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v Arsenal

Saturday 23 August K.O. 17:30

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Merseyrail Community Stadium | 3rd April 2014 19:00

Everton U21s v Liverpool U21s

Magaye Gueye struck two fine goals as Everton Under-21s racked up their second win of the week with a 2-1 defeat of Arsenal at Southport's Merseyrail Community Stadium.

Gueye, who had also started Monday's 3-1 victory against Southampton, opened the scoring with a spectacular early free-kick before doubling his side's advantage shortly after the break.

Arsenal did hit back through winger Ainsley Maitland-Niles, but it wasn't enough to deny the Blues three valuable points in their quest for a top-half finish.

For the second time in four days, Alan Stubbs was able to call upon the experience of 23-year-old forward Gueye.

And it was the Senegalese Olympian who got the Toffees off to the perfect start just five minutes in.

Awarded a free-kick 20 yards from goal, Gueye waved away his teammates before thundering the ball past keeper Matthew Macey, high into the top corner of the net.

Prior to that Everton had already threatened when Chris Long flashed a rasping shot inches over the crossbar.

And the striker almost added to his side's lead on eight minutes, pulling a fine fingertip save from Macey after a neat turn on the edge of the box.

Happy in the ascendency, Everton continued to commit men forward and it almost paid off when Conor McAleny pinched possession from Arsenal's Semi Ajayi before curling a shot that so nearly gave him his fourth goal in five starts since returning from the broken leg he sustained while on loan at Brentford in August.

Sadly, that was to be the last meaningful action for the 21-year-old as a knock forced him from the field with five minutes of the half remaining. Calum Dyson was the player to come on in his place.

January arrival Jindrich Stanek was making his league debut in goal and confidently dealt with his first real test before the half was out, punching Mats Olsson's inswinging free-kick clear away from harm.

The second half brought a bright Everton start and Gueye had come close to teeing up a goal for winger Conor Grant with an inventive chip before he smashed home his second of the night on 48 minutes.

Receiving the ball on the edge of the box, he edged away from his marker, created an angle and drove a shot perfectly through the gap, low to Macey's left.

While at one end Arsenal were being restricted to a string of speculative long-range efforts, Everton's threat was ever-present, and substitute Dyson perhaps should have made it 3-0 when he headed Luke Garbutt's corner past the post shortly after the hour mark.

When Arsenal did get in behind a hitherto resilient Blues defence on 65 minutes, the all-action Gueye was back inside his own box to dispossess winger Jon Toral with a well-timed - and roundly cheered - slide tackle.

Within a minute though, the Gunners had pulled one back, Maitland-Niles finding a route through the crowd with a shot that was beyond the reach of Stanek.

By way of response, Dyson tore forward into the Arsenal box, but after outpacing his marker, saw Macey beat away his effort at the near post.

Hector Bellerin, the visiting right-back, then blazed high and wide after linking up with Toral, before Long lashed the ball into the side netting at the opposite end following a sweeping Blues move.

Ultimately, an entertaining and keenly-fought second half ended with Everton having held on for a potentially vital win. How the first team will hope for a similar result come Sunday.

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