Bolton U18s v Everton U18s
Everton Under-18s failed to follow up on their midweek FA Youth Cup success as they fell to a 2-0 defeat away to Bolton on Saturday morning.
A youthful, even by under-18 standards, looking Blues side came unstuck thanks to second-half Wanderers goals from Elliot Newby and Jamie Thomas.
Bolton started the brighter of the two sides and created the games first clear chance after five minutes, after possession was uncharacteristically squandered by the young Everton midfield.
That gave Bolton forward Thomas a chance to strike from 25-yards. However, Everton stopper Russell Griffiths was on hand to get down smartly to his left and divert the ball around the post.
Kevin Sheedy's side grew into the half as it went on, and began to impose their short passing game on the home side.
On 32 minutes, clever interplay between Blues' full-back Arlen Birch and winger Michael Donohue presented Harry Charsley with a chance to break the deadlock, but he could only send his effort onto the base of the post from eight-yards out.
But the best chance of the opening period fell to Bolton's Thomas on the stroke of half-time.
A counter-attack released Thomas Walker down the left flank and he managed to pick out Thomas' run into the Everton penalty area. He watched his first-time effort crash off the inside of the post with Griffiths in the Everton goal well beaten.
The scoring was finally opened eight minutes after the break and it was winger Newby who notched for the hosts.
A powerful strike from Walker from the left corner of the penalty area forced a superb save from Griffiths, only for the loose ball to fall into the path of Newby, who was on hand to tap in from four-yards.
The Toffees came close to an instant reply when Tyrone Duffus struck the crossbar straight after Bolton's opener.
Yet it was the home side who doubled their lead on 65 minutes with a goal from Thomas to make amends for his earlier miss.
A weaving run by Walker took a fortuitous bounce off Everton defender Jordan Thorniley and found the feet of Thomas. The young striker made no mistake in slotting past Griffiths to make it 2-0.
The Blues youngsters refused to lie down in the closing stages and exerted some pressure on the Bolton defence, but could not find a way through despite a decent one-on-one chance for George Newell.
Afterwards Sheedy said he believed the home side ultimately deserved their victory against his young charges.
"We have lost eight of the players with Under-21 game on Monday," Sheedy told evertonfc.com. "So, there was an opportunity for others to step in and perform.
"We're disappointed with the outcome, but to be fair, they created a lot of chances as well as us having a few of our own.
"We weren't as clinical as we have been. It's been a while since we haven't scored a goal in a game.
"Overall, the players performed and gave it their best shot, but we just didn't do enough to win the game. We'll dust ourselves down and get ready for Arsenal next week."