Francis Jeffers hopes Everton Under-23s will learn a key lesson after netting an equaliser, only to concede again minutes later, in a 3-1 loss to new Premier League 2 leaders Manchester City Under-23s.
The young Blues fell behind at the Academy Stadium on Friday night when Ben Knight finished with 18 minutes on the clock.
David Unsworth's side came into the contest unbeaten in six matches, though, and showed their quality with a leveller six minutes after the break as Mackenzie Hunt swung in a corner and fellow substitute Tom Cannon planted a firm header into the net.
But having found a way back into the contest against a dangerous City side, the hosts restored their advantage just five minutes later through midfielder Cole Palmer, before Samuel Edozie ensured the points were City's with a third just past the hour mark.
"We can’t have any complaints - we were well beaten in every department, not through a lack of effort," conceded Under-23s coach Jeffers. "City are a good team with top players right throughout their football club.
"We scored a goal and that was the one disappointment for me in that they scored again so soon afterwards.
"Against good teams, when you get back in the game and it gives you a lift, you have to see the next 10-15 minutes out and we never did that. This is part of the lads’ learning. They have to realise there are certain parts of the game when you have to keep the ball away from your goal."
On the impact of substitutes Cannon and Hunt, who came on at the start of the second half, Jeffers added: "We brought good players on to the pitch. Tom’s scored goals freely for the Under-18s. Mackenzie Hunt is working his way back into the team and has real quality so it’s nice to see them combine. It was a great header and Tom can finish."
Everton Under-23s remain fifth in Premier League 2 and return to league action on Friday 12 February with a trip to third-placed Tottenham Hotspur.
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