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Crystal Palace U18s v Everton U18s

Everton Under-18s booked their place in the end of season play-offs with a 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace on Tuesday.

The young Blues only required a point from their final Elite Group game against the Eagles, and held on to earn just that after twice leading.

Everton were ahead with 15 minutes on the clock, as Gethin Jones surged down the right and crossed for Jonjoe Kenny to finish from six-yards.

A poor clearance on 29 minutes provided Palace a way back into the game and Derek Tieku took it from outside the area.

That caused the momentum to swing the hosts' way, with the Blues having to ride out the storm into the break.

Kevin Sheedy fired his troops back up and they earned a second lead on 65 minutes.

Jones again caused problems down the right, this time finding striker Callum Dyson.

His effort was saved but midfielder Ryan Ledson was charging in to nick the ball home.

A second goal from Tieku 10 minutes from time threatened to derail Everton's play-off hopes, but the Blues held on.

A total of 24 points from 14 league games was enough to secure third place in the table, ahead of Manchester United on goal difference.

Kevin Sheedy's side now face an away clash with second-place Reading, while table-topping Fulham will host the second semi-final.

The winners of Group One and Group Two will face off for the right to take on the Cottagers, with home advantage for the final falling to the victors of Everton's clash with Reading.

After the game, Sheedy told evertonfc.com: "It was a real difficult pitch when we arrived - a hard, bobbly surface that was always going to be a test for our style of football.

"So we couldn't play the controlled football as we have all season. We had to go a little bit more direct.

"It was a massive game for us as we needed to get the right result to qualify. We've played the conditions well, we played a lot more longer balls than we would like to but it worked for us.

"It was a tremendous effort from the players. We had our youngest squad of the season with 10 Under-16s in the squad - as young as we could be and that's great for the future."

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