Everton Under-23s battled out a 0-0 draw with high-flying Tottenham Hotspur in a Premier League 2 clash at Southport FC on Monday night.
The young Blues came closest to breaking the deadlock midway through the first half when Rhys Hughes rattled the crossbar with a long-range effort, but David Unsworth’s side were forced to settle for a share of the points.
The game saw midfield talent Imam Jagne make his Everton debut. The 17-year-old Swedish youth international, who joined the Blues from BK Hacken in his homeland earlier this month, played the second half of the game after replacing playmaker Mackenzie Hunt.
The draw means Everton remain sixth in the table, with Tottenham second, one point behind leaders Chelsea.
Spurs, unbeaten so far this season, started quickly and created the game’s first genuine chance. After good work from Anthony Georgiou, Dilan Markanday fired over from 10 yards.
Toffees stopper Joao Virginia then made a point-blank save when an unmarked Spurs head met a corner delivery.
Ellis Simms created the Blues’ first real chance of the half on 30 minutes – the in-form forward turned his man inside out before curling just wide of the far post from a tight angle.
Everton started to gain a foothold in the game and Wales international Hughes struck the bar with a free-kick 20 yards from goal.
The Blues also started the second half brightly and Einar Iversen forced Spurs goalkeeper Brandon Austin into a smart save with a deflected low drive.
Austin was back in action minutes later when Simms’ fierce effort was turned behind.
Iversen turned creator next, his neat pull-back found Simms eight yards out from goal, but his effort was blocked by a wall of Spurs defenders.
Tottenham looked set to strike on the hour-mark through Georgiou but Iversen slid in to bravely block his effort.
And in the 82nd minute, Spurs substitute J’Neil Bennett had a great opportunity to snatch all three points but he lashed his effort into the side-netting.
That was to be the game’s final chance and Everton now look forward to an away clash at Manchester United on Friday night.