Spurs XI 1-3 Ebbsfleet United: (match report)
“I think there were some positives, some nice play at times. We have to do better at both ends – certainly we have to defend better in our box and be a bit better in their box as well, but it’s game one so we’ll take the positives, get back on the training field and carry out some more work. (Wayne Burnett)
A Spurs XI took on national league side Ebbsfleet United on Saturday afternoon in a pre season friendly which was being held in memory of Ebbsfleet’s former captain and assistant manager Paul McCarthy who passed away earlier this year. Wayne Burnett fielded an incredibley youthful side in what was his first in charge as under 23 head coach, our young XI put up a spirited fight against the fleet in a game where the scores finished 3-1 to the home side despite Spurs’ best efforts. A crowd of 2,130 packed in to Stonebridge road to watch this afternoons match which despite the negative scoreline, was a hugely intriguing and competitive game which will have provided some excellent experience for our young players. Burnett’s team was a lot younger than I expected, with the majority of players being around the age of 18, whilst there were several notable absentees from our under 23 squad which included Will Miller, Anthony Georgiou and Alfie Whiteman. Spurs enjoyed a good spell of possession in the opening minutes of the game and they produced an early chance to show for it, on six minutes Harrison who was playing on the right wing, slid the ball across to Loft in the box, though he slipped the striker managed to get a shot on goal which seemed to be stopped by the hands of an Ebbsfleet defender, the referee waved play on. It was the home side who broke the deadlock on 17 minutes through former Spurs man Darren McQueen, the pacy striker was in the right place at the right time as he tapped home Jack Connors whipped cross from out wide, leaving De Bie helpless in the Spurs nets.
We were presented with a half chance a couple of minutes later after, Keanan Bennett’s was fouled on the edge of the box, Shashoua’s following free kick wasn’t too far away as it rose over the cross bar. Five minutes later the home side again tested our defence at the other end, a ball was sprayed across the face of De Bie’s goal which Maghoma managed to get a vital touch on to, to steer it clear of danger. Soon afterwards Daryl McMahon’s side came at us again, this time via Jack Powell whose free kick hammered on to De Bie’s right post before going wide. Burnett’s side made an instant response down the other end as 20 year old midfielder Joe Pritchard tried his luck from range, he’s delightful curling effort going narrowly over Ashmore’s cross bar, an excellent effort from Pritchard! We again came close through the midfielder on the stroke of half time but his half chance hit the side netting. The fleet came firing out the blocks at the beginning of the second half, and it was former Spur Darren McQueen who was again at the root of it, the striker got the better of Maghoma for pace before firing an effort at goal which was saved well by De Bie. Only two minutes later Bennett’s forced a fine stop out of Ashmore with his powerful effort from outside the box.
We found ourselves 2-0 down on 51 minutes after the national league side doubled their lead courtesy of a thunderbolt from midfielder Luke Coulson. Coulson’s effort from just outside the box left De Bie with no chance as it flew into the bottom left hand corner of the net, a superb strike from the Ebbsfleet man. Just when it looked like our young side had the game out of bounds, Shayon Harrison produced a fine effort a mere two minutes after Ebbsfleet’s goal. The goal came about after Bennett’s whipped delivery was blocked out in to the path of Harrison, who from the edge of the area rifled a shot into the back of the net, 2-1! We almost levelled in the minutes that followed after Loft lashed the ball across the face of Ashmore’s goal, but McMahon’s side were looking to capitalise on our attacking style of play, former Hull city man Aaron McLean fired a close range effort over the newly introduced Charlie Freeman’s cross bar, in a chance that should have put the game to bed for the hosts. Just seven minutes later it looked as if we had grabbed a dramatic late equaliser through substitute Jack Roles, Bennett’s initial shot was parried by Ashmore only for Tracey’s follow up to be deflected into the path of poacher Jack Roles who bundled the ball home from close range, only to see the linesman flag for offside, a cruel blow for Burnett’s side!
The Kent club confirmed their victory nine minutes from time when substitute Danny Kedwell sealed victory from the penalty spot. The referee pointed to the spot after Dean Rance’s pass struck the arm of Japhet Tanganga, the referees decision in my opinion was a bit harsh. Kedwell’s powerful effort from the spot landed in the bottom corner of the net despite a fine touch by Freeman. Ebbsfleet almost found their fourth deep in stoppage time, after Coulson spotted Freeman off his line the winger tried his luck from long range but the 17 year goalkeeper on his first under 23 appearance got back to tip the ball over the bar. The final score Ebbsfleet United 3-1 Spurs, the fleet ran out deserved winners in a highly entertaining game. Despite the result for Burnett’s side, at the end of the day it was men against boys and I thought our lads did themselves proud this afternoon. Our under 23’s are involved in another pre season friendly next Saturday against league 2 side Cambridge United, it’s great to have Spurs back after a long summer! COYS
My Man of the match: Our most creative and proactive player, my man of the match was 18 year old winger turned wingback Keanan Bennett’s, whose sharpness and crossing caused the home side many problems down the left side.
– Jonathan De Bie: Was pleased to see De Bie get 70 minutes for the under 23’s after such a long injury lay off last season, made a couple of good saves and was good playing the ball out from the back, showed good feet.
– TJ Eyoma: Really mature and impressive performance from the right back, dealt well with the physicality of the game and looked very comfortable throughout.
– Keanan Bennett’s: Adapted really well to the unfamiliar role of left wing back, was probably our most creative player. Used his pace well down the wing, was very sharp.
– Luke Amos: One of the most experienced players in the side, Amos dominated the midfield and was tidy with his passing throughout.
– Christian Maghoma: The captain was heavily involved throughout the game, dealt really well with the physicalness of the home side and the pace of McQueen. Also demonstrated good leadership.
– Japhet Tanganga: The 18 year old centre half had a decent game at the back good in the air, Tanganga was very unlucky to concede a penalty.
– Shayon Harrison: Our only goalscorer Harrison enjoyed a good second half on the wing after a quiet first one.
– Joe Pritchard: One of our best players going forward from the midfield, was unlucky not to get on the score sheet.
– Ryan Loft: Battled really well up front showed some really impressive hold up play but didn’t receive a lot of service.
– Samuel Shashoua: Although only playing the first half, Shashoua played as a free roaming attacking midfielder, skilful and tidy throughout.
– Shilow Tracey: Had a very quiet game down the left wing against his former club.
– Dylan Duncan: Impressive second half showing from the midfielder.
– Jack Roles: Decent under 23 debut for Roles, desperately unlucky not to get our equaliser.
Ebbsfleet United: Ashmore, Connors (Graham 72), Winfield (c), Clark (Shields 72), Powell (Rance 64), Drury (Coulson 46), Weston (Cook 51), McQueen (Mambo 72), Payne, Mills (Kedwell 64), Magri (McLean 72). Substitutes (not used): McCoy, Miles (GK).
Spurs XI: De Bie (Freeman 72), Eyoma (Lock 72), Bennetts, Amos, C Maghoma (c)Tanganga, Harrison, Pritchard (Roles 61), Loft (Hinds 69), S Shashoua (Duncan 46), Tracey.
Goals: Ebbsfleet – McQueen 17, Coulson 52, Kedwell 88 (pen); Spurs – Harrison 56.
Referee: Jack Packman.