Everton Under-18s Complete Dramatic Fulham Comeback

Paul Tait hailed his side's "fighting spirit" after Everton Under-18s recorded a stunning 4-3 victory over in-form Fulham in the Premier League Cup.

Three late second-half strikes from Lewis Higgins, Reece Hughes and Bobby Carroll turned the contest on its head as the Young Blues claimed back-to-back wins in the competition.

Joshua Hosie cancelled out an early Fulham opener on 22 minutes, however the home side hit back convincingly to lead 3-1 shortly after the break.

But Carroll's added-time winner completed a terrific turned around from Everton, much to the delight of his manager.

"It felt really, really good," Tait told evertonfc.com.

"The scenes at the end were excellent with everyone celebrating the goal, because it was a tough game.

"They are top of the [Under-18 Premier League South] for a reason and we knew it would be close.

"When Bobby's goal goes in, everyone was celebrating because we have come a long way, had a long journey, stayed overnight, and for the lads to be still grafting and fighting in the last minute to get the winner was really nice."

After their textbook win at Wolves last Saturday, Tait's young Blues were brimming with confidence. However, it was Fulham who started the brighter and took an early lead.

The hosts pressured the Blues' goal in the opening stages, with Jack Barrett being called into action almost immediately.

Unfortunately for the young keeper, after a string of fine saves, there was nothing he could do about the opener, Terry Ablade giving the hosts a deserved 12th-minute advantage.

Everton soon got a foothold in the game, though, as Hosie levelled the scoring.

The right-back was nearly on the scoresheet last week when his powerful shot went agonisingly wide but made no mistake here, latching on to fellow full-back Sebastian Quirk's deep cross to even it up.

"Full-backs, normally, we would encourage to get forward,” said Tait. “I think that has to become part of their job - for the opposite wing-back to get in the box to try to score a goal.

"Josh had another great chance just before he scored, but he just put that wide. He gets himself in there, so fair play to him."

Fulham’s double response came either side of half-time.

First, Ollie O'Neill found room in the Blues' half and crossed for Sylvester Jasper to tap home just before the interval.

O'Neill then got one of his own seven minutes after the restart, driving the ball into the corner after a scramble in the Everton penalty area.

What followed was special. With just 12 minutes of the match remaining, Higgins gave his side a lifeline. After an excellent tackle to deny Carroll, the substitute seized on the loose ball to fire home.

Just one minute later, Everton were level. Higgins once again drove at the Fulham defence, his eventual cross struck the hand of Idris Odutayo, and that left Hughes to haul the visitors level from the spot.

And, with time ticking away, Carroll nonchalantly glided through the Fulham defence before curling a shot high into the top corner, sparking wild celebrations.

Having beaten Sunderland 1-0 in their opening fixture in the competition, Everton now sit top of their group, two points ahead of final opponents Norwich City.