Broadhead Penalty Not Enough As Under-23s Lose At Spurs

Nathan Broadhead was on target again but Everton Under-23s suffered a 2-1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur in Premier League 2 on Friday.

The Blues never really got going on a disappointing afternoon at the Tottenham Academy centre, with Broadhead's 35th-minute penalty - a day after the forward was on the bench for the First Team at West Brom - their only reward.

It was only a second defeat in nine games for David Unsworth’s side against a Spurs unit that were clearly inspired by the appearance of Jose Mourinho, who wandered over to watch the game, because within minutes of his arrival the hosts took the lead.

The Blues boss said: "It was probably our worst performance of the season and it’s difficult to find the words after we’ve been so good recently. We’ve had some great results and performances but we were poor today.

“We were unrecognisable from what I see in training and what I have seen in recent games. But I thought we had the best player on the pitch because Isaac Price was outstanding.

“We have to remember that most of our players are Under-18s and they’re not only learning at that level, we’re asking them do a job for the Under-23s as well. That’s absolutely fine and it’s great so many young lads are involved with us, but you will get days like this. Young players are inconsistent.

"We’ve got a massive game next against Chelsea and there’s no greater test because for me they are the best team in the league. They’re powerful and dynamic and they’ll be a big test."

J’Neil Bennett crossed the ball from the left in the 16th minute and Kion Etete’s glancing header found the net via the foot of the post.

Everton almost posted a swift response when Toby Omole nearly turned the ball into his own goal from a dangerous centre by Tyler Onyango who, like Broadhead, was also part of Carlo Ancelotti's matchday squad for the 1-0 win at The Hawthorns on Thursday night.

The Londoners had control for large parts of the first 45 minutes and squandered a couple of glit-edged chances to increase their lead.

The lively Dilan Markanday did exceptionally well to wriggle through on the right of the Blues box but when he pulled the ball back across goal it was fired harmlessly wide by Bennett.

Then, Nile John had an even better opening when Rafferty Pedder crossed from the left. John really should have scored but failed to trouble Nico Hansen with a first-time shot.

Spurs' profligacy was punished in the 35th minute. Kyle John launched a high cross into the Spurs area and as Rhys Hughes shaped to challenge for the ball, he was flattened, giving the referee no option other than to point to the penalty spot.

Broadhead stepped up to calmly stroke Everton level to net his seventh goal from his past five Under-23 matches.

Spurs’ general ascendency spilled over into the second period, though, and they regained the advantage just after the hour.

Etete was the provider and Jamie Bowen the scorer, with a firm header past Hansen.

Everton struggled to have any impact in the final third and their first attempt at goal in the second half came from Broadhead in the 70th minute when he cut inside from the left and curled his shot high and wide.

The Blues were indebted to Hansen in the 80th minute when he made a fine save to deny Etete and then repositioned himself to stop the follow-up effort from Pedder.

Everton never really threatened anywhere enough and Spurs held on to win.

The result dropped the Blues to fifth in the table, with Unsworth's team returning to action on Friday 12 March away to Chelsea (7pm).