Under-18s Undone By Late Goal At Derby

Everton Under-18s were left to rue missed chances as they fell to a late goal in a 1-0 defeat at Derby County in Premier League (North) on Saturday morning.

The Blues produced a promising performance but were left frustrated as a 79th-minute goal sealed victory for the hosts.

Despite intense winds, both sides succeeded in playing attractive football in what was an action-packed clash. 

Everton almost took the lead after just two minutes, when Jenson Metcalfe and Francis Okoronkwo broke down the left, the former squaring for Martin Sherif, only for the forward’s close-range effort to be stopped low by the Derby keeper.

Just four minutes later and Paul Tait's side came close again with Emilio Lawrence's shot hitting the post.

The young Blues continued to look dangerous in a frantic opening 10 minutes, and striker Sherif was again denied an opener by Harry Evans after a fine through ball by Okoronkwo. 

Defender Elijah Campbell was busy in defence and made an important block on 12 minutes, as Dajaune Brown’s strike arrowed goalwards. 

Midfielder Metcalfe was next to rattle the upright for Everton from outside the area, following tricky work from Lawrence. 

It was the hosts who were then thwarted by the crossbar just three minutes before the break - an inswinging corner ricocheting off a body as Blues keeper Patrick Nash could only watch on.

Forward Okoronkwo, who came into the match in red-hot form having scored in five consecutive matches, troubled the Rams’ defence throughout.

On 47 minutes, he jinked past his marker with ease and teed up Sherif, whose left-footed effort slid just wide. 

Okoronkwo continued to threaten and was denied himself midway through the second half after surging into the box and firing towards goal, rendering a fine save. 

The Blues forward was again prevented his sixth goal in as many games with 15 minutes to play, a powerful burst and drive forcing Evans into action once more. 

Despite the Blues’ dominance, however, it was the hosts who took the lead with 11 minutes to play - striker Brown calmly dispatching past Nash after finding space in the box. 

Tait’s side had one last opportunity in the 88th minute when substitute Owen Barker clipped a pinpoint pass into Okoronkwo, who again was left frustrated as his header was off target. 

Everton will face Derby County again on Saturday in the U18 Premier League (North) at USM Finch Farm.