Despite a dominant performance and two well-worked goals, our under-23s were held to a 2-2 draw by Everton in the Premier League 2 on Monday night.
Rob Holding completed his first 90 minutes since rupturing his ACL in December 2018, while Bukayo Saka and Karl Hein started for the first time in 2019/20.
We made the perfect start when Tyreece John-Jules latched onto a long ball and produced a stunning flicked finish over the onrushing Nico Hansen for his first goal of the season.
However, our lead would last all but two minutes, as Anthony Gordon raced up the other end and fired past Hein into the bottom-left corner.
Saka then went on to make a storming run into the box, forcing a foul from a Toffees defender, but the referee was quick to wave away our claims.
Gordon’s equaliser should have spurred the champions on, but our youngsters stepped up instead, as Folarin Balogun and Trae Coyle combined on the counter, before the latter teed up Robbie Burton for a top-corner finish.
Shortly after the break, Balogun had a golden opportunity to double our advantage, but he was unable to provide the finishing touch to Coyle’s teasing delivery.
Coyle then came close himself as he forced Hansen into a difficult save, before Holding made a vital interception to deny Gordon a second.
Our youngsters were in full control as they entered the final 10 minutes - but against the run of play the Toffees grabbed an equaliser, with Gordon capitalising on an error by Hein.
WHAT IT MEANS
Steve Bould’s side will face Northampton Town in the Leasing.com Trophy on Tuesday, August 27.
The game will take place at PTS Academy Stadium with kick-off at 7.30pm (UK time)
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