Everton Under-18s boss Paul Tait saluted his team’s impressive all-round performance after the young Blues drew 2-2 at reigning U18 Premier League champions Manchester City on Saturday.
After City took an early lead through Carlos Borges, midfielder Sean McAllister's accomplished finish levelled the scores on 22 minutes.
Toffees striker Tom Cannon won and converted a penalty 33 minutes in but City hit back on the stroke of half-time through Tai Sodje.
Neither side were able to strike a decisive blow in the second half, with the draw meaning Everton have taken four points from their opening two matches of the season.
The Blues kicked off the campaign with a 2-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers last weekend.
“To go toe-to-toe with City was very pleasing,” Under-18s boss Tait told evertonfc.com.
“They are best team we play – that’s been the case for the last three seasons, since I’ve been in this job.
“We conceded early on but turned the game on its head. Sean scored a really good goal, driving forward like he does.
“Then Tom won a penalty and slotted it away.
“We were in total control of the game and could have had a third or fourth. But we shot ourselves in the foot trying to play out from the back just before half-time, and they capitalised on a mistake to make it 2-2.
“But I’m absolutely delighted with the performance overall.
“It sounds strange because we conceded two goals but our defensive shape was different class.
“We were very organised and it was really pleasing to see the players organising themselves. Individual errors cost us the goals.
“In possession we were lively, forward-thinking and especially good in transitions.
“More than anything, the desire and will to try to win the game was really pleasing – the boys gave everything.”
Northern Ireland youth international McAllister was on the scoresheet for the second successive match.
The 17-year-old signed a first professional contract with Everton during the summer and boss Tait revealed the youngster’s development has been very pleasing.
“Sean has done terrific,” he said.
“He is a talented boy and an honest boy, who is prepared to work really hard. He’s all-action.
“He can score goals and is a really dynamic midfield player."