Everton took the Merseyside derby bragging rights at under-18 level as they overcame Liverpool 3-1 at Finch Farm.
Everton move to the top of the northern section of the league, two points clear of Manchester United having played a game more, with Liverpool in fifth.
Although it wasn’t quite as thrilling as what the two senior teams managed to dish up at Goodison Park on Saturday, it still had that derby feel about it. It did have one thing that Saturday’s game didn’t have - a red card - as Everton’s Joe Williams went in wildly on Pedro Chirivella, connecting with a rather sensitive part of the Liverpool man’s anatomy, meaning he had to be substituted.
The Blues performance will have encouraged the first team boss Roberto Martinez who watched on as the youngsters pressed their opponents high up the field throughout the game and were well worth their victory.
They opened the scoring midway through the first half after Liverpool’s Sheyi Ojo was dispossessed in the middle of the park with the move ultimately ending up with Ryan Ledson heading home a cross from the right hand side.
Liverpool – who had Welsh international Harry Wilson on show, along with Jerome Sinclair who played in Liverpool’s League Cup tie against West Brom at the Hawthorns last season – but couldn’t help the Reds with some end product which they badly lacked.
Wilson managed to put a through ball for striker Ryan Kent just before half-time only to be denied by Russell Griffiths in the Everton goal, when Kent ought to have done better.
The Blues punished their rivals straight afterwards after captain George Green’s free-kick slipped through the hands of Andy Firth in the Liverpool goal to double the home side’s advantage.
Liverpool started the second half in promising fashion but were hit by a sucker punch third when another cross from the right side caused problems, allowing Courtney Duffus to score with a towering header that resembled that of Duncan Ferguson – who incidentally is part of the coaching staff with the under 18’s.
Then came the red card and Everton showed their resilience as Liverpool bemoaned their quality of finishing. A penalty that was scored by Jerome Sinclair gave them a bit of hope after Harry Charsley slipped and the ball struck his arm – but the Reds couldn’t quite set up the grandstand finish seen on Saturday.
image: © isirya