Spurs under 23’s 0-5 Manchester City: (match report)
A surprisingly strong Manchester City side ended our under 23’s eight match unbeaten run on Wednesday evening, with a dominant display at Broadhall Way. Wayne Burnett’s side were played off the park by the sky blues, whose sharp possession based football managed to overwhelm the Spurs players. City’s excellent regrouping, movement and counter attacking football proved to be one challenge too many for our development squad who ended the PL2 campaign with a 5-0 thumping from the technically much better Man City. I feared the worst after looking at the team sheet prior to kick off, the likes of Phil Foden, Brahim Diaz and Lukas Nmecha all started for City. And from their performances against Spurs it was easy to see why all three have been involved with Pep Guardiola’s senior side this season, the trio managed to cause major problems for the Spurs defence. Burnett’s side saw the inclusion of under 18 full back Tariq Hinds in the starting lineup whilst first year scholar Dilan Markanday was named on the bench. Also included in the starting 11 was Samuel Shashoua who has recently recovered from injury. Spurs got the game underway at a sunny Broadhall Way for our development squads final game of the season. Almost immediately after getting the game underway, George Marsh ran over to Nmecha to prevent him from running forward. However, he ended up looking a little startled after the Man City striker forced him to the ground with his sheer strength. The visitors would have the first attempt on goal of the game, after Ian Poveda surged forward after pouncing on a loose ball. The winger continued on to the edge of the box before curling an effort narrowly wide of the Spurs goal.
City were enjoying a bright start to proceedings, soon after Poveda’s effort Man City threatened the Spurs defence again. Brahim Diaz managed to trick his way across the Tottenham penalty area before sliding the ball out to Luke Bolton on the left. The wide man swept a low ball into the danger zone which Nmecha decided to leave (due to being in an offside position) it ended up squirming agonisingly wide of Whiteman’s left post. Head coach Wayne Burnett could be heard roaring to Anthony Georgiou “Where are you going?” As Spurs struggled to adapt to the high intensity start from the visitors. The dominant Manchester City were knocking the ball about for fun as they continued to unsettle the Spurs defence with their Guardiola-esque attacking football. Shortly after forcing Oliver Skipp into making an important block inside the penalty area, the visitors took a deserved lead through Lukas Nmecha. The Man City forward had managed to cap off a wonderful attacking move from Simon Davies’ side. A move which started from the heart of the city defence, Adarabioyo passing the ball forward to Nmecha who combined well with Foden before rifling a low effort into the back of Whiteman’s net from an acute angle, on the edge of the Tottenham penalty. Although it was a fine strike from Nmecha, Whiteman’s chances of saving it were severely hampered by a massive deflection off of the sliding Dinzeyi which caught out the Spurs keeper. Man City almost doubled their lead a couple of moments later through Brahim Diaz. Ed Francis sent a lovely ball over the top of the Spurs defence to Diaz inside the penalty area. Diaz tried to catch Whiteman out with a thumping effort on the half volley, but the Spurs keeper reacted well with an excellent save at his near post. Spurs were being totally outplayed in the opening stages!
Stifled by the high pressing of the Manchester City players, Spurs were prevented from launching any meaningful attacks on the City defence. Continuing to blossom under the evening sun, City produced another fine move when Adarabioyo picked out Bolton on the right wing with a lovely lofted pass. Bolton sent in a dangerous looping cross towards the far post which in all reality wasn’t a million miles away from totally embarrassing Whiteman and nestling inside the far corner of the goal. City continued to dominate and there was little that Spurs could do to prevent it. Jonathan Dinzeyi managed to prevent Nmecha’s effort with an important goal line block. However, Burnett’s side could produce no such heroics to stop City from doubling their lead only a couple of moments later. City punished us after being allowed to break forward through a sloppy pass from George Marsh which gave the ball straight to Diaz in the centre of the park. The Spaniard drove at the Spurs defence before shifting the ball out to Bolton on the right. He swept the ball into the box which the pacy Diaz managed to get forward and meet, flicking the ball past Whiteman to cap off a sparkling move. Spurs managed their first attempt on goal of the game shortly afterwards through Kazaiah Sterling, who fired wide of Muric’s goal after receiving Tracey’s pass. The latter forced a comfortable save out of Muric a couple of moments later after hitting a weak effort on his left. Samuel Shashoua conceded a free kick on the edge of the Spurs box after bringing down Nmecha, as Spurs continued to be frustrated.
Nmecha’s resulting under the wall effort flew wide of the mark as Spurs managed to escape further embarrassment, in what was turning out to be an all too easy game for the away side. With three on two City burst forward towards Whiteman’s goal before Nmecha’s over hit through ball narrowly deceived Foden inside the box. We then managed to produce our finest chance of the half, Tariq Hinds lovely floated cross from the left was well attacked in the air by Sterling. Muric spilt the ball which came out to Oliver Skipp on the edge of the box, but he fired the ball straight at the chest of the Montenegrin keeper. Anthony Georgiou had a promising effort blocked shortly afterwards. Burnett’s side were showing more positive signs going forward as the half came to a close, Georgiou had a menacing cross cleared by Ed Francis. Whilst Samuel Shashoua did well to win a dangerous free kick on the edge of the penalty area. The same player stood up to test Muric with a fine effort over the Man City wall, which was heading into the top left hand corner but for a fine acrobatic stop from Muric to tip the ball over. Burnett desperately needed to shake things up during the interval. Man City got the game back underway, but it was Burnett’s side who were able to create the first chance of the half. Samuel Shashoua managed to turn his man brilliantly before floating in a cross from the right. The ball eventually came out to Georgiou on the edge of the box, the Cypriots powerful low effort flew inches wide of the goal after taking a nick off of a City defender. Despite improving their attacking play danger was never far away for Burnett’s side.
The impressive Dinzeyi was forced into making an important block before the newly introduced Dele-Bashiru saw his low effort deflected out for a corner kick by Skipp. Thankfully Tanganga was on hand to prevent Bolton from the finding the danger man inside the box. Manchester City’s dominance on the game continued and they reflected this when they managed to find their third of the game on 52 minutes. Once again it had been all too easy for Davies’ side to carve open the Tottenham defence, Diaz’s precise through ball managed to pick out Luke Bolton down the right hand side. He continued into the Spurs box before calmly tucking the ball past Whiteman and inside his near post despite Dinzeyi’s desperate lunge, 0-3. Straight from the Spurs kick off came another golden chance for the visitors who came so close to making it 4-0. Diaz caught the Spurs defence by surprise, threading a nice pass through to Nmecha inside the box. The tall centre forwards first time effort came off of the underside of the crossbar before bouncing high enough for Whiteman to claim, goal line technology would have come in handy! Spurs responded down the other end through Kazaiah Sterling who ended up getting his ambitious effort all wrong soon afterwards. Frustrated by a lack of openings in the City defence Spurs needed to use the ball wisely, that’s why it came as a great waste when Shashoua chose not to play Georgiou through on goal, after embarking on a good attacking foray of his own, instead opting to shoot. His effort would go out for a Tottenham corner kick. Sterling rose well to nod the resulting corner wide at Muric’s near post.
A flurry of chances came the visitors way, first through Luke Bolton who breezed past Hinds down the right before whipping a menacing ball in to the box, thankfully Tanganga was on hand to make a timely clearance. Brahim Diaz bent an effort inches wide of the mark a couple of moments later, before Phil Foden sliced an effort well wide after going on a promising forward run. Wayne Burnett made an attacking double substitution to change things up for his struggling side, when he brought on Bennetts and Markanday (u23 debut) for Georgiou and Shashoua. Georgiou looked particularly sad as he made his way into the dugout. Man City were showing no signs of lowering their high energy tempo as the clock ticked down, Latibeaudiere squared the ball to Foden inside the box but the England under 18 internationals improvised back heel was somehow cleared on the line by Dinzeyi, much to the relief of Whiteman. Then the Tottenham goalkeeper did well to come out of his box and get to the ball before the advancing Nmecha could punish him. Burnett’s team couldn’t seem to string a couple of passes together, they were sloppy and overwhelmed by the dominant possession based football being played by the visitors, it wasn’t nice to watch. In a rare attacking move from the lilywhites Shilow Tracey fired an effort narrowly over the Man City goal. However, Man City would go at our defence again a couple of moments later. The sky blues punished Spurs for losing possession, Nmecha was slipped in down the left channel. The leagues top scorer forced Whiteman into making an important save with his feet after unleashing a ferocious strike. Somehow Brahim Diaz was unable to tap home the rebound, instead blasting it high into the Austin stand behind the goal.
One thing which was striking from City’s performance was their regrouping, for a side so young they were just as organised and well drilled as Guardiola’s seniors, it was quite remarkable to watch a team of teenagers play football in such a way. Once again Manchester City threatened the Spurs goal, Foden managing to find Nmecha inside the box. Somehow Nmecha couldn’t sort his feet out in time and Whiteman was able to gather the ball from under his feet. Phil Foden embarked on a surging run down the left hand side a couple of moments later before forcing Whiteman into making an important stop with his legs. The frustration with in the side was plain to see, Sterling was evidently annoyed that he wasn’t being given support up top as he singlehandedly pressed the City defenders, he could be heard shouting “why aren’t you there?” To his team mates. Alfie Whiteman was alert to make an important save down to his left to prevent Luke Bolton’s thunderbolt as Man City pushed for a fourth goal. Limited to long range efforts such as Oliver Skipp’s ambitious volley on 85 minutes, Spurs looked flat and lethargic. City’s fourth goal of the game duly arrived in the 88th minute, another incisive attacking move had undone the Tottenham defence. The creative spark which was Phil Foden saw the starlet from Stockport thread a peach of a through ball in to Lukas Nmecha who was allowed to run through on goal. Whiteman made the decision to come running off of his line but soon regretted it as the pacy centre forward rounded him with ease before calmly slotting the ball into the empty net, 0-4. Spurs had hardly been given enough time to get back in position before City rounded the game off with a fifth deep in stoppage time.
After being allowed to carve open our defence with ease Phil Foden was able to get a well deserved goal of his own. Ed Francis passed the ball to Nmecha who drove forward before slipping the ball out to Foden on the left wing. Foden continued into the box before powering an effort past Whiteman and into the top left corner of the net, the Spurs goalkeepers touch on the ball was not enough to thwart the ferocity of the strike. The final score from Stevenage Spurs under 23’s 0-5 Manchester City, it was a disappointing end to what has been an excellent season on the whole. We were missing quite a few players for the final league game of the season whilst City went full strength. The quality of Diaz, Nmecha and Foden was a class above any of our lads. We end the season in ninth place with 26 points, I will be doing an end of season review in due course of which will include a detailed review of every players season. COYS
Player reviews: – Alfie Whiteman: It was a decent performance from the 19 year old in between the sticks. Whiteman made a string of fine stops to ensure that the scoreline wasn’t by a far greater marginfor the visitors. Although he will have been disappointed to have been outdone by Nmecha, for the citizens fifth goal of the game. He must have made at least nine saves.
– Tariq Hinds: He did ok on his first u23 game of the season, playing at left back Hinds looked solid for the most part. However, Bolton was allowed to beat him for pace and guile on many occasions and did give him a tough game.
– George Marsh: Not his finest game by any means, the midfielder was overwhelmed by the likes of Diaz and Foden, struggling to assert his authority on the game Marsh looked sloppy and out of place, such was the energy provided by the sky blues front line.
– Jonathan Dinzeyi: My motm, see below.
– Japhet Tanganga: It was a very tough game for the skipper but all in all he gave a decent account of himself. Tanganga made a couple of really timely interventions and also did a good job in the air. However, he did struggle to marshal his defence,
– Shilow Tracey: Struggled to make much of an impact going forward, remained pretty anonymous throughout the game.
– Oliver Skipp: Like Marsh, Skipp struggled to contain the attacking threat of City’s central players and was unable to get forward. He did however make a couple of really important blocks.
– Kazaiah Sterling: It would be unfair to judge Sterling’s performance up top as he was living off hardly any support from the wide men. He pressed the City defenders very well.
– Samuel Shashoua: It was great to see our very own David Silva back on the pitch after enduring an injury hit campaign. Shashoua impressed on the ball and went on some fine forays through the middle. Came within an inch of scoring from a free kick on the stroke of halftime.
– Anthony Georgiou: He was one of the players who was eager to run at the City defence despite the risks involved. He was positive and direct and managed to go close to finding a goal of his own on a couple of occasions. Georgiou made some intelligent runs down the left hand side.
– Keanan Bennetts: He gave a good account of himself out on the right wing during his 25 minute cameo, Bennetts was tricky and direct.
– Dilan Markanday: A positive cameo from the u23 debutant who looked bright going forwards.
– Jaden Brown: N/A
My man of the match: Jonathan Dinzeyi. No one from the Spurs team really stood out but my man of the match has to go to 18 year old centre half Jonathan Dinzeyi on his sixth league appearance of the season. He was by no means perfect nor was his partner Tanganga, but it was Dinzeyi’s persistence which really impressed me. His positioning throughout the game wasn’t excellent but it was his committed defending which proved so effective. He was always on his toes, alert to danger and quick in to making a challenge. His excellent goal line clearances saved us on a couple of occasions. In a sense he is still quite raw, he is a risky but exciting centre half who loves to play it out from the back, it’s also worth considering that he is still a relatively recent convert to CB. Soon after coming off late on in the second half Spurs conceded two goals!
Spurs: Whiteman, Eyoma, Hinds, Marsh, Dinzeyi (Brown 83), Tanganga (c), Tracey, Skipp, Sterling, S Shashoua (Markanday 65), Georgiou (Bennetts 66). Substitutes (not used): Austin, Duncan.
Manchester City: Muric, Humphreys (Dele-Bashiru 46), Adarabioyo, Latibeaudiere, Francis, Smith, Poveda (Garre 46), Diaz, Nmecha (c), Foden, Bolton (Gonzalez 83). Substitutes (not used): Scott, Kigbu.
Goals: City – Nmecha 19, 88, Diaz 30, Bolton 52, Foden 90+1.
Referee: David Rock.
Spurs under 23/21’s statistics 2017/18:
U23’s 2017/18 statistics: Top scorers: Sterling-11