Everton U23s 2 - 1 Brighton U23sEverton U23s take on Brighton at Goodison Park tonight. Kick-off at 7 pm with live streaming on YouTube.
The starting line-up included Branthwaite, Simms and Onyango, fresh off yesterday's subs bench at The Etihad, plus Dobbin, with this being Ellis Simms's first competitive appearance of the season after suffering injury problems since his loan spell with Blackpool last season.
Everton did well to gain the advantage in the first half with goals from Lewis Dobbin and Reece Welch. Tom Cannon and Joe Anderson came on after the break.
In the second half, Brighton came back into the game strongly with a stream of attacks that included hitting the post and forcing important saves from Harry Tryer. Mills was the last sub, replacing Lewis Warrington.
Evan Ferguson had been a danger all night for the visitors and he finally scored with 12 minutes left after a fine run and hard shot that Tyrer could not stop. But Everton held on to secure an important win.
Everton U23s: Tyrer, Astley, Welch, Branthwaite [Y:35'] (46' Anderson), John, Onyango [Y:27'], Warrington (72' Mills [Y:90+4']), Price [Y:11'], Hughes, Dobbin, Simms (46' Cannon).
Subs not Used: Barrett, Garcia.
Reader Comments (101)
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1 Posted 22/11/2021 at 18:43:04
Interestingly, in our last U23s game, we beat Man City U23s 3-2, having gone a goal down. And what a cracking game that was.
2 Posted 22/11/2021 at 18:43:58
3 Posted 22/11/2021 at 18:49:44
Ellis Simms starting tonight for those interested. First run out for any team this season.
4 Posted 22/11/2021 at 18:59:04
5 Posted 22/11/2021 at 18:59:19
6 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:00:47
7 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:02:07
Including the first team in that comment, Phil..?
8 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:07:27
9 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:07:47
11 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:11:02
Looking forward to this.
12 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:20:31
13 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:21:26
14 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:21:29
15 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:21:55
16 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:23:30
17 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:23:38
18 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:30:35
19 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:31:09
20 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:31:58
I like Brighton's away kit.
What the fuck was Branthwaite doing getting booked when they're two up, in their half?
21 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:40:43
22 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:44:16
23 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:48:08
Do the U23s always set up in this formation? Looks like 4-1-4-1 from what l've seen.
24 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:48:50
25 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:50:23
26 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:52:09
27 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:53:32
Branthwaite looks far too good for this level (apart from a rash tackle) and Dobbin has a good pair of afterburners.
28 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:55:46
29 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:57:25
Dobbin looks very threatening at right-wing and took his goal well. Simms seems to be feeling his way into the game rather than dominating – which might explain his lack of first-team minutes after injury. But a good bit of back-to-goal hold-up play.
Onyango very quiet – almost disappointingly so but maybe he was better before I started watching. Price is getting about the pitch very effectively though, terrific engine.
30 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:59:27
Real options and good passing and movement through midfield.
Lewis Dobbin the standout. Got his full-back, indeed the entire Brighton defence, on toast.
Nice hold up and linking by Simms. Warrington and Price the steel in midfield. Price looking slightly more beefed up from his spindly look of last season.
Branthwaite. Smooth as silk.
Brighton lucky it's not 3 or 4, with a hat-trick for Dobbin alone.
31 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:59:36
Yes, they look like a team with a plan, well worth their two goal lead, Dobbin looks like he is out to impress, any senior coaches there tonight?
Mind you, he got a bit greedy near the end of the half when he went for the goal with Simms on his own waiting for the tap-in, but his pace could cause problems at first-team level in the last 20 minutes when the game has slowed down a bit.
32 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:01:59
Yes, my thoughts for a while now. Especially comparing his pace to that of that other lump we bring on up front.
33 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:04:02
34 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:09:37
35 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:16:36
MotM so far? That zip on Unsworth's coat...
36 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:24:02
37 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:37:03
38 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:37:07
39 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:37:10
40 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:38:32
41 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:40:47
42 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:42:03
43 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:43:52
U23s management team: Unsworth, Ebbreĺl and Baxter. Therein lies the issue of very few Academy prospects getting through to the first team.
44 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:49:34
45 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:50:13
46 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:54:15
Who did Unsworth smuggle in under his coat?
47 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:55:46
Branthwaite and Dobbin look worth a place in the first team with Onyango certainly well able to slot in alongside Allan and Delph.
Astley looks decent too. Where was Whitaker?
48 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:56:22
Tom Cannon not a patch on Ellis Simms and Branthwaite's calm and collected demeanour missing at the back.
49 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:56:45
A game of two halves and Brighton were very strong.
Hopefully Everton will take confidence from this result.
50 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:56:57
Dobbin very lively, but Ferguson, who scored Brighton's world, was the player who caught my eye the most. Big lad, and good feet for his size.
51 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:57:16
Dobbin good but final pass needs work. Branthwaite good but silly yellow and a half-time sub.
Onyango booked early so wasn't that effective breaking stuff up second half. I thought he passed well though.
Simms seemed okay but really didn't get any chances. Cannon was a bit disappointing when he came on.
52 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:59:45
All that was good in the first half completely evaporated in the second.
Only Brighton's third defeat of the season and they were 8 points in front of us before tonight's game, so a result not to be sniffed at.
What's folks opinion on Onyango? A Patrick Viera lookalike, but he always seems to play it a bit too safe for me. One paced. Not forceful. Very seldom stands out with anything he does. Yet he got on the pitch for the first team yesterday, suggesting Rafa thinks he is closer to the first team than any of his peers.
53 Posted 22/11/2021 at 21:00:28
I only saw the 2nd half – Brighton easily the better side. We looked 2nd best in all departments.
I was expecting to see something special from Onyango... but I didn't. The young Brighton goalscorer looked the best player on the pitch.
54 Posted 22/11/2021 at 21:02:03
No, the gang has gone to pieces, just like Everton in the second half. I don't think they had a shot on target. We went from smashing to shite.
Simms and Branthwaite going off at half-time made a difference to the strength of the team, but they shouldn't have been as poor as they became, aimless and clueless, with not one player able to get a change out of the way they had forfeited the game to Brighton.
I thought the right-hand post was MotM for Everton in the second half.
55 Posted 22/11/2021 at 21:02:38
The subtle difference that Branthwaite made when he stepped forward into midfield, breaking up attacks or carrying the ball; the threat Simms posed when holding the ball up and bringing in others meant their defence was always wary and tight to him, giving Dobbin more room; Astley buttoned up their left side first half, kept Ferguson in check and played in Dobbin a number of times.
All changed in the second half of course, but the kids stuck it out. That's a valuable 3 points that moves us up the table and clearer of the relegation zone.
56 Posted 22/11/2021 at 21:03:09
If you'd asked me which lad the manager thought was closest to the first team, I'd not have chosen Onyango anyway.
57 Posted 22/11/2021 at 21:19:19
I wonder if Onyango is playing within himself after injury? He was quiet compared with when I've seen him previously.
58 Posted 22/11/2021 at 21:24:26
Onyango is still very much learning his trade and we've been pushing him forward more and more. When Warrington went off and he dropped further back, I thought he looked more comfortable, moving into spaces ahead of our defenders to receive the ball.
I think it's this aspect, his defensive mid abilities, which Rafa is most likely to use, I feel, as cover for Allan or Delph but, at 18, he's hopefully going to develop a lot more.
59 Posted 22/11/2021 at 21:31:58
60 Posted 22/11/2021 at 21:34:52
My observation was intended to ask what sort of midfielder is he expected to be, because he has never been a player to lead or dominate the midfield for me. Very much a water-carrier rather than a seek-and-destroy or a game-changer.
61 Posted 22/11/2021 at 21:41:20
62 Posted 22/11/2021 at 21:42:21
This goes back to the 'who is more to blame' argument, out of Keane or Allan, for allowing way too much space in this area? But that is a good spot, Phill, and might be the reason why Benitez may want to push the kid through.
63 Posted 22/11/2021 at 22:21:01
Also disappointed in the system used by Unsworth. Although this was the first time in about 4 years l've watched U23 football.
64 Posted 23/11/2021 at 00:33:18
For me, the best player on the pitch was Spong (the Brighton 6). Although Ferguson (the Brighton 11) made a few eye-catching contributions, it was the left-footed Spong's passing that set the tempo for them and opened us up the most.
65 Posted 23/11/2021 at 09:31:09
66 Posted 23/11/2021 at 09:38:52
Simms must be absolutely pissed off if he can't make the team before that lump of worthless shite, Rondon.
That Spong – he has a tasty sister, Victoria Spong.
67 Posted 23/11/2021 at 10:12:24
I think for one of these players to move into serious first-team contention, they probably have to be a regular and undeniable stand-out at this level or, more likely, to have a good 6-12 month spell in the Championship.
It's a shame Simms was injured this summer as I'm sure Blackpool would have brought him back and I dare say he might have scored a few goals for them, now they have Shane Lavery who has stepped up.
68 Posted 23/11/2021 at 11:13:57
Time for Holgate to be phased out and Branthwaite phased in.
Simms, as you imply, probably would benefit from another loan.
Dobbin maybe best getting the last 15 minutes of first-team games.
69 Posted 23/11/2021 at 11:33:38
Yes, Branthwaite could certainly do as well as any of Holgate, Keane or Godfrey are doing, you would think; though I'm often wary of putting youngsters into the team whilst on a bad run like this.
I think once Mina comes back, and if we have no more injuries, I'd possibly send Branthwaite to Cardiff or Sheffield or Luton for 6 months; some mid-table team where he would hopefully get 15-20 starts under his belt.
He's probably 5th choice for us and I'm not sure he'll improve much on the bench, though if we sell Holgate in January, that may change.
70 Posted 23/11/2021 at 12:20:53
Still, I'm going to cling to my belief that, with a run of games, Branthwaite will become our best centre-half (until proved otherwise).
71 Posted 23/11/2021 at 12:21:41
I tend to ignore the nonsense spouted around Unsworth and Brands; we have 5 young players (including Gordon) on the fringe of our first team – it's about time we started converting them into first-team Premier League players. Which is the job of the first-team coaches and the manager now.
Okay, they may not eventually be good enough, but I'm not expecting them to turn into a Foden or a Mount. Then again, we are not Man City or Chelsea, the level they need to break into our team is a lot lower for these youngsters.
Simms is a good example. I liked what he did last night and I've often praised our U18 and U23 coaches for working so hard with him. But reflecting on his game, there was an obvious weakness which remains and which the first-team coaches don't seem to have addressed: his heading.
I don't recall him heading the ball once last night, yet in Dobbin and Hughes, we have some decent crossers of the ball. Welch scored with a header, Astley hit the bar, Cannon headed a good chance wide. But nothing from Simms. With his size and strength he's an obvious target man in the air but it's just not happening.
I could go through the other players too and highlight their weaknesses, I just hope they are getting individual attention from our coaches, as I feel we really need to start converting more of these youngsters into first-team squad players, with the caveat of course that they need to be good enough in the first place.
72 Posted 23/11/2021 at 14:53:48
It must be extremely disheartening for him to see Tosun and Rondon ahead of him in the manager's matchday selections. Be very careful here Everton; this player is a precious, raw gemstone that needs polishing and looking after.
73 Posted 23/11/2021 at 15:39:54
It's different watching the U23s as it's always with a critical eye rather than being swept up in the passion of it all. It's constantly looking to see if we have someone who can break into and improve the first team.
Dobbin has good confidence, good balance and a natural low centre of gravity to his play. I think this gives him some extra balance and power under pressure, an ability shrug off challenges. Also, he is quite direct in his play and will try to force the issue.
I think we will see some more significant first-team cameos from him soon, if not more.
74 Posted 23/11/2021 at 16:36:48
75 Posted 23/11/2021 at 16:49:23
Soon, Rafa must surely realise that Rondon and Iwobi are not going to cause problems for opponents and Holgate will continue to give away possession and goals and it will be better to play Dobbin, Onyango, Simms and Branthwaite (not all at once) who will learn how to play at this level.
76 Posted 23/11/2021 at 17:18:41
The Stoke-born player signed his first professional contract in January 2020, when he turned 17, a 2½-year deal that ties him to the Toffees until June 2022.
So he's in the dicey category of players that can talk to other (overseas?) clubs from 1 January, or just let his contract run down if he feels he can get a better path to the first team elsewhere (Southampton, maybe!?!).
Then again, as we've been told by wiser minds on here, if he signs a new Everton contract, it will only be for money, and that will tell us all we need to know about his character.
77 Posted 23/11/2021 at 17:49:59
He is now showing signs of a full recovery from his injury and, for me, he would be vying with Mina and Godfrey for a first-team place. Holgate has lost his mojo and Michael Keane never had any... so I would unload the pair of them.
As for Dobbin, he looks pacy and determined in a Lookman way... but I think he may find it more difficult at Premier League level.
Simms is only just recovering from a long injury and is not ready for exposure to the big lumps in the Premier League yet, IMO.
78 Posted 23/11/2021 at 18:00:19
I take it you were being ironic with your last comment. I never cease to be entertained by the “wiser minds” to whom you refer. In their world, he's a greedy bastard if he signs a new contract or a greedy bastard if he signs for someone else!
79 Posted 23/11/2021 at 18:45:32
It would be good to see more of these youngsters, as you suggest, but I can't stand seeing them come on for 2 minutes at the end of the game. Is there any merit to the insider claim that such token gestures constitute important steps on the ladder to becoming fully-fledged professional Premier League players?
80 Posted 23/11/2021 at 19:14:27
I wonder about the 90-second cameos too. By the time they run out onto the field to take up their position, then wait for whatever break in play enabled them to be subbed in, eg, a throw-in (that wastes another 30 seconds before the ball is in play) and then the ref blows up.
Obviously, barring the unlikely chance the subbed-in player immediately gets the ball and scores a worldy from wherever he is on the pitch, his contribution is meaningless.
I am left wondering if we do this so, when we try and hawk players around, we can say "Onyango, Dobbin, Simms have Premier League experience" and try and drive up their price? Do we do it using the mentality of some kids team sports where everyone gets to participate (albeit for 30 seconds) just to make it fair?
Do Brands, Rafa, Unsie get some sort of kickback for the number of youngsters that "break into the first team"? Or do we just do it to time-waste and hold onto the miserable scoreline we already have?
81 Posted 23/11/2021 at 19:25:31
And by the way, Kieran, I don't think your museum idea got the attention deserved. Should you curate that monstrosity, we do need a replica Joseph Technicolor Coat in there.
82 Posted 23/11/2021 at 19:28:31
I hope to be the curator, lol.
83 Posted 24/11/2021 at 11:18:44
"Needs to work on his weaker foot."
Do you think Salah works on his weaker foot?
84 Posted 24/11/2021 at 11:46:00
Explain to me now why these players' contracts are left so late in the day for the club to offer a new one?
Why did Simms sign his new contract? He's behind Rondon and Tosun. He will be even further down the pecking order once Calvert-Lewin is fit. That leaves him with Under-23 games or a loan.
Was he advised to accept the contract as it would be more money than Blackpool could ever offer him if he let his contract run out?
I would love to know why he signed because I don't think it's because he thinks he's going to get in the first team. I hope I'm wrong.
86 Posted 24/11/2021 at 12:50:31
Which is Salah's weaker foot.... It's not obvious from watching him!!
87 Posted 24/11/2021 at 13:12:17
88 Posted 24/11/2021 at 14:08:14
Not sure I'd agree with you that the club is offering these contracts late in the day.
Let's take Simms: He's been injured or in recovery for almost the whole season so far – this was his first game. His contract still has more than 7 months to run. I don't know when negotiations started but it could have been weeks ago.
As for Dobbin, I'm just reading in The Athletic that he was offered a new contract earlier in the season but has been stalling, which is not a good sign… maybe reflects Gerard's concerns above.
But you're as bad as Tommy Carter in questioning why he would sign the contract Everton offered. He can probably still go to Blackpool on loan if everyone agrees that's best for him.
89 Posted 24/11/2021 at 14:36:51
90 Posted 24/11/2021 at 14:44:24
I read that in the Athletic, about them playing 4-2-3-1, hardly the best journalism as the U23s have been playing mainly 4-2-3-1 for the past few seasons – this time last year, Simms was the lone striker.
They certainly started off that way this season, though switching to a 3 at times as we don't have a big No 9 like Simms now.
After the youngsters made a poor start Unsworth I think tried to settle them down by going to a 3 at the back, a horrible system which for me never works in our club at any level. Thankfully they reverted back, if it was Brands who had to state the obvious and change it back, fair enough to him, I'm just glad it's gone.
The other bit about “playing out from the back” has also been around at U18 and U23 for at least two seasons. It's helped Reece Welch enormously as he was very error-prone early on last season and is much more comfortable playing out from the back now.
91 Posted 24/11/2021 at 14:48:49
I honestly don't know, you'd think Big Dunc would have improved Simms's heading. You've seen a lot of his goals at U18 & U23 – can you remember a headed one? I can't. Though I'm sure there has been some.
His hold-up play and distribution have all improved over the years, maybe his heading will come next.🤷♂️
Dave, I wonder if the likes of Welch and Astley as defenders get more practise in the game at heading than Simms so appear better in the opposition box?
92 Posted 24/11/2021 at 14:53:13
I just saw a headline and thought that's Benitez going nowhere, (especially because I'm not sure what formation our first team are playing at times).
As for playing out from the back, I always think the English struggle on phases two, three and four, because it's not something we are accustomed to from an early age.
93 Posted 24/11/2021 at 15:14:15
I watched a stream of France U16s vs England U16s the other week; no interest in England really, I just wanted a look at our 15-year-old Ishe Samuels-Smith who has played left-back for the U18s.
Anyway, turns out he was left centre-back that day and both the England centre-backs were taking the ball from the goalkeeper and playing out with it. The full-backs pushed up to receive the ball but the key was that a young Leeds player, Archie Gray (from the Leeds Gray family) was dropping back into space and carrying it forward to the next phases.
Gray was the best player on the pitch and looked very comfortable on the ball. As did our Samuels-Smith. I'm hoping we see more of him at U18 this season, maybe even in the Youth Cup team.
I guess my point is that “playing from the back” is being taught at an earlier age now.
94 Posted 24/11/2021 at 15:40:55
Hopefully it is being drilled into them at a younger age.
I think part of the missing piece is players like the young Leeds player described above who are capable of receiving the ball in midfield and keeping the forward momentum.
95 Posted 24/11/2021 at 15:48:47
No, I can't say his heading has stood out for me, but you are correct: his hold-up play and distribution have improved a great deal going by his performance versus Brighton, maybe Neil Critchely of Blackpool deserves the credit!!
96 Posted 24/11/2021 at 16:02:30
A key aspect of playing out from the back is to have midfielders who are comfortable coming to receive the ball, turn and look forward. From what I've seen, I can see that in Warrington.
97 Posted 24/11/2021 at 18:13:02
I can have an opinion and my opinion is I think Simms was advised to take the Everton contract because it was more money. He knows he won't ever play for the first team with the 3 I mentioned before him.
I'm not knocking the lad as I would have done the same thing if Blackpool are the level of team he's going to go to.
98 Posted 24/11/2021 at 18:19:15
99 Posted 24/11/2021 at 18:31:55
I have no inside information on this but I would not take at face value the report that Lewis Dobbin is the one stalling. It is entirely conceivable given the smoke and mirrors tactics of EFC hierarchy that this was a preemptive strike on their part.
I was dismissed by many posters when I tried to explain what happened in the Ross Barkley transfer. Water under the bridge now but that lad was hung out to dry by the only club he wanted to play for and made to seem like he was the one who had forced a relatively cheap move away.
Sometimes it's necessary for us all to accept that the club will put its own narrative on any given situation. That may or may not be wholly accurate but it's about getting what they want in the end and we as fans are fed with a version of the truth.
Blimey there's me feeling sorry for young Ismailov having to leave the club, so we were told, for health reasons – only to see he's ended up in court charged with GBH.
I'm so naive that I'll even reject (because he's ex RS) what Ryan Babel has written about learning nothing as a young player from his manager at the dark side, Senór Benitez, who Babel reckons is not interested in developing youth.
101 Posted 24/11/2021 at 21:22:10
I always thought Benitez destroyed the very talented Babel, Gerard, because when the kid came to Liverpool, he was flying. I think the Spaniard's style of rotating players had a bad effect on the young Dutch kid, who was a young lad, in a foreign country, and was probably just living to play football, and his manager kept taking him out of the team.
102 Posted 25/11/2021 at 11:55:02
I must admit to being sceptical and underwhelmed about Benitez and particularly his attitude to the youth sides.
If we leave aside Rondon as a blocker, which we all agree on, I'm seeing and reading some promising things re Benitez. Onyango is quoted as saying that he had him stay behind for some extra coaching with him and described Benitez as a “top coach”.
Onyango is hardly likely to criticise him, but it seems to have been years since we had a manager who actually coaches youngsters, even for a short time. Carlo never saw that as his job. Dobbin and Onyango have at least got Premier League debuts, I think Gordon was probably the last Academy product to debut.
I'm still not totally convinced yet about Benitez, the real proof will be in just how many Premier League minutes the likes of Gordon, Branthwaite, Simms, Dobbin and Onyango get this season, and any others. Hopefully he can win me over completely.
103 Posted 25/11/2021 at 15:54:33
The Premier Leaague is such a demanding league though, and if a kid isn't ready physically, then I personally think they might be swallowed up.
104 Posted 25/11/2021 at 21:02:25
I think these days the agents have more say, even with very young players, with who and when their assets will sign on the dotted line. They could have other clubs interested in their player, and Dobbin will be very well known to lots of clubs, and the club with the most attractive offer could cop for the player.
That's just a theory because I haven't got a clue and Dobbin could sign for Everton tomorrow and that would be very welcome news at the moment.
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