Holden: Learning Curve Continues

A young Everton XI were handed a stiff test by Rhyl on Wednesday night, but Andy Holden believes that his side will come through stronger for the experience.

No fewer than nine players eligible for the Blues' Under-19 side appeared in the starting line-up, but they fared well against the battling Welshmen.

Rhyl took the lead after 24 minutes when Gareth Wilson converted a 24th minute penalty, but Everton showed great strength of character to pull the scores level.

Holden felt that the draw was a fair result, but was more pleased with the experience his side gained.

"Again, like at Leigh, we had a young team out, but I thought we learnt a lot more tonight," he told evertonfc.com

"In the first twenty minutes, I thought we played some really good stuff, without really threatening their goal.

"But then we gave a silly, silly penalty away - and when your side is as young as ours was tonight, it knocks them out of their stride.

"We started to get sloppy. A lot of the passing became sloppy. We made it a scrap, which we're not capable of doing, because we haven't got the strongest of sides.

"I gave them a little talking to at half time and brought Anthony Barry off the line a little bit, got him on the ball a bit more in the second half - and we got our rewards with the equaliser."

Holden singled out Sean O'Hanlon for special praise after the game. Although he only turned 20 in January, he was the oldest Everton player on the pitch.

However, he led the side by example, much to Holden's delight.

"I told him after the game that he was excellent," he continued.

"He had two foreign triallists alongside him, one in the first half and one in the second half, and he had to grow up. He did exceptionally well."

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