On a very cold Friday night at Rush Green, home of Grays Athletic, Everton U-21s were edged out by West Ham who scored the only goal which came in the 69th minute from Elliot Lee´s header.
The game was just underway when the home side had a shout for a penalty as the ball seemed to come off Shane Duffy´s hand after an attempted clearance.
Full back Tyias Browning produced the Toffees' first attack with a run down the right finding Gethin Jones but the shot was powerless. It was Browning again involved with another run which found Chris Long only to see his shot saved with ease. A Duffy volley was likewise denied after Kennedy had taken a free kick. Taudul was in the action to deny Elliot Lee with a fine save.Pennington went close with a header on the half hour mark.
Taudul made a good save for the visitors in the final minute of the half as West Ham won a corner which was met by centre back Wearen to see Taudul get an important fingertip to keep the ball out.
After the break, Taudul was forced to make an easy catch; then Lee set up McCallum but Everton´s defence reacted well to clear the danger. Two chances in two minutes fell Everton´s way for Vellios. The first was close to a goal as Vellios blasted wide from 18 yards; then he had the advantage of a mistimed back pass by Driver but somehow blasts the ball way over the top with the Hammers let off the hook.
Two chances then fell to the hosts with a clearance off the line by Pennington following a corner. Everton were finally beaten with a well despatched header from Elliot Lee putting away a corner. He almost scored again 3 minutes later, sending Taudul sprawling across his goal with an effort from 20 yards out.
Taudul did well to keep out another drive with the clock running down. Everton they had three more chances to get even, a 40-yard rasping shot from Ibou Touray, Lundstram tried his luck from 30 yards, and then right at the death it was Vellios who caught a sweet volley from Browning´s cross only to see his effort crash off the post into the awaiting arms of the keeper.
Everton: Taudul; Browning, Touray, Lundstram, Duffy; Pennington, Jones, Grant; Vellios, Long (72' Johns), Kennedy.
Unused subs: Springthorpe, Forrester, Kelly, Hammar.
Quotes or other material sourced from Grand Old Team
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