Paul Tait labelled his Under-18s team as “different class” after they rounded off their league campaign with a thrilling 5-4 victory at Manchester United.
The Toffees led 4-1 and 5-2 on a wet and wild day at the Aon Training Complex before withstanding a late United rally to ensure maximum points.
The result means Tait’s team leapfrog United to secure third place in the U18 Premier League (North) table.
The prolific Ellis Simms hit his 32nd goal of a remarkable season, while 16-year-old Tyler Onyango bagged a brace for the young Blues.
Joe Anderson and Tom Cannon also netted as Everton – the top scorers in the division with 65 goals in 22 matches – finished the campaign with a flourish.
“We’ve been a really exciting team to watch, and I hope anyone who has watched us will have admired the style of play we’ve got,” boss Tait told evertonfc.com.
“At times we have conceded goals that we shouldn’t have, but it’s all part of the players’ development.
“As a team, the players have been different class and a lot of individuals have grown so much over the course of the season – both the first-year and second-year scholars.
“That will hold them in good stead for next season.”
After United opened the scoring through D’Mani Mellor, Everton responded with a devastating exhibition of attacking football which had them three goals to the good by half-time.
Simms got the young Blues’ equaliser, producing a typical clinical finish after good work from Korede Adedoyin.
Tom Cannon put Everton in front as he swept home after some slick Everton interplay, before defender Joe Anderson further stretched the Toffees’ advantage.
Onyango rifled into the top corner in first-half stoppage time to make it 4-1 and put the Toffees firmly in control at the break.
Back came United, with Mellor getting his second of the game, but Onyango re-established Everton’s three-goal advantage with another accomplished finish - this time driving his shot low and beyond the reach of United keeper James Thompson.
The home side refused to buckle, with Mellor completing his hat-trick before Dion McGhee scored from the spot to make it 5-4 with 10 minutes left on the clock.
United huffed and puffed but the young Blues held on to secure a deserved victory.
“It’s not often you go to Man United and you are 4-1 up at half-time, so we knew there would be a reaction from them,” manager Tait added.
“The fifth goal gave us a little bit of a cushion. They rallied late on, got it back to 5-4 and put a few balls in the box, but we still felt we had enough to see the game out, and we did.
"We dug in, defended the lead and got over the line.
“To see lads from the Under-16s, like Tom [Cannon] and Tyler [Onyango], come in and contribute goals and play really well is very pleasing, too.
“It was important to finish the league off well and get a win. It was a good way to round off a very positive season.”