A first-half goal by Harry Charsley gave David Unsworth's Everton Under-23s a 1-0 victory against Derby County at Pride Park this evening.
A young Toffees side had to work hard for the win against a far more experienced home team, who included no less than seven players with first-team experience in their starting line-up.
Everton moved the ball well in the opening period, with Dennis Adeniran particularly eye-catching in midfield with his strong running and accurate distribution.But Everton were restricted to long-range efforts during the early exchanges.
The Blues took the lead on 29 minutes when Harry Charsley found space inside the box before sliding home a typically neat finish.
Everton had to survive some Derby pressure in the closing minutes of the first period but the lead was almost doubled on the stroke of half-time when Adeniran curled a lovely shot just wide of the target.
The home side showed more of an attacking threat in the second 45 minutes but Everton defended resolutely to keep 17-year old goalkeeper, Joe Hilton, largely untroubled.
Indeed, an Everton foray forward almost created a second goal when a low effort from Antony Evans skidded off the rain-saturated surface and narrowly past the upright.
This was a fine win for the Blues and just reward for the gritty determination they showed to hang onto the lead as Derby pressed for an equaliser late on.
Everton U23s: Hilton, Jones, Garbutt, Baningime, Feeney, Gibson, Evans, Charsley, Sambou (73' Donkor), Adeniran (73' Foulds), Henen (80' Markelo).
Subs not used: Hansen, Broadhead.
Match Report at EvertonFC.com