Katia Kouyate's strike earned Everton Under-21s a hard-fought 1-1 draw at the home of Premier League 2 leaders Chelsea on Friday evening.
Paul Tait’s side produced a stoic performance in the capital, coming from behind to take a share of the spoils at Kingsmeadow.
The opening goal was a poor one to concede from an Everton perspective. There were just seven minutes on the clock when Mason Burstow ran onto a through pass and got behind the defence far too easily before lifting a simple finish over Zan Luk Leban.
Sean McAllister almost registered a swift response but his well-drilled effort from distance was very well turned away by Lucas Bergstrom in the Chelsea goal.
Josh Brooking then came just as close for the hosts when his effort from outside the box fizzed over Leban’s crossbar.
The Blues keeper did well on 25 minutes to stop a fierce close-range drive from David Fofana and at the other end, McAllister was desperately unlucky to see his low shot evade the keeper but strike the foot of the post.
A direct free-kick from Harvey Vale from the edge of the Everton box cleared the wall but also thankfully cleared the angle of post and bar.
The Toffees levelled on the stroke of half-time.
A long ball forward from Isaac Price was cleverly dummied by Francis Okoronkwo, allowing McAllister to feed it to Kouyate, who squeezed it past the keeper.
The hosts were quickest out of the traps at the start of the second half. Lewis Hall forced Leban into a smart near post save and then the same player curled a free-kick just over.
Everton had to defend stoutly and Burstow and Vale both had close-range efforts blocked before the visitors launched an attack of their own. McAllister picked out Okoronkwo and although his shot was on target, Bergstrom made the save.
The Blues had an amazing let-off with seven minutes to go. A low centre from the left found Dion Rankine a couple of yards from goal, completely unmarked, but he inexplicably turned the ball over the bar.
Everton could have nicked it at the end when substitute Isaac Heath fired over and the young Blues thoroughly deserved the point.