Three second half goals from Southampton’s Under-18s side earned Jason Dodd’s side a third win in a row in their Elite Group on Merseyside.
Saints put in a dominant display after half time to blow Everton away, as the visitors produced a clinical performance to earn the victory.
It was a difficult first half for the youngsters who appeared to hold back on the bobbly playing surface, and Saints were grateful to ‘keeper Chris Johns for thwarting a strong home side in the opening 45 minutes.
A more determined showing in the second period saw the visitors control proceedings, but they had to wait for the introduction of a couple of substitutes to make their pressure pay.
Ryan Seager and Jake Flannigan entered the action on the hour mark, and seven minutes later, the duo combined to earn a penalty after the latter had been brought down as he looked to tuck home inside the box.
Skipper Dominic GAPE stepped up to convert into the bottom left to put Saints 1-0 up.
The goal scorer was involved in the second goal too, which arrived on 77 when Gape drove the ball across for sub FLANNIGAN to strike in successive matches, having also struck against Manchester United last weekend.
The win was made safe as play entered the last ten minutes, with some high pressing in the final third that led to the substitutes combining once more, as Flannigan played in SEAGER who completed the win with a neat finish.
The success was not only a third straight victory for the youngsters, but also gave a slice of revenge on the blues who had knocked them out of the FA Youth Cup in December at St Mary’s.
“We’ve been saying all season that we need to put our chances away and the boys were clinical today,” Dodd surmised post match.
“I think it’s fair to say that Everton had the better of the first half, but we controlled the second and now we find ourselves in a good position.
“We’ve beaten three very good teams in the last few matches, and when you look at it, we’ve only three defeats all year.”
The substitutions appeared to work their magic in the second 45, but Dodd said he didn’t have it down as a tactical masterstroke at full time.
“I think that would be unfair on Sam Gallagher and Charlie Higgins who did the dog work,” he highlighted.
“I’d love to say that me and Willo (Paul Williams) were behind it, but I’m just pleased that we’re showing how hard we are to beat now.”
Saints U18s: Johns, Leggett, Mugabi, McCarthy, Nehemie (Comer 80), Gape, Ariyibi, Higgins (Flannigan 60), Reed, Gallagher (Seager 60), McQueen. Subs (not used): White, Sims.