Spurs under 23’s 1-2 Everton: (match report)
The visit of David Unsworth’s Everton under 23 side to the training centre earlier today, provided Spurs with an opportunity to move up to 11th in the league table above Manchester United. Sadly it was to be an opportunity missed, in a tightly contested game it was Burnett’s development side who were to be the ones that left the field empty handed. For all their hard work and tenacity at the back in what was an incredibly scrappy and dull game for the most part, Jack Roles opener on 68 minutes appeared to be an indication that a win was on the horizon for Burnett’s team. But a quick reply from the toffees, courtesy of a brace from Anthony Evans caused late disappointment for the lilywhites after a real workman like display in a game of very few chances. It should be noted that the conditions at Hotspur Way were quite atrocious, the pouring rain for the majority of the game hampered our lads creativity in the final third. Spurs got the game underway on a very wet pitch but it was the visitors who were to have the first attempt on goal, after Fraser Hornby squandered an opportunity inside the box. Matthew Foulds drilled an effort wide moments later, as both sides tried to get on the ball. At the other end, a crisp pass from Roles set Bennetts free down the left. The wingers dangerous cross flew across the face of Hewelt’s goal. Both teams were cancelling each other out and neither keeper was being tested. The lively Shayon Harrison had a long range effort deflected just wide of goal before Kazaiah Sterling nodded Jaden Brown’s cross inches wide of the goal.
There were a lot of high balls going on, owing to the fact that both sides quick passing was being hampered by the pouring rain. The game was becoming very scrappy indeed, Hornby’s header forced a comfortable save out of Whiteman whilst Bassala Sambou fired high and wide a couple of minutes later. Everton enjoyed a bit more of the ball but even they couldn’t really trouble the Spurs defence. Nathan Broadhead’s low effort just past the half hour mark was well parried by Whiteman into the path of Sambou whose tap in was ruled out for offside. Chances for Grant and Sambou went affray before Nathan Broadhead’s effort on the half volley flew just over Alfie Whiteman’s crossbar. The nifty footwork and pin point passing from Jack Roles had been Spurs’ only real creative outlet throughout a disappointing half. In an attempt to bolster Spurs’ attack, Burnett brought off Sterling for Georgiou at half time whilst shifting Shilow Tracey up top. Spurs defender Jonathan Dinzeyi made a crucial sliding challenge in the area soon after the restart, as both sides began to be more aggressive in their attacking play. Burnett’s side seemed to look revitalised after the rain stopped, Bennetts picking out Roles on the edge of the Spurs box before curling a low effort centre meters ajar of the right post. Some great skill from Bennetts down the right hand side saw the Spurs man cut inside before powering an effort just wide of goal, as Spurs really started to assert themselves in the game.
A game of pin ball inside the Spurs box resulted in Harrison’s sweetly struck volley being blocked by an Everton defender, as Unsworth’s resilient side continued to keep us out. However, after a frustrating period in the game Spurs took the lead in the 68th minute courtesy of a beauty from the influential Jack Roles. It was a good incisive move, Pritchard swiftly moving the ball to Roles from the right flank following his introduction. The Cypriot youth international tried his luck on the edge of the penalty area, with a glorious curler. That nestled so sweetly inside the bottom right hand corner of the helpless Hewelt’s goal, 1-0. But could Spurs hold on to their lead for the remainder of the game? Sadly the answer was no, they lacked the composure to do so. Three minutes after Roles’ opener the blues levelled through Antony Evans. It was a really good goal, Jose Baxter’s defence splitting pass put Evans through on goal. The forward managing to prod the ball past the out rushing Whiteman to level the scores. By this point, both sides had upped their tempo and were going frantically in search of the winner. A clever bit of play down the left by Evans minutes later resulted in the Englishman netting the winner after he switched the ball on to his favoured left before drilling the ball into the left hand side of Whiteman’s goal, it was a bitter late blow for Burnett’s side. Jack Roles had a late header cleared off the line as hope of an equaliser faded. Unsworth’s side managing to run down the clock, to record all three points.
Player reviews: – Alfie Whiteman: Made a couple of decent saves, was virtually a spectator until the second half. However, some of his distribution put us into danger on occasions.
– Anton Walkes: I was really impressed with Walkes performance today, which was his first in a Spurs shirt since his loan to MLS club Atlanta last year. The right back had a really good game, he was commanding and decisive, made some crucial interceptions.
– Christian Maghoma: Tenacious in the air and commanding in the challenge, playing some nice passes out from the back. The under 23 mainstay had a good game alongside Dinzeyi. They formed a solid partnership and kept Everton at bay until the latter went off injured towards the final 20 minutes.
– Jonathan Dinzeyi: Really impressive performance from Dinzeyi, worked really well with Maghoma. Looked assured and composed and made some really good sliding tackles. Soon after he went off through injury we conceded two goals! I really hope for Jonathan that this isn’t a serious injury, he has been so unlucky with them over the past year.
– Jaden Brown: Stayed deep and done a good job defensively.
– Luke Amos: Tough tackling and efficient performance from Amos. Done his job well as the midfield anchor man, mopped up well. His passing was also nice and crisp.
– Jack Roles: My motm, see below.
– Shilow Tracey: Had a good first half down the right but following his switch up top at half time, he failed to make much of an impact. Worked very hard and pressed throughout.
– Shayon Harrison: Was very lively, roaming across the pitch and influencing play as a number 10.
– Keanan Bennetts: Played on the right wing for the second consecutive game in a row. Bennetts enjoyed some good moments in the game (cutting inside from the right) but he rarely ran directly at his man.
– Kazaiah Sterling: Only played the first half, simply didn’t get the service.
– Anthony Georgiou: Positive second half performance, went on some blistering and productive runs down the left.
– Joe Pritchard: Filled in at right back following Dinzeyi’s injury. And done a fine job, he was a leader amongst the players. Pritchard went on to set up Roles for his goal.
My man of the match: Without a shadow of a doubt it has to be the influential central midfielder Jack Roles. Unbelievably this was the first time that Roles has started a league game this season and he certainly would have made a positive impression on Burnett with his performance against the blues. Roles was creative from the central areas playing some lovely and intricate passes to the strikers, he was also nimble footed and cool under pressure. And yet again he channeled his inner Frank Lampard with his ghosting runs towards the box, Roles finished his goal brilliantly past Hewelt. As you’ll all know I’m a massive fan of the midfielder and I’m really hoping that he gets a good run of games from now until the end of the season. Had he been starting all of our league games this season I feel as if he could have contributed with at least 10 goals.
Interesting fact: After his assist against Everton today, Joe Pritchard has now been involved in 8 of Spurs’ goals this season.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Whiteman, Walkes, Maghoma, Dinzeyi (Pritchard 63), Brown, Amos (c), Roles, Tracey, Harrison, Bennetts, Sterling (Georgiou 46). Substitutes (not used): Austin (GK), Lock.
Everton (4-4-2): Hewelt, Markelo, Feeney (c), Gibson, Foulds, Evans, Adeniran, Grant, Broadhead (Dyson 69), Hornby (Bowler 79), Sambou (Baxter 62). Substitutes (not used): Hilton (GK), Denny.
Goals: Spurs – Roles 68; Everton – Evans 71, 80.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Maghoma; Everton – Evans.
Referee: Alan Dale.
U23’s 2017/18 statistics: Top scorers: Sterling-7