Assistant manager Keith Southern hailed match-winner Charlie Whitaker’s impressive all-round performance after the talented forward scored the only goal in Everton Under-18s’ 1-0 victory at Sunderland on Saturday.
Whitaker slotted home from inside the penalty box after a flowing team move to put Everton in front on 12 minutes.
And while the Toffees created numerous chances to extend their advantage, his strike was to prove decisive at the Academy of Light.
The victory lifts Everton up to sixth in the U18 Premier League (North) table. The young Blues return to action next Saturday when Middlesbrough visit USM Finch Farm.
“It was a tough game and it was scrappy at times,” Southern told evertonfc.com.
“We scored an early goal through Charlie, who tucked his finish away really nicely. He had a really good game. He was excellent throughout.
“On another day, with the opportunities we missed, we could have scored three or four.
"And when you don’t take those chances to give yourselves more of a cushion, you’re always under pressure towards the end of the game.
“Credit to the players, we seen out those moments really well.
“We had to show different qualities and a real professionalism to see the game out. We got the job done and the lads deserved the win.
“It was a long journey up to Sunderland in the morning before the match and we played on a heavy pitch, so it’s a very good three points.”