Paul Tait was “absolutely delighted” with his side’s counter-attacking performance as Everton Under-18s stormed to a 3-0 victory over Wolves.
Lewis Dobbin’s second-half double helped the young Blues put their Merseyside derby defeat behind them with a comprehensive victory in the Midlands.
Bobby Carroll’s 17th-minute strike gave the Under-18s a strong platform to build which saw Dobbin add two more after the break, sealing all three points.
“I am absolutely delighted with the way the lads worked and got the really pleasing 3-0 result.” Tait told everton.com.
“I was really happy with how we defended because Wolves are a really strong team, probably one of the best teams we have played so far this season without a shadow of a doubt.
“They can hurt you with good attacking players and there were times that we had to stay in the game but we knew in the way in which we set-up, that we could counter-attack and I think it was a perfect attacking performance.”
Fresh from the international break, Everton raced out of the traps. Dobbin nearly seizing on a loose back-pass before he was snaffled by Jackson Smith in the Wolves goal.
Everton continued to carve out opportunities. A nice piece of play on the edge of the box by Carroll opened up some space, his pass found Lewis Warrington, who saw his effort palmed round the post.
However, after a solid early spell, it was Wolves who had the best the chance of the opening stages. A nice one-two split the Everton defence, where Jack Barret was called into action for the first time to deny Conor Carty from close range.
That scare seemed to spring the Blues into life as Carroll opened the scoring. Sebastian Quirk weaved his way through the home defence, as the striker latched onto his pin-point cross to slide the ball home.
As the half wore on, Wolves tried to find a route back into the contest. However, it was nearly the away side who doubled their lead. Lewis Richards’ goal-line clearance denying Quirk before Joshua Hosie latched onto Rhys Hughes’ inch-perfect delivery, only for the right-back’s shot to find the side-netting.
After a strong end to the first-half, the Under-18s started the second on the back foot. Some unbelievable defence was nearly rewarded on the counter, as Carroll threaded through Warrington, only for his shot to be palmed away.
Tait went onto praise centre-back, Ryan Astley, after his excellent defensive performance set the Blues up perfectly to hit Wolves on the counter.
“I have to say that Ryan Astley made a massive difference for us today, he has been with the Under-23s and has come back down.
“He headed every ball that came into the box, his marking and covering was different class. It is good that the young centre-backs get to see Ryan and play alongside him and see what it takes to defence properly.”
Expert counter-attacking football finally got its long-awaited reward as Carroll threaded a perfectly-weighted through-ball to set Dobbin away, where the striker was able to calmly place past an onrushing keeper.
With just 10 minutes remaining, Dobbin’s second put the Under-18s out of sight. Barrett preserving the lead with an outstanding reflex save before Quirk found time and space on the counter, where his pass found Dobbin, who placed the ball into the bottom right-hand corner to seal a hard-fought victory.