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Finch Farm | 2nd December 2012 13:00

Under-21s v Norwich

Goals inside the opening 13 minutes from Magaye Gueye and Conor McAleny earned Everton's Under-21s a 2-1 win over Norwich City on Sunday.

The Blues took victory - their fifth of the season - in what was their penultimate game of the opening group phase of the 2012/13 campaign.

After a bright Everton start, the lead came just eight minutes in, Gueye picking up a pass from Apostolos Vellios before turning two defenders inside out and firing low past keeper Remi Matthews.

It was two just four minutes later - and it was a goal Norwich stopper Matthews will be desperately keen to forget.

He let Gueye's long punt forward bounce past him and McAleny - making his comeback after eight weeks on the sidelines - nipped in to find the empty net from two yards out.

Alan Stubbs felt his side then took their foot off the gas and they were punished when Jacob Murphy outmuscled Tyias Browning and slotted home to reduce the deficit 10 minutes before the break.

A half-time dressing down led to an improvement in the second half and after Ross Barkley saw a headed effort bounce up and over the goalframe, twice Everton hit the woodwork.

First, Matthew Kennedy jinked inside his marker and thumped against the upright. Then Gueye tried his luck from 20 yards but saw his thunderous effort come back off the underside of the crossbar.

Matthews redeemed himself with a fine point-blank stop from Barkley soon after and that was as close as the hosts would come to extending their lead.

Francisco Junior came off the bench for Apostolos Vellios but his stay on the pitch would be short, the Portuguese midfielder rolling an ankle and making way for Anton Forrester.

The visitors made a vociferous late appeal for a penalty when the ball struck a stray arm in the box. Referee Mr Bristow was unconvinced, however, and the Blues held on to go into Thursday's final group game at Bolton on a high.

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