Everton Under-23s assistant manager John Ebbrell saluted the squad’s “real appetite” as the young Blues claimed their second convincing home victory on the spin with a 4-1 win over Derby County at Southport.
A double from Ellis Simms and further goals from Joe Anderson and Josh Bowler secured another Premier League 2 triumph following Everton’s 3-0 success against Leicester City last Monday.
And Ebbrell was full of praise for the commitment and desire that the Blues have shown since their disappointing derby defeat on the opening game of 2020/21.
“It was a good solid team performance against Derby,” said the former Toffees midfielder. “There was good intensity about our play and we are pleased with the lads. It’s always a tough game against Derby and they lifted their game in the second half, so we had to match them and go again, and that’s what we did.
“We’ve got a really good bunch of young players who have got a real appetite. We see that in training and we are very demanding of them. They are eating up everything that we are serving them in the training sessions and they are starting to show it in matches.”
Everton were dominant for the majority of the game.
They came close to opening the scoring after just six minutes when a Bowler free-kick was headed over by Matthew Pennington.
The opening goal came after 11 minutes, though. Rhys Hughes fed the ball infield to Einar Iversen who placed a well-weighted pass into the path of Simms. With a clear run on goal, there was little doubt the striker would find the target and he duly drilled a low shot past Henrik Ravas.
Shortly after the opener, Bowler fired in a direct free-kick from the right of the penalty area that fizzed past Ravas but smashed into the post and the half-time margin could, and maybe should, have been greater than a single goal.
Hughes created space for himself on the edge of the box with some sweet footwork but his final effort was smothered by Ravas, and then in added time, Con Ouzounidis headed over from close-range.
The second Everton goal, two minutes into the second period, was a cracker. A corner from the right reached Anderson and he slammed an unstoppable drive through a packed penalty area and into the net.
Derby’s response was a wonderfully struck free-kick from Tyree Wilson on 54 minutes that found the top corner to half the deficit.
The two-goal cushion was soon restored, though, when Bowler ran onto Pennington’s through ball to finish nicely.
Simms scored his second goal four minutes from time. Ryan Astley played a delightful through pass behind the Rams defence and Simms placed his shot past Ravas to make it 4-1.
There was still time for Pennington to hit the bar with a header as Everton pushed for a fifth goal.
Ebbrell welcomed another goalscoring display from Simms, while also giving words of encouragement to the central-defensive du of Ouzounidis and Astley.
“Ellis is outstanding in one on ones, a really good finisher,” said Ebbrell. “I’m pleased for him but I’m sure he’ll be the first to say that the lads behind him put a real shift in.
“Since that game [against Liverpool] our quality has been excellent. Our training is geared towards being difficult to play against and defending is paramount. I thought the two centre-backs, Con Ouzounidis and Ryan Astley did ever so well tonight.
“We’ve done well and there is still more to come.”