Our forums resident youth team reporter, Â´alan ballÂ´ has put pen to paper to give us an account of how EvertonÂ´s under 18Â´s fared at Leeds United…
Team: Roberts, Browning, Bidwell, Dier,( Waring) Hammer, Barrow, Thomas ,Garbutt ( Johns), Higgins, Donegan, Forrester. Subs: Fitzgibbons, Henegan
Match Report Leeds United U18Â´s Vs Everton U18Â´s
This was EvertonÂ´s final game of the campaign with a title hanging in the balance and hoping they could build on their emphatic win on Tuesday against their rivals and challengers for the league title Liverpool.
Played in good conditions with a cold wind this game was played at Thorp Arch which is next to the prison and kicked off at 11.15 instead of an 11.30 scheduled ko.
Bad news for Everton was the absence of Hallam Hope and John Lundstram having been called up for England u17Â´s in Serbia. Zac Thompson who left Everton for Leeds this season was in attendance as is currently out injured but spent time talking with some of his ex colleagues.
Everton started off playing a 4-5-1 formation with Leeds playing the better football even though there was not much between the two sides. Everton seemed to be very uncomfortable at the back with Hammer and Dier looking very shaky which was simply out of character as they have formed a good partnership since DierÂ´s arrival from Sporting Lisbon.
Leeds always looked like scoring in the first half and put the Everton defence under pressure without managing to put the ball into the visitorÂ´s net and Everton showing only a shadow of their last outing in midweek without creating anything to trouble the Leeds keeper apart from an Anton Forrester header that went over the Leeds bar.
After the break around 55 minutes Leeds got their noses in front with an attack that came down the right, the ball was played inside and Hammer made a miserable clearance and with no one closing down which went straight to the Leeds number 9 who had created problems for Everton to hit a shot that seemed to swerve to the right and off the post and into the net which Roberts in the Everton goal I felt could have done much better.
Everton made a change taking off a poor performance from Dier to replace him with George Waring. Everton went 4-4-2 pushing Waring upfront to combine with Forrester and hoped to get themselves some kind of way back, Everton again like the first half created very little only for an Anton Forrester shot shaving the post.
The goal gave Leeds the boost and applied more pressure missing several chances and were unlucky not to be further ahead in this game but EvertonÂ´s day was summed up when Jake Bidwell hit a shot with power that was a certainty for the net only for the ball to hit his team mate Jordan Barrow who seemed to get in the way, Thomas played Donegan into a scoring chance only for it to go the the keeper. Everton made another change bringing on Jasper Johns and taking off Luke Garbutt in midfield.
The last ten minutes Everton found a second wind and put the hostÂ´s under a considerable amount of pressure forcing them into several corners but just couldnÂ´t find that breakthrough and get an equaliser although it was not deserved and went into a 3-5-2 formation hoping for a final push but the whistle went and a 1-0 victory for the Yorkshiremen was not a true reflection as Everton rode their luck when it could have been a bigger margin as they hit the woodwork and the crossbar 3 times in the 2nd period.
A performance that was largely disappointing and not many contenders for man of the match this week but Tyias Browning got my vote for his excellent tracking back and playing a good defensive role. Tom Donegan goes on trial this week to one of the Bristol clubs looking for a pro deal and Eric will return to Lisbon.
Eric has settled in well at Everton building a good rapport and and making many friends at Everton during his stay and certainly come out of his shell since making the move
Liverpool drew 1-1 today with Sheffield United equalising in the last 5 minutes and have to play Wolves twice next week so the title will go to the wire and letÂ´s hope that Wolves can do us a favour.
Former blue Luke Dobie who was released by Everton has signed a deal with Middlesbrough and we wish him well with his career