U23’s Round Up | Cup Exit, Onyango’s Return, Late Winners!
It has been a mixed bag of results for the Everton under 23s in the few weeks since the previous update.
In that time, the Blues have played five matches, winning two, losing two and drawing one. These results have included defeat to Hartlepool United, means their exit from the EFL Trophy while victory over Burnley U23s gives them a fighting chance of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Premier League Cup.
Highly promising midfielder Tyler Onyango has recovered from injury and started each match, looking back to his best at times. The young Toffees certainly seemed buoyed by his return as in his first match back, the team came from two goals down to win 4-2 against Leeds United with Charlie Whitaker and Rhys Hughes each scoring in the final five minutes to seal the victory.
The Blues were brought down to earth four days later as they suffered a 4-0 demolition at the hands of table-toppers Arsenal, in a classic example of one side possessing the quality to finish off their chances and another being wasteful in front of goal.
But David Unsworth’s side bounced back the following Monday with a vital 2-0 win over Burnley in the Premier League Cup, a trophy that Everton are actually the holders of after their 2019 success and the subsequent two competitions getting postponed due to COVID-19. Rhys Hughes and Tom Cannon strikes secured the win as the Blues recorded only their third clean sheet of the season. If they beat Peterborough United U23s in the final group stage match and other results go their way, the Toffees have a chance of making it to the next round of the tournament.
The under 23s then earned a highly credible draw away at fellow strugglers Chelsea with Tom Cannon scoring a beauty on 54 minutes before the Blues conceded a heartbreaking equaliser with a minute to go.
On Tuesday night, Unsworth’s side disappointingly crashed out of the EFL Trophy with a 1-0 defeat at Hartlepool United, who currently sit 10th in League Two. Everton may have felt hard done-by to have not at least taken the tie to penalties but once again it was a case of their players failing to take their chances and a win for Morecambe over Carlisle United in the final match would see the Toffees finish bottom of Group A.
They also remain second-bottom of the Premier League 2 having wasted the chance to leapfrog Chelsea with the draw at the Cherry Red Records stadium.
However, signs of improvement are certainly evident in the past few weeks and this group of particularly younger players do appear to be gelling together and the now seemingly regular inclusion of Lewis Dobbin, who is no longer flirting with the first team in Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s absence, as well as the return of Onyango should hopefully mean a good run of form is just round the corner for the Everton under 23s.