Spurs under 23’s 3-1 Blackburn Rovers: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 3-1 Blackburn Rovers: (match report)

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Our under 23’s showed the perfect response to last Sunday’s 6-0 drumming to Everton, when they took on newly promoted division one side Blackburn rovers on Friday evening in the PL2. Wayne Burnett’s side put in a really mature performance up in county Lancashire, to overcome bottom of the table Blackburn Rovers 3-1 in what was a hard fought but overall comprehensive victory for Spurs. The victory was made even more impressive by the fact that Spurs lost their two most senior members of the side in the first half due to injury, this put pressure on some of our younger and more inexperienced players such as Paris Maghoma and Tariq Hinds however, they played well beyond their years and helped Spurs to recording their second victory of this season. Played at the Lancashire FA County Ground in Leyland, Lancashire this would have been a game that Burnett would have been hoping to see his side win. The newly promoted Rovers had struggled so far this season and Damien Johnson’s side went into this PL2 encounter still looking for their first win of the 2018/19 season. Burnett picked a strong side for the trip to Leyland and it paid off. After starting quite well Shayon Harrison gave us the lead with a typical poachers finish from Oakley-Boothe’s cross inside the opening four minutes of the game. And whilst the home side responded well to going down so early on in the game, Harrison got his and Spurs’ second of the game 25 minutes later after meeting Jack Roles’ pass inside the six yard box. Damien Johnson’s side improved a lot after conceding that goal and they managed to pull a goal back through Dan Butterworth in the 41st minute after Spurs had lost both Amos and Harrison to injury. However, the ever threatening Paris Maghoma restored Spurs’ two goal lead a matter of minutes later with a lovely goal. Blackburn tired as the second half progressed and in the end it was a comfortable and well deserved victory for Burnett’s young side who were able to pick up a crucial three points up in north west England, against a very physical Blackburn team.

After suffering that humiliating 6-0 defeat to Everton the previous Sunday, Burnett fielded a similar side to the one which that played game. However, we were bolstered by the inclusion of Luke Amos in the middle of the park. Burnett reverted back to playing four at the back for Friday evenings game, as a back four of Hinds, Marsh, Tanganga and Brown sat in front of goalkeeper Tom Glover. Glover had returned to Spurs after what had felt like an eternity, with his last appearance in Spurs colours coming way back in the spring of 2017. In front of the back three was the central midfield pairing of Luke Amos (the captain) and Oliver Skipp. Whilst Oakley-Boothe, Jack Roles and Paris Maghoma lined up behind inform centre forward Shayon Harrison. Blackburn’s side wasn’t as strong as I thought it might be and they had to face us without their prolific young centre forward Joe Nuttall. The home side got the game underway on a cold evening in Leyland as Spurs went in search of their second win of the new season. Japhet Tanganga did well to clear John Buckley’s low delivery into the danger zone early on as Spurs attempted to find their feet in the game. And it didn’t taken Burnett’s youngsters long before they threatened the Blackburn defence. A sudden attacking move saw his side go 1-0 up in only the fourth minute of time. After receiving Oliver Skipp’s pass out on the right wing, makeshift wide man Tashan Oakley-Boothe burst forward down the flank. The darting 18 year old continued all the way to the byline before managing to find Shayon Harrison at the back post with a well timed low cross. Harrison slid in to poke the ball home from close range, with what was a typical poachers finish from the 21 year old, 1-0. Luke Amos conceded a free kick out on the right wing a couple of moments later, as Blackburn looked to respond after starting the game fairly brightly. Japhet Tanganga comfortably cleared Joe Grayson’s resulting delivery into the box. And the Tottenham captain Luke Amos gave away a free in an almost identical position minutes later. However, this time Grayson’s poor delivery went behind for a Spurs goal kick.

Spurs almost doubled their advantage at the other end after producing a sharp attacking move. After receiving Oakley-Boothe’s pass, Roles burst into the middle of the penalty area before shifting the ball out to Skipp on the right hand side. The young midfielder looked up before dragging an effort narrowly wide of Alan Fisher’s goal. Had he have spotted Oakley-Boothe who was in space on the left side of the penalty area, it would most certainly have been 2-0 to Spurs. George Marsh made a vital clearance to prevent Butterworth’s cross from causing Spurs problems inside the box a couple of minutes later, as the game started to develop into a really competitive affair. There were plenty of meaty sliding challenges on show during the opening stages of the game and the vast majority of those were coming from the home side. Tottenham skipper Luke Amos went down injured a couple of minutes later after attempting to win the ball off of Grayson out on the left wing. Unfortunately it looked as if Amos might have pulled something and after receiving treatment out on the sidelines he was duly replaced by 16 year old J’Neil Bennett in the 22nd minute, as Oliver Skipp took the captains armband. This saw the slightly anonymous Maghoma drop into the centre of midfield whilst Bennett took his position out on the left wing. Blackburn continued to up their game and after Jack Evans came desperately close to picking out Okera Simmonds at the back post, Grayson caused a bit of anxiety for the Spurs defence from a corner kick shortly after. The defenders delivery was headed backwards towards the Spurs goal by Maghoma who had attempted to clear the ball. Thankfully, Tanganga was on hand to clear it on the line. A clever one-two between Roles and Harrison on the edge of the Blackburn box almost came off shortly afterwards, before Maghoma tested Fisher with a good effort on goal. After winning the ball off of Tomlinson on the edge of the Blackburn penalty area, the young midfielder managed to force a smart stop out of the Blackburn goalkeeper from his curling effort on goal. Then arose a major bit of controversy after the referee awarded a decision which wasn’t too popular with the Blackburn players and supporters alike.

The Spurs backline had been caught out by Brad Lyons pass over the top of the Tottenham defence which had set Simmonds racing through to try and get to the ball before the outrushing Glover. However, Tanganga managed to get back and in front of Simmonds. Deemed to have fouled the Blackburn centre forward the referee had awarded a free kick, and whilst spectators were expecting to see the referee pull out a red card for Tanganga’s obstruction they were very wrong, as he let the home side take a quick free kick. With Glover still out of his box Dan Butterworth tried to curl the ball into the empty Tottenham goal. However, it was a huge and wasted opportunity for Johnson’s side as Butterworth’s rushed effort trickled wide of the mark and went out for a goal kick for the much relieved Spurs goalkeeper. And Spurs managed to punish Blackburn a matter of minutes later through the sheer persistence of Jack Roles, whose tigerish pressing saw him win the ball off of a Blackburn defender down the left hand side of the Blackburn penalty. The razor sharp Roles calmly squared the ball for Harrison in the centre of the box and the inform striker made no mistake to slot the ball past Fisher and into the bottom left hand corner of the net, 2-0. The intensity of the game had really picked up as both sides upped their tempo during the latter stages of the first half. However, Burnett’s side were dealt a major blow in the 35th minute after Harrison went down injured a matter of minutes after going in on a Blackburn player. The centre forward couldn’t continue and was forced into hobbling off the pitch as midfielder Dylan Duncan came on in his place. This forced Burnett into shuffling his side around once more, this time Maghoma switched to the number ten position as Duncan came into the midfield to partner Skipp. Whilst Jack Roles went up top where he would play as a false nine. Blackburn continued to end the half strongly. After Butterworth had surged through the middle he managed to poke the ball into Mols who had made a run down the left side of the penalty area.

Mols took a touch before rifling the ball narrowly over Glover’s crossbar from close range. Spurs were finding themselves quite exposed out wide. The lively J’Neil Bennett went on a promising run down the left wing before seeing his shot blocked by Hayden Carter on the edge of the penalty area. Then a matter of moments later the home side pulled a goal back through the ever potent Dan Butterworth. After he had won the ball off Skipp, Butterworth went on a jinking run across the Tottenham defence before entering the left side of the penalty area and managing to drag the ball across goal and past the outrushing Glover, and into far corner of the net, 2-1. And Johnson’s side almost scored another shortly afterwards, after Charley Doyle had spotted the run of Tomlinson who went darting down the right side of the penalty area. Doyle fed the ball into Tomlinson who fired an effort narrowly wide of the Spurs goal. Butterworth went on another dangerous run through the middle a couple of minutes later but this time he saw his effort on goal blocked by Marsh who had managed to close him down well. However, the ball came across to Lyons inside the box but the Northern Irishman’s powerful effort from close range forced an excellent reactionary stop out of the diving Glover. The frantic tempo of the game continued as the half drew to a close and after being under great pressure for the last ten or so minutes of the half, Spurs managed to regain their two goal lead through Paris Maghoma on the stroke of half time. Oliver Skipp passed the ball to the energetic Jack Roles on the edge of the penalty area. The Cypriot youth international spotted that Maghoma was in space down the left hand side of the penalty area. So Roles slipped a clever pass into Maghoma who found himself one on one with the Blackburn goalkeeper Alan Fisher. In his typically cool manner, Maghoma skipped away from the outrushing Fisher before clipping the ball into the empty from an acute angle, 3-1.

The half still wasn’t done yet as a little over four minutes of stoppage time remained. The commanding Tom Glover managed to deal well with Doyle’s cross before the Australian was forced into action again a couple of moments later. After being played in by Grayson down the left wing Mols pumped the ball into the danger zone. However, the young Australian came out to confidently gobble up the ball, to bring a pulsating first half to a close. Burnett’s side got the second half underway at the County Ground as Spurs looked to protect their healthy two goal lead. And the young Lilywhites started the half well, a good driving run through the middle from Maghoma resulted in him forcing Fisher into making a good stop to deny the midfielders powerful dipping effort. Butterworth forced a corner for Blackburn at the other end after his powerful effort which deflected off of Brown was tipped over for a corner by Glover. Japhet Tanganga conceded a free kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the penalty area a couple of minutes later, after bringing down Mols. However, Brad Lyons curled well over from the resulting free kick. The energetic Bennett and Roles managed to combine well out on the left wing before the formers pacy cross was cleared by Grayson. Spurs were seeing a lot more of the ball during the second period, they looked a lot sharper than Blackburn and were using the ball a lot better in the final third. Jack Roles forced a decent save out of Fisher with a fizzing low effort from 25 yards out, whilst the ever threatening Maghoma came desperately close to scoring a glorious goal a couple of minutes later. Gliding around the park like a young Mousa Dembele, Maghoma managed to beat a couple of Blackburn defenders on the edge of the penalty area before shifting the ball onto his right foot. Maghoma then bent an effort a fraction wide of Fisher’s goal as the Blackburn keeper went scrambling at his far post. The extremely hard working 17 year old midfielder made an important interception on Butterworth at the other end a matter of seconds later as he continued to cover the pitch like nobody else.

Blackburn were beginning to tire and Burnett’s much fitter side had been able to quell the attacking threat which had been posed by the home side. The Rovers were however, still dangerous whenever they entered the final third. Maghoma blocked Lyons attempt on goal before Glover came out to punch the ball clear. Japhet Tanganga made a superb sliding challenge to win the ball off of substitute Jack Vale moments later. And the 19 year old then managed to win the ball off of Butterworth who found himself in a dangerous position on the edge of the Spurs box. Stefan Mols fired wide after going to meet Evans cross whilst Tom Glover dealt well with Doyle’s delivery a couple of minutes later. A rather desperate late claim for a penalty from Butterworth was waived away by the referee after he had been brought down in the penalty area before George Marsh managed to get a vital head on Doyle’s cross shortly afterwards. The highly influential Jack Roles almost managed to get a late goal of his own, after the 19 year old managed to control Tom Glover’s long kick up field. Roles gave the ball to Oakley-Boothe out on the right wing, he quickly fed the ball back into the midfielder who had made the run into the box. However, Roles curled the ball narrowly wide of Fisher’s goal in what was the final piece of action from an entertaining and at times pulsating game of football. It was a well deserved victory for Burnett’s energetic side and their next game comes against Gillingham in the Checkatrade trophy next month, that game will now be played at Charlton Athletic’s ground due to problems with Gillingham’s pitch.

Player reviews: – Tom Glover: Many Spurs fans would have assumed that Glover had left in the summer. The 20 year old Australian did however, sign a one year contract extension in June after spending the majority of last season on loan with Australian side Central Coast Mariners. After having trials with Birmingham and Sporting Lisbon, Glover returned to the Spurs fold for Friday evenings game. His last appearance for the Lilywhites was way back in April of 2017 when he became the last ever player to get sent off at White Hart Lane in a PL2 game against Leicester. I was really impressed with how Glover performed against Blackburn and I was actually very pleased to see him play after such a long time. Glover put in a typically commanding performance in the Spurs goal, he was confident and assured in his play and dealt with Blackburn’s many long balls and set pieces. Glover also made a couple of important stops throughout the game including an excellent reflex save to deny Brad Lyons in the first half. The young Australian’s distribution was also very impressive on the night. He also came rushing out of his box on a couple of occasions to make some important clearances. I was extremely impressed!
– Tariq Hinds: The 18 year old right back returned from injury for our match against Blackburn and put in a typically assured display at right back. Hinds liked to get forward down the right wing and would often overlap Oakley-Boothe. However, the pacy defender maintained good positioning throughout the game and managed to protect that side of the pitch well. For a player so young Hinds reads the game really well.
– George Marsh: Marsh found himself back playing as a centre half where he partnered Tanganga on Friday. And after a difficult game against Everton last Sunday, Marsh redeemed himself by putting in a real shift against Blackburn. Making many important clearances from inside his own box, Marsh was dominant in the air and helped to quell the attacking threat of Blackburn striker Okera Simmons. He was solid throughout.
– Japhet Tanganga: Like his teammate George Marsh, Tanganga put in a solid performance right in the heart of the Spurs defence. He made some crucial challenges and won the vast majority of aerial duels which he contested. His long passing to the wide men was deftly accurate and helped to contribute to the Tottenham attack. He was however, very lucky not to have been sent off in the first half for a foul on Simmonds due to him being the last man.
– Jaden Brown: Combining defence with attack the ever improving left back defended excellently against Spanish winger Stefan Mols. He kept his man in check and was able to protect that side of the pitch really well. However, it was Brown’s many bursting runs which caught my eye the most. His nifty footwork and ability to weave his way out of tricky situations was also very impressive. After being linked with a move away from Spurs in the summer Brown is proving to be a really consistent player for Burnett in the development side and is showing signs of improvement.
– Oliver Skipp: It was a very workman like performance from Skipp in the centre of midfield. He played a part in two of our goals and managed to have a creative influence on the game with his passing from deep. He mopped up well in the centre of the park and did a good job at protecting the back four. He did however, give the ball away to Dan Butterworth for the Blackburn forwards goal in the first half. Skipp took the captains armband following the injury sustained to Amos early on in the game
– Luke Amos: The skipper was his usual combative self in the middle of the park however, a nasty looking injury ended his night after just 22 minutes. After the 21 year old had attempted to win the ball he appeared to pull something and he immediately fell to the floor in agony.
– Tashan Oakley-Boothe: The 18 year old continued his good bout form with an impressive performance against Blackburn Rovers. Oakley-Boothe played out on the right wing and after assisting Harrison’s goal after just four minutes of the game after going on a good run down the right, Oakley-Boothe managed to keep himself involved in the game. Tricky and agile with the ball at his feet, the makeshift winger would often cut in on his left foot and look to play through the middle. Whenever he had the ball at his feet he looked threatening and positive in his play. It’s great to see him getting regular game time again after a frustrating 2017/18 season.
– Jack Roles: Roles started the game off as a number 10 however he was forced to play as an out and out striker after Harrison went off injured in the first half. Operating as a false nine, Roles put in a superb performance for Burnett’s side and was one of our most influential players on the night. The Cypriot youth international assisted two of our goals and he was constantly involved in our attacking moves. His high pressing forced one of our goals and the false nine would often show a willingness to run back into the midfield and try and win the ball before then driving forward, he was so energetic. But it was the 19 year olds excellent movement, awareness and vision for a pass which proved to be so effective agains the Rovers. He is such a clever player who is always looking to get himself into space.
– Paris Maghoma: My motm, see below.
– Shayon Harrison: Sharp and constantly on the move, the Tottenham centre forward continued his fine form with two well taken goals against Blackburn. The first was a typical poachers finish after he had made a good run to meet Oakley-Boothe’s cross at the back post. Whilst the second was slightly more straight forward but still difficult nonetheless. Harrison looked really sharp and his well timed runs caused quite a few problems for the Blackburn defence. Unfortunately, he hobbled off injured after just 35 minutes. Hopefully it is not as an bad as it looked.
– Dylan Duncan: Coming on to replace Harrison towards the end of the first half, Duncan bolstered the midfield following the injury that Harrison picked up, and he did a lot of the under appreciated sides of the game. His strength on the ball helped us out on numerous occasions. Duncan rarely ventured forward.
– J’Neil Bennett: The 16 year old came on for Amos early on in the game where he played out on the left wing. Despite being so young Bennett made a good impression on the game. He was very positive and he went on some nice attacking forays down the left wing and managed to beat Doyle for pace on many occasions.
– Jonathan Dinzeyi: The defender replaced Roles in the dying seconds of the game and surprisingly he operated as a lone striker for the final minute of the game!

My man of the match: Paris Maghoma. For the third game in a row I have given the inform midfielder the man of the match award and for very good reason. Playing a major part in our 3-1 win, Maghoma’s versatility proved to be very useful. Starting out on the left wing where he struggle to make much of an impact, Maghoma moved into the centre of midfield following Luke Amos’s injury before later slotting into the cam role after Harrison’s injury. Maghoma was superb once again, hardworking and willing to track back after himself, the 17 year old covered more of the pitch than any of his teammates and could often be seen breaking up play in the centre of the park. He was able to combine his defensive duties with his attacking duties so well, and during his time as a cam he caused the Blackburn defence all sorts of problems. His energy and agility helped to create openings for Spurs and he hit some promising efforts on goal from the edge of the penalty area. His tricky almost Dembele like driving runs through the middle caused panic amongst the opposition defence. There was one occasion where he single handedly tricked his way past three Blackburn defenders before bending an effort a fraction wide of goal. Pogba-esque and elegant in his play, the youngster was our most creative and forward thinking player despite being one of our youngster. The scorer of an excellently taken goal on the stroke of half time after he was played in by Roles inside the penalty area, on another day Maghoma could have had a couple more. He was never afraid to take on players and try his luck from range, that’s something which a lot of young English players should take note off. He is such an exciting player with flair and intricacy about his game but like he showed again on Friday night he is a grafter who helps his team out defensively. After starting this season so well I would be quite surprised if Maghoma wasn’t called up for the England under 18 side during the next international break. He oozes class and his performance against Blackburn was one of real maturity and it showed a player who is improving by every game that he plays.

Blackburn Rovers: Fisher, Doyle (Vale 46), Evans, Tomlinson, Carter, Grayson (c), Buckley, Lyons, Simmonds (Candlin 62), Butterworth, Mols. Substitutes (not used): Albinson, Wilson, Saadi.

Spurs: Glover, Hinds, Brown, Amos (c, Bennett 22), Tanganga, Marsh, Maghoma, Skipp, Harrison (Duncan 35), Oakley-Boothe, Roles (Dinzeyi 90). Substitutes (not used): De Bie, Eyoma.

Goals: Spurs – Harrison 4, 29, Maghoma 45; Blackburn – Butterworth 42.

Referee: Simon Mather.

Venue: Lancashire FA County Ground, Leyland.

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

Goals scored: Shayon Harrison – 5
Paris Maghoma – 2
Samuel Shashoua – 1
Marcus Edwards – 1
Jaden Brown – 1

Assists: Jack Roles – 2
Troy Parrott – 1
Jaden Brown – 1
Shayon Harrison – 1
Paris Maghoma – 1
Oliver Skipp – 1
Tashan Oakley-Boothe – 1

Clean sheets: Brandon Austin – 1

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