U23 Champions lose at West Ham

Monday, 29 April, 2019 15comments  |  Jump to last

Everton Under-23s ended their title-winning league campaign with an anti-climactic 2-1 loss at West Ham United. The young Blues went down at the London Stadium on Monday night despite a late Fraser Hornby goal.

Everton were below par and Mateusz Hewelt saved to deny Grady Diangana, while a Dan Kemp shot was deflected narrowly wide before the hosts took the lead in the 25th minute. Former Everton Academy player Nathan Holland crossed from the left and the lively Diangana prodded the ball home from close range.

Moments later, Hornby struck a wonderful free-kick from 30 yards that needed a fine save from Nathan Trott but the visitors were soon on the backfoot again. West Ham almost scored a second when Morgan Feeney misplaced a back pass to Hewelt and the keeper's stretched clearance fell to Holland. The winger's shot was then well saved.

Hewelt was well-placed to smother a close-range header from Carlos Sanchez before the break but the Hammers doubled their lead on the hour when Ben Johnson drilled a low shot into the bottom corner of the net from 20 yards.

From then on, Everton gave a better account of themselves but they didn't pull a goal back until nine minutes from time when Lewis Gibson headed a corner across the goal and Hornby lashed the ball past the keeper.

But it was too little too late on the night.

Everton U23s: Hewelt, Galloway [Y], Feeney, Astley, Gibson [Y], Broadhead, Foulds (60' Bowler), Markelo, Adeniran, Hornby, Gordon (59' Sambou).
Subs not Used: Hilton, Denny, Mampala.  

Reader Comments (15)

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Brian Wilkinson
1 Posted 30/04/2019 at 02:22:17
I wonder if Virginia is going to get a call up to the first team bench with not playing for either the U18s or U23s this week?

Silva is looking to use him in the first team squad next season, so makes sense to get him settled in, with the last two remaining games.

Gavin Johnson
2 Posted 30/04/2019 at 03:53:37

Virginia will be Pickford's understudy next season.

Terence Leong
3 Posted 30/04/2019 at 05:24:07
I think it'll be a good move to get Virginia some playing time, on loan. People have raved about his potential and his skills. Unlike outfield players, we won't be rotating goalies, so no matter the potential, he'll need the opportunity to develop his game.

If he is - as some has suggested - going to be even better than Pickford, he needs game time. At the same time, I think many want Pickford to keep improving. He seems to have gotten over that patch where he was a bit reckless in his decision-making.

If we have nothing riding on the last two games, I would venture a "why not?". But there is a still a slim chance that we might still get that 7th place, so I think it's important that the team continues to build the momentum and feel-good factor, to end the season on a high as much as possible.

Alan J Thompson
4 Posted 30/04/2019 at 05:37:02
Terence (#3); It would be highly unlikely that any club would want to take on loan and give a regular game to an 18-year-old goalkeeper and quite possible that someone that young in a foreign country and just moved from the capitol would not appreciate being further unsettled.
Sam Hoare
5 Posted 30/04/2019 at 07:00:48
Alan, lower league teams might well offer game time to a good young keeper. Pickford himself moved to Darlington when he was about 18 and had several other loan moves after that.

Wether Virginia is up for it or not is a different matter but I think he will need to get first team games somewhere to develop further.

Derek Knox
6 Posted 30/04/2019 at 15:50:07
A bit surprised at the result to be honest, although West Ham were the more determined on the night, but despite winning, I believe they will still be relegated.

Hope Virginia gets some sort of involvement with the first team squad next season, as that Stekelenburg frightened me, at the prospect he could be called upon. Why they extended his contract is beyond me, another 'benevolent old pals act' from Koeman!

Alan J Thompson
7 Posted 30/04/2019 at 16:39:56
Sam(#5); I wasn't aware that Pickford had spells on loan but Darlington to Sunderland would hardly see him leave home, who were the others?
Kieran Kinsella
8 Posted 30/04/2019 at 16:51:18
Time for a clear out. A lot of these players have done their bit to win the U23 league but it is obvious they won't make the grade. I would give Gibson, Virginia, Astley and Gordon another year. But Foulds, Feeney, Sambou, Broadhead, Bowler, Charsley, etc time to move on.
Fran Mitchell
9 Posted 30/04/2019 at 17:43:03
Bit harsh Kieren. Bowler, Feeney, and Adeniran have all looked impressive from what little I've seen.

Some others, yes, they will not make it as Premier League players (at least not immediately), but if they make a career for themselves in the game, bloody well done to them and our academy should be proud. It is not just about developing players for the first team, but about developing professional footballers. We have a rich history of producing, and we will continue to do so.

Dave Abrahams
10 Posted 30/04/2019 at 20:53:03
Alan (5), Pickford has been on loan at six different clubs including Darlington, Alefred Town, Carlisle, Burton Alb and Preston.
Steve Ferns
11 Posted 30/04/2019 at 23:10:58
Re Virginia, as any match going fan will tell you, he's our third choice keeper and he's at every first team game. You'll see him with Pickford and Stekelenberg working before kick off. Virginia never plays for the U23s if it clashes with first-team duty. Silva clearly sees him being in and around the first team squad as more important than playing for the U23s. He only turns out for them when the schedule permits it.

Silva clearly has plans for our Joao, and I would not expect him to be loaned out. I'm unsure as to whether he trains with the U23s at all. He's always training with the first team in the behind the scenes videos. This shows his quality as it must be hard for him to fit into the U23 side if he barely knows them.

Peter Gorman
12 Posted 01/05/2019 at 00:47:47
Kieran, some of those names on your 'clear-out' list are contentious to say the least, I am not sure if you are joking.

Not only are they young enough to develop leaps and bounds, they've had a bloody good season.

Once upon a time, it was obvious that Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka would never make it and so they left the academy only to later rustle up 70 England caps between them.

Give the kids a chance ffs.

Kieran Kinsella
13 Posted 01/05/2019 at 02:19:55
Peter Gorman 12

Jagielka joined Sheffield United at 15 after leaving Everton and trying his luck at Stoke. Baines had some kind of brief dalliance with the club at an even younger age. Hardly comparable with All the players I mentioned are between 20 and 23 years old and Feeney apart none have ever been close to the first team.

After the Henen - McAleny - Garbutt - Browning group, I am hoping we learn our lessons and cut them lose. Richarlison, Kenny and Holgate are the same age as Sambou and younger than Charsley. Davies is younger than Broadhead and Foulds. Davies, Kenny and Co can barely get a look-in so why retain their less-talented contemporaries?

Alan J Thompson
14 Posted 01/05/2019 at 04:18:49
Dave (#10); Thanks for that. It seems an awful lot of clubs in such a short space of time that it makes me wonder just how much value was in it and if it led to him being as good as he is?
Peter Gorman
15 Posted 02/05/2019 at 04:05:57
Kieran, none of the players you mentioned are 23 years of age and a couple just turned 20 this year. Still plenty of time to develop; we've seen that the pecking order can change dramatically over the course of a season's development.

Leon Osman didn't get a game until he was 21 and didn't start until he was nigh on 23. You wouldn't be the first to pooh-pooh him but he was a regular in an Everton side that finished higher in the league than any side that included any player currently on the books.

I would have thought the lesson learnt was not to write a player off shortly after their 20th birthday.

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