sport

Everton Youth 2 Norwich City Youth 4: Blues youngsters crash out of FA Youth Cup against counter-attacking Canaries

EVERTON Under-18s saw their hopes of FA Youth Cup glory extinguished when they were undone too often on the counter-attack during a 4-2 quarter-final defeat by Norwich City.
Everton Youth 2 Norwich City Youth 4: Blues youngsters crash out of FA Youth Cup against counter-attacking Canaries

EVERTON Under-18s saw their hopes of FA Youth Cup glory extinguished when they were undone too often on the counter-attack during a 4-2 quarter-final defeat by Norwich City.

Kevin Sheedy’s young charges had reached the last eight stage the hard way by defeating Port Vale, Southampton and Arsenal on the road – but their usual attacking flair was restricted on a disappointing evening at Goodison yesterday.

Despite a positive start when they dominated possession and played the more constructive football Everton fell behind to a rare break from the visitors.

Norwich went raiding down the left and Carlton Morris was on hand to get in front of his man and convert Joshua Murphy’s near-post cross.

In response Chris Long unleashed a rasping low shot from outside the area which Canaries keeper William Britt did well to smother.

Then a slick move saw Matthew Kennedy cross and centre-back Jonjoe Kenny lost his marker to head narrowly over the bar.

Everton were the better side only to fall for another sucker-punch. The same combination that gave Norwich the lead conspired again to double their advantage in similar fashion.

A swift response was called for and thankfully Long was on hand to provide it. The striker forced the ball home from a narrow angle to give the hosts hope, and Harry Charlsey almost levelled moments after with a superb piece of skill to control under pressure and flash a shot just beyond the post.

The young Blues are used to fighting back from losing positions this term, but instead of rallying straight after the break they made the challenge harder for themselves.

This time Mason Springthorpe, who has been on the bench for David Moyes’s first team in Tim Howard’s recent absence, spilled Murphy’s long-range effort and Morris reacted quickest in a goalmouth scramble to convert the loose ball.

Everton kept plugging away; with George Waring heading just over and Kennedy dragging a low drive wide after a characteristically mazy run.

But Norwich were still a threat, as Cameron King was only inches from increasing his side’s strangle hold on the game at the far post only to side-foot badly wide.

The Blues were already facing an uphill task when left-back Ibou Touray was shown a straight red card for a studs-up challenge on Norwich’s Cameron Williams just after the hour-mark.

And Morris again went close from a corner with a flicked header which Springthorpe flicked onto the bar. Sheedy kept faith in his side’s attacking flair, and left three at the back to enable Long and Connor Grant to keep probing, and his conviction was rewarded when Long smashed home his second goal of the evening from close range with 18 minutes left.

Neil Adams’ men were not to be denied though, and the impressive Joshua Murphy kept his cool after being played in with a long-range through ball to bear down on goal and slip it past Springthorpe’s despairing dive.

The Blues goalkeeper came forward with the clock ticking down as Everton battled gamely for a way back but it was in vain. A cup run which had yielded such impressive wins over sides like Arsenal was over – maddeningly against a team they had already beaten twice in the league.

EVERTON: Springthorpe, Pennington, Kenny, Langton, Toure, Molyneux (Capt), Charsley (Jones, 77) Kennedy (Johns, 84) Waring (Duffus, 77) Long, Grant. Subs not used: Griffiths, Johns, Ledson.

SENT OFF: Touray.

Goals: Long 38, 72

NORWICH CITY: Britt, Norman, Wyatt (Barker, 92), McGeehan (Capt), McFadden, Tofollo, Murphy, Hall-Johnson (Young, 86), Morris, King (Randall,77) Murphy. Subs not used: Lokko, Swatman, Randall.

Goals: Morris 14, 37, 52, Murphy 81

Referee Steve Rushton. Attendance: 1,093.

Star man: Chris Long.

View full mobile page