Everton Under-18s suffered a 4-0 defeat against title-chasing Manchester City at USM Finch Farm on Tuesday evening.
City have Manchester United in their sights at the top of the Premier League Under-18 North table and they were just too good for the Blues, showing their pedigree with a fine performance to gain some sort of revenge for the FA Youth Cup result a few weeks ago.
Everton actually had the first clear-cut opening of the game when Tom Cannon ran through on goal after seven minutes only for Mikki van Sas to save.
After that, it was virtually all one-way traffic with City dominating possession.
Zan-Luk Leban saved from Darko Gyarbi and then kept out a well-struck volley from Shea Charles.
City continued to press but Everton defended resolutely. Leban was called upon again to thwart Oscar Bobb, Juan Larios and Callum Doyle. Indeed, Bobb was denied on three separate occasions by smart saves from Leban in the first half.
There was an air of inevitability about the first goal on 38 minutes but it came following Leban’s most impressive stop of the opening period. The Slovenian keeper dived low to his left to palm away a powerful header from Gyarbi but City kept the ball alive and Micah Hamilton slammed a lot shot into the net.
Everton stayed in the game and responded well. Eli Campbell directed an effort on target from inside a crowded penalty area but van Sas turned the ball behind for a corner, from which Reece Welch was inches away from converting.
The second City goal came seconds before the half-time whistle and again Hamilton was the scorer, placing a fine shot just inside Leban’s left post.
The visitors then effectively killed the game off as a contest just 90 seconds after the restart when Carlos Borges teed up Gyarbi for a cool finish.
City slowed their tempo, secure in the knowledge that the job was done, and Everton struggled to make any headway, although in fairness the weather conditions made it really challenging for both sides – the constant cold wind was joined by a torrential hailstorm in the second half.
Leban again did well to keep out an effort from Samuel Edozie when the City striker had clear run on goal on 70 minutes but he was helpless when substitute Josh Adam finished off an excellent move to make it 4-0.