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U21s hold on to beat Leicester

by | 18/08/2014  Comments (15)  jump
Everton's Under-21s were in action against Leicester City this evening in Southport and held out to win 3-2 going thanks to goals by Chris Long, Hallam Hope and Tyias Browning.

Long also had a penalty saved in the second half in a lively match that the Blues led 2-0 and 3-1 before the Foxes' U21s twice hit back to narrow the deficit through a Ledson own goal and Blythe's strike in the 51st minute.

The match again featured new signing Brendan Galloway who lined up at left back, a departure from his usual berth at centre half, and a slightly eccentric performance from goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek who could only slice Ledson's awkward backpass into his own net before getting into trouble dribbling in his own area and then hacking an opponent down trying to rescue the situation.

"We didn't play as much football as I'd have liked but I always felt comfortable," manager David Unsworth said after the match. "It's the first game so it was pleasing to win."

Everton U21s: Stanek; Jones, Browning, Pennington, Galloway; Williams (66' Dowell), Ledson, Grant, Byrne (72' Green); Long, Hope (82' C Duffus).
Subs not Used: Griffiths, McLaughlin.


Reader Comments (15)

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Dick Brady
1 Posted 18/08/2014 at 21:47:26
I find it very frustrating that Long seems to score regularly for the U21s but can't even make the bench of the first team.

Long, McAleny and Hope are all promising but, on Saturday, Roberto chose not to include any of them on the substitutes bench.

So towards the end of the end match when Lukaku looked completely drained there wasn't a striker on the bench to replace him.

Why didn't Roberto stick Long on the bench? He might have made an impact for the final 10 minutes. He certainly would have provided fresh legs for the lumbering Lukaku.

Isn't it common practice to have a substitute striker on the bench?? With Kone out injured then surely it makes perfect sense to have Long on the bench?

Dick Brady
2 Posted 18/08/2014 at 21:55:45
Actually I don't get Roberto's bench for Leicester.

Robles, Alcaraz, Coleman, Mirallas, Besic, Osman & Atsu.

1 goalkeeper, 2 defenders, 4 midfielders and 0 strikers.

Personally I think I would have left Osman out and put Long on the bench. Especially considering we all knew Lukaku wasn't fit and would struggle to play 90 minutes.

John Paul McGurk
3 Posted 18/08/2014 at 22:15:59
At this stage I would have thought that George Green would have been in the first team squad at least but just on the bench for the under 21Â’s.
Mike Allison
4 Posted 18/08/2014 at 22:16:16
Mirallas is a striker Dick, he usually plays on the wing for us (which isn't quite 'midfield') but when we bought him he'd been playing up front in Greece and had been the league's top scorer. He's also very occasionally fulfilled that role for us, although only once in the second half of a game last season from what I can recall.

Roberto has since remarked that he's very pleased Lukaku got 90 mins under his belt, although I can't help but think that if Mirallas had replaced him, and Atsu had replaced McGeady, we'd have hit Leicester pretty hard on the counter-attack when they came at us.

It seems very strange that with a tiring team we only made two of our three substitutions and only after the 80 minute mark. Has to go down as a negative against Roberto. Atsu, Besic and Osman all could have made a difference and none of them even played.

However, none of this make Long or Hope better than the players who were on the bench against Leicester, it's a big gap from the u-21s to the Premier League.

Ciaran Duff
5 Posted 19/08/2014 at 00:08:06
Agree 100% Mike.
Spragg Johnson
6 Posted 19/08/2014 at 00:43:37
Martinez sees Mirallas and Naismith as back up striker options on match day ... and It's hard to argue that Long is a better bet... yet. If he performs well for the U21s he'll be there at some stage, I'm sure.
Matt Traynor
7 Posted 19/08/2014 at 08:57:19
I'm pretty sure that, despite playing up front for a lot of his time at Olympiakos, Mirallas doesn't see his role at Everton as a striker. I seem to recall a quote when he "filled in" for us in one match to that effect. He much prefers playing on wide, cutting in, and then shooting when there's a much better option of a pass available. (Well he didn't say that last bit!)
Karl Graham
8 Posted 19/08/2014 at 08:54:15
Long and McAleny are both more like Naismith suited to the 2nd striker role so is Mirallas and I know who I'd rather have on the bench. Hope and Duffus are more like Lukaku but neither is ready yet for first team action. All four of the youngsters could do with a 6 month loan spell to a Championship team to get them game experience at a decent level.
Sam Hoare
9 Posted 19/08/2014 at 09:28:56
Karl, I agree about McAleny but Long is capable of playing the lone striker role I think. Certainly better than Hope from what I've seen. I would have Long on the bench as a genuine striking alternative while we wait for Kone to get fit or another striker to be brought in.
Wayne Smyth
10 Posted 20/08/2014 at 07:13:20
I think Karl is correct that all of those younger players need time out at a championship, or more likley a League 1 club, before they can realistically be thought about for our first team.

Sadly, from what little I've seen, I doubt any will ever make the grade. Our club need players of the calibre of Lukaku, Besic and Barkley to improve us, and I reckon those 4 are at least a couple of grades below.

From our U21's, our best prospects for first team minutes seem to be Browning and Garbutt. The former playing very well during pre-season and the latter also doing well last season on loan.

Karl Masters
11 Posted 20/08/2014 at 07:58:33
For those complaining about us tiring on Saturday, I get your point and yes it MAY have cost us the win, but the only way to get fitter is to stretch yourself beyond what you were capable of before.

Therefore, Roberto is obviously delighted that Lukaku did a full 90 mins, which didnt happen very often last season I seem to recall, and that other like 'tubby' McGeady and 'past it and too slow' Pienaar managed to get a real dose of fitness boosting exercise in.

As Roberto has previously stated they get the ball out pre-season first day rather than run up and down sand dunes.

This may mean that we start the season a bit slower than teams like Leicester who have only physical effort to offer ( like us of yesteryear ) but will mean the players last longer and achieve a better level across an entire season.

It's a marathon, not a sprint, we started sluggish last season, but ended up with 6 more points than ever before and were very consistent.

Peter Mills
12 Posted 20/08/2014 at 08:45:55
From the clips I've seen of Stanek trying to control the ball with his feet I think "slightly eccentric" is being rather kind, Lyndon!
John Crawley
13 Posted 20/08/2014 at 12:12:25
I'd like to see Griffiths play as the goalkeeper. I saw quite a bit of him last year for the u18's and he always impressed me. Seems to be a good all-round goalie and very good with the ball at his feet. I'd of been surprised if he would have conceded those two goals the way Stanek did.
Mike Allison
14 Posted 20/08/2014 at 12:13:48
Karl there were points at stake. I hope that fitness becomes worth more than two points over the season, because that's what we dropped by not making the correct substitutions. How will we tell?

Also, what about the fitness of Besic, Osman and Atsu? You make a good case about pre-season in general but it doesn't really affect the criticism of the substitutions which should have been made. I'll go as far as to say that Martinez's poor decisions cost us two points on Saturday.

John Crawley
15 Posted 20/08/2014 at 12:18:14
Mike - have to agree about the substitutions. Pienaar, McGeady and McCarthy were all flagging from my point of view. I don't understand why we didn't use all 3 subs and get them on with 20-30 minutes to go.

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