Spurs under 21’s 3-4 AFC Wimbledon: (match report)
Disappointment was etched across the Spurs players faces at the end of Tuesday nights Checkatrade trophy match against Wimbledon. As Wayne Burnett’s development side were cruelly beaten 4-3 by league one club AFC Wimbledon at their Kingsmeadow ground. You could feel the exasperation at conceding that late goal, in a game which our lads deserved so much more from. It was a brilliant game consisting of attacking football, and even though our lads are virtually out of this senior competition, they should be mighty proud of their performance against an experienced and physical Wimbledon side. The home side got the game underway at a chilly Kingsmeadow, and it was the dons who were to have the first sniff at goal. Spurs defender Jonathan Dinzeyi had given possession away in a dangerous area on four minutes, but thankfully for Spurs, Soares resulting strike flew over Austin’s crossbar. Spurs were pressing high and were looking comfortable in possession, Burnett’s side were to break the deadlock just 16 minutes in. When a good incisive move combining Tracey and Sterling came off. Tracey playing a quick one two with Sterling on the edge of the penalty area, before powering home a low effort underneath the body of the outstretched McDonnell, 1-0. However, their lead wasn’t to last long as just three minutes later the home side levelled through a set piece. It was a disappointing goal to concede as the in swinging corner was headed goal bound by Robinson only to be converted by Toby Sibbick who headed home on the line.
Shortly afterwards the dons had another good opportunity after Skipp lost possession near the Spurs box, Tom Soares powerful effort was brilliantly thwarted by the diving Brandon Austin. It was a very even game as both sides went forward, a great pass from Shashoua found Sterling inside the penalty area though the striker couldn’t quite square it for the approaching Pritchard in time. Pritchard did go close a couple of minutes later, when he brought down the ball on the edge of the area, before volleying just over. Burnett’s side regained the lead on 34 minutes following a great piece of play. A fantastic surging run from Bennetts down the left flank saw him power his way into the box before cutting a lovely pass back to Shashoua, who neatly passed the ball into the bottom corner of McDonnell’s net. A crucial intervention by Dinzeyi to clear a dangerous cross at the other end followed, as the dons went straight on the attack. Sadly there was just the four minutes difference between our goal and Wimbledon’s second leveller of the night. The goal again coming as the result of a corner kick, as the ball ended up coming to the dons Egli Kaja on the edge of the box. Kaja struck the ball sweetly on the half volley giving Austin no chance as it flew into the back of the net. Wimbledon almost made it 3-2 on the stroke of halftime, when Harry Forrester volleyed narrowly wide of goal, bringing a thrilling first half to an end.
The second half was just as thrilling as the first, fast paced and unpredictable. A misplaced pass by Dinzeyi came to a dons player on the edge of the box shortly after the restart, Forrester’s low drive being met by an alert Austin, who saved well. It was a composed and so far assured start to the half from Burnett’s side, their dangerous attacking football seeing them (unsurprisingly) take the lead for the third time just before the hour mark. The brilliant Keanan Bennetts surged down the left flank leaving the opposition defenders rooted to their spot as he strode towards the penalty area before putting in an excellent low cross, which was bundled home at the far post by Sterling. However, when Spurs were to score the inevitable was to follow, and that occurred moments later as Neil Ardley’s side pegged us level for the third time in the match. A powerful low shot from Sibbick on the edge of the penalty area was seen late by Austin who despite getting down quickly, couldn’t prevent Sibbick’s second of the game. A brilliant reflex save from Austin followed as the game continued to be played at such a hectic and fast pace. It was end to end as chances for both sides followed. The dons target man Lyle Taylor had a late chance when he held off Spurs substitute Lyons-Foster inside the box before laying the ball across to Egan, who thankfully for Spurs skewed inches wide of the goal. There were more golden chances for the home team notably when Forrester’s teasing cross was lifted over the bar by Taylor from point blank range on 83 minutes. Spurs were producing some great openings of their own, as they utilised the electric pace of Bennetts down the wing.
However, the game was to end in heart breaking fashion for our lads, as former Spurs man Dean Parrett bundled home a late stoppage time winner, to leave our battling side pondering what might of been. COYS
– Brandon Austin: Thought he had a great game, unlucky with the goals conceded. He made a string of brilliant reflex saves, has been excellent this season!
– George Marsh: Tidy and efficient, dealt well with the physicality of the game.
– Jonathan Dinzeyi: Still only 17, the young centre half had a fine game, looked composed and assured. Made some important interceptions.
– Christian Maghoma: Very good performance from the centre half, lead the defence by example, was dominant in the air and dealt well with the imposing Wimbledon forwards.
– Oliver Skipp: I doubt that there are many 17 year old midfielders who can run the midfield like a seasoned pro. Well that’s what Skipp done the other night, he was everywhere, making some brilliant challenges. And even gliding past players with his strength and footballing nous.
– Keanan Bennetts: My man of the match, see below.
– Joe Pritchard: The skipper produced yet another excellent display in the midfield. Roamed across the pitch filling in for a variety of players. Dictated the tempo of the game.
– Shilow Tracey: Powerful and productive down the wing, took his goal really well.
– Luke Amos: Another player who had an excellent game, Amos was an anchor man in the middle, tenacious and decisive in his play, broke up play really well.
– Samuel Shashoua: If you’ve been reading my reports over the last year, then you’ll know I’m a big fan of Samuel Shashoua. His performance against Wimbledon on Tuesday showcased his remarkable Eriksen like footballing intelligence on the pitch. His vision, creativity and movement were all first class, he also took his goal with such composure.
– Kazaiah Sterling: Pressed high, made some great runs and scored a well earned goal (his sixth of the campaign) a fine display.
My man of the match: There were so many excellent performances against the dons, but for me it has to be Keanan Bennetts. A player who had a profound impact on the game from left back, Bennetts was unstoppable down the left flank. His pace, power and Zaha like skill, proved too much for the visitors who resulted in pulling his shirt to stop him on occasions. Two brilliant assists from a player who has been exceptional this season.
AFC Wimbledon: McDonnell, Sibbick, Kennedy, Robinson (c), Charles, Egan, Hartigan, Soares (Trotter 46), Kaja, McDonald (Taylor 56), Forrester (Parrett 64). Substitutes (not used): Francomb, Nightingale, Kalambayi, Tzanev (GK).
Spurs U21s: Austin, Marsh, Bennetts, Skipp, C Maghoma, Dinzeyi (Lyons-Foster 71), S Shashoua (Griffiths 89), Amos, Sterling, Pritchard (c), Tracey (Loft 71). Substitutes (not used): P Maghoma, O’Reilly (GK).
Goals: AFC Wimbledon – Sibbick 19, 60, Kaja 38, Parrett 90+2; Spurs – Tracey 16, Shashoua 34, Sterling 59.
Referee: Antony Coggins.