Everton U18s were comfortable winners in a friendly arranged against Rochdale U18s at short notice to accommodate some of the injured players some match practice having been sidelined for lengthy spells.

Everton were 2-0 in front at the break with goals from Hope and Higgins, another Hope goal and two from Forrester in the second half only be denied by a last gasp goal from the visitors to make Everton run out 5-1 winners.

Rochdale came to Finch Farm as they did in pre season to give Everton who have a free weekend from the league some practice for some of the younger lads who have been injured. Everton played in their amber shirts allowing Rochdale to play in their blue strip on a bitterly cold night.

Everton welcomed the return of Johann Hammar who has been out since last May also George Waring and Jasper Johns.

Everton first chance of the game fell to Connor Grant on the left hand side but unfortunately his effort hit the side netting.

Everton got off the mark on 36 minutes when Hallam Hope smashed the ball home from close range after some good football which Everton threatened down the right.

Ryan Higgins added to the tally 4 minutes later when a fine individual run saw him chip the ball over the Dale goalkeeper.

The visitors threatened immediately only for Mateusz Taudul to make a great double save after Rochdale had won a free kick, Taudul tipped the ball onto the bar and as the ball dropped to the floor the visiting number 5 tried to knock the ball over the line only for Taudul to show his bravery and get his whole body behind the ball.



Eric Dier made an entrance second half replacing Ben Heneghan who has had a great season in Hammar’s absence.

Everton continued to stay in control of this game and as much as they tried they could not convert.

Forrester and Thomas came on for Waring and Barrow respectively on 62 minutes as Everton stepped up the pace and it only took three minutes before they were on the scoresheet again.

Hope ran along the right flank and crossed the ball but the Dale keeper could only push it into the path of Forrester to make it 3-0

4 minutes later Thomas who is renown for his breath taking speed burst through the middle to set up Hope to add his second goal of the night.

Goals were raining down on Finch Farm as Forrester who had just been denied from the keeper after being released through made no mistake 60 seconds later by making it 5!

Thoams was unlucky to see his effort come off the bar with a touch from the keeper and on 89 minutes Everton will be disappointed to concede as Dale attacked down the right the ball was delivered for the Number 10 to put past Taudul and give the visitors a consolation.



TEAM: Taudul, Pennington, Johns (Touray 74) Henegahn (Dier 46), Hammar, Barrow (Thomas 60), Higgins, Molyneux, Hope, Waring ( Forrester 60), Grant. Subs Fitzgibbon(GK)

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