Everton 1-2 Manchester United (Wilson 8, McNair 45)
Following his debut for the first team on Sunday, Andreas Pereira capped a memorable two days by producing a fine display for the Under 21s to help his side to secure a vital away win in the close race for the title.
Liam Grimshaw failed to seize on an opportunity as early as the third minute. Through with only the keeper to beat, he hit his shot straight at Griffiths, who was able to scramble it away for a corner. It didn’t take United long to put right his miss, however: when Pereira capitalised on an error by Galloway, this time the keeper could only palm the Belgian’s shot into the bath of Wilson, who tapped the ball into an empty net.
Anders Lindegaard was called upon to safe smartly from Green as Everton sought a quick equaliser. Shortly after that the United keeper was stretching at a long-range shot from Browning that narrowly cleared the crossbar.
Everton continued to have the bulk of the first half possession but United always possessed a threat on the break, with Pereira in particular catching the eye. Almost on the stroke of half-time, his free kick from the left wasn’t dealt with by the home defence and when the loose ball fell to McNair, he lobbed the ball into the top corner to double United’s lead.
Everton started brightly in the second half and Henan flashed a shot wide of Lindegaard’s goal in the early moments. Although the same player forced a save at his near post from the United keeper, Everton struggled to break down a defence superbly marshalled by Thorpe and McNair until five minutes from time, when Goss was harshly adjudged to have deliberately handballed in the area.
Kenny scored from the spot but, as the game moved towards its close, United looked the more likely team to score, Pereira seeing his free kick deflected over the bar before having a shot blocked by Distin. His side saw out the rest of the game, however, to secure a deserved three points.