Everton Under-23s recorded a third consecutive victory with a 2-1 win over Chelsea at Southport.
The Blues took the lead in the eighth minute when Matthew Foulds’ cross from the left was flicked on by Bassala Sambou and Fraser Hornby converted from close range.
There was no shortage of endeavour from both sides in the opening period but not many genuine goalscoring opportunities.
Jacob Maddox came close to a leveller when he spun inside the Everton area and pulled a low shot wide. For the hosts, Antony Evans picked out Sambou with a fine cross-field pass but the Blues striker was well wide with his long-range effort.
Chelsea restored parity just after the half hour when a splendid cross from the right by Reece James was turned past Mateusz Hewelt by Daishawn Redan.
The Toffees had a chance to regain the lead five minutes before the break when a Nathangelo Markelo cross was touched on by Sambou but Evans could only head the ball straight at Jamie Cumming in the Chelsea goal.
The Londoners were quickest out of the traps after the break. Redan’s diving header from another fine delivery by James went wide and the Chelsea scorer was also denied by a smart near-post save form Hewelt.
It was Everton who scored next, though, and it was a lovely, composed finish from 12 yards by Sambou, who made half a yard of space for himself before sliding a precise shot into the bottom corner of the net in the 60th minute.
Chelsea pressed forward in search of a second equaliser and Harvey St Clair had an opening inside the box only to be thwarted by an excellent block from Lewis Gibson.
The 17-year-old defender then turned attacker when he carried the ball forward and fired a shot straight at Cumming.
Chelsea finished strongly in a desperate attempt to level but Everton defended strongly to repel a succession of attacks and take all three points.