Spurs under 23’s 1-0 Leicester City: (match report)
Our under 23’s put in a spirited performance against a strong Leicester City outfit which included experienced first team players Danny Simpson and Andy King (both premier league winners), at Hotspur Way on Friday afternoon. Wayne Burnett’s side dug deep and managed to survive an attacking onslaught from the foxes in the first half to record an impressive 1-0 win over Leicester, courtesy of a superb late winner from the ever impressive Jack Roles. It was a much changed side to the one which had thrashed Gillingham 4-0 in the Checkatrade trophy ten days earlier. Kazaiah Sterling returned from injury to lead the line for Spurs, whilst 17 year old midfielder Jamie Bowden came in for the injured Paris Maghoma in the centre of the park, to make his PL2 debut. And after six months out with a knee injury Jamie Reynolds came off the bench in the second half to make his own PL2 debut at the age of 19. I met up with former Spurs star Eddie Clayton at the game, it was Eddie’s first ever visit to Hotspur Way and he was telling me how he couldn’t believe how different it was to his days at Cheshunt. The club took him around on a tour of the training centre and before the match John McDermott kindly invited Eddie to watch the game near to the Spurs dug out. The former inside forward was greatly impressed by how good our young lads were and in particular he picked out Jamie Bowden for praise on his PL2 debut. The 81 year old and I had a great discussion after the game and amongst other things Spurs, he was visually describing to me the time when the great Danny Blanchflower picked out Cliff Jones on the left wing with a sublime 30 yard rabona pass. What was so impressive about Burnett’s youngsters performance against Leicester on Friday was the maturity in which they showed against Steve Beaglehole’s significantly older side.
Despite being under the cosh for large periods of the game, Burnett’s side were resilient against the experienced foxes. We dealt well with the likes of Andy King and Danny Simpson whose class and experience was clear to see right from the offing. Leicester were far more direct, physical and compact than Spurs and for a large chunk of the first half they kept us in our own half. Japhet Tanganga and TJ Eyoma defended imperiously for Spurs whilst captain Brandon Austin made some key saves in the Spurs goal. However, after growing into the game more in the second half, the young Lilywhites really went for the win towards the latter stages of the game. And despite the fact that Leicester came close to taking the lead on several occasions, Spurs’ persistence paid off and after some good link up play between Roles and Sterling the former netted a classy late winner. This resulted in wild scenes of celebration from the young Spurs lads who managed to win their third game on the trot, and in doing so it meant that Burnett’s side moved up to seventh place in division one. Wayne Burnett opted to go for the 5-2-2-1 formation for our encounter with Leicester although we would later revert to the 3-4-2-1 formation after Jonathan Dinzeyi was forced off through injury at halftime. Spurs lined up with captain Brandon Austin in goal whilst a back five of Hinds, Eyoma, Tanganga, Dinzeyi and Brown sat in front of him. Jamie Bowden and Dylan Duncan manned the centre of the park, as Roles and Oakley-Boothe lined up in a diamond shape behind Kazaiah Sterling who made his long awaited return from injury to lead the line for the Lilywhites. The visitors got the game underway at Hotspur Way under the mild autumnal sun in front of a crowd of 130 spectators.
Leicester started the game sharply and their high pressing was causing Spurs a couple of problems during the early stages of the game. Centre half Jonathan Dinzeyi’s sloppy misplaced pass in the opening minutes almost got Spurs into trouble after he passed the ball straight to Danny Simpson on the edge of the Spurs penalty area. Then, a couple of minutes later Tottenham fullback Jaden Brown made an important defensive intervention after he got in front of Leicester’s Raul Uche at Brandon Austin’s near post to clear Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s dangerous corner kick, behind for another Leicester corner. Dewsbury-Hall’s resulting delivery found its way to King on the edge of the penalty area but the Wales internationals effort was blocked by Tanganga. Leicester continued their good start to the game and just a couple of minutes later the foxes came desperately close to taking the lead. The potent Andy King slipped a clever pass into Dewsbury-Hall down the right side of the penalty area, the Leicester forward took his shot early as Austin attempted to close down his angles but his shot came cannoning off of the Spurs goalkeepers crossbar. Spurs were struggling to deal with Beaglehole’s powerful side and the foxes continued to threaten the Tottenham defence. After receiving Callum Elder’s pass Tyrese Shade sped down the left flank and past Spurs right back Tariq Hinds before continuing towards the edge of the penalty area and firing a low effort narrowly wide of Austin’s near post. Jamie Bowden picked up a yellow card shortly afterwards as Burnett’s side continued to struggle to get the ball out of their own half, as Spurs continued to defend against a flurry of Leicester attacks. Alex Pascanu saw his effort from long range blocked by his own teammate Raul Uche, before Loft received the ball down the right side of the Spurs box before forcing Austin into making an easy save to deal with his scuffed effort.
Tariq Hinds conceded a free kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the Spurs penalty area a couple of minutes later, after a foul on Dewsbury-Hall. However, Andy King’s resulting effort flew straight into the Spurs wall before coming back out to the Welshman who then pumped the ball into the danger zone. Johnson attacked the ball and nodded it down to Dewsbury-Hall, but the Leicester forward was flagged offside. Burnett’s side just couldn’t get into the game and the longer that the half progressed, the more confident the visitors became. Pascanu curled an effort over from range a matter of moments before Simpson had conceded a foul on Roles right on the edge of the Leicester penalty area. Roles stood up to take the free kick and the Cypriot youth international came close to giving Spurs a surprise lead, after his curling effort was tipped behind for a corner kick by the diving Johanson who was at full stretch. Jamie Bowden’s resulting corner kick was met by TJ Eyoma at the near post, but the Spurs defender couldn’t make sufficient contact with the ball and it was eventually cleared by former Spurs man Ryan Loft. Leicester then went straight down the other end and the former Spurs man came close to scoring against his former club when he poked an effort narrowly wide of the mark, after getting on the end of Callum Elder’s cross inside the Spurs box. The tenacious Japhet Tanganga made an important block to thwart Andy King’s thumping effort a couple of minutes later, before Austin did well to save the Welshman’s resulting deflected low drive. The game was finally beginning to develop into a more even contest and whenever Spurs did enter the final third they always looked very threatening. Some nice exchanges between Duncan and Sterling created a good chance for Spurs towards the latter end of the half. A quick one two between Sterling and Duncan resulted in the former driving through the middle of the Leicester defence.
The 19 year old showed good feet as he traveled with the ball towards the edge of the penalty area, before forcing a fine save out of Johanson who prevented Sterling’s powerful effort from flying into the top left hand corner of the goal. Leicester’s Spanish winger Raul Uche dislocated his shoulder a couple of minutes later and was forced to walk off the pitch assisted by a number of medical staff. Uche was in real agony when a certain Mauricio Pochettino came running down the path leading off the pitch, to put his arm around the Spaniards head to comfort him. A scrappy spell in the game followed as both sides battled to gain control of the match. Brandon Austin made a routine save from Elder’s header after the fullback had connected with Shade’s cross in the Spurs box. Shortly after Tanganga made an excellent block at his near post to divert the newly introduced Calvin Bassey’s pacy cross away from danger. Danny Simpson tested Austin shortly afterwards when his delivery into the Spurs box was headed back to the former Man United man on the edge of the penalty area, he forced Austin into making a smart stop with his feet from his powerful low drive. And the experienced fullback found himself in another position to trouble the Spurs defence a couple of minutes later, when Andy King’s deflected free kick came out to him on the right flank. However, Simpson was unable to pick out any of his teammates inside the six yard box with his resulting cross. Beaglehole’s side continued to pressurise the Tottenham defence as we entered the final stages of the first half. Danny Simpson curled an effort wide of Austin’s goal after cutting inside from the right, before Dylan Duncan gave away a silly pass to straight to Simpson moments later. The right back immediately slipped the ball into the feet of Tyrese Shade who tested Brandon Austin with a shot from the edge of the penalty area after he had gone on a surging run down the right wing. Burnett’s side were incredibly lucky to go into halftime with the score at 0-0.
Before the second half got underway Burnett was forced into bringing off centre half Jonathan Dinzeyi who had picked up a leg injury right towards the end of the first half. Dinzeyi was replaced by left back Jamie Reynolds who had just come back from a six month injury lay off. Reynolds slotted into the left wing back role as Brown dropped down to form part of Spurs’ new back three. Oakley-Boothe began the second half by giving the ball away to Andy King who then went on a galavanting run through the middle of the park before slipping the ball into Elder down the left side of the Tottenham penalty area. TJ Eyoma came across Elder and attempted to make a sliding block however, the forward managed to get the strike away and ended up forcing an important low diving stop out of Austin. Jaden Brown then made an excellent crunching challenge on Josh Knight to win the ball off of the Leicester defender on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area. Then a couple of minutes later Leicester created a good move which saw Simpson spray a long pass towards Bassey in the box. The substitute won the header and was able to nod the ball down to Tyrese Shade who ended up slicing the ball high and wide of Austin’s goal on the turn. TJ Eyoma conceded a free kick in a dangerous position shorty after he tugged his former Spurs teammate Ryan Loft, after Spurs had been caught playing it out from the back. However, the commanding Austin ordered his wall well before convincingly catching Simpson’s delivery. A somewhat directionless Spurs side continued to struggle to get the better of the foxes. Kazaiah Sterling almost managed to nick the ball off of the Leicester goalkeeper Viktor Johanson in the Swedes own box after some good pressing from the Spurs striker. Burnett’s side then managed to work a clever move after Duncan passed the ball to Hinds down the right flank, the speedy fullback managed to cut inside Elder before darting into the Leicester penalty area. However, Hinds tried to pull the ball across the face of the Leicester goal in an attempt to pick out Roles at the back post, but Simpson managed to get in front of the Spurs forward to clear the ball.
The instrumental Japhet Tanganga made another important block a couple of minutes later as the Tottenham defence continued to stand strong. And the longer the game progressed the closer Steve Beaglehole’s side came to taking the lead. And the foxes came desperately to close to breaking the deadlock after Pascanu pinged the ball into the danger zone. The Romanian managed to pick out Dewsbury-Hall in the process who was then able to flick the ball back to King whose powerful diving header struck the base of Austin’s left hand post. Both sets of players were really scrapping for the win as we entered the final stages of the game, and it was only during the latter part of the game that Spurs were finally able to find their feet going forwards. And after Japhet Tanganga won a header in the middle of the park from Johanson’s long kick up field. The Spurs defender was able to pick out Roles who exchanged passes with Oakley-Boothe down the left hand side of the pitch, before cutting inside onto his right and curling an effort against against the base of Johanson’s left hand post, from the edge of the six yard box. Jamie Bowden was able to pounce on the loose ball but the midfielder was closed down by a Leicester defender who was able to block his effort on goal. TJ Eyoma nodded wide the Londoners corner kick at the near post a couple of moments later after Hinds had won the corner, as Spurs started to see more of the ball in the final third. Before a golden chance came the young Lilywhites way after the hardworking Roles won the ball off of Loft out on the left flank before driving forwards. Roles traveled towards the byline before pulling the ball back to Duncan who had made a run into the middle of the box. Duncan should have buried the chance but instead the midfielder tried to beat Johanson with a low first time side footed effort, which the Leicester goalkeeper was able to stop relatively comfortably. However, just when it looked as if that was going to be Tottenham’s last real chance of the game, Burnett’s side caught the Leicester City defence cold a couple of minutes later and with devastating consequences for the foxes.
The decisive moment in the game came in the 87th minute of time after a well worked move from the young Lilywhites paid off. The move started with Reynolds who passed the ball to Roles in the centre of the park, Roles went on a jinking run through the middle as he skipped past Kaba-Sherif before surging forwards and shifting the ball out to Sterling on the right. Sterling did well to hold off two Leicester City defenders before squaring the ball for Roles who had made a run into the box. The nifty footed north Londoner managed to work his way around Johanson before calmly slotting the ball home, to spark scenes of jubilation amongst the Spurs players, 1-0. Rodel Richards replaced Sterling shortly afterwards and the second year scholar had a shout for a penalty shortly after being introduced for the first time at this level. After embarking on a powerful run into the Leicester penalty area, Richards was pulled to the floor by Josh Knight however, the referee was having none of the Spurs players protests. Phoenix Patterson replaced the match winner Jack Roles a couple of minutes later as Spurs tried desperately hard to fend off Leicester as we entered stoppage time. Tanganga did well to clear Conor Tee’s free kick which had even been attacked by Leicester goalkeeper Viktor Johanson in the box. And the young Swede caused a bit of a commotion after Austin came out to claim Elder’s late cross. Out of frustration Johanson had clipped Austin and was deliberately preventing him from taking a quick goal kick. This rightly infuriated the Spurs captain who had to be separated from Johanson by Duncan before the referee harshly handed out yellow cards to both goalkeepers. Thankfully the referee sounded the final whistle a couple of seconds later as the Spurs players celebrated a hard fought win against a powerful and extremely challenging Leicester side, to make it three wins on the trot for Burnett’s side. Next up for our development side is a trip to the midlands to face Derby County, next Sunday afternoon at Pride Park. I shall be at that game also.
- Brandon Austin: The skipper played a real part in our 1-0 win over Leicester. Austin (19) was impressive in so many ways on Friday afternoon and the teenager was busy throughout the game, making six saves in total. Some of the saves that he made were top class particularly the ones to deny King and Loft. The quick footed England youth international was excellent in dealing with the many set pieces and crosses that came his way. And bearing in mind that he was coming up against some really physical and well built players I thought he did tremendously well. Austin’s distribution was also good, but what impressed me most of all was his leadership and confidence. He was assertive and helped out his defence on numerous occasions particularly on set pieces. The commanding goalkeeper stood for no nonsense and he rightly gave Johanson a lecture after the Swedish goalkeeper stopped him from taking an early goal kick right at the end of the game. Once I get a chance I will be writing an in-depth piece on the talented and consistent Spurs goalkeeper.
- Tariq Hinds: Hinds defended well down the right hand side of the pitch, he moved up and down well, and managed to keep both Uche and later Elder in check for most of the game. Hinds defended tightly and made some decent runs at the other end of the pitch.
- TJ Eyoma: Eyoma had a superb game in central defence, starting off alongside Hinds in the back five to begin with. Eyoma later played on the right side of of our back three after we changed formation. Eyoma was incredibly solid and attentive throughout the game. He read the game well and outsmarted the likes of Loft and Shade on numerous occasions. The 18 year old was strong in the air and in the challenge, and he made many important defensive interventions. It was a very mature performance from Eyoma.
- Japhet Tanganga: My motm, see below.
- Jonathan Dinzeyi: Apart from making the odd misplaced pass as Spurs played it out from the back. Like Eyoma, Dinzeyi was solid and put in a strong performance as an lcb. However, Dinzeyi sadly picked up an injury on the stroke of halftime and was replaced during the interval by Reynolds.
- Jaden Brown: Another player who had a really strong game was Jaden Brown. First as a left back in the first half and then on the left side of the back three for the second half. Brown let very little get past him down that side of the pitch.
- Jamie Bowden: When myself and former Spurs man Eddie Clayton talked about the game after the final whistle. Eddie singled out young Bowden for his class in the centre of midfield. The 17 year old made his PL2 debut for Spurs against Leicester on Friday, and one of our academy’s most promising youngsters didn’t look at all out of place despite coming up against the likes of Andy King in the centre of the park. As he had done against Gillingham ten days previously, Bowden was very effective in the holding midfield role. It was a very Carrick like performance from the Tottenham lad, who had such a calming influence on the game. His spacial awareness and movement across the midfield was superb. He never rushed anything or over complicated a pass. Bowden always kept things short and simple, much like a former certain Spurs player used to do. The composed 17 year old was also solid and performed his role as the midfield anchor very well, and he could often be seen snuffing out possession. Bowden took one for the team during the early stages of the game after he was given a yellow card for breaking up a dangerous Leicester attack. The teenager has made an outstanding start to the season and it’s only a matter of time before he cements his place in the development side.
- Dylan Duncan: I thought Duncan had a decent game alongside Bowden in the centre of midfield. He was combative and hardworking, and although his passing let him down on a couple of occasions his tracking back and filing in for other players helped out the team immensely.
- Tashan Oakley-Boothe: Playing alongside Roles on the right side of an attacking diamond behind Sterling. Oakley-Boothe struggled to make much of an impact on the game and would often find himself isolated and uninvolved despite his best efforts. The 18 year old did however, make some good passes particularly during the latter stages of the game.
- Jack Roles: Whenever Burnett decides to start Roles, Spurs are a completely different side at this level. And the intelligent midfielder put in another match winning performance on Friday afternoon to continue his excellent form of late. Directly involved in all three of Tottenham’s best chances, the 19 year old looked so sharp and quick thinking against Leicester. The Cyprus youth internationals movement and awareness was first class as were the many runs he made down the left flank. After hitting the post only a couple of minutes earlier, Roles did ever so well to keep his composure to score a wonderfully taken goal a matter of moments later. He worked extremely hard throughout the game.
- Kazaiah Sterling: It was great to see Sterling back from injury and seeing him lead the line for Burnett’s side was a major boost for the whole team. Undoubtedly rusty after spending such a long period on the sidelines, Sterling led the line well and after having appeared to have bulked up over the summer, he held the ball up well. However, it was Sterling’s energy, hard work and tracking back which proved to be so effective for Spurs. Sterling forced a top save out of Johanson in the first half before going onto set up Jack Roles late winner after holding off two Leicester defenders out on the right flank.
- Jamie Reynolds: After recovering from a serious knee injury earlier than expected, it was a nice surprise to see Reynolds named in the match day squad after I was told that he would be out for the entirety of this season. Reynolds slotted in well at left wing back and looked solid and composed up against the speedy Tyrese Shade. It’s also worth noting that the move leading up to our late winner was started off by Reynolds out on the left wing.
- Rodel Richards: The 18 year old made a bright late cameo and went on a promising run into the Leicester penalty area which was unlucky not to win Spurs a penalty.
- Phoenix Patterson: N/A.
My man of the match: Japhet Tanganga. The 19 year old centre half was like a brick wall in the heart of the Tottenham defence, Tanganga was immense. He won every single header that came his way with his superb leap, and the England under 20 international put in one of the most heroic performances you’re ever likely to see at this level. He defended imperiously alongside Eyoma and he was extraordinarily brave, in that he would never shy away from throwing his body right in front of a Leicester shot. He kept great positioning throughout and made so many blocks, challenges and headed clearances. Tanganga‘s passing was also impressive but it was the heroic centre half’s ability to deal so well with the likes of Loft, King and Shade which secured the win for Spurs on Friday. It was the best performance that I have seen from Tanganga this year, he was absolutely immense!
Spurs: Austin (c), Hinds, Brown, Eyoma, Tanganga, Dinzeyi (Reynolds 46), Duncan, Bowden, Sterling (Richards 88), Oakley-Boothe, Roles (Patterson 90+2). Substitute (not used): Glover.
Leicester City: Johanson, Simpson, Elder, Pascanu, Knight, Johnson (c, Kaba-Sherif 78), Shade, King, Loft (Tee 66), Dewsbury-Hall, Uche (Bassey 33). Substitutes (not used): Davies, Ramsey.
Spurs under 21/23’s statistics 2018/19:
Goals scored: Shayon Harrison – 5
Paris Maghoma – 3
Jack Roles – 2
Jaden Brown – 2
Samuel Shashoua – 1
Marcus Edwards – 1
Dylan Duncan – 1
Assists: Jack Roles – 3
Paris Maghoma – 2
Troy Parrott – 1
Jaden Brown – 1
Shayon Harrison – 1
Oliver Skipp – 1
Tashan Oakley-Boothe – 1
J’Neil Bennett – 1
Dylan Duncan – 1
Kazaiah Sterling – 1
Clean sheets: Brandon Austin – 2
Alfie Whiteman – 1