Monday 6 January 19:00 , Staplewood Training Ground , Attendance:
 
1
1
 
HT: 0 - 0
  • KO
    • Yellow Card!
      Callum Slattery
    25'
    • Yellow Card!
      Caleb Watts
    29'
  • HT
    • Substitution
      Norton
      N'Lundulu
    45'
    • Substitution
      Astley
      Denny
    51'
    • Yellow Card!
      Nathangelo Markelo
    • Substitution
      Watts
      Brennan
    • Substitution
      Jankewitz
      Defise
    60'
    • Goal!
      Lucas Defise
    65'
    67'
    • Goal!
      Morgan Feeney
    • Yellow Card!
      Lucas Defise
    75'
    85'
    • Substitution
      Mampala
      Iversen
  • FT

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David Unsworth praised “faultless” captain Morgan Feeney after the centre-back capped an impressive display with the equaliser in Everton Under-23s’ 1-1 draw at Southampton on Monday night.

The young Blues left the south coast with a point in Premier League 2 thanks to Feeney’s 67th-minute goal, moments after the home side had taken the lead.

The boyhood Evertonian followed up Ellis Simms’ cross to net, having gone close to scoring in the first half and also catching the eye with rock-solid defending.

“I thought he was faultless and led by example,” said boss Unsworth. “He was stepping in when he could, trying to help the midfield, and it was a great display by the skipper. He got his rewards for his desire to keep going.”

Everton had the first effort on goal in the eighth minute when striker Simms created himself a yard of space inside the box but his shot crept just wide of the right-hand post.

In the 18th minute, it took an important block from Feeney to deflect his Saints counterpart Callum Slattery’s stinging effort for a corner.

Will Ferry was proving a threat down the left for Southampton and his cross-cum-shot five minutes before the interval forced Everton keeper Harry Tyrer into a smart stop to his left.

 

The game finally started to open up and, a minute later, Antony Evans flashed just wide from the edge of the area for Unsworth’s side. Then Feeney clipped the top of the crossbar with a header after Southampton failed to clear a corner.

The Blues started the second period brightly, with Dennis Adeniran’s long-range shot being spilled by Scott before he gathered at the second attempt.

But Tyrer made another crucial stop in the 53rd minute when he thwarted Enzo Robise’s effort before Feeney cleared the danger.

On the hour mark, Saints' Caleb Watts blazed over after being teed-up by Dan N'lundulu.

Evans then conjured up an opportunity a minute later for the Toffees but saw his angled drive well saved by Scott.

When the breakthrough arrived on 65 minutes, it went to Southampton. Robise's cross was well blocked by Feeney, but substitute Lucas Defise reacted first to stab home from close range.

Everton didn't trail for long, however, and levelled two minutes later. Feeney forayed forward and when Simms’ cross couldn’t be cleared, the centre-back finished with aplomb.

The Toffees were pushing for a winner in the closing stages, with Nathangelo Markelo's dipping shot going narrowly over the bar with four minutes remaining.

But, despite Everton's efforts, the two sides couldn't be separated at the final whistle and the spoils were shared.

Unsworth's charges next face Arsenal at Southport FC's Pure Stadium on Monday 13 January (kick off 7pm).

“The game showed we’d had a week off over Christmas,” said Unsworth. “The lads needed some time off because we are a small squad and a few of the players were carrying knocks.

“In the first half, especially, it took us a while to get our legs going and play the way we know we can. We then changed it at half-time when we needed to get more control in midfield.

 “We conceded a sloppy goal but we showed great desire to get back into the game straight away and maybe should have won it in the end.

“It was a decent point but we didn’t play anywhere near as well as we can play. We’ll step it up in training now and get ourselves ready for the next game.”

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