Korede Adedoyin hit a brilliant brace but Everton Under-18s boss Paul Tait said his team paid the price for "lapses in concentration" in a 4-2 defeat at Stoke City.
After goals from Patrick Jarrett and Ethan Varian got the Potters off to a flying start, two fine individual efforts from Adedoyin meant the scores were level by the half-hour mark.
First, the forward showcased his blistering pace to outstrip the home team’s centre-halves before slotting home.
The 18-year-old then cut inside down the right channel and finished expertly with his left foot to make it 2-2.
Stoke would go into the break in the ascendancy, however, as Mohamed Sankoh headed home from a free-kick delivery in first-half stoppage time.
Sankoh got his second 12 minutes after the interval to secure maximum points for his team.
The result means Everton are now second in the U18 Premier League (North) table, but they remain hot on the heels of leaders Liverpool, who are just one point ahead.
The electric performance of goalscorer Adedoyin drew praise from boss Tait but the manager admitted his disappointment his side could not convert a vibrant attacking display into a victory.
“We didn’t defend well enough in terms of the goals we gave away,” he said.
“But we got back into a really strong position through two very good goals from Korede. He was immense in the first half and could have scored two more – he hit the post twice, too.
“But then we had a couple of lapses in concentration either side of half-time and that was the story of the game, really.
“Even at 4-2, we continued to create chances but weren’t quite able to take them.”
Next up for Tait’s men is a FA Youth Cup quarter-final against West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns on Tuesday night (kick-off 7pm).
Tait is expecting a tough examination from the Midlands side but insists the young Blues will approach the game full of belief they can reach the last four.
“The players are really excited,” he said. “We’ll get them back in tomorrow and we’ll be ready to go.
“West Brom beat Arsenal in the last round, who were the favourites to win the tournament, so it will be a hard game.
“We have had some real tough tests along the way so far and this will be another one - hopefully we can come away with another win.”