Arsenal U18s v Everton U18s
Everton suffered more Emirates Stadium misery on Monday night as the Under-18s saw their FA Youth Cup dream halted in a gripping quarter-final.
The young Blues were hoping to succeed where their senior counterparts had failed on Saturday and book a place in the last four with a victory at Arsenal.
However, that task was made all the more difficult when Jack Jebb fired the hosts ahead from the penalty spot, before Chuba Akpom doubled their advantage shortly before the break.
Everton responded with a lightning-quick opening to the second half and were thrown a lifeline when Joe Williams turned in from close range four minutes after the restart.
But Jebb's second of the night - a fine free-kick from 25 yards - gave Kevin Sheedy's side too much to do in their quest to better last season's run to the very same stage.
Sheedy saw his youngsters get off to a bright start in North London, their early pressing of the hosts leading to a headed chance for Courtney Duffus that was well tipped away by goalkeeper Josh Vickers.
From Gethin Jones' resulting corner, Calum Dyson was also denied by the Gunners' glovesman, before Ryan Ledson made it a trio of missed headers in quick succession, the midfielder glancing wide of the upright.
At the other end, Everton kept Arsenal shot shy until the 20th minute, and even when Alex Iwobi finally mustered an attempt from long range, his effort was comfortably dealt with by goalkeeper Russell Griffiths.
The opening, however, seemed to invigorate the hosts, and having survived one let-off when Akpom fired over the crossbar, the Blues fell behind 12 minutes before the break.
Akpom, a player who has been on loan at Coventry City this term and had a taste of League One action as recently as Saturday, powered through and was tripped inside the box by Griffiths.
With an immediate chance to make amends, the Toffees' keeper dived the correct way in his attempt to stop the spot kick from Jebb, but the midfielder's effort was too powerful and too accurate to give him any real hope.
Griffiths did get down low to palm away an effort from Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill soon after, but on 43 minutes Akpom extended Arsenal's lead, the striker powering into the top corner after riding a challenge from Curtis Langton.
The busy Griffiths then saved bravely at the feet of Akpom before the half-time whistle, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles clattered the Everton crossbar with an injury-time shot from 20 yards.
The Blues' response was to come out all guns blazing after the break and they got the early goal they craved when Williams found himself perfectly positioned to stab the ball home from six-yards out.
Michael Donohue, on for Dyson, was giving the visitors an extra body in midfield and for 15 minutes Everton frustrated their hosts, closing down play and retaining possession.
However, shortly after the hour-mark, Arsenal struck the woodwork for a second time through Akpom, and within 60 seconds the Gunners were once again two goals to the good, Jebb's 20-yard free-kick fizzing into Griffiths' net.
Courtney Duffus fired over when presented with Everton's best chance to once again reduce the arrears, while Blues skipper Jones had a fortunate escape when he steered the ball against his own post 15 minutes from time.
Griffiths came out on top in one final battle with Akpom late on, but it was a small victory on a sour night for Everton's youngsters.
Embroiled in a top-of-the-table battle with Manchester City, Sheedy's side are now left to focus on their bid to be crowned the nation's academy champions.