Report: EFC U21s 4-1 Spurs U21s

by Mike Taylor
@Everton

Everton Under-21s got their Premier League International Cup campaign off to the perfect start with a 4-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park.

David Henen put the young Blues ahead from the penalty spot inside quarter of an hour after Callum Connolly was fouled in the area.

David Unsworth’s side went into the half-time interval with a two-goal advantage, courtesy of Sam Byrne's curling effort after Spurs failed to clear a corner.

A flurry of goals then followed, with the Conor McAleny getting on the scoresheet and Byrne netting his second of the afternoon - Everton’s fourth - in the opening five minutes of the second period.

Spurs’ Christian Maghoma registered a consolation with a header from Harry Winks’ corner - but it was not enough to deny the home side an impressive victory.

The visitors produced the first chance of the game in the opening exchanges when Cy Goddard found Luke Amos on the overlap - but Tyias Browning was on hand to deflect the midfielder’s goal-bound strike behind for a corner.

It was not long before Unsworth’s side exerted their dominance, producing their first chance moments later when Joe Williams’ lofted pass found Byrne inside the box.

The striker was denied by the on-rushing Tom Glover with his first attempt, before watching his header drift agonisingly wide of the post on the rebound.

The hosts opened their account for the afternoon on 15 minutes when Callum Connolly, operating at left-back, was brought down by Luke Amos in the corner of the penalty area.

David Henen stepped up and converted the spot-kick, despite Glover getting good contact on the Belgian’s side-footed strike.

McAleny threatened to double the lead when he beat his man on the left flank before cutting in field, but his low shot was comfortably gathered by Glover.

Lone striker Byrne, who worked tirelessly throughout, was the focal point of the Toffees’ attacks as the half drew to a close.

Controlling well on the halfway line, the Republic of Ireland youth international slipped the ball down the channel for Henen - but the winger saw his cross blocked with both Byrne and Williams poised to convert in the central positions.

Byrne then went close with a curling effort that whistled just past Glover’s left-hand upright, before deservedly finding the back of the net on the stroke of half-time.

Spurs only managed to half clear Ryan Ledson’s corner - and, after seeing his initial effort blocked, Byrne stroked the ball into the far corner with an expertly-placed left-footed effort.

Everton came racing out of the traps in the second half and Conor McAleny made it three within two minutes of the restart, coolly slotting home Henen’s centre from the byline.

Three minutes later, Everton had their fourth as Byrne poked between the legs of Glover after latching on to Ledson’s excellent slide-rule pass.

Ugo Ehiogu’s side pulled one back as Maghoma nodded past Joel - but the damage was already done to ensure the goal was only a consolation for the north Londoners.

Next up in the competition is the visit of Schalke 04 on 20 October, before Portuguese giants FC Porto head to Goodison on 22 November.

Everton U21s line-up: Robles, Pennington, Connolly, Ledson (Walsh, 77), Browning, Holgate, Williams (C), Grant (Yates, 88), Byrne, McAleny, Henen (Evans, 68).
Everton unused substitutes: Hewelt, Charsley, Graham, Donohue.

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