Spurs under 23’s 0-0 Sunderland: (match report)
Our under 23’s league meeting with Sunderland on Tuesday evening at the Lamex stadium, was by youth football standards a dull affair. As Wayne Burnett’s development side drew 0-0 with the black cats, to record their first league point in over five matches. Burnett would have been slightly disappointed that his side hadn’t picked up all three points, considering we were the better team, especially during the second half. When we bombarded the Sunderland defence, it seemed inevitable that Spurs would break the deadlock. However, that was not to be the case as a sturdy (albeit it quite negative) Sunderland side managed to hold on to the point, despite missing their best youth players who were all left at home. The Spurs team included promising young winger Anthony Georgiou who I assume was returning to action from injury following a spell of no game time. And the young winger turned wingback for this occasion certainly made an impact on the game. The first chance of what was an incredibly dour first half fell to Ethan Robson inside the opening minutes when he tried his luck on the turn. The visitors effort being comfortably gathered by Austin in the Spurs goal. Some good early play from Sunderland culminated in Andrew Nelson volleying over Denver Hume’s pin point cross as Spurs struggled to get a hold of the ball. A good move from Spurs at the other end followed, when Pritchard set Harrison racing through on goal down the right channel, the Spurs striker showing good feet before failing to really test Stryjek with his low effort, which was easily met by the former Polish youth international.
Sunderland were pressing high as Spurs struggled to keep possession during the early stages of the game. An of balance Kazaiah Sterling couldn’t trouble Stryjek from range, a player who he forced a howler out of during this fixture last season. A lucky break for the visitors saw the ball fall kindly to Kimpioka on the edge of the Spurs box, the forwards powerful low effort being spectacularly palmed away from goal by Austin. Both sides were cancelling each other out as few clear cut chances ensued, Burnett had his team really well structured at the back with the tenacious pairing of Eyoma and Maghoma at centre half. Spurs then created their best chance so far through the surging Sterling down the right, his low cross was received by Harrison inside the penalty area as the strikers low deflected effort squirmed inches wide of Stryjek’s left post. Though the game lacked creativity and continued to be a scrappy affair, Spurs were giving more of a go at getting forward. The lively Sterling flashed an effort wide of goal before the centre forward headed Georgiou’s cross well wide a couple of minutes later, as Sunderland continued to sit deep. Burnett’s team started the second half with a more attacking approach, Georgiou in particular seemed to be getting up more. Shortly after the restart the young winger burst past Josh Robson down the left hand side before whipping in a dangerous cross, which frustratingly for the youngster wasn’t met by any Spurs player inside the box. Spurs had now started to stamp their authority on the game a shift in the flow of the game swiftly followed. Whilst Ethan Robson fired over a rare Sunderland attempt shortly afterwards, Spurs were soon back in the driving seat.
Shayon Harrison’s decent effort from range stung the palms of Stryjek before another opportunity followed for Spurs. It was a nice quick attacking move which saw Harrison pass to the unmarked Georgiou down the left channel, he surged forward with the ball before hitting an effort straight at Stryjek who could only parry, Georgiou’s follow up was again stopped by the alert keeper who made a fine reaction save. Spurs were really pushing for that winner, and their sudden creativity had a lot to do with the recent introduction of young magician Samuel Shashoua, who was starting to initiate some nice passages of play. Pritchard saw his long range effort fly over before another golden opportunity fell for Burnett’s team. It was another incisive attacking move as Harrison passed the ball out to Shashoua down the left side, his well measured cross was narrowly missed by the in sliding Tracey inside the box, as a Sunderland defender managed to scramble the ball away for a Spurs corner. Another goal scoring opportunity arose from the corner kick as Harrison volleyed the ball over the cross bar from close range, after receiving a nice cushion header from Maghoma. Harrison then saw his effort blocked after receiving a cross from out left, unfortunately he hadn’t left it for substitute Jack Roles who was ghosting into a nice pocket of space.
Our lads were desperately looking for that illusive goal, Luke Amos blasted an effort over the crossbar from range, whilst Georgiou delivered yet another promising cross into the danger area. Pace was injected into the game through the newly introduced Keanan Bennetts, and it didn’t take him long to make an impact. The wide man trying his luck at goal with a nice curling effort which was met low down by Stryjek. Despite the additional five minutes of added time which was shown by the fourth official, I just got this feeling that for all Spurs’ huff and puff and creativity, that we just weren’t going to see the net bulge. Well, at least not officially there was still time for some late drama after Stryjek went down inside the area defending a cross. Stryjek who was lying on the floor injured didn’t take to kindly to Harrison kicking the ball into the back of the net, the towering goalkeeper quickly sprung to his feet before squaring up to the Spurs man. Harrison saying to Stryjek “are you stupid?” before the matter was quickly resolved. It may be a slightly disappointing result for Burnett’s side but they enjoyed a really good second half and showed great character throughout. Next up for Burnett’s side is an away trip to Leicester’s Holmes park stadium in the new year, as always I will be attending that one. COYS
Player reviews: – Brandon Austin: Had very few saves to make apart from one good one in the first half. Was very comfortable in dealing with crosses.
– George Marsh: Solid and efficient done a fine job, but wasn’t really tested much.
– Christian Maghoma: A really good commanding performance from Christian Maghoma last night. The centre half had a flawless game in central defence, solid and tidy throughout. Maghoma was also a very vocal figure in the team.
– TJ Eyoma: Not to dissimilar to Maghoma, u17 World Cup winner Eyoma had a terrific game against a Sunderland team which lacked potency up top. Strong in the challenge and dominant in the air.
– Anthony Georgiou: My motm, see below.
– Oliver Skipp: Yet another top display from Oliver Skipp or ‘Skippy’ as he is known to his teammates. Dominant in the central areas, Skipp dictated play showing good movement and tactical awareness both on and off the ball. Also made some nice crunching challenges and ambitious forward passes.
– Joe Pritchard: An engine in the midfield, Pritchard was slick and tidy in his play. Initiated numerous good moves for Spurs.
– Luke Amos: Sheer dominance from the skipper overwhelmed the Sunderland players who he gave no time on the ball to!
– Kazaiah Sterling: Great movement throughout, tracked back and made good runs. But didn’t really get the service to convert.
– Shayon Harrison: Operated as a 10 for the majority of the game and looked good throughout. Showed nice ball control and skill under pressure and had a fair few attempts on goal, was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet.
– Shilow Tracey: Had very few touches of the ball down the wing, made more of an impact in the second half but was never really in the game.
– Samuel Shashoua: Was the creative spark we so desperately lacked, following his introduction in the second half. Shashoua changed the pattern of the game and became Spurs’ main creative outlet, with his good movement, awareness and fine decision making in the final third. He has adapted really well to u23 football this season.
– Keanan Bennetts: Bright cameo.
– Jack Roles: Brief but impressive cameo, got into good positions.
My man of the match: After a lay off with injury Anthony Georgiou showed exactly why he’s been in the first team fold this season, as he put in an motm display at Stevenage on Tuesday evening. The young winger who operated at left back for the visit of Sunderland put in a really good shift. Whilst he was defensively sound, Georgiou showcased his attacking qualities as a winger. With his searing pace and determination to beat his man, Georgiou really troubled Robson during the game, the defender unable to prevent his lung bursting runs. Georgiou was really positive throughout and was one of the few players on the pitch who actually wanted to run at players and take them on. Georgiou’s high pressing and attacking intent resulted in him getting into some really promising positions, and he whipped in some delightful crosses into the danger zone. In my opinion he is exactly the type of player that Pochettino’s squad is currently lacking. An old fashioned out and out winger who constantly wants to take people on and whip crosses into the box, all that combined with a work rate that few could match, I have a feeling that we’ll be seeing Anthony playing for the senior team again this season!
Side notes: Development squad striker Ryan Loft was not involved in the squad for the Sunderland game, he was sat a couple of rows in front of me in the stands, I’m unsure if he was injured. In addition midfielder Dylan Duncan was involved in the pre match warm ups as he continues to recover from injury. And finally long term absentee, Nick Tsaroulla was once again observing the teams in the warm up from the touchline, I would doubt he’ll be back anytime soon which is a big shame.
Spurs: Austin, Marsh, Georgiou, Skipp, C Maghoma, Eyoma, Pritchard (Roles 82), Amos (c), Sterling (S Shashoua 63), Harrison, Tracey (Bennetts 80). Substitutes (not used): Whiteman, Brown.
Sunderland: Stryjek, J Robson, Hume, Beadling (c), Taylor, Storey, Kimpioka (Diamond 61), E Robson, Nelson (Hacket 76), Embleton (Gamble 82), Allan. Substitutes (not used): Woud, Wright.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Georgiou 90, Harrison 90+5; Sunderland – Nelson 19, Taylor 77.
Referee: Gary Parsons.