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Stubbs Proud Of Fightback

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

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Everton Under-21s boss Alan Stubbs said he was pleased with the way his young side dealt with the blow of going a goal down to battle back for a point at Newcastle on Monday.
 
A team of teenage Blues came up against seven players with Premier League experience at St James' Park and fell behind on the stroke of half-time to a long-range effort from forward Adam Armstrong.
 
But despite being under pressure for large periods, Stubbs' charges fought back and levelled through Hallam Hope's bundled 70th-minute strike.
 
"I'm really pleased to be fair," Stubbs told evertonfc.com. "It was a really cruel blow to concede right on the stroke of half-time. We should have got out to block the shot and I thought we could've just done better all round with their goal.
 
"But the players worked really hard and they showed a real strength of character to come out in the second half and put in the performance they did. I asked them to get on the ball more, be more positive and look forward more with their passing - and more often than not they looked to do the right thing.
 
"Mistakes were made, but that's going to happen, and it's a case of them going on and learning from those. And to get the goal was great because it rewarded their effort."
 
Former Everton midfielder Dan Gosling was just one of the recognisable names on a fearsome Newcastle team sheet, which also included striker Sammy Ameobi and Slovenia international Haris Vuckic.
 
Stubbs conceded his players may have been overly cautious early on as a result, but hopes they learned they can be a match for anyone when they focus on their own game.

"They had a really strong team out against us and sometimes the lads can be a little bit afraid because of what they're up against rather than just doing what they should do, such as getting the ball down and being confident in their first touch," he explained. "But I was really, really happy with the way they stuck at it and I thought there were some really good individual performances considering the players they were up against.
 
"The really pleasing thing about the goal was that we've worked on that kind of movement all week," he added. "We knew Newcastle's full-backs push on really high and that there'd be space down the sides of the two centre-halves - and we exploited that.
 
"It's always pleasing when you work on something and it comes off like that."

Everton Under-21s' next fixture is against Chelsea at Goodison Park on Monday 23 September (kick off 7pm). For ticket details, click here.

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