Under-23s Suffer Late Blow In Brighton Draw

First-half strikes from Einar Iversen and Ellis Simms were not enough as Everton Under-23s were hit by a late equaliser in an entertaining 2-2 draw at Brighton & Hove Albion.

Norwegian midfielder Iversen was an impressive performer as he opened the scoring on 20 minutes with a clever finish and then provided a classy assist for Simms' eighth goal of a successful season.

But a first-half penalty from Brighton skipper Teddy Jenks and 94th-minute long-range strike from Antef Tsoungui saw the hosts claim a battling point.

The draw moves David Unsworth's team to seventh in the Premier League 2 table with 15 points from 11 matches.

Brighton, who were tidy on the ball, had the majority of possession in the early stages without threatening Harry Tyrer in the Everton goal. Unsworth's team maintained their shape and created the first real chance on 16 minutes.

Rhys Hughes whipped in a deep corner that was just too high for Simms but fell kindly for full-back Kyle John who placed his volley wide.

Simms was a handful for the Brighton rearguard throughout and it was his presence that helped Everton open the scoring on 20 minutes.

The 19-year-old striker latched on to a ball into the box but saw his powerful effort blocked. Iversen was the first to react and his sharp turn and precise low finish was too accurate for Brighton goalkeeper Carl Rushworth. 

Everton's youngsters were now into their stride and deservedly extended the lead on 32 minutes. It was the same attacking duo that combined once again as Iverson's excellent through ball was confidently finished by Simms.

Brighton were not at their best but managed to half the deficit six minutes before the break. Referee Sunny Gill spotted a handball from midfielder Tyler Onyango and Albion skipper Jenks slammed home the penalty.

Katia Kouyate, who replaced Thierry Small on 55 minutes, created Everton's first chance of the second half. Kouyate skipped past three challenges on a mazy run up the left before he was taken out by Romaric Yapi.

Hughes delivered another dangerous set-piece from the left and Simms' inventive flick towards goal was well saved by Rushworth.

Brighton applied late pressure and got the leveller when Tsoungui curled home an equaliser deep into injury-time. 

Everton: Tyrer; John, Small (Kouyate,55), Pennington, Ouzounidis, Astley, Iversen, Onyango, Simms, Baningime, Hughes (Anderson, 79). Unused subs, Barrett, Hunt, Jagne.