By Tom Owen
Everton Reserves 0 - 1 Liverpool Reserves Attendance: 2,426
Everton: Davies, Coleman, Duffy, Nsiala, Bidwell, Forshaw, Peterlin, Wallace, Akpan, Baxter, Agard
Liverpool: Gulacsi, Mendy, Threlfall, Palsson, Mavinga, Irwin, Saric, Amoo, Eccleston, Poloskei, Kacaniknic
The reserves’ derby got off to a lively start as Adam Forshaw was booked for a late challenge in the first few minutes. Hope Akpan followed Forshaw into the referee’s book with a 11th minute challenge on Liverpool captain Steven Irwin which warranted a yellow card.
The first shot on goal came in the 7th minute when Liverpool full back Emmanuel Gomis Mendy went close from inside the box. Liverpool followed that with another attack which saw good work by full-back Mendy on the right who picked out Nikola Saric who put it over from close range.
Seamus Coleman, after making his debut for the first team in the Estadio da Luz, was captain at the Estadio da Halton. Adam Davies continued in goal after impressing in the Reserves’ last match at Bolton. Everton seemed to start with a 4-5-1 which saw Hope Akpan used as a left flank midfielder which, to my mind, was wasteful as he looks impressive in the centre. Also in midfield were James Wallace, Anton Peterlin, Forshaw and Jose Baxter who seemed to be supporting as much as he could the lone striker Kieran Agard.
In the middle of the back four were Shane Duffy and Aristote Nsiala, with Coleman and Jake Bidwell the full-backs.
Everton’s first chance on goal came when Baxter headed over, following good work from Wallace to set up the chance. On 24 minutes, Liverpool came close to breaking the deadlock as Chrys Mavinga’s header thundered off the crossbar. Nathan Eccleston looked lively and he hit a 25-yard shot which was parried by Davies.
A minute before half-time, the speedy Eccleston darted into the box. In his path was Duffy who could not get out of his way and the Liverpool striker went sprawling. The referee pointed to the penalty spot, with no argument from Duffy. Eccleston got up and blasted home to put Liverpool ahead.
Reserve team coaches Alan Stubbs and Andy Holden had the Blues out for the second half a good three or four minutes before the Reds. Two minutes after the restart, the ball broke for Agard on the edge of the box and he might have shot first time, but he was forced out to the right and when he did shoot, the ball was blocked by the keeper.
It wasn’t long before Everton made two substitutions, bringing on Conor McAleny and Lewis Codling for Peterlin and Akpan.
In the 58th minute Baxter over-committed himself and caught Mendy late. Mavinga was incensed enough to run 20 yards to try and confront Baxter, which led to one of those mass jostling situations. After it calmed down, the referee showed Baxter a yellow card.
Just a few minutes later Nsiala became the fourth Blues player to be given a yellow card for a mistimed challenge. These were the symptoms of a below par display by the Blues.
On the 65th minute, Cody Arnoux came on as substitute for Baxter. And shortly after, Everton’s pressure for an equaliser seemed to have paid off when Agard’s cross hit Threlfall on the arm in the penalty area and the referee pointed to the spot. Agard stepped up to take the kick but hit Peter Gulacsi’s left post, with the ball rebounding to a Liverpool player to clear.
On 71 minutes, Everton had another very good shout for a penalty when McAleny showed great vision to play a ball into the box for Codling, who went tumbling after a challenge by Mavinga. But the referee pointed to the corner spot rather than the penalty spot.
Everton continued to press for an equaliser. Duffy headed wide from a corner and McAleny had a good chance in the closing stages but shot into the side netting. Eccleston was booked late on for a foul and Zsolt Poloskei was stretchered off after appearing to fall, or twist, awkwardly.
The final whistle went and the Everton players looked as disappointed as the Liverpool players looked pleased.
To sum up, although Everton gave a dogged performance, it was also a lack lustre one; they did not play as well as they could have done. Liverpool were that little bit better on the night. It was the Reds who showed more invention.
As for a man of the match, from an Everton perspective, I would say the hard working Forshaw who got stuck in and made a series of good passes. McAleny, who is only 16, caught the eye when he came on as a lively second-half sub with his pace and alertness.
For the Reds, Eccleston was dangerous up front, Poloskei was inventive in midfield and Mavinga was dominant at the back. But overall, probably the best performance on the pitch came from the Liverpool midfielder Irwin with his intelligent passing and play.
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1 Posted 04/11/2009 at 12:36:23
Great article, really interesting to see how the new crop are performing.
2 Posted 04/11/2009 at 13:37:51
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