Everton Under-21s registered a 1-1 draw against Norwich City at Carrow Road on Monday evening.
A youthful-looking squad, including nine youngsters who are also eligible for the Under-18s side, battled back after Carlton Morris’ deflected strike gave the hosts the lead inside 10 minutes.
But Tyias Browning’s thumping header with 12 minutes remaining earned the young Blues a richly-deserved point after a determined second half performance in East Anglia.
David Unsworth’s side were dealt an early blow when the ball fell into Morris’ path 20 yards from goal, and the striker’s shot rather fortuitously deflected off the out-stretched leg of Brendan Galloway and into the bottom left corner of the net.
The Toffees’ first chance came minutes later after alert defending by Jonjoe Kenny to cut out a slide-rule pass in the middle of the park. The Under-21s’ skipper, operating at right-back on the night, then released David Henen, who broke clear before seeing his right-footed drive whistle just wide of the far post.
The opening period continued to be a tight affair, with the visitors dominating possession for spells but the Canaries looking dangerous on the counter.
It was indeed a sweeping counter-attack that brought about the contest’s next chance of note.
Morris picked up possession in midfield and released Jamar Loza into the penalty area, but Griffiths was on hand to palm the striker’s effort away from danger and keep the deficit to one.
The second half started in a similar even fashion, with both sides finding it difficult to create clear-cut chances.
Norwich's Elliott Bennett went close on the hour with a moment of individual skill, receiving the ball 25 yards from goal and unleashing a fierce strike that cannoned off the inside of the post and away to safety.
But, from that moment onwards, Everton took control and went close with Browning’s header and Henen’s low drive that forced a good save from Remi Matthews at full stretch.
The equaliser eventually came on 78 minutes when Liam Walsh’s out-swinging corner was met by Browning’s emphatic header six yards out to restore parity.
There was time for one more chance as Davies released Henen down the left flank and the Belgian did well to evade his marker before slicing his shot wide of the target from a tight angle.
Next up for Everton Under-21s is a trip to face Chelsea at Aldershot Town’s Electrical Services Stadium on Thursday evening.
Everton U21s: Griffiths, Kenny (c), Robinson, Ledson (Dyson, 45), Browning, Galloway, Dowell (Charsley, 58), Walsh, Henen, Davies, Connolly. Unused substitutes: Hunt, Langton, Byrne.
Norwich City U21s: Matthews, Hall-Johnson, Vasi, Grant (Norman, 80), McFadden (c), R. Bennett (Efete, 67), Odjidja-Ofoe, McGrandles, Morris, Loza, E. Bennett. Unused substitutes: Ramsay, Beauchamp, Kelly.