Spurs under 23’s 1-1 Brighton: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 1-1 Brighton: (match report)

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Our under 23’s played out a 1-1 draw with Brighton on Friday evening in their third PL2 game of the new season. Played on a rainy evening at Broadhall Way in Stevenage, Burnett’s surprisingly strong side were hoping to build on their impressive 1-1 draw against Liverpool up at Anfield the previous week. However, the extremely well organised and defence minded Brighton were always going to be a challenge to break down, despite Burnett’s side being bolstered by the inclusion of Josh Onomah and Luke Amos. Simon Rusk’s seagulls side defended tightly and didn’t allow our forwards to have much space in the final third. The occasional roar of lock him in could be heard as Brighton honed in on our most creative and potent players. After a fairly uneventful first half which saw few clear cut chances. Spurs were unable to make their possession count and on 42 minutes Brighton took the lead after catching us on the break, a fine finish from young Swede Viktor Gyokeres left us trailing at halftime. However, it was in the second half that Spurs started to play a little bit more directly as they went in search of an equaliser. We had been trying to score ’ the perfect goal ’ in the first half and it just wasn’t helping us break down the extremely solid Brighton defence. We played with a little bit more width in the second half and that certainly benefitted the tricky Shayon Harrison who got us level on 59 minutes, with a lovely curling effort from the edge of the penalty area. After getting the leveller Burnett’s side started to enjoy a really good spell in the game, but they were unable to create many clear cut chances and the notable absence of Samuel Shashoua through injury was felt strongly. And that cost us after the seagulls shut up shop, we were unable to break them down and despite our best efforts we were forced to settle for a point. Burnett’s much changed lineup from the previous game against Liverpool saw him opt for the familiar 4-2-3-1 formation.

Alfie Whiteman started in goal for the third consecutive game this season whilst a back four of Eyoma, Ogilvie, Marsh (c) and Brown sat in front of him. In front of them was the central midfield partnership of Luke Amos and Oliver Skipp, both players were making their first appearance at this level this season after recent involvement with the first team. And in front of them was the attacking line of Edwards, Onomah (his first appearance at this level since April 2017) and Harrison, with 16 year old Troy Parrott leading the line for the second successive game. Brighton got the game underway as the rain continued to spit down, and it was a fairly uneventful opening couple of minutes. It was in fact the visitors who had looked the brightest of the two teams early on. After a group of Brighton players had claimed that Onomah had handled the ball before making a clearance inside his own penalty area, centre half Connor Ogilvie was forced into making a vital clearance from Alex Cochrane’s cross. Will Collar then tried his luck from range but his powerful effort was deflected off of Amos and onto the back of Ogilvie who was forced into making the block, as Brighton continued to see a fair bit of the ball. Spurs had their first attempt on goal of the game shortly afterwards when Edwards received the ball from Parrott out on the right. The skilful wide man worked his way across the edge of the penalty area before forcing Brighton goalkeeper Hugo Keto into making a decent save to deny Edwards low effort. Left wing back Jaden Brown won a free kick in a promising position for Spurs shortly after. Josh Onomah’s resulting free kick was headed away by Cochrane but only straight back into the feet of the Tottenham midfielder. Onomah’s resulting delivery into the danger zone only just evaded Parrott who was lurking about at the back post. Spurs started to show a bit more attacking quality as they tried to build out from the back.

Marcus Edwards whipped a dangerous ball into the box which managed to pick out Tottenham centre forward Troy Parrott at the back post. The Irishman steadied himself before pulling off an acrobatic volley which ended up trickling just wide as it went across Keto’s goal. Parrott showed great technique and confidence to attempt it in the first place, the Dubliner was showing good movement early on in the game. The assertive Josh Onomah won a corner for Burnett’s side after hitting a venomous effort on the turn, the resulting corner kick was delivered in by Skipp and headed over the crossbar by Harrison at the near post. The ever industrious Oliver Skipp then made a superb challenge to win the ball off of James Tilley in the middle of the park, whilst right wing back TJ Eyoma’s pacy delivery into the danger zone was missed only by a matter of inches by Parrott who was ghosting in at the back post. Spurs were now moving the ball around well and were starting to look like they were coming to close to breaking the deadlock. The ever threatening Onomah sprinted towards the edge of the Brighton penalty area to meet Jaden Brown’s cross, unfortunately the 21 year olds volley flew wide of the Brighton goal. And the midfielder tried his luck again a couple of moments later after chesting the ball down and volleying a speculative effort wide from some 20 yards out from goal. Spurs continued to create decent chances, Skipp’s attempted pass to Parrott inside the box ended up deflecting out to Onomah on the edge of the penalty area. His powerful thunderbolt was heroically blocked by Brighton defender Josh Kerr after the Scotsman threw his body in the way of the ball, as the seagulls continued to defend tightly. Rusk’s side did however look dangerous on the counter as shown by Galway man Aaron Connolly who picked the ball up on the left flank before cutting inside and curling an effort wide of Whiteman’s left hand post.

Parrott was working his socks off up top and wasn’t afraid to attempt the unthinkable. Jaden Brown’s cross into Parrott wasn’t controlled properly by the centre forward as he tried to turn his man inside the penalty area, but the idea and the imagination from Parrott was so refreshing to see. Spurs were continuing to attack the seagulls defence, Harrison and Brown combined well down the left before the latter sprinted into the box, before then firing the ball across goal. The fullbacks pass/shot was heading in but for a brilliant goal line clearance by Hayden Roberts. The domineering Luke Amos then tested young Finnish goalkeeper Hugo Keto from range with a swerving low effort which was just about palmed to safety by the former Arsenal youth player. Spurs were trying incredibly hard to score that aesthetically pleasing goal that they so craved, but they were just lacking that bit of spark. After a tricky weaving run from Edwards who cut inside from the right, the 19 year old left the ball to Skipp who traveled through the middle before firing the ball narrowly over from the edge of the penalty area. And it was from an attack by Spurs a couple of moments later which eventually lead to Brighton taking an unexpected lead on the stroke of halftime. Spurs had been caught on the break by Simon Rusk’s Brighton, Irishman Aaron Connolly sped down the left wing with Eyoma too high up the pitch to respond. Connolly continued unchallenged before cutting inside and coming up against Ogilvie and Marsh who were the only Spurs men back in the final third. The centre forward looked up before slipping a clever pass into the feet of Swedish youth international Viktor Gyokeres who had been allowed too much space on the right. The forward took a touch inside the penalty area before hitting an unstoppable strike into the top left hand corner of Alfie Whiteman’s goal, 0-1.

Spurs tried to make an immediate response after winning a corner in added time, but Onomah’s pacy delivery into the box was punched to safety by Keto as Spurs went in at halftime a goal down. Wayne Burnett’s side got the second half underway as they looked to find a way back into the game, Troy Parrott could be seen having a long tactical chat with Onomah before the start of the half. And it was Onomah who created the first real chance of the half after playing the ball into the feet of Edwards who found himself in space inside the danger zone. Edwards first time effort from eight yards out however was a waste and it ended up going high over the bar and straight into the building site behind the goal. Burnett’s side almost got punished moments later after Amos sloppily gave the ball away to Dreyer in the middle of the park. The Dane sprinted through the middle before slipping the ball into Connolly inside the right side of the box. However, the strikers effort was fired into the side netting from an acute angle as Spurs were spared further trouble. Then at the other end of the pitch the tireless Oliver Skipp won a free kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the Brighton penalty area. Josh Onomah stood up confidently to take it before curling a brilliant effort over the wall and onto the top of Keto’s crossbar as the crowd gasped in agony. Onomah’s superbly executed free kick was so very close to drawing Spurs level. The lively number 10 then had an effort blocked out for a corner by Normann a couple of minutes later. However, a defence splitting through ball from substitute Archie Davies set Connolly galavanting through on goal down the right hand side of the pitch. Connolly tried to get away from Marsh who had kept up the pace as he tried to to get into the Spurs box. But Marsh’s tight defending had limited Connolly’s options and he eventually dragged the ball across the face of the Spurs goal.

Spurs were using the left wing an awful lot, the attacking Jaden Brown forced Keto into making a clearance with his feet after whipping a menacing cross into the box. The left back caused problems for Brighton again after receiving the ball from Onomah out on the left wing. The 19 year continued to run down the left flank before squaring the ball into Edwards inside the box who once again found himself unmarked. But the teenagers first time strike flew high and wide from close range. However, Spurs’ persistence was rewarded in the 59th minute as Shayon Harrison drew Spurs level with a superb goal from the edge of the penalty area. Marsh’s long diagonal pass out to Brown on the left wing was controlled well by the fullback who quickly laid the ball off to Harrison who cut inside. The forward continued to run across the face of the goal ignoring an excellent darting run into the box by Parrott, as Harrison continued before curling a wonderful effort into the far corner of Keto’s goal from the edge of the box, 1-1. It was a wonderfully worked equaliser and an even better finish from the 21 year old forward. Brighton captain James Tilley tested Whiteman straight from the restart with a curling effort from range, but it was Spurs who were in the driving seat and they were showing no signs of slowing down. Josh Onomah forced a good save out of Keto after unleashing a thunderbolt of an effort from range. Before a well worked move from Spurs on the break saw Skipp roll the ball out to Parrott on the left wing. The 16 year old cut inside onto his right foot before delicately laying the ball off to Onomah on the edge of the penalty area, but the Englishman’s resulting effort was comfortably held by Keto. The increasingly attacking Jaden Brown pumped the ball into the area a couple of minutes later as Kerr was able to make an important headed clearance. Spurs were really going for it and they looked a lot more direct in their play.

A hopeful long range effort from Davies deflected off of Eyoma and narrowly over the crossbar at the other end. As the impressive George Marsh made a crucial goal saving block in the box only a couple of moments earlier. This little flurry of chances for the visitors continued when Whiteman was forced into stopping Gyokeres effort from the edge of the penalty area. And once again the seagulls attacked us after Connolly received the ball from Dreyer out on the right, the Irishman managed to work his way past Marsh in the Tottenham penalty area, before firing the ball into the side netting. The clock was ticking down as Burnett made his first change of the game in the 81st minute. Bringing on Tashan Oakley-Boothe for Marcus Edwards. However, Rusk’s side continued to look threatening and a well worked move from the seagulls almost resulted in them retaking the lead. After being picked out by Connolly on the right wing the newly introduced Jordan Davies whipped the ball into the Spurs box. His cross was met Dreyer at the near post as the young Dane volleyed it a fraction wide of Whiteman’s goal. Whiteman easily gathered Collar’s deflected effort a couple of moments later as Burnett brought on goalscoring midfielder Jack Roles for Parrott with less than six minutes left on the clock, Shayon Harrison was now playing up top. Jaden Brown made a vital block to keep out Jordan Davies’ effort inside the box before Spurs created one last chance at the other end. Eyoma passed the ball to the substitute Jack Roles on the edge of the penalty area, the Cypriot under 21 international looked up before firing the ball inches wide of Keto’s far post. Roles’s effort appeared to be heading in! Brighton’s solid defence continued to frustrate us during the last couple of minutes of the game, as they he.d on to record a 1-1 draw. Burnett’s combative team remain winless this season and at this early period in the season they sit just one place above the relegation zone. Burnett’s side will be hoping to produce a special performance in their next PL2 game when they travel to the Emirates to face arch rivals Arsenal next Friday evening in front of a bumper crowd.

Player reviews: – Alfie Whiteman: Whiteman was faultless against the seagulls as he put in a impressive showing between the sticks. His distribution was good as was his decision making and dealing with set pieces. However, Whiteman made a string of important saves throughout the game and remained alert throughout. It was a good performance from the 19 year old.
– TJ Eyoma: Eyoma played at right back for yesterday’s game and all in all he put in a strong defensive performance. Whilst he was nowhere to be seen down the right for the Brighton goal, it would be harsh to criticise him due to his offensive duties. Eyoma made some strong challenges and defended well against the Brighton skipper James Tilley out on the flank.
– George Marsh: After his heroics against Liverpool the previous Friday, Marsh started as a centre back for the encounter with Brighton. And he put in a fine performance. Making multiple blocks and tackles in and around the six yard box, I felt that Marsh formed a strong defensive partnership with Ogilvie. He read the game well and timed his challenges to perfection, the 19 year old was effective in that role and looked very mature.
– Connor Ogilvie: After missing the game against Liverpool through injury, 22 year old Connor Ogilvie returned to the side for our league game against Brighton but had to play at centre back due to the suspension of Japhet Tanganga. Like Marsh he put in a good defensive performance, reading the game well and winning the vast majority of aerial duels, Ogilvie’s experience showed once again. He was composed on the ball and suited our bring it out from the back style, making some nice passes in the process. It will be interesting to see if he heads out on another loan before the deadline shuts at the end of the month.
– Jaden Brown: Brown produced another good display as he combined defence with attack against the seagulls. He got up and down the left wing well and although he was nowhere to be seen for the Brighton goal. The former England youth international hardly put a foot wrong and protected that left side well. He overlapped Harrison on occasions and whipped some nice crosses into the danger zone.
– Oliver Skipp: After featuring prominently for the first team during pre-season this was the 17 year old midfielders first youth game of the new campaign and unsurprisingly he looked very comfortable alongside Amos in the centre of midfield. Strong and committed the industrious Skipp moved the ball around well with some slick passes. He also read the game incredibly well and broke up play effectively with some excellent sliding challenges in the middle of the park. He put in a very impressive performance.
– Luke Amos: My motm, see below.
– Marcus Edwards: He was at times a creative threat out on the right but I felt as if he just drifted away from the action on occasions. He worked hard and tracked back but apart from a couple of promising jinking runs on the right he struggled to really make much of an impact from a creative perspective, but he did his job relatively well regardless.
– Josh Onomah: playing as a number 10 behind Parrott, this was the 21 year olds first competitive game of football since the championship play off final involving Aston Villa and Fulham in May. By far our most creative player against Brighton, Onomah’s surging runs through the middle caused many problems for the Brighton defence. Onomah’s strength and sheer power overwhelmed the young Brighton defence, He looked quite sharp generally and often drifted into nice pockets of space. Apart from hitting the crossbar with a glorious free kick at the beginning of the second half, Onomah tested Keto more than any other Spurs player on the pitch. It is clear that he has outgrown this level but if he isn’t given the opportunities in the first team then surely he’ll have to go out on loan again before the loan window shuts at the end of the month.
– Shayon Harrison: A tricky customer throughout the game Harrison provided Spurs with a creative outlet out on the left wing. Working incredibly hard and tracking back after him, the nimble footed forward really worked Brighton fullback Owen Moore. To cap off a fine display Harrison netted our equaliser with a lovely curling effort from the edge of the penalty area.
– Troy Parrott: The 16 year old put in a really mature performance as he lead the line for the second PL2 game in a row on Friday evening. The Irishman’s movement was top notch in and around the danger zone. As too were the many darting runs he made into the box. He held the ball up well and came within a hairs length of being able to convert a couple of chances from close range. He was fearless going forward and the sheer audacity of his acrobatic volley in the first half spoke volumes. I just felt that his teammates didn’t capitalise on his excellent movement and they often failed to pick up on this. However, young Troy can hold his head high after another excellent performance. A call up to the Ireland under 21 side can surely not be top far away.
– Jack Roles: No matter how little pitch time Roles gets he always manages to make a positive impact on the game. And he did just that during his brave nine minute cameo against the seagulls on Friday night. During his short time on the pitch Roles managed to get into some good pockets of space around the edge of the penalty and he came within a whisker of scoring a dramatic late winner.
– Tashan Oakley-Boothe: N/A.

My man of the match: Luke Amos. It was a dominant performance from Amos in the centre of the park against Brighton, the ball winning midfielder broke up play successfully and managed to recycle possession well. A real engine in the middle of the park the 21 year old would often drop deep to cover for the centre half’s. After making his first team debut only a couple of weeks ago what was striking about Luke’s performance was how confident he was. He made some lovely diagonal passes out to the wingers and was also able to initiate some promising chances from deep inside his own half. I hope that he will continue to get more chances with the first team over the coming months.

Spurs: Whiteman, Eyoma, Brown, Amos, Marsh (c), Ogilvie, Edwards (Oakley-Boothe 81), Skipp, Parrott (Roles 84), Onomah, Harrison. Substitutes (not used): De Bie, Duncan, Dinzeyi.

Brighton & Hove Albion: Keto, Moore (A Davies 38), Cochrane, Collar, Kerr, Roberts, Dreyer, Normann, Connolly (Ljubicic 90+3), Gyokeres, Tilley (c, J Davies 72). Substitutes (not used): Collings, Tomlinson.

Goals: Spurs – Harrison 59; Brighton – Gyokeres 43.

Yellow card: Brighton – A Davies 49 and Alex Cochrane 90+1.

Referee: Martin Woods.

Attendance: 391.

Venue: Lamex Stadium, Stevenage.

Spurs under 21/23’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Samuel Shashoua – 1
Marcus Edwards – 1
Shayon Harrison – 1

Assists: Troy Parrott – 1
Jaden Brown – 1

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