David Unsworth insisted there was “no disappointment” with his team’s performance after Everton Under-23s were denied three hard-earned Premier League 2 points by an 89th-minute leveller at Chelsea on Saturday afternoon.
The manager paid tribute to the “outstanding football” Everton played throughout the contest, in which Tom Cannon gave the Toffees the lead early in the second half.
Despite some heroic defending, however, Everton were pegged back late on by Chelsea substitute Jaden Waring.
Speaking to evertonfc.com, Unsworth said: “The whole team executed a perfect game plan and we only worked on it for one day yesterday [Friday] because some of the boys were training with the First Team.
“We’ve played some outstanding football, scored a great goal and took the fight to Chelsea.
“We were defensively resolute when we were up against it.
“I’ve said to the players that we’re not having any disappointment after that performance.”
Everton started brightly and should have done more from delightful defence-splitting passes from Isaac Price and Lewis Warrington in the opening minutes.
On both occasions, though, the first touch from the player receiving the ball wasn’t quite assured enough to hurt Chelsea.
The hosts gradually played their way into the contest and George McEachran was unfortunate to see his snapshot from 10 yards strike the crossbar.
For Everton, Lewis Dobbin’s effort from distance forced Teddy Sharman-Lowe into a diving save to his right, but neither keeper was seriously tested in a cagey opening period.
There was nearly a sting in the tail for Everton just before the break when Silko Thomas wriggled free on the left and fizzed his shot inches past Tyrer’s post.
The opening goal came in the 54th minute. Rhys Hughes played a lovely pass into the path of Cannon, and he planted a firm shot past the keeper.
“It was a magnificent goal,” said Unsworth.
“Tom’s a goalscorer and we just need to work on the edges of his game – his hold-up play and his link-up play – but if you give him an opportunity he puts it in the back of the net. He does the hardest thing!”
Hughes then tested Sharman-Lowe himself with a low shot and Kyle John found himself in unfamiliar territory on the edge of the Chelsea box before curling an effort wide of the target.
Tyrer was largely well protected and the hosts were limited to a succession of headers from corners that didn’t trouble the Blues keeper.
Indeed, Everton absorbed everything that Chelsea threw at them until the penultimate minute of the game.
Sebastian Quirk fouled Dion Rankine on the right and when the free-kick came into the box, Waring diverted it home at the near post.
Manager Unsworth also praised the efforts of midfield duo Warrington and Tyler Onyango – and he believes his side are making steady improvements as a collective.
“Lewis has got himself into the team by his attitude and his performances in training,” Unsworth added.
“Tyler still needs four or five games at this level. He’s emptying the tank on 60/70 minutes and we need to get him up to 90. I’m delighted with him, he’s going in the right direction
“It’s a new team and we think a lot of this group. I’ve said all along that we’ll get better as the season goes on and we’re on a nice run now.
“I have no doubt that the players will get better, stronger and fitter, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”