Everton Under-23s Maintain Perfect Pre-Season Record

Everton Under-23s came from a goal down to record a 2-1 victory over Southport in their final pre-season friendly at the Pure Stadium.

Former Blues Academy midfielder Jack Bainbridge gave the National League North side a first-half lead, but superbly-taken goals from Charlie Whitaker and Sean McAllister completed a turnaround after the interval.

Everton goalkeeper Zan-Luk Leban then saved a late penalty to ensure another impressive win.

The result made it five pre-season triumphs in a row for David Unsworth's side, having already defeated Warrington Rylands, Guiseley, Bradford Park Avenue and Chorley.

The Under-23s' attention now turns to their Premier League 2 campaign, which begins on Monday 16 August with a trip to Blackburn Rovers.

The game started at a frantic pace, with both sides creating half chances to open the scoring in the opening exchanges.

The first goal eventually came on 21 minutes, when the young Blues failed to clear their lines from a long throw-in and Bainbridge prodded home after a scramble in the six-yard box.

Everton came flying out of the blocks after half-time and equalised in stunning fashion through Whitaker's venomous 25-yard strike within two minutes of the restart.

Northern Ireland youth international McAllister completed the comeback on the hour, dribbling down the left flank before cutting inside on his right foot to fire into the bottom corner from the edge of the penalty area.

There was late drama when Southport were awarded a penalty with just seven minutes remaining, but Leban guessed the right way to deny Josh Hmami as the Blues held on for the win.