26/10/2015: Saints U21s 0-2 Everton U21s
Saints U21s suffered their second consecutive home defeat against Everton at Staplewood. Martin Hunter's side made a fairly bright start, and had enough chances to get something from the game, but the visitors controlled much of the play and managed the game more effectively.
Hunter named his most inexperienced side of the season. Several U18 players we're involved, including left-winger Stuart Wilkin, who got away down the flank on 6 minutes, before seeing his cross cut-out. Jake Hesketh shot tamely at the keeper a minute later. Wilkin then produced another decent bit of skill, before almost foxing the Everton keeper with a bending shot.
Everton left men behind the ball in the early stages, allowing Saints to come on to them. The impetus was very much with the home side during the opening quarter, but the more the game went on the more Everton gained control of the ball. Paulo Gazzaniga made a simple save from Callum Dyson, before Mateusz Hewelt tipped Ryan Seager's shot on to the post. Seager - who travelled with the first team to Anfield on Sunday - really should have scored.
On 28 Ollie Cook was booked for a bad challenge outside the area. David Henen's resulting free-kick went through the wall and into the back of the net for 1-0. Everton remained in control going into half-time.
Everton pressed to good effect during the second-half, making it difficult for Saints to build from the back. Half-time substitute Tyreke Johnson had a shot across goal saved by Hewelt, with Hesketh unable to get in on the rebound. Another substitute Olufela Olomola turned well on the edge of the box on 68 before smashing against the bar. That chance came very much against the run of play. Wilkin missed an absolute sitter on 77, missing a clear shot at goal after Olomola's initial effort had flicked off the legs of the keeper. There was little thought put into much of Saints' late attacking play, but the team did still create a few good openings. Olomola almost rounded the keeper on 83, but couldn't quite get his shot away. Hesketh had an effort blocked, before Johnson stung the keepers' gloves in stoppage time.
Gazzaniga: Could have possibly reacted quicker for both goals
Mugabi: Tried his best to get forward, but distribution wasn't the best
Cook: Silly foul which led to the first goal shows that the scholar still has much to learn at this level
Wood: Didn't always look completely at ease under pressure
Debayo: Delivery mostly disappointing
Gape: Didn't have a great game. Outfought in midfield
Reed: Reasonably tidy in midfield. Decent short passing. Can't shake the feeling that he's kind of wasted in this team, though
Wilkin: Showed flashes of quality, but anonymous for long stretches too
Hesketh: Worked hard, but unable to produce too many pieces of magic, with Everton effectively marking the playmaker
Willard: Started brightly, but unable to maintain the early quality before going off at half-time
Seager: Missed a crucial chance which could have changed the whole complexion of the game. Not involved enough after that
Johnson: 16 year old found it tough to get involved too often, but did play his part in a couple of good attacking moves
Olomola: Made a decent impact, just missing that finishing touch
Everton: Henen (32) Charsley (50)
Referee: Daniel Cook
Saints line-up: Gazzaniga, Mugabi, Cook, Wood, Debayo, Gape, Reed, Wilkin, Hesketh, Willard, Seager
Subs not used: Isted, Bakary, Little
Everton line-up: Hewelt, Kenny, Holgate, Connolly, Jones (Ledson 32), Henen (Duffus 72), Williams, Grant, Charsley, Dyson, Evans (Rodriguez 72)
Subs not used: Griffiths, Walsh