
Gordon picked himself up to take the spot kick but Sokol guessed the right way to push the midfielders effort away.
To complete a frantic opening five minutes, City levelled with their first chance of the game.
Henri Ogunby fed Jeremie Frimpong down the right before the full-back’s deflected cross was headed home by Keyendrah Simmonds from close-range.
From there, though, Gareth Taylor’s side began to get on top, with Felix Nmencha firing over before Iker Pozo saw an effort blocked by Con Ouzounidis.
On 19 minutes, City’s pressure told, as Simmonds notched his second of the game.
Ryan Corrigan’s cross-field ball found Ogunby on the right and after evading Nathan Moore’s challenge, the winger crossed for Simmonds who toe-poked the ball home.
To their credit, though, the young Blues weathered the City storm and levelled on the stroke of half-time, with Mampala this time turning provider for Gordon.
The Blues’ number nine collected Alex Denny’s pass, before crossing for Gordon who initially saw his effort tipped onto the bar by Sokol, but the youngster reacted quickest to fire the rebound into the bottom corner of the net.
As open and as even as the first-half had been, the second half was a much more one-sided affair with Tait’s side dominating from the first whistle.
And on 57 minutes, the young Blues’ dominance was rewarded with Gordon collecting his second of the game.
After some excellent pressure, City eventually lost the ball with Gordon pouncing, before racing clear to finish with aplomb past Sokol.
Coach Tait then decided to freshen things up by introducing Fraser Hornby and the forward had an immediate impact by bagging the young Blues’ fourth of the game.
But before Hornby could finish, Gordon would once again have his say. The midfielder ghosted past two City defenders before finding Hornby, who turned his man with ease and fired an unstoppable strike into the roof of the net.
Eight minutes later, and Hornby notched his second by finishing off a fine team move. Denny and Gordon combined before the latter fed Mampala whose low cross was turned home at the back post by Hornby.
City would get one back when Reece Devine’s intended cross ended up in the back of the net.
“I’m absolutely over the moon I though the boys played really well from the off,” coach Tait told evertonfc.com.
“We got tested. They’re a really good side; top of the league and haven’t dropped a point and you can see why. They have a way of playing that is difficult to stop.
“We spoke before the game about not just out fighting them but to do better tactically than them.
“At 2-1 to them it could of went 3-1 and I was thinking well what’s going to happen next? Are we going to fold a little bit and let them score - but we didn’t. We defended, kept it at 2-1 and we knew if we could create chances we can score goals.
“We got one just before half-time through Anthony, who I was delighted for after he missed the penalty - which I think affected him. But for him to bounce back and score a goal is credit to him.”
Tait was also full of praise for impact substitute Hornby.
He added: “He showed his class when he came on. He’s big and powerful but he can play and score goals as well. It was fantastic to have him back.”
Everton Under-18s: Hilton, Richards, Moore, Collins, Ouzounidis, Denny, Duke-McKenna, Scully, Mampala (Adedoyin), Gordon (Kerr), Iversen (Hornby).
Unused substitutes: Johnson, Corke.
Manchester City Under-18s: Sokol, Frimpong, Amankwah (Robinson), Rosler, Corrigan (Poveda) Pozo, Ogunby, Doyle, Simmonds, Nmecha, Devine.
Unused substitutes: Moulden, McDonald, Dele-Bashiru.