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Arsenal (A) Sun 1 Mar 2015, 14:05, Barclays Premier League

by Andy Lewis @efc_andylewis

Alan Stubbs hopes his Everton Under-21 side can build on their first win of the season.

Shane Duffy’s goal secured victory over Blackburn on Monday night with the Blues’ dogged rearguard action seeing them close the game out.

Next up is Bolton at Finch Farm on Sunday, and Stubbs wants to kick on.

“We know it is not all about results but getting a win will give the lads a lift,” he said. “We are operating with a small group this season but you have to play with the cards you are dealt and we want to do well in this competition.

“It has been a testing start but we will keep stressing to the lads to make the right decisions and we will see where that takes us.

“There were a few positive signs [against Blackburn] and while the first half wasn’t good enough and they got a rollicking at half-time, they ended up with a pat on the back.”

Indeed, Blackburn’s greater experience showed as they dominated the first half with some sloppiness from the Blues adding to their troubles.

On more than occasion goalkeeper Mateusz Taudul had to rescue his side.

Everton certainly responded to a few stern words at the break, and Stubbs added: “We did better in the second half and looked better organised, the discipline was better and we looked to try and counter attack.

“We got the lucky break from a set play. Johan did well to get the header back in and Shane did what he does best at set-pieces. In the end we have defended really well.

“I am pleased for them because there have been times where they have played really well and been beat and part of what we ask them to do is find a way to win.

Of his keeper, Stubbs added: “Matty’s not had the easiest of times in recent weeks. We have conceded goals and we have asked him a few questions. But to be fair to him he has come up trumps.  He made some really good blocks and some very good saves.

“He has atoned for a few things. I’m really happy for him and hopefully he can build on that. As a keeper you are judged on concentration and that is what we have asked him to work on. He kept us in the game.”

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