Spurs under 23’s 3-2 Cambridge United: (match report)
Our under 23’s put in an exceptional display on Friday evening as they defeated league two club Cambridge United 3-2 at their Abbey stadium, in a testimonial game for the U’s Josh Coulson. Wayne Burnett’s young side rose to the challenge, outplaying the far older team, leaving themselves in great stead ahead of next months Checkatrade trophy, in what was a brilliant collective team effort from the lilywhites. It was the homeside who started off the brighter in the opening minutes, trying to make the most of a mix up in the Spurs box, the man of the evening Josh Coulson powered an effort at goal only to see Shilow Tracey block it away from danger. Soon afterwards we found our rhythm, young wing back Keanan Bennett’s beating his man with sheer pace down the left before whipping a cross deep into the box which Harrison narrowly put over debutant David Forde’s crossbar. Then on 13 minutes Spurs took a surprise lead through striker Shayon Harrison after the referee awarded a penalty. Maghoma had launched a pass upfield which was brought down by Pritchard as he was brought to the floor on the edge of the box, the referee had no hesitations as he pointed to the spot. Harrison stepped up confidently as he sent Forde the wrong way to put Burnett’s side 1-0 up. Spurs were hungry for more shortly after the restart, with Harrison testing Forde from the edge of the box, whilst shortly afterwards Shilow Tracey saw his effort deflected on to the side netting. We were controlling the game, dictating the tempo throughout the pitch, we were also rock solid at the back with some commendable defending from both Maghoma and Eyoma. Our next chance saw goalscorer Shayon Harrison go desperately close to bagging his second of the game. Harrison chipping the former Millwall and Portsmouth goalkeeper, only to see his effort rebound off the post much to the relief of Forde.
Our upper hand on the game continued to show and we should have doubled our lead five minutes from half time, after Shilow Tracey broke down the right wing before squaring for Pritchard in the box, but he’s side footed effort lacked power and was thus denied by a diving save from Forde. However, it wasn’t to matter as just a couple of minutes later we did double our lead through Shayon Harrison yet again, the 20 year old tapping home from close range, after Duncan got hold of possession outside the box before surging forward and laying it on a plate for Harrison to tap home, 2-0. De Bie made sure we went in to the break two goals ahead, as the Belgian punched clear a cross before then denying a rebound with a fine piece of goalkeeping to deny a Cambridge player. However, Spurs started the second half in the worst possible way conceding to the hosts after just seven minutes of play when Luke Berry got the better of Tanganga down the side of the box, before powering past De Bie from a couple of yards out, 2-1. We continued to control the game but weren’t creating many clear chances, and it almost cost us as Shaun Derry’s men came close to forcing an equaliser. When Tanganga was robbed of possession by a Cambridge forward who surged forward into the penalty area only to be stopped by the out rushing De Bie who bravely got down to make a fine stop.
Spurs continued to grow in confidence as the game progressed, going from strength to strength as Harrison netted his hat trick on 64 minutes to stun the 2,000 strong crowd. Substitute Samuel Shashoua who had a great impact on the game, passed to Roles inside the box, the Cypriot youth international hitting the ball across the face of the goal for Harrison to poach home to make it 3-1 to Spurs. Spurs were outplaying Cambridge, the surging Tracey unlucky not to make it four for Spurs as he’s close range effort was kept out by the goalkeeper. The newly introduced pairing of Loft and Sterling linking up well, as the former delivered a great pass into the box which Sterling latched on to, swivelling round before forcing a great reflex save out of the U’s keeper to somehow keep it at 3-1. For all our dominance, the home side were able to pull a goal back deep in stoppage time through powerful striker Uche Ikpeazu. After he got passed Tanganga in the box before cleverly lobbing De Bie to ensure a late consolation goal. It wasn’t to matter in the slightest, as Burnett’s side went on to record a hugely impressive 3-2 victory for which they can all be tremendously proud of, it may have been men against boys but our lads showed just how great a future they have, playing the Pochettino way to outplay the league two club.
My man of the match: I could easily have given it to the whole team for a stunning collective performance but I’ve got to give it to hat trick hero Shayon Harrison who put in a magnificent performance up front. Clinical and assured, Harrison impressed in every aspect of his game, and his phenomenal goalscoring record continues to show why he’s got such a bright future in the game.
– Jonathan De Bie: Impressive once again in between the sticks, brave and commanding, the 17 year old made a series of fine saves, whilst his distribution put us in a coupe of vulnerable situations. The Belgian youth international had a great game nonetheless.
– TJ Eyoma: Superb showing at right back from the 17 year old, very comfortable performance from the young Englishman, who made some brilliant challenges.
– Keanan Bennett’s: Second performance at wingback in less then a week, and the second time he’s put in an excellent display. Pacy, assured and influential in attack.
– Luke Amos: Industrious and workman like performance from the captain who was efficient and tidy for the entirety of his time on the pitch.
– Christian Maghoma: Magnificent performance from Maghoma at centre half, one of the best players on the pitch. Maghoma put in the complete defensive performance and didn’t put a foot wrong all night.
– Japhet Tanganga: Dominant performance from the 18 year old centre half, paired up excellently with Maghoma. And was very good in the air.
– Jack Roles: Bagged an assist for our third goal, Roles showed time and time again his ability to create space for himself inside the penalty area.
– Joe Pritchard: Tricky and smart performance from the midfielder who won the penalty for our opener.
– Shayon Harrison: Match winning performance from a young striker brimming with confidence.
– Dylan Duncan: One of our most important players throughout, Duncan probably had the biggest impact on the game, highly creative as he moved across the midfield. Duncan was like a young Fabregas as he roamed throughout the middle of the park, dictating play.
– Shilow Tracey: Powerful and influential performance from the winger who was on a mission to impress.
– Matt Lock: Impressive late cameo from the fullback, skilful and composed.
– Oliver Skipp: Assured and impressive cameo from the talented 16 year old anchorman.
– Samuel Shashoua: Changed the flow of the game since coming on, such an intelligent performance.
– Ryan Loft: Good hold up play and movement.
– Kazaiah Sterling: Looked very sharp when introduced, was unlucky not to score.
Cambridge United: Forde, Carroll, Taylor, Legge, Berry, Dunk, Ibehere, Osadebe, O’Neil, Coulson (c), trialist. Substitutes: Deegan, Mingoia, Ikpeazu, Azeez, Roberts, trialist (GK), Amoo, Elito, Davies, Darling, trialist.
Spurs U23s: De Bie, Eyoma (Lock 74), Bennetts, Amos (c, Skipp 79), C Maghoma, Tanganga, Roles (Sterling 70), Pritchard (S Shashoua 46), Harrison, Duncan, Tracey (Loft 70). Substitute (not used): Freeman (GK).
Goals: Cambridge United – Berry 52, Ikpeazu 90+2; Spurs – Harrison 13 (pen), 40, 64.
Referee: Chris Pollard.