Under-18s Held By Boro

The points were shared at Finch Farm on Friday afternoon for Everton Under-18s as the young Blues were held to a 1-1 draw by Middlesborough.

Emilio Lawrence put the Toffees ahead early in the second period, before Boro equalised via a free-kick six minutes later. 

Paul Tait’s team - comprising mainly of first-year scholars - approached the game looking to end a frustrating run of three straight defeats. However, Tait was again without influential midfielder Jenson Metcalfe, who remained sidelined through injury.

Middlesbrough were also without a win in their last three league games, and both sides traded blows without any success in a largely scrappy first period.

But the game came to life - and was ultimately decided - in a frantic opening 13 minutes of the second 45.

Lawrence seized possession off Isaac Heath and broke through the middle before shifting the ball onto his left foot and unleashing a low drive past Boro goalkeeper Nathan Fisher.

However, the visitors issued a response on the stroke of the hour mark when Luke Woolston’s free-kick caught everyone by surprise and flew beyond Pat Nash’s grasp from 35 yards.

It was to be the only Boro attempt that got the better of Nash, though, as he went on to make a string of fine saves to preserve the Blues’ point - most notably denying a late volley which flew through a crowd of bodies and forced him to make a first-class reaction save.

Everton weren’t without their chances at the other end as substitutes Harry Wright and Troy Smikle-James asked questions of the Boro defence with several teasing crosses, but, in the end, neither side could find an all-important second goal and it finished level.

The result leaves Everton seventh in the Under-18 Premier League North table.

The young Blues’ next game is at Newcastle United on Saturday 26 March.