Match report: Everton Res 2-1 Villa Res
Villa's reserves slipped to a first defeat of the new league campaign as Ross Barkley and Royston Drenthe gave Everton the edge at the Stobart Stadium.
Another memorable comeback looked on the cards when Daniel Johnson pulled one back for the claret and blues but the Toffees earned three Barclays Premier Reserve League points at the home of rugby league side Widnes.
It was tough to take for Kevin MacDonald's team after a promising start which saw Graham Burke strike the woodwork and Everton goalkeeper Jan Mucha tested several times.
The challenge facing this young Villa side was always going to be an intriguing one when it became clear that teenage sensation Barkley, Real Madrid loanee Drenthe and Argentinian forward Denis Stracqualursi were involved for Everton.
Nevertheless, MacDonald's men appeared unfazed by the talent and experience in the Merseyside club's starting XI.
At one stage it seemed unthinkable that the visitors would find themselves trailing at the break after they peppered the Everton goal in the opening 25 minutes.
Mucha was called into action to push away Samir Carruthers' half-volley after 10 minutes following an exquisite left-wing cross from Courtney Cameron and moments later he saved a trademark low drive from Daniel Johnson.
Some fluid play between Villa's midfield quartet and forwards Burke and Callum Robinson created further openings.
Irishman Burke rattled the crossbar after neatly collecting his striker partner's lay-off 25 yards from goal, while a Gary Gardner long-range attempt dipped just over.
But the claret and blues were punished by two ruthless pieces of finishing from Barkley and Drenthe - two players who featured when the respective first teams met Goodison Park on Saturday.
On 28 minutes, Barkley arrived on the edge of the box to cleverly guide Magaye Gueye's cutback past Benjamin Siegrist.
And a breakaway goal doubled the Toffees' advantage five minutes before the break.
Keeper Mucha found Drenthe with a quick throw-out from a Villa set piece, allowing the Dutchman to exploit space in the away side's half and coolly tuck home.
Everton took the momentum into the second period - Stracqualursi sending a dipping volley just off target and Drenthe testing Siegrist with a curling free-kick which the Swiss custodian tipped away.
Substitutes Connor Taylor and Darious Darkin brought great industry to the Villa attack in the last half an hour.
Indeed, the visitors produced a spirited fightback and were unlucky not to pull one back when Luke Garbutt cleared Robinson's close-range shot off the line.
Villa were finally rewarded for their endeavour eight minutes from the end. Mucha could only parry Gardner's powerful free-kick and Johnson reacted quickly to fire home the rebound.
EVERTON: Mucha, Browning, Garbutt, Barkley, Mustafi, Nsiala, Gueye, Baxter, Stracqualursi, McAleny, Drenthe. Subs: Davies, Forshaw, Bidwell (for McAleny, 72), Orenuga (for Drenthe, 64), Hope (for Gueye, 88).
VILLA: Siegrist; Herd, Williams, Donacien, Lowry; Carruthers, Johnson, Gardner, Cameron; Burke, Robinson. Subs: Taylor (for Burke, HT), Barrett, Caira (for Williams, 81), Bryan, Darkin (for Carruthers, 59).
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