Tremendous added time comeback as Everton U21s beat Mansfield Town at Goodison Park

30/11/2022 46comments  |  Jump to last
Everton U21s 2 - 1 Mansfield Town

After giving up a soft early goal, Everton U21s toiled long and hard until added time at the end when two fantastic strikes turned the game around to defeat  Mansfield Town in the Papa John's Trophy under the lights at Goodison Park.

The competition (formerly known as the EFL Trophy, Checkartrade Trophy, etc) enters its knockout stages with Round 2, the Round of 32 contested by the teams finishing 1st and 2nd in their respective groups. One team in each of the 16 groups is a U21 side from a Category A Premier League Development programme, playing against first-team professionals from the 48 clubs in League One and League Two.

Everton topped Northern Group A to earn home advantage in this round which is also split regionally North and South. Everton were one of only three Academy teams to reach this stage in the Northern section, with Wolves already losing to Man Utd (on penalties).  Only two academy sides, Arsenal and Chelsea, were among the last 16 teams in the Southern section, with Arsenal already losing to Stevenage.

If you can't make it to support the U21s at Goodison Park tonight, the game is available for live streaming courtesy of your official club membership via the Everton website or Everton App. 

Article continues below video content

A soft early goal given up in the first 10 minutes set the tone for a game here Everton's youngsters looked increasingly outplayed by their elders and betters on the other side, and they never looked like scoring an equalizer in normal time.

But that changed dramatically in added time with not one but two goals to win the tie, knock out Mansfield Town and secure a game in the Round of 16 at Lincoln City.

As the game entered  4 minutes of stoppage time, half-time substitute Liam Higgins made a busting run from deep to meet a clever flick from Tom Cannon on the edge of the box. The 19-year-old took one touch before rifling his shot into the top corner. 

Creator Cannon then turned scorer and match-winner just 2 minutes later, latching onto a great through ball from Quirk before slotting home superbly to secure a dramatic last-minute win.

Everton U21s: Leban, Godfrey, Welch, Anderson, Dixon/Quintyne (46' Higgins), Mills (82' Barker), Quirk, Hunt (70' I Samuels-Smith), Price, Okoronkwo (82' Kouyate), Cannon.
Subs not Used: Barrett, Campbell, Djankpata.


Reader Comments (46)

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Dave Abrahams
1 Posted 29/11/2022 at 14:50:03
I phoned the club yesterday for details and arrangements of the game against Mansfield Town tomorrow night. The phone was answered by Graeme Sharp who gave me directions on what number I needed: 1 for match day tickets etc, etc.

Not bad for one of our board directors, a great salary for answering the phone, a kid just out of school could have done that and with an understandable Liverpool accent.

Tony Abrahams
2 Posted 30/11/2022 at 11:57:10
The person who rang up after you, would have probably been delighted to have spoken with a true Everton legend, Dave, and would have got off the phone with a great big smile, after realizing we truly are, the people’s club!
Dave Abrahams
3 Posted 30/11/2022 at 12:14:48
Tony (2),Sharp wasn’t actually there obviously, just his voice, I bet he had to do that voice over about forty times before he got it right, maybe fifty times with Kenwright being the director, how to sound genuine while being absolutely phoney.
Tony Abrahams
4 Posted 30/11/2022 at 13:03:39
When times are hard and friends are few, just make sure you cut back on the ‘exies’!

Imagine being able to change the exies, to what the Queen of Scotland Rd, said, Dave, whilst waving goodbye to Chairman Bill. I’ve got a tear in my eye just thinking about it.

Danny O’Neill
5 Posted 30/11/2022 at 13:28:02
Pet hate of mine Dave. I just want to speak to a human being!!

I hope the boys do well tonight, put in a performance and enjoy the occasion.

Tony Everan
6 Posted 30/11/2022 at 14:03:03
I’ve read the Mansfield manager is taking this competition seriously and is fielding a strong team. It will be an excellent test for the boys and another chance for one or two of them to force their way into Frank’s thinking.
Peter Carpenter
7 Posted 30/11/2022 at 14:16:37
I might go. Need some live action. Fed up with this World Cup. I hear that as well as Sharpy answering the phones, Bill is on teas and Mosh on the turnstile.
Tony Everan
8 Posted 30/11/2022 at 16:42:39
All hands to the pump …

Denise giving the toffees out tonight ?

Michael Kenrick
9 Posted 30/11/2022 at 18:17:58
That looks like a pretty strong side that Paul Tait has named.

Ben Godfrey's third game for the U21s to get him back to match fitness.

Tony Everan
10 Posted 30/11/2022 at 18:36:53
Yes Michael, a good side, 17 year old Roman Quintyne starts, not seen him before for he u21s , must be making strong progress. Cannon and Mills up front left with Okoronkwo on the right.
James Flynn
11 Posted 30/11/2022 at 18:37:09
How they're lining up.


Dennis Stevens
12 Posted 30/11/2022 at 18:57:08
Thanks for the link, James. I hope that 343 doesn't end up more like a 541.
Phill Thompson
13 Posted 30/11/2022 at 19:07:10
Ooof, not a good start 0-1 from a corner.
More like 3-4-1-2 so far with Mills behind the strikers
Michael Kenrick
14 Posted 30/11/2022 at 19:48:54

Three players I think we are missing through injury are Sean McAllister, Kyle John and Charlie Whitaker.

Talk of more players going out on loan in January, which will further weaken this team.

Phill Thompson
15 Posted 30/11/2022 at 19:59:55
Michael #14,

I'm sure the many scouts there tonight will be eyeing up a few deals. Cannon and Welch have looked good and maybe they'll go on loan, possibly Mills too.

I fancy Price to stay. Although it'll weaken the side the answer lies on the bench with the likes of Samuels-Smith, Kouyate, Djankpata ready to move up. Tis the Circle of Life!

Tony Everan
16 Posted 30/11/2022 at 20:07:13
Phill & Michael,

Eli Campbell I'm looking forward to seeing more of. He could become a fixture next season. Isaac Heath too could get on a roll with an injury-free spell.

Allen Rodgers
17 Posted 30/11/2022 at 20:17:43
Watching this game now, there don't seem to be many spectators? I thought quite a few normally go to the games at Southport.
Phill Thompson
18 Posted 30/11/2022 at 20:25:07
Allen, the paying spectators are in the Upper Bullens, out of sight of the camera. Those in the Main Stand will likely be scouts or guests.
Allen Rodgers
19 Posted 30/11/2022 at 20:32:22
Thanks Phil,

I thought that might be it. Would seem more logical for the club to concentrate all spectators in the Main Stand.

Phill Thompson
20 Posted 30/11/2022 at 20:49:56
Yeees, we deserved that! 1-1
Phill Thompson
21 Posted 30/11/2022 at 20:52:13
Danny Baily
22 Posted 30/11/2022 at 20:53:06
Get in!
Phill Thompson
23 Posted 30/11/2022 at 20:55:56
Well, I thought they were well worth that win, even if we left it late! Apart from giving away a soft goal, we were rarely troubled.
Allen Rodgers
24 Posted 30/11/2022 at 20:57:23
Great stuff from the lads. Hope Tom Cannon gets a few chances in the first team rather than a loan.
Bill Gall
25 Posted 30/11/2022 at 20:59:11
Trying to watch Mexico and the Under-21s and just seen the Under-21s win and Mexico just had a goal against that could put them out of the World Cup.
Tony Everan
26 Posted 30/11/2022 at 21:08:20
Great stuff from the boys, very good win.
Phill Thompson
27 Posted 30/11/2022 at 21:09:41
Allen, re the crowd, my Mrs walked in, looked at the TV and said “ Oh, not much of a crowd at the World Cup.” 😀
Gaute Lie
28 Posted 30/11/2022 at 22:16:32
Some time ago we had reserve teams. What happened?

I seldom see our fringe players not in the starting 11 play full games as before. And when they don't play any games at all, how can they improve? Only Godfrey playing...

I am pleased the U21s won the game. Don't misunderstand.

Dave Abrahams
29 Posted 30/11/2022 at 22:25:29
Considering they were playing men, that was a good result with two late goals from Liam Higgins, who came on as a sub at the start of the second half, then Tom Cannon, with his head bandaged from an earlier collision, kept his head and slotted home the winner to win the game.

Going to the game and walking down Bullens Road coming from Stanley Park, at the first turnstile, about 30 fans were being frisked by two stewards… turned out they were Mansfield fans, getting frisked!! Ah for God's sake – they should have been getting welcomed with a hot drink at the very least, unbelievable to me.

So when Everton scored those two late goals ,it was very hard not to feel sorry for those Mansfield fans walking out of the ground at the end of the game with a victory snatched from them and a long trek home.

It wasn't a great game by any stretch of the imagination and, with some of these young lads not long starting 3-year contracts, I expected them to be really breaking a gut to show what they could do. Some did in spells but appeared listless and not going all out to impress.

To me, they didn't appear to appreciate how privileged they are to be in the position they are in. Not a single one of them impressed me with their performance tonight.

And as for any plan they were playing to, I failed to see it, with the dreary passing to each other playing out of defence then finishing within diagonal passes that went to the opposition, out of play, or occasionally had the winger on the touchline stretching to keep the ball in.

Not a night to watch football really but one to play in and run around, keep yourself busy and warm in doing so. As I said before, most of them looked listless.

Ben Godfrey was just there for a runout and looked well off the pace apart from a couple of runs in the second half. Some of his passes were very poor but he has an excuse, he is feeling his way into football after his injury.

The other players missed a good chance to impress by showing they wanted to learn and improve. Two or three looked like they think they have already made the grade… they have got an awful lot to learn before they get to that point.

Tony Everan
30 Posted 30/11/2022 at 22:43:56
Excellent report, Dave, no glossing over anything.

I don't think there is any excuse for poor passing from Ben Godfrey particularly at this level, whether 80% fit or 100% fit. He's on a physical comeback course but I think he has always needed to work on the mental side of his game.

The composure, awareness, the reading of the game. The attributes that take players out of the sea of average ones. I'm still very hopeful for Godfrey that this aspect will improve with experience, if so we'll have a top defender.

Michael Kenrick
31 Posted 30/11/2022 at 22:56:09
Sadly on the nail, Mr Abrahams. To me, they never really look like they are busting a gut to make a real impression.

But you get heaps and heaps of brownie points for turning up and sticking it out to the bitterly cold end. Hopefully the goals made you a little happy?

Gaute @28,

It's a good question and one that bugs the fans who can recall going to watch the reserves in the halcyon days of the Central League – which stayed pretty much the same for 60 years.

As with all things, it seems, change is inevitable – and that started 30 years ago, with the Reserves transitioning into Academy sides for grooming young players.

The idea that fringe players need match practice in the U21s or the U23s disappeared years ago. The likes of Godfrey's appearances are an absolutely rarity – maybe one or two in the entire season.

Apparently, players have clauses in their contracts nowadays stipulating that they only play for the first team and so will never appear for the U21s (despite a provision remaining for overage players) – no matter how 'fringe' they are.

Things just ain't like they used to be. But what are you gonna do???

Peter Carpenter
32 Posted 30/11/2022 at 23:07:37
Messi, Mbappe, Neymar, Ronaldo, Fifa, the VAR, air-conditioned stadiums, Infantino (what a knobhead), nitwit presenters (Kelly Cates top of the list), dimwit pundits (Pat Nevin excluded), fan zones, tickets for the rich only, £175 for a tent (sod off!), winter World Cups, football in the desert…

Give me real football on a chilly November night at Goodison under lights; give me the Papa John's and a dramatic injury-time win any day. Shove the FIFA World Cup up your VAR-se – nothing beats live action.

Yes, I quite enjoyed that game. It took me right back to Coventry City, 1983. Okay, not quite the same significance but it got me excited.

It was a big win for that team, I think. I'm not sure how many of the Mansfield team are first choice but they were big and imposing and this led to an uncertain start from Everton. They worked their way into it though, keeping to a passing game without threatening much. It was looking all over as a 1-0 defeat but they kept at it and got the reward.

Stand-out players? Reece Welch was the pick for me. Calm and composed on the ball, reads the game well and so doesn't have to make crazy tackles. He could be the next cab off the rank and might make some departures (Mina, Keane) more likely.

Quirk was energetic in midfield and Okoronkwo showed some nice touches. Mills and Price come with a star billing these days and both found it hard but kept battling away; maybe just the challenge they need. Price played a few typical first-time passes, including a couple that no-one spotted.

Then there is Tom Cannon. I can't quite make him out. I've seen him a few times and placed lots of others ahead of him in the 'likely to make it category.' He has a heavy touch sometimes, lacks the sophistication of some others and even runs in a strange way. But things happen. He was fully committed for 90 minutes but got nowhere much.

Then got a head injury, was off for several minutes getting it bandaged, came back on, 30 seconds later a great touch for the equaliser (great finish by Higgjns) and then an expert finish of his own to win it. Things happen, he's one of those.

A mention for the Mansfield fans (a fair few of them), at one stage they sang 'Your support is fucking shit!' Top marks for humour.

Finally, what is a Papa John? I'll buy one tomorrow.

Dave Abrahams
33 Posted 30/11/2022 at 23:11:40
Michael (31),

Yes, I was happy with the result but the performance is what is really important at this level and I couldn't honestly be happy with that. It pains me to be criticising young players, not the playing poorly but the lack of effort at times and the lackadaisical way they performed was disheartening to me; I expect at the very least maximum effort.

Maybe it is a sign of the times, there are loads of good genuine kids but an awful lot also who think it is their right to an easy path to the top, it isn't, you've got to work hard and fight your way to glory and the money that comes with it.

Phill Thompson
34 Posted 01/12/2022 at 10:04:03
Peter #32 that’s a good summary. I agree with your assessment of Welch, he looked very composed last night. It may well be though that he needs to develop a bigger physical shape if he’s to kick on further, but so far so good.
Dave Abrahams
35 Posted 01/12/2022 at 11:17:46
Michael (31),

I know you keep records of appearances in the younger teams, I think you will find that Dave Unsworth used quite a few over-age players in his U23s teams and they helped him to win Premier League 2 titles and a cup if I'm not mistaken.

And as for “But what are you gonna do”? Well, Michael, isn't obvious? Bring the bleedin' Central League back!

And yes, I know your answer, Michael, “But they won't, will they, Dave?” And you would be correct… daft so-and-sos.

Peter Carpenter
36 Posted 01/12/2022 at 11:34:39
Phill (34), he reminded me a bit of a young Alan Hansen.
Colin Malone
37 Posted 01/12/2022 at 14:45:57
It will only get better now Unsworth has gone. See where Oldham are in the National league.
It was jobs for the boys under Kenwright.
Jay Harris
38 Posted 01/12/2022 at 15:02:30
I agree with you on Tom Cannon.

I had a friend who I played at Tranmere with who scored the stuffiest goals you could ever see and he went on to play for Point of Ayr in the Welsh league and score a record 80 goals in a season.

He could be missing for most of a game but would always score in every game.

Darren Hind
39 Posted 01/12/2022 at 15:44:42
"It will only get better now Unsworth has gone."

Yeah, I'm expecting a steady stream of Wayne Rooneys to come flying off the conveyor belt now.

Tony Abrahams
40 Posted 01/12/2022 at 17:05:02
It’s probably why Chairman Bill, was on the phone to Paul Tait, both before and after yesterday’s game Darren!
Phill Thompson
41 Posted 01/12/2022 at 19:08:08
Colin #37

I wouldn't wish Unsworth any ill will at Oldham, but undoubtedly Paul Tait has raised the game of the likes of Cannon, Quirk and Anderson, they are playing their best football for us.

The win last night with such a young team and actually topping the Group when we had to play each game away is quite an achievement for Tait.

Kieran Kinsella
42 Posted 01/12/2022 at 19:19:39
Unsworth made a big mistake joining Oldham. A team with recent top flight experience, languishing in the fifth tier, no money to spend, a poor team.

Essentially they're like all the other Conference teams only poorer (footballing and money-wise) and with delusions of grandeur which brings added pressure.

James Flynn
43 Posted 02/12/2022 at 16:52:47
Little late, but extended highlights:


James Flynn
44 Posted 02/12/2022 at 20:20:10
And Cannon is 20 this month, he needs to leave kiddie-ball and go out on loan.
Peter Carpenter
45 Posted 03/12/2022 at 15:50:19
I wouldn't send him out on loan. Put him in and see what happens.
Kieran Kinsella
46 Posted 03/12/2022 at 15:58:02

I wouldn't send him on loan. We have one healthy not very good striker in our squad. We need him.

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