Everton Under 18s breezed past Derby County to move fourth in the Premier League U18 North.
An own goal from Derby’s Harry Hawkins and a second half strike from substitute Isaac Heath saw the young Toffees get back to winning ways at Finch Farm.
After an impressive 1-0 win away to Nottingham Forest at the weekend, the young Blues came into the game knowing all three points would see them jump three positions in the Premier League Under-18 North.
With the visitors sitting two places ahead of Everton in fifth, both teams had much to play for. Paul Tait’s side were looking for some redemption following their previous meeting with Derby, which ended in a 1-0 defeat.
Everton started brightly with their high press causing the away back line some discomfort.
An early opportunity arose in the opening five minutes when a brilliant pass from Owen Barker saw teammate Emilio Lawrence have a shot at goal, however the number 11 dragged his effort just wide of the post.
Everton took a lead that their positive start deserved, after a teasing in swinging corner from Jenson Metcalfe floated over goalkeeper Alfie Roberts and was turned into his own net by Hawkins, due to pressure from Francis Okoronkwo.
The home side seemed to have implemented their high press game plan perfectly in the opening half hour.
The Blues nearly doubled their lead when Halid Djankpata took the ball from Hawkins in the visitor’s half and played through Lawrence on the left flank.
The Everton winger found Okoronkwo in the box, but his shot was blocked bravely by Derby centre back Charlie Rutt.
Derby struggled to play their way into the match with Metcalfe the stand out player for Tait’s side, controlling the game in the middle of the park with his pinpoint passing.
After a dominant opening 45 minutes from the home team, the visitors were lucky to go into the break just one goal adrift.
Metcalfe nearly made it two a minute into the second half but his powerful strike from 16 yards was smartly saved by Roberts.
The Rams started to see more of the ball as the second half continued but were unable to force any goal scoring opportunities with the Everton defence looking impressive, despite not having much to do previously.
Substitute Heath doubled the lead for the hosts on 66 minutes after Djankpata displayed some impressive footwork on the right flank, eventually finding Heath at the far post.
The youngster, who had only been on the pitch for around five minutes, calmly slotted the ball into the far corner from 12 yards out.
Everton comfortably saw the rest of the game out in a professional manner and will be looking to replicate this performance in their next game, away to Stoke City.