Everton Res v Aston Villa Res
New signing Royston Drenthe scored for the Everton Reserves as they beat Aston Villa 2-1 at the Halton Stadium, Widnes.
The Dutch international scored the Blues' second goal of the evening after teenager Ross Barkley had given the hosts the lead with an excellent finish from the edge of the penalty area.
Daniel Johnson set up a tense finale when he pounced on a loose ball with seven minutes to play but the second string held on to record their first victory of the season.
Drenthe and fellow new boy Denis Stracqualursi both started for Everton and showed glimpses of what they are capable of but it was Frenchman Magaye Gueye who was the stand out performer as he continues his comeback from a broken toe.
Gueye had a hand in both Blues goals and his pace and trickery were Everton's most productive outlet.
Alan Stubbs' side had to withstand an early barrage from Villa as the visitors twice went close to taking the lead in the opening quarter of the game.
On eight minutes Slovakian goalkeeper Jan Mucha made an acrobatic save to deny Villa winger Samir Carruthers. Carruthers connected well with a left wing cross and Mucha did well to deflect the ball away from danger.
After 21 minutes Villa striker Graham Burke cut inside from the left flank and his right footed piledriver beat Mucha but cannoned off the crossbar.
Within five minutes Everton took the lead through their best move of the game. Gueye's pass found Barkley who guided the ball into the corner of Benjamin Siegrist's goal with a classy finish from 20 yards out.
Everton's second goal was the result of some superb counter attacking play. Mucha quickly cleared a Villa set piece to Gueye and his clever reverse pass found Drenthe who raced clear of the Villa defence and passed the ball into the net.
In the second half both teams searched for a third goal, and Drenthe again went close in the 58th minute. Stracqualursi won a free kick on the edge of the penalty area, and the Dutchman's effort was parried clear by Siegrist.
On 64 minutes Stracqualursi showed good close control inside the penalty area, teeing himself up for an ambitious overhead kick that went a couple of yards over the Villa bar.
With 13 minutes left Gueye almost got the goal his performance richly deserved. Barkley found him inside the penalty area but he sliced his shot wide of the post.
Villa then halved Everton's advantage in the 83rd minute when youngster Daniel Johnson found the net. Mucha could only parry Gary Gardner's free kick and Johnson slammed in the rebound for 2-1.