Everton Under-21s were knocked out of the Under-21 Premier League Cup after a 2-0 away defeat to Huddersfield Town on Tuesday.
The young Blues travelled to the John Smith’s Stadium looking to progress into the last 16 of the competition, but were undone by second-half strikes from Will Boyle and Duane Holmes.
David Unsworth’s side started confidently and created an opening within the first minute as Kieran Dowell was released down the left. The midfielder did well to beat his man before crossing for Conor McAleny, who could only divert his effort narrowly over from the edge of the penalty area.
McAleny then turned provider, bursting down the left himself before seeing his cross intercepted at the vital moment with Chris Long ready to pounce.
The strike duo were in the thick of the action again moments before half-time. McAleny’s toe-poked effort was well saved at full-stretch by Lloyd Allinson and the rebound fell to the feet of Long, who, after taking a touch to set himself, fired over the crossbar.
But it was the hosts who broke the deadlock soon after the interval as captain Boyle’s inswinging free-kick from the right evaded everybody and nestled into the bottom corner.
Everton looked for an instance response and it nearly came as Huddersfield’s defence failed to deal with Gethin Jones’ cross. McAleny reacted quickest but his close-range shot struck Joe Wilkinson and the danger was eventually cleared.
The young Terriers notched a second from the penalty spot with 20 minutes remaining when Tyias Browning was adjudged to have fouled Sondre Tronstad inside the area. Holmes stepped up from 12-yards to fire low and hard into the bottom left corner to send the visiting Blues out.
Grant (C. Duffus, 59)
Dowell (Connolly, 71)
Huddersfield Town XI:
Huddersfield Town substitutes: