Spurs under 23’s 2-2 Swansea: (match report)
”I didn’t think we got after the ball as aggressively as we have done and I just felt that we didn’t get into our groove quickly enough. We have players who didn’t play particularly well but the good thing is we haven’t been beaten.“ (Wayne Burnett)
It was the second time within three days that Spurs had come up against Swansea, this time it was our under 23’s turn as Wayne Burnett’s side hosted the South Wales club for this PL2 encounter, which was played at a chilly Broadhall way. Stevenage’s home ground has seen us win our past six under 23 games however, Spurs’ winning run was to come to an end on Monday evening as Burnett’s side had to settle for a 2-2 draw. The action was all in the second half as Burnett’s resilient side fought back from losing positions on two occasions to secure a valuable point. Spurs, who got the game underway had given the swans a half chance inside the first minute. After young Skipp gave away possession in a dangerous area but thankfully, Maghoma was in the box to get an important block from their resulting effort. A few minutes later Spurs went close at the other end when Pritchard’s whipped effort darted narrowly wide of the Spurs goal. It was an even start to the game, though Spurs had looked the slightly better side in the opening stages. Burnett’s side were beginning to attack more frequently, the prominent Jaden Brown going on a surging run down the left before playing through Sterling. Whose powerful effort stung the palms of Zabret. But Gary Richards physically imposing side showed what they were capable of going forward a couple of minutes later. Swansea’s dangerous cross was blocked by Tanganga, with the ball coming up to McBurnie whose looping header went over Whiteman, only to be superbly cleared off the line by the brave Christian Maghoma.
The game was lacking a spark from either side, it was turning into a scrappy game with few clear cut chances. A wonderful pass from Skipp just before the half hour mark, saw Sterling almost latch on to it inside the penalty area, as the swans continued to contain us. The game had echoes of that unforgettable game on Saturday between both these senior sides, as Swansea only managed to head over the crossbar from a corner kick on 40 minutes. As the uneventful first half came to an end, I felt I was watching a rerun of the opening 45 minutes of Saturdays match. The second half was a much more lively affair, though it was the visitors who started the brighter after the interval. Swansea’s Adnan Maric whipped in an inviting cross for the swans on 50 minutes, but thankfully for Spurs Christian Maghoma was there to get a vital head on the ball to clear it wide, before the Swansea forward next to him had the chance to convert. Just two minutes later the deadlock was broken, as the Welsh club took the lead. A pacy Swansea corner was nodded goal bound by the potent McBurnie whose effort was unfortunately bundled in at the far post by Spurs defender Japhet Tanganga, 0-1. Soon afterwards Swansea again threatened Burnett’s side, Spurs defender Jaden Brown was forced into making a vital block to deny the advancing McBurnie on the edge of the penalty area. Swansea’s attacking onslaught was to continue from the resulting corner kick. Their low corner being met by a Swansea player who fired the ball straight at Whiteman who parried. The visitors were starting to control the game as they maintained possession, as they went in search of strengthening their lead. This concerning shift in possession wasn’t to last long however.
As Spurs responded on 57 minutes with a Kazaiah Sterling equaliser, the centre forward was picked out by a long range pass from Brown. The ball bouncing over the head of the Swansea defender, as Sterling sprinted through on goal before cutting inside a Swansea defender, and calmly slotting the ball past Zabret, 1-1. A really well taken goal from the 18 year old, his fifth of the campaign. The contest had become much better after our equaliser, as both teams really went for the win. Edwards slid the ball through to Sterling on the hour mark down the right side of the penalty area. The centre forward going close as he fired against the side netting. Despite Burnett’s team carving their way back into the game, they were dealt a significant blow 14 minutes from time. The rain was gushing down as Adam King sent an accurate ball into the Spurs area which was brought down well by McBurnie inside the box. The Scotsman calmly slotting the ball past Whiteman to restore Swansea’s lead. A promising run from Edwards down the right flank as Spurs were looking to respond immediately, saw the England youth international cut across the edge of the box before firing over the cross bar. It wasn’t to matter though as Spurs substitute Keanan Bennetts proved minutes later. The pacy winger scoring a truly brilliant goal to draw Spurs level. The nimble footed Bennetts scored a similar one to the goal he bagged against Dortmund in midweek, as the young winger cut inside from the left wing. Before, beating two Swansea players and unleashing a wonderful curling effort at goal, which nestled inside the far corner of Zabret’s goal to send the crowd wild with appreciation.
Burnett’s side were really going for the winner, Marcus Edwards embarking on another mazy from the right flank before firing narrowly over. The game was anyone’s for the taking, as Swansea proved on 89 minutes when an unmarked player headed the resulting corner kick just over Whiteman’s cross bar. And it was the swans who had the chance to win it right near the death, as Whiteman was called into action. The potent McBurnie’s late header forcing a brilliant low save from Whiteman, and he bravely smothered Garrick’s follow up to ensure the point. I will be traveling up to Liverpool to report on our under 23’s next game this Friday, when Burnett’s side take on the reds at the world famous Anfield. COYS
– Alfie Whiteman: Impressed, made a couple of really important stops.
– TJ Eyoma: Solid and composed, was efficient in his play.
– Japhet Tanganga: Put in a good performance at centre half, was really involved in the game, made some top challenges/interceptions. One of our best players on the night.
– Christian Maghoma: Linked up well with Tanganga, had a good game at centre half. Made a really important clearance in the first half. His physical presence against McBurnie was much needed.
– Jaden Brown: I thought Brown had a great game last night, he’s started the season in great form. He was solid and involved down the left as he made some important challenges, but what was so good about his game. Was the numerous forward runs he made from deep, he was so strong on the ball.
– Luke Amos: Very busy in the midfield, was efficient and tidy in his play.
– Oliver Skipp: Another great display from the Spurs starlet, so mature and comfortable in the middle of the park against much more physical players, his strength at times was astounding.
– Marcus Edwards: Had a very quiet first half, but he grew in to the game later on and looked dangerous and creative.
– Joe Pritchard: Tidy and workman like display from the skipper. Noticed how he switched with Skipp on occasions.
– Anthony Georgiou: Didn’t quite come off for him last night, worked his socks off down the left. But I felt we didn’t utilise his pace and creativity. Cannot fault his work ethic, hope to see him on the bench against Barnsley tonight.
– Kazaiah Sterling: Very impressive, such a high presser of the ball, Sterling was clinical in front on goal and took his goal really well.
– Keanan Bennetts: Changed the game when he came on, his pace, trickery and creativity gave us a whole new dimension. His wonder goal to secure us a point was quite breathtaking!
My man of the match: Jaden Brown. I thought Brown had a great game last night, he has started the season in great form. He was solid and involved down the left as he made some important challenges, but what was so good about his game. Was the numerous forward runs he made from deep, he was so strong on the ball and showed real maturity. Also got an assist.
Spurs: Whiteman, Eyoma, Brown, Amos, C Maghoma, Tanganga, Edwards, Skipp (S Shashoua 88), Sterling (Tracey 74), Pritchard (c), Georgiou (Bennetts 68). Substitutes (not used): Loft, O’Reilly (GK).
Swansea City: Zabret, Reid, Lewis, Evans, Harries, Rodon (c), King, Maric, McBurnie, Byers, Baker-Richardson (Garrick 88). Substitutes (not used): Cullen, Cooper, Bainbridge, Thomas (GK).
Goals: Spurs – Sterling 57, Bennetts 81; Swansea – Tanganga (OG) 52, McBurnie 76.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Skipp 71; Swansea – King 31, Baker-Richardson 58, Evans 71.
Referee: Christopher O’Donnell.