Everton Under-23s suffered a difficult night as they were beaten 4-0 by Arsenal at Meadow Park on Friday.
Both sides struggled to create any real opportunities in the first 45, with Charlie Patino coming closest to opening the scoring, the Arsenal forward’s shot flashing just over the crossbar from the edge of the box.
Everton could have taken the lead on the half an hour mark through Tom Cannon, but the striker was on the stretch and couldn’t generate enough power to work the goalkeeper.
The Gunners then broke the deadlock just six minutes later in the first half’s only real moment of quality, as captain Flo Balogun fired the ball past Harry Tyrer into the top corner.
David Unsworth’s side came out after the break with intent, showing more quality in possession and were almost level twice within a minute, first through Cannon who burst into the area and struck low, only to be denied by a superb save.
From the resulting corner, Tyler Onyango, making his second appearance since his long spell on the sidelines, powered his header down to again force a smart save.
The young Blues continued to move the ball with purpose as the half grew on, but were hit with a sucker-punch 17 minutes from time, when Salah Oulad M’Hand broke into the box maintained composure to finish and double Arsenal’s lead.
Two then became three just four minutes later, Ryan Alebiosu slotting the ball into the corner to end the contest.
Everton had a flurry of chances late on to pull one back, first through Cannon who struck just wide.
Substitutes Rhys Hughes and McKenzie Hunt forcing Arthur Okonkwo into an incredible double save, an illustration that it wasn’t going to be Everton’s night.
Zak Swanson added a fourth for Kevin Betsy’s team in stoppage time to cap a disappointing night for the young Toffees.
Unsworth’s side are next in action on Monday 25 October when they welcome Burnley to The Pure Stadium in the Premier League Cup.