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Everton kids come unstuck

Everton 0-1 Krasnodar

By Eleanor Crooks

Everton's young side were unable to maintain the club's unbeaten European record this season as Krasnodar chalked up a 1-0 victory at Goodison Park.

With the Toffees already guaranteed to top Group H ahead of the final game and their Russian opponents eliminated, manager Roberto Martinez took the opportunity to showcase the latest "diamonds" to come off a production line that launched the careers of Wayne Rooney and Ross Barkley.

He gave debuts to 17-year-olds Ryan Ledson and Kieran Dowell while Conor McAleny and Tyias Browning both made their first senior starts.

Ledson, a combative midfielder and the England under-18 captain, caught the eye with a confident display while 21-year-old left-back Luke Garbutt was a threat in attack, but the result ultimately was a disappointing one, with Ricardo Laborde scoring the only goal of the game on the half-hour mark.

Martinez's other priority for the game was giving much-needed match time to a number of first-teamers who have been missing through injury.

Chief among those was striker Arouna Kone, who was making his first appearance since October last year following a knee problem.

It was also a chance for some fringe players to impress - but Christian Atsu's game lasted only 11 minutes. He was brutally hacked down by Andreas Granqvist in the opening moments and could not recover, meaning Dowell got his chance a lot sooner than he would have expected.

The goal was a horrible moment for goalkeeper Joel Robles, whose chances at Everton have been few.

Laborde beat the Everton defence but, having come out to meet him, Robles then stood off the Krasnodar player, who embarrassed the keeper by dinking the ball inside the near post.

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