By Scott Taylor
Harry Wilson scored a 93rd minute as Liverpool Under-21s beat their Merseyside rivals Everton 2-1 at Chester FC’s Deva Stadium. Ryan Ledson put the Toffees in front in the 69th minute, but substitute Daniel Cleary equalised from close range four minutes later. Wales International Wilson then won it for the Reds in time added on with his 19th goal in all competition to give Michael Beale’s side all three points.
In a less than entertaining first-half, the only real spark came in the 38th minute. Jack Dunn passed to Sinclair, but as the Reds top-scorer tired to pick out captain Cameron Brannagan, his ball was intercepted by Tyias Browning. However, the Everton defender sliced his clearance towards Brannagan, and the Liverpool midfielder smashed the crossbar with his shot inside the box. The rebound then fell invitingly to Sinclair, but a well-timed lunge from Brendan Galloway did enough to make the striker shoot wide.
Mamadou Sakho started for the young Reds. He made his first appearance since suffering a hip injury against Besiktas in the 1-0 win at Anfield last month. However, he only played 45 minutes before being replaced by former Swindon loanee Brad Smith.
After 69 minutes, the visitors Everton went in front. A surging run and cross from Toffees defender Gethin Jones found England youth international Ryan Ledson. The Liverpudlian made no mistake from 15 yards, curling it past Lawrence Vigouroux and into the top corner.
Just four minutes later, Liverpool responded with a goal of their own. Wilson’s free-kick caused chaos in the Everton six-yard box. After a few defelctions, it eventually fell to Cleary, who was celebrating his 19th birthday, and the Irishman headed home to level proceedings.
Everton kept pushing for the winner, and Vigouroux has to be in inspired form to deny David Unsworth’s side all three points. Firstly, in the 78th minute, second half substitute Kieran Dowell saw his shot palmed away by the former Tottenham goalkeeper. Nine minutes later, the Chilean again had to be a his best. David Henen’s shot was spilled by Vigouroux, but when the Belgian went to slot home off his own re-bound, the Liverpool goalkeeper was there to turn in round the post.
This was a major turning point for the young Reds. With seconds left on the clock, Wilson picked up the ball on the right wing. He cut inside and darted towards the penalty box. The Welshman then composed himself before firing a curling strike into the top corner to win it for Liverpool.
The win moves Liverpool up to 3rd in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League table, level on points with Spurs and leaders Manchester United. However, both Spurs and Liverpool have played one game fewer than the Red Devils. Everton drop a place to seventh, but remain three points off the top. In a very tight league, just four points seperate Man United in first, and Sunderland in tenth, so every points is valuable for Beale’s boys.
Liverpool XI: (3-4-3): Vigouroux; Williams, Jones, Sakho (Smith 46′); Canos, Stewart, O’Hanlon (Cleary 28′), Maguire; Brannagan (c), Sinclair; Dunn (Wilson 64′)
Everton XI: (4-2-3-1): Griffiths; Kenny, Connolly, Junior (Donohue 82′), Browning; Galloway, Jones; Walsh, Henen, Lesdon; Green (Dowell 66′).