Post by Everton News. on Feb 10, 2024 10:27:24 GMT
Everton Under-21s suffered a 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa in the Premier League 2 on Friday night at Bodymoor Heath.
Kobei Moore’s neat finish inside nine minutes gave Josep Gombau’s side an early lead, before Halid Djankpata’s volley restored parity for the young Blues five minutes after the half-time interval.
But Omari Kellyman’s effort midway through the second period was enough to secure the points for the Midlands outfit, as Paul Tait's side slipped to defeat for the first time this calendar year.
Tait made three changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Manchester City last time out, with Elijah Campbell and Sean McAllister both having departed Merseyside on loan on transfer deadline day, while new signing Kingsford Boakye made his debut.
The hosts went in front early as Moore fired past the outstretched Fraser Barnsley from close-range. The forward played in Jamaldeen Jimoh-Aloba down the right flank, where he squared the ball back to the 19-year-old who slotted the ball past the goalkeeper on his way down.
The young Blues searched for an equaliser and threatened as the first half reached its midway point. Roman Dixon found space down the right and whipped in an enticing ball into the area. James Wright spilt the ball on his first attempt to gather but made up for his mistake by leaping to collect the loose ball before a blue shirt could pounce.
Dixon was in the thick of the action three minutes later as he denied Jimoh-Alobah a goalscoring opportunity. Triston Rowe burst through the centre of the field, playing in the midfielder when faced by the Toffees backline. The full-back came to the rescue with a sliding challenge just as Jimoh-Alobah was about to pull the trigger, relieving his side of any further pressure.
Moore came close to doubling Villa’s advantage on 33 minutes but squandered a golden opportunity. The centre-forward latched on to a lofted ball, beating the outrushing Barnsley to it. Faced with an open goal, he failed to hit the target from an acute angle.
The Villans had their tails up and came forward again when Kellyman raced forward after winning the ball deep inside Everton territory. He reached the edge of the box and flashed a powerful effort across the face of goal, with nobody able to apply a finishing touch.
Tait’s side almost found a leveller moments later but were denied by the woodwork. Kyle John curled a sumptuous ball into the area that was met by the head of Kouyate, but the 20-year-old's glanced header cannoned back off the post with the goalkeeper beaten.
Five minutes after the break, Djankpata equalised from a yard out when a dangerous corner caused chaos in the box. Jenson Metcalfe’s set-piece was met by skipper, Reece Welsh, who rose highest to direct the ball goalward. A goalmouth scramble saw an audacious effort from Kouyate saved, with the forward then displaying quick reactions to turn home the rebound.
Kellyman restored the hosts’ lead on 69 minutes after rounding Barnsley. Welch’s pass was cut-out by Jimoh-Alobah. The ball rebounded perfectly into the path of the England Under-19 international, who slalomed past the Blues' keeper to finish into an empty net.
Substitute, Kadan Young almost sealed the victory for the claret and blues in the 90th minute but dragged a low effort inches wide of the far-post.
The referee concluded the tight affair after twelve minutes of additional time.
Up next for the Under-21s is the visit of Nottingham Forest at Finch Farm on Monday 19 February.
Kingsford Boakye made his debut for Everton under-21s in their 2-1 loss to Aston Villa over the weekend.
Boakaye represented the Toffees' only arrival in the January transfer window as he linked up with the club's academy. The 19-year-old winger joined as a free agent, having previously been with AC Milan. He came through the ranks at Zilina Africa in his native Ghana before making the switch to the San Siro.