An impressive first-half from Everton Under 23s was enough to defeat Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 thanks to goals from Lewis Dobbin and Reece Welch at Goodison Park.
A few familiar Everton faces in James Vaughan, David Weir and Leighton Baines watched on from the stands as the hosts moved up into 8th place.
Everton almost opened the scoring after 17 minutes through full-back Ryan Astley.
A smart corner routine between Hughes and Warrington allowed Hughes to whip in an inviting cross.
The captain attacked the ball strongly, but his effort crashed off the underside of the woodwork.
The blues then went ahead three minutes later through Dobbin.
The winger picked up the ball on the edge of the area before firing home low into the bottom corner.
Every time the Blues got the ball, it was sent out wide to Dobbin, who was proving to be a handful for Albion’s defence.
The Toffees’ persistence paid off again as they doubled their advantage via a Reece Welch header.
Rhys Hughes was the provider yet again – this time from a free-kick delivery.
Dobbin almost made it a third, capitalising on a poor attempted clearance from James Furlong.
The number seven’s effort forced a brilliant stop from Tom McGill in goal.
Just before the break, Brighton came close.
Ed Turns sent the ball goalwards, but only for a goal-line clearance from left-back Kyle John it would of been 2-1.
It was fantastic initiative from the defender to highlight his strong first-half performance.
Everton emerged from the break searching for the third down the right-hand side.
Dobbin delivered a searching cross for Tom Cannon and the substitute will be disappointed his headed effort went wide of the target.
The Seagulls were searching for a way back into the game and they were denied only by the post.
Evan Ferguson linked with Lorent Tolaj who’s effort smashed off the goalframe. The visitor’s were getting closer.
The momentum was with Brighton in the closing 15 minutes as they pushed for a goal.
And the travelling side got themselves back into the game 10 minutes from time.
Ferguson picked the ball up just inside Everton’s final third before unleashing a venomous 25-yard strike into the top-right corner.
Andrew Crofts’ side were pumping the ball into the box at every opportunity, but they came up short due to the stubborn Everton defence and the blues saw out their deserved 2-1 lead.