HIS side may have sealed their progress into the second round of the Checkatrade Trophy but Oldham chief Frankie Bunn decreed that his players need to ‘grow up quickly’ after they were given the run-around by Everton’s whipper-snappers.

Jonathan Benteke’s late winner completed a remarkable second-half performance as the Latics came from two goals behind to best David Unsworth’s Everton Under-21s.

But despite the thrill of their 3-2 comeback triumph at Boundary Park, Bunn pulled no punches after the young Toffees proved a major sticking point.

“It was embarrassing. The first-half performance is something I certainly don’t want to be associated with. My players won’t be like that again,” said the Latics manager.

“Albeit we’ve hit the post, we’ve hit the bar and we’ve had a one-on-one – it looked like it wasn’t going to happen and we’ve conceded two sloppy goals.

“It’s not me that is having the final shot or missing from six yards. That’s not me. It’s not me not defending the far post properly.

“We’ve got some young players in there but they need to grow up quickly now because that’s where we are.

“We’ve congratulated them. We’ve said how young they are but that goes by the wayside now.

“They’re playing men’s football. They have to be men.”

The reaction from his troops after finding themselves 2-0 down also seemed to offer few crumbs of comfort for Bunn.

He added: “It was the harsh words at half-time and a few truths, and they responded, and that’s all we can take from that.”

“The second-half performance was very good but we shouldn’t have been in that position.”

Early on, the Latics had a great chance to open the scoring, Cameron Dummigan finding Callum Lang free in the penalty area but his shot was well-saved by Mateusz Hewelt.

Moments later, a loose ball on the edge of the Latics’ penalty area was pounced upon by Nathangelo Markelo, whose sweetly-struck effort found the bottom-left corner.

Everton could have been two ahead when Nathan Broadhead was afforded too much space in the penalty area and his curling effort struck the crossbar.

And it didn’t take long for the Toffees to double their lead.

This time, Markelo turned provider, his teasing cross eluding the Oldham defence and Shayne Lavery fired home from close range.

The Latics nearly pulled one back when Ishmael Miller’s low shot from range struck the inside of the post and back across the face of goal.

Peter Clarke then became the next Oldham player to hit the woodwork, the former Toffee’s downward header from a corner striking the upright.

After the break, Oldham did make it 2-1.

A wicked Dan Gardner free-kick pinballed against three or four bodies in the six-yard-box – Clarke’s was the last and the game was back on as the ball found the net.

Even more so four minutes later when Miller showed strength to rob and then hold off Morgan Feeney and fire low into the bottom corner.

A Gardner free-kick flew over the bar as the Latics kept their foot on the throttle.

Clarke, up for yet another corner, had his diving header blocked on the line as Everton’s hopes hung by a thread.

However, the slippy second-half surface was making it difficult for both sets of defences and Oldham keeper Daniel Iverson saved well twice from Josh Bowler and Harry Charsley.

But it was that man Benteke who scored on his second successive Tuesday night.

This time, the Belgian chased a lost cause, nipped the ball off the toes of Hewelt and steered into the open net from an acute angle to complete the comeback.

Oldham Athletic 3

Clarke 53, Miller 57, Benteke 79

Everton U21 2

Markelo 6, Lavery 23

Oldham Athletic: (4-4-1-1): Iverson 6, Taylor 7, Edmundson 8, Clarke (C) 7, Hamer 7, Nepumuceno 6, Missilou 6, Maouche 5 (Gardner 45 6), Dummigan 7, Lang 7 (Benteke 45, 6), Miller 6 (Grady 90+2 N/A).

Subs not used: Baxter, Graham, Branger-Engone, McFarlane

Everton U21 (4-4-2): Hewelt 6, John 6, Browning 6, Feeney (C) 5, Charsley 6, Gordon 6 (Kiersey 57 5), Markelo 7 (Simms 75 5), Adeniran 5, Broadhead 7, Sambou 5, Lavery 6 (Bowler 57 5).

Subs not used: Hilton, Mampala, Astley, Phillips

Referee: Darren Drysdale

Attendance: 1,004