U21s' sensational comeback in mini-derby

by | 19/08/2015  57 Comments  [Jump to last]
Everton U21s 3 – 3 Liverpool U21s
Everton Under-21s came back from 3-0 down against Liverpool to draw 3-3 this evening in Southport.

David Unsworth's side fell behind early when debutant Mason Holgate was harshly adjudged to have held back an opponent and the Reds scored from the spot.

It was 3-0 heading towards half time but Joe Williams scored an important goal to give the Blues hope at the break.

Conor McAleny set up the fightback with Everton's second in the second period before Tom Davies converted a rebound late on to earn the draw.

Everton U21s: Hewelt; Jones, Connolly, Pennington, Holgate, Walsh (65' Lavery), Williams (c), Grant (46' Robinson), Evans (46' Davies), Byrne, McAleny.
Subs not Used: Stanek, Ledson.

Match Impressions

I see there's no report yet on the Liverpool v Everton U21 game so here goes.

The first half was typical Everton: Stylish and passing around but with no conviction and weak in the tackle to go 3-0 down in 40 minutes.

But a cracking shot from Joe Williams took a fortunate deflection to bring it back to 3-1 at half time.

The half time talk by Unsy worked well as Everton started the second half with much more determination and gusto with 3 at the back and eventually brought it back to 3-3 with Liverpool hanging on at the end and Everton denied a blatant penalty with a Carrarghesque pull down on Holgate from a corner.

Still a 3-3 draw seemed about fair and leaves both clubs anchored to the foot of the U21 table after 2 games with a point each.

Special mentions for Liam Walsh who IMO was MOTM and Mason Holgate who, despite giving away a silly penalty, looked assured and composed in the John Stones mould with a great range of passing.

McAleny was disappointing despite scoring a fine goal and Gethin Jones did his reputation no harm.

Sam Byrne held the line up OK without standing out and Antony Evans didn't look out of place.

Jay Harris


Reader Comments (57)

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Mark Riding
2 Posted 19/08/2015 at 19:16:15
Holgate, 10 mins into his first U21 game for Everton, gives away a penno (converted) against the RedShite. Welcome to Everton lad.
Stephen Brown
3 Posted 19/08/2015 at 19:17:02
Mason Holgate is not the answer after giving that pen away! Looks a while off 1st team material at the moment. Only 16min gone though!
David Hallwood
4 Posted 19/08/2015 at 19:40:20
3-0 down after 38 mins, FFS!
Mark Riding
5 Posted 19/08/2015 at 19:40:27
Raymond, if you look on the live chat, you can see we are saying he has a touch of class about him.
It's now 3-0 though after half an hour.
Brent Stephens
6 Posted 19/08/2015 at 19:42:55
Holgate looking good for U21s.
David Hallwood
7 Posted 19/08/2015 at 19:47:25
Williams 30-yarder... get in!! 3-1.
Frank Wade
9 Posted 19/08/2015 at 20:43:32
Goals by McAleny and Tom Davies and we are back to 3-3
Steve Jenkins
10 Posted 19/08/2015 at 21:28:14
Agreed Jay - the two stand outs that look destined for the 1st team were Holgate and Walsh.

Good comeback lads!

Brent Stephens
11 Posted 19/08/2015 at 21:34:19
Agree on Liam Walsh. Small but always shows for the ball, good in possession, good passing, strong in resisting and in making tackles. Fearless.

Holgate - I need to restrain my enthusiasm or I might reach an anticlimax.

Sam Byrne I felt needed to be pointing more to goal to be fully effective, like Lukaku. But he also has some bite in him.

Colin Glassar
12 Posted 19/08/2015 at 21:42:19
Holgate and Pennington were by far the best players for us. Holgate was the best player on the pitch, he reminded me of a young John Stones.

Young Evans was a disappointment but he's only 16. Why didn't Ledson get to play?

Graham Mockford
13 Posted 19/08/2015 at 21:45:11

I assume 'a young John Stones' was said tongue in cheek?

Peter Gorman
14 Posted 19/08/2015 at 22:13:39
Right, I saw the first half only as I then decided to go and watch Jurassic World which is basically as edifying as a Sharknado but for some reason nobody calls them on it and pay good money to watch it.

My own thoughts on the players were that none are near first team material yet. It seemed to me that the players who had been out on loan just looked bigger and more imposing, namely Jones, Grant and Pennington, whereas young Holgate looks like a 12 year old and I saw nothing in the first half but a cracking shot to justify why we forked out for him; he is no better than what we have.

Pennington was solid as can be said when you end the half 3-1 down. I like him a lot but don't think he'll be playing first team football for us which is no shame as Clarke, O'Hanlon, Mark Hughes Jr and Duffy have all moved on to eke out a living in the lower leagues.

McAleny was disappointing but so was everything in the final third whereas Liverpool took their chances very well after several chances were lost by our lads to clear.

In the middle, Joe Williams was ok, more than I expected. Grant was a disappointment for someone who was more experienced that most and I agree the stand-out in terms of potential was young Walsh who, despite his small size really puts his foot in. Good attitude that and allayed my fears expressed on another thread.

Jones was like a young Hibbert, pretty poor in possession and gave the ball away too much but robust in the tackle. Sadly, a young Hibbert is not likely to get the nod in this day and age so I'm not expecting a future with us.

All in all, despite all those lads being tidy little footballers it is hard to see how more than a couple will make it at the club. Looking purely at the game for their development there is still work to do. You would think a player destined for moving on would stand out a bit more from the rest but here there was nobody at all except maybe Walsh.

Perhaps we shouldn't be heaping expectation on Browning's shoulders either; he'll get his chance before long and it wouldn't do to rush it.

Zac Farbrother
15 Posted 19/08/2015 at 22:21:48
Watched it on Sky Sports, Holgate looked rather vulnerable at the back and made a few clumsy challenges, other than that quite positive play and attitude from the squad, McAleny scoring a great goal to properly quick start the comeback, hopefully we'll see him come off the bench a few times for us this season.
Mark Riding
16 Posted 19/08/2015 at 22:22:28
Jay, you've got the review spot on there.
Zac Farbrother
17 Posted 19/08/2015 at 22:23:31
Holgate seems a long way away from the first team. Nowhere near ready, imo.
Brent Stephens
18 Posted 19/08/2015 at 22:24:23
Peter, my opinion is really no more valid than yours but I am genuinely surprised that you didn't see much in Holgate. I'll need to look at it again.
Mark Riding
19 Posted 19/08/2015 at 22:25:19
Zac, that's cos he's a young lad and playing in the Under-21s. Who has even hinted he is ready for the first team?
Mark Riding
20 Posted 19/08/2015 at 22:26:51
Brent, he didn't watch the second half, he went the pictures.
Nick Waters
21 Posted 19/08/2015 at 22:38:30
Excellent display from Holgate, after the first 10 mins. I thought Pennington grew into the game and was commanding in the 2nd half. Robinson looked lively, and Walsh was good though culpable for their second goal. For me Byrne wasn't impressive at all, despite trying hard.

The whole squad however made me feel proud because of their commitment, even if it spilled over a bit.

The ref wasn't atrocious, but should have awarded us a last minute penalty, but as one notorious ref said, you don't award a penalty against Liverpool at the end of a Merseyside derby.

The miracle of Southport, hey?

Peter Gorman
22 Posted 19/08/2015 at 22:42:45
Yep Brent, only saw the first half. Got the rest recorded and will take a look.
Brent Stephens
23 Posted 19/08/2015 at 22:51:01
Okay, Peter.
David Hallwood
24 Posted 19/08/2015 at 23:03:10
I watched 60 mins, and thought we were 2nd best in the 1st half but looked more up for it in the 2nd. Great goal by Williams BTW and all credit for fighting back from 3-0 down from a more experienced team.
David Kershaw
25 Posted 19/08/2015 at 23:17:31
Great heart and commitment after being outplayed first 40 minutes. Some good prospects, especially Holgate, Jones and both Walsh and Williams in the middle.
Steve Carse
26 Posted 20/08/2015 at 00:15:27
Zak, for me Holgate was pure class. Far and away the best player on the pitch. His tackling, his interceptions and his calm on the ball were first class.
Steve Carse
27 Posted 20/08/2015 at 00:19:28
Peter Gorman, I suggest you look at the game again on Sky Sports. Holgate poor??? You've got to be kidding. He was superb.
Jay Harris
28 Posted 20/08/2015 at 00:22:05
Peter #5
I think you will find over the 90 minutes Holgate showed a range of passing and composure that was head and shoulders above the rest. He is however only 18 so still has a few things to learn.
Mark Andersson
29 Posted 20/08/2015 at 00:39:49
Stopping the RS no matter what level is important as one day these youngsters will be first-teamers and they have to have the right winning mentality. Good on you, Blue boys.
James Flynn
30 Posted 20/08/2015 at 00:47:30
Colin and Jay -- Good stuff. Thanks. When I saw the fee quoted, I thought "bullshit".

Thought I'd ask anyway.

I see an OP on him is up now in the Rumour Mill. Fingers crossed.

Peter Gorman
31 Posted 20/08/2015 at 00:57:59
Steve, just to reiterate, never ever said he was poor, just didn't see anything in him in the first half that suggests he is better than what we have coming through. Looking forward to reviewing the 2nd half tomorrow now.
Kieran Kinsella
32 Posted 20/08/2015 at 03:21:25
What's with Ledson? He made the first team two years ago but now he's an unused sub for the under 21s
Conor Skelly
33 Posted 20/08/2015 at 03:41:45
Agree with, Steve. I only saw the second half but Holgate was class from what I did see.
Martin Mason
34 Posted 20/08/2015 at 07:01:49
I thought overall that Everton were second best to a good Liverpool side. I also saw nobody who had the potential to be a first team player except Holgate.

I'm not used to watching U21 games though and it may be that's how they are.

Dick Brady
35 Posted 20/08/2015 at 07:08:05
I too have concerns about Ryan Ledson. He seemed to be making a real impact and heading towards the first team but now his development seems to have stalled. Roberto didn't involve him in preseason and now it looks like his place in the U21s is under threat.

I hope he doesn't end up being another George Green.

Mike Allison
36 Posted 20/08/2015 at 08:10:59
Holgate is 18, could maybe play right back in the first team this season at a push, but certainly showed he was worth signing.

I thought Gethin Jones showed that if Coleman did get injured, he'd be worth a crack. We don't really have a back-up right-back in the first team but between Hibbert, John Stones, Browning, Pennington, Gethin Jones, Holgate and Jonjoe Kenny there certainly doesn't seem to be a need to go and spend money on one.

Our team was a very young one with players like the on-loan Kenny and Junior as well as Ledson, Henen and Galloway all missing from the squad from last year. We even sent 16-year-old Shane Lavery on as a sub.

On a side note, I noticed Duncan Watmore score for Sunderland in the Premier League last weekend. He was the kid responsible for making many of our U21s (including Browning) look pretty ordinary when we were on Sky last season.

Mike Oates
37 Posted 20/08/2015 at 09:08:15
I saw the whole game on Sky. Liverpool were the better team in the technical sense; we had more bottle and desire. I was very disappointed in Grant, he was hauled off at half-time and deserved it. Considering he played in the Scottish Premier League last season, had a "couldn't be bothered" attitude. I think we've just extended his contract!

Also disappointed in McAleny; yes, he took his goal well but as the "senior" guy out there did very little else and again looked disinterested. Plus players were Holgate (after his disastrous penalty), Jones in 2nd half, Williams, and Pennington. The rest, even terrier Walsh, were average and our goalie was hopeless.

Can't for life of me work out what's going on with Ledson who 12 months ago was the next star man, but has fallen way behind, got very little time in pre-season with the first team or even with U21s pre-season. On the bench last night as an unused sub.

Tony Abrahams
38 Posted 20/08/2015 at 09:26:01
Lyndon, you should start doing match impressions rather than reports, because I enjoyed that short and sweet summary.

It's very rare for most people to agree on a lot of things regarding football and how the players fared, so I would just like to congratulate Everton's kids on such a tremendous fightback.

Sam Hoare
39 Posted 20/08/2015 at 09:38:19
I think it can be difficult to really work out who's capable of making the step up. Galloway for example, when watching the U21s last season, always looked one of the better players but certainly not in a different class and yet he has made the step up fairly seamlessly. There's a big difference to when you have the kids all playing together and when you stick them into the first team. McAleny looked average last night but was one of the best players in his pre-season appearances for the first team.

Very tough to call and rare that you get a player who really stands out as a different class in the way that Rooney and to a lesser extent Barkley did.

True, there do not seem to be any really top class players in the U21 setup at the moment but don't count against a few of them being able to help the first team in the way that Galloway and Browning have done.

David Chait
40 Posted 20/08/2015 at 09:53:07
I'm wondering if the Ledson thing might be that he will be on the bench this weekend.
Robin Tricker
41 Posted 20/08/2015 at 10:00:54
I liked the look of Tom Davies last night. Showed passion and tenacity, had all the ingredients to be the type of player to score those types of goals. I reckon he'll be one to watch.
Kevin Gillen
42 Posted 20/08/2015 at 10:25:27
I watched the whole game. Liverpool played the better football early with Rossiter and Texeira outstanding. Holgate was harshly adjudged to have fouled a Liverpool forward and we conceded a penalty, poor refereeing as Holgate was clearly fouled in the Liverpool area in the last few minutes and the referee clearly saw but chose to ignore that foul.

Holgate regained his composure and looked an excellent prospect, at one point winning the ball in their half, driving forward and hitting a fantastic shot on target that the Liverpool goalie did really well to save. Holgate is an impressive physical specimen, strong and quick.

Everton had to chase the game and conceded two further poor goals. Williams gave some real leadership with an excellent goal before half-time and the Liverpool keeper had to make some excellent saves to keep Everton from getting level at the break.

The second half was all Everton. Pennington and Holgate dominated when Liverpool broke forward. Gethin Jones is a good full back in the Coleman mode and Connolly had some impressive moments at left back. McAleny scored a good goal and was industrious throughout.

Walsh looked a tidy and tigerish midfielder but was subbed in the second half. Byrne worked hard without reward. Tom Davies scored the equaliser following in a Pennington shot that the Liverpool keeper unaccountably spilled.

I agree with Mike Oates at #34 above in his assessment of the players: Williams, Holgate, Pennington and Jones look most likely to progress at this point unsurprisingly as they have probably the most experience. McAleny didn't get the best service and it is harder in the final third; he remains a conundrum, he did score a good goal.

James Martin
43 Posted 20/08/2015 at 10:44:04
One thing to bear in mind was that in the first half we had some players who were giving 4 years away to their Liverpool counterparts. Walsh and Evans are 16, Texeira is 22, so was Ilori, their striker Brannigan has been around for ever so must be close to a similar age. There was also Rossiter who has been in and around the first team. For us to not only compete with these players but to boss the second half shows how good some of our kids are. Far more chance of the likes of Holgate, Walsh and Evans making the Premier League than Texeira, Rossiter and Brannigan who are all now in last chance saloon.

The other factor to bear in mind is that Liverpool don't have many kids in the first team squad, only Ibe and Gomez who they just bought. If we were to play the peer group that was the equal to what Liverpool had out last night, it would include Browning, Stones, Galloway, Garbutt, Kenny, Barkley, Ledson, Dowell, Henen. Half of these are in the first team squad though so what would be the point just to batter Liverpool's sorry academy side?

Our youth development is miles ahead of there's. They rested on their laurels in the 90s and then Rafa brought in a load of Spanish kids to try and dominate the Under-21 Premier League. Meanwhile Moyes put in place a top class academy system that surpasses theirs with Rodwell and Barkley coming off the production line already. Martinez is probably going to benefit from the first crop of good players in Browning, Garbutt, Dowell & Ledson whilst the ones further back are the team that beat Liverpool under 18s 5-0. That is why we are attracting the likes of Stones and now Holgate, because we have a clear path to the first team, unlike Liverpool.

Paul Cherrington
44 Posted 20/08/2015 at 11:29:46
Great to hear Holgate had a good game on the whole. He looks a good buy... as has been said, the new John Stones?!!

Also, it seems Walsh has got generally positive reviews which seems to happen every game for the U21s. I would like to see him given a chance in the first team at some point this season

David McKitt
45 Posted 20/08/2015 at 12:51:06
My say I was quite impressed with Holgate especially considering it was his first game with them. I was partially impressed with his positioning, cut out a good few crosses and passing in the box by just being in the right place. I also liked the look of Jones too.
I don't get to see any u21s, it was my first time seeing them on the TV. There really should be more of it shown, really enjoyed it.
On a side note, (probably get shot for this!), but I also liked the look of their CB, Cleary (i think that was his name!) a big lad who also seemed to read the game well.
Martin Mason
46 Posted 20/08/2015 at 13:40:39

Thanks for that. Puts it into much better perspective

Steven Jones
47 Posted 20/08/2015 at 13:53:37
Interesting Dave on looking and picking up their best youngsters that cannot get into their 1st Team squad ... remember one Mr Sheedy?
Brian Cleveland
48 Posted 20/08/2015 at 14:26:04
We were pretty awful first half, giving the ball away constantly and contributed directly to Liverpool's goals, who were far superior and showed bags of confidence.

Second half we "got 'at 'em" showing passion and determination and they hardly got forward. Finished 3 - 3 but we were the team pressing for the winner in those last few minutes. Their keeper made a real difference (so did ours but unfortunately not in a positive way!).

The pleasing thing about Holgate was that having given away a penalty after only 11 mins of his debut, he didn't hide, he was strong, determined and showed composure and character to keep himself together and put in what was a good performance.

Pennington was pretty solid and consistent too. McAleny was almost anonymous apart from his goal, which disappointed me given the standard of his pre-season with the first team. I was hoping he might be ready to step up and help the first team, but if he can't motivate himself and show it... who knows?

I would probably agree with the majority of assessments made by the others... great character to come back from the dead and be ultimately pushing for the win.

Tony Abrahams
49 Posted 20/08/2015 at 16:23:18
Rossiter, in the last chance saloon James? He's only a kid.

I think Moyes did a very good job at Everton but he would have to have some ego to take the praise for Everton's academy though.

I'm only hearing good things about Liam Walsh, which sounds promising; I love to see midfielders, who can fetch and carry the ball.

Albert Perkins
50 Posted 20/08/2015 at 18:44:42
Holgate showed great touches and class. I'll be very surprised if he doesn't make it to the first team by next season.
Darren Hind
51 Posted 20/08/2015 at 19:24:00
I was made up with Holgate, little bit green at times, but he was supremely confident on the ball.

If he doesn't go to the top, I've been wasting my time for 50 odd years.

Jamie Barlow
52 Posted 20/08/2015 at 20:38:14
All those saying Holgate is nowhere near ready for the first team are jumping the gun a bit aren't they? I don't think we've bought him to go straight in. Give the lad a couple of weeks ffs!!
Colin Glassar
53 Posted 20/08/2015 at 20:48:04
David 43, I believe Cleary is a massive Everton fan. He, over 90mins, was their best player. Big, strong and very composed. As others have said, some of our lads are toddlers compared to them so I wouldn't read too much into them being steamrollered in the first half.
Michael Ward
54 Posted 20/08/2015 at 20:59:25
I watched the game yesterday and performances aside, Holgate, Williams, Walsh and to some extent Robinson when he came on seemed to have that something extra that marked them out from the rest. Others just gave me the impression they will never be premier league players despite actually playing well in the second half namely Jones and Pennington. McAleny was underwhelming given his success in preseason.

On the Liverpool side, despite them dominating the game in the first half, the only player that I thought might make it was Texiera. To be fair to them though, I wasn't really paying as much attention to who was who on their side.

Harold Matthews
56 Posted 20/08/2015 at 22:21:40
Holgate is still growing and learning. Plenty of ability and a terrific battling attitude. Definitely not a glide along Stones type but whatever we paid, he's an absolute snip.

The others I'm not too sure about but they will hopefully find a career somewhere.

Evan Kelly
57 Posted 20/08/2015 at 22:44:50
I'm extremely surprised no-one's really mentioned Tom Davies who came on at half-time and completely changed the game. He was all over the pitch and his goal to make it 3-3 summed him up perfectly as he pretty much barged through two Everton players with sheer desire to follow up on any rebound.

I went to Burscough vs the U21s in their pre-season and he caught my eye there as well, while Walsh had a particularly poor game that night. Anyone back up what I'm saying?

Brent Stephens
58 Posted 20/08/2015 at 22:48:54
Evan, back you up fully. Tom Davies looks as if he could make it all the way.
Mark Andersson
59 Posted 21/08/2015 at 07:35:40
It was so refreshing reading all the positive posts, maybe the future does look bright.
Dave Abrahams
60 Posted 21/08/2015 at 19:07:17
I asked about Ryan Ledson last week when he was an unused sub. Has he been injured and is just coming back or has he gone back in the betting?

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