Youssef Chermiti’s stoppage-time penalty goal earned Everton Under-21s a 1-0 victory over Mansfield Town in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday evening.
Featuring in valuable minutes for the young Blues, 19-year-old Chermiti joined Seamus Coleman in the Everton line-up.
Club captain Coleman played 66 minutes as he continued his recovery from a medial knee ligament injury sustained in May.
Elsewhere, fellow Senior-Team members Lewis Dobbin and Joao Virginia also earned important playing time – both starting from the off against Nigel Clough’s high-flying League Two outfit, and both impressing throughout a closely contested affair at the One Call Stadium.
It was a promising start for Everton, and after 15 minutes, the Blues looked dangerous through Chermiti’s lay off to Coleman on the half-way line. Coleman played it back to the young striker, who once more looked for the overlapping Irishman, before Mansfield managed to scramble the ball away.
Seamus Coleman leads out #EFCU21 at Mansfield tonight as he picks up more match fitness. 💪— Everton (@Everton) November 7, 2023
Watch the #EFLTrophy action at https://t.co/7PnfmRVb3B or follow @EvertonAcademy for score updates. 🔵 pic.twitter.com/0Ev2ft51G3
Minutes later, young centre-back Astley was called into action to make a vital block to stop a close-range effort from Hiram Boateng.
Resuming their position as the team on top, the Toffees came close just after the half-hour mark, when Chermiti flashed a header over the bar from Djankpata’s in-swinging right-footed cross.
Not long later, the 19-year-old came close towards the end of the half, when, from the right side of the box, he fired across goal from Dobbin’s through ball, forcing a save from goalkeeper Scott Flinders.
Just 10 minutes into the second half, Coleman led an Everton counter-attack, bursting through the centre of the field, before releasing Chermiti in the Mansfield penalty area. He cut in on his left foot, before cutting back onto his right, but his effort was blocked by the hosts’ defence.
Around the hour-mark, Chermiti’s movement off the ball allowed space for Hunt to capitalise, as he unleashed a well-struck left-footed shot on the edge of the penalty area – an effort, saved by Flinders, that followed a positive run from the young Blue.
Minutes later, Flinders was on hand yet again. This time, reacting superbly to deny Dobbin’s first-time volley from the corner of the six-yard-box.
The 20-year-old Everton forward nearly opened the scoring not long after, smashing the crossbar from a shot on the edge of the penalty area.
66 minutes in the tank for Captain Coleman. 🔋✅ pic.twitter.com/PUnoQNxw90— Everton (@Everton) November 7, 2023
A promising evening for Coleman came to a close after 66 minutes, when the Everton captain was replaced by substitute Roman Dixon, while Sean McAllister came on for Halid Djankpata.
Making sure to keep his side in the game, Virginia made a vital save to prevent James Gale from opening the scoring with just minutes remaining.
In an end-to-end conclusion to the contest, the Toffees were deep in their own half, when Dobbin kickstarted a counter-attack, playing a through ball to the jet-heeled Dixon. He reached the Mansfield penalty area, and pulled the ball back to Barker, who lifted the ball over the bar from close range.
But the young Blues finally got their goal. After a long throw-in by Dixon, Chermiti turned George Cooper in the 18-yard-box, before being tripped by the Mansfield defender.
Chermiti stepped up to take the spot-kick, and confidently converted, firing straight down the middle to net his first goal in royal blue, winning the game in the 91st minute for Everton.
Everton Line-Up: Virginia, Coleman (Dixon 66), Astley, Campbell, John (Barker 75, Heath 90), Djankpata (McAllister 66), Metcalfe, Hunt, Okoronkwo, Chermiti, Dobbin.
Substitutes (not used): Barrett, Butler, Sherif.