Goals from Matt Dibley-Dias and Terry Ablade ensured Fulham’s under 21s returned to winning ways with an impressive victory over Everton at a wet Motspur Park this evening.

Cultured midfielder Dibley-Dias opened the scoring with a sensational strike from distance eight minutes before the break. The Brazilian broke the deadlock with a curling effort that flew into the top corner from out on the left flank, leaving a despairing ┼Żan-Luk Leban in the Everton goal with absolutely no chance. Ablade gave Steve Wigley’s side more breathing space when he rifled home after Ollie O’Neill’s corner had caused chaos just before the hour mark as the young Whites bounced back from a narrow defeat at Manchester City a fortnight ago.

Everton, who missed out on the chance to go top of the table, had began brightly in dank conditions with Stan Mills seeing an early effort deflected wide and only a sharp save from the returning George Wickens preventing lively winger Francis Okoronkwo from putting the Toffees ahead. At the other end, Adrion Pajaziti twice took aim from distance. One drive was bravely blocked by Joe Anderson and the Kosovan under-21 international’s second strike was saved by Leban.

Mills might have given the visitors the lead but he fired over from Mackenzie Hunt’s cross and Fulham went straight down the other end to punish that miss. Dibley-Dias bent home a brilliant opener from 20 yards out, but the superb strike only served to galvanise Paul Tait’s outfit. Everton almost responded instantly with Mills denied by a terrific one-handed save from Wickens.

Fulham, ahead at the break after an even first period, pushed to extend their lead after the interval. Pajaziti beat a pair of Everton defenders to deliver a low cross that eluded all of his team-mates trying to provide a telling touch, but the young Whites didn’t have to wait long for the vital second goal. O’Neill’s inswinging corner clattered against the woodwork and, with the away defenders slow to react, Ablade lashed home the rebound with relish.

The visitors threw men forward in search of a lifeline and Hunt wasted their best opening with eighteen minutes remaining. The full back found himself in an advanced position and did well to get away from Luciano D’Auria-Henry but shot straight at Wickens. Fulham might well have found a third in the closing stages with a first-time strike from Scottish under-21 international Connor McAvoy flashing fractionally wide, but this impressive return to form would have delighted the famously demanding Wigley.

FULHAM UNDER 21s (4-2-3-1): Wickens; D’Auria-Henry, Bowat, McAvoy, C. Robinson; Williams, Pajaziti; S?ekularac (Godo 76), O’Neill, Dibley-Dias; Ablade (de Fougerolles 87). Subs (not used): Borto, Sanderson, McFarlane.

BOOKED: McAvoy, Pajaziti, Williams.

GOALS: Dibley-Dias (38), Ablade (58).

EVERTON UNDER 21s (4-2-3-1): Leban; Mallon, Hunt, Campbell, Anderson; Quirk, Price; Okoronkwo (Kouyate 74), Mills (Djankpala 84), Whitaker (Samuels-Smith 63); Cannon. Subs (not used): Barrett.

BOOKED: Whitaker, Djankpala.

REFEREE: Wayne Cartmel.