Manchester City’s U21 side were back in action after an extended break, but new boss Simon Davies was handed his first defeat as City EDS chief.
A fiercely competitive home fixture saw Everton come away with three points following Kieran Dowell’s second half strike.
After an impressive week for City youngsters following the appearances of Kelechi Iheanacho and debutant Bersant Celina at Norwich, the EDS couldn’t go one better against Everton – with visiting goalkeeper Louis Gray having a quiet evening’s work.
With the likes of Kean Bryan and Thierry Ambrose sidelined with injury, Angelino and Brandon Barker started down the left after their loan spells at New York City and Rotherham respectively.
Kelechi Iheanacho started the first game of Davies’ reign – a 3-1 win over Southampton in which he set up two goals. The Nigerian has since moved on to bigger and better things and starred again for the Blues first-team at Norwich.
Celina was also involved that game, making his debut as a late substitute. But the Kosovan started this U21 fixture – as City looked to steer away from an Everton side who were level on points with the Blues going into the game.
It was a fairly quiet start to proceedings – City controlling possession but struggling to add that all-important spark in attack.
There was a strong penalty shout for the visitors on the half-hour mark – Courtney Duffus going down after being involved in a foot race with Ellis Plummer. The referee waved away any protests.
City improved though and got into gear as the half came to an end. James Horsfield, another youngster who has been on the fringe of the first-team this term, marauded down the right and fed David Faupala, who played in Jorge Intima. The City no.7 hit the side-netting when the chance came though he really ought to have hit the target.
Everton made a rapid start to the second half and got their noses in front. After multiple ricochets in the box, the ball eventually fell to Kieran Dowell, who converted from close range.
City looked to get back in the game with a series of substitutions – the trio of Bytyqi, Buckley-Ricketts and Fernandes all taking to the field in the hope that Everton’s resistance would soon be broken.
And Buckley-Ricketts very nearly created City’s equaliser. Angelino sent the youngster clear with a delightful ball and he darted down the left before cutting the ball back to Celina – who rattled the post with his side-footed finish. Agonisingly close for City.
The Blues threw everything at the Merseysiders but the Toffees ran tirelessly and City couldn’t break their stern backline.
Davies and his side will hope to avenge the defeat when they travel to play Spurs away from home next week.
City: Gunn, Horsfield, Smith-Brown, Plummer, Angelino, A Garcia (Bytyqi), Intima, Glendon, Faupala (Buckley-Ricketts), Celina, Barker.
Everton: Gray, Charsley, Connolly, Davies, Thorniley, Feeney, Dowell (Evans), Williams, Duffus (Byrne), Rodriguez (Dyson), McAleny.