Spurs under 21’s 1-2 Barnet: (match report)
”We’ve come up against two League Two teams and one League One team in this competition and at times we’ve competed well, we’ve played some decent football but we’ve come up short. Yes, the players are still developing but part of their development is understanding how to win and we haven’t done that again. We’ve very disappointed in the goals conceded but we have to learn from that. We understand mistakes might happen but we have to learn and that’s the key thing for these young players.“ (Wayne Burnett)
After taking my seat at Barnets new stadium ‘the hive’ I looked around in awe at the stadium, it’s a lovely little ground with a pristine and modern feel about it, I also noticed whilst walking in, that the training ground is right next to the stadium. Enough of that, the reason I was there was to see our under 21’s final Checkatrade trophy game of the season, on paper it was a dead rubber with both sides unable to advance to the knockout stages, this game was all about playing for pride. And Burnett’s lads done just that, they put in a spirited display really taking the game to Barnet in the first half, leading deservedly at the interval. However, the bees experience shone through in the second half, they took control of the game and managed to put two past our defence to comfortably see out the tie on a bitterly cold evening. Former Spurs man Shaq Coulthirst embraced Spurs’ head of Academy development John McDermott prior to kick off, and the former Academy player had the first chance of the game. When the forward had a go from range, his effort sailing high above Whiteman’s goal. Barnet fired narrowly wide moments later as they looked to put a foothold on the game. The bees fine start to the game continued a couple of minutes later, goalkeeper Alfie Whiteman managing to palm a dangerous cross away, but it fell right to veteran defender Michael Nelson who smashed the ball against the upright.
Shayon Harrison tested Ross with a thumping effort from range as Spurs looked to get into the game. Moments after our first goal attempt of the game, we took the lead courtesy of a stunning strike from Harrison. Edwards started the move off, showing some good feet before picking out Bennetts down the left channel, he surged forward before putting in a delicious cross into the box which was met on the half volley by Harrison, whose emphatic finished hit the roof of the net, 1-0. Jack Roles was a calming presence in the midfield, almost pulling off a brilliant through ball shortly after the restart. Whiteman did well to gather Kyei’s cross before Maghoma threw himself in the way of Fonguck’s effort to prevent a goalscoring opportunity. Barnet should have levelled from the resulting corner, Nelson’s bullet header darting inches wide of Whiteman’s far post. Barnet were looking dangerous on the break, Whiteman had to be alert to stop a powerful low effort on 23 minutes as Barnet continued to threaten our defence. Alex Nicholls 20 yard thunderbolt was only stopped by a heroic fingertip save from Whiteman, as Spurs continued to cling on. Spurs continued their impressive forward play, Harrison bending an effort wide on the half hour mark. Ryan Watson almost caught Whiteman out with his dipping free kick which struck the cross bar as Spurs continued to defend well. Marsh marking a vital block soon afterwards inside the area.
The lively Marcus Edwards was proving to be Spurs’ most creative player, one such promising run saw the starlet pick out Eyoma down the right, the fullbacks cross being met by no one inside the box. The second half saw a more clinical Barnet team, who took there chance to equalise just after the restart. The prominent Vilhete’s dangerous cross was most unfortunately turned into his own net by Maghoma who tried to clear. The young centre half was clearly distraught as he looked to the sky. Barnet went on the offensive, testing Whiteman with a thumping effort soon afterwards before forcing Maghoma into making a good block. Barnet had taken control of the game whilst Spurs struggled to get the ball out of their half. However, we did manage to create a good chance after Roles won the ball in the central area of midfield. He played in Edwards who embarked on a promising run before slipping in Harrison inside the box, his effort from a tight angle hitting the side netting. Then came a disappointing goal to concede after Nicholls put Barnet ahead on 57 minutes. It was a poor goal to concede Whiteman was caught napping with the ball at his feet, being pressed by Nicholls he panicked smashing the ball off the Barnet man, with it rebounding into the back of his net, 1-2. Barnet were in the ascendancy, Coulthirst firing narrowly over moments later. Then a bees man managed to cut in from the left before firing an effort straight at the Spurs keeper. The prominent George Marsh made a brilliant sliding challenge to halt the home team who then fired the ball across the face of the Spurs goal.
A rare Spurs attack saw Harrison and Bennetts combine well on the edge of the Barnet box, the former being tripped inside the area upon receiving the ball (should have been a penalty). The newly introduced Samuel Shashoua brought some much needed energy into the game his intricate play giving Spurs another option going forward. Barnet could well have got their third after firing over from close range, as George Marsh managed to get a good block in soon after. Roles showed good late vision to put Sterling through on goal in a golden late chance for Spurs. The strikers effort being blocked by a combination of Ross and Barnet defenders who scrambled the ball clear. But the ball managed to come straight back into the danger area, Shashoua received the ball 10 or so yards out from goal, he tried placing his effort which was well met by Ross. The final score Spurs under 21’s 1-2 Barnet. COYS
– Alfie Whiteman: Made some decent stops and dealt with crosses well, he will however be disappointed at conceding the winner.
– TJ Eyoma: Composed and efficient dealt with danger coming down the right flank well.
– Keanan Bennetts: Produced a brilliant assist for the opener, embarked on some lovely forward runs down the left, and also done his defensive shift well.
– George Marsh: Had a great game, made some terrific blocks/challenges.
– Christian Maghoma: Done a good job, defended well and made some important blocks.
– Japhet Tanganga: Commanding performance, very composed from the skipper.
– Jack Roles: Brilliant display from Roles, on a rare start the central midfielder showcased his talents. Breaking up play really well, showing great vision and creativity. And using his ability to find pockets of space to relieve the Spurs lads of pressure on occasions.
– Luke Amos: Efficient and tidy.
– Shayon Harrison: My motm see below.
– Ryan Loft: Worked his socks off, held up the ball really well.
– Marcus Edwards: Lively throughout the game created a string of fine chances.
– Samuel Shashoua: Bright cameo, brought energy to the game and worked some good forward moves. Pressed relentlessly.
My man of the match: Shayon Harrison. This was a close one between Harrison and Roles, but I’m going to give it to the 20 year old centre forward who put in an excellent shift up top. Harrison looked very sharp (bearing in mind he had a long injury lay off) he pressed the defenders well and oozed with confidence. I’ve long been a fan of the striker since his under 18 days. Harrison made some intelligent runs against Barnet, he was lively and didn’t hesitate to try his luck from range. He took his goal brilliantly and was unlucky not to have got another. That’s four goals from seven games for the youngster since returning from a lengthy injury lay off, I really hope to see him in the first team fold again soon.
Barnet: Ross, Taylor, Blackman, Watson, Santos, Nelson (c), Nicholls, Fonguck (Coker 82), Coulthirst (Amaluzor 78), Vilhete, Kyei (Tutonda 78). Substitutes (not used): McKenzie-Lyle, Payne, Aghadiuno, Pascal.
Spurs U21s: Whiteman, Eyoma, Bennetts, Marsh, C Maghoma, Tanganga (c), Roles, Amos (S Shashoua 72), Harrison, Edwards (Sterling 81), Loft (Tracey 63). Substitutes (not used): O’Reilly, Skipp, Pritchard.
Goals: Barnet – Maghoma (OG) 48, Nicholls 57; Spurs – Harrison 16.
Referee: Lee Collins.
U23’s 2017/18 statistics: Top scorers: Sterling-7
Some highlights from the game: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=If1MPbEh6pE&feature=youtu.be