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Southampton U18s v Everton U18s

Everton Under-18s capped a fine seven days with a 2-2 draw at Southampton on Saturday.

The young Blues went into the fixture on the back of two impressive demolitions of Crystal Palace and Manchester United earlier in the week.

And goals from George Waring and Curtis Langton helped to keep Everton very much in line for a play-off place at the end of the season.

Kevin Sheedy's side started brightly on the south coast, with in-form striker Waring nodding home Jasper Johns' second-minute corner.

The Blues passed the ball well but were pressed high up the pitch by the hosts, who quickly sought a reply.

That came on 15 minutes when Everton lost possession and were quickly made to pay the price as the Saints made it 1-1.

A similar incident occurred just five minutes later and the Toffees suddenly found themselves behind.

Another Johns corner brought about the equaliser in the second half, when defender Langton was well-placed to head home at the far post on 60 minutes.

That restored confidence in the visitors and a flurry of chances came in the closing stages.

Courtney Duffus headed narrowly wide and Harry Charsley beat two opposition players to weave his way into the box, but his shot was straight at the Saints goalkeeper.

And with the game well and truly opened up, Southampton nearly sealed all three points at the death - but Blues stopper Russell Griffiths produced a commanding stop to confirm a 2-2 draw.

The result lifts Everton to fourth in the Barclays Under-18 Premier League Elite Group - four points behind third-place Southampton with three games in hand.

Despite losing the lead, boss Sheedy was pleased with the performance of his players as they ended a busy week unbeaten.

He told "We had an excellent start and even at 2-1 down we tried to play football and stick to our policy. Mistakes will be made but they will learn from them.

"We played much better in the second half and created a number of chances.

"We have four games left with a maximum of 12 points available. It's been a really good week with our results and today definitely keeps us in there fighting."



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