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Jones Leads From The Front

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Everton Under-18s captain Gethin Jones says he was determined to lead from the front after scoring the penalty which booked the young Blues’ place in the FA Youth Cup quarter-finals.

A day after Everton’s first-team reached the same stage of the senior competition, Kevin Sheedy’s scholars progressed with a gritty 2-0 win over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

Courtney Duffus set the Blues on their way, before Jones netted from the spot eight minutes into the second half.

Stepping up from 12 yards was an unfamiliar duty for the Australian-born skipper - but he held his nerve to tee-up a meeting with either Arsenal or Charlton in the last eight.

Jones told evertontv: “I haven’t been the penalty taker throughout the season but I have been doing well in training, so I thought I’d step up and I slotted it in the bottom corner.

“I had Joe Williams desperate for it. He really wanted it because he hasn’t scored since the first game of the season, but all the lads were telling me to have it, so I did.

“I was a bit scared at the start. I normally send the keepers the opposite way. That didn't happen but when it hit the back of net I was happy.”

The victory was Everton's third in the competition after previously eliminating Brighton & Hove Albion and Birmingham City.

Jones continued: “We played really well in the first half, especially. We weren’t as pleased in the second half, but it’s good to come here, win 2-0 and keep a clean sheet.

“We’ve had problems with the weather recently and the first-team played here yesterday, so we were thinking the pitch would be bad. But when we went out there and started playing, we didn’t find any problems.”

Everton will discover whether they will face the Gunners or the Addicks when the two London sides clash on Friday evening.

“We are looking forward to it and we will take anyone on,” Jones declared. “We are in the quarter-finals and we know any side left are going to be good, so we are looking forward to it.

“The first two games were at Goodison but we’ve come here and shown that we can do it away as well.”

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