Everton were looking to retrieve some consistency as the season has been a topsy turvey affair, with a tricky fixture at Clayton Wood.

Everton’s youngsters had to reshuffle the pack as Touray, Pennington and Thomas were withdrawn to be included in the Reserve fixture against Wigan on Tuesday so Ryan Higgins and Jordan Barrow covered the full back positions while Conor Grant filled the position vacated by Thomas with Forrester and Hope spearheading the attack

The pitch was very heavy and it would make the game an interesting encounter as it was not in an ideal state to play decent football on.

Chances by both teams were few and far between as neither side looked to be getting the bit between their teeth.

Everton carved out the first chance 15 minutes in when Higgins the full back attacks down the right to send a ball to the awaiting Hallam Hope who could only manage to send a header over Bachmann’s cross bar.

The home side tried to go one better as a rasping 30 yard shot form Stoke’s captain Lucas Dawson tested Fitzgibbon in the Everton goal but the scores remained 0-0. Ryan Higgins was having a very good game in defence and was threatened often by Stoke’s number 10 Musungu but dealt with him very well.

With the half time break drawing near Everton finally made the breakthrough on 39 minutes when some lovely link play between Barrow and Hope assisted Long who as of late has been a scoring sensation was hounding the 6 yard box to stab the ball home and send the visitors in with a 1-0 lead even though there was very little between the teams.

Conor Grant was instrumental in midfield during the first half for Everton

HALF TIME
STOKE CITY U18’S 0 EVERTON U18’S 1

Neither side produced any substitutions at the break as Stoke firmly believed they were still in the game as they came out second half ready to battle but an absolute screamer from Forrester on 51 minutes dampened Stoke’s hopes with a shot from 20 yards.

Hallam Hope set off on a spirited run to be met with a challenge from a Stoke defender but the ball fell kindly to Forrester who unleashed a shot that went high and hit the post and put Everton into a two goal lead.

Conor Grant made a run in midfield to cross a ball for goal scorer Forrester unable to make the connection as the visitors looked to extend their lead further.

Stoke were still looking lively and pressed for a reward but Everton’s back line held well but on 64 minutes the visitors defence were unable to deal with a long throw taken by midfielder Richardson who turned in the box to find Michael Clarkson to smash home past Fitzgibbon and set up an interesting finale.

On 80 minutes Stoke must have thought they had drawn level when Hall and Nardiello linked well together for Richardson who was surging forward but his encouraging half volley went wide of the post and give Everton a lucky escape.

Everton made a late change as Shannon was brought on for Grant who had an excellent outing.

Stoke won a series of corners hoping they could snatch a draw but Everton failed to concede and took the 3 points with them.

There were some good performances for the visitors Molyneux, Jones, Higgins and Grant but Conor Grant takes the award

FULL TIME
STOKE CITY U18’S 1 EVERTON U18’S 2

Stoke’s City´s coach Dave Wright

Everton’s coach Kevin Sheedy

Teams Stoke City: Bachmann, Roberts-Nurse(Rossi 88), Parry, O’Reilly, Hall, Richardson, Clarkson,Dawson ( c), Scott, Musungu, Nardiello. Unused Subs; Richards, Eve(GK), Sinclair , Debayo

Everton: Fitzgibbon. Higgins, Barrow, Heneghan, Dier ( c), Grant,( Shannon 80) Molyneux, Jones, Long, Hope, Forrester. Unused subs Taudul (GK), Green

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