Southport produced arguably their most impressive football of pre-season so far against Everton under 21s but it was not enough to earn them victory.

Having raced into a two-goal lead thanks to a very impressive first-half display, the Sandgrounders conceded three times after the break to lose against the youngsters from Goodison Park.

Nevertheless, there was enough to provide Paul Carden with cause for encouragement as the Southport manager finalises his plans for the season ahead.

The Sandgrounders will take plenty of heart from a first-half showing which saw them control the play and create the majority of the chances.

They took the lead on 12 minutes, captain Luke Foster getting his head to a high ball played back into the box after an Adam Blakeman corner had only been partly cleared.

Foster should have opened the scoring earlier, again getting his head to another good set-play from Blakeman, only to direct the ball wide when unchallenged.

Southport’s starting line-up featured three unnamed trialists and it was one of those hopefuls who showed great strength to hold off defender James Graham after a receiving a flick-on from Richard Brodie but he shot wide.

Among the seven signings made so far this summer by Carden, the most impressive has probably been Andy Wright, the experienced former Morecambe midfielder.

On 28 minutes, he extended the home team’s lead, prodding the ball home from close range after a header from a Blakeman free-kick had come back off a post.

Another addition is Andy Coughlin, the highly-rated England C goalkeeper, and with half-time approaching, he showed his reflexes by touching over a header from Callum Dyson, his only work of the half.

Yet five substitutions at the interval disrupted Southport’s flow and Coughlin quickly became a busy man.

Again the goalkeeper needed to be at his best to keep out Gethin Jones’ swerving shot with a flying save but he was unable to prevent Anthony Evans from halving the deficit from close range after a goalmouth scramble.

Everton restored parity just before the hour with an excellent strike from Connor Grant and, with the visiting team now in commend, Coughlin did well to keep out a thumping drive from Liam Walsh.

Evans completed the turnaround for Everton with his second goal on 82 minutes, sliding a shot home after brilliant work from Michael Donohue to breeze past Blakeman and round keeper Coughlin.

Southport travel to Burscough on Tuesday night, kick-off 7.30pm, before their pre-season programme concludes at home to Bolton Wanderers XI next Saturday at 3pm.

Following the match against Bolton, there will be a Meet the Manager session with Paul Carden in the Grandstand Bar, hosted by Trust in Yellow.



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