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Southport FC | 17th February 2013 14:00

Everton U21 v Middlesbrough U21

Everton Under-21s made it three wins on a row in 2013 after a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough.

Playing at home for the first time since agreeing a deal to return to Southport's Merseyrail Community Stadium, the young Blues were the better side throughout and triumphed thanks to goals from John Lundstram and the returning Ross Barkley.

Alan Stubbs' side almost took the lead in the 10th minute.

Hallam Hope's close range effort was deflected wide and from the subsequent corner, Apostolos Vellios' powerful header was very well saved by Connor Ripley.

The Blues were very much the dominant force during the early period with Francisco Junior and Barkley seeing plenty of the ball.

So it was no surprise when they took the lead in the 18th minute.

Vellios launched a high ball into the box and Lundstram controlled it beautifully before lashing a splendid low drive past the keeper.

Jan Mucha was largely untroubled in the opening period with a free-kick from Luke Williams that went over the bar representing the visitors' best effort.

Lundstram came close to doubling the advantage in the opening minute of the second half but this time his snapshot flashed inches wide of the target.

The Blues midfielder tested Ripley again on 52 with another well-placed shot that the Boro custodian did well to turn past the post.

Just before the hour mark a cross from Hope almost dipped under the bar and then Everton wrapped up the points with a second goal.

When the ball broke to Barkley on the left he produced a strong run before sliding a neat finish past Ripley.

Hope curled an angled effort wide in the 78th minute as Everton cruised home for a third consecutive win.

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