U21s In Six-Goal Thriller At Morecambe

Everton Under-21s played out a thrilling 3-3 draw at League Two Morecambe FC in their opening Papa John’s Trophy group-stage clash on Tuesday night, as Paul Tait’s side continued their encouraging start to the season.

The young Blues were then edged 7-6 in a sudden-death penalty shootout at Mazuma Stadium but still take one point from the contest.

The Blues trailed 2-1 at half-time due to goals from Jensen Weir - son of former Everton captain David Weir - and Caleb Watts, either side of Sean McAllister’s equaliser.

Tait’s side hit back with strikes in quick succession from Isaac Price and Tom Cannon, before Morecambe levelled late in the game through Farrend Rawson.

The young Blues started the game brightly, applying constant pressure on the Shrimps backline, leading to a chance for the in-form Cannon in the first five minutes. The striker was only denied by a brilliant block.

Despite Everton’s early dominance, it was the hosts who struck first when Weir’s low driven shot found the bottom corner, breaking the deadlock on 17 minutes.

Former Everton Academy player Kieran Phillips, currently on loan at Morecambe from Championship side Huddersfield Town, was then denied by a superb stop from Billy Crellin with his outstretched left foot.

A positive, skilful run from Mackenzie Hunt created another opening for Cannon but he could not find the leveller.

McAllister did make it 1-1 on 32 minutes – arriving at the back post to slide the ball in – but the Blues’ celebrations would be short-lived. The home side forged ahead just two minutes later, when Watts rose highest at the near post from a corner to give the advantage back to the home side.

The second half began with an instant response from the Toffees, as Price arrived late into the box to latch onto McAllister’s cross and fire in.

Excellent Everton composure on the ball and consistent pressure on the Morecambe defence led to a third goal.

Fantastic pressing in the build-up by Seb Quirk provided the opening and Cannon was on hand to pick up a loose ball outside the area before finishing calmly into the far left corner for his fifth goal of the season.

Morecambe’s created their first chance of the second half in the 68th minute when Jake Taylor was denied by a sharp stop from Crellin down to his left.

Against the run of play, Rawson levelled the scores six minutes from time, powering his header past Crellin after an inswinging cross from Watts, forcing the game into penalties.  

Into the shootout we went and Cannon, Francis Okoronkwo, Price, Katia Kouyate, Joe Anderson and Lewis Warrington were all on target, but Hunt and Eli Campbell were unable to convert as the home side took the extra point.