By Jack Hatton

Everton Under-l 18s had to settle for a draw against Newcastle United after the hosts’ lead, earned courtesy of a seventh-minute own goal, was wiped out by Kyle Crossley’s stunning strike after half-time.

It was an impressive first half from Paul Tait’s side who pinned back the visitors and restricted them to few opportunities.

Everton went in front after winning possession high up the field, releasing skipper Mathew Malon to weave into space and drill a ball across the six-yard-box.

Josh Stewart attempted to slide in and turn it to safety but steered it into his own net.

The pressure continued, with Everton having particular success down the right-hand side with skilful Isaac Heath and constant runs from Mallon leaving left-back Beau Beresford outnumbered time and time again.

The only disappointment for the home side was the fact they didn’t capitalise on their dominance with a second goal.

The Magpies had a few glimpses of goal, the most notable a pacy cross met by Callum McNally, whose effort was neatly tipped over by Zan-Luk Leban.

Everton’s best chance to double their advantage came just before half-time.

Jenson Metcalfe found space down the right and fired a low, driven ball to midfield partner Sam Coughlan. Max Thompson in Newcastle’s goal got a hand to the shot to guide it onto the bar.

The visitors had the ball in the back of the net 10 minutes after the restart but forward Michael Ndiweni had strayed offside before converting.

Manager Peter Ramage’s decision to bring on Nathan Nkunku on the hour mark was the catalyst for a resurgence from the Tyneside outfit.

And with 20 minutes remaining, Newcastle drew level. A corner was cleared but only as far as Crossley.

The winger was perched on the edge of the box and fired a fearsome strike which left Slovenian keeper Leban scurrying across goal but without a chance.

The home side were unable to rediscover their first-half purpose and verve in pursuit of a winner and, ultimately, had to make-do with a point which left them second in Premier League North at full-time – in advance of a Merseyside derby encounter next Saturday.