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Thursday 18 September K.O. 20:05

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Thorp Arch | 2nd August 2014 14:00

Leeds United U21s 1-1 Everton U21s

David Unsworth felt Everton Under-21s laid down a marker for the season ahead despite being held to a 1-1 draw in their friendly at Leeds United.

Forward Sam Byrne struck his first goal following his summer arrival on a free transfer from Manchester United to give the Blues a 15th-minute lead, only for Eoghan Stokes to level shortly after the break.

However, Everton dominated for large spells of the contest at Thorp Arch and Unsworth was impressed with what he saw.

"I thought we were outstanding today," he told evertonfc.com. "I thought we dominated the whole game, had numerous chances, played some fantastic football and I'm delighted with what the lads produced.

"Putting that ball in the back of the net is arguably the toughest thing in football, and at this stage of the season it's about fine tuning in the final third. And that's something the lads will get better at as we progress.

"The attitude of the players, the desire to do the right thing and play the right way is great to watch."

Everton deservedly went ahead in Yorkshire when Byrne latched on to a searching pass from midfielder John Lundstram and hammered a bouncing ball high into the roof of the net.

"I thought it was a terrific run into the box," added Unsworth. "That's something Sam's capable of - getting in behind defences.

"He's comfortable through the middle and he's comfortable down either wing as well, and it's something that we'd worked on - getting the ball into him.

"It was a terrific ball from John Lundstram and a great finish. It was great to see Sam get his first goal for Everton."

Unsworth's side continued to press and might have doubled their advantage when left-back Ben McLaughlin saw a powerful low shot blocked by a defender.

At the other end, debutant centre-half Brendan Galloway looked composed and commanding at the back and didn't deserve to see Stokes nip in and beat goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek from close range on 50 minutes.

After great footwork from Matthew Kennedy, striker Courtney Duffus then saw his glancing header expertly pushed away by the Leeds goalkeeper, and was again thwarted when he shot on the spin from 12-yards out soon after.

Substitutes George Green and Conor Grant saw efforts cleared away as Everton piled forward in search of a winner, though the Toffees probably realised it wasn't to be their day when Kennedy's cross-cum-shot trickled along the line before being hacked away.

Next up for Everton Under-21s is their Premier League opener at Leicester City on Monday 18 August (7pm).

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