Everton Under-18s were defeated 3-1 by Derby County at USM Finch Farm on Saturday afternoon.
In windy conditions, the visitors opened the scoring on 18 minutes when Connor Dixon seized on a defensive error and finished with aplomb.
Paul Tait’s troops responded well and Korede Adedoyin’s second goal in as many games got the Toffees back on level terms six minutes before the interval.
The Rams, however, managed to hit the front again on the stroke of half-time, with Jayden Bogle’s effort allowed to stand despite a strong challenge on goalkeeper Joe Hilton in the build-up.
The hosts enjoyed more possession in the second period but could not find another way through a resolute Derby defence.
Dixon then rounded off a swift counter-attack to register his second of the game late on, before Everton were reduced to 10 men for the final few minutes when Adedoyin was sent off.
Coach Tait said: “We weren’t good enough and we have to do better. We can’t make defensive mistakes like we did and expect to get away with it.
“We also need to get better service to our forwards, because they can be a real threat when they get the chances.
“But we’re a young group and it’s still early days for us. The lads apply themselves really well every day in training, so hopefully we’ll see that pay off in the coming weeks.”
Everton Under-18s: Hilton, Duke-McKenna, Moore, Denny, Ouzounidis, Scully (Zuk, 65), Adedoyin, Kerr, Simms, Gordon (Anderson, 75), Mampala.
Unused substitutes: Murphy, Richards.
Derby County Under-18s: Yates, Bogle, Mills, Brown, Rashid, Carter-Thompson, Mitchell-Lawson, Knight, Stretton, Dixon, Cresswell.
Unused substitues: Minkley, Fryatt, Davie, Haywood, MacDonald.