Unsworth: Under-23s Lacked Spark In Narrow Derby Defeat

David Unsworth admitted that his side didn’t pose enough of an attacking threat during their 2-1 derby defeat at Liverpool on Saturday.

The game, played at Liverpool’s Academy, was a typically tightly-contested derby affair, with little between the sides and goalscoring opportunities at a premium.

Liverpool went in front through Tony Gallacher 14 minutes in but a well-taken goal by the impressive Dennis Adeniran ensured the teams went in level at the break.

The match looked to be heading for a draw but Liverpool forward Herbie Kane's strike five minutes from time meant the home team took maximum points.

“I’m obviously disappointed because it was a tight game and it had the feel of an academy game, which can happen when you play these games at a training ground,” said Unsworth.

“It didn’t have the feel of an Under-23 Merseyside derby the way it does when we play at Goodison, Anfield, Southport or Tranmere.

“We were the better team first half and maybe they edged it in the second. But we offered very little in the final third of the field and that’s the biggest disappointment.

“We didn’t work hard enough to try and get in behind and it was crying out for the pace and threat that we’ve got.”

Liverpool took the lead when Harvey Elliot attacked the right flank and his pull-back eventually reached Gallacher whose shot took a slight deflection and fizzed past Harry Tyrer.

Everton had already had the game’s first effort when Lewis Gibson found Adeniran and his effort was well palmed away by Ben Winterbottom.

It was a sign of things to come as far as Adeniran was concerned. His pace and power troubled Liverpool all afternoon and it was no surprise that it was him who levelled on 36 minutes.

He burst through on the right and kept his composure to slide the ball under the keeper and into the net off the far post.

“That was Dennis’s best game for us this season,” said Unsworth. “He was in a position where he likes to play and he was a real threat. He didn’t deserve to be on the losing team.”

The goal was nothing less than Everton deserved after showing an excellent response to going behind. The Blues took control of the first-half after Liverpool scored.

The second period was nip and tuck.

Pedro Chirivella had an effort bravely blocked by Morgan Feeney at one end and Harry Charsley, a half-time replacement for Ellis Simms, had the ball in the net at the other, only for it to be ruled out for offside.

The decisive moment of the game came five minutes from the end when Kane found space on the edge of the Everton box and fired a splendid shot past Tyrer.

“It was a poor goal for us to concede because we don’t close the ball down quickly enough on the edge of the box,” said Unsworth.

It was a harsh finish to the game for Everton, who pressed for a leveller but just couldn’t find a way through.