Spurs under 19’s 1-0 PAOK: (match report)

Spurs under 19’s 1-0 PAOK: (match report)

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Our under 19’s qualified for the last 16 of this seasons UEFA Youth league on Tuesday evening, by overcoming Greek side PAOK Thessaloniki by one goal to nil in, what was a hard fought win for Matt Wells’ side. Very few of our under 19’s would have experienced an atmosphere as hostile and as intimidating than the one which greeted them at the Toumba stadium on Tuesday night. The PAOK fans turned out in force to support their youngsters on a humid night in Thessaloniki, with almost 9,000 supporters in attendance at the Toumba stadium. It was a very physical game from start to finish, and the Greek side tried to rough our players up by making many late challenges and cynical fouls, but it was those such fouls which would cost PAOK so dearly on the night. After a decent start to the match, Matt Wells‘ side took the lead from a corner kick after just 13 minutes of time through Brooklyn Lyons-Foster, the defender clinically guiding home Harvey White’s pin point delivery into the bottom left hand corner of the PAOK goal. Things got even better for Spurs after PAOK were harshly reduced to ten men, after Theocharis Tsiggaras was shown a straight red card for a challenge from behind on J’Neil Bennett. Spurs did manage to create some decent chances during the remainder of the half but they were unable to extend their lead, despite seeing so much of the ball during the first period. However, the second half was a much tighter affair and it really tested Spurs’ game management skills. PAOK opened up as the half progressed but the young Spurs players kept their cool and they were disciplined while in possession. The home side did have chances to draw level however, the solidity of our back five dealt excellently with the threat which was posed by the Greek clubs attacking players. Spurs held the ball up well, they knew when to waste time and knock the ball around, but most importantly of all they were able to grind out the result. It may not have looked aesthetically pleasing for those of you who were were watching the game on the television but, however dour the second half was, our young lads demonstrated extraordinary maturity and professionalism to see out the game. Matt Wells’ lads didn’t let the pressure get to their heads and I thought that they showed how mentally strong they really are, to overcome PAOK in normal time. 

Spurs lined up in the unfamiliar 5-3-2 formation on Tuesday evening with the skipper Brandon Austin starting in goal for Matt Wells‘ side once again. The back five consisted of both Tariq Hinds and Dennis Cirkin at fullback, either side of the three centre backs TJ Eyoma, Malachi Walcott and Brooklyn Lyons-Foster. Meanwhile, Armando Shashoua, Harvey White and Tashan Oakley-Boothe lined up in the centre of the park, with both Jack Roles and J’Neil Bennett playing as out and out strikers in the absence of our top scorer in the competition this season, Troy Parrott. Spurs got the game underway at the lively Toumba stadium and it didn’t take long before the game started to gather pace. Tariq Hinds was on hand to clear behind Theocharis Tsiggaras’ early cross into the Tottenham penalty area. A couple of moments later Eleftheros Lyratsiz saw his cross bounce off PAOK striker Alexandros Gkargkalatzidis, before going wide of Brandon Austin’s goal. Spurs then broke forward down the opposite end of the pitch, Harvey White managed to pick out Bennett in the penalty area with a pacy cross. Bennett managed to get his head on the ball, but his attempt on goal was headed away by Apostolos Diamantis before it could trouble the PAOK goalkeeper Symeon Papadopoulous. Dennis Cirkin then pumped a teasing ball into the oppositions penalty area but it was cleared away by Giannis Michailidis before Tariq Hinds almost managed to pick out Shashoua inside the box. Spurs were seeing more of the ball during the opening stages of the game. After Armando Shashoua played a clever one two with Jack Roles on the edge of the PAOK penalty area, Shashoua slipped the ball into the feet of Bennett who swivelled around before shooting over Papadopoulous’ crossbar (on the bounce) courtesy of a heavy deflection off of Michailidis. However, Matt Wells’ side managed to take the lead from Harvey White’s resulting corner kick. After the Maidstone born midfielders perfect delivery had managed to pick out Brooklyn Lyons-Foster who had managed to leap above Georgios Doumtsis in the box, before planting a powerful header into the bottom left hand corner of Symeon Papadopoulous’ goal, 1-0. The young defender made the most of netting his third goal of the season by running over to the corner flag on the far side, to celebrate in front of a photographer.

The young centre half thought he had scored his and Spurs’ second goal of the game a matter of minutes later, after Oakley-Boothe had won a free kick out on the right flank. Harvey White whipped another excellent ball into the box which managed to pick out Lyons-Foster who had managed to get in front of Zisis Chatzistravos, before jabbing the ball past Papadopoulous and into the back of the net, on the volley. However, the referee Jérôme Brisard ruled out Lyons-Foster’s goal on the strange belief that the Tottenham defender had fouled Chatzistravos before getting to the ball. Harvey White had a cross cleared by Diamantis before Brandon Austin was called into action for the first time in the game to claim Georgios Doumtsis’ powerful low cross into the Spurs box. There was a brief pause in play after Tashan Oakley-Boothe had went down injured after being caught by Marios Tsaousis however, he was ok to carry on. Tariq Hinds whipped a dangerous cross into the PAOK penalty area but it was cleared by Diamantis, with Jack Roles claiming to the referee that the Greek defender had handled the ball. Shortly afterwards Brooklyn Lyons-Foster was harshly give a yellow card for allegedly holding back Tsiggaras with his arm. After receiving the ball down the right flank J’Neil Bennett had burst forward towards the edge of the PAOK penalty area before letting fly on his right foot. However, the 17 year olds powerful low effort was tipped behind acrobatically by the diving Papadopoulous. After the ball had fell to Tsaousis inside the Spurs penalty area the fullback had a pop on goal, but his powerful low effort came off of Eyoma before going behind for a corner kick. After receiving Dennis Cirkin’s pass inside the PAOK penalty area Jack Roles took a heavy first touch before lunging into try and win the ball off of Diamantis. However, he missed the ball and he ended up catching the PAOK defender, this resulted in him getting a yellow card. The Cyprus under 21 international came close to playing Armando Shashoua through on goal a couple of moments later, after Spurs had regained possession.

The decisive moment in the game occurred in the 33rd minute after the French referee Jérôme Brisard made a very brave call. After receiving Jack Roles’ pass J’Neil Bennett went on a darting run through the middle of the park before being brought down from behind by a sliding challenge from Theocharis Tsiggara. The PAOK midfielder had shown from his cynical foul that he had shown no desire to catch anything other than the back of Bennett’s leg however, I think that everybody had been surprised that the referee had shown Tsiggara a straight red card. Following the sending off Spurs seemed content to hold onto the ball and they looked very calm in possession. J’Neil Bennett almost managed to pick out the unmarked Jack Roles at the back post of Papadopoulous’ goal, but the 17 year olds cross was slightly overhit. The attentive Brooklyn Lyons-Foster did well to cut out Antonio Gaitanidis’ through ball before it came through to PAOK centre forward Gkargkalatzidis. The home side won a free kick in a promising position shortly afterwards but Dennis Cirkin was on hand to clear Tsaousis’ delivery. However, the ball ended up coming down and bouncing inside the Spurs box and back to Tsaousis, but he could only blaze over Austin’s goal on the half volley. Towards the end of the first half Theocharis Komsis’ side went on a dangerous counter attack which came close to catching Spurs out. Chatzistravos broke forward through the middle of the pitch before being caught from behind by White who would later receive a yellow card. However, the referee waived play on and the PAOK midfielder managed to stay on his feet before continuing forward and picking out Gkargkalatzidis down the right channel with a nice lofted pass. The PAOK centre forward quickly prodded the ball across to Antonio Gaitanidis who was through on goal. However, the Greece under 19 international didn’t feel that he had the pace to continue all the way into the Spurs box, and he ended up blasting the ball over Austin’s crossbar on the edge of the penalty area. A couple of minutes later Achileas Salamouras fired an effort over from long range before Spurs almost played themselves into a spot of bother. After receiving Brooklyn Lyons-Foster’s back pass, Austin spent too long pondering about what he was going to do with the ball, and he was quickly closed down by Georgios Doumtsis who he ended up firing the ball straight at. However, the 20 year old goalkeeper was fortunate that the ball came back to him kindly. The referee blew the whistle for half time a couple of seconds later.

PAOK got the second half underway and it was evident from the opening couple of the minutes of the half that Spurs were being quite cautious in possession, as they played short and simple passes in and around the middle of the park. Brandon Austin made his first save of the game after substitute Giorgos Tzvaros glanced Diamantis’ cross towards the Spurs goal, the ball seemed to just bounce into the arms of the Tottenham goalkeeper who comfortably saved Tzvaros’ effort. A couple of of minutes later Gkargkalatzidis managed to slip the ball through to Eleftheros Lyratsiz down the right side of the Tottenham penalty area however, the PAOK fullback ended up firing a low effort wide of Brandon Austin’s goal. After connecting with Diamantis’ cross inside the Spurs box Salamouras had a headed effort on goal deflected over by Hinds who got an important head on the ball. Spurs had been playing sensible football, only attacking the PAOK defence when the moment was just right. Such a moment almost resulted in Spurs netting their second goal of the game after Jack Roles came desperately close to netting his third goal in the competition, this season. After receiving Harvey White’s pass out on the left flank Dennis Cirkin surged forward before squaring the ball into Roles who was lurking on the edge of the PAOK danger zone. Roles’ first time side footed effort was struck cleanly but it ended up cannoning straight off of Papadopoulous’ left hand post before coming back to White on the edge of the box. The Spurs midfielder hit his first time effort hard and low, but the ball ended up flashing narrowly wide of the goal, although it is worth noting that White was caught by Lyratzis just as he was about take the shot. Spurs had a penalty shout a couple of moments later, after Roles appeared to be caught inside the box by Diamantis, after receiving Bennett’s pass. PAOK came close to netting an equaliser at the other end of the pitch from Georgios Doumtsis’ corner kick. Doumtsis had managed to pick out Giannis Michailidis at Brandon Austin’s back post. However, the Spurs goalkeeper did well to tip Michailidis’ powerful looping header over the crossbar.

J’Neil Bennett became the third Spurs player of the match to receive a yellow card after he collided with Giannis Michailidis inside the PAOK penalty area. Spurs made their first change of the game in the 67th minute of time, after Paris Maghoma came onto replace Malachi Walcott. After doing well to skip past Salamouras in the middle of the park, Oakley-Boothe went on a brilliant surging forward run before managing to play Jack Roles through on goal, with an excellent pass from the outside of his boot. Roles advanced towards the PAOK penalty area and he continued right onto the edge of the box before firing a low effort towards goal. However, Papadopoulous had been saved once again by his left hand post. Armando Shashoua had a nervy moment at the opposite end of the pitch after the PAOK players appealed to the referee that he had fouled Chatzisvaros inside the penalty area. The 18 year old midfielder did concede a free kick right on the edge of the Spurs box a couple of seconds later, after fouling the same player. However, Lyratzis‘ resulting effort flew well wide of Brandon Austin’s goal. The Spurs players had started to really slow the game down and they were doing their fair share of time wasting. Brandon Austin was booked for doing just that in the 83rd minute. Rayan Clarke replaced J’Neil Bennett shortly afterwards, before Jubril Okedina came on for Tashan Oakley-Boothe to help to bolster the Spurs defence during the final moments of the game. Matt Wells’ side managed to see out the remaining minutes of the game with relative ease to record a hugely impressive win in Greece to book their place in the last 16 of the UEFA Youth League. Spurs’ game management skills and off the ball intelligence proved to be hugely important on the night. The draw for both the last 16 and the quarter finals will be made on Friday afternoon at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. Spurs could meet anybody from Hertha Berlin to Manchester United in the next round of this prestigious competition. In some unrelated news I noticed that our under 18’s dropped down to second in the league table on Tuesday, after Arsenal defeated Leicester City 5-0, although the ‘ Gunners ‘ have played one more game than Matt Wells’ side who return to league action on Saturday when they face Reading.

Player reviews: 

  • Brandon Austin: The Tottenham captain made two saves in total against PAOK on Tuesday evening. One of the saves was a fairly routine one, while the other was an important reflex save to tip Giannis Michailidis powerful, looping header over the crossbar. Austin was unlucky with his distribution at times against PAOK, and he did get quite lucky on a couple of occasions.
  • Tariq Hinds: The right back had a really solid game for Matt Wells’ side, and the Goodmayes born teenager defended particularly well against winger Georgios Doumtsis down that side of the pitch. Like Dennis Cirkin on the opposite flank Hinds managed to get up and down the wing well and he was involved in a couple of good attacks for Spurs. The 18 year olds crossing was of particular note.
  • TJ Eyoma: Operating at RCB in a back five for the majority of Tuesday’s game, the England under 19 international put in a very solid performance alongside both Walcott and Lyons-Foster. Eyoma made some important interceptions and clearances, and his positioning was impeccable.
  • Malachi Walcott: The 16 year old played in the middle of the three centre backs. The England under 17 international completed 67 minutes of the match, and like Eyoma he was flawless in defence. He looked very composed and assured.
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: The match winner operated at LCB and he was one  of our best players on the night. Lyons-Foster read the game effectively and he brought the ball out well from the back. He was also excellent in the air and strong in the challenge, but there were two very important pieces of defending to cut out two dangerous through balls, which for me were his most important defensive contributions of the game. Lyons-Foster scored an excellent header to win Spurs the game early on in the first half. I thought that his overall play was excellent on the night.
  • Dennis Cirkin: My motm, see below.
  • Armando Shashoua: Industrious, slick and tidy in his overall play. The 18 year old put in another good shift in central midfield for Matt Wells’ side where he helped to keep things ticking alongside midfield anchorman Harvey White. Shashoua’s passing was nice and crisp, and his darting movement in and around the oppositions penalty area was impressive. As was his tracking back and relentless pressing.
  • Harvey White: The midfield anchorman had an excellent game in the middle of the park for Spurs where he was able to influence the match in a positive way. White’s pin point delivery from a first half corner kick set up Brooklyn Lyons-Foster’s goal, and the 17 year old whipped many more inviting balls into the danger zone throughout the remainder of the game. White was excellent on the ball and he performed his duties as an anchorman both diligently and effectively.
  • Tashan Oakley-Boothe: The central midfielder who lined up in a midfield three completed 92 minutes of Tuesday’s match. I personally thought that the 19 year old had a very good game alongside side both White and Shashoua. Oakley-Boothe went on one excellent attacking foray during the second half which resulted in him setting Jack Roles through on goal with an intelligent pass.
  • Jack Roles: The 19 year old started up top alongside J’Neil Bennett where he operated as a false nine. Roles was involved in some nice passages of play and he managed to get himself into some very promising positions. The Cyprus under 21 international was denied by the woodwork on two separate occasions against PAOK.
  • J’Neil Bennett: Roles’ partner up top worked very hard all game to try and make an impact. Bennett had a good first half and he came close to finding the back of the net on a couple of occasions.
  • Paris Maghoma: The young midfielder entered the game in the 67th minute of time. Maghoma offered Spurs much needed energy out wide.
  • Rayan Clarke: It was only a fleeting cameo from the winger who helped to hold the ball up during the final moments of the game.
  • Jubril Okedina: The 18 year old helped to bolster the Spurs defence during the final moments of the game, after he was introduced in second half stoppage time.

My man of the match: For the second time in less than four days 16 year old left back Dennis Cirkin was my man of the match. The accomplished full back was an ever present force down the left hand side of the pitch against PAOK. The Dubliner proved to be a very influential player from his many driving runs down the left flank. The first year scholar defended solidly and he managed to neutralise the threat that was posed by PAOK winger Antonio Gaitanidis. Cirkin also managed to combine both his defensive and attacking duties to great effect. He looked very assured indeed against the Greek club.

PAOK: Papadopoulos, Lyratzis, Tsaousis, Tsiggaras, Diamantis, Michailidis, Doumstis (Tzovaras 46), Salamouras (Maniotis 81), Gaitanidis (Panidis 84), Chatzistavros (c, Meletidis 84), Gkargkalatzidis (Pournaras 76). Substitutes (not used): Talichmanidis, Tachatos.

Spurs: Austin (c), Hinds, Cirkin, Walcott (Maghoma 67), Eyoma, Lyons-Foster, Oakley-Boothe (Okedina 90+2), White, Bennett (Clarke 87), Roles, A Shashoua. Substitutes (not used): De Bie, Binks, Pochettino, Whittaker.

Goal: Spurs – Lyons-Foster 12.

Yellow cards: PAOK – Michailidis 27, Diamantis 44; Spurs – Lyons-Foster 20, Roles 25, White 45+1, Bennett 66, Austin 83, Cirkin 88.

Red card: PAOK – Tsiggaras 33.

Referee: Jérôme Brisard (FRA).

Venue: Toumba Stadium, Thessaloniki.

Attendance: 8,958.

Spurs under 19’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Troy Parrott – 3

Jack Roles – 2

Rodel Richards – 2

Paris Maghoma – 1

Jaden Brown – 1

Malachi Walcott – 1

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 1

Assists: Jamie Bowden – 3

Troy Parrott – 2

Jack Roles – 2

J’Neil Bennett – 1

Jaden Brown – 1

Paris Maghoma – 1

Harvey White – 1

Clean sheets: Brandon Austin – 3

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Spurs under 19’s versus PAOK: (match preview)

Spurs under 19’s versus PAOK: (match preview)

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On Tuesday afternoon our under 19’s will take on Greek side PAOK in the last 16, play off round of this seasons UEFA youth league. After finishing as runners up in their group, Spurs were drawn against one of the teams (PAOK) who have qualified for this round from the domestic path of the competition. Matt Wells‘ under 19 side flew out to Thessaloniki in Greece on Monday, ahead of the match at the Toumba Stadium, the 29,000 seater ground that PAOK’s first team play their home matches in. After qualifying from a group which contained Barcelona, Inter Milan and PSV the young Spurs lads will fancy their chances of overcoming today’s opposition and progressing to the last 16 round (proper). PAOK are one of the biggest teams in Greek football and while I don’t know an awful lot about their youth team, I have been doing my research on their under 19 side since the draw for the play off round was made back in December. Managed by Theocharis Komsis, the Greek club overcame AEL Limassol and FC Minsk to progress to this stage of the the competition. Their side is made up entirely of Greek nationals and a fair number of Komsis‘ squad have represented Greece at international level. PAOK like to play in a 4-3-3 formation but I imagine that they will lineup in a more defensive shape when they face us. Apart from their main danger man Antonio Gaitanidis another PAOK player worth keeping an eye on is tricky wide man Georgios Doumtsis who has netted one goal from four appearances in the UEFA youth league this so far season. It will be a fantastic experience for Matt Wells’ side to test themselves against a side who play a completely different style of football to them. It will also be a good experience for the young Spurs players to play in a big stadium, in front of what should be quite a decent crowd. Although we will be missing a couple of important players through injury we still have a ridiculously talented squad who will fancy their chances of progressing to the next stage of the competition. Tuesdays match kicks off at 5pm and it will be broadcast live on BT Sport ESPN. My in-depth match report will be out on Wednesday evening. I would like to wish Matt Wells’ side all the very best of luck for the game, I am sure that they will do the club proud no matter what the result is.

My predicted lineup: (4-3-3) Austin (c), Hinds, Eyoma, Lyons-Foster, Cirkin, Maghoma, White, A.Shashoua, Bennett, Parrott, Roles.

Subs from: De Bie, Binks, Walcott, Okedina, Oakley-Boothe, Markanday, Clarke.

Injured/unavailable: Jamie Bowden, Maxwell Statham, Jamie Reynolds, Jeremie Mukendi, Enoch Asante.

Doubtful: Phoenix Patterson, Dilan Markanday, Rodel Richards.

Previous meeting: N/A.

My score prediction: Spurs 3-0.

My one to watch: Greece under 19 international Antonio Gaitanidis has been an important player for PAOK in European competition, this season. The 18 year old forward is one of the Greek clubs main danger men, and Gaitanidis has scored three goals from his four appearances in the UEFA youth league this campaign. 

Some notes on Spurs loanee Samuel Shashoua’s performance against Conquense:

Some notes on Spurs loanee Samuel Shashoua’s performance against Conquense:

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Spurs loanee Samuel Shashoua was in action once again for his parent club Atlético Baleares on Saturday afternoon, when they traveled to the Spanish region of Castillo-La Mancha to take on Conquense. Samuel completed 83 minutes of Atlético Baleares‘ 1-0 win over Conquense yesterday afternoon, that win was only Atlético’s second away win of the season. However, it would ensure that Manix Mandiola’s side went to the top of the Spanish Segunda Division B group III for the first time this season. Once again Shashoua started the game out on the left wing as the ‘ Balearicos ‘ lined up in a 4-1-4-1 formation. It didn’t take long before Samuel managed to find the back of the net courtesy of a smart finish around the goalkeeper however, the 19 year old was ruled out for offside. After latching onto Francesc Fullana’s through ball down the left side of the Conquense penalty area, Shashoua managed to go around Conquense’s outrushing goalkeeper before then squeezing the ball home  from a tight angle. From the resulting television replay it was clear that Samuel had been in an offside position when Fullana had made the pass. After a fairly slow start to the game winger Canario saw his low cross from the right flank deflect onto the crossbar. Samuel had made a good run into the middle of the penalty area and he must of questioned why Canario didn’t try and cut the ball back to him. Samuel was having to create his own space out on the left flank during the opening stages of the game, as the Conquense defenders were defending so tightly against him After playing a quick one two with Yelko, Shashoua darted towards the Conquense penalty area however, he was fouled from behind by Jon Vega right on the edge of the area. What could well have been a red card was only a yellow, and Atlético had to settle for a free kick, much to Samuel’s disappointment. The teenagers next involvement in the game came after he received Francesc Fullana’s short corner on the edge of the penalty area, Samuel steadied himself before firing an effort on goal, which was headed behind for a corner kick by Conquense forward Aguilera.

A couple of minutes later Samuel was almost played through on goal by Yelko but, Conquense defender Maxi managed to cut the pass out. Samuel had been tracking back well after him throughout the first half and he was also making some good runs both in and behind the Conquense defence. Atlético Baleares took the lead right on the stroke of halftime after Peris received Canario’s pass just inside the oppositions penalty area, before curling a wonderful effort into the top left hand corner of the goal. Right at the beginning of the second half Shashoua went on a good mazy run down the left flank before then laying the ball off to Canario who fired an effort well wide of Marqueta’s goal. A couple of minutes later he whipped a dangerous cross into the box, but it had too much power on it, and it ended up going out for a goal kick. After a quiet spell in the game Shashoua looked to get more involved in the game as it entered the final stages. After the teenager had received Yelko’s pass out on the left wing he managed to successfully go around Conquense right back Marquez with a sublime bit of skill before darting forward down the flank. Shashoua then played a quick one two with Fullana who flicked the ball into the penalty area. Samuel raced to meet it however, Conquense defender Jon Vega managed to come across Samuel inside the box to block his resulting effort on goal. That was to be Samuel’s final piece of action from the game as he was replaced by Adrian Hernandez shortly afterwards. This was a hugely impressive win for Samuel’s parent club who battled hard to break down a very strong Conquense defence. Shashoua’s relentless pressing, intelligent movement and ability to create space for himself played a big part in helping Atlético to record only their second away win of the season. The Conquense defenders really focused their attentions onto Shashoua on the left flank. He was constantly fouled throughout the match but he never let that get to him, and he managed to put in another very good performance for the high flying club from Mallorca. Up next for Atlético Baleares is a home league game against Barcelona B, next Sunday morning at the Son Malferit.

Samuel Shashoua for Atlético Baleares this season: 

Appearances: 22

Goals: 4

Assists: 2

Spurs under 23’s 0-4 Arsenal: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 0-4 Arsenal: (match report)

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Our under 23’s returned to PL2 action on Friday evening when they hosted bitter rivals Arsenal at the Lamex stadium. However, it was a night of torment for Wayne Burnett’s side, who to put it quite frankly were torn to shreds by the ‘ Gunners ‘ for large periods of Friday’s game. Our out of form development side had to try and compete with an Arsenal side, which included a number of players who have played for the ‘ Gunners ‘ first team (five to be exact). When you take into consideration the quality of the players that Arsenal fielded, players such as Greece under 21 international Konstantinos Mavropanos, Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah it was unsurprising that it was such a one sided North London Derby. Arsenal overpowered us in the middle of the park and their quick passing and razor sharp movement allowed them to pick us apart. Without a natural central forward up top Wayne Burnett’s side struggled to play around Shilow Tracey. And although they did improve during the second half Spurs were unable to create many clear cut chances on the night, that and their slow passing were two major factors why we struggled so badly on the night. Freddie Ljunberg’s Arsenal side started the game well and after a sharp, incisive passing move the ‘ Gunners ‘ took the lead in the fourth minute of the game through Joe Willock. The away side continued to trouble our defence in the minutes that followed, and they started to grow in confidence. After creating a couple of good goal scoring chances Ljunberg’s side doubled their lead in the 25th minute from the penalty spot. After George Marsh had given away a cheap penalty for a handball inside the area, Charlie Gilmour stood up to calmly tuck the ball past Brandon Austin to double the visitors lead. Arsenal continued to dominate the game and Spurs were unable to respond. Joe Willock capped off another good passing move with his second goal of the game, to make it 3-0 in the 32nd minute. Wayne Burnett’s side did play considerably better during the second period as the likes of Jack Roles, J’Neil Bennett and Paris Maghoma started to get a lot more involved in the game. However, any chances of a Tottenham comeback were virtually extinguished less than two minutes into the second half after the potent Eddie Nketiah punished a sloppy back pass from Jack Roles by going around Austin and making it 4-0.

Spurs did battle well during the second half and they put up a good fight against the ‘ Gunners ‘ and they were unlucky not to pull a goal back, after creating some really good chances. At the end of the day Arsenal were the much better side and they had far more quality in their ranks than we did. This difficult game will be a big learning curve for Wayne Burnett’s young side, who following Friday nights defeat have now been well and truly sucked into this seasons relegation battle. Spurs lined up in a 4-1-4-1 formation against their bitter rivals Arsenal on a cool Friday evening at the Lamex stadium, in Stevenage. Brandon Austin started in goal for Spurs while a back four consisting of Tariq Hinds, TJ Eyoma, captain Japhet Tanganga and young Dennis Cirkin lined up in front of him. George Marsh operated as the holding midfielder, with Paris Maghoma and J’Neil Bennett starting out on the flanks, either side of our two central midfielders Tashan Oakley-Boothe and Jack Roles. 20 year old forward Shilow Tracey led the line for Wayne Burnett’s side for the first time since pre-season. Spurs got the game underway in front of a fair crowd of both Tottenham and Arsenal supporters. Freddie Ljunberg’s side started to move the ball around well during the opening minutes of the game, and they were playing with a real attacking intent about them. After initiating a good passing move the ‘ Gunners ‘ stunned Spurs when they took the lead after just four minutes of action through their inform midfielder Joe Willock. The Spurs defence had been opened up by the first real meaningful attack from the away side. After Eddie Nketiah had passed the ball to the speedy Bukayo Saka down the left flank, the winger managed to pick out Xavier Amaechi who was in space down the right side of the Tottenham penalty area. Amaechi quickly passed the ball into the feet of Willock who clinically slotted the ball past the helpless Brandon Austin, 0-1. It had been a cheap early goal to concede for Spurs, who had been unable to keep up with the movement of the Arsenal forwards.

Ljunberg’s side continued to move the ball about well and they were playing with a lot of width about them. The referee Josh Smith waived away a penalty appeal from the visitors after TJ Eyoma had made a sliding challenge on Eddie Nketiah inside the Tottenham penalty area. Shilow Tracey was unable to get to George Marsh’s through ball at the other end of the pitch and Arsenal’s goalkeeper Deyan Iliev was was able to smother the ball in time. A couple of minutes later Spurs created a decent chance to draw level. After Marsh had passed the ball to Bennett down the left wing the wide man sped past Arsenal’s  Jordi Osei-Tutu before shifting the ball into the feet of Shilow Tracey inside the penalty area. However, the makeshift centre forward was unable to sort his feet out in time and Iliev managed to close him down and get to the ball, before winning a free kick. It was becoming apparent that our final ball was lacking, as the half progressed. Our skipper Japhet Tanganga produced an important piece of defending at the opposite end of the pitch, after he made a crucial interception on the advancing Xavier Amaechi on the edge of the Spurs penalty area. A couple of moments later George Marsh was warned by the referee for a strong challenge on Danny Ballard which caused Freddie Ljunberg to lose his cool on the sidelines. Therefore it was quite ironic that the Tottenham midfielder gave away a penalty kick a matter of minutes later. After attempting to win the ball off of Xavier Amaechi inside the Spurs box, Marsh blatantly handled the bouncing ball, giving the referee no other option but to point to the spot. Young Scottish midfielder Charlie Gilmour stood up to take the resulting spot kick and Gilmour made no mistake from seven yards out. The midfielder calmly tucked the ball past Austin and into the bottom right hand corner of the 20 year olds goal, 0-2. Wayne Burnett’s side tried hard to respond and they almost managed to create a good chance shortly after the restart. After Spurs had broke forward through the middle of the pitch, Jack Roles attempted to play a quick one two with Shilow Tracey. Roles received the ball back but he ran out of steam as he attempted to dart into the penalty area, and he was intercepted by Arsenal’s Danny Ballard.

Arsenal responded through Eddie Nketiah who came close to making it 3-0 to the home side, after he latched onto Joe Willock’s through ball down the left side of the Spurs box. However, Nketiah’s powerful effort was saved well by the diving Austin who somehow managed to tip the ball over the crossbar. Arsenal’s third goal of the game duly arrived in the 32nd minute of the game through none other than Joe Willock. After Jordi Osei-Tutu had taken a corner kick short to Eddie Nketiah the Arsenal centre forward slipped the ball into Willock who was in vast amounts of space inside the Spurs box. Dennis Cirkin charged towards Willock to try and close down his angles but Willock kept his composure, and he cooly curled the ball into the far left hand corner of the goal, leaving Austin unable to react, as his sight had been obscured by the Tottenham players, 0-3. Austin could be seen debating with his teammate Jack Roles following Arsenal’s third goal of the game. To Spurs’ credit the players were working hard to try and change their fortunes. After Paris Maghoma passed the ball out to Bennett on the left flank the winger cut inside onto his right foot before whipping the ball into the danger zone. Tracey managed to meet Bennett’s cross but the former Ebbsfleet United man could only manage a very tame glancing header at goal, which was comfortably saved by Iliev. Arsenal broke forward down the opposite end of the pitch and after Bukayo Saka did well to keep the ball in down the left wing the England under 18 international passed the ball to Willock who fired the ball across the face of Brandon Austin’s goal. Spurs had a penalty shout waived away in first half stoppage time after Julio Pleguezuelo had appeared to catch Tashan Oakley-Boothe inside the Arsenal penalty area. The halftime whistle was sounded a couple of moments later to bring an end to a very difficult first half for Wayne Burnett’s side, who had been far too slow with the ball during the first 45 minutes of the game.

‘ The Gunners ‘ got the second half underway and it didn’t take Freddie Ljunberg’s side long before they found their rhythm once again. Arsenal made it 4-0 through Eddie Nketiah less than two minutes in to the second half. The alert Arsenal striker was able to pounce on Jack Roles‘ sloppy back pass towards Austin. The pacy centre forward worked his way around the outrushing goalkeeper before managing to squeeze the ball home from a tight angle, 0-4. The commanding Brandon Austin could be seen frantically urging his teammates on in the aftermath of Arsenal’s fourth goal of the game. After Oakley-Boothe had passed the ball to Tracey down the right side of the Arsenal box the 20 year old had a pop at goal but his powerful effort was stopped by the leg of Iliev. The ‘ Gunners ‘ then went straight down the other end after Willock passed the ball to Saka who attempted to play Nketiah through on goal, but Tanganga was on hand to cut Saka’s pass out. A couple of minutes later Tariq Hinds had a cross cleared by Konstantinos Mavropanos before Jack Roles won a free kick out on the right flank. However, Maghoma’s resulting free kick flashed right across the face of Iliev’s goal before going out of play. Spurs started to move the ball around a bit quicker and they were starting to work the Arsenal defence a bit more. After Shilow Tracey had managed to find J’Neil Bennett down the left side of the Arsenal penalty area Bennett tried to beat Iliev with a low effort at the Macedonian’s near post, but he was able to comfortably hold the Spurs wingers effort. Spurs continued to try and create openings down the left flank, just a couple of minutes after Bennett’s chance, attacking left back Dennis Cirkin came close to beating Iliev. After receiving J’Neil Bennett’s pass on the edge of the Arsenal penalty area, Cirkin continued forward before cutting inside onto his right foot and curling a powerful effort towards the left hand corner of the goal. Cirkin’s effort was well thwarted by Iliev who managed to get a strong hand to the 16 year olds shot. 

The towering Konstantinos Mavropanos did well to clear a teasing cross into the Arsenal penalty area from J’Neil Bennett, before the unusually quiet Jack Roles tested the Arsenal goalkeeper. After coming inside from the left wing Roles attempted to beat Iliev with a lofted effort but the experienced goalkeeper managed to read what Roles was trying to do, and he comfortably claimed the ball. Tariq Hinds did well to block Dominic Thompson’s cross at the other end of the pitch before Austin authoritatively claimed Xavier Amaechi’s corner kick. Brandon Austin then kicked the ball all the way up the field to Tracey who was able to bring the ball down before continuing forward down the right wing. Tracey then teed the ball off to Roles on the edge of the Arsenal penalty area but the Cyprus under 21 internationals curling effort flashed narrowly wide of Deyan Iliev’s near post. Wayne Burnett’s side had been enjoying quite a decent spell in the game and they were continuing to create some good chances. After some good work to control the ball Bennett tried to beat Iliev from more than 20 yards out. However, the Arsenal goalkeeper was equal to Bennett’s powerful low effort on goal. Charlie Gilmour whipped a dangerous ball across the face of Brandon Austin’s goal shortly afterwards as the game started to develop into a more even affair. Japhet Tanganga did well once again to break up another dangerous Arsenal attack after he cleared Nketiah’s low cross into the Spurs box. Wayne Burnett made his first substitution of the game in the 73rd minute of the game after he brought on second year scholar Armando Shashoua in place of midfielder Jack Roles. After Spurs had won a free kick Maghoma managed to pick out Japhet Tanganga at Iliev’s far post, but the Spurs defenders resulting effort on goal was blocked by Osei-Tutu. Tashan Oakley-Boothe then whipped a dangerous ball across the face of the Arsenal goal before Arsenal broke forward down the other end through Osei Tutu. The fullback darted forward down the right flank before entering the Tottenham penalty area, where he was fouled from behind by J’Neil Bennett who had been tracking him. Fortunately for Spurs the referee had deemed the foul to have taken place outside the penalty area, and instead a free kick was awarded right on the edge of the box. Bennett also received a yellow card for bringing down the Arsenal man.

Xavier Amaechi was desperately unlucky not to score from his resulting effort which smashed off the inside of Brandon Austin near post before rolling out. The Tottenham goalkeeper would have had no chance of getting to the ball had   Amaechi’s effort had been on target. The game had been won by Arsenal long ago but the young Spurs players continued to work their hardest, to try and pull a goal back. After Paris Maghoma received Dennis Cirkin’s pass the silky midfielder came inside from the left wing before blazing an effort over Iliev’s crossbar. After taking a free kick early Shashoua slipped the ball into the feet of Oakley-Boothe who burst forward down the right flank before attempting to pump the ball into danger zone. Unfortunately for Oakley-Boothe his cross took  a heavy deflection off of Ballard and this allowed Iliev to gather it comfortably. The energetic Armando Shashoua did well to head clear Jordi Osei-Tutu’s dangerous cross into the Spurs box before linking up well with Bennett at the opposite end of the pitch. After receiving a pass from Bennett down the left side of the Arsenal penalty area, Shashoua squared the ball to Tracey who had made a good run into the centre of the box. However, the Spurs player was unable to sort his feet out and he was intercepted by Mavropanos. There was a late melee involving both sets of players after there had been a coming together between TJ Eyoma and Jordi Osei-Tutu. J’Neil Bennett then went over to confront the Arsenal fullback as Tanganga also got involved. Even after the referee had blown the final whistle a matter of moments later, Tanganga could still be seen trying to get to Osei-Tutu who had clearly angered him. This will have been a difficult defeat to take for Wayne Burnett’s side against their bitter local rivals however, the team that Freddie Ljunberg picked was far too good for Spurs on the night, and although their efforts were commendable they just couldn’t match what was a very classy opposition. Spurs will be hoping to bounce back from Friday’s particularly painful defeat when they welcome Chelsea to the Lamex stadium next month. However, Wayne Burnett’s side must go up against Croatian side NK Dinamo Zagreb 2 in the quarter finals of this seasons Premier League International Cup before they can think about league football once again. Our game against Dinamo Zagreb will take place on Tuesday the 26th of February, also at the Lamex stadium.

Player reviews:

  • Brandon Austin: Despite having a very busy night Austin only made one save against Arsenal, that save was to deny Eddie Nketiah from close range during the first half. I thought that Austin’s distribution was good on the night and I also thought that he dealt well with crosses and set pieces. There was nothing that the 20 year old could have done to prevent any of Arsenal’s four goals. It’s also worth noting that he was constantly trying to motivate his teammates throughout the match.
  • Tariq Hinds: The 18 year old right back had the extremely difficult task of trying to defend against Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka. The England under 18 international really made Hinds work hard throughout the match and while he did cause Hinds quite a lot of problems, I thought that the right back gave a good account of himself on the night.
  • TJ Eyoma: Like Hinds, centre half TJ Eyoma had his work cut out against Freddie Ljunberg’s side. Eyoma operated at RCB and although he did make some very important defensive interventions, he did struggle at times to deal with Arsenal centre forward Eddie Nketiah who was a real handful.
  • Japhet Tanganga: The 19 year old had quite a good game at LCB under the circumstances. Tanganga did cut out a couple of dangerous Arsenal attacks and he made some important clearances.
  • Dennis Cirkin: My motm, see below.
  • George Marsh: The holding midfielder was overpowered for much of the night by Arsenal’s formidable midfield. Marsh found it very difficult to break up play when the ‘ Gunners ‘ had the likes of Joe Willock and Charlie Gilmour pulling the strings from midfield.
  • Tashan Oakley-Boothe: Although Oakley-Boothe started the game out on the right wing he would often change positions with central midfielder Paris Maghoma. Oakley-Boothe did manage to go on numerous attacking forays down the right flank throughout the game, and I thought that he carried the ball well.
  • Jack Roles: The inform central midfielder had an unusually quiet night for Wayne Burnett’s side in the middle of the park. Roles did manage to initiate a couple of decent chances for Spurs while also getting himself into some good goalscoring positions.
  • Paris Maghoma: Maghoma started the game in the middle of the park although he would often switch with Oakley-Boothe out on the right flank during the match. Maghoma did well to create space for himself and he did look good on the ball. The 17 year old went on some good attacking forays through the middle of the pitch.
  • J’Neil Bennett: I thought that the first year scholar (17) was one of our best players against Arsenal on Friday night. Bennett was extremely positive out on the left wing and he was constantly trying to create chances for the likes of Shilow Tracey. The skilful winger had the beating of Arsenal fullback Jordi Osei-Tutu on quite a few occasions and what I liked about young Bennett’s performance was the fact that he mixed his game up. He would often look to cut inside and try his luck at goal from just outside the penalty area, but he also delivered some good crosses into the penalty area. The former QPR schoolboy tracked back excellently after him and he helped Cirkin out at left back. 
  • Shilow Tracey: Due to a lack of natural centre forwards in our under 23 squad, winger Shilow Tracey was forced to play up top against Arsenal. Although it isn’t the 20 year olds natural position, I thought that he did a relatively good job considering that he was up against a very good Arsenal defence. Tracey worked tirelessly to try and get himself into good positions in the final third and he managed to win almost half of his aerial duels. Tracey’s off the ball work was very, very good.
  • Armando Shashoua: Seeing Armando Shashoua come off the bench to make his PL2 debut on Friday evening, was for me, one of the highlights of the night. Our under 18’s captain fantastic replaced Jack Roles in central midfield in the 73rd minute of the game and despite it being only Shashoua’s second competitive appearance for the development side, I thought that he had a really bright cameo against Arsenal. Armando was energetic and he helped us to move the ball a lot quicker. The 18 year olds movement in and around the penalty area was superb. Shashoua also played quite a few clever one twos during his time on the pitch. I look forward to seeing him make more appearances for the development side before the end of the season.

My man of the match: 16 year old left back Dennis Cirkin was my man of the match on Friday evening for a number of reasons. The England under 17 international had to defend against a very good young player in Xavier Amaechi, and while he did have some difficult spells in the game I thought that he defended really well against the tricky winger on the whole. Cirkin got up and down the left flank well, and once again I thought that he combined both his defensive and attacking responsibilities really well. The Dublin born defender maintained good positioning throughout the game and he was really aggressive in his defending. He made some good blocks, challenges and interceptions, but young Cirkin was also good at bringing the ball forward down the flank. The tireless fullback went on some really promising attacking forays down that left hand side and he overlapped, and linked up well with J’Neil Bennett who he had a good understanding with. Cirkin is a very good dribbler and he helped to create some good little chances for Spurs. The first year scholar also came close to getting on the scoresheet during the second half. It was a performance that the young man should be proud of, especially as it was only his second ever appearance for the development side.

Spurs: Austin, Hinds, Cirkin, Marsh, Tanganga (c), Eyoma, Maghoma, Oakley-Boothe, Tracey, Roles (A Shashoua 73), Bennett. Substitutes (not used): Glover, Duncan, Lyons-Foster, Dinzeyi.

Arsenal: Iliev (Smith 77), Osei-Tutu, Pleguezuelo (c, John-Jules 66), Gilmour, Ballard, Mavropanos, Amaechi (Zelalem 86), Willock, Nketiah, Thompson, Saka. Substitutes (not used): Coyle, Medley.

Goals: Arsenal – Willock 3, 31, Gilmour 25 (pen), Nketiah 47.

Yellow cards: Spurs – Bennett 81; Arsenal – Pleguezuelo 43, Gilmour 74, Smith 84.

Referee: Josh Smith.

Venue: Lamex Stadium, Stevenage.

Attendance: 890.

Spurs under 21/23’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Jack Roles – 8

Shayon Harrison – 5

Kazaiah Sterling – 5

Paris Maghoma – 4

Jaden Brown – 2

Vincent Janssen – 2

Samuel Shashoua – 1

Marcus Edwards – 1

Dylan Duncan – 1

Phoenix Patterson – 1

Harvey White – 1

Tashan Oakley-Boothe – 1

Shilow Tracey – 1

Anthony Georgiou – 1

Assists: Jack Roles – 6

Kazaiah Sterling – 3

Vincent Janssen – 3

Paris Maghoma – 2

J’Neil Bennett – 2

Jaden Brown – 2

Troy Parrott – 1

Shayon Harrison – 1

Oliver Skipp – 1

Tashan Oakley-Boothe – 1

Dylan Duncan – 1

Jamie Bowden – 1

George Marsh – 1

Tariq Hinds – 1

Anthony Georgiou – 1

Shilow Tracey – 1

Clean sheets: Brandon Austin – 2

Alfie Whiteman – 1

Spurs under 23’s versus Arsenal: (match preview)

Spurs under 23’s versus Arsenal: (match preview)

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Our under 23’s return to PL2 action on Friday evening after an 11 day break, as Wayne Burnett’s side welcome bitter rivals Arsenal to the Lamex stadium. After losing their last PL2 match to Brighton, Burnett and his coaching staff will be hoping that we can bounce back by getting a positive result against Freddie Ljungberg’s side. The ‘ Gunners ‘ sit two points above Spurs in the table in eighth place, after accumulating 20 points from 15 games. In many ways tomorrow’s match will be a relegation six pointer for both sides however, it will also be about pride. And if the reverse fixture at the Emirates stadium back in August was anything to go by, then Friday’s match should be a fiercely competitive North London derby. Arsenal’s form over recent months has been a bit hit and miss to say the least. Although the ‘ Gunners ‘ recorded a hugely impressive 5-1 victory over Manchester City they have also suffered some quite humiliating defeats to both Derby County and Blackburn Rovers, and their form this season has been pretty erratic, and this has resulted in them being where they are in the league table. When at full strength Ljunberg’s side have the capability to play any team off the park. With the attacking talents of Bukayo Saka, Eddie Nketiah, Xavier Amaechi and Joe Willock just some of their most exciting attacking players. The current PL2 Division One champions are also pretty good in other departments. Arsenal could also be bolstered by the inclusion of Spanish defender Julio Pleguezuelo (22) and American midfielder Gedion Zelalem (22) for Friday’s match. Both players have been involved with Freddie Ljunberg’s side during recent matches. Some may remember former Barcelona player Pleguezuelo from the reverse league fixture, after he got young Troy Parrott sent off late on in the game. Ljunberg’s side like to play a high energy passing game, much like Unai Emery’s first team. However, they seem to focus on the wingers a lot and I have noticed this at both under 18 and 23 level this season. They like to work the ball out to the likes of Saka and Amaechi on the flanks and while both of them are unpredictable wingers, they like to work the ball into the penalty area. This style of play caused us a lot of problems in our 2-1 defeat to the ‘ Gunners ‘ right at the beginning of the season.

It will be interesting to see what side Wayne Burnett will pick on Friday evening, following our 2-0 defeat to Brighton in our last match. I would imagine that creative midfielder Paris Maghoma will return to the side for the North London derby along with TJ Eyoma who missed out last time as he was suspended, but other than that I assume we will see quite a similar team, with a few under 18’s included in the match day squad. Due to our lack of options up top, 17 year old Ireland under 19 international Troy Parrott should lead the line for the second consecutive PL2 game. Friday evenings match is likely to bring a sizeable home crowd to Hertfordshire to support our youngsters, as there are no first team matches this weekend. This will be a very big game for both sides but it will also provide Wayne Burnett’s lads with a good opportunity to test themselves against one of the best teams in the league. As always I will be reporting on Friday’s match, and my in-depth match report of the game will be out on Saturday night. I would like to wish Wayne Burnett’s lads all the very best of luck for what promises to be a fascinating game of PL2 football.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Austin, Okedina, Tanganga (c), Eyoma, Hinds, Marsh, Oakley-Boothe, Tracey, Maghoma, Roles, Parrott.

Subs from: De Bie, Lyons-Foster, Cirkin, Duncan, Bennett.

Injured/unavailable: Jonathan Dinzeyi, Jamie Reynolds.

Doubtful: Alfie Whiteman, Rodel Richards, Dilan Markanday, Phoenix Patterson.

Previous meeting: Spurs 1-2 Arsenal.

My score prediction: Spurs 4-2.

My one to watch: The ‘ Gunners ‘ left winger Bukayo Saka was a thorn in our under 18’s side during our recent FA youth cup fourth round tie against the ‘ Gunners ‘ at Meadow Lane, last month. Saka who is an England under 18 international has already featured for Arsenal’s first team on a couple of occasions so far this season. The speedy and extremely skilful winger who is also capable of playing at wingback, is a very unpredictable winger who likes to come inside and test the goalkeeper from just outside the penalty area. Saka has scored four goals from 15 PL2 appearances this season.

Some notes on Spurs loanee Samuel Shashoua’s performance against Peralada:

Some notes on Spurs loanee Samuel Shashoua’s performance against Peralada:

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Spurs youngster Samuel Shashoua was in action for his loan club Atlético Baleares on Sunday afternoon. Samuel played 88 minutes of the Balearic clubs 1-0 win league victory over Peralada at the Son Malferit, in what was a dull and fairly uneventful game of football. Nevertheless, the 19 year old put in another good shift out on the left wing for the high flying Spanish club despite some very tight defending from the away side. The Tottenham loanee started Sunday’s match out on the left wing, in Atlético’s usual 4-2-3-1 formation. After some good early movement from the 19 year old during the opening stages of the game, the forward came close to giving Manix Mandiola’s side an early lead after they had started the game in positive fashion. After Kike Lopez had received the ball down the right flank he whipped a good ball into the Peralada penalty area. Shashoua had made an excellent late run at the far post and the teenager would have given Atlético the lead had Lopez’s cross not been cut out by Peralda defender Santi Bueno just in the nick of time. Samuel received the ball in a good position on the edge of the Peralda penalty area a couple of minutes later, after Lopez had threaded a nicely weighted pass through to him. However, Samuel went down on the edge of the penalty area after being clipped from behind by Maxi Villa, but no foul was given by the referee. Shashoua continued to be involved in the vast majority of Atlético’s attacking play and he continued to make himself available to receive the ball in promising positions. After Francesc Fullana passed the ball to Samuel on the edge of the oppositions penalty area, Shashoua attempted to play a quick one two with Nuha inside the penalty area but he was unable to get around Peralda defender Teo down the left side of the box, to get to Nuha’s pass. Samuel appeared to switch flanks with Canario shortly afterwards. After Fullana had passed the ball to Nuha down the left side of the oppositions box, the striker tried to square the ball for Shashoua who had made a darting run at the back post, but the goalkeeper Marc Vito managed to smother the ball before Samuel could get to it.

Mandiola’s side continued to dominate possession and after Samuel had passed the ball to the overlapping Kike Lopez down the right flank, the fullback curled a powerful curling effort narrowly wide of Marc Vito’s goal. Shashoua had worked extremely hard during the first half to influence the game and he had been very unlucky during the first period. The Tottenham loanee started the second half back out on the left wing and it didn’t take him long before he managed his first shot on goal of the game. After he had received Kike Lopez’s pass on the edge of the Peralada penalty area, Shashoua quickly adjusted his body before curling the ball towards the bottom right hand corner of Marc Vito’s goal. However, the Peralda goalkeeper managed to get down well to make a smart stop, to prevent Samuel from getting his fifth league goal of the season. After doing well to win the ball off of Maxi Villa down the left flank, Shashoua burst forward before threading a perfectly weighted pass into the feet of Nuha. The Gambian international took his time before giving the ball to Fullana on the edge of the penalty area. Fullana then attempted to pass the ball to Shashoua who had made yet another good run into the box, but the former England under 18 international couldn’t get to the ball in time and it rolled out of play. Atlético Baleares finally made the breakthrough in the 70th minute through Alvaro Vega who scored from a corner kick. Samuel continued to try and make an impact on the game during the minutes that followed. After doing well to keep the ball in play, Shashoua passed the ball to Fullana inside the penalty area however, the attacking midfielder fired wide of goal. A couple of moments later Shashoua tried to play a quick one two with Alberto Villapalos inside the danger zone but he was unable to get a shot away on goal, after he appeared to be fouled from behind by Peralada defender Ferraresi. Samuel was replaced in the 88th minute of the game and the youngster looked sad as he departed the field, and that wasn’t surprising.

Even though the Londoner had given his absolute all against Peralada down that left flank, he had been the subject of some really dirty defending from the oppositions defence. He was constantly getting cynically clipped from behind and this effected his game. It is also worth noting that Shashoua suffered a nose bleed after one such challenge but he soldiered on and gave another really good account of himself for Manix Mandiola’s high flying side. Up next for Samuel’s loan club is an away league game against Conquense on Saturday, a win for Atlético could see them go to the top of the league for the first time this season. Samuel’s razor sharp movement for Atlético this season has been of the highest quality, and it has been very Salah-esque. 

Samuel Shashoua for Atlético Baleares this season: 

Appearances: 21

Goals: 4

Assists: 2

Some notes on Spurs loanee Anthony Georgiou’s performance against Badalona:

Some notes on Spurs loanee Anthony Georgiou’s performance against Badalona:

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Our 21 year old Academy graduate Anthony Georgiou made his debut for his loan club Atlético Levante on Sunday afternoon, after he came on from the bench in their 2-1 home, league defeat to Badalona in the Spanish División B – Grupo III (the third tier of Spanish football). The Cyprus international had a bright cameo for parent club Luis Tevenet’s side, and the hardworking winger proved his versatility after he came on, after he was forced to play out on the right wing in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Georgiou’s appearance against Badalona at the Ciudad Deportiva De Buñol, was only his second ever competitive appearance in men’s club football. The Lewisham born wide man only arrived in Valencia last Saturday but he already found himself in the match day squad for Levante’s B team on Sunday afternoon. And the speedy and direct winger wasn’t afraid to bomb forward down the right flank as he tried to help Levante to get something out of the match, after he being introduced in the 64th minute of the game. In the following short piece I will be going through Georgiou’s positive cameo on his debut for the Spanish club. The ` Granotas ‘ were trailing by one goal to nil when the Tottenham loanee was introduced to the action in the 64th minute of the match. However, a matter of minutes after the 21 year old replaced Alberto Quintana out on the right wing the visitors doubled their advantage through Marco Chaco. It’s worth noting that Georgiou had tracked back all the way into the Levante penalty area to try and stop Chaco from scoring. The Londoner looked sharp and alert out on the right flank and he was linking up well with right back Shaq Moore down that side of the pitch. Levante’s number 16 (unfortunately I couldn’t get hold of a team sheet) came close to pulling a goal back for Luis Tevenet’s side before Georgiou went on his first attacking foray down the right flank. After receiving the ball the pacy winger surged forward down the flank before cutting inside onto his left foot and attempting to pick out Eneko Jauregui in the penalty area by delivery a whipped cross into the danger zone. However, his ball in to the penalty area was cut out by a Badalona defender just in the nick of time. 

 Shortly afterwards the ` Granotas ‘ pulled a goal back in some style through Eneko Jauregui’s long range pile driver into the top left hand corner of the goal, on 77 minutes. Following Jauregui’s goal the home side started to get forward a lot more and Georgiou was providing the team with an outlet down the right channel. After cutting inside onto his favoured left foot, the Cypriot international floated a promising ball into the danger zone, which was knocked down by Jauregui to Levante’s number 16 in the box, but he was unable to test the goalkeeper and he was quickly intercepted by a Badalona defender. A couple of moments later Shaq Moore played the ball down the line to Georgiou who cut inside from the right wing before darting into the penalty area where he attempted to beat the oppositions number four with some fancy footwork. However, Georgiou was tripped by the Badalona man who stuck out a leg to prevent him from coming inside any further, but the referee astonishingly deemed Anthony to have dived, and he was given a yellow card, much to his disbelief. If like me, you have seen a lot of Georgiou over the years then you will know that he isn’t the type of winger who will go to ground without significant contact being made. Following his booking Georgiou continued to play with a positive energy about him, and he was getting himself into some really promising positions down the right flank as well as linking up well with fullback Shaq Moore. The youngsters passing was also nice and crisp, and his movement in and behind the Badalona left back was causing him to become unsettled. After he picked the ball up down the right wing Georgiou cut inside once again before whipping another teasing cross into the oppositions penalty area however, it was headed away by Badalona’s number five. Anthony continued to get up and down the right flank well and his defensive contribution to the game to help out Moore, who was getting forward a lot was really helping out the Levante defence. The home team conceded a cheap penalty in stoppage time however, the ` Granotas ‘ goalkeeper managed to deny Badalona’s number two from the penalty spot. The Spurs loanee thought for a moment that the referee had given him his second yellow card a couple of minutes later however, after a quick clear up the referee clarified that it was in fact intended for one of Georgiou’s teammates for a handball offence.

During the final moments of the game Levante pushed almost all of their players up the pitch as they tried to find a late equaliser. After doing well to keep in Shaq Moore’s pass down the right wing, Georgiou sent a hopeful low cross into the Badalona box, but it was cleared away by one of their defenders. The Cypriot’s delivery from the resulting corner kick was also cleared to safety by a Badalona player, and the referee blew the final whistle a matter of seconds later. Although it may appear from my article, that Georgiou wasn’t heavily involved going forward that simply wasn’t the case. The winger was a bright spark for Luis Tevenet’s side after he came on, and he put in a typically positive and workman like shift down the flank. This was only a short cameo from Georgiou but there were a lot of positives that you could bring away from the 21 year olds performance, and there were plenty of promising signs from his short cameo that Georgiou will become a very important player for the Valencia based club over the coming weeks and months ahead. Anthony looked nice and sharp down the right flank, and he looked lively both in and out of possession. The former Watford schoolboy showed good awareness and his positioning and movement down the right wing was as impressive as always. Despite the fact that he was playing out of position he didn’t change his game or his style of play, and he made sure that he went on some purposeful surging runs. He also looked to put the ball into the danger zone at almost every opportunity, and he would often cut inside onto his left foot to make sure that he could put in his very best deliveries. Furthermore, the youngster covered well for Levante’s American fullback Shaq Moore in defence and he allowed the attack minded Moore to overlap him on several occasions down the wing. For all of the promising attacks that Georgiou embarked on and his link up play with Shaq Moore, once again it was his defensive discipline and willingness to track back after him and how quickly he was able to get back after him, that really impressed me today. Considering the circumstances I thought that Georgiou did really well for his parent club on his first appearance for the ` Granotas ‘ and I was very proud of how he conducted himself out on the pitch. I would like to thank Levante for providing such an excellent stream of today’s match. Up next for Anthony and Atlético Levante is an away league match against Lleida next Sunday afternoon. The Tottenham loanee will be hoping that he will make his first start for the club in that game. Unfortunately it appears that, that match will not be streamed. I would also like to congratulate the Cyprus international on making his debut for Atlético Levante on Sunday afternoon, and I look forward to following his progress over the coming months.

Anthony Georgiou for Atlético Levante this season:

Appearances: 1

Goals: 0

Assists: 0

My interview with former Spurs player Ernie Walley:

My interview with former Spurs player Ernie Walley:

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Ernie Walley signed for Spurs as a 17 year old back in 1951, shortly after the Lilywhites had won the first division title for the first time in their history. Walley was a teenager from Caernarfon in North Wales, where he combined his time playing for his local boys club with working on a brickyard in the town. After being scouted and recommended to Tottenham Hotspur by a scout, Ernie travelled down to London for a one months trial with Spurs and it didn’t take long before legendary former manager Arthur Rowe wanted the talented wing half to sign professional terms with Spurs. The Welshman spent seven years at Spurs in total where he progressed through the ranks at the Lilywhites, before going onto make five competitive appearances for the first team. The young man from North Wales got to watch, train and play with Arthur Rowe’s famous push and run side on a regular basis. And it was the likes of Ron Burgess, Bill Nicholson, Len Duquemin, Sonny Walters, Danny Blanchflower and of course Arthur Rowe who helped Ernie to develop both as a footballer and as a coach. He may have only played five competitive games for our first team but during Ernie’s seven years at Spurs, the Welshman saw the club go through massive changes both on and off the field. The wing half who later played for Middlesbrough and Stevenage, also went onto forge a successful career in coaching. Walley was a youth team coach at Arsenal before going onto become the manager of Crystal Palace. However, it was his time as an assistant manager to John Hollins at Chelsea during the tumult of the mid 1980’s which will probably be how Ernie is most remembered by fans of the modern game. However, I traveled to Bangor in North Wales to learn about Ernie the Spurs player, and while he was at times visibly frustrated that his memory of his time at the club had faded somewhat, he kindly shared with me his memories of playing in and being associated with one of the finest teams in the history of our great club. There are very few former Spurs players that are still alive today who can say that they played with the likes of Bill Nicholson, Ron Burgess and Sonny Walters, as well as being managed by Arthur Rowe the visionary.

The 85 year old was without a doubt one of the kindest and most welcoming former Spurs players that I have ever interviewed, and I felt greatly privileged to get the opportunity to interview Ernie about his time at Spurs in the 1950’s. 

What are your earliest footballing memories?

Ernie: As a boy my earliest footballing memory was when I used to play with the lads from my area (Top Field). On Sunday’s we used to play for the boys club and the chief scout sent me from there to Tottenham, and so that’s how I started with Tottenham where I came through the youth ranks before transferring to Middlesbrough. I’m not sure how many games I played for Middlesbrough but it wasn’t a lot. 

What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs and how did you come about joining the club? 

Ernie: The scouts in Caernarfon asked me if I’d like to go to Tottenham for a trial, at the time I used to work in the brickyard in Caernarfon but a Mr. Clarke asked me if I’d like to go for a trial at Tottenham. At Spurs I used to play on Thursdays and I stayed there for a month, and after doing that I phoned the brickyard to ask them if I could stay at Tottenham, and after that I signed for them. However, soon after that I went into the army and I had to be there for 18 months. After coming out of the army I played a couple of games for Tottenham (the first team) but don’t ask me to remember them. I think it was two or three games and then after that I got transferred to Middlesbrough but after I suffered a bad injury in a game against Rotherham, I had to go for treatment back down in London. After recovering I went to one or two minor teams, I think Gravesend and Northfleet and Stevenage. After that I did my coaching badges at Baker Street, in London and after that I spent seven years at Arsenal as a youth team coach. After leaving Arsenal I went to Crystal Palace and I was there for a long time, I reckon about 13 years before I went onto Chelsea where I was assistant manager to John Hollins for a little while.

What was it like being a young man from Caernarfon coming to a big city like London to play for one of the biggest clubs in European football at the time?

Ernie: Frightening! I jumped on the train to London on a Thursday to go for a trial at Tottenham where Arthur Rowe was the manager with Jimmy Anderson as his assistant, but he was useless. After staying at Spurs for a month I signed professional and from there I went into the army to do 18 months national service where I became a PT instructor and did my sessions there. Once I came out of the army I ended up being transferred from Tottenham to Middlesbrough. 

What was your time at the Lilywhites like on the whole?

Ernie: Well I was young, I think I was 16 or 17 when I joined Spurs or something like that. And as a boy being on the ground staff it was all quite different, I used to clean the boots of all the first team players for a season at least, and I didn’t like that.

Did you have any footballing heroes/inspirations and if so who were they?

Ernie: Ron Burgess who played for Tottenham in the midfield and also for Wales. When I arrived at Spurs it was people like Ron who used to encourage me, and I used to look up to them as a boy. And he (Ron) was the captain of Wales at the time.

You made your first team debut for Spurs in a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United in 1955. What are your memories of that day and how it came about?

Ernie: Well the boy that played in midfield, Duncan Edwards scored a cannonball shot right into the top corner of the goal that day and I can remember that the score was 2-1 to Manchester United.

Could you describe to me what type of player you were and what positions you played in for Spurs during your time there?

Ernie: I used to play what they call now midfield right half and left half, and I used to kick the players and tackle them but I didn’t like to lose. I think I was sent off a couple of times because sometimes I used to tackle a bit naughty, because they used to do it to you. I always used to try and keep fit even when I was a coach I used to make sure that I looked ok, and I would never ask the players to do anything that I couldn’t do and I still am a fitness fanatic to a point. I used to be able to walk on my hands but the lads used to say to me that I couldn’t do it, but I would walk from one 18 yard box on my hands all the way to the other 18 yard box!

I once heard a story that you lifted a Chelsea player up in the changing room, is that true?

Ernie: Yes, but not to hit him! I used to do a lot of exercise and if anyone tried to bully me I would never walk away, but I used to enjoy my football and my coaching.

What was it like to play with legendary Spurs players such as Sonny Walters, Len Duquemin and Danny Blanchflower?

Ernie: That’s three very good players that you have named there. Danny Blanchflower was an Irish international who was good on the ball and he used to love being on the ball. Danny was well respected and you looked up to him because he always used to highlight different things in the game to you. Whereas Sonny Walters was an outside right and he used to be as quick as a whippet but he was nothing outstanding. While big Len Duquemin used to be a centre forward.

What was the great Arthur Rowe like as a manager? 

Ernie: Arthur Rowe was the manager when I came there before Jimmy Anderson took over. I think that Arthur Rowe was a gentleman, different to nowadays when all they say is get on with it, but Arthur Rowe was a gentleman and he was gentle. With Arthur it used to be all about getting rid of the ball and getting it to the feet of Len Duquemin but you also had Sonny Walters who would cross the ball in from the wing. That push and run style is done by all the teams now, in fact they do it better now, or worse I should say! With Arthur it was always push and run, push and run.

What was Jimmy Anderson like as a manager in comparison to Arthur Rowe?

Ernie: He was a completely different class, he was hopeless. He didn’t know the game and he had a different voice to Arthur Rowe. I can once remember seeing Arthur crying after he had got a bit excited with a group of players shortly before he left the club.

Who were your greatest influences at Spurs?

Ernie: When you say influences I’d have to say the Wales captain Ron Burgess who I used to look up to. Ron Burgess and the other Tottenham fullback Arthur Willis used to like a drink!

Were there any players at Spurs who you would watch closely to try and improve your game or to learn from?

Ernie: Once again I would have to say Ron Burgess and I used to watch his games. I was fanatical about the game even though I was only 17 or 18 years of age.

Could you talk me through some of your favourite memories of your time at Spurs or ones which particularly standout within your memory?

Ernie: It’s difficult to say but I can’t honestly say anything because I’d be telling lies as I can’t really remember it. Football was just like a job of work to me. 

What was the greatest moment of your footballing career?

Ernie: When your team wins you are over the moon, but I really don’t know what the greatest moment of my footballing career was.

What prompted you to leave Spurs and could you talk me through your career after you left the Lilywhites?

Ernie: I left Spurs because they transferred me to Middlesbrough who were looking to sign me, and I was eager to join them after speaking to their manager. But shortly after I signed for them I suffered that bad injury and that finished me, I had to wear a long splint for six months after that, and that’s a long time.

While you were assistant manager at Chelsea during the 1980’s you would have coached legendary Spurs player Micky Hazard. What was he like to coach and how do you look back on your time at Chelsea with John Hollins?

Ernie: At times he was a nuisance! Micky Hazard was a good player and he had good skill but he was like the lads of today who have lots of skill and fair play to him, but I thought he wasn’t hard enough. However, he had lots of skill and he could do a lot on the ball. 

Did you get on well with the players that you coached at Chelsea?

Ernie: Yes I think I did get on well with most of them but I won’t say that I didn’t shout at them. Because a lot of players want to rule things themselves but I got on well with the likes of Micky Hazard even though I didn’t like him, just because he was not my type of player and because he didn’t like training. I used to swear a lot!

Who was the toughest winger that you ever came up against in your career?

Ernie: I really can’t answer that question because there were quite a few good wingers that I came up against in my career.

How did your time at Spurs prepare you for your subsequent career in the game?

Ernie: To be honest with you Tottenham didn’t do anything for me because I wasn’t there long enough even though I was there for eight years. I just got on with the game.

After all these years how do you look back on your time at the Lilywhites and is Spurs a club who you still hold close to your heart?

Ernie: Well, I was there from 16/17 years of age and even now whenever Spurs come on the box when they are playing a game I’ll watch them play because they are a club who I enjoyed my time at. Even now I look up Tottenham to see how they are doing, and I am a bit nosey about them. 

Would you call yourself a Spurs fan?

Ernie: I would like to think that I am because I was there in my early days and also because I used to look up to one or two of their first team players such as the Wales captain Ron Burgess.

What was Ron Burgess like as a player?

Ernie: He was what they would now call a midfielder and he was somebody who would run all day. He had some stamina on him, he was always up and down, and up and down the pitch. Whereas Danny Blanchflower was good and pretty on the ball but he didn’t have that oomph about him like Ron did however, I’d still have both of them in the side. 

Another legendary player who you would have played with at Spurs was Eddie Baily. What was he like to play with?

Ernie: He was good on the ball for an inside forward but he could never run properly, and personally I thought that he was a little bit useless.

What would your advice be to the young Spurs players of today as the look to make it in the game?

Ernie: You need to be committed and you must make sure that you listen to your coaches and what they’ve got to say. But most of all you’ve got to work hard if you want to make it in the game and you have to do your share of the handwork and you must be tough. If you’re not going to do your share of the hard work then you should come out of football, because that’s no good. 

Some notes on Spurs loanee Samuel Shashoua’s performance against Sabadell:

Some notes on Spurs loanee Samuel Shashoua’s performance against Sabadell:

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Spurs loanee Samuel Shashoua made his 20th competitive appearance of the season for his parent club Atlético Baleares on Sunday morning, in their league game away to Sabadell. It may have been a dour 0-0 draw with very few meaningful chances at either end of the pitch however, it was the 19 year old left winger who was the shining light from what had been a pretty poor match. And with the exception of Atlético’s goalkeeper Carl Klaus who had made a string of fine saves, Samuel was the man of the match on Sunday. Once again the left winger was the most creative player on the park, and it was his tireless work at both ends of the pitch which helped the Balearic club to achieve an important point, a point which lifts Manix Mandiola’s side into second place in the Spanish Segunda Division B Group III table, only three points behind league leaders Villarreal B. I watched the vast majority of Atlético’s encounter on Sunday morning on my way down to Brighton’s training ground to watch our under 23 match. However, I decided to rewatch the whole game last night, and I am glad I did as it made me appreciate what a great shift Shashoua put in for the team. Samuel started the game out on the left wing in a 4-2-3-1 formation for Manix Mandiola’s side. The Spurs loanees first involvement in the game arrived early on, after he had received the ball down the left flank. Shashoua then cut inside onto his right foot before side stepping his way past two Sabadell players and giving the ball to Francesc Fullana in a promising position however, nothing amounted from the attack. Shortly afterwards Samuel made a clever ghosting run towards Sabadell goalkeeper Roberto’s near post, after Fullana had made a good run down the left side of the penalty area however, he had failed to pick out the teenager. Samuel then whipped a menacing ball into the box from the resulting corner kick but it was cleared by Sabadell defender Pajarero. Shashoua’s movement and positioning during the early stages of the game had been very impressive, and it was causing quite a few problems for the Sabadell defence.

After Marcos De la Espada had managed to pick out Samuel with a nice lofted pass down the left side of the Sabadell box. The winger then managed to pick out Yelko at the back post with a similarly impressive lofted pass. He knocked the ball down for Fullana whose powerful low effort was saved comfortably by Roberto. Shashoua was managing to get involved in the game despite how quiet both sides had started the match. After receiving Fullana’s pass down the left wing, the tricky winger darted down the line before zig zagging his way inside and travelling with the ball and passing to Canario, but he was unable to get his shot away and the ball ended up going out for a corner kick. Shashoua’s resulting delivery from the corner was comfortably claimed by Roberto, the Londoner was proving to be the most threatening player in the first half. After Canario had shifted the ball out to Samuel on the left wing he tried to whip the ball into the danger zone, but his cross was blocked by Oscar Rubio. However, the ball came back to Shashoua who shimmied his way around Rubio before picking out De la Espada in the centre of the box, but the striker got the ball stuck under his feet. Straight from that Atlétcio attack Samuel could be seen tracking back down the left flank and he did very well to cut out a dangerous Sabadell attack, after he managed to get in front of the advancing Felipe to win the ball off of him. A couple of minutes later Samuel made another important defensive contribution to the game, after tracking back down the wing enabled him to get in front of the pacy Domínguez after he had got on the end of a flick, before bursting forward down the channel. Samuel not only managed to get in front of the Sabadell winger to intercept him, he also managed to win a free kick in what was to be his final contribution of the first half. The second half was even more dour than the first and neither team was able to really test either goalkeeper.

After Canario had pumped the ball into the Sabadell penalty area defender Nico managed to head it clear but only towards Samuel who connected with the ball first time, before volleying over Roberto’s crossbar. His side footed effort on goal wasn’t a million miles away from going in, and once again he had showed good technique to connect with the ball so sweetly. He managed his first effort on goal of the game a couple of minutes later. After intercepting Néstor’s pass Samuel gave the ball to De la Espada on the edge of the Sabadell box but his shot on goal was blocked by a Sabadell defender. Shashoua was able to pick up the loose ball before pulling off a sublime Marseille turn to get away from Oscar Rubio. He then swivelled around and managed to hold off Pajarero before continuing into the box, and then having his powerful low effort on goal saved by Roberto. Samuel’s next involvement in the game came some ten minutes later after some good work from Nuha to keep the ball in down the right wing, before continuing forward and pulling the ball back to Shashoua in the middle of the Sabadell penalty area. However, Samuel appeared to be clipped from behind by a Sabadell defender and his first time effort went high and wide of Roberto’s goal, a quiet spell in the game followed. After Nuha had passed the ball to Samuel on the edge of the oppositions penalty area, he cut inside onto his right foot before attempting to find the top right hand corner of Roberto’s goal from his thumping effort. However, the Sabadell goalkeeper made a smart diving save to beat the ball away, and Nuha ended up blazing over on the follow up, it was the closest that Atlético had come to finding a late winner. However, in a desperate late attempt to break the deadlock Shashoua went on a purposeful run after cutting inside from the left flank, he then side stepped his way past two Sabadell players before continuing forward however, much to Samuel’s anger he had his shirt pulled from behind by Adri, just as he was about to pass the ball to De la Espada, this resulted in the referee awarding a free kick to the visitors.

After the final whistle had been sounded, Shashoua fell to the floor in exhaustion. The talented Spurs man had given his all against Sabadell and it was yet another performance of such high quality from the 19 year old, who was the most potent attacking player on the field by a distance. Apart from his zig zagging runs, sublime Marseille turn, first class positioning and movement in and around the oppositions penalty area, there was so much more to be admired about Samuel’s performance. I might sound like a broken record but his defensive contribution is so, so good and on Sunday he showed it again and it really helped Atlético’s left back Peris. This was another very good performance from Shashoua in a game which lacked so much in quality. Up next for the 19 year old and Mandiola’s inform side is a home league game against Peralada on Sunday, at the Son Malferit.

Samuel Shashoua for Atlético Baleares this season: 

Appearances: 20

Goals: 4

Assists: 2

Spurs under 23’s 0-2 Brighton & Hove Albion: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 0-2 Brighton & Hove Albion: (match report)

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Our under 23’s returned to league action on Sunday when they faced Brighton & Hove Albion in the PL2, at the ‘ Seagulls ‘ American Express Elite Football Performance Centre in Lancing, Sussex. Wayne Burnett’s side had a new look about it for the encounter with Brighton following the loaning out of three our most experienced under 23 players during the January transfer window. This meant that some of Matt Wells‘ under 18 side had to make the step up on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately for Spurs they didn’t have their best game against Brighton whose tight defending and well structured back line was able to quell the threat of attacking talents such as Jack Roles and Troy Parrott, for much of Sunday’s game. It was very similar to the reverse fixture which was played back in August, Brighton were defensive and they were constantly looking to catch us out on the counter attack and from set pieces. Wayne Burnett’s Tottenham side lacked a cutting edge on the day and their intricate, attacking game was thwarted by Simon Rusk’s extremely well organised Brighton side. It wasn’t a game that had many clear cut chances and after a quiet start to the first half it was the ‘ Seagulls ‘ who took the lead from a corner kick on 20 minutes. After dominating possession during the opening stages of the game, Spurs had been undone from a simple corner kick. Peter Gwargis‘ deflected corner ended up falling kindly for Serbian striker Bojan Radulovic at Austin’s near post, and he was able to stroke the ball past the Tottenham goalkeeper to give the home side the lead. Spurs did have an excellent chance to respond before halftime through Troy Parrott however, the Dubliner was denied by a fine save from goalkeeper Hugo Keto. Simon Rusk’s side were the better team during the second half and after creating a couple of good chances the ‘ Seagulls ‘ doubled their advantage through Radulovic, who netted his second of the game in the 61st minute. The centre forward had managed to finish off a really well worked Brighton counter attack to slot home from inside Spurs’ penalty area. Despite Wayne Burnett’s sides best efforts and all the effort that they put into the game, they never really looked like they were ever going to respond. Jack Roles and substitute Rayan Clarke seemed the most likely of our players to score but they just couldn’t break down the brick wall which was the Brighton defence.

Wayne Burnett’s new look side lined up in the familiar 4-2-3-1 formation with Brandon Austin starting in goal for Spurs. A back four of Okedina, captain Tanganga, Lyons-Foster and Hinds lined up in front of Austin, while George Marsh and Tashan Oakley-Boothe partnered up in the centre of the park. Shilow Tracey started the game out on the right wing and first year scholar J’Neil Bennett started on the opposite flank, either side of Jack Roles who played in the hole. Centre forward Troy Parrott led the line for Wayne Burnett’s side for the first time this year. Spurs got the game underway on a cold but gloriously sunny afternoon in Sussex. After both sides started to move the ball around well during the opening couple of minutes of the game Brighton captain Max Sanders delivered a dangerous low cross into the Tottenham penalty area, which was cleared by Tanganga at the near post. Spurs responded down the opposite end of the pitch through George Marsh, who after receiving Shilow Tracey’s pass on the edge of the Brighton box forced a comfortable save out of Hugo Keto from his tame low, first time effort. Brighton’s Danny Cashman had a curling effort on goal blocked by Okedina on the edge of the Spurs box, after receiving Bojan Radulovic’s pass. Both sides were being restricted only to hopeful efforts on goal during the early periods of the game and after Tracey gave the ball to Okedina on the edge of the Brighton box the defender fired a low effort on goal, but it was cleared away by Warren O’Hora. Shortly afterwards Jack Roles had a corner kick headed away by Alex Cochrane but the ball came to Tariq Hinds on the edge of the penalty area. However, the full back blazed an effort high over Hugo Keto’s crossbar on the half volley. Although it had been a fairly even start to the game, Spurs had seen a lot more of the ball. After intercepting Tashan Oakley-Boothe on the edge of the Tottenham box Hayden Roberts fired an effort straight at Tanganga, Lyons-Foster was then able to clear Archie Davies‘ cross. However, it was the ever threatening ‘ Seagulls ‘ who broke the deadlock in the 20th minute of the game from a corner kick. Peter Gwargis‘ delivery bounced straight off Hayden Roberts inside the Spurs box, before falling kindly to Bojan Radulovic who was closest to it. The Serbian was then able to stroke the ball past Brandon Austin at his near post and into the bottom left hand corner of the goal, 0-1.

Brighton had a chance to double their lead shortly after the restart when Austin passed the ball straight to Peter Gwargis on the edge of the Spurs penalty area. However, the Australian youngsters effort on goal was well blocked by Lyons-Foster. Spurs were trying hard to find a leveller and after Parrott passed the ball to Roles the Cyprus under 21 international tested Keto with a powerful effort from range, but the Finnish youngster was able to hold Roles’ effort. A couple of minutes later Lyons-Foster passed the ball to Oakley-Boothe who managed to slip the ball into the feet of Parrott down the right side of the Brighton penalty area. However, the striker had an initial effort on goal blocked by Leo Ostigard before then whipping the ball across the face of the Brighton goal, in an attempt to pick out J’Neil Bennett at the back post, but the winger couldn’t control the ball and Keto was able to gather it. After Max Sanders ran across the edge of the Tottenham penalty area he tested Austin who managed to hold his low effort on goal. Then at the other end of the pitch young Troy Parrott was gifted a fantastic opportunity to draw Spurs level. After the towering Warren O’Hora had attempted to clear the ball away from the Brighton penalty area his clearance ended up rebounding off of Tracey, and straight into the feet of Parrott who went darting down the right side of the penalty area. However, the Dubliner couldn’t beat Keto and his powerful, low curling effort was well saved by the Brighton goalkeeper. At the opposite end of the pitch, Peter Gwargis had an effort on goal blocked by Tanganga inside the Spurs penalty area. A couple of minutes later Jack Spong’s low cross found its way to Max Sanders on the edge of the penalty area, but the midfielders shot on goal was blocked superbly by the sliding George Marsh. Jack Roles then picked up a yellow card for a foul on Peter Gwargis in what was to be the final meaningful piece of action from the first half. A half from which Wayne Burnett’s side were unable to make all of their possession count.

Brighton got the second half underway and it was the ‘ Seagulls ‘ who were first to threaten our goal. After Archie Davies pumped the ball into the Spurs box Warren O’Hora rose highest to get to it, but his headed effort on goal lacked power and it was comfortably saved by Austin. Another long ball from Davies shortly afterwards caused more problems for the Spurs defence after it managed to run through to Radulovic inside the penalty area. However, the attentive Tariq Hinds managed to get in front of the Brighton forward and he ended up clattering into the out rushing Austin, and this forced the referee to stop the game. Spurs‘ first meaningful attack of the second half was a well worked move which resulted in Parrott passing the ball to Roles who managed to play in Tracey down the right side of the Brighton box, but the wingers effort on goal was blocked by Alex Cochrane. A couple of moments later J’Neil Bennett cut inside from the left wing before curling an effort wide of Hugo Keto’s goal. Wayne Burnett’s side continued their bright spell in the game and after George Marsh passed the ball to Oakley-Boothe down the left side of the Brighton box, the midfielder cut inside and tried to beat Keto at his near post but his effort on goal was blocked by Leo Ostigard. However, in the 61st minute of the game Brighton’s Bojan Radulovic severely dented Spurs‘ hopes of getting anything from the game, when he netted his and Brighton’s second goal of the match. After Peter Gwargis had robbed the ball off of Tariq Hinds deep inside his own half, the Brighton winger advanced forward before slipping the ball into the feet of Danny Cashman down the right flank. Lyons-Foster attempted to make a challenge but missed, and Cashman was able to surge past him before squaring for Radulovic in the middle of the penalty area. Austin had come rushing out to try and close down the Serbian strikers angles, but the Brighton man kept his cool and slotted past Austin, and despite the sliding Lyons-Foster’s best efforts on the line the centre half couldn’t prevent Radulovic’s effort from going in, 0-2.

Spurs tried to respond, J’Neil Bennett cut inside from the left wing before having an effort on goal blocked by Warren O’Hora, Bennett was replaced shortly afterwards by Rayan Clarke. After Roles had passed the ball to Parrott he gave it back to Roles on the edge of the Brighton box before letting fly, but his effort on goal took a significant deflection off of Ostigard before being saved by Keto. Troy Parrott was replaced by Dylan Duncan in the 68th minute as Wayne Burnett moved Shilow Tracey up top. Okedina almost managed to pick out the makeshift striker at Keto’s back post but Ostigard was able to clear the ball before Tracey could tap home. Jack Roles initiated a good move a couple of minutes later, after picking the ball up from deep he darted forward through the middle of the pitch before playing a clever one two with Tracey on the edge of the penalty area, and forcing a decent save out of Keto who managed to keep out Roles‘ low curling effort. After Shilow Tracey had received Dylan Duncan’s pass on the left wing, the 20 year old cut inside before having an effort on goal headed behind for a corner kick by Ostigard. Rayan Clarke picked up a yellow card shortly afterwards for a pull on Archie Davies. Substitute Soufyan Ahannach fired a powerful effort straight into the chest of Dylan Duncan before forcing a good low save out of Austin from his effort on the follow up on the edge of the penalty area. After dispossessing Dylan Duncan Jack Spong slipped the ball into the feet of Peter Gwargis on the left wing, he then cut inside Lyons-Foster before curling an effort narrowly wide of Brandon Austin’s left hand post. Japhet Tanganga whipped a promising ball into the penalty area at the opposite end of the pitch but his cross was claimed by Hugo Keto. Spurs did have one more effort on goal before the referee blew the final whistle. After Shilow Tracey had latched onto Japhet Tanganga’s long ball, the forward came inside from the left flank before curling an effort well wide of Hugo Keto’s goal.

It was a difficult game for Wayne Burnett’s side on Sunday and it was quite evident that we lacked the experience of players such as Anthony Georgiou and Shayon Harrison who had left on loan. Simon Rusk’s side had one of the best defences that we have come up against this season and they prevented us from playing our intricate one and two touch football to effect despite their very best efforts. Burnett’s sides next game is not until Friday the 15th of January when we host bitter rivals Arsenal at the Lamex stadium, in the PL2. In case you hadn’t already heard, our development side have been drawn against Croatian side NK Dinamo Zagreb 2 in the quarter finals of the Premier League International Cup. A date for that game hasn’t been set.

Player reviews:

  • Brandon Austin: The 20 year old goalkeeper made his 20th competitive appearance of the season for Spurs on Sunday afternoon, and the Hemel Hempstead born shot stopper had another solid game in between the sticks. Austin made a couple of smart stops and he commanded his penalty area well, while also doing a good job with his distribution. He couldn’t have done anything to prevent the ‘ Seagulls ‘ two goals. Brandon made three saves in total.
  • Jubril Okedina: The second year scholar made his PL2 debut for Wayne Burnett’s side against Brighton when he slotted in at right back. The defender from Greenwich in South London, did a good job at keeping Brighton Jack Spong in check throughput the match and he made some important defensive interventions.
  • Japhet Tanganga: The skipper imposed himself well on the game and he formed a strong partnership with Lyons-Foster who was operating at LCB. Tanganga made a couple of really important blocks and interceptions, and the Tottenham captain was dominant in the air, winning the majority of his aerial duels. The 19 year old was commanding at the back and he led his teammates well.
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: My motm, see below.
  • Tariq Hinds: The fullback operated at left back on Sunday and apart from his error which led to Brighton’s second goal, Hinds put in a strong defensive performance and he was busy all afternoon against the potent Peter Gwargis who was a constant thorn in the Tottenham defences side.
  • George Marsh: The tough tackling midfielder kept things ticking in the middle of the park and he did a good job at breaking up play. Marsh did particularly well to block Max Sanders effort on goal in the first half.
  • Tashan Oakley-Boothe: Like Marsh, Oakley-Boothe moved the ball about well in the central areas of the pitch. The Lambeth born teenager played the latter part of the game out on the right wing.
  • Shilow Tracey: The 20 year old started the game on the right wing where he tried to work Brighton fullback Archie Davies with his direct and purposeful runs. However, after Parrott was replaced shortly after the hour mark, Tracey moved up top. And while it was difficult for him to influence the game he did manage to get a couple of shots away. The winger who has only recently returned from injury, held the ball up well against Brighton and he did some good work off the ball.
  • Jack Roles: The inform midfielder played in the hole against Brighton and Jack Roles was by far our most potent attacking player on Sunday. Roles dropped deep in order to receive the ball and initiate chances, he also played some clever one and two touch football on the edge of the penalty area. Roles was unlucky with a couple of his efforts on goal but he always used the ball positively.
  • J’Neil Bennett: The 17 year old made his first appearance of 2019 for Wayne Burnett’s side when he started on the left wing against Brighton on Sunday. The first year scholar tried his best to find a way through the tenacious Brighton defence and he would often cut inside onto his right foot and try to test Hugo Keto. Bennett tracked back well after him and he held onto the ball very well during his 63 minutes on the pitch.
  • Troy Parrott: The centre forward completed 68 minutes of Sunday’s match and although Parrott was up against a very good defence, the young Irishman handled himself well against central defenders Leo Ostigard and Warren O’Hora. The Ireland under 19 international linked up well with Jack Roles, and he was unlucky not to put away his good chance towards the end of the first half.
  • Rayan Clarke: The substitute worked hard to try and create chances for centre forward Shilow Tracey. He went on some good surging runs down the left flank and he pumped some good balls into the box.
  • Dylan Duncan: He helped to keep things ticking in the middle of the park during his late cameo.

My man of the match: On only his third appearance of the season for our development side, centre half Brooklyn Lyons-Foster was my man of the match on Sunday after putting in a very assured performance. Operating at LCB in a back four, the 18 year old really impressed me under such testing circumstances. The centre half showed good awareness and positioning throughout the game, he also played the ball out well from the back and his distribution was good. The former England under 17 international made a couple of really important defensive interventions against the ‘ Seagulls  ‘ and it was his overall reading of the game which enabled him to do so, to such effect. The centre back made a fantastic challenge on the pacy Peter Gwargis right on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area during the first half, to break up a dangerous Brighton attack. Lyons-Foster also recovered well for Brighton’s second goal and he almost managed to block Bojan Radulovic‘s effort on the goal line. Despite his slim frame the young defender defended well against the bullish centre forward and for me he was our best player on the day. 

Brighton & Hove Albion: Keto, A Davies, Cochrane, Sanders (c), Ostigard, O’Hora, Spong, Roberts, Radulovic (Longman 72), Cashman (Moore 88), Gwargis (Ahannach 61). Substitutes (not used): Collings, Tomlinson.

Spurs: Austin, Okedina, Hinds, Marsh, Tanganga (c), Lyons-Foster, Tracey, Oakley-Boothe, Parrott (Duncan 68), Roles, Bennett (Clarke 63). Substitutes (not used): De Bie, Walcott.

Goals: Brighton – Radulovic 20, 61.

Yellow cards: Brighton – A Davies 90+1; Spurs – Roles 45, Clarke 81.

Referee: Carl Brook.

Attendance: 201.

Venue: American Express Elite Football Performance Centre, Lancing.

Spurs under 21/23’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Jack Roles – 8

Shayon Harrison – 5

Kazaiah Sterling – 5

Paris Maghoma – 4

Jaden Brown – 2

Vincent Janssen – 2

Samuel Shashoua – 1

Marcus Edwards – 1

Dylan Duncan – 1

Phoenix Patterson – 1

Harvey White – 1

Tashan Oakley-Boothe – 1

Shilow Tracey – 1

Anthony Georgiou – 1

Assists: Jack Roles – 6

Kazaiah Sterling – 3

Vincent Janssen – 3

Paris Maghoma – 2

J’Neil Bennett – 2

Jaden Brown – 2

Troy Parrott – 1

Shayon Harrison – 1

Oliver Skipp – 1

Tashan Oakley-Boothe – 1

Dylan Duncan – 1

Jamie Bowden – 1

George Marsh – 1

Tariq Hinds – 1

Anthony Georgiou – 1

Shilow Tracey – 1

Clean sheets: Brandon Austin – 2

Alfie Whiteman – 1