Post by Everton News. on Jan 13, 2020 23:34:19 GMT
Everton Under-23s boss David Unsworth was pleased with his team’s performance as they played out an entertaining 3-3 draw with Arsenal at Southport.
Blues striker Ellis Simms struck twice in three minutes to cancel out Joseph Olowu's opener, before James Olayinka netted to send the sides in level at the break.
Lewis Gibson then restored Everton's lead with 16 minutes remaining, only for Matthew Smith to earn the visitors a point four minutes later.
“I thought it was a good point,” Unsworth told evertonfc.com. “We played well and our shape was good, which it has to be against Arsenal because they pop the ball around very well.
"We had some players in different positions tonight and young Tyler [Onyango] and Seb [Quirk] got some minutes in, which is good.
“We gave away a couple of sloppy goals from individual errors that were disappointing. But, on a difficult night, on a difficult pitch, we played some good football.”
The two sides shared four first-half goals.
The visitors struck first after 17 minutes when a header from Olowu took a deflection that eased it past Joao Virginia in the Everton goal.
Arsenal controlled the early proceedings and the Blues' frustration saw three players yellow-carded for rash challenges. Kyle John, Einar Iversen and Con Ouzounidis were each cautioned inside the opening half hour.
Everton hit back with two goals in three minutes.
First, Antony Evans played a nicely-weighted pass into the path of Simms and the Blues striker swept home a lovely finish.
Then, just over 60 seconds later, Simms was at it again - and this time it was all his own work.
He broke clear of the Gunners' defence and carried the ball 40 yards before sliding a low shot under stopper Matt Macey.
“Two great finishes and that’s Ellis – he hadn’t had a kick until then,” said Unsworth.
"He’s up there on his own at the moment because we’ve got no other options, so we’ve got to play in a way that suits him and we certainly did that tonight.
"We got some good balls into the channels and he lives and breathes on service like that.”
Arsenal levelled three minutes before the break when Ouzounidis misjudged a flighted forward pass and allowed Olayinka to slam the ball home.
Everton regained the advantage in the 73rd minute, however, as an Evans free-kick from the left edge of the penalty area was headed in at the far post by Gibson.
The lead lasted five minutes before Smith placed his shot past Virginia from eight-yards out to complete the scoring.
Just before the final whistle, Arsenal were reduced to 10 men when Tolaji Bola was shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Beni Baningime.