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Season 2011-12

EVERTON U18s, 2011-12

Everton's Under-18 won the National FA Premier Academy League Champions trophy last season after beating Fulham in the Playoff Final with a dramatic late winner from substitute George Waring.  This season was much less successful...

Results & Fixtures  A record of Everton's Under-18 matches during the season
League Setup  An explanation of the Under-18 League setup
League Table  Everton's position in their Group table
Match Details  Teamsheets and brief reports for each match
Appearances  A table of Under-18 appearances and goals
Friendlies Results from Under-18 friendly matches in 2011-12
Manager: Neil Dewsnip


Date   Ven Opponents               Result  Pos  Scorers                 

August 2011

Sat 20 (a) Tottenham Hotspur        W 2-0  1st  Long, O'Brien
Sat 27 (h) Reading L 0-1 3rd —


Sat  3 (a) Sheffield Wednesday      W 2-0  2nd  Forrester, Molyneux
Sat 10 (h) Huddersfield Town D 2-2 2nd Forrester, Thomas
Sat 17 (a) Newcastle United L 0-1 2nd —
Sat 24 (h) Bolton Wanderers D 1-1 3rd Forrester


Sat  1 (a) West Bromwich Albion     W 4-0  2nd  Jones, Forrester (pen), Long (2)
Sat 8 (h) Liverpool D 1-1 3rd Long
Sat 15 (a) Crewe Alexandra W 4-1 2nd Forrester, Thomas, Long (2)
Sat 29 (h) Wolverhampton Wanderers L 2-3 3rd Higgins, Long


Sat  5 (a) Stoke City               W 2-1  4th  Long, Forreser
Sat 12 (h) Manchester City L 2-4 5th Plummer (og), Hope
Sat 19 (a) Blackburn Rovers W 4-3 4th Forrester 2, Thomas, Long

December 2011

Sat 17 (a) Wolverhampton Wanderers  L 1-4  5th  Thomas

January 2012

Sat  7 (h) Stoke City               D 2-2  5th  Dier,Forrester
Sat 21 (h) Blackburn Rovers L 4-5 6th Forrester 2, Hope 2
Sat 28 (a) Manchester United W 4-1 4th Forrester, Touray, Johns, Hope


Sat 18 (h) West Bromwich Albion     W 1-0  3rd  Hope
Sat 25 (a) Liverpool L 1-3 4th Jones


Sat  3 (h) Nottingham Forest        W 5-1  3rd  Hope 2, Heneghan, Thomas, Pennington
Sat 10 (a) Derby County W 3-1 3rd Barrow, Heneghan, Forrester
Wed 14 (a) Bolton Wanderers W 3-0 3rd Thomas, Grant, Forrester
Sat 17 (a) Sheffield United L 1-2 4th Molyneux
Sat 24 (a) Manchester City L 1-2 5th Higgins

April 2012

Sat 13 (h) Crewe Alexander          W 5-2  4th  Pennington, Hope 2, Forrester 2
Sat 21 (h) Leeds United L 0-1 5th —
Tue 24 (h) Middlesbrough L 1-2 5th Hope
Sat 28 (h) Manchester United W 2-1 5th Grant, Hope

 2011 Friendlies and Other U-18 Team Matches
Pre-Season and other Friendlies, 2011
Day  Date  Ven Opponents            Res   Scorers                              

Wed Jul 13 (h) Exeter City         W 3-2  Long, Thomas, Jones
Sun Jul 17 (n) New York Red Bulls  W 3-1  Jones, Dier, Johns
Wed Jul 20 (a) Phildelphia Union W 2-0
Long 2
Sat Jul 29 (a) Marine D 1-1
Sat Aug 06 (h) Kilmarnock W 1-0 Forrester
Fri Aug 12 (a) Coventry City L 0-3
Sat Nov 26 (a) Rochdale W 5-1 Hope 2, Higgins, Forrester 2
Fri Dec 2 (h) Blackpool W 2-0 Forrester, Waring


The FA Premier Youth Academy comprises one Youth League team at Under-18 level.  There are a parallel set of friendly games playing the same fixtures at Under-16 level, but they will not count towards any league table and are not reported here.

The current set-up for the FA Premier Youth Academy has four regional groups of 10 teams each:

Group A Group B Group C Group D
Arsenal Aston Villa Blackburn Rvrs Barnsely
Charlton Ath Birmingham C Bolton Wndrs Derby County
Chelsea Bristol City Crewe Alexandra Huddersfield
Crystal Palace Cardiff City Everton Leeds United
Fulham Coventry City Liverpool Middlesbrough
Ipswich Town Leicester City Manchester City Newcastle Utd
Norwich Milton Keynes Manchester Utd Notts Forest
Portsmouth Reading Stoke City Sheffield Utd
Southampton Tottenham H West Brom Albion Sheffield Wed
West Ham Utd Watford Wolverhampton W Sunderland

The season starts with some inter-group matches against teams from the farthest (geographically) regional groups.  For Everton, that meant a game with a team each from Groups C and D.  Everton then played three teams from the closest Group A.

For the main part of the season, Everton play each of the other teams in their local Group, both home and away.  They finish up playing each of the other teams in Group A again, giving 28 matches in all.  

Pos Team

The section below contains available team details and scorers for Everton U-18 matches, and match reports, abridged from  
 Tottenham Hotspur 0 - 2 Everton 
U-18 League Match No 1
Saturday 20 August 2011

Chigwell, Essex  

Everton: Fitzgibbon; Penington, Touray, Heneghan, Dier; Higgins, Thomas, Johns; Long (70' O’Brien), Jones, Forrester.
Subs not used:
  Roberts, Shannon, Langton. Scorers: Long, O'Brien.

A new season began for the National Under-18 Champions Everton with Eric Dier as captain.

On 8 minutes, Adam Thomas forced the first save of the game. Everton settled down the better and  won a free kick when Anton Forrester was fouled. Eric Dier hit a free kick 5 minutes later from an amazing 40 yards that went over the bar.

Everton’s dominance paid off on 21 minutes when Chris Long hit a screamer into the top right hand corner to give Everton a deserved lead. 5 minutes later and a good move involving Long and Ryan Higgins down the right but Long’s shot was saved well. 

On 38 minutes, Ryan Higgins went on a run and using his strength and speed he managed to cut inside and shoot with his effort only missing the post narrowly.   

Thomas attacked  on 55 minutes and a very good cross from the left was accurate for Long to head home but somehow he ducked and the ball went out. On the hour, another promising attacking run down the right and a one-two with Forrester.

Long and Forrester  linked up well as Everton took advantage but Forrester played an unselfish ball into his colleagues path for Long shooting well over the bar. Everton’s defence on a few occasions had to show their worth and clear some danger from the 18-yard box.

Everton replaced Long on 70 minutes with schoolboy Danny O’Brien. Jasper Johns made a bad mistake playing his team into serious trouble as Spurs ached for an equaliser.

With 15 minutes remaining, Everton were having to deal with several assaults down the right but they defended stoutly. Danny O’Brien sealed the game for Everton with 10 minutes left as a combination with Forrester whose turn on the edge of the 6-yard box and shielding the ball well laid it into the path of O’Brien to slot low to his right.

The full time whistle sounded, and there were some good displays from the team. One to watch out for is Gethin Jones who is only 15 — this boy is going to be breathtaking.

Everton 0 - 1 Reading
U-18 League Match No 2
Saturday 27 August 2011

Finch Farm

Everton:  Fitzgibbon; Pennington, Touray, Heneghan, Dier (c); Barrow (85' Shannon), Higgins, Hope; Forrester, Long (46' Jones), Thomas.
Subs not used: Roberts, O´Brien, Langton.  Scorers: None.

Everton showed better the first 20 minutes of the game where Adam Thomas teased the full back Niall Keown but Everton’s forward line of Forrester and Long failed to take advantage of the service and never caused John Henley in the Reading goal any problems.

Most of the football was played by both teams in the middle of the park as Reading got to grips then for the last 20 minutes of the first half the visitors looked more threatening with Pennington and Touray finding it difficult to cope. The nearest Everton got to a goal in the first half was by Thomas who ran on the left and managed to cut inside to let fly but his effort hit the bar and went out for a goal kick
Fitzgibbon kept good concentration to keep a shot out from Carr and had minimal involvement. Dier and Heneghan paired well together in defence winning some very good balls in the air and winning some very good challenges.  

Everton started the second half a lot better and at the break substituted Chris Long and brought on schoolboy Gethin Jones in his place who then slotted into midfield pushing Hallam Hope up to accompany Forrester. The recalled Jordan Barrow hit a spectacular effort from 25 yards out that only just went over the bar.

Everton played some nice one-touch football only for the final pass going astray on a greasy looking surface.
Eric Dier had to come to Touray’s aid as Reading threatened down the right which left Heneghan alone and the ball was played square into the path of his team mate the tricky Dan Carr to punish Everton with 25 minutes remaining.

There was no justice as Everton continued to play the better football. Fitzgibbon made another fine save at his near post. Everton brought on another schoolboy, Oliver Shannon, in place of Jordan Barrow in the last few minutes as the hosts searched for an equaliser and in the last minute it looked as though they had achieved it when a delivery from the left by Thomas found Hope who knocked it to Heneghan and the ball was in the box but Reading´s defence coped with a hectic scramble only to get it clear.

 Sheffield Wednesday 0 - 2 Everton
U-18 League Match No 3
Saturday 3 September 2011


Everton:  Fitzgibbon; Pennington, Touray, Heneghan, Dier; Molyneux, Orenuga, Jones; Hope, Forrester, Thomas.
Subs not used: Taudul, Higgins, Long, O’Brien, Eyre.  Scorers: Forrester, Molyneux.

Everton kicked off and created the first surge on goal only for Forrester to break down when he intercepted the move. The Owls were awarded a free kick for a foul and there was a lengthy delay as full back Pennington went down with a nose bleed.

Wednesday came close to breaking the deadlock but Fitzgibbon had the shot covered as the ball sailed narrowly past his left hand post. Fitzgibbon saved comfortably from a free kick was awarded for a foul against Dier.

Everton finally showed some promise when Hallam Hope had a run down the right but Forrester mis controlled the ball in the area and it was cleared. Orenuga picked up the ball from a good midfield move but the Owls snuffed out the danger.

Everton came close to going in front when again Orenuga caused some havoc with his speed and trickery.
Hope and Forrester paired together as Everton stepped things up and looked livelier. Everton survived a scare when White attacked full back Touray down the right, but the ball eluded everyone and surprisingly went out for an Everton throw-in. As thefirst half drew to a close 0-0 was a true reflection, Everton having two last attempts before the break.

From a Thomas corner after the restart, Dier met it with a powerful header but the keeper pushed the ball away to keep the game level but on 60 minutes Everton's dominance paid off when again ran after Everton’s build up play was excellent. Forrester met Orenuga's cross from close range with a header giving the goalie no chance.

Everton took control of the game forcing a series of corners and teh defence especially Heneghan snuffed out any attacks when Wednesday managed to break. Credit also to Pennington for keeping his opposition at bay. The visitors did have a good shout for a penalty as they pressed the referee waved away the despairing appeals.

70 minutes and Everton doubled their lead with good build-up play, the ball sent wide to Thomas who played it inside where Molyneux despatched a shot that hit inside of the left post and in. Wednesday came back at Everton straight away and Orenuga needlessly got himself booked. 

Everton had two chances within a minute when first of all Forrester’s effort from 25 yards was saved and then 60 seconds later Orenuga played it to Hope who looked destined to score and make it three-nil and amazingly somehow kicked the ball over the bar yards out when it looked impossible to miss; he was clearly annoyed with himself.

In added time Gethin Jones played Forrester in only for his effort to go over the bar. Hope had Everton’s last chance of the game after Orenuga again assisted but the blue’s forward failed to convert.

 Everton 2 - 2 Huddersfield Town
U-18 League Match No 4
Saturday 10 September 2011

Finch Farm

Everton:  Fitzgibbon; Pennington, Touray, Heneghan, Dier; Molyneux (80' Higgins), O’Brien (65' Long), Jones (80' Barrow); Hope, Forrester, Thomas.
Subs not used:
Roberts, Goulding.  Scorers: Forrester, Thomas.

Everton kicked off and had the ball in the net on their first attack, created by Adam Thomas down the left who sent a pinpoint cross to Daniel O’Brien who stabbed home from close range only for the match official to blow up for offside. Within 60 seconds, Huddersfield attacked down the left causing confusion in the Everton defence and Touray should have done better but Matt Crooks gave Fitzgibbon no chance and put his side ahead.

Everton tried to respond with their next attack but Forrester's effort was weak. Huddersfield attacked Everton down both flanks, while Everton tried in vain to find a way of breaking down the Huddersfield defence. The wind was blowing in Huddersfield’s favour and Sinnott was gifted with a poor clearance from Heneghan but his shot went over the bar.

On 25 minutes which Molyineux played a free-kick to O’Brien who found Pennington who teased his marker before finding Forrester in the 6 yard box to stab home the equaliser. Thomas found Hope who was unlucky and narrowly missed the target.

On the half hour mark a good interception by Pennington broke down a misplaced pass found his team mate O’Brien whose shot stung the hands of the goalkeeper who managed to pick up the ball at the second attempt after failing to hold onto the shot.

But the visitors went back in front as Pennington failed to deal with a ball and Max Leonard could not miss from close range on 33 minutes. Minutes before the break, O’Brien again twisted their full back inside out but was fouled; Thomas took Everton’s free kick and found Pennington’s head but his header was blocked on the line Touray rattled the cross bar from a good way out.

Everton won another free kick as Field was booked for fouling Thomas just outside the box. Thomas took the free kick, his excellent shot flew straight into the right-hand side of the goal to level the scores again.

Everton were playing some nice football in the early stages of the second half, and were looking the better of the sides but chances were few and far between as the two sides just tried to catch each other out. Some untidy play gave Huddersfield possession and Leonard nearly caught out Fitzgibbon as his effort managed to land on top of Fitzgibbon's net.

James Fitzgibbon pushed away a crucial two-handed save as the visitors rarely attacked. The last 20 minutes of the game had a 2-2 draw written all over it; chances were rare. Hope and Forrester combined on the right to get a corner but Molyneux’s ball was headed clear.

Everton made three changes as the seconds ticked away, Chris Long replaced O’Brien, Jordan Barrow replaced Jones  and Ryan Higgins came on for Tom Molyneux. The last real chance of the game fell to Thomas but his snap shot failed to find the goal.

 Newcastle United 1 - 0 Everton
U-18 League Match No 5
Saturday 17 September 2011

Little Benton

Everton:  Fitzgibbon; Pennington, Bidwell, Barrow, Dier; Molyneux, Orenuga, Lundstram; Hope, Forrester, Thomas.
Subs not used: Taudul, Touray, Higgins, Heneghan, Long.  Scorers: None.

Everton brought in Jake Bidwell, Jordan Barrow and John Lundstram in place of Ibou Toray, Ben Heneghan and Gethin Jones. Everton’s threat when they got forward was down the left with Adam Thomas's pace. Jake Bidwell also linked well with Thomas as they supported each other with some good overlapping runs.

Around 35 minutes, Everton took control of the game and a chance went begging for Lundstram after a neat move involving Thomas/Bidwell but Lundstram could not put the ball away. Femi Orenuga played on the right hand side and delivered some decent balls without any of the forwards making it pay. Everton seemed to be heading in at the break level when Remie Streete was unmarked in the box to put the ball beyond Fitzgibbon and give the hosts the lead.

On 50 minutes, Lundstram was set up by Thomas on the penalty spot but somehow missed a great opportunity. Orenuga played a lovely ball to Hope but his effort went just wide. From a corner, Anton Forester unleashed a shot that had Baird beaten only to crash against the crossbar. Everton forced a number of corners which they never made pay. Fitzgibbon made a very important save from goalscorer Streete.

It was obvious Newcastle felt Everton were a threat to them and they did all they could to prevent Everton from creating an opening; the Magpies were quite content to keep the ball in the corners as much as they could and waste time as the seconds ticked away.

 Everton 1 - 1 Bolton Wanderers
U-18 League Match No 6
Saturday 24 September 2011

Finch Farm

Everton:   Fitzgibbon; Pennington, Touray, Heneghan, Dier; Barrow, Molyneux (70' Long), Jones (75' O’Brien); Higgins, Forrester, Thomas.
Subs not used: Roberts, Shannon, Eyre.  Scorer: Forrester.

Everton had Browning, Lundstram, Hope and Orenuga called up to the reserves. Anton Forrester managed to put the home side in front after a fine individual effort inside the first 10 minutes then the game looked a very ordinary and scrappy affair with either side showing any authority.

Everton’s midfield looked uncomfortable and never seemed to have any control, they rarely fed the flank’s where in recent weeks they have posed danger and never created anything at all. What Everton managed to muster were just half chances and playing long balls from the back with the forwards giving chase hoping to latch onto something.

Bolton got back on level terms after poor defending from Everton gave the visitors the opportunity from 2 yards out to equalise. On the hour a Bolton attack came down the right as Barrow got caught and the lurking Clough could not miss and gave Fitzgibbon no chance.

Everton raised their game after the equaliser and took the game to their opposition only for Fielding in the Bolton goal to save their blushes with a string of fine goalkeeping. Everton brought on first year scholar Chris Long on 70 minutes in place of Tom Molyneux who was put through one-on-one with Fielding but he was denied.  Gethin Jones tried his luck from 25 yards but again Fielding who had obviously grown in confidence from his earlier saves palmed the ball away.

Adam Thomas forced Fielding to concede a corner which Forrester did well to meet with his head only for the hero Fielding to be equal to and tip it over the bar. Everton made a second change taking off Gethin Jones and bringing on Danny O’Brien in his place.

Bolton were awarded a penalty 5 minutes from time with an unfortunate handball on the line by Ryan Higgins.
The goal scorer Clough looked calm as he ran up to despatch the ball and as Fitzgibbon committed himself by diving one way as Clough’s effort went straight over the bar and give Everton a reprieve.

Everton threw everything at Bolton in the closing stages, substitute O’Brien hit a free kick over the bar and  Forrester seemed to have won the match as the ball was at his mercy in the box and a mighty scramble but somehow Bolton managed to get the ball away.

 West Bromwich Albion 0 - 4 Everton
U-18 League Match No 7
Saturday 1 October 2011

Finch Farm

Everton: Fitzgibbon; Pennington, Bidwell, Heneghan, Dier; Thomas, Molyneux, Jones; Barrow, Forrester, Long (73' _____).
Subs not used: Taudul, Higgins, Touray, O’Brien.  Scorers: Jones, Forrester (pen), Long (2).

West Brom were in total control for the first 20 minutes giving Everton nothing, they could not get the ball and were not looking likely to get into it. But Everton got in front with a well created move down the left which involved Jake Bidwell and Adam Thomas who linked well together with a couple of neat one-twos before Thomas despatched a ball with his left foot on the half-volley for Gethin Jones to head home and put the visitors in front.

On the stroke of half-time, Everton got forward with Chris Long who was brought down to give them a penalty which was put away well by Anton Forrester for his 5th goal of the current campaign.

The second half had similarities of the first period with the home side trying to break down a very stubborn Everton defence with Eric Dier and Tom Heneghan pairing well together at the heart of it. Everton also controlled the midfield and James Fitzgibbon only had to make one save.

Everton sealed the game with a Chris Long individual goal from a run in from the left and a curl shot in at the far post. To make matters worse for the Baggies, Chris Long notched his second goal which started from a long Fitzgibbon kick that was helped on by Thomas who fed Forrester who then assisted Jones who found Long to tap in and put the game well beyond the clutches of West Brom.

 Everton 1 - 1 Liverpool
U-18 League Match No 8
Saturday 8 Octber 2011

Finch Farm

Everton:  Fitzgibbon; Browning, Bidwell, Heneghan, Dier; Barrow (90' Higgins), Hope (90' Molyneux), Lundstram; Long, Forrester, Thomas.
Subs not used: Taudul, Pennington, Touray.   Scorers: Long.

Liverpool settled the better but Ben Heneghan was on his toes to make some very important challenges to keep the opposition at bay. Everton started to wake up and showed more bite, Chris Long was booked for an angry challenge, then two successive corners on 20 minutes taken by Adam Thomas found the head of Forrester only to be foiled by a Liverpool defender on the line.

Hallam Hope was denied  off the line as Everton’s midfield combined to play the ball into Hope’s path.   Heneghan then saved with a goalline clearance. On 35 minutes, Sterling was brought down inside the box by Browning giving the referee no hesitation in pointing to the spot; Regan stepped up to despatch a penalty sending Fitzgibbon the wrong way and giving the visitors the lead.

Everton had a scare when Lundstram gave away a free-kick on the edge of the box which Liverpool failed to make count as the first half came to an end, the visitors with a goal lead.  Liverpool showed more of an appetite after the break and were awarded a free kick when Hope was the guilty party for a foul and was rightly shown the yellow card.

John Lundstram had a spectacular left footed effort from 25 yards which hit the left hand post as the Blues forced some corners, Thomas’s in-swinging delivery met forcefully by captain Dier's head only to just miss the post. Off another corner from Thomas, Heneghan's effort went over the bar and Barrow put Liverpool under the cosh when his effort went inches wide.

Fitzgibbon kept Everton  in the game with two fine saves before a deserved equaliser was scored in the last minute by Chris Long after a well worked move down the left with Bidwell and Thomas whose ball was sent over to Long; he stabbed the ball home from close range and share the points.

 Crewe Alexandra 1 - 4 Everton
U-18 League Match No 9
Saturday 15 October 2011


Everton: Fitzgibbon; Pennington, Touray, Heneghan, Dier; Barrow, Orenuga (75' Higgins), Molyneux; Long, Forrester (75' Hope), Thomas.
Subs not used: Roberts, ???, ???.  Scorers: Forrester, Thomas, Long (2).

Everton’s youngsters were quick off the mark inside two minutes when an Adam Thomas inspiring run then assisted Forrester whose effort took a deflection off a Crewe defender to put the Blues ahead without the home side touching the ball.

Femi Orenuga, playing on the right for the Blues was confusing the Crewe defenders with his runs and stepovers and Tom Molyneux in midfield was creative using both flanks with his intelligent passing. Everton doubled their advantage when Chris Long made a run, cleverly beat two men then swung an exquisite ball to the left foot of Thomas who found the top left hand corner as Everton sailed into a two-goal lead.

Eric Dier made an error out of character but credit to him for recovering the ball and keep Everton’s sheet clean. Everton stepped up a gear again attacking the Alex but chances they created went hopelessly over the bar.

Crewe started the second half the better team when Everton’s defence looked shaky as they wasted two glorious chances sending his efforts over Fitzgibbon’s crossbar. Anton Forrester was unlucky with an effort again as he hit his chance wide of the goal.

Everton were looking comfortable and the points looked to be guaranteed as the second half wore on when a goal from Long made it 3-0 after Thomas again used the width on the left to find Long as the Crewe defence stood still looking for the linesman’s flag to be raised only to be left disappointed.

Crewe dug their heels in once more looking for a way back and did when this time they took advantage of a run down their left when the forward was found in the centre to slot the ball past Fitzgibbon and earn them some respect.

Everton brought off Orenuga and Forrester and replaced them with Higgins and Hope respectively but were dreadfully unlucky after a nicely worked move again on the left with the menacing Thomas causing problems with his lightning pace, Forrester was at the back post after and long failed to connect to hit a shot only to be foiled by the home keeper.

Five minutes later, Thomas nearly doubled his tally as another left-footed rasper was saved well by the keeper. 5 minutes from time Crewe’s heads dropped and surrendered when Thomas ran down the left, reached the byline then with his cross found the head of Long who despatched beautifully and give Everton a 4-1 victory.

 Everton 2 - 3 Wolverhampton Wanderers
U-18 League Match No 10
Saturday 29 October 2011

Finch Farm

Everton:  Fitzgibbon; Pennington (55' Hope), Touray, Henneghan, Dier; Barrow (65' Jones), Higgins, Green (46' Molyneux): Long, Forrester, Thomas.
Subs not used: Taudul, Grant.  Scorers: Higgins, Long.

Everton gave new youngster George Green his first outing at this level, and were the first to show with an attack created on the left hand side by Thomas then found the eagerly awaiting Forrester whose shot was parried but the ball fell into the path of Higgins to put the home side one up.

Wolves pushed Everton as Touray failed to deal with a ball and Whittall took advantage of the defensive mix up to smash home an equaliser that was always threatening. But Thomas linked well with full back Touray, the ball was sent across shoulder height for Long to put Everton back in front. Wolves pressed as the break drew near and a shot from forward Jake Kempton hit the post with Fitzgibbon relieved.

George Green was running tirelessly in midfield but never really carved out any chances for his forwards and unfortunately took a knock. Everton replaced the injured Green with Tom Molyneux at the  break but disaster struck when McAlinden punished the hosts leaving Fitzgibbon helpless.

Everton made a change after conceding the goal, replacing Pennington with Higgins at right back and slotting substitute Hallam Hope into the right hand side of midfield.  Barrow was replaced by Welsman Jones to see if he could conjour up some magic with a draw looking favourable at this stage.

In the latter stages of the game, Thomas surged forward and from the right sent a ball across aiming for his team mate Hope who then tried his luck from the edge of the box only to see it go agonisingly wide of the post.

Everton’s defence were struggling to deal with McAlinden as Dier managed to only half clear, Higgins managed to get a foot on the ball but McAlinden sealed the points for the visitors, drilling home the winner.

 Stoke City 1 - 2 Everton
U-18 League Match No 11
Saturday 5 November 2011

Clayton Wood, Stoke

Everton:  Fitzgibbon; Higgins, Barrow, Heneghan, Dier; Grant (80' Shannon), Molyneux, Jones; Long, Hope, Forrester.
Subs not used: Taudul, Green.  Scorers: Long, Forrester.

Touray, Pennington and Thomas were withdrawn to be included in the Reserve fixture against Wigan on Tuesday so Ryan Higgins and Jordan Barrow covered the full back positions while Conor Grant filled the position vacated by Thomas.

Everton carved out the first chance 15 minutes in when Higgins sent a ball to the awaiting Hallam Hope who could only manage to head over the cross bar. A rasping 30 yard shot form Stoke’s captain tested Fitzgibbon. 

Everton finally made the breakthrough on 39 minutes when Barrow and Hope assisted Long who was hounding the 6-yard box to stab the ball home.

Hallam Hope set off on a spirited run to be met with a challenge from a Stoke defender but the ball fell kindly to Forrester who unleashed a shot that went high and hit the post and put Everton into a two goal lead.

The visitors defence were unable to deal with a long throw taken by midfielder Richardson who turned in the box to find Michael Clarkson to smash home past Fitzgibbon.

Everton made a late change as Shannon was brought on for Grant who had an excellent outing.
Stoke won a series of corners hoping they could snatch a draw but Everton failed to concede and took the 3 points with them.

 Everton 2 - 4 Manchester City
U-18 League Match No 12
Saturday 12 November 2011

Finch Farm

Everton:  Fitzgibbon; Browning, Touray, Heneghan, Dier; Lundstram, Jones, Hope; Long Forrester (60' Higgins), Thomas.
Subs not used: Taudul, Molyneux, Green, Shannon.  Scorers: Plummer (og), Hope.

The visitors got in front as early as the 5th minute when Hallam Hope gave away a free kick on the edge of the box which Everton’s defence failed to deal with and centre-back Leigh gave Fitzgibbon no chance and give them the lead.

Everton managed to get their first chance on goal 4 minutes later when Hope and Jones worked well together to provide 16-year-old Long with an opportunity but it flew wide of the goal. Shortly after, Anton Forrester hit a shot wide.

But on 15 minutes Man City doubled their lead, the ball whipped over to King who put it past Fitzgibbon. The second goal had given the visitors a lot of confidence. Chris Long spurned a chance for the home side then a 20-yard run and shot from Gethin Jones forced a good save.

City nearly got another goal with a low cross and minutes later the game was put to bed as City got a third with neat passing on the edge of the area to lay the ball in the path of Mayifulia to drill past Fitzgibbon.

Chris Long won a free kick for the blues just 7 minutes before the break but Lundstram’s effort was poor which summed up Everton’s 45 minutes.

The early stages needed Fitzgibbon to again make some smart saves. Ryan Higgins replaced Forrester on the hour and Everton finally broke their duck when he played a ball into the box but Plummer could only put it past Halsall; then 30 seconds later Hope almost reduced the deficit when his effort just went over the bar.

With 5 mins left, Gethin Jones’s shot was saved by Halsall but Hope was at hand to head past the City keeper to make the scoreline a more respectable one. In the closing stages Dier had a chance and a penalty appeal was turned down as Everton threw everything at the Mancunians but could not get that important equaliser.

But another threatening run down the right hand side and give the visitors the points with the 6th and final goal of a great game.

 Blackburn Rovers 3 - 4 Everton
U-18 League Match No 13
Saturday 19 November 2011


Everton:  Fitzgibbon; Higgins, Touray, Henneghan, Dier; Molyneux, Jones (75' Shannon), Grant, Hope, Forrester, Thomas (60' Long, (80' Waring)).
Subs not used:
Taudal, ???.  Scorers: Forrester 2, Thomas, Long

The U-18s staged a thrilling comeback at Blackburn Rovers thanks to a turbo-charged display from England youth prospect Hallam Hope.

Kevin Sheedy’s side raced to a comfortable 2-0 lead as they attempted to make amends for a series of defensive lapses that have annoyed the Everton coach recently.

Ryan Higgins provided the cross for prolific striker Anton Forrester to net the first, and Hope’s delivery was converted by Adam Thomas for their second.

An emphatic win seemed on the cards, but then Forrester missed a chance after being put clean through, and Rovers broke and scored by taking advantage of some poor Everton defending.

It was to get worse. More slipshod defensive work from the re-start allowed Rovers to equalise, and then the home side got their noses in front when a long ball beat Everton’s back line and the Rovers striker lobbed the keeper.

Sheedy quickly introduced tall striker Chris Long and the changed yielded quick rewards, when he levelled after being set-up by Hope.

And with only minutes remaining, Hope did well again to whip in a dangerous cross and Forrester grabbed all three points with a tidy finish.

 Wolverhampton Wanderers 4 - 1 Everton
U-18 League Match No 14
Saturday 17 December 2011

Compton Park, Wolverhampton

Everton:  Fitzgibbon; Higgins, Johns, Heneghan, Hammar; Barrow (Shannon), Grant, Jones (Pennington); Molyneux (Waring), Forrester, Thomas.
Subs not used: Taudul.  Scorers: Thomas.

Everton were without Ross Barkley, Hallam Hope and the injured Eric Dier so Anton Forrester was captain. Wolves attacked from the off and it didn’t take long for them to get ahead as Dominic Dell was left unmarked at near post to put the home side in front. Kevin Sheedy withdrew Tom Molyneux and put on George Waring in his place as Everton went to a 4-3-3.

Wolves doubled their lead from a corner, Liam McAlinden made it 2-0. Everton’s youngsters were finding it difficult to respond but from another Wolvers corner they went further in front when McAlinden made it three with a header.

Everton started brighter in the second half,  but Dominic Bell got his second to put Wolves four up. Connor Grant got on a run and assisted Adam Thomas to put the ball high into the top corner of the net with a first time shot and restore some pride.

Everton started to believe in themselves bit it was too little too late. Everton took off Gethin Jones then put Matthew Pennington in midfield with Ryan Higgins adapting to the right back position. This was a poor performance by Everton and probably the worst of the campaign.

 Everton 2 - 2 Stoke City
U-18 League Match No 15
Saturday 7 January 2012

Finch Farm

Everton: Fitzgibbon; Browning, Johns, Heneghan, Hammar; Barrow (20' Dier), Higgins (75' Touray), Thomas; Hope, Forrester (60' Long), Grant.
Subs not used: Taudul, Waring.  Scorers: Dier, Forrester.

Everton got the game underway at a very cold and windy Finch Farm and produced the first shot from distance when Conor Grant tried his luck. Ryan Higgins made a run for Everton on the right and his cross was cleared as Everton surged forward. Everton were certainly taking advantage of the wind in the first half but this was not giving both teams the opportunity to demonstrate the football they can play.

Everton had to make a change on 20 minutes as Jordan Barrow got injured and had to leave the field on a “golf buggy” as Eric Dier entered the pitch to replace him. Dier got the blues in front on 26 minutes as Everton mounted pressure with a Dier deflection that came off a Higgins shot which caught Eve in the Stoke goal by surprise as the ball seemed to hang in the air then drop down into the net.

Everton were by far the better side although Stoke tried in vain to catch their opponents on the counter but another goal gave Everton some breathing space as the lively Higgins played Forrester through to hit with his left foot and increase the lead. Grant and Thomas had efforts on goal as the first half came to a close.

Everton seemed to cope with conditions better in the second half than Stoke did in the first 45 and were getting forward looking threatening as Thomas tested the keeper who dealt well with and an effort from Hope. Stoke managed to get on the scoresheet as they were awarded a penalty for what seemed to be a pulling of shirts from Dier and Jordan Richardson put his effort beyond Fitzgibbon and give the Potters a lifeline.

Everton were hit with an equalising blow as poor defending from a corner saw substitute Ryan Brunt head without a challenge past Fitzgibbon. The wind was the only winner in this game as neither side troubled the keepers as the game was nearing the end, although Hope did have a snap-shot on the 70 minute mark. Everton did try and change things making a couple of substitutions with Higgins and Forrester being replaced by Touray and Long respectively but a point apiece was probably a fair result in the end.

 Everton 4 - 5 Blackburn Rovers
U-18 League Match No 16
Saturday 21
January 2012
Finch Farm

Everton: Fitzgibbon: Higgins (80' Thomas), Johns, Heneghan, Pennington; Lundstram, Barkley (60' Molyneux), Long; Hope, Forrester, Grant.
Subs not used: Taudul, Waring, Shannon.  Scorers: Forrester 2, Hope 2.

Everton kicked off the game with the sun shining down but a very cold and strong wind was going to make conditions difficult as the hosts played against the wind in the first half. Long and Forrester lead the Everton frontline with Hope supporting them.

Fitzgibbon was the first of the keepers to be tested as Mason-Ware robbed an Everton defender to strike which Fitzgibbon held comfortably in the first 60 seconds. Forrester struck first for the home team as he turned on the ball to deliver the shot to keeper Urwin’s left hand side to put the blues ahead. 5 minutes later after some nice build up play Barkley threaded a lovely ball into Hallam Hope who knocked it high into the net stretching Everton’s lead further.

Fitzgibbon did well to pounce on a ball from a Rovers corner.  Ross Barkley set up Chris Long on the half hour as Everton attacked but Long was unlucky to send his effort just wide of the post; Barkley was unlucky with a header that just escaped the bar. Everton were playing some delightful football in midfield that earned applause from the faithful on the touchline.

With 10 minutes of the half remaining, Blackburn were awarded a penaltyand Fernandez made no mistake beating Fitzgibbon with a fine strike and giving the visitors a life line. Curtis Haley levelled the game on 40 minutes with a superb finish to make an interesting end to the first half. But Everton were to add another two goals before half time as Hope got the blues back in front with Barkley again assisted with a ball that Hope did well to put away. Forrester made it 4-2 with a very good workmanlike goal and this put Everton in a very good position for the next period and the wind in their favour.

Blackburn coped better with the conditions got off the mark early in the second half to make it 4 -3 with a goal from Osaymen Osawe. Barkley was replaced on the hour by Molyneux and only moments later Blackburn drew level to make it a staggering 4-4 with still just under half an hour to play as Everton’s defence found Haley a handful.

The game was looking to be a see-saw affair as Blackburn looked more of a threat on the attack while Everton’s confidence looked as though it had taken a knock from the two-goal comeback. Thomas came off the bench to replace Higgins but, with 5 minutes remaining, it was Haley to complete his hat-trick and put Rovers astonishingly in the lead for the first time in the game. 

Everton’s heads dropped: three points had been thrown away.

 Manchester United 1 - 4 Everton
U-18 League Match No 17
Saturday 28 January 2012


Everton:  Roberts; Browning, Touray, Dier, Hammar; Lundstram, Grant (44' Johns), Barkley; Hope, Forrester (80' Waring), Long (75' Thomas).
Subs not used: Fitzgibbon, Higgins. Scorers: Forrester, Touray.

Kevin Sheedy made changes: in came Conor Roberts back from his loan deal with local side Burscough for James Fitzgibbon in goal and Tyias Browning came in at right back. Dier and Hammar replaced Heneghan and Pennington at the centre of defence. Ross Barkley started for the second week running and Anton Forrester the goal machine was starting up front as a lone striker with support coming from Long and Hope.

The conditions were very cold but sunny at Carrington, United started the game playing in their familiar red shirts and there was nothing much between them apart from a threatening run by Hope whose low attempt was punched away by the Utd keeper. United were putting Everton under a lot of pressure but the back line defended stoutly and could only catch United on the counter with Barkley the orchestrator setting up the moves without any end product.

Ten minutes from the break, Byrne should have put United in front after a good run and assist from their full back Weir who beat Touray with a delightful cross but somehow Byrne failed to find the net from 6 yards out.
Lundstram and Barkley were both denied before the interval by fine goal keeping from Coll as United were the better of the two sides during the first half spell.

Everton got off the mark within 60 seconds of the restart with a goal assisted by Barkley as Forrester who slid the ball past Coll’s left and into the net. The lead was short-lived as United replied 60 seconds later after they were awarded a free-kick that eluded Everton’s four-man wall with a delivery from 25 yards by the son of ex-Everton player Nick Barmby (Jack) that left Roberts helpless to level the game.

The goal from United livened up the pace of the contest as both teams threatened but it was Coll who seemed to be the more active of the keepers by pushing a Lundstram drive over the bar. From a corner, Touray volleyed the ball to put Everton back in the lead for the second time on 59 minutes as the pressure was paying off.

Substitute Thomas made Coll work hard to keep out a shot with Everton searching for another goal. and Everton stretched their lead further on 73 minutes with a good move and assist from goalscorer Forrester who set up substitute Johns who drilled his shot into the corner of the goal.

4 minutes later, Barkley had a hand in another goal with a fine ball into Hope’s path with the advancing Coll given very little chance as Hope’s effort was precise to put the blues 4-1 up and more or less seal the points.
Another chance fell to Barmby that went close and a great stop by keeper Roberts kept out Wilson’s shot.
Full back Browning narrowly missed a chance to make it 5 after a great Everton move with Thomas the provider.

 Everton 1 - 0 West Bromwich Albion
U-18 League Match No 18
Saturday 18 February 2012

Finch Farm

Everton:  Roberts; Higgins, Johns, Pennington, Heneghan; Lundstram, Thomas, Grant; Hope, Forrester, Kelly.
Subs not used: Fitzgibbon, Waring, Shannon, Langton, Molyneux.  Scorers: Hope.

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.

Connor Roberts was the first of the keepers to be tested with an untroubled shot. 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, miskicking the ball completely.

Higgins played a cross aimed for the head of Forrester but the visitors cleared. The visiting keeper dealt well with the windy conditions first from a Thomas inswinging corner and secondly to palm away a Connor Grant effort. Then a powerful shot from captain John Lundstram.

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 fed debutant Kelly whose delightful assist found Forrester with a diving header but lacked powerl. Forrester helped on with a pacey run from Hope only for the keeper to get there first. Everton had lacked a cutting edge but at half time the game was goalless.

After the break, Connor Roberts reacted well to make a fine save and give Albion a corner. An unusual incident happened as Everton were awarded a free kick and West Brom’s number 9 kicked away the ball for dissent. The match official gave him the option to retrieve the ball or face a caution but he declined to do so then picked up his yellow card.

From the resulting free kick, Everton found themselves in front when a headed assist from Forrester went into the path of Hope who made no mistake with a delightful left footed chip. Ten minutes later, 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, a 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 Kellytried a shot from distance that failed to trouble the WBA keeper.

Albion never really looked like scoring, while Everton did manage to push for a second goal and deserved the points at the whistle.

 Liverpool 3 - 1 Everton
U-18 League Match No 19
Saturday 25 February 2012


Everton: Roberts; Higgins, Johns, Pennington, Heneghan; Lundstram (65': Red Card), Thomas (69' Barrow), Grant, Hope (70': Yellow Card), Jones (60': Yellow Card) (72' Molyneux), Kelly (58' Forrester).
Subs not used: Fitzgibbon, Waring.  Scorers: Hope.

Everton arrived at Liverpool’s academy in very poor and wet conditions for this rescheduled fixture, making one change from last week by leaving Anton Forrester on the bench with a foot injury from that victory; in his place, Gethin Jones was introduced.

Ben Heneghan made an uncharacteristic error on 17 minutes by playing the ball back to his keeper unaware of an onrushing opponent tracking him, but thankfully Roberts was able to help his colleague with a clearance. Liverpool forced a couple of corners then finally broke the duck on 26 minutes after Ryan Higgins took a throw which failed to find a team mate. Liverpool picked up on the possession  finding Jack Dunn 25 yards out   his shot was placed with power past Roberts from 25 yards out to give the hosts the lead.

Roberts kept Morgan from doubling their advantage as they caught Everton on the counter, saving with hios knees. Jordan Ibe should have done better with a downward header from a Dunn corner which gave Everton another let-off. Thomas on Everton’s right was doing well to threaten with some nice balls across to Hope but nothing was going Everton’s way although they did manage to get the ball into the back of the net with Jones playing his part and Hope’s effort being ruled out.

5 minutes from the break, Everton deserved an equaliser with a nice pass and move which was instigated by Jones. He then released Thomas who crossed perfectly for the onrushing Hope who met with a low diving header that just went over the top of Belford’s goal. Roberts again was Everton’s saviour as Peterson set up Morgan but Roberts was equal to it and keep the deficit to one. But just on the half-time whistle, a duplicated move as 5 minutes earlier, Lundstram set up Hope who obliged Jones from 25 yards who made no mistake to get the game on level terms with the visitors finishing the half strong.

Liverpool got themselves back in front after the break with an attack down the right Ibe assisting Morgan who rounded the keeper with ease to hit home. The Everton defence were uneasy and not looking comfortable as heads seemed to drop after conceding the second goal.  

Forrester entered the field in place of Kelly who was very disappointing today, with  Hope going out wide. Disaster struck on 62 minutes after poor defending which Liverpool took advantage of with Johns losing possession and leaving a gap as the tormentor Ibe cut inside the 6-yard box to find Morgan who got his second of the game.

The game exploded just after the hour when Lundstram went fiercely into a two-footed challenge with studs evident and the ref had no hesitation showing a straight red. Everton therefore had to make a tactical change immediately by bringing creator Thomas off and bringing on fit again Jordan Barrow who has just returned from injury.

Duncan Ferguson was making himself heard from the touch line making the players aware he was unhappy with events. Jones, who was Everton’s best outfield player, had to leave the field injured with 20 minutes remaining being replaced by Molyneux, was sorely missed as the game was coming to a close and Liverpool should have got another couple of goals.

Another blow for Everton 2 minutes from time as substitute Hatch was brought down by Roberts to be awarded a penalty which summed up Everton’s day. Morgan stepped up to take the penalty for his that-trickwas denied by Roberts’s right hand as he went down to the left to save the team’s blushes once more.

Overall the second half was bitterly disappointing which lacked the spirit of the first half. Jones had a good game for the Toffees as did Thomas, especially in the first half, Hope ran and worked his socks off but no doubt it was Roberts who takes the award for man of the match with some quality goalkeeping and only for him the margin would have been greater.

 Everton 5 - 1 Nottingham Forest
U-18 League Match No 20
Saturday 3 March 2012

Finch Farm

Everton: Roberts; Higgins, Johns, Heneghan, Dier; Lundstram, Orenuga (75' Pennington), Grant; Hope, Thomas, Kelly (85' Barrow).
Subs not used: Fitzgibbon, Forrester, Jones.  Scorers: Hope 2, Heneghan, Thomas, Pennington.

Nottingham Forest were the better of the two sides in the opening 15 minutes but in fact the game changed after Everton came close with a Heneghan header from a Connor Grant corner on 20 minutes. Femi Orenuga hit the right hand touchline with amazing pace to cross for Hallam Hope to head what can only be described as an Alex Young header and from the goal Everton looked confident and looked in control.

Everton unfortunately gave away an unnecessary free kick through full back Jasper Johns and Roberts failed to hold the ball which spilled into the path of full back Gorman who tapped in from 4 yards out to level matters on 32 minutes.   On the stroke of half-time Everton had three successive shots that were blocked which eventually lead to a corner. From Grant’s corner Heneghan met with his head to put the blues ahead.

Everton played with some beautiful passing football as if it was a training ground routine. Thomas worked hard and got his reward after beating the offside trap and slotting it home. Heneghan and Dier were dictating everything, Thomas and Kelly were a constant threat going forward,  Lundstram was showing good initiative with some thoughtful attacking runs.

Matthew Pennington came on as a sub replacing Orenuga and got on the scoresheet with a header again from a Grant corner. Hallam Hope’s work rate was fantastic and so was his link up play and again constant pressure lead to another and final goal with Hope being on the end of it after scrambling the ball over the line.

 Derby County 1 - 3 Everton
U-18 League Match No 21
Saturday 10
March 2012
Moor Farm, Derby

Everton: Roberts, Higgins, Johns, Heneghan, Pennington, Barrow, Orenuga, Grant, Thomas, Forrester. Kelly,
Subs not used: Fitzgibbon, Waring, Molyneux, Jones, Green.  Scorers: Barrow, Heneghan, Forrester

Everton forced the very first corner of the game but it was the Rams that came the closest to breaking the deadlock on 8 minutes but Heneghan clear off the line. Everton responded two minutes later with their first real chance of the game after Forrester had won a header which fell to Thomas who unleashed a right foot volley to be denied by the keeper in the Derby net.

Ben Heneghan had two headers in the opening 15 minutes from Connor Grant’s deliveries only to see the efforts sail over the bar. On 17 minutes Everton got themselves ahead with an attack which started on the left, the ball was played by Adam Thomas to the feet of midfielder Barrow who struck a beautiful shot from 25 yards sweetly into the net. Derby tested Roberts with a shot from distance but the keeper had it covered.

Everton got forward when possible and it was Femi Orenuga’s determined run that won them a free kick just outside the box. From the free kick taken by Grant, Heneghan for the third time in the game rose high at the back post to head home and put the blues further ahead. Again Derby responded and won a corner, unfortunately for the blues Roberts fumbled and his defence also failed to react and it went in off Grant for an own goal. Pennington made a very important tackle to deny Derby’s best player the opportunity to do any further damage.

Everton were being forced to defend and had to take their chances as and when, Derby’s midfield was proving to be a force with credit to Everton’s back line for standing strong. Heneghan again went close with a header.
Everton finally increased the lead on the hour with a lovely move which involved Sam Kelly on the left who fed Thomas who then headed the ball for Forrester to latch on to and bury it beyond the keeper to make it 3-1.
The goal was just the ingredient the blues needed and the home side looked shell shocked after conceding a third as Everton strutted their stuff with confidence.

Pennington was reliable with his defending skills and Roberts was at his best to cover the curling cross by making it safe by pushing the ball out for a corner. Again Pennington was at hand to clear the threat from the corner with time ticking away. Kelly set up Forrester at the other end but this time the goal machine failed to convert with Wassall saving with ease. Adam Thomas who worked tirelessly up front again today and causing the Derby defence problems with his electric pace should have added to the tally after Sam Kelly nodded the ball to him but somehow missed his chance.

 Bolton Wanderers 0 - 3 Everton
U-18 League Match No 22
Wednesday 14
March 2012
Lovestock Lane, Bolton

Everton: Roberts; Higgins, Johns, Heneghan, (75' Shannon), Pennington, Barrow, Orenuga (72' Waring), Grant; Thomas, Forrester, Jones (70' Molyneux).
Subs not used: Fitzgibbon, Green.  Scorers: Grant, Thomas, Forrester.

Sam Kelly's position was filled by Gethin Jones. Everton settled the better of the two but failed to create, Thomas had the goal in sight only to see his shot blocked by a defender. The teams were cancelling each other out with the defences breaking down the attacks and Roberts virtually a pedestrian. Roberts was called upon and reacted well to palm a dangerous cross over the bar. Bolton pressed but centre back Pennington was standing strong to deny the Trotters.

The first half was not a great spectacle as chances were minimal, only long range shots were all Everton could muster, Everton were showing good attacking skills with both full backs Higgins and Johns supporting Jones and Orenuga. The game was crying out for a goal and it came two minutes into the second half as Everton built up down the left, Grant received the ball and his left foot did the rest. Thomas only minutes later failed to score as he hit a half volley just past the right hand stick.

When Bolton responded going forward, the visitors got back in numbers, even front man Forrester was tracking back to support his colleagues. Thomas went close with a header before Johns linked well with Forrester who held the ball up to lay it off to Barrow who then tried his luck from distance and was not afraid to shoot. Higgins raced with speed down the right to cross for Thomas to finish with a lovely flicked header to give the blues a 2-goal cushion.

Everton took advantage of Bolton’s frustration, Gethin Jones picked the ball up inside his own half and ran forward in acres of space unchallenged who then felt time to unleash a shot that wasn’t far away. On
63 minutes, game over: Jasper Johns made an encouraging spirited tackle to send Forrester away who walked the ball into the net only for the scoreline to show a true reflection of the visitors dominance in the second period. Everton saw out the remainder of the game without any problems.

 Sheffield United 2 - 1 Everton
U-18 League Match No 23
Saturday 17 March 2012

Shirecliffe, Sheffield

Everton:  Roberts; Higgins (c), Johns, Barrow, Pennington; Shannon, Molyneux (75' Green), Orenuga (55' Grant); Hope, Forrester, Thomas.
Subs not used: Fitzgibbon, Waring.  Scorers: Molyneux.

Tom Molyneux scored a consolation half-volley on the half-hour mark after trailing by two goals from the Blades with a very disappointing Everton performance, dominating for such long periods and worryingly conceding two goals from nothing.

Everton had to make changes to the side that won at Bolton on Wednesday with Ben Heneghan having to miss out through injury and Jordan Barrow then partnered Matthew Pennington in defence who was also an unused substitute at Sunderland on Thursday night in the reserves.  The midfield consisted of Oliver Shannon who is normally part of the U-16s combining with Tom Molyneux.  Adam Thomas played on the left and Femi Orenuga on the right with the forward line of Hallam Hope and Anton Forrester.

The opening stages of the game were dominated by Everton with plenty of runs down the left with Thomas being a key provider only for the forward line not being able to get onto them, the Blues were forcing a number of corners too without being able to convert from them.  Ryan Higgins hit the wall from a free kick after Orenuga was brought down and a cross from Jasper Johns supplied Orenuga but his header went agonisingly wide.

Against the run of play it was the Blades that got two goals inside ten minutes that rocked Everton.  The first goal came after the Blades first attack, the player was boxed in by the corner flag but somehow managed to cross the ball which the Everton defence seemed troubled as Joe Ironside happened to be in the right place to send the ball home courtesy of his knee.

The second came not long after that with a suspicion of offside.  The play was over on the left hand side then a cross over to the right then followed by a delivery for Ironside lurking at the back post to head home with ease.
Everton looked stronger and bigger than their opponents and it looked only to be a matter of time before they made a breakthrough themselves.

Thomas was provider of a cross that was cleared by the United rear guard which fell handsomely to the feet of Tom Molyneux 20 yards out to catch the half volley sweetly and into the net. For the remainder of the half it was one way traffic with the visitors dominating but couldn’t do what mattered most by putting the ball away. On the stroke of half time Forrester’s header set up Orenuga who should have been more clinical but casually back heeled the ball comfortably into the hands of the keeper.

Sheffield United knocked the ball around well after the break but failed to trouble Everton. Ten minutes into the second half, Connor Grant came off the bench to replace Femi Orenuga, Grant went over to the left hand side of midfield and Thomas went onto the right.

Everton pressed forward forcing the Blades into conceding corners, Hope and Forrester were marked tight with the United defenders doing a fine marking job on the dynamic duo which left Everton restricted to shooting as and when the opportunity arose which left the Toffeemen frustrated.

15 minutes remained when George Green replaced scorer Tom Molyneux hoping to add something as the legs of the Everton team were looking weary maybe the affects of the extra game in midweek. For the latter stages of the half it was very much the same story as what had happened throughout the game Not the best of displays by Sheedy’s youngsters.

 Manchester City 2 - 1 Everton
U-18 League Match No 24
Saturday 24
March 2012

Everton:  Taudul; Higgins, Johns, Heneghan, Barrow, Pennington, Hammar, Molyneux (Green); Orenuga (46' Thomas), Hope, Forrester.
Subs not used: Fitzgibbon, ???.  Scorers: Higgins.

Mateusz Taudul was in goal after Connor Roberts joined Colwyn Bay on loan until the end of the season. Manchester City posed a threat by pressing Everton and had very much the most possession although Forester did have a chance for the visitors after a delivery from Orenuga. City dominated proceedings and a breakthrough was imminent. When it came it was a quality move and a tidy finish. The ball was played over from the left with Everton’s defence being unable to deal with the threat, and the home side went in front.

City then took their foot off the pedal but it came too soon as Everton found an equaliser from a Ryan Higgins free kick on the half-hour mark. City turned up the pressure once more and again just on the stroke of half time they got the lead back.

City started the second half the way they had finished, Johann Hammar was having an uncomfortable afternoon at the back making his first appearance after a knee injury which he sustained at QPR in the FA Youth Cup in January.  Higgins and Hammar both recovered goal line clearances to keep the score down after City pressure, Everton’s chances were few and far between although they were attacking without forcing City into any discomfort.

Everton replaced Tom Molyneux and him with George Green. Green’s introduction gave Everton some freshness and started to look more of a team and making an impression. Everton’s best chance came near the end when Green found Hope who then found substitute Thomas out on the left, his cross came back to Green who fired a shot goalbound but luckily for City they had a defender on the line that cleared.

 Everton 5 - 2 Crewe Alexander
U-18 League Match No 25
Friday 13 April 2012

Finch Farm

Everton: Fitzgibbon; Pennington, Johns, Heneghan, Hammar, Barrow (52' Molyneux); Higgins, Grant, Hope, Long, Orenuga (52' Forrester).
Subs not used:  Taudul, Waring, Shannon.  Scorers: Pennington, Hope 2, Forrester 2.

After returning from the Dallas Cup in the United States, the conditions were ideal with warm sunshine and blue skies as the home side got the game underway. The first chance came as early as the third minute when Orenuga and Hope combined with a good understanding going forward to see Hope be on the end of a pass but the Crewe keeper made a very good and important stop. Crewe went on the counter within 60 seconds and beat the offside trap but the visiting striker hastily put his shot without troubling Fitzgibbon.

Hope played Long in with a chance but after a fumble the keeper did well to grasp the ball at the second attempt. Although Everton were showing signs of putting the opposition under pressure, Crewe were always looking dangerous when they broke. Grant lost the ball in midfield and the Crewe player despatches a well placed shot to give his team the lead. Crewe doubled their lead with a well taken strike from full back on the half hour as Everton’s defence looked troubled and were now faced with a mountain to climb.

A half time tongue lashing from the blue’s boss Kevin Sheedy was hoping for a response from his team but again it was the visitors who carried on where they left off before the interval as the scorer of the first goal forced Fitzgibbon into a fine save. Time for changes as two substitutes were introduced, Forrester and Molyneux replaced Barrow and Orenuga and as Grant was denied on two ocassions.

Everton’s pressure finally paid off with a multiple of efforts being blocked by the Crewe defence until the ball fell kindly to Pennington to sneak the ball home. Hope levelled the game two minutes later capitalising on a rare mistake to prod the ball over the line and make the honours even. Everton were now in full control and their performance had changed with the weather as the rain hammered down.

Everton increased their lead further with 2 goals in quick succession, Hope added to his tally then provider Pennington assisted Forrester who kept his composure with a beautiful finish to make it 4-2! Crewe must not have expected this onslaught in the second period and the inevitable happened as a fifth goal was despatched to eran Forrester a double.

 Everton 0 - 1 Leeds United
U-18 League Match No 26
Saturday 21
April 2012
Finch Farm

Everton: Fitzgibbon; Shannon, Touray, Pennington, Hammar; Molyneux, Orenuga (60' Hope), Jones; Long, Forrester, Johns. 
Subs not used: Springthorpe, Heneghan, Waring, Green.  Scorers: None.

Everton were were denied by the Leeds keeper who probably saved his best performance of the season for this particular day with some outstanding saves. Ian Snodin was watching as his son Jordan played for Leeds and ex Everton director Keith Tamlin was also in attendance. Fiztgibbon was called upon twice in the first ten minutes then a lucky escape with Leeds number 9 shooting on goal only to see his team mate block the shot on the line.

Moments later Everton were unlucky from a free kick which was taken by Molyneux as Pennington rose tall above his markers to head over but was encouraging. On 17 minutes Chris Long’s 25-yard effort was goalbound but an impressive two-handed save stopped the shot. Forrester was also close with good work down the left from Jasper Johns.

Fitzgibbon kept his team in the game with a good reaction save on the half hour; Fitzgibbon was in fine form. Everton had a good shout for a penalty when Orenuga ran into the box and there looked to be contact from the Leeds fullback but the match official was not convinced.

9 minutes from the break and a double stop was needed after Johns had made a good run down the left, his high cross met by Orenuga who was denied then on rebound, the ball kindly fell to a Forrester connection only for the keeper to save with a foot.

Everton’s best move of the game came on 70 minutes which was started by Hope who replaced Orenuga, with Hope, Long and Forrester involved ended when a floating ball met the head of Hope who seemed to hang in the air but unfortunately saw his effort agonisingly soar over the bar.

A chance for either side went begging as first Forrester was denied yet again and at the other end a long ball from the visitors left only Fitzgibbon to beat; Fitzgibbon advanced off his line and the effort went straight into the midriff of the ‘keeper. At the other end, the save of the game came when Hope’s run down the right found Forrester’s head with a pin point cross but it had to be a great save to keep the ball out which looked a certain goal.

Moments later, on 81 minutes, Everton were dealt a cruel blow as Leeds went in front following a cornerm, met with precision and power, an unstoppable header crashed into the net. The game was always going to be settled by a single goal and once the ice was broken there was only going to be one winner.

The last 5 minutes Fitzgibbon denied Walters with his foot after Walters had beaten Touray and again the Everton keeper got his team mates out of jail a further two times. 

 Everton 1 - 2 Middlesbrough
U-18 League Match No 27
Tuesday 24
April 2012
Finch Farm

Everton: Fitzgibbon; Shannon, Touray, Pennington, Hammar; Molyneux, Jones, Forrester (78' Waring), Hope, Long (70' Green), Johns.
Subs not used: Springthorpe, Adelson.  Scorers: Hope.

Everton replaced Orenuga with Hallam Hope, while a new face on the Everton bench was Jake Adelson, the Australian who signed a 3-year deal in February from Blacktown City.

Tom Molyneux set up Hallam Hope who then assisted Chris Long who was eagerly deprived... then Jasper Johns could only watch his effort whistle past the keeper’s post. Everton’s pressure finally paid off on 30 minutes when a strong challenge won by the impressive Pennington to find Long then his pass fed to Hope’s feet and he drew the keeper then fired into the net to give the blues a deserved lead.

Everton were certainly showing that having the bit between their teeth with Chris Long as he did for the first goal found Forrester who’s cross was met by Johns at the back post but failed to execute. At this stage, Everton should have been three up when Forrester saw his effort come back off the post to the feet of Long a couple of yards out then saw his effort miraculously go over the frame of the goal.

Both keepers were on their toes, with point-blank saves. The visitors were quite lethargic during the first half and managed to create a rare attack but failed to trouble Fitzgibbon.  In the second half Johann Hammar headed off the line to prevent an equaliser. Boro were certainly a different outfit as to what they were in the opening 45 and an equaliser camae 9 minutes into the second period. The woodwork denied them from adding to the tally as Boro were now running the show.

Pennington came close to levelling matters after an effective corner from Molyneux. But persistent pressure from the Teesiders paid off when a lovely one-two stranded Fitzgibbon after porr Everton defending.

George Waring and George Green were introduced with 20 minutes remaining but things never looked much better for Everton as the second half was tiring out. Everton's desperation was evident as a long distance drive from Molyneux sent the ball was narrowly inches over the top.

 Everton 2 -1 Manchester United
U-18 League Match No 28
Saturday 28 April 2012

Finch Farm

Everton: Fitzgibbon; Browning, Johns, Pennington, Hammar; Molyneux, Orenuga (75' Jones), Lundstram; Hope, Waring (55' Green), Grant.
Subs not used: Springthorpe, Forrester, Shannon.  Scorers: Grant, Hope.

In came Tyias Browning and John Lundstram in expense for Oliver Shannon and Anton Forrester who were on the bench; George Waring replaced Chris Long. Manchester United looked the livelier of the two teams testing Fitzgibbon early on before they took the lead on 10 minutes when they beat Fitzgibbon from the edge of the box.

Everton responded instantly with a promising move, Hope sprinting down the left, he played a ball across to Waring who was unfortunate not to connect as the move deserved a reward. It was United that were posing the danger with the United keeper rarely troubled apart from a Conor Grant free kick. Hammar had played a long ball over the top to Hope but he was second best.

A Tom Molyneux run towards the end of the first half was very pleasing to see with his “never say die” attitude, he went to the byline and tussled with his opponent and looked to have lost possession but Tom never gave up and his determination showed as he played the ball into the area but unfortunately Waring could not finish.
Hammar almost equalised for the blues only to be denied by a great reflex save after Grant delivered a free kick.

A brighter start to the second half by Everton, a John Lundstram effort hit the bar then Everton finally got an equaliser as Grant found time and space to give the outstretched 'keeper no chance. United were unlucky against some good stern Everton defending.

Kevin Sheedy sent on Green and Jones to liven things up and on 80 minutes, a Tyias Browning run down the right hand side found Hope who despatched beautifully sending the keeper the wrong way. Hope was denied a further goal only for a brave stop and at the other end United almost drew level as Pennington nearly put through his own goal after pressure from the United full back.


Thanks to the Liverpool Echo & Daily Post for publishing regular team line-ups for Everton's Under-18s.

Player Apps (Sub) Goals
Anton Forrester
24 (2)
Hallam Hope
19 (3)
Chris Long
13 (4)
Adam Thomas
20 (3)
Tom Heneghan
22 (0)
Matthew Pennington
20 (2)
Ryan Higgins
17 (4)
Tom Molyneux
14 (6)
Conor Grant
13 (1)
Eric Dier
15 (1)
Jasper Johns
15 (1)
Jordan Barrow
15 (3)
Gethin Jones
13 (3)
Ibo Touray
12 (1)
Danny O'Brien
1 (2)
James Fitzgibbon
20 (0)
Femi Orenuga
11 (0)
John Lundstram
9 (0)
Johan Hammar
8 (0)
Connor Roberts
7 (0)
Tyias Browning
5 (0)
Sam Kelly
4 (0)
Jake Bidwell
3 (0)
Oliver Shannon
3 (5)
Ross Barkley
2 (0)
Mateus Taudal
1 (0)
George Green
1 (4)
George Waring
1 (5)
Adam Davies
0 (0)
Daniel Langton
0 (0)
Conor McAleny
0 (0)
Matthew Springthorpe
0 (0)
Jake Adelson
0 (0)
Ben Eyre
0 (0)
Russell Goulding
0 (0)

Everton Under-18 Squad Page at

Players from Last Season: Jordan Barrow, Johan Hammar, Anton Forrester, Hallam Hope, Daniel Murphy, Tom Donegan, Jake Bidwell, John Lundstram, Adam Thomas, Luke Garbutt, Connor Roberts, Luke Dobie, Femi Orenuga, Conor McAleny, Adam Davies, Ryan Higgins, Eric Dier, Gerard Kinsella, Tyias Browning, Adam Cummins, Adam Forshaw, James Fitzgibbon, Nathan Craig, Jasper Johns, Zac Thompson, Jose Baxter, James Wallace, Shane Duffy, Chris Long, Daniel O'Brien, Matthew Harris, George Waring, Tom Molyneux.  [Strikethrough indicates players that had left by the start of the 2011-12 season]

Players Leaving Before or During the Current Season:

  • Adam Cummins, Luke Dobie, Daniel Murphy, Gerard Kinsella, Daniel O'Brien, Matthew Harris.

 Everton 3 - 2 Exeter City
U-18 Pre-Season Friendly Match No 1
Wednesday 13 July 2011

Finch Farm, Knowsley

Everton:  Roberts; Higgins, Johns, Hammar, Dier; Thomas, Orenuga, Grant; Molyneux, Waring, Long.
Subs not used: N/A.  Scorers: Long, Thomas, Jones

Everton were two-nil up against Exeter City with goals scored by Chris Long and Adam Thomas. Exeter City pulled it back in the second half to make it 2-2 and substitute Gethin Jones got the winner for Everton.

 New York Red Bulls 0 - 2 Everton
U-18 Pre-Season Friendly Match No 2
Sunday 17 July 2011
PPL Park, Chester, PA, USA

Everton:  ... Orenuga, Molyneux, Dier, Jones, Johns.
Subs not used: Names.  Scorers: Jones, Dier, Johns.

Johann Hammar, Ryan Higgins and George Waring had to step down as they contracted a bug so Everton fielded a slightly weakened team. Femi Orenuga and Gethin Jones had already gone close before the latter gave Everton the lead with a calm finish 15 minutes in.

The game was being played in three 30 minute thirds as the coaches tried to cope with the searing 32 degree heat which was persistent even in the late afternoon. The Toffees' lead didn't last long though and New York struck back as Blues players tired. The Americans equalized just a couple of minutes later when a corner wasn't fully cleared.

The Red Bulls were the better of the sides after that, a trend which continued into the second period.But Everton slowly regained a degree of control after Eric Dier had produced a goalline clearance to keep the game at 1-1.

Orenuga ran the length of the field before shooting into the side netting but the final ball was often missing for both sides.

In the third period Everton looked likelier to emerge as winners with winger Orenuga frequently causing problems down the right.  One such raid was unfairly halted on the edge of the box and Tom Molyneux struck the stanchion with a curling free kick.

The Red Bulls also went a whisker away from winning it in the final period but Dier's late header put the Toffees ahead before Jasper Johns put the icing on the cake with a superb long range effort.

 Philadelphia Union 0 - 2 Everton

U-18 Pre-Season Friendly Match No 3
Wednesday 20 July 2011
PPL Park, Chester, PA, USA

Everton:  Fitzgibbon; Heneghan, Dier, Higgins, Touray; Orenuga, Molyneux, Jones, Johns; Thomas, Long.
Subs not used: Names.  Scorers: Long 2.

The game was played in the boiling late afternoon heat and victory came courtesy of two clinical strikes from striker Chris Long.

The match, an appetiser for the meeting of the two Clubs' senior sides later in the evening, took place at PPL Park and Everton were up after just 13 minutes when Long capitalized on some slack defending to race through and finish powerfully with his left foot.

Centre back Ben Heneghan was denied from point blank range following a corner but Everton doubled their lead in the second of three 30 minute periods.

Again Long was the scorer, this time picking up the ball in the box from Adam Thomas's centre and lashing into the roof of the net.

Just as it had four days earlier the heat took its toll but Everton were organised in defence and efficient on the ball and always looked threatening.

The Union weren't going down without a fight though and keeper James Fitzgibbon had to be alert on a couple of occasions late on before Connor Maloney struck the woodwork for the hosts.

 Marine 1 - 1 Everton
U-18 Pre-Season Friendly Match No 4
Saturday 30 July 2011

Arriva Stadium, Crosby

Everton:  Fitzgibbon (46' Taudul); Higgins, Touray, Bidwell, Nsiala; Barrow, Molyneux, Lundstram; Hope, Forrester, Thomas.
Subs not used: Heneghan, Pennington, Langton.  Scorers: Lundstram.

The Blues nearly took the lead as early as the 3rd minute when a cross by Anton Forrester was headed into the arms of the Marine keeper Callum Williams by the lively Adam Thomas

In the 16th minute, Everton keeper James Fitzgibbon saved well with his legs following a Marine corner. Then Jake Bidwell headed over from a corner. The home side took the lead after 26 minutes when a long range shot by Ian Latham went through the keepers hands following an unfortunate bounce on the hard pitch. Hallam Hope was through on goal but could not control the bouncing ball and the 31st minute chance went by. A minute later Adam Thomas cut inside from the left to fire over the bar.

Later Aristote Nsiala cleared after Neil Harvey beat the onrushing Everton keeper. Then Anton Forrester played Hallam Hope through only for him to fire straight at the the home keeper.  Hope then played the ball to Forrester who fired over... then Hope turned and shot only to be thwarted by the Marine custodian.

Everton made one change at half time bringing on Polish goalkeeper Mateusz Taudul. On 57 minutes, the Blues keeper was alert to come out and quickly smother a Marine attack. A surging run through the middle by Hallam Hope but his shot was blocked by a couple of Marine defenders. Then Taudul saved smartly at the edge of his box following a run from the left by the Marine forward.

Jake Bidwell headed wide from a free kick. The resulting goal kick went down the other end resulting in another fine save by the young Pole. A long diagonal ball was headed well down by Adam Thomas only for Hallam Hope to fire over the bar on 73 mins.  Adam Thomas cut in from the left to fire wide of the post, then Jordan Barrow was fouled on the edge of the area, and John Lundstram curled the free kick into the top left hand corner to give Everton a 79th minute deserved equaliser.

In the last 10 mins, first Hallam Hope turned his marker in the box only for his shot to be charged down for a corner. Then fine work by Adam Thomas set up Jordan Barrow only to see his diving header go wide of the post. The blues thoroughly deserved the draw today against a very resolute Marine side in extremely hot conditions.

Everton’s stand-out player was John Lundstram who carried it off with his well exected free kick. He is definitely the one player from today´s line-up to expect to progress to the first team in the next couple of years.

 Everton 1 - 0 Kilmarnock
U-18 Pre-Season Friendly Match No 5
Saturday 6 August 2011

Finch Farm, Kirkby

Everton:   Roberts (46' Fitzgibbon); Higgins (68' Pennington), Touray, Heneghan, Bidwell; Dier, Orenuga, Barrow; Forrester, Molyneux, Thomas (63' Jones)
Subs not used: N/A.  Scorers: Forrester.

Everton fielded some of their new Academy first-year scholars along with the second-years, and played a 4-5-1 formation with loanee Eric Dier sitting in front of the back four.

In the opening stages both teams were knocking the ball about trying to suss each other out and only on 7 minutes was the first chance created. Adam Thomas wide on the left cut inside after a sprint and good control, drove a firm shot which the visitors' goalie did well to save with his legs giving Everton their first corner. From a Tom Molyneux corner, Dier attached himself to the ball with a header which was saved at point blank.

Dier came forward looking to break the deadlock but ran wide to the right and crossed with no blues player reading it. Everton settled down the better of the two sides although the visitors always caused Everton’s defence problems with some quick and dangerous breaks. Everton’s Thomas again made another exciting run and unselfishly played the ball to Jordan Barrow whose attempt on goal was blocked.

Femi Orenuga, who had featured at Oxford for the reserves last Friday, was showing his trickery against his marker Thorburn as Everton pressed. Kilmarnock made their first chance only for Connor Roberts to collect from a cross but 60 seconds later they played some nice pass-and-move football to catch Higgins the Everton full back out and Roberts made a great save with his feet when it looked as though the first goal was to go in their favour.

This was becoming an end-to-end affair as Forrester’s attack won Everton a corner to be taken by Molyneux and as Dier lurked in the box he got up to meet the ball with a header that rattled the crossbar as Kilmarnock raced away onto another one of their attacks. Jordan Barrow unleashed an effort from a distance only to see it go over the bar... and  Orenuga ran out to the right to put over a teasing cross only for the blue shirts in the box unable to make contact.

Thomas was fortunate to have two chances but could not find a way to test the goalkeeper as the opposition’s defence stood strong. Dier made a bad mistake but recovered well as Kilmarnock tried to take advantage on the break. Everton’s defence at times found it hard to cope as they defended the visitors' attacks, then what looked to be a certain goal but Roberts was again alert to keep a shot from Johnston out and keep the game level.

On the half hour mark McKenzie went forward for Kilmarnock only for Everton’s defence to back off; his shot hit the underside of the bar and looked over the line but the ref was quite adamant and ruled it out. Orenuga and Higgins combined well on the right and were awarded a free kick when Higgins was brought down on the edge of the area as Everton appealed for a penalty believing it was inside the box but, from Tom Molinuex’s free kick ,the ball could only hit the wall and again Kilmarnock cleared.

5 minutes from the break Forrester's header just missed the post from another cross when again the double act of Orenuga and Higgins combined. Kilmarnock’s Johnston was put through on 41 minutes when Everton’s defence were caught short but luckily for the home side Johnston’s shot went wide. On the stroke of half-time, Higgins found Forrester on the edge of the 18-yard box who turned on a sixpence but his effort lacked power.

James Fitzgibbon came on in goal for Connor Roberts who had a good first half. Everton and were on the attack immediately and inside 60 seconds were in front with a good move and finish. Ibou Touray fed Forrester to smash into the top of the net and put them 1-0 up. Ben Heneghan saved Everton’s blushes when he cleared off the line with Fitzgibbon beaten.

Gethin Jones, only 15 years of age, made an appearance as a substitute at the expense of Adam Thomas on 63 minutes. Forrester nearly scored agains with a on 66 mins, then Everton took off Higgins who had a great game off and replaced him with Matthew Pennington.

Molyneux was unlucky when a goalmouth scramble prevented Everton going further ahead as they caused havoc in the visitors box but equally at the other end Bidwell the captain this time matched Heneghan's earlier goal-line clearance as the visitors were making a nuisance of themselves but couldn’t force the ball home to equalise. Fitzgibbon took the applause on 78 minutes for a great save from Davidson.

Chances were few and far between as the game drew to a close and with 10 minutes remaining all Everton could muster was a free kick that hit the wall from a Dier free kick after Forrester was brought down on the edge of the box and not for the first time either. Forrester had a good game playing as a lone striker.

A few good displays by the youngsters with Forrester, Orenuga, Bidwell, Higgins, Dier and Roberts worthy of a man of the match award but the full back Ryan Higgins who missed the best part of last season through injury was excellent.

 Coventry City 3 - 0 Everton
U-18 Pre-Season Friendly Match No 6
Friday 12 August 2011

Alan Higgs Centre, Coventry

Everton:  Fitzgibbon (46' Roberts); Browning (78' Higgins), Touray, Pennington, Nsiala, Dier, Thomas, Barrow (85' Heneghan) Forrester, Molyneux (74' Long), Johns.
Subs not used: Names.  Scorers: None.

Everton made 4 changes to the team that beat Kilmarnock by bringing in on the left hand side of midfield first year scholar Jasper Johns who was away with England last week. Aristote Nsiala, who had to get clearance from Coventry for today’s game with him being over the age limit, partnered Matthew Pennington who came in for Jake Bidwell in defence. Tyias Browning replaced Ryan Higgins at right back with Eric Dier sitting in front of the back four.

The Sky Blues kicked off and settled the better of the two sides. Tom Molyneux’s careless pass put Fitzgibbon under pressure but the effort was scewed inches from the target. Barrow and Thomas linked well down the right  and Thomas crossed  as Forrester was stalking the box. Nsiala conceded possession but Everton got away lightly.  In the 9th minute, an amazing long goal kick had Everton’s defence all over the place. The resulting corner wasn’t cleared by Fitzgibbon’s weak punch and Coventry scored.

Everton’s defenders were guilty of giving away the ball a lot with some poor passing. Ibou Touray had to be on his toes to deny Coventry an attack down the right; he won a good tackle to release Barrow with a fine pass who again combined with Thomas and another cross aimed for Forrester. Everton kept chasing shadows but Nsiala did better reading another long ball that seemed to be upsetting the Everton back line as the home side’s appetite for another goal looked evident.

On 20 minutes Coventry were awarded their 3rd corner of the game but eventually Everton got the ball away. Four minutes later a through ball from Barrow aimed for Dier was denied in the middle of the park to prevent Everton threatening. Forrester had to have treatment on the half hour as he was injured and the home side went to their dug-out to consume some liquids and refresh themselves but fortunately Forrester got back on his feet.

A series of long balls were troubling the visitors but Nsiala showed his experience as he coped well with another long ball from a Henderson pass as the home side kept attacking,  Nsiala recovering from his mistake to halt the attackers. Jordan Barrow’s effort from a good way out was the first shot on goal and Everton won a corner after Thomas had a block shot; from Molyneux’s corner Dier won the header only for his goal-bound effort to be headed off the line.

Everton failed to create any positives from a very poor first half showing and frustrations were slowly creeping in. The last ten minutes of the first half, Everton did actually look the better but the Coventry defenders were never troubled. Dier kept his cool and did not react after a heavy challenge and Barrow was spoken to by the ref for a challenger. It was Barrow again who tried to regain some pride as his shot from outside the box with a Molynuex assist that was well saved. 

Clearly Kevin Sheedy wasn’t happy at the break as he was talking things through with some individuals. Like last Saturday, Everton made a goalkeeper change, bringing on Connor Roberts in place of Fitzgibbon.

In he first minute of the second period, Sheedy’s pitch instructions were well and truly dampened as a powerful shot from distance could only be helped in by a hand from a desperate Roberts who had little chance and it put the game beyond Everton’s reach.  Everton’s display wasn’t encouraging. Nsiala was spoken to by the ref on 57 minutes for a foul following a corner.

25 minutes remained as Roberts made a catch with two hands to put a firm hold on a shot that was well struck. Johns and Touray threatened on the left and as Touray got into the box with his sights on goal and was equally met by by a stubborn home defence who gave nothing away all afternoon. A penalty appeal in Everton’s favour was waved away by the ref as Forrester and Barrow in unison closed in and as Barrow tumbled, he could only lift his arms aloft knowing the decision wasn’t to his advantage, which summed up Everton’s afternoon.

74 minutes and Everton brought on Chris Long at the expense of Tom Molyneux. With time running out and Everton unlikely to score but Coventry always posing danger, Touray who had a busy afternoon stopped a move. Ryan Higgins replaced Browning with 12 minutes left and Coventry caught the Everton back four flat footed with a wonderful ball but his colleague failed to read the pass which could have spelt more trouble for the visitors.

With the game all but over and the 2-0 score line not giving a true reflection of the game, a 25-yard free kick five minutes from time  beat the wall and goalkeeper Roberts and finally put the nail in Everton’s coffin. Jordan Barrow was then immediately replaced by Ben Heneghan but, as much as Everton tried to change things, the damage was well and truly done and the sound of the referee’s whistle couldn’t come quick enough.

 Everton 5 - 1 Rochdale
U-18 Friendly Match No 7
Saturday 26 November 2011

Finch Farm.

Everton:  Taudul; Pennington, Johns (74' Touray), Henegahn (46' Dier), Hammar; Barrow (60' Thomas), Higgins, Molyneux; Hope, Waring (60' Forrester), Grant.
Subs not used:  Fitzgibbon.  Scorers: Hope 2, Higgins, Forrester 2.

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.

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 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 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.
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 keeper could only push it into the path of Forrester to make it 3-0.

4 minutes later, Thomas, who is renown for his breathtaking 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!

Thomas 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 Rochdale attacked down the right the ball was delivered for the Number 10 to put past Taudul and give the visitors a consolation.

 Everton 2 - 0 Blackpool
U-18 Friendly Match No 8
Friday 2 December 2011

Finch Farm

Everton:  Fitzgibbon (46' Taudul); Pennington, Johns, Heneghan (46' Dier), Hammar; Barrow, Grant (85' Green), Molyneux (50' Touray); Higgins, Hope, Forrester (50' Thomas).
Subs not used: Names.  Scorers: Forrester, Waring.

Everton arranged a friendly with Blackpool as the blues prepare for their youth cup game a week on Tuesday at Crystal Palace. Anton Forrester put the home side ahead in the first half which was a poor game and substitute George Waring addad in the second half to give Everton a 2-0 win.

Everton's youngsters are without a league game this weekend as their opponents Manchester United are in a tournament in Brazil as Everton were last year.


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