David Unsworth admitted his side didn’t deserve anything from the game as his Under-23 side surrendered their unbeaten run at Derby County.
Everton lost the Premier League 2 match 1-0 at Loughborough University and manager Unsworth bemoaned the Blues' lack of penetration.
“We were poor in possession and didn’t threaten their goal enough,” he said. “When you perform like that you can’t expect to win games.
“Other than Tyias Browning and Matty Foulds, who came on at half-time, I’m struggling to think of any of our players who outperformed his rival tonight.
“This was a reality check for the boys. Everybody has been singing their praises for being top of the league and it’s great when things are going well but good teams can play poorly and win.”
The only goal came in the 24th minute when George Thorne successfully converted a penalty awarded after Nathangelo Markelo tripped Aaron Eyoma. Joe Hilton went the right way but couldn’t reach Thorne’s kick.
Goalscoring opportunities were in very short supply in the first half and the Blues had to wait until deep into added time before Henrich Ravas was forced into a save. Bassala Sambou struck his angled shot goalwards from 12 yards but the Rams’ Slovakian ‘keeper dived to his right to push the ball away.
Everton skipper Morgan Feeney suffered a nasty gash in the first half and despite having the wound heavily bandaged he didn’t appear for the second period.
The Blues came within a whisker of a leveller on 54 minutes when Antony Evans curled a wonderful 30-yard free-kick over the wall and was unfortunate to see Ravas touch the ball onto the post.
Everton had plenty of possession in the second period but didn’t trouble Ravas enough. Evans had another couple of efforts from distance and substitute Josh Bowler headed over from a Fraser Hornby cross.
Unsworth’s team finished the game strongly and Harry Charsley and Shayne Lavery had efforts deflected wide. But the visitors couldn’t find the breakthrough against a home defence well marshalled by experienced Republic of Ireland international Alex Pearce.