Everton remain unbeaten at the top of Premier League Cup Group B after a pulsating 3-3 draw at Doncaster Rovers.
The young Blues came from two goals down in the second half to secure the draw at Keepmoat Stadium courtesy of efforts from Nathan Broadhead, Matthew Foulds and Fraser Hornby, and assistant manager John Ebbrell was pleased with the players’ character.
“The second half was what we are about,” said the former Toffees midfielder. “We were all-action, the tempo was high and we caused them lots of problems.
“We know we’ve got goals in the team and the way the game had gone you could see that if we got that second goal then there was every chance we would get back into it. At 3-3 we just ran out time to win the game.”
The young Blues created a couple of early opportunities from wide positions, but it was the hosts who took the lead in the 10th minute. The Everton defence failed to clear the ball inside the area and Kieran Sadlier took full advantage by lashing it into an unguarded net.
The visitors drew level just three minutes later, though, with a fine goal. A great through ball from Hornby was collected by Broadhead and he kept his composure to lift it over the advancing keeper.
“He’s got that quality,” said Ebbrell of the Welshman. “He can run in behind and it was a really calm finish. I thought Fraser was terrific. too. He was winning headers, he was holding the ball and he was a threat.”
Doncaster restored their advantage on 25 minutes when Alfie May found space on the right of the area and slipped a nice finish past Joao Virginia.
The third Rovers goal came when Morgan Feeney and Ryan Astley went for the same ball and after getting in each other’s way, Myron Gibbons had the simplest of tasks to steer home past Virginia.
Foulds, making his return from injury as a second-half substitute, scrambled Everton back into the game from close-range on the hour.
And the equaliser came around 10 minutes later when Sambou showed great determination inside the box to tee up Hornby for a simple finish.
The result leaves Everton top of Group B with 10 points after four games, with home matches against Blackburn Rovers and Sheffield United to come next month.