Under-18s: Everton 1 Manchester United 1
Manchester United's encouraging start to the 2017/18 Premier League Under-18 campaign continued against Everton at Finch Farm, but they were forced to settle for a point from a 1-1 draw for the second successive week.
Both goals, scored by Korede Adedoyin and Largie Ramazani, came in a hugely entertaining second half after neither side managed to break the deadlock before the break.
Kieran McKenna's team went into the game on Merseyside looking back at run of four league and cup games without defeat, with the opening-day reverse away at West Bromwich Albion being the only real blemish on the season so far for the Under-18s.
So United, wearing red shirts and black shorts, were keen to complete the month of September on a high note.
It wasn't the most pleasant of mornings in this little corner of Liverpool, with the players having to cope with wind and rain as the game got under way.
Away games at Everton, at any level, are never an easy proposition and this contest had something of a cagey opening as both teams eased their way into the match.
The first real goal attempt of note didn’t arrive until the eighth minute, when Everton's Stephen Duke-McKenna tried his luck with a shot that fizzed past Alex Fojticek's goal.
Moments later and, at the other end, Aidan Barlow hit a long-range shot that required attention from Everton goalkeeper Nicolas Hansen.
Shooting from distance seemed to be the morning’s preferred option with Everton’s Joe Anderson also going close.
Ten minutes before the break and United went close to taking the lead when a neat interchange of passes between Nishan Burkart and Barlow saw the former miss the target by inches.
Good defensive work by Fojticek and Brandon Williams kept Everton at bay, while Mason Greenwood burst through the Everton defence before hitting a goalbound shot that forced Hansen to make an excellent save.
Everton made two substitutions at the start of the second half and it was one of those, Adedoyin, who made an almost instant impact by heading his side into the lead from Elliot Richards’ cross within 45 seconds of the restart.
It was certainly a bolt from the blue for the young Reds, but it was also a really impressive header from a player who had only just joined the action.
Remarkably, the sequence of events that brought Everton's goal were almost replicated a few minutes later when coach McKenna sent on Ethan Laird and Ramazani.
Shortly afterwards a great pass from Greenwood sent Ramazani through to place the ball past Hansen with an accomplished finish to put United on level terms.
If the first half had failed to scale any real heights, the second 45 minutes had more than made up for the dearth of action earlier.
Both sides showed so much more attacking adventure and, with a stroke of luck, there could easily have been several more goals at either end.
United went agonisingly close to grabbing all three points in the closing minutes with Greenwood, Ramazani and Max Dunne all on the verge of celebrating.
And, in the very last second of the game, they survived a real scare when Everton skipper Michael Collins headed against the bar from Adedoyin’s right-wing cross.
United: Fojticek, Ercolani (Laird 57), Dunne, O’Connor, Williams (Ramazani 57); Tanner, Garner, Puigmal, Greenwood; Barlow; Burkart (Mellor 68). Subs not used: Thompson, Levitt.