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Finch Farm | 1st May 2013 18:00

Everton U18s v Bolton U18s

Everton Under-18s took a step closer to qualifying for the end-of-season knockout phase with a crucial 2-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers on Wednesday evening.

The young Blues dominated from start to finish but had to wait until the start of the second half to find a breakthrough.

With 65 minutes played, Conor Grant put Everton ahead with a low, crisp drive from 25 yards out that found the bottom corner of the net.

Victory was ensured in the dying minutes when Matthew Pennington slotted home after playing a clever one-two inside the penalty area.

“We played as well as we have all season,” a delighted Kevin Sheedy told evertonfc.com after the final whistle.

“In the first half we lacked a bit of cutting edge in the final third but our all-round play from the goalkeeper through to our forwards was excellent.

“We went in at half-time 0-0 and it was more of the same in the second half. We totally dominated the game and passed the ball really well.

“The first goal helped to relieve the pressure because we knew that we had to win tonight. Bolton tried to hit us on the break but we wrapped up the win two minutes from time. 2-0 was deserved and I think Bolton got off lightly with the scoreline.

“I said to the players before kick-off that this was a pressure game and they stuck to their tasks really well. They showed great mental strength, knowing not to force the play even though the first goal wouldn’t arrive.”

One more point from the final two fixtures against Fulham and Crystal Palace could be enough for Everton to qualify for the knockout phase. Maximum points from those two games could see the young Blues finish as Elite Group winners.

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