Spurs under 23’s 3-2 Arsenal: (some thoughts on a thrilling North London Derby)
The first of two North London Derbys in the PL2 took place on Monday afternoon, as Wayne Burnett’s side hosted third placed Arsenal at Hotspur Way. Instead of doing my usual in depth match report due to the quick succession of games (which has meant I am behind on my reports), I thought I’d just write a couple of thoughts on a feisty game which saw Burnett’s side climb out of the relegation zone. Burnett’s side started the game in electric fashion taking a quick two goal lead inside the opening fifteen minutes courtesy of goals from Shayon Harrison(his first of the campaign) and Samuel Shashoua. Arsenal (whose side consisted of mostly under 18’s due to the league cup game the following night) pulled a goal back shortly afterwards, and grew into a frantic game which saw just the 8 yellow cards and two penalties. Japhet Tanganga was adjudged to have ‘caught’ the ball when he made a clearance inside the penalty area. Gifting Arsenal an opportunity from the spot, which was duly converted by Charlie Gilmour. A just as frantic and fast paced second half followed with golden chances for both sides, though what proved to be the winner for Spurs came after Spurs were awarded a penalty of their own after a foul on substitute Sterling inside the area. Penalty specialist Marcus Edwards sending his precise effort into the back of the net, to ensure a much needed and valued victory for Burnett’s side in front of a big crowd at the training centre, with former academy players Kyle Walker-Peters and Harry Winks amongst the fans cheering them on.
It was a really good performance from Burnett’s side, they passed the ball around really well and defended decisively for the majority of the game. There were three particularly impressive performances which I’ll focus on, starting with striker Shayon Harrison. On his first PL2 start of the season following a lengthy lay off with injury. The 20 year old centre forward put in a dazzling display against our North London rivals. He was so sharp and clinical in front of goal, there was much more to his game than just his well taken opener. He pressed high relentlessly, made good runs and moved the ball very quickly out of his feet, I’m sure he’ll reach double figures in no time! Watching Oliver Skipp (17) running midfields is nothing unusual, but once again his performance was a really eye catching one. His crisp passing, vision and powerful forward runs showed that he is much more than just a defensive midfielder, it’s young Skipp’s decisiveness and many crucial interventions to break up play, which saw him have such a big impact on the game. Our under 23’s are back in league action tomorrow with a visit to the East Midlands to face Derby County.
My man of the match: The intricate Samuel Shashoua was again at the heart of the action on Monday afternoon. Now a regular starter in Burnett’s side, the tricky winger was again one of the main sources of creativity. He was constantly creating chances with his slick ball play and movement off the ball, his excellently taken goal which came about due to his awareness was not the only vital contribution he made in the game. His late surging run which eventually lead to the penalty was due to his brilliant trickery and vision.
U23’s 2017/18 statistics: Top scorers: Sterling-5