Spurs under 23’s 2-3 West Ham united: (match report)
Our under 23’s first home game of the campaign ended in a narrow 3-2 defeat against West Ham at Hotspur Way, in an exciting end to end London derby on Monday. I’m still trying to fathom how Wayne Burnetts side didn’t get something out of Monday lunchtimes PL2 match, such was their fine team display and deserving performance, the lads deserved a point at the very least. But after a weekend which saw our under 18’s and senior squad squad lose after valiant performances, our luck was absent again for yesterday’s encounter, which was a fiercely contested match. It wasn’t long before the game saw its first chance, after Spurs gave possession away on the edge of the penalty area, Samuelsen (I believe) ran through on goal before forcing a decent stop out of Austin at his near post. Then on ten minutes Spurs went close at the other end, when Edwards who’d sent a dangerous cross into the box moments earlier, played the ball through to Tracey with the resulting throw in. The makeshift striker getting past his man, before powering a shot inches wide of Trott’s post. Spurs continued their intensity on the game as Burnetts side went in search of the opener, a good team move started off by Skipp in the midfield, who passed to Edwards before jinking past a couple of players, he then played through Tracey inside the box. The number 9 only being denied via a superb sliding challenge by Olatunji Akinola. It was an incredibly even game as West Ham striker Antonio Martinez proved just moments later at the other end. The former Valencia man got past Brown before thumping an effort at goal, but Austin was there to thwart his effort with a fine stop.
Neither side was taking a hold of the game as both teams battled it out for possession, young Spurs midfielder Oliver Skipp was a prominent and influential force in the middle of the park, creating from deep, and making some crucial challenges. However, Burnetts team broke the deadlock on 34 minutes when Dylan Duncan capped off a fine Spurs move with the opener. The influential Will Miller drove forward down the left flank, after receiving an incisive pass by Skipp. The former Leyton Orient youngster, crossing for Tracey who done well to hold the ball up in the penalty area, before teeing it off for Duncan whose deflected low effort beat Trott, to make it 1-0. Since taking the lead Spurs had gathered real momentum going forward, a deflected effort from Edwards went wide shortly after. Then, just over 10 minutes after taking the lead, Spurs doubled their advantage over the hammers, when Marcus Edwards gave the lilywhites a two goal cushion. The nimble footed winger was brought down in the West Ham penalty area by Akinola, with the referee instantly awarding a penalty for Spurs. Edwards stepped up to calmly send Trott the wrong way, 2-0. Things were going brilliantly for Spurs as they looked to expose a West Ham side that seemed to have lost its composure, we almost made it three on the stroke of half time. When Bennetts produced a wonderful piece of skill down the left, as he beat two men before whipping in a sumptuous cross into the box, which Tracey was inches away from converting.
Moments into the second half, Spurs had a golden chance to put the game to bed when the skipper Joe Pritchard broke through on goal, slotting his effort narrowly wide. Terry Westley’s side threatened soon after, when one of their defenders headed an effort across goal from the resulting corner. Then moments later Burnetts side was dealt a real blow, when the hammers clawed one back through winger Dan Kemp. Neufville sent a teasing cross in from the left, and Kemp was their to tap home causing a disastrous start for Spurs. West Ham were really going for it, they’d really upped their game, a brilliant challenge by Spurs centre half Tanganga soon afterwards, stopped a sure equaliser. We were looking vulnerable as the hammers burst forward down the flanks looking for that equaliser, potent target man Martinez heading narrowly wide of Austins goal after getting on the end of a cross, Westley’s side were putting us under real pressure. The inevitable then occurred on 56 minutes when West Ham deservedly drew level courtesy of a stunner from Nathan Holland. The former Everton youngster who had impressed throughout the game, cut inside from the left from around 20 yards out. Before unleashing a brilliant curler which nestled inside the top corner of Austin’s net, you knew it was in the moment it left his boot. It was a proper London Derby, crunching challenges were being made by both sides as they went in search of snatching a winner, it was impossible to predict what way it would go. Spurs responded by really going for the game (losing their composure a bit in doing so) Tracey sent a wide ball to Edwards who took it down on the edge of the area before firing over.
Then it was the hammers who went close, Martinez’s effort on goal being brilliantly blocked by Tanganga on the line, though he injured Austin in the process. West Ham’s sustained pressure paid off just after the hour mark, when Josh Pask put the east London club ahead. Spurs had gone close at the opposite end notably through Pritchard, but it was West Ham who scored what proved to be the winner. When, Pask volleyed home Akinola’s cross from six yards out, leaving Austin stationary in the Spurs goal, 3-2. Burnetts side continued to attack well despite letting slip a two goal lead, Edwards playing a nice ball through to Tracey who outmuscled the West Ham defender before testing Trott with a thumping effort at his near post. The newly introduced Samuel Shashoua and Ryan Loft added fresh legs to Spurs’ team. They frantically went in search of an equaliser as the rain poured down, our best chance of all coming deep into stoppage time. The substitute, Loft whipped a dangerous cross in to the area, Skipp went diving in as he tried to bundle it over the line, but a West Ham defender got there in the nick of time to clear it, at which point I was celebrating thinking we had scored! West Ham went on to counter attack, Holland raced through on goal down the left but his weak effort was easily gathered by Austin. A pulsating but ultimately unrewarding game for the lads, as West Ham went on to record a victory. Despite playing some great football, Burnetts side will be bitterly disappointed to lose out against West Ham, it was just one of those weekends for Spurs. Our under 23’s host Manchester United at Stevenage on Friday.
My man of the match: It seems to be a recurring theme that I’m awarding Oliver Skipp with man of the match yet again this season. Absolutely superb performance from the young man, he was instrumental in creating chances from deep, but yet again it was his impeccable positioning, pressing off the opposition, and guile that made it such an impressive performance from the 16 year old starlet, I can’t sing his praises highly enough!
Player reviews: – Brandon Austin: Made some fine stops, had a good performance. None of the goals were of any fault of his own.
– TJ Eyoma: Strong defensive performance like much of our defence despite the result. Looked assured down the right flank, made some fine challenges.
– Keanan Bennetts: Brilliant going forward, felt it was a bit of a shame he wasn’t playing on the wing though.
– Oliver Skipp: It seems to be a recurring theme that I’m awarding Oliver Skipp with man of the match yet again this season. Absolutely superb performance from the young man, he was instrumental in creating chances from deep, but yet again it was his impeccable positioning, pressing off the opposition, and guile that made it such an impressive performance from the 16 year old starlet, I can’t sing his praises highly enough!
– Japhet Tanganga: You wouldn’t think it after we’d conceded 3 goals, but Tanganga was superb at the back. His timing and the quality of his challenges prevented more goals going West Ham’s way.
– Jaden Brown: Filled in well at centre half, made some fine blocks and interceptions.
– Marcus Edwards: Impressive down the right, done well to get his goal.
– Dylan Duncan: Impressive, well taken goal.
– Samuel Shashoua: Exciting cameo. Hoping he starts the Man united game.
– Shilow Tracey: Lead the line well, pressed and created Duncan’s goal.
– Joe Pritchard: The skipper done well, was a real threat going forward.
– Will Miller: Really creative down the flanks.
Spurs: Austin, Eyoma, Bennetts, Skipp, Tanganga, Brown, Edwards, Duncan (S Shashoua 72), Tracey (Sterling 79), Pritchard (c), Miller (Loft 58). Substitutes (not used): Dinzeyi, O’Reilly (GK).
West Ham: Trott, Pike, Neufville, Makasi (c), Akinola, Pask, Kemp (Hector-Ingram 84), Powell (Sylvestre 58), Martinez, Samuelsen (Diangana 46), Holland. Substitutes (not used): Scully, Matrevics (GK).
Goals: Spurs – Duncan 33, Edwards 44 (pen); West Ham – Kemp 49, Holland 56, Pask 63.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Skipp 74; West Ham – Martinez 70.
Referee: David Rock.