Under-21s Fall Short Against West Ham

Everton Under-21s suffered defeat in their first outing of the year as they were edged 2-1 by West Ham United on Friday night.

Kamarai Swyer headed the visitors in front after 28 minutes and a spot-kick from Divin Mubama early into the second half gave the young Blues an uphill battle.

The Toffees pulled one back as Tom Cannon unleashed a lethal hit from a free-kick, sending the ball into the top-left corner, but it ultimately resulted in a consolation effort for Paul Tait’s side.

It was a physical contest in Southport in the first Premier League 2 outing since early November as the Blues came closest to open the scoring in the early stages.

Cannon burst past the Hammers' defence along the left side, cutting in on the edge of the box and curled the ball towards the far corner. However, Krisztian Hegyi dropped low to deny the Irish forward.

The Blues continued to build momentum as another promising chance came 23 minutes into the contest.

Francis Okoronkwo found Stanley Mills in the final third, the midfielder producing some beautiful footwork to ease the ball past a sliding challenge, cutting in on his right foot and taking an opportunity towards goal - his effort a fraction beyond the right-hand post.

Despite the promising chances, it was West Ham who took the lead five minutes later.

Junior Robinson’s delivery found the head of Swyer whose effort rattled off the bar and into the net to give Hammers the lead.

Tait’s side began the second half with intent but suffered a blow as a spot kick was awarded to the visitors.

Robinson was brought down in the area by Reece Welch. Striker Mubama stepped up to take and placed the ball into the left-hand side of the net, despite Zan Luk Leban’s best efforts to reach it.

The second goal for the London side appeared to take the momentum out of the hosts, but Cannon’s free-kick in the final stages burst Everton back into life.

It was a perfectly-placed effort by the 20-year-old who struck the ball 20 yards out from the left side and beyond Hegyi into the top corner on 80 minutes.

Confidence and belief grew for the Blues in the final stages, but they were unable to find a justified equaliser.

Tait’s side return to action next weekend with a trip to face Blackburn Rovers.