Everton U23s undone by Leicester City in Southport

Friday, 4 February, 2022 47comments  |  Jump to last
Everton U23s 1 - 2 Leicester City U23s

Leicester City U23s came from behind to end a seven-game unbeaten run for David Unsworth's U23s in Southport his evening.

Coming ahead of the FA Cup 4th Round tie against Brentford tomorrow, and with a number of key first-team players injured, youngsters Dobbin, Onyango, Branthwaite and Kyle John held over tonight so some of them could be on the bench or even starting tomorrow's game.

And there was a first sighting in an Everton shirt for Billy Crellin, the young goalkeeper who was signed from Fleetwood Town on Deadline Day, on the bench tonight.

But the imperative tonight is to continue working their way back up the Premier League 2 table. Kick-off is at 7 pm GMT and the game will be streamed live on Everton's Official YouTube channel.

Article continues below video content

The squad included a number of players elevated from the U18s for the first time this season: Okoronkwo, Metcalfe, and Sherif.

Everton took the lead in blustery conditions when an excellent free-kick take by Rhys Hughes was delivered deep into the Leicester area where Joe Anderson got a deft foot on the ball to turn it past the Leicester City keeper from close range.

Stanley Mills, after having a great shot saved before the goal, had to be withdrawn 10 minutes before the end of the first half. Jenson Metcalfe came on for his first appearance ta this level after some excellent showings for the U18s.

The visitors piled on after the break, forcing Everton back, and the pressure eventually paid off with the equalizer.

The young Foxes kept pressing and a header from a free-kick came back off the post but Campbell could not stop it from bobbling over the line off his leg for the go-ahead goal.

Everton U23s: Tyrer, Quirk (71' Hagan), Campbell, Welch, Astley, Anderson, Mills (37' Metcalfe [Y:78']), Price [Y:51'], Hughes, Okoronkwo (76' Sherif), Cannon.
Subs not Used: Crellin, Kristensen.


Reader Comments (47)

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer

Don Wright
1 Posted 04/02/2022 at 15:22:57
Tonight's U23 game will give us some idea of the squad for the cup game, ie, Patterson, Dobbin and Branthwaite all started the last game, so if they are not in tonight's squad, I would think they and anyone else not involved tonight will be there or thereabouts. While for tonight's game, Warrington will be a big miss.
Jay Wood

2 Posted 04/02/2022 at 15:50:54
Mention of the U-23s, Harry Tyrer must be concerned at the competition he now has with the signing of Billy Crellin. A signing that has got lost a bit in the frenzy of Frank Lampard joining the club and the closing of the transfer window.

Harry has a lot of supporters on TW, but I wonder if Billy will get a run out tonight? Good interview with the lad on the club site:

Billy Crellin Interview

Like Pickford's projectory, he has had non- and lower-league experience. He speaks very maturely about his loan experiences playing men's football, rather than junior football. Where in junior football he played for the love of the game, he quickly realised in men's football the three points and the bonus money it earnt the players was very important to help pay the bills. That it's a job, not just a hobby or passion.

Born in Blackpool, but from a family of Evertonians, even though he wasn't born when the Binman played for us, unsurprisingly Neville Southall is his all-time favourite Everton player.

One to keep an eye on.

Gerard McKean
3 Posted 04/02/2022 at 16:58:13

Thank you for flagging up the signing of Billy Crellin; it had certainly flown under my radar.

Just watched the interview; if he keeps goal as gracefully as he handled the questions he could become as good as his great hero.

Why doesn't the club bring in Big Nev on a part-time basis to work with our keepers both young and established?

Mike Hayes
4 Posted 04/02/2022 at 17:42:26
Gerard - bringing in big Nev would be a great move but possibly fatal for Kenshite and the board - he’s not a yes man nor does he mince his words and he would bite the hand that feeds him - in great chunks!
Phill Thompson
5 Posted 04/02/2022 at 18:24:54
Jay, the Crellin signing is an odd one, but given that Tyrer has a new contract until 2025 I don’t think he’ll be too worried. It’ll be interesting to see who gets the No1 and who’s on the bench.
I wonder if Jenson Metcalfe will be promoted to cover mid field or even Okoronkwo, but safe option is Dobbin and Onyango returning.
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
6 Posted 04/02/2022 at 18:39:42
Lyndon's done some coding tweaks which seem to have massively improved the site response issues we were having. I've turned on the Live Forum for tonight's game in case some of you would prefer the more rapid exchanges that provides. Up the Toffees!!!
Tony Everan
7 Posted 04/02/2022 at 18:47:31
No Paterson , Dobbin, Branthwaite or Whitaker, so a few of those in the squad for tomorrow hopefully.

Okoronkwo and Cannon start up front in a 352 formation.

Phill Thompson
8 Posted 04/02/2022 at 18:53:38
Good to see Metcalfe and Sherif on the bench.

Welch, Astley, Campbell
Quirk Mills Price. Hughes Anderson
Okoronkwo Cannon

Edit looks like Campbell is left wing back

Tony Everan
9 Posted 04/02/2022 at 19:02:37
Crellin on the bench may get to see him in the second half.

Phill, The midfield three will be good to watch, all good prospects Mills was a bit inconsistent last week, but Price I thought played well. Rhys Hughes is always involved. Will they miss Warrington?

Jay Wood

10 Posted 04/02/2022 at 19:07:30
YouTube Link to the game here:

Everton v Leicester U-23s

Tony, Warrington has gone out on loan to Tranmere for the rest of the season. Didn't feature at all in their 1-0 home win over Stevenage on Tuesday, not even on the bench. Understable as the game was played just 24 hours after his move.

Michael Kenrick
11 Posted 04/02/2022 at 19:16:49

Charlie Whitaker has not been involved in any games since before Christmas, which must mean he is out injured, sadly.

Tony Everan
12 Posted 04/02/2022 at 19:19:08
Yes Jay, I think it will be a good experience for him, toughen him up, hopefully he comes through it unscathed.

Good move a few min ago, great connection from Mills, thought it was an excellent save by the Leicester keeper.

Michael Kenrick
13 Posted 04/02/2022 at 19:19:44
That was a tremendous save from Mills, I thought he was gonna score.
Dale Self
14 Posted 04/02/2022 at 19:23:12
There we go, that was coming. Toffees 1-0
Tony Everan
15 Posted 04/02/2022 at 19:27:25
Like the Branthwaite goal against Chelsea, a good ball in from that angle and distance and Anderson read it well.

Don't know who took the free kick?

Dale Self
16 Posted 04/02/2022 at 19:30:45
I think it was Hughes.
Michael Kenrick
17 Posted 04/02/2022 at 19:31:35
I was wondering that, Tony. They didn't say on commentary. Number 10... I think that's Rhys Hughes?
Phill Thompson
18 Posted 04/02/2022 at 19:37:49
Looks like Metcalfe on for Mills.
Michael Kenrick
19 Posted 04/02/2022 at 19:48:41
First appearance for Jenson Metcalfe at this level. He's been good for the U18s.
Phill Thompson
20 Posted 04/02/2022 at 19:50:47
Michael, Metcalfe started at least one U23s game last season, it was when the Youth Cup players were rested. He did well then, yeah first appearance this season.
Jay Wood

21 Posted 04/02/2022 at 19:52:47
Decent half, other than a shaky final five minutes.

Looks like it is blowing a gale, so always difficult to play good football in those conditions.

Sorry to see Mills go off. He is usually good to come up with an assist or goal.

Great delivery by Hughes and good finish by Anderson for the goal.

Phill Thompson
22 Posted 04/02/2022 at 19:54:05
It’s a difficult game for Okoronkwo to get into. In the u18s he’s played mainly on the left of a three. He’s about 6 ft 3 ins so hard to think of him as a winger but he’s got the pace and stride to get past people out wide. It’s good to see him having to adapt to a different position though, keep challenging him.
Dave Abrahams
23 Posted 04/02/2022 at 20:02:10
Michael (17),

Yes, Rhys Hughes with the free kick, he also started the move where Mills had a good effort well saved by the Leicester ‘keeper.

Hughes has played well, always trying to use the ball, but it's not a night for football with the wind spoiling many attempts.

The Leicester Number 4 looks decent – always looking for the ball and using it well when he gets it.

Dale Self
24 Posted 04/02/2022 at 20:03:03
I wonder if Wilder can get Boro up in Utd's face tonight. He has forbidden any players from exchanging shirts with CR7.
Danny O’Neill
25 Posted 04/02/2022 at 20:04:14
Missed the first half, just logged in for the 2nd.

I did catch the footage of training. Very interesting. Unlike Benitez who was very in the mix (stop -stand still), Lampard stands back and observes. He let's his coaches do the coaching.

Also, even though I can only go off the footage, it all looked about ball work. Playing the ball in tight places and pressing off the ball to get it back. Brazilian grids; one of the best sessions there is both in terms of teaching players to keep the ball and move it quickly as well as getting them to press and work hard to get it back quickly.

Michael Kenrick
26 Posted 04/02/2022 at 20:13:11
You're right, Phill. He played in 2 of the last 3 PL2 games of last season.
Dale Self
27 Posted 04/02/2022 at 20:15:23
That was lazy. no pressure from Hughes, no cover from the centre-back: 1-1
Danny O’Neill
28 Posted 04/02/2022 at 20:21:44
We are properly being pressed and penned in and around our own box.

Commentators course. We've just won a corner!

Phill Thompson
29 Posted 04/02/2022 at 20:23:53
Dave #23, their No 4 is Braybrooke, only 17 a very busy player. I've seen him before, it may have been away to Leicester when he dominated in their midfield.
Danny O’Neill
30 Posted 04/02/2022 at 20:28:23
No Warrington? Interesting or injured? On the bench at Goodison tomorrow?

Getting back into the game now.

Dale Self
31 Posted 04/02/2022 at 20:30:28
Warrington went to Tranmere on loan. Brent must be bummed out about that.
Phill Thompson
32 Posted 04/02/2022 at 20:30:45
Danny, Warrington is on loan at Tranmere!
Danny O’Neill
33 Posted 04/02/2022 at 20:32:27
He is. I commented on it yesterday. I was getting over excited!
Dale Self
34 Posted 04/02/2022 at 20:41:09
Daft misplay by Anderson but a superhuman block by Tyrer.
Phill Thompson
35 Posted 04/02/2022 at 20:42:10
1-2: own goal by Campbell. Sherif on for his first U23s mins.

Leicester better team this half.

Dale Self
36 Posted 04/02/2022 at 20:45:24
Good stuff from Metcalfe there. Really good effort to get that into a dangerous place in the box.
Danny O’Neill
37 Posted 04/02/2022 at 20:58:02
I thought the young keeper done well tonight. Great save for the winner. Unfortunate for the young defender who turned it in. He probably didn't anticipate due to the keeper's save. Should have been a goal anyway.
Dave Abrahams
38 Posted 04/02/2022 at 21:07:08
Very poor second half with Leicester utilising the wind better than Everton did, poor mistakes for both goals and the four big lads in the defence looked very clumsy, awkward and slow thinking in most things they attempted giving fouls away by pushing their opponents over, ridiculous.

No real plan, even for allowing the wind spoiling the game to a degree it didn’t stop Leicester from producing some good moves and using the ball much better than the Blues who I found embarrassing to watch for most of that second half, hopefully this new regime will sort the U23’s coaching out better than Friar Tuck.

Dale Self
39 Posted 04/02/2022 at 21:07:14
A bit disappointed since they looked the better side. Perhaps if Mills hadn't gone out we could have kept the possession going as in the first half. A couple of lapses and that was enough for Leicester although the kid that put it in looked good.

Good point about the wind Dave. Maybe it was that rather than losing Mills.

Danny O’Neill
40 Posted 04/02/2022 at 23:16:10
What is David Unsworth's role?

Genuine question.

Is he the Director of the Academy or the U23s Manager?

I only saw the 2nd half and appreciate we have lost a few players for different reasons, but we didn't have enough players comfortable on the ball.

At this level, I'm not necessarily looking at the result, just the potential and the ability.

Brent Stephens
41 Posted 05/02/2022 at 00:05:07
Reading the posts from the most recent upwards. Stopped after a few. We had an U23s tonight with first time (?) appearances from young lads Okoronkwo, Sherif, Metcalfe and Hagan. Don't be too harsh on the performance tonight.
Jay Harris
42 Posted 05/02/2022 at 00:05:40

You can't keep ripping the side apart and expect them to carry on doing well, especially as the lads drafted in are relatively new faces.

Kieran Kinsella
43 Posted 05/02/2022 at 00:07:49

Unsworth's job is to take best in class under 18s (Simms, Warrington, Dowell and Co, Walsh) and stifle their progress before shipping them off to low-level teams. Or at least I assume that's his job based on outcomes.

James Flynn
44 Posted 05/02/2022 at 04:34:02
Good to see so many U-18s pushed into the U-23 league.
Tony Everan
45 Posted 05/02/2022 at 09:29:36
Phill, Dave

Sammy Braybrooke

He definitely caught my eye, only 17, he has been training with the first team and had some interest from abroad before signing on with Leicester. Reminded me a little bit of Conor Gallagher, but a long way to go yet.

Danny O’Neill
46 Posted 05/02/2022 at 09:43:36
There's a lot of sense in that comment, Jay Harris. Familiarity and partnerships breed consistency. I'm hopeful the loan deal works out for Lewis Warrington and Everton, but the U23s missed him last night.

There's a lot of irony in your comment Kieran! I'm hopeful for Warrington.

James Flynn: possibly the legacy of what the much constrained and maligned Marcel Brands was trying to implement and achieve?

Robert Tressell
47 Posted 05/02/2022 at 09:58:46
I've said lots of times that Unsworth's U23s are the end of a conveyor belt that starts with kids who are under-10.

Whether they make it depends on talent and coaching much further down the conveyor belt. The U23s is just the final moment before first team, loan or departure.

If you haven't made your first team debut by 18 you are already behind the vast majority of genuinely top class talents. That's not to say others won't make it – but the stats are against you.

The thing that bothers me most about Unsworth's U23s is the lack of any style.

It is, essentially, lower division football – with goals generally coming from set pieces, forcing errors or counter attacks.

You could see Leicester were approaching the game in a different way. They had midfielders receiving the ball, probing, asking questions etc – and they played like the younger version of a stylish Premier League side. We play like the younger version of Burnley.

This is a disservice to a few players of genuine quality – and not a good place to kick on from U18s in readiness for the first team.

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

» Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.

About these ads