By Scott Taylor
Yan Dhanda scored his third goal of the season as Liverpool U18s suffered a 4-1 defeat in the mini-derby at home to Everton, but the game was overshadowed due to a serious injury to Adam Lewis. Antony Evans put the visitors ahead inside the opening ten minutes, before Dhanda swept home an equaliser five minutes after half-time.
Evans then grabbed his second before a brace from Daniel Bramall, the first taking a wicked deflection, put the hosts in control. The game ended on a sour note as Lewis was stretched off after a heavy tackle, with the youngster in a lot of discomfort.
Liverpool manager Neil Critchley made two changes from the 2-1 defeat at Middlesbrough last week, with Rafael Camacho and Toni Gomes coming in for Okera Simmonds and Glen McAuley, whom dropped to the bench.
It was the visitors Everton who started the brighter of the two sides, and Kevin Sheedy’s men capitalised on a Liverpool mistake to go ahead.
Michel Parker or Conor Masterson left too much space in the back line, which allowed Evans to sweep the ball home from 25 yards with Caoimhin Kelleher stranded off his line.
The Reds recovered and slowly grew into the game with Masterson heading wide from a set piece in the 24th minute.
However, another defensive error from the hosts allowed Everton back into the tie, but Kelleher was forced to make a full-stretch save to keep the score at 1-0.
Rhian Brewster has scored in his last two U18s games, and the forward had two great chances just before the interval, but couldn’t convert as the Reds ended the half with it all to do.
Despite this, it took just five minutes of the second half for the Reds to equalise. Rhian Brewster fed Toni Gomes and the striker’s shot was only palmed away by Everton goalkeeper Chris Renshaw, which allowed Dhanda to latch on the loose ball to poke the ball home.
Kelleher then had to be at his best ten minutes later as the Irishman produced a fine flying stop to deny Shayne Lavery.
However, Kelleher could do nothing about the Toffees’ second goal as Lavery played a one-two with Evans before the England youth international steered it into the far corner in the 66th minute.
Everton then went further in front two minutes later, with Lavery finding Bramall, and his cross from the byline took a deflection and looped over Kelleher to inflict more misery on Critchley’s side.
Things soon went from bad to worse for the hosts as they went 4-1 behind in the 76th minute when Baningime cutting inside of Liam Coyle before squaring the ball across goal for Bramall to tap home.
Liverpool almost grabbed a consolation two minutes from time, when substitute Glen McAuley’s header smashed off the woodwork.
The game ended in dreadful circumstances when full-back Lewis was on the receiving end of a hefty challenge and had to be stretchered off with oxygen with a long lay-off looking likely.
Liverpool XI: Kelleher; Parker, Masterson, Johnston; Camacho, Coyle, Hunter, Lewis; Brewster; Dhanda, Gomes.
Everton XI: Renshaw; Morris, Lees, Feeney, Harrington; Baningime, Kiersey; Bramall, Evans, Mampala; Lavery.