Spurs under 23’s 1-6 Leicester City: (match report)
Reporting on Wednesday evenings game involving our under 23’s and Leicester City from a cold and secluded Holmes park, there were periods in the game when it was painful to watch. The foxes aren’t second in the table for nothing and they certainly showed their attacking prowess in the 6-1 thrashing of Wayne Burnett’s team. However, it had a lot to do with Spurs having two men sent off during the second half combined with the fact that Spurs seemed to capitulate upon taking an early lead. In all honesty Keanan Bennetts opener early on in the game was one of very few times we troubled a foxes defence which included the vastly experienced Robert Huth. It was a bit of an end to end start to the game, Dewsbury-Hall fired an early shot over for the home side. Whilst Anthony Georgiou looked to use his pace to send in a peach of a cross in to the box, sadly there was no one there to meet it. Leicester were seeing more of the ball, Josh Gordon tried an ambitious effort to beat Austin but the Spurs keeper caught it with ease. This almost frantic start to proceedings did have a positive outcome for Burnett’s team when they took the lead on 11 minutes, courtesy of a wonderful goal from Keanan Bennetts. The lively winger picked up the ball on the right before skilfully evading a couple of Leicester players before cutting in on his left and curling a typically sumptuous effort in to the top corner of Iversen’s net. However, a quick free kick by Leicester almost caught Spurs out soon afterwards. George Thomas’ pass set Ndukwu free down the left side of the box, Ndukwu fired the ball against the side netting.
Then at the other end Spurs looked to extend their lead, a nice attacking move culminated in Harrison’s low shot being stopped by Iversen. The signs were ominous for Spurs, this prolific Leicester side weren’t going to lower their high tempo style of play. Josh Gordon fired an excellent dipping effort just over Austin’s goal, before the latter had to do well to deal with a dangerous ball in. Josh Gordon once again went close moments later, the forward was allowed to go through on goal and would have equalised were it not for a fine stop by Austin who spread himself well. Leicester’s attacking persistence paid off shortly before the half hour mark after Spurs failed to deal with a deep in swinging cross, as the foxes Sam Hughes bundled the ball home with a precise low effort. Leicester continued to pepper the Spurs goal, Layton Ndukwu’s curling long range effort fizzed off the upright before coming out to Thomas whose first time effort was saved by Austin. Spurs were struggling to keep up with such a high tempo outfit and were continuing to make forced errors. One such error occurred after Oliver Skipp was robbed of the ball on the edge of the Spurs box, George Thomas’ resulting effort having to be palmed away by Austin. Then moments later Leicester headed the ball just wide at the far post, the foxes forwards showed no signs of stopping. The attempts at goal kept on coming, Thomas’ effort had to be headed to safety by Maghoma whilst the same player was forced in to making a vital block moments later.
Josh Gordon left George Marsh on the floor when he surged down the left flank before whipping a low cross into Ndukwu, who flicked the ball onto the outside of Austin’s post. Spurs had barely got out of their own half since taking the lead. Steve Beaglehole’s side almost took the lead straight after the restart when George Thomas fired an effort just over on the turn. Spurs were frustratingly not utilising the pacy wingers and were therefore unable to cause much of a threat going forward, isolating the likes of Harrison and Sterling up top. Dewsbury-Hall had an effort cannon off the crossbar soon afterwards before a game changing decision left Spurs in the lurch. It was a flailing arm by George Marsh which ended up seeing the Spurs man receive his second yellow card in the space of just two minutes though it seemed a tad harsh, Marsh was given his marching orders to the delight of the home side. The foxes were now looking to capitalise on their extra man, and it didn’t take them long to trouble the Spurs goal. George Thomas had an initial effort on goal blocked before gloriously wrapping his foot around the rebound, bending on to the inside of Austin’s post only to see it go agonisingly wide. Connor Wood drilled a shot inches wide a couple of minutes later before the home side finally made the breakthrough. It was like a game of pin ball inside the Spurs box as Leicester tried to get a clean shot away, the ball eventually falling to Thomas who on his second effort managed to curl the ball home, 1-2.
The foxes were bombarding the depleted Spurs defence as they continued to counter attack us when ever we went forward. Things got a whole lot worse for Burnett’s side when they received their second sending off of the game. On first viewing it did seem a bit harsh even though the Leicester fans sitting next me thought it was a terrible challenge, young Oliver Skipp who is not a dirty player by any means, went to get the ball off of Gordon. Slipping as he made the tackle Skipp went straight through Gordon giving O’Donnell no choice but to show him the red card. The game was by now a forgone conclusion and just moments after Skipp’s sending off, Leicester grabbed their third. It came from a corner kick, Austin managing to save a header inside the box. Though he could do nothing about Darnell Johnson’s resulting effort as he scrambled the ball home. Maghoma once again produced a fine piece of defending before a sloppy Spurs gave the ball away to Leicester. In an incisive attacking move which put Josh Gordon through on goal, the young forward showed the composure to calmly slot the ball past Austin, to put the game to bed. Whilst assistant manager Justin Cochrane continued to motivate his players throughout this late stage, unfortunately it was to little success. Soon after Gordon was once again allowed a free route to goal, though this time he fired the ball just wide. Leicester were in no mood for stopping, a short corner resulted in Leicester (Dewsbury-Hall) whipping a dangerous ball into the box in which the unmarked Gordon was allowed to head home, it had become all to easy. Leicester almost extended their lead after they chased a long ball which Austin had come rushing out to clear, only to miss the ball entirely. Leicester advanced on goal squaring the ball to Josh Eppiah inside the box, his low effort was only denied by a brilliant goal line block by Brown.
Substitute Jack Roles tried his best to pull a goal back for Spurs but his long range effort flew well wide of goal. But there was still time for Leicester to get a sixth as Luke Thomas went surging down the right before crossing for George Thomas whose improvised flick went in off Eyoma to make it 6-1. Not a night to remember for Spurs in the Midlands, there next game is a home one against Everton on the 15th.
Player reviews: – Brandon Austin: Made some really good stops to keep the score line lower, but his distribution put us into danger on more than one occasion.
– George Marsh: Was doing well until he got booked twice in two minutes, he certainly doesn’t have the best disciplinary record out of the squad.
– Jaden Brown: Decent performance. Was good going forward, especially towards the latter part of the game.
– Luke Amos: One of the better performers on the night, I thought Amos put in a good shift. He mopped up well even after the dismissal of Skipp, he showed his experience and put in some fine challenges.
– C.Maghoma: My motm see below.
– TJ Eyoma: Tough game for Eyoma, but the 17 year old put in a strong enough performance.
– Keanan Bennetts: Scored an absolute beauty in the first half, but rarely came into the game after that.
– Oliver Skipp: A strong first half performance before an unfortunate dismissal in the second half.
– Kazaiah Sterling: Barely touched the ball, was isolated up top.
– Shayon Harrison: Was a similar case for Harrison who did however show really good feet on occasions.
– Anthony Georgiou: One of our best performers, Georgiou was one of the few players willing to run at the Leicester defence and whipped in some nice crosses. He also tracked back really well.
My man of the match: Whilst it may seem odd to award it to a defender after we conceded six goals. I felt that the one player deserving of being man of the match was centre half Christian Maghoma, yes Spurs conceded six goals but this was down to exceptional circumstances. Maghoma was the leader of the side even when we were 6-1 down. The 20 year old made countless important blocks, challenges and recoveries. His pace and prowess in the air saved Spurs on numerous occasions. Even the Leicester fans sat near me were left mightily impressed by the DR Congo internationals performance.
Leicester City: Iversen, Johnson, Wood (L Thomas 83), Hughes (c), Knight, Huth, Kaba Sherif (Eppiah 65), Dewsbury-Hall, Gordon, G Thomas, Ndukwu (Martis 68). Substitutes (not used): Bramley, Debayo.
Spurs: Austin, Marsh, Brown, Amos (c), C Maghoma, Eyoma, Bennetts (Roles 74), Skipp, Sterling, Harrison (Pritchard 78), Georgiou (Tracey 71). Substitute (not used): Whiteman.
Goals: Leicester – Hughes 28, Thomas 66, 90+4, Johnson 76, Gordon 82, 89; Spurs – Bennetts 11.
Yellow cards: Leicester – Ndukwu 64; Spurs – Amos 43, Marsh 56, 57.
Red cards: Spurs – Marsh 57, Skipp 73.
Referee: Christopher O’Donnell.
U23’s 2017/18 statistics: Top scorers: Sterling-7