Everton's U23s were in Premier League 2 action against Derby County at Goodison Park this evening but ended up on the wrong end of a 3-1 scoreline.
The Blues were looking to bounce back after a 4-0 loss to Arsenal last week but were 1-0 down after just seven minutes when Luke Thomas capitalised on a missed kick from Michael Collins to race clear and slot home.
Lewis Gibson went close with a header off Conor Grant's free kick not long afterwards and Fraser Hornby headed off the post following excellent work by David Henen as the Blues responded to conceding the early goal.
Shane Lavery came off the bench to level matters with a header off Antony Evans' cross but Max Bird restored the visitors' lead and Louis Walker made it safe for Derby with a third.
David Unsworth's side was in 5th place in the PL2 table coming into the game and they were looking a long shot to defend their 2017 title despite having a game in hand on the leaders, Liverpool and Arsenal.
Everton U23s: Hewelt; Markelo (62' Lavery), Denny, Feeney, Gibson; Henen, Evans, Collins (46' Ouzounidis), Grant; Sambou (46' Baxter), Hornby.
Subs not Used: Hilton, Bowler.