Everton Under-18s Beaten By First-Half Burnley Strike

Everton U-18s were beaten 1-0 by Burnley at USM Finch Farm on Saturday.

A first half Joe Smyth-Ferguson header secured three points for the Clarets, moving the visitors within three points of Paul Tait’s sixth-placed side in the Premier League North standings. 

The hosts started sharply. Lewis Dobbin drove in from the left and had the game's first shot two minutes in. His goalbound effort was blocked by Jake Rooney.

Charlie Whitaker had a free header from the resulting corner but could only turn his attempt wide of the post. 

Despite Everton's fast start, it was Burnley who thought they had taken the lead in the 13th minute. A Kade Ratchford corner caused problems for the home defence and Dylan Moonan smuggled the ball home. 

Tony Philliskirk’s side's joy was short-lived, however, as the referee awarded a free kick for a foul on goalkeeper Zan-Luk Leban.

It was the visitors who took the lead after 19 minutes. Finlay Armstrong swung a left-wing cross into the path of Smyth-Ferguson. He clinically headed home into the bottom left corner. 

Lewis Warrington came agonisingly close to levelling proceedings six minutes later. His free-kick had Sam Waller scrambling across his goal but the ball scraped the crossbar. 

Luke Butterfield picked up a yellow card eight minutes from the interval. Ben Woods picked up the ball in midfield and Butterfield dragged him down to stop a promising attack. 

Moonan joined Butterfield in the book after dragging down Whitaker moments before the break. 

The hosts started the second half on the front foot and Dobbin had a great chance to level moments after the restart. He was played in by Whitaker but skewed wide of the post.

Burnley had a great chance to kill the game 20 minutes from time. Sam Unwin was played through but Leban spread himself well to keep the deficit at one.

Manager Tait’s side were reduced to 10 men when Reece Welch was sent off for a midfield challenge on Corey Brennan with 10 minutes remaining.

Leban again kept his side in the contest when Armstrong sprinted forward from left-back and hit his shot straight at the Everton keeper as the game entered the final five minutes. 

Everton pushed for a late leveller but couldn’t create a decisive opening.

The young Blues return to action in four weeks when they visit Blackburn Rovers on 16 January.