Everton Under-21s earned a spectacular 3-0 Premier League 2 victory over Wolves Under-21s at Finch Farm on Friday evening.
A performance full of energy and positivity dismantled Wolves in the first half, as Everton headed into the break with a three-goal lead after strikes from Elijah Campbell, Francis Okoronkwo and Stanley Mills.
The Toffees stayed in control throughout the second 45 minutes, ensuring they kept the clean sheet on their way to three points.
On paper, the Premier League 2 game promised to be a close encounter. Everton sat in ninth position heading into the fixture, and marginally ahead of Wolves in 11th.
However, the Blues displayed an improved performance last time out against Chelsea, and Paul Tait’s team managed to carry their confidence and form into this fixture.
Everton started excellently, coming close with an early chance in the third minute. Lurking at the back post, Okoronkwo met Kyle John's deep cross. His effort was guided narrowly wide but signalled a warning to the visitors.
The early pressure paid off, and the Toffees struck the game’s opening goal in the early stages. After just seven minutes, strong running down the left wing by Mackenzie Hunt earned the Blues a corner. After a clever short corner, Isaac Price confidently whipped in the cross and found the head of Campbell who powered the header home.
GOAL! #EFCU21 1-0 @WolvesAcademy— Everton Academy (@EvertonAcademy) March 31, 2023
Campbell heads the Blues in front inside eight minutes. #PL2
Watch live: https://t.co/p4rq6yotsQ pic.twitter.com/Eu5YirPRtN
Wolves grew into the game and began to dominate possession, with Everton pinned in their own half. However, they failed to capitalise, and Everton doubled their lead in the 28th minute.
Katia Kouyate showed his pace in an ambitious run down the left wing, and he managed to dig out a dangerous ball into the box. The cross was headed down by Mills, and Okoronkwo pounced on the loose ball, before turning and shooting, his effort deflecting into the back of the net.
GOAL! #EFCU21 2-0 @WolvesAcademy— Everton Academy (@EvertonAcademy) March 31, 2023
Okoronkwo doubles the Blues' lead with a first-time finish. #PL2 pic.twitter.com/gK0cwTP39K
The Blues were 2-0 up but they didn’t stop there. A third goal came after just 32 minutes. Sean McAllister was awarded a penalty after being fouled in the box. Mills stepped up and fired the ball straight down the middle to emphatically give Everton a three-goal advantage.
GOAL! #EFCU21 3-0 @WolvesAcademy— Everton Academy (@EvertonAcademy) March 31, 2023
Mills makes it three, converting from the spot with 32 minutes gone. #PL2
Watch live: https://t.co/p4rq6yotsQ pic.twitter.com/L4aDu2fPbR
A fairly quiet 45 minutes followed an action-filled first half. After such a dominant first period, Everton cruised throughout much of the second, ensuring they held the lead, and kept the clean sheet.
Jenson Metcalfe was introduced in the second half, and his positive run and strong shot forced a save from Wolves's Pálmi Arinbjörnsson. Kouyate followed in but couldn't quite direct the rebound towards goal.
Wolves persisted with threatening moments, as seen when Tyler Roberts flashed a dangerous ball across the Everton goal in the 81st minute. However, Everton stayed in control to earn a 3-0 victory.
It was an impressive performance from Tait's team, who showed confidence and an assurance throughout the 90 minutes to earn a well-deserved three points.