Spurs under 21’s 2-2 Luton town (4-2 to Luton after penalties) : (match report)
Wayne Burnetts development side (under 21) marked Spurs’ first ever involvement in the Checkatrade trophy, with a point away to league 2 side Luton town on Tuesday evening. Although Burnetts side put in a good and spirited performance, it was the home side who managed to get the extra point over Spurs, as the hatters defeated Spurs 4-2 on penalties to claim the bonus point on the night. It was the home side that attacked the away end in the first half which included 404 Spurs supporters, and it didn’t take long before the hatters made an impact on the game. Less than two minutes in to the game, Luton’s Elliot Lee almost opened the scoring for the league 2 side. Lee turned inside his man in the box, before trying to slot the ball in to the bottom corner of the net, but Austin got down quickly to make a sensational low save in the Spurs net. Luton were absolutely dominating play as Burnetts side struggled to deal with the league 2 club inside the first 15 minutes, it was a case of when not if they’d take the lead. Lee had another chance from a corner, when the ball fell to the former West Ham man who swiped his shot narrowly over Austin’s crossbar. We were unable to get the ball out of our own half, such was the dominance of Luton’s performance, I feared the youngsters would be getting a league two schooling at this point, they’d panicked in the early stages of the game. Then the the inevitable occurred on 19 minutes when the hatters took the lead through Maltese international Luke Gambin, the winger received the ball from the right side, he managed to wriggle away from the Spurs defence before slotting the ball into Austin’s far corner, 1-0.
However, just a couple of minutes later Burnetts side made an immediate impact, scoring level after a fine long range effort from the skipper. Pritchard who was advancing forward on goal, curled an effort from over 20 yards out which came off the post before rebounding back of James Shea and into the Luton net. After 15 minutes of being on the back foot, Spurs had managed to relax and find their bearings after equalising, they passed the ball around well and with confidence. Luton saw a free kick on the edge of the Spurs box fly narrowly ajar of the post, whilst Spurs created chances of their own as they began to take a hold of the game. Bennetts played a lovely through ball into Tracey with the outside of his boot, but the former Ebbsfleet man couldn’t get his shot away due to the sweeper keeping of Shea. Then Bennetts embarked on a breath taking run from his own area, as he surged past a couple of Luton players before skilfully taking the ball into the Luton box, his toe pocked effort coming off the right post. Though the young lilywhites had changed the flow of the game, they were still tested at the back. A mix up from a Luton corner seeing one of their players chest wide. Meanwhile Bennetts tested his luck at the other end, before Tracey’s powerful effort at goal was well thwarted by Shea.
The second half was a more balanced affair, Spurs were more stabilised as they continued to grow into the game as it progressed. And Burnetts side started the second half in the best possible way, when striker Ryan Loft fired them into the lead on 47 minutes. Will Miller embarked on a fruitful run from the centre of midfield, as he looked to release the ball through to Loft. The towering striker was composed as he entered the area, slotting home a classy finish to put us ahead. A slightly quieter second half pursued as he we looked to keep hold of our lead. The newly introduced Josh McQuoid had a golden opportunity for Nathan Jones side when he met Jack James cross, the former Bournemouth man nodding the ball inside the post to make it 2-2. Spurs had a decent chance of their own when Miller received the ball in a good position inside the hatters penalty area, Miller looked up at goal and curled his effort over the cross bar, leaving the forward pondering. Mcquoid almost won it for Luton late on when he received the ball inside a dangerous area, but Tanganga was there in a flash as he made a superb sliding challenge. Despite the late stage nerves, we could have wrapped up all three points in the dying stages of the game. Substitute Samuel Shashoua working his creative magic down the right before crossing the ball into Sterling who forced a comfortable save at Shea’s near post.
With a point secured, a penalty shoot out ensued to decided who would get the bonus point. Using the new ABBA format, Spurs ended up losing in a cruel way, Shashoua’s desperately unlucky opening penalty miss setting the tone for the rest of the shoot out which the hatters won 4-2. However, it was a really good opening result for the development side as they look to progress through their group. It was a spirited and battling performance against a top league two side, but Burnetts youngsters were resilient as they carved out what could prove to be a valuable point, they can be mighty proud of their performance in this unique experience in their development. COYS
Player reviews: – Brandon Austin: Heavily involved, made many fine saves, including a remarkable reflex save in the first half.
– Jonathan Dinzeyi: Completing just over 50 minutes at the unfamiliar position of right back, the young centre back struggled a bit with the pace of the game down the flank.
– Christian Maghoma: Really impressive shift from the centre half, imposed himself well on the game. Made some important clearances, and was dominant up against the Luton forwards.
– Japhet Tanganga: As I’ve said many times before, him and Maghoma form a really strong defensive partnership. He was brilliant in the air and made some crucial interceptions. Made a magnificent challenge towards the latter point of the game.
– Keanan Bennetts: One of the star performers, Bennetts made a real impression on the game from left back. Made a huge contribution to the attack, with his pace and mazy runs.
– Oliver Skipp: Another excellent performance from the 16 year old, my motm for the second time in a week. Skipp was comfortable throughout the whole game, made incisive passes, and chased down the opposition. He was always looking for the ball, and was never afraid to get stuck in. Showed outstanding maturity.
– Joe Pritchard: The skipper had a real influence on the game, showed good leadership. Forced our equaliser with his effort on goal.
– Shilow Tracey: Didn’t make a massive impression on the game, but made some good runs down the right.
– Dylan Duncan: Created chances, prominent in the midfield, good range of passing.
– Will Miller: Created opportunities and pockets of space, assisted Loft’s goal.
– Ryan Loft: Lead the line the well, despatched his goal with real class.
My man of the match: Yet again it was 16 year old anchorman Oliver Skipp, was comfortable throughout the whole game, made some superb incisive passes, and chased down the opposition. He was always looking for the ball, and was never afraid to get stuck in, showed outstanding maturity for that of a 16 year old!
Luton Town: Shea, Justin (James 46), Senior, Cook, Mullins (c), Famewo, Gambin, Bakinson, Lee, Cornick (Read 77), Hylton (McQuoid 46). Substitutes (not used): Isted, Peck, Jones, Shamalo.
Spurs U21s: Austin, Dinzeyi (Eyoma 52), Bennetts, Skipp, C Maghoma, Tanganga, Tracey (S Shashoua 81), Pritchard (c), Loft (Sterling 77), Duncan, Miller. Substitutes (not used): De Bie, Roles.
Goals: Luton – Gambin 19, McQuoid 51; Spurs – Shea (OG) 21, Loft 47.
Yellow cards: Luton – Cook 90+2.
Referee: Craig Hicks.
Penalties: Luton – Lee – scored
Spurs – S Shashoua – hit post
Spurs – C Maghoma – scored
Luton – Cook – scored
Luton – McQuoid – scored
Spurs – Sterling – scored
Spurs – Bennetts – over the bar
Luton – Gambin – scored