U21 Report: Everton 3 City 2

City’s Development Squad opened their Barclays U21 Premier League campaign with a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Everton at the Merseyrail Community Stadium on Monday evening.

Two goals in five minutes saw the hosts take control but an own goal from Ryan Ledson on the half-hour mark saw Steve Beaglehole’s men get back into the game.
The Toffees restored their two-goal lead after the break through Tyias Browning, before a penalty from Jacob Blyth pulled one back for City, but the young Foxes were unable to come away with anything from their season opener.
Everton opened the scoring through Chris Long, the striker bundling in Gethin Jones’ cross just four minutes in.
And the hosts doubled their lead just five minutes later as Hallam Hope cut in from the left wing and fired a powerful low drive past Adam Smith.
Kieran Kennedy could have pulled one back for the Foxes on 22 minutes, but couldn’t get a clean header on target, Jindrich Stanek collecting well in goal.
But City pressed and forced Ledson into an uncomfortable back pass which proved too strong for Stanek, making the score 2-1 with 28 minutes on the clock.
Beaglehole’s side came close to equalising just moments later as James Pearson hit a low drive that was smothered by Stanek.
Everton applied pressure early in the second half and it paid off as Browning side-footed in a Hope corner four minutes after the break.
But City came again and after Stanek brought down Tom Hopper in the area, Blyth fired in the penalty into the bottom left-hand corner to make it 3-2 – the Foxes back in the game on 51 minutes.
Hopper and Jack Barmby, a force up front throughout the match, each had efforts at the hosts’ goal, but David Unsworth’s side remained solid in defence and blocked the forwards’ shots.
A neat one-two on 69 minutes between substitute Joe Dodoo and Barmby saw the latter have a fierce strike saved by Stanek.
Smith, who made a handful of saves, then kept the Foxes in the game, palming away a Long penalty after substitute Louis Rowley brought the forward down in the area on 71 minutes.
A 35-yard effort from Ryan Watson again forced Stanek into an impressive save just minutes later as the visitors began to press for an equaliser.
And another chance fell City’s way 10 minutes from time – Hopper flicking a Blyth front-post cross straight into the chest of the ‘keeper from the right.
A flurry of Foxes shots, first from Harry Panayiotou and then Dodoo, pounded the Everton goal approaching full time, but the third goal evaded Beaglehole’s men.
A stoppage time strike from Blyth nearly snatched a point in a highly entertaining game, but Stanek was again on hand to deny the forward.
The Development Squad didn’t get the result they wanted at Southport but will look to bounce back at the weekend, when they host Tottenham Hotspur at King Power Stadium.
EVERTON: Stanek, Jones, Galloway, Ledson, Pennington, Browning, Williams (Dowell 66), Grant, Byrne (Green 72), Long, Hope (Duffus 81).
Subs not used: Griffiths, McLaughlin.
Goals: Long 4, Hope 9, Browning 49
CITY: Smith, Pearson (Dodoo 67), Chillwell (Rowley 45), McCourt (Cain 54), Sesay (c), Kennedy, Panayiotou, Watson, Blyth, Barmby, Hopper.
Subs not used: Maddison, Stankevicius.
Goals: Ledson o.g. 28, Blyth pen 51

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