Everton U23s 7 - 1 Runcorn TownNathan Broadhead scored five fine goals as a dominant Everton Under-23s side beat Runcorn Town 7-1 in a pre-season friendly at USM Finch Farm on Saturday afternoon.
Josh Bowler and Rhys Hughes were also on target as David Unsworth's team produced a scintillating attacking performance.
Everton piled on the pressure after the North West Counties League Premier Division side took an early lead through Kieran Holsgrove.
Bowler struck the post and Broadhead forced an acrobatic fingertip stop from Runcorn goalkeeper Adam Reid before the Blues got the equaliser their slick forward play deserved.
Everton's opening goal came on 17 minutes when a corner delivery fell at Broadhead's feet six yards from goal and the attacker lashed into the top corner.
The Wales Under-21 international scored his second on 28 minutes when he took aim from just inside the area and placed an accurate shot past Reid.
And Broadhead completed his hat-trick on the half-hour mark, rounding the Runcorn keeper and slotting into the net.
The Blues did not let up and added a fourth just before the half-time interval, the dangerous Bowler skilfully turning his marker before arrowing a low drive into the bottom corner.
Everton's fifth goal of the afternoon came 13 minutes after the break when Hughes hammered a shot in off the post from 20 yards.
Broadhead soon had his fourth and Everton's sixth, powering home from inside the area following a clever free-kick routine.
And the Welshman capped a superb individual performance by tapping in from close range three minutes from time after Bowler's shot was parried.
Report from Everton FC.com
Reader Comments (21)
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1 Posted 23/08/2020 at 09:10:08
Bowler too was a bit unlucky to get injured when doing okay at Hull. I imagine both players might leave on loan before leaving the club.
2 Posted 23/08/2020 at 09:36:46
Surely Carlo will take a look at him with the first-team squad over the next few weeks before deciding whether to sell or not?
3 Posted 23/08/2020 at 09:56:47
But these are players we should let go. Put it this way: if they weren't already on our books, there's no way we'd be interested in recruiting them. Time to focus, as we now are doing, on the 16- to 19-year-olds in the year groups below.
5 Posted 23/08/2020 at 12:16:33
Personally I think both are probably “Championship at best”. But you never know. Nathan Broadhead seems a good kid so I hope he does get another opportunity.
6 Posted 23/08/2020 at 12:30:23
1st season at U23, he played only a few games, 2nd season the same, 3rd season one of the key players in our PL2 league win including a MotM performance when we beat the RS at Mordor. 4th season loan to Burton. 5th likely sold.
Injuries and physicality play their part but I can't help but feel he wasted 1, maybe 2 years at the start of his U23s career by not getting enough games. It's why I welcome our new approach to moving up capable youngsters early so much.
7 Posted 23/08/2020 at 12:33:48
Broadhead is older than Evans and it was Evans in the U23s at 17. Bowler was ahead of him too, and he's a year younger. Anthony Gordon even got ahead of him and he's 3 years younger.
Clearly, Unsworth thought there were better players and Broadhead, from what I've seen at least, is a late developer.
8 Posted 23/08/2020 at 13:30:23
But my point is about his first two seasons after U18s when he got few games and was kept out of the side by older players like Callum Dyson, Courtney Duffus and Connor Grant who never got close to the first team and I doubt if many even remember them now.
So Broadhead wasn't really playing U23s until he was 20 or 21 years old which, in my view, is too old to be getting his chance. What we'll never know of course is if he is just a late developer, but he played through all the Wales youth age groups so he was clearly demonstrating a degree of talent when young. So that bit can't be proved – it's just differing views, but there is a clearer pathway now for our youngsters than there's been for a long time.
9 Posted 23/08/2020 at 13:48:49
10 Posted 23/08/2020 at 13:54:57
I'd keep hold of him, is his contract up at the end of the coming season? If it is, I'd give him the option of another season.
11 Posted 23/08/2020 at 13:55:33
I'm curious: do you guys know if these are just provided for information or does a copy get sent to the Premier League, the FA, or whoever oversees these games from an administrative perspective? In this day and age, you would expect them to be sent electronically as a PDF. Would I be able to get my hands on them?
12 Posted 23/08/2020 at 14:06:05
ps: I'm not charging you for this advice.
13 Posted 23/08/2020 at 14:28:26
For whatever reason we seem reluctant to give out much team information on these friendlies, there was an u18s game taking place as well yesterday away to Man City but no news whatsoever on that. Thats a great idea from Dave though!
14 Posted 23/08/2020 at 14:36:31
I wonder if you remember Steve Milne? A lifelong Blue and massive programme collector, he used to write up fantastic reports on the U23 and U18 games (more likely U19 and U17 back then!) The club had granted him access to Finch Farm as an observer or internet reporter... maybe even as far back as Bellefield.
Anyway, at some point, it all went very sour. I'm not sure quite what happened, but Steve was no longer allowed access to watch these games. And his reports abruptly dried up. And my source of excellent information on the youngsters also dried up.
I may be conflating this, but there was also the fear expressed by the club that too much information was being disseminated about Everton's young stars and this was being used by other clubs to poach them. Maybe it was around the time of Fulham stealing Sean Doherty? No, it can't have been — that was 20 years ago. My gawd... it's all a blur to me now!
Anyway, fear of rejection: I wouldn't take it well if the answer was No.
15 Posted 23/08/2020 at 15:45:55
16 Posted 23/08/2020 at 16:11:21
Going back a good few years ago I know Bellefield was a bit more free and easy, in allowing fans to watch games there, saw quite a few on Saturday mornings.
Finch Farm, I took a young boy there two or three times, for training (him not me) and the security was stricter than Bellefield.
U18 and U23 games at Goodison are okay, no problem if you are quick, they usually have a few programmes handed out as you go in or if they are handed out late, I know a couple of stewards who will save on for me.
I'd still ask them, Michael, they can only say no, they can't hit you.
17 Posted 23/08/2020 at 18:45:55
Kieran @15, I was somewhat irked about this but the explanation provided goes like this:
● Compressed 2020-21 season
● Limited dates for EFL Trophy games
● Dates clash with internationals
● New philosophy of ditching mature U21s/U23s
● Plenty of the remaining players will be called up
● Only very young boys left to play for the EFL Trophy
● And the games would be a step too far for them
● Against the rough and brutish FL men.
So there you have it. Can't argue with that. After all, the emphasis (we are told) must now be on pushing players through — not winning meaningless trophies.
And there was me thinking we were a Football Club...
18 Posted 24/08/2020 at 11:44:03
If they are in international breaks, thats likely 7 gone from U23s and Tait would lose probably at least 4 of his best U18s so they cant move up and play. It will also likely allow Unsworth to do more coaching of the players not away on those dates. I can live with this if thats their decision made in the best interests of our young players.
You also seem irked in the U18s thread and above by the move to younger players. TW doesnt dictate policy to the club; I and others are reporting what we saw happening at U18 this time last year and at U23s from January. Im puzzled as to how you see this as a criticism of Unsworth as you said. Unsworth is part of this process and hes bought into it, with enthusiasm Id say.
You see the pain hed felt when he writen about letting people like Morgan Feeney go, but he was never going to progress to our current first team.
In the past, Feeney would likely have been given a 2-year contract and sent on loan to a League 1 club. Not long ago, Unsworth got a call from the Sunderland manager asking about Feeney, such is Unsworths regard in the game that Feeney got a contract with them a week later and Unsworth is delighted. I would love it if Feeney progresses up the divisions, hes now got that opportunity.
I also loved Unsworths comments on Saturdays match, a very easy fixture for us. After his usual support of Broadhead, top player etc, some general comments, it was “But let me tell you about Lewis Dobbin and Rhys Hughes.” He had them playing in areas they hadnt played before, giving them experience, taking them out of their comfort zone in a relatively easy game.
For me, thats great coaching of promising 17- and 18-year-olds which often goes unnoticed on weekends when the first team play. You could detect his enthusiasm for working with “young lads who are new to this level”, hes fully bought into this.
If someone says “Well likely lose more games this season”, I dont see that as a criticism of Unsworth, I see it as saying dont get on his back if we lose games, hes working with a very young team, though that doesnt mean we cant do both, win and have a young team. I see only positives here for Unsworth and the club.
19 Posted 24/08/2020 at 12:43:09
There were definitely some ridiculous long-stay examples on the fringes. But the claim was made (months ago) that Unsworth was holding on to such aging players so that he could win trophies. That's the bit I dispute.
In reality, most of them were on long contracts and outside loans. Some – Garbutt (7), Connolly (7), Pennington (6), Dowell (4), – have been on multiple loans. There's another strongly held belief on here that loans for young players are good, after all look at Osman, Coleman, Barkley,... critical to their development, we are told. But the vast majority we have loaned out have subsequently been released, or at best sold on for a small fee.
I'm not a great fan of the loan business because I'm not convinced it really helps. Maybe it's more of a "trial by fire" thing? But no two cases are the same: I would like to hear that the Everton Academy bent over backward to understand the specific needs of each individual player, regardless of age.
The talk now is about developing young players – but isn't this exactly what we've been trying to do? We can only deal with examples but look at Matty Foulds, identified at Bury and snapped up at 17 after 1 senior appearance for them. Just released from the Everton Academy at 22.
Five years in the Academy, no loans out, a stellar record for Unsworth (two PL2 medals!) but obviously not quite good enough to make it. Is the new regime that you, Sam and others have identified gong to make any difference in cases like that? How and Why? The only thing that's been offered: is stop winning trophies and kick out the old 'uns.
Why won't these decisions simply make the Academy weaker and less successful than it was? There won't' be the depth in terms of age and experience, they (apparently) won't win as many games, won't win any trophies (coz that's now seen as bad!).
They'll probably know they have one, maybe two years at most, to make it now, instead of four or five... but this will make it a better environment for them to develop at such a critical moment in their careers? Sorry, I'm just not convinced.
20 Posted 24/08/2020 at 12:57:45
It seems to regularly happen that a young player making their debut often outperforms the more senior players on the pitch. Is that just a young thing, or is it that they have more of a winning mentality installed in them from the U23s. If it is the latter, then we need to find a balance between progression and results because a winning mentality can only be a good thing.
Secondly, Although we have held on to a couple of players for too long, at times it can be beneficial. When Gibson and Feeney were making the step up to U23 level, they had to be better than the people in front of them to get regular games. 2 of the people in front of them at the time were Browning and Galloway. Surely the challenge of competing with far more senior experienced players and ultimately replacing them will be better than simply progressing with little competition? After all, once you hit the first team you have to do the exact same - outperform the players in front of you.
21 Posted 25/08/2020 at 09:55:54
I agree with you, getting experience and leadership in the team is important and was saying in another thread last week I wouldn't be unhappy with Adeniran remaining as Captain. In the 1st game against Southport Kyle John wore the armband when he was on, then featured alongside Branthwaite, Nkounkou, Simms for the first team. Perhaps we see these youngsters playing for the U23s giving leadership to the younger players along with Astley, who's captained Wales numerous times, and Hughes, last season's U18s captain.
Rhys Hughes has come on so much the past 12 months, he's a better, cleaner striker of the ball than Dobbin and will score goals from outside the box, free-kicks and penalties. Remember the grainy City of Liverpool match video you found, he was the deepest lying midfielder hitting 40-yard balls from the back. Unsworth had him with an 11 on his back against Runcorn and playing further forward. I love that he is challenging his players, getting them to play different positions.
But this is not about different opinions now, we've actually done this. David Unsworth has moved on older players and is now working with a much younger group. No ifs, but, opinions that's the reality. You've got reservations and are not convinced, fair enough there's no guaranteed success here, you may be right. I'm also believing that this is driven by having an exciting group of youngsters 16 to 19 coming though and having clear goals and a pathway for them. I'm totally behind Unsworth on this, and yes I find it exciting and progressive. But I'm an Evertonian, it's the hope that kills you!
23 Posted 25/08/2020 at 22:36:30
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