Spurs under 23’s 1-2 Sunderland: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 1-2 Sunderland: (match report)

” I said to the players afterwards, yes, we were in control of the game but when you’ve got them in your clutches you need to finish them off but we didn’t quite do that, we were a little bit safe at times but we’ll learn from that.” (Wayne Burnett)


Our under 23’s first PL2 game of the season was one of bitter disappointment for Wayne Burnett’s side as they lost 2-1 to Sunderland at their Eppleton Colliery welfare ground, in the picturesque hills of County Durham. Spurs were for the vast majority of the game the better side, they bossed possession looked sharp both on and off the ball and could easily have scored three or four goals. Burnett’s side came up against a Sunderland team with half a dozen senior squad players involved. Our lads weren’t fazed by the numerous seasoned pros they came up against (Jack Rodwell, Djilobodji and Bryan Oviedo included) instead they took the game to the home side. We played the better football, looked the better team and above all else we looked assured and mature as a side. 16 year old Oliver Skipp putting in an exceptional display as he controlled the midfield, Tanganga and Maghoma coped very well against the Sunderland attack. And the creativity of Will Miller saw us create many a fine chance, but in the end it was the experience of the hosts who exposed the vulnerability of youth with in the key areas of midfield and defence, which saw the black cats pip us to victory late on. We controlled the opening proceedings of the game, dominating possession, with centre half Tanganga spraying around a wonderful range of passes from the back. Our first clear cut chance of the game seeing, Sterling enter the box before having his shot blocked by a last ditch challenge.


Minutes later another half chance presented itself for the lilywhites, winger Will Miller cutting inside on to his right foot on the edge of the area, before Ruiter got down to tip his curling effort away from danger. The home side then went close at the other end when Gooch (who played in Sunderland’s league cup game last night) curled an effort narrowly wide of Austin’s angle. Then soon afterwards the American youth international managed to get the wrong side of Maghoma in the Spurs penalty area as he advanced one on one with Austin, his low effort kept out by a fine save from Austin. Then on the half hour mark we created a fine chance of our own, starting with a tackle won by Skipp in the centre of the park. Skipp passed to Sterling who powered forward before playing the ball out wide, which eventually came across to Duncan on the edge of the box who dragged the ball wide of the post. Burnetts side continued to go on the offensive, left back Jaden Brown who had been so impressive in the first half, went on a surging run down the left wing as he advanced into the Sunderland penalty area, where despite being challenged Brown hit a low shot which dashed past the face of the goal. Spurs’ attacking prowess and incisive play was rewarded less then a minute later when striker Kazaiah Sterling put Spurs into the lead. Skipp powered a header forward to Sterling, after capitalising on the back of a poor Sunderland clearance. Sterling gave the Sunderland defender a clean set of heels before calmly slotting the ball past Ruiter and into the back of the net.


The 18 year old striker had the chance to double our lead on the stroke of half time, Sterling rounded Dutch goalkeeper Robin Ruiter just outside the box, but he didn’t end up going for goal as a Sunderland defender intercepted the ball. The home side came out for the second half looking the better of the two sides, Sunderland’s Andrew Nelson lashing the ball over Austin’s crossbar from the edge of the box, straight after the restart. Before Ethan Robson then tested the goalkeeper with a rasping free kick, Austin doing well to tip the ball over the bar. Sunderland’s revitalised second half performance was almost cancelled out on 65 minutes. When Will Miller’s well crafted free kick was superbly met by Tanganga, whose looping header cannoned against the underneath of the crossbar, it looked as if it was a certain goal. Our impressive attacking play down the flanks continued to threaten the home side, Pritchard’s pass to Tracey down the right, saw the powerful winger have a go at Ruiter’s inside post, Tracey’s effort was deflected into the side netting. Despite the many attacks we had on goal, the home side finally broke down our strong defence when Ethan Robson drew level for Elliott Dickman’s side on 70 minutes. Pritchard made a mistake in the centre of the park when his pass was intercepted by Robson. Who surged forward before firing a low effort from 20 yards out, which flew into the bottom corner of Austin’s goal, 1-1.

What seemed a fierce clash of heads involving Oliver Skipp, saw the midfielder fall to the floor but the youngster dusted himself down and got up to shake it away. This signified his character throughout the game. We continued to go in search of reestablishing our lead, the newly introduced Marcus Edwards embarking on a mazy run into the penalty area when he was brought down by a Sunderland defender, in what could well have been given as a penalty. We looked in search of that winner but it wasn’t to come, Burnett’s side being dealt a cruel blow in stoppage time. When substitute Denver Hume got a late winner for the home side, after Hume managed to get the ball out of his feet on the edge of the box, before rifling a low effort at goal which left Austin helpless as it nestled into the bottom right hand corner of his net. Despite a good effort at goal from Ryan Loft late on, we succumbed to a cruel 2-1 defeat in County Durham. But results aside, Burnett’s team played really well and that’s what they can take away from this season opener. COYS

Player reviews: – Brandon Austin: Good performance from Austin, who made a string of fine saves, also dealt well with crosses.
– TJ Eyoma: Prominent down the right side, done well going forward and getting back to defend.
– Christian Maghoma: Typically tenacious performance from Maghoma at centre half, linked up well with Tanganga. Made some important interceptions and won a host of aerial duels.
– Japhet Tanganga: Really impressive showing from the 18 year old centre half. Superb in the air and in his challenges, whilst also demonstrating a wonderful range of passes.
– Jaden Brown: Classy shift from the fast left back, was a real offensive threat. Whilst also being defensively sound.
– Oliver Skipp: Exceptional performance from the 16 year old, he controlled the midfield, broke up play successfully, was confident and assured both on and off the ball. Made a string of top passes, whilst also going on to assist Sterling for his goal.
– Dylan Duncan: Tidy and creative performance from the promising midfielder.
– Joe Pritchard: Good performance from the attacking midfielder who constantly looked for pockets of space, whilst also showing good vision in his passing. Unlucky to give the ball away to Robson who went on to equalise.
– Will Miller: An experienced player in the side, Miller had a fruitful game. The nimble footed forward going on to be the main source of creativity.
– Kazaiah Sterling: Opened up his account for the season with goal, pressed really well and had a good game.
– Shilow Tracey: Made a good impact on the game down the right side.
– Keanan Bennetts: Impressed down the left side when coming on, went on a couple of good runs.
– Marcus Edwards: Impressive cameo, showed nice skill and awareness.
– Ryan Loft: Made a good impact up front in his short time on the pitch.


My man of the match: Oliver Skipp. Exceptional performance from the 16 year old, he controlled the midfield, broke up play successfully, was confident and assured both on and off the ball. Made a string of top passes, whilst also going on to assist Sterling for his goal. Skipp looked light years ahead of his age, I can’t sing his praises highly enough.

Sunderland: Ruiter, Love, Oviedo (Hume 61), Embleton, Beadling, Djilobodji, Nelson, E Robson, Gooch (Molyneux 46), Rodwell (Bale 61), Diamond. Substitutes (not used): Stryjek (GK), Ledger.

Spurs: Austin, Eyoma, Brown, Skipp, C Maghoma, Tanganga, Tracey (Edwards 74), Duncan, Sterling (Loft 74), Pritchard (c), Miller (Bennetts 66). Substitutes (not used): O’Reilly (GK), S Shashoua.

Goals: Sunderland – Robson 70, Hume 89; Spurs – Sterling 35.

Yellow cards: Sunderland – Love 75; Spurs – Maghoma 38, Eyoma 81.

Referee: Mr G Hart.

Attendance: 394.

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