A hat-trick from Tom Cannon was the highlight of a 6-2 pre-season friendly victory for Everton Under-18s against Preston North End on Wednesday afternoon.
“Tom has carried on where he left off last season, scoring goals,” said coach Paul Tait.
“We’re working on parts of his game like pressing and hold-up play but there’s no doubt he knows where the back of the net is.”
The Blues took the lead at USM Finch Farm after 12 minutes when an effort from Charlie Whitaker took a deflection on its way into the Preston net.
Cannon doubled the advantage with his first goal just before the half-hour mark but then Everton squandered a golden opportunity to go three up when Katia Kouyate saw his penalty-kick saved.
The Blues then got sloppy and allowed Preston back into the match.
On 39 minutes Joe Rodwell-Grant pulled a goal back from close range and then a minute before the break the same player levelled from the penalty spot.
“The two full-backs in the first-half have just turned 16 years-old so they will make mistakes but it’s how they react to it,” said Tait.
“We were a bit wobbly for a 10-minute spell, but we brought seven players on at half-time and after the break we were a lot more solid.”
Cannon scored with a fine angled drive early in the second period and then completed his hat-trick on the hour when he turned in a low cross from Joel Davidson.
Kouyate then had a goal disallowed for offside before one of the substitutes, Daniel Lowey, wrapped things up with two goals in the last three minutes.
“I was really pleased with the performance and it was a perfect exercise for us because that’s our first game since we played Manchester United in March,” concluded Tait.
“We’ve had to ease them back into things after such a lay-off, but it was a good game for us and we’ve got good competition for places.”