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Sunday 21 September K.O. 16:00

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Merseyrail Community Stadium | 14th April 2014 19:00

Everton U21s v Liverpool U21s

Everton Under-21s' unbeaten run was extended with a hard-fought 1-1 derby draw on Monday evening.

The young Blues welcomed neighbours Liverpool to the Merseyrail Community Stadium in Southport for the only such encounter of the campaign.

And despite going into the contest in good form, Alan Stubbs' side fell behind to Jordan Lussey's strike midway through the first half.

But Ryan Ledson's 85th-minute strike would ensure Everton left with the point their efforts no less than deserved.

An impeccably-observed minute's silence preceded the contest as both clubs paid respect on the week of the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

With 11 of the Toffees squad deemed as local, the significance of the mini-derby fixture was clearly understood - no more so than in midfield with Joe Williams, Ledson and Conor Grant fielding strong but fair challenges in the early stages.

Another Liverpool-born youngster, Chris Long, was forced off with a head injury on 10 minutes after an ugly collision with Reds goalkeeper Ryan Fulton.

At the other end, Mateusz Taudul was to be tested in quick succession, first denying Jordan Rossiter and then Jack Dunn.

Skipper Tyias Browning was unable to convert a header from close-range on 22 minutes and moments later the visitors would be ahead.

A ball from the left came floating into the box from the left hand side and Lussey beat Browning to it in the air; his glancing header sneaking in beyond the advancing Taudul.

The defecit did not deter the Blues though and they maintained their focused build-up to carve out opportunities.

Williams fired off target after a flowing move, before George Green drilled a fierce effort over as Magaye Gueye and Courtney Duffus countered.

Duffus was then unable to steer a header on target following Grant's left-wing cross and then found the wrong side of Fulton's near-post in first-half injury time.

A somewhat quieter second period saw both sides cancel each other out in the respective final thirds.

As such, chances were few and far between and when the Blues saw two headed efforts cleared from near the goalline, it appeared as if an equaliser was not to be forthcoming.

But with five minutes left on the clock, Ledson was well-placed at the back-post to sidefoot a looping ball low and beyond Fulton.

Substitute Calum Dyson could have netted the winner in stoppage time but his instinctive volley flew agonisingly wide.

Everton Under-21s will look to make it five matches unbeaten in their final game of the season at home to Middlesbrough on Thursday (7pm).

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