David Unsworth says his Under-23s side learned an important lesson as they battled to a 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League Cup.
On a chilly evening at Telford’s New Bucks Head, the hosts took the lead nine minutes before the interval as Will Randall found the net with a 20-yard drive.
But Liam Walsh rescued a point with a late penalty to earn a well-deserved point and preserve the Toffees’ place at the top of Group D with two rounds of fixtures to play.
Speaking after the game, coach Unsworth was satisfied with his side’s approach on a night that “was not for total football”.
“I said to the players that you can’t always play perfect football on cold winter nights away from home where the opposition are right up for it - sometimes you just have to grind out a result,” he told evertonfc.com
. “I feel the spirit in our group allows us to do that - this group of players never ever give up a fight.
“Sometimes you might have to get a scrappy goal late on - and that’s fine, that’s allowed, as long as you do the ugly things well, battle hard and defend as a team unit. It was a good lesson in that respect.
“It was a tough battle and it was good to take a point from the game because I think our hard work - right up until the final whistle - deserved at least that. We were relentless in the second half and got our reward at the end.”
Unsworth also reserved praise for Wales youth international forward Nathan Broadhead, who has worked his way into the Under-23s side after shining for the Under-18s.
He added: “Nathan has been one of the best Under-18s players in the last two years but it’s a massive jump up to the Under-23s. You’re giving away four or five years in terms of the players you’re up against and Nathan has had to be patient when he might have felt that he should have been playing.
“But what he has done is work his socks off every day. He’s lived in the gym and physically he’s grown so he can really compete. Fitness-wise he’s so much better, but also from a tactical point of view, he understands the game a lot more in terms of the demands of senior football.”