Everton U21s v Reading U21s
Everton Under-21s got back to winning ways in convincing fashion with a 3-1 victory over Reading on Monday evening.
A brace from Chris Long and a rare goal from Tyias Browning earned Alan Stubbs' side three points, with all the damage done in an energetic first half.
The Blues welcomed the Royals to the Merseyrail Community Stadium on the back of defeats to West Ham United and Manchester City, but looked destined to be the only victors this time around.
Shane Duffy made his first appearance of the 2013/14 season in a flexible 3-1-5-1 formation, accompanying Jonjoe Kenny and Matthew Pennington at the back.
Chris Long was a typical livewire in attack and he was at the end of two well-worked moves to put the Blues 2-0 up midway through the half.
On 22 minutes, the tireless Browning led an Everton counter, sprinting either side of a one-two with Duffy before picking out an unmarked Long to finish from 10-yards.
Six minutes later, John Lundstram became the provider, playing a neat pass through for his England Under-20 teammate who tricked Jonathan Henley with his shot.
Browning was at the heart of many things on the night, operating in a defensive midfield role for the majority to break down any Reading attacks and lead Everton's own.
The skipper did just that as the game entered first-half injury time, ushering the Royals back and forcing errors in their retreat.
A short backpass to Henly gave Browning an opening and with possession seized, he kept his composure to find space in the net despite a defender being on the line.
The second half didn't quite match up to its predecessor as an exchange of substitutions helped the visitors get a grip on the game while Everton altered formation.
The Londoners got some reward for their efforts after the break when Mateusz Taudul thwarted a free-kick but a man in yellow was on hand to bundle home the rebound.
Taudul was required in stoppage time to impressively turn a low shot around the post, but by that point the win was sealed.
The Blues are next in action on 16 September when they head to Newcastle United (7pm kick-off).