A second half goal from England youth international was enough to give Everton the points in a dull affair although the margin could have been greater only for the woodwork to deny Everton a better score line.

New recruit Sam Kelly signed from Norwich this week made his debut for the blues, Eric Dier, Tyias Browning and Ibou Touray were absent as they are likely to be involved with the Reserves on Tuesday in the mini Derby.

A heavy rainfall ceased before kick off as the sky turned blue, the pitch was sticky as the game got underway with Albion playing in their navy striped shirts.

The first 15 minutes was quite uneventful with Albion looking the more comfortable of the two sides.

Connor Roberts was the first of the keepers to be tested with an untroubled shot from Baggies number 11 Garmston.

60 seconds later Everton had their first chance when Thomas went wide on the right to cut inside the box only to assist Hope who looked a certainty to score but somehow missed a golden opportunity to put the blues ahead by miskicking the ball completely.

Everton seemed to step up a gear and got forward again with Higgins this time taking advantage down the right to play a cross aimed for the head of Forrester but the visitors defence had to be on their toes to clear the ball away.

Jack Rose the visiting keeper dealt well with the windy conditions first from a Thomas inswinging corner and secondly he had to go down to his right to palm away a Connor Grant effort.

Rose again was called into action with a powerful shot from the edge of the box from captain John Lundstram on the half hour mark as Everton’s build up play was only to be admired with some nice one touch football.

7 minutes from the break defender Heneghan who made his bow as a substitute for the reserves on Tuesday towered above the Albion back line from a Thomas corner only to send the ball way over the bar.

Johns went down the left before the interval who fed debutant Kelly whose delightful assist found Forrester with a diving header but lacked power and keeper Rose had no problem claiming the ball.

Forrester again posed a threat a minute later helped on with a pacey run from Hope only for Rose to read the situation better and get there first.

Everton were more of a threat during the first half but lacked a cutting edge and should really have been in front at the break but at half time the game was goalless.

HALF TIME

EVERTON U18’S 0 WBA U18’S 0

The same 22 took to the pitch for the second 45 minutes and it was the visitors to make the first threat as they did in the first half as Everton’s defence looked sloppy and Bradley Garmston took advantage of that to hit a left footed to shot with Connor Roberts reacting well to make a fine save and give Albion a corner.

An unusual incident happened which i have never seen before as Everton were awarded a free kick as West Brom’s number 9 Birch kicked away the ball for dissent. Mr Mcdonald the match official gave Birch the option to retrieve the ball or face a caution but declined to do so then picked up his yellow card.

From the resulting free kick Everton got forward only to find themselves in front when a headed assist from Forrester which went into the path of Hope who made no mistake with a delightful left footed chip only for advancing Rose to get a hand to but could not prevent the ball from entering the back of the net to give the host’s a deserved lead.

Goals breed confidence and ten minutes into the half Everton were awarded a free kick from 22 yards out as Kelly stepped over the ball and Higgins attempted effort that was only inches over the cross bar.

Everton were unlucky not to go further ahead, Higgins corner was knocked on with a Heneghan header as Hope connected with his head only to see his gallant effort come off the crossbar.

West Brom got a spring in their step and were very close to being awarded a penalty as Higgins appeared to push Garmston in the box but the match official thought differently and gave a free kick just outside.

From the resulting free kick their effort came off the bar as Everton retained the lead.

Midway through the second half Forrester must have thought he had doubled the blues lead with a run and shot which beat Rose and luckily for the visitors a defender was on the line to get the ball away.

Sam Kelly the debutant tried a shot from distance with a confident left foot shot that failed to trouble Rose as the game was entering the latter stages.

Albion never really looked like scoring with Everton sitting comfortably on a one goal advantage, Everton did manage to push for a second goal as the game filtered out with some runs and crosses but the finishing was not at it’s best but thoroughly deserved the points at the whistle.

Some good displays from the youngsters today with Hope, Kelly, Lundstram and Higgins showing promise but Ryan Higgins gets my man of the match award for this week.

FULL TIME

EVERTON U18’S 1 WBA U18’S 0

Teams
Everton: Roberts, Higgins, Johns. Pennington, Henegham, Lundtram ( C), Thomas, Grant, Hope, Forrester , Kelly. Subs: Molyneux, Fitzgibbon(GK), Waring, Shannon, Langton

Coach Kevin Sheedy

West Brom : Rose, Atkinson, Wellington, Turton, Hingley, Tunnicliffe (C), Ambalu, Birch, Jones, O’Sullivan, Garmston Subs: Manesio, Palmer, Brown, Amenku, Jones

Coach James Shan

Match Officials Mr D McDonald , Assistants H Jackson and J Cliff

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