Everton U23s in fine win over Chelsea at Goodison Park

Friday, 15 April, 2022 54comments  |  Jump to last
Everton U23s 2 - 0 Chelsea U23s

Everton U23s scored a fine win over Chelsea at Goodison Park in Premier League 2 on Friday night.

The form of the U23s has slipped badly again as the news that their manager of 9 years, David Unsworth, is leaving the club. The side has lost 5 of their last 6 games and they have slid down the PL2 table into 12th, place, just 4 points ahead of their opponents. Tonight, they were managed by John Ebbrell, assisted by fellow former players, Jose Baxter and Leighton Baines.

Jarrad Branthwaite dropped down from the first team to captain the side. Everton should have gone ahead on 12 minutes when Dobin slipped but Dobbin's penalty lacked power and was poor.

But Everton went ahead after the half-hour through Tom Cannon with a fine strike on a backheel pass from Onyango on a ball over the top.

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Rafael Garcia was back in action after a season or more of injury problems, and he made it 2-0 for the home side with a superb strike in added time following a mazy run by Stan Mills.

Chelsea dominated the second half and threw everything at Everton but could not alter the scoreline.

Everton U23s: Tyrer, Mills (80' Butterfield), Campbell [Y:90+5'], Welch, Branthwaite, Price, Whitaker (65' McAllister), Onyango, Dobbin, Cannon, Garcia (87' Lawrence).
Subs not Used: Crellin, Anderson.


Reader Comments (54)

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Dave Abrahams
1 Posted 15/04/2022 at 09:17:32
Has the form of the U23’s slipped badly because they knew David was leaving or was it because they never really hit a consistent winning way of playing, I know they bored the balls off me most times I went to see them or watched them on Utube, even when they won a cup final against Newcastle, we were winning 1-0 and as the game reached the last ten minutes I was dreading Newcastle equalising, not so much that the game was slipping away but because I would have had to endure another bleedin’ thirty minutes of a very dreary, dull and boring game, Bowler played that night and he was playing for himself going on dribbling runs into totally dead ends while other players were in much better positions to receive the ball, he did this quite a lot at Everton, seems to be playing much better at Blackpool under the coaching of Critchley.

Is John Ebbrell taking charge of coaching tonight? He’s been around quite a bit since he retired as a player, at Tranmere, scouting and coaching at Everton, hopefully he will show what he can do if he stays at Everton.

Danny O’Neill
2 Posted 15/04/2022 at 09:33:03
Bar one or two shining lights, they've not been great to watch Dave.

It goes back to the dysfunctional nature of how the club has been run. No system, no strategy. Left hand (academy) not talking to right hand (first team). They have almost been operating as 2 separate entities.

The eternal optimist in me senses we may just be starting to address that with the new broom. I'll tune in later. Or log in to coin a more contemporary phrase.

Dave Abrahams
3 Posted 15/04/2022 at 09:46:24
Danny (2), very true Danny, absolutely no co- ordination between the top, middle and bottom with regards to planning the future, playing side of the game, and the pure farce of the transfer dealings I think the name of the club during the last few years should have been changed to Bedlam FC because it’s been run like a madhouse with the inmates in charge whose motto is “ We’ve had some good times” coined by the leader of this dysfunctional crew as they led us on the way to oblivion.

Pardon me while I butt the wall ( again) just thinking about the way this club has been run.

Phill Thompson
4 Posted 15/04/2022 at 09:53:48
This is a game we really need to win, Chelsea are just below us 2nd from bottom in a relegation place. So we could go down ourselves.
Part of our recent issues have been that our best players Price, Welch, Whitaker, Dobbin, Onyango, Warrington have rarely played together due to a mixture of first team training, injuries and loans. As ever, I’m hoping for a better performance from them tonight, maybe some minutes for the likes of Emilio Lawrence, Martin Sherif, Ishe Samuels-Smith who have done well at u18 despite being u16s. But maybe the pragmatic approach is just to get the game won.
Robert Tressell
5 Posted 15/04/2022 at 10:45:19
Looking at the U23s team that lost the last match to Blackburn, we didn't have Onyango, Welch, Dobbin, Astley and Price involved.

Not sure why.

At least four of that starting line-up will probably leave in summer as out of contract. So maybe we're putting them in the shop window to try to find a new club.

I hope Onyango plays tonight in particular as it will be good to see just how close or not he is to first-team football.

Dave Abrahams
6 Posted 15/04/2022 at 11:08:26
Robert (5),

I think Onyango has been injured, Price and Welch have been on the first-team bench recently, Dobbin signed a 3-year contract earlier this season so I think that only leaves Astley who will be out of contract in the summer.

They do however miss Ellis Simms and Warrington out on loan and Charlie Whitaker, who has just come back from injury. I think Mills's form has dropped lately, maybe because he has been played out of his normal forward position.

Robert Tressell
7 Posted 15/04/2022 at 13:13:03
Dave, Astley is contracted to summer 2023. I know the others are on the fringes of the first team squad but they've not been close to playing.

The lads who look set to leave this summer (unless offered another deal) are:

- Hughes
- Anderson
- Kristensen
- Iversen
- Leban
- Quirk
- Hunt
- McAllister

Wish them all the best.

Of those, Anderson in particular is a steady player and I can see him having a decent career.

It leaves the u23s a bit light for next season - especially if some of the best are loaned out. There'll be a few promotions from the u18s but we could probably do with buying in one or two from other academies, lower leagues or even abroad.

Dave Abrahams
8 Posted 15/04/2022 at 13:51:07
Robert (7),Yes Robert I agree Welch and Price are purely cosmetic sitting on the bench but I think it is a bonus for how they have been playing in the U23’s and also in training and it will give them a boost especially when they travel away with the first team, Dobbin is one who could be coming off the bench in the later stages of the first team games using his speed against tiring defences.

Hunt has been around for quite a while and looked a very good prospect before injuries took a toll on his progress and Astley was also well rated but I think Welch has gone ahead of him now.

Lawrence and Samuels Smith are the latest young lads to get in the spot light and I think, personally, Samuels- Smith is a better prospect than Small who left for Southampton last summer, although there is still some doubt that Lawrence will sign a professional contract with Everton and Chelsea lingering in the wings ready to snap him up, alledgally!!

Robert Tressell
9 Posted 15/04/2022 at 14:37:44
I haven't yet seen Lawrence play, Dave, but Samuels-Smith looks an extremely classy young player.

Small had all the physical attributes – like Alphonso Davies – but Samuels-Smith is a much more intelligent footballer.

Phill Thompson
10 Posted 15/04/2022 at 15:48:37
Dave, Lawrence is too young to sign a pro contract, it’s only a Scholarship contract we can offer him until he’s 17. I know you’ve mentioned this before, but for me he’d be daft not to sign a Scholarship contract which will come with a guaranteed Pro contract when he’s 17. If the club is still in a mess then he can just turn down the pro contract and take the best offer, as Small did.
Steavey Buckley
11 Posted 15/04/2022 at 15:49:49
The standard of football being played at the Everton academy is a reflection of the huge decline of football being played on Merseyside by young people kicking a ball around the streets. Young people are now more interested in computer games than football games.

Chelsea have somehow been able to develop their academy with useful young acquisitions from abroad and elsewhere.

Danny O’Neill
12 Posted 15/04/2022 at 16:02:12
I keep saying it, but forget academies until the age of 14 or even 16.

If you want Everton in the community, get out there into grass roots and promote football rather than charity. We are a football club. Develop the local youth football setup for the many rather than cherry pick an elite few. Both grass roots and the club will benefit.

And no, I am not a Corbynist. I just borrowed the phrase.

Robert Tressell
13 Posted 15/04/2022 at 16:22:08
We normally agree, Danny, but I think that academies are probably what now replace the street / Park football which has now gone. Perhaps Germany manages to keep kids off their devices better. But I think places like La Masia and Ajax start very young.

Chelsea's academy graduates are not just foreign imports, Steavey.

In fact foreign imports are massively outnumbered. There might be more but I can only think of Christensen and Gilmour at the moment.

That compares with Abraham, Tomori, Anjorin, Solanke, James, Livramento, Broja, Loftus-Cheek, Hudson-Odoi, Lamptey, Mount, Guehi, Chalobah and Gallagher etc. Some of them qualify for other countries because they come from a cosmopolitan city, but they're all British / London I think.

Danny O’Neill
14 Posted 15/04/2022 at 17:34:53
I don't think for one minute we can replicate Germany Robert. Their system is built from the grass roots up and has been for years. Look at the success of their national team.

The village I visit annually due to historical links has a footballing facility that puts our parks to shame. A village team in the arse end of nowhere with no connections to any professional club. The kids play and train on clay pitches to keep them on their feet and make them care for the ball.

My suggestion is that Everton could pioneer. Get amongst the local community and sponsor teams. Send coaches to coach them. Fund them and give them facilities. It would serve as benefit to the community whilst concurrently acting as a scouting network.

But coach and leave lads in there natural environment until ready. Don't poach one or 2 into the closed gates of Finch Farm. The closed bubble.

I would love to replicate Schalke or Ajax. We couldnt. I would just like to see Everton promote football in the community. Pioneer something in the British game.

Everton in the community from a footballing perspective that we get benefit from for our core business. Football. Not the charity it currently is.

Apologies. I can get emotive about this! Looking forward to this evening.

Phill Thompson
15 Posted 15/04/2022 at 18:09:03
Danny, there was a great article in The Athletic the other day about the Portuguese club Braga and their 5-year plan to fill their team with 50% of players from their Academy. They identify “PEP”s Players with Elite Potential and try to make sure they go through their system completely. They can't compete with the “Portuguese Big 3” financially so have had to find another way – sounds familiar there re us and the Sky 6. I would love for us to do something innovative in our Academy that would set us apart.

Incidentally, in the last month, our U14s and U15s have won their age groups' PL Youth National Tournaments and the U16s finished runners-up in theirs. So things may not be too gloomy, it looks like we have the talent in our youngsters, just need to convert more of them into regular first-team players.

Phill Thompson
16 Posted 15/04/2022 at 19:05:22
Good to see Garcia back from injury and buzzing about.
Brent Stephens
17 Posted 15/04/2022 at 19:06:27
Interesting it's a back 4. Unusual and with Mills at right-back.
Tony Abrahams
18 Posted 15/04/2022 at 19:07:07
Success usually comes about through innovation, and innovation comes when people think outside the box!

The English academy system is creating talent, but it's definitely destroying a lot more imo. They mostly go off the same hymn sheet, and it's mostly all about “today”, (with kids for goodness sake) which is why I think it's destroying a lot more talent, than it's actually creating.

I went to an Under-8s tournament today, and what impressed me was that every team played each other but no trophy was given to the best team. No quarter, semi's or final, which meant no parents screaming, for them to get the ball away, and this also helped the lesser players get more game time, and was definitely much more beneficial to the kids, than half a season of a 40-minute game every weekend, imo.

Brent Stephens
19 Posted 15/04/2022 at 19:12:30
Soft penalty to us.
Brent Stephens
20 Posted 15/04/2022 at 19:14:33
Poor Dobbin penalty.
Tony Everan
21 Posted 15/04/2022 at 19:21:56
Nicely placed but telegraphed it and not enough pace. Enjoying the game, nice play and through ball from Isaac Price just now, Dobbin would have scored with a hard and low Lineker finish. Decent enough effort though.
Brent Stephens
22 Posted 15/04/2022 at 19:34:57
Nice Onyango back heel pass for Cannon to score. Don’t know who passed out from the back over the top but it was a cracker.
Phill Thompson
23 Posted 15/04/2022 at 19:35:11
Nicely take. Goal by Cannon, set up by Onyango.

They are playing a lot better on a decent pitch.

Phill Thompson
24 Posted 15/04/2022 at 19:44:35
Brent, I think it was Charlie Whitaker who clipped the ball from wide right into Onyango’s path to set up the goal.
Phill Thompson
25 Posted 15/04/2022 at 19:47:13
Great run by Mills to set up Garcia who slotted into the far corner: 2-0.
Brent Stephens
26 Posted 15/04/2022 at 19:48:33
Lovely Garcia goal after a mazey run from Mills.
Brent Stephens
27 Posted 15/04/2022 at 19:49:45
Thanks, Phill. Whitaker having a decent game.
Tony Everan
28 Posted 15/04/2022 at 19:55:08
Great close control from Stan Mills, pretty good finish too from Garcia, goalie partially unsighted? A good enjoyable half, like the way we are trying to play joined up football. Branthwaite and Onyango have a good presence on the pitch. Height but good composed footballers too.
Robert Tressell
29 Posted 15/04/2022 at 20:01:10
Branthwaite is miles too good for this level. Welch and Onyango very good too. We're playing pretty well.
Tony Everan
30 Posted 15/04/2022 at 20:28:21
Gone off the boil a bit this half, Sean McAllister on for Charlie Whitaker.
Jay Harris
31 Posted 15/04/2022 at 20:59:56
Only caught the second half and if that's anything to go by I didn't miss much. The only players that looked half-decent were Branthwaite and Harry Tyrer and maybe to an extent Stanley Mills but I was very disappointed with Onyango and Dobbin who looked miles off Premier League standard.
Phill Thompson
32 Posted 15/04/2022 at 21:00:33
Chelsea had the better of the second half but a vital win for us. I'd take the same when the first teams meet!
Brent Stephens
33 Posted 15/04/2022 at 21:05:19
Jay, this shows what a risk it would be to play some of these guys from the start of a first-team game.
Robert Tressell
34 Posted 15/04/2022 at 21:38:41
Jay, we were a lot better in the 1st half. 2nd half didnt look good - but I think we sat back tactically to protect the lead. In fairness we did that pretty well and Branthwaite, Welch and Campbell all had good games.

Passing and movement not very inspiring though.

Andrew Keatley
35 Posted 15/04/2022 at 22:28:38
Jay (31),

Chelsea pressed us very high in the second half, and condensed the game to the extent that our midfielders struggled to find any time or space on the ball.

We didn't move the ball quickly enough - and we have a group of players who often take too many touches when in possession – Rafa Garcia, Charlie Whittaker, Tyler Onyango and Lewis Dobbin were all guilty at times.

Like several other posters, I thought Branthwaite again looked noticeably superior to anyone else on the pitch. Big, strong, quick, decisive – he really could be something very special.

Tyrer had a very good game, Campbell and Welch were solid, Mills gave a very good account of himself at right-back – with lots of very good and expansive attacking moments, and Cannon worked hard and took his goal well – as did the live-wire Garcia, who was a general nuisance for Chelsea for most of the game.

Sam Hoare
36 Posted 15/04/2022 at 22:50:08
I watched and had a similar perspective. The defense was the best part with Branthwaite looking the best player on the pitch. Onyango not gonna cut it at top level for me despite some of the hype. Always like the look of Garcia who reminds me of a narky Phil Dickov type forward, shame he’s been injured so much.
Andrew Keatley
37 Posted 15/04/2022 at 23:01:40
Sam (36) - Is “Phil Dickov” Paul’s even more bumptious brother?
Peter Carpenter
38 Posted 15/04/2022 at 23:03:39
I went along tonight. So nice to watch Everton stress-free. It was a decent first-half performance.

Garcia (haven't seen him before) looked skillful and positive. A clever goal too.

Dobbin is very quick and would benefit from better players around him, I think.

Price impressed me most in the first half, I was wondering why he had been around the first team a couple of times. He looked calm and composed on the ball, can spot a pass and gets around the pitch. One to watch there.

The second half was a mainly defensive effort with Branthwaite standing out, as he should. Welch was good alongside him too.

I was a bit disappointed by Onyango. He had some good moments but I felt he could do more. Still has time though and looks the part physically.

A good win. I wish they would play more U23 games at Goodison.

Jay Harris
39 Posted 15/04/2022 at 23:38:32
Agree with the praise of Branthwaite. For me, he would be a regular starter in the first team right now with his height and determination.
Sam Hoare
40 Posted 16/04/2022 at 06:58:04
Andrew @37, ha! Got me there!
Dave Abrahams
41 Posted 16/04/2022 at 08:57:47
Missed the game, glad they won. I thought Garcia had moved on, shows how much Everton FC keep us up to date with the younger players. Garcia certainly livens up the action. Branthwaite is too good for this level, learning nothing there.
Phill Thompson
42 Posted 16/04/2022 at 09:13:38
For me, we outplayed Chelsea first half, they out-thought us second half. They changed their tactics, attacked our right side more, and Mills struggled a bit defensively, Whitaker out of position and Garcia understandably faded a bit. But, as the headline says, a fine win.
Danny O’Neill
43 Posted 16/04/2022 at 09:41:49
I ended up missing last night.

I've only really seen Branthwaite against Chelsea away this season, so would need a more qualified opinion.

I get the impression he is similar to Keane but more aggressive and with better anticipation?

So you wouldn't want to play those 2 together regularly?

Hence the ongoing need for a commanding (and quick) footballing centre-back. No, I won't leave it until we do it!!!

Tony Abrahams
44 Posted 16/04/2022 at 09:53:34
It’s a bold statement but I already think that Branthwaite, is better than most of our other central defenders. He’s young, he will obviously make mistakes, but he seems confident enough to learn on the job, and it’s not as if our other defenders, haven’t made that many mistakes this season?

Maybe I’m wrong, because consecutive managers have refused to play him, but this kid definitely needs to be playing first team football somewhere, otherwise its possible he might begin to stagnate?

Dave Abrahams
45 Posted 16/04/2022 at 10:10:20
Jay (31),

Harry Tyrer has always looked a good solid goalkeeper yet they signed another ‘keeper from Fleetwood, I think, in January, who is around the same age as Harry. He didn't look very good on his debut for Everton U23s, makes you think does anyone know what they are doing with Mr Moshiri's money!!

Dave Williams
46 Posted 16/04/2022 at 10:24:09
I thanks to everyone for posting here. I never see the Under-23s due to distance and it is great to read the views of our knowledgeable posters.

It amazes and disturbs me to read posts from Dave #3 outlining how badly our teams have been run. What did Brands do as DoF? Surely it was his job to coordinate all of the teams and get the youngsters playing decent football?

What was Unsworth doing etc? Why did the first team managers over the years not get involved? Was it a case that they all thought there was a bottomless pit of money to buy established players so no need to develop our own?

It really is a total disgrace and maybe Unsworth was “gently ushered towards the door” as the start of a revamp? It's certainly a hell of a coincidence that he has taken this decision to move on so soon after the new DoF has arrived.

Tony Abrahams
47 Posted 16/04/2022 at 10:51:40
Timing is everything in football, Dave, and it's very unusual for someone to leave their post so late in the season unless something has gone on, especially when they've also had a very long-serving association with that football club.
Phill Thompson
48 Posted 16/04/2022 at 14:49:17
Dave #46.

“What did Brands do as DoF?”

For me, Brands initiated the significant changes that have taken place at U18 and U23 level in recent years. A few years ago, when he was clearly our best U18 player, Gordon played about 5 or 6 U23 games as the mantra was “It's a big step up from U18 to U23”.

Last night, 6 U18 players featured, plus a 16-year-old schoolboy. The majority of the outfield players last night were in our FA Youth Cup team last season. These youngsters may not be good enough eventually, but we'll find out early instead of them clogging up the U23s at 22 as we had years ago.

Dave Williams
49 Posted 16/04/2022 at 17:29:30
Good point, Phil, but did he also address the style of play in the younger teams?

Genuine question as I don't know if he did or if he ignored it.

Phill Thompson
50 Posted 16/04/2022 at 18:34:16
Dave, that's a difficult one to answer. The styles at U18 and U23 have been a bit mixed depending on the coaches and players they have.

There was the story before Christmas of when Unsworth was playing 3 at the back and Brands told him to “play like the first team” and the set up was changed.

The U18s and U23s certainly play out from the back more than they did a few years ago when only Man City and Chelsea seemed to do that back then. But you couldn't really say we have developed a genuine style from U18 through U23 to first team. That's almost impossible to achieve with the turnover of managers and DoFs we've had.

Robert Tressell
51 Posted 16/04/2022 at 19:23:03
Tony #44. I agree.

Every time I see Branthwaite, I see a physical colossus with pace, intelligence and ability on the ball. He's our best centre-half – just lacking a bit of experience.

I want him starting every game next season, alongside someone with a bit of nous to organise him.

Tony Everan
52 Posted 16/04/2022 at 21:14:05
Tony 44, Robert

Tony, I think you make a very good point with regards to Branthwaite. This is a player that now needs to be playing to continue his upward progress. It's as clear as day that he is beyond the U23s now.

I think this issue needs taking seriously, it would be a crime against football if Jarrad became stagnated or disillusioned. If he was 23 and playing like he has been he would probably be getting more starts. I think the fact he is 19 makes people doubt his reliability because of inexperience.

Robert, he definitely deserves all those adjectives, I was trying to think of one for him and the best I can muster is ‘assurance'. Of all the teenage players, he's the one you would bet your house on being a consistent Premier League class player. A potential Top 4 standard defender, that's real potential and not the confetti sort.

One more thing: I love that he has a bit of the John Terry goal threat about him too. Determined to get on the end of set-pieces and working on them with Anthony Gordon. The Chelsea goal was magnificent because it involved these two special lads conspiring for it.

Dennis Stevens
53 Posted 16/04/2022 at 22:22:39
Branthwaite playing alongside Mina would be a good pairing, imo. Unfortunately, of course, Mina will probably only be available for about a third of the season, it's such a shame we can't get a whole season out of him.
Danny O’Neill
54 Posted 17/04/2022 at 05:38:55
On the Brands comments. I can be quoted several times over on believing he was never empowered to properly do his job through interference from those who run the club and think they know football.

I said at the time, possibly a hidden legacy that may take time to realise the benefits was the apparent under-the-radar restructuring of the academy. Or at least sowing the seeds of change that others will now build on. Bumping up younger players into more senior teams and leagues was a start and is obvious even to the likes of me, who doesn't get to watch the youngsters as much as some.

As we've seen with Chelsea, restructuring of youth setups and the subsequent benefits takes several years. It's not an overnight thing. Hopefully that will be Brands' contribution to Everton even if he just started the change rather than be allowed to see it through.

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