Spurs under 23’s 0-1 Derby County: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 0-1 Derby County: (match report)

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Our under 23’s went into their PL2 encounter with Derby County on Sunday afternoon with confidence after having won their last three games in all competitions. However, Wayne Burnett’s side played out a dour game with the  ’Rams’ at Pride Park from which they never really got going. Burnett’s side were second best on the day and despite putting in a relatively solid defensive performance, his side were too negative in possession and their severe lack of creativity cost them. We lost 1-0 to Derby who scored what turned out to be the winner on 74 minutes through their captain Max Bird, whose thumping effort had caught the Spurs goalkeeper Brandon Austin by surprise. Derby dominated possession against a Spurs side who weren’t effective at playing out from the back against a high pressing side, and they should have won by more than one goal, whilst our most potent attacking players Jack Roles and Troy Parrott were unable to make much of an impact on the game due to the fact that they were so isolated up top, whilst the wingbacks were not given the ball anywhere near enough. In total we only managed two shots on target but none of those managed to trouble the Derby goalkeeper Kelle Roos. It is worth noting that Darren Wassall did field four overage players in the Derby starting 11. Most notable of which was the defensive duo of Alex Pearce and Ikechi Anya who are both full internationals for both Ireland and Scotland respectively, this definitely helped Wassall’s side to get the better of us. Spurs were without Oliver Skipp, Kazaiah Sterling and Anthony Georgiou for Sunday afternoons game and this resulted in a numbers of players from the under 18 side making the step up to development squad level. Although they would revert to the 4-2-3-1 formation at halftime, Burnett started his side in the 3-4-2-1 formation. Brandon Austin retained the captains armband as he started in goal for the second consecutive game, whilst a back three of Eyoma, Tanganga and Marsh lined up in front of him. Four players lined up in the middle of the park with Tariq Hinds and Jaden Brown starting either side of Maghoma and Bowden in the centre of the park. And Dylan Duncan and the inform Jack Roles played in an attacking diamond formation behind 16 year old Troy Parrott who led the line.

The home side got the game underway at a sunny Pride Park and it was the hosts who certainly looked the brighter of the two teams during the opening stages of the game. Derby’s Louie Sibley drew an early save from Spurs goalkeeper Brandon Austin after hitting a low effort at goal from the edge of the Tottenham penalty area. Midfielder Paris Maghoma managed to block George Thorne’s shot shortly afterwards as Spurs tried to work the ball out of their own half. Austin put his teammates under pressure a couple of minutes later after he passed the ball straight to Derby’s Jayden Mitchell-Lawson on the edge of the Spurs box. Mitchell-Lawson squared the ball for Max Bird in the centre of the box and the Derby captain forced Austin into making an excellent reaction save at his near post, to tip behind the Derby captains powerful effort for a corner kick, which the teenager dealt with by punching it away from danger. The home side continued to threaten the Spurs defence and after Thorne played the ball into Mitchell-Lawson down the right side of the penalty area, the wide man quickly shifted the ball across to Aaron Eyoma in the centre of the box. However, the Derby winger was closed down well by younger brother TJ who made a goal saving block to put the ball behind for a corner kick. Thorne’s resulting corner was played short to Mitchell-Lawson who managed to weave his way into the box before curling an effort across the face of Austin’s goal. Spurs’ Japhet Tanganga then managed to block Louie Sibley’s effort from range as Derby continued to put pressure on Burnett’s side. Aaron Eyoma sent a teasing ball across the face of the Spurs goal before the ever solid George Marsh was able to clear Bird’s free kick a couple of moments later as the likes of Roles and Parrott remained mere spectators up top. Spurs gave another free kick away a couple of minutes later following a supposed foul from Brown on Mitchell-Lawson down the right. Derby’s Calum Macdonald whipped a dangerous delivery across goal which Derby centre froward Cameron Cresswell was only inches away from being able to nod home at the back post.

Spurs continued to play poorly and Wassall’s side continued to come at them as they pushed for an opener. Duncan did well to block George Thorne’s shot on goal after the ball had come out to the Derby man on the edge of the box following Aaron Eyoma’s corner, Spurs had still been unable to manage a single attempt on goal as they continued to be sucked into their own half. After the tigerish Troy Parrott had managed to win the ball off of Thorne, the Irishman quickly passed the ball to Roles who was in the centre circle. Roles channeled his inner David Beckham by attempting to catch Roos off his line with an audacious effort from over 50 yards out. However, the Cypriot youth internationals ambitious long range strike ended up going well wide of the Derby goal. The home side threatened us at the other end a couple of moments later after the speedy Anya was able to pick out Aaron Eyoma in the box with a pin point delivery. However, the 21 year old’s resulting effort on goal was well blocked by Spurs midfielder Dylan Duncan as Derby continued to control the game. George Marsh cleared a low cross from Anya a couple of moments later, before Mitchell-Lawson fired an effort wide of Brandon Austin’s near post after he was played in down the right side of the box by Sibley. The Tottenham goalkeeper did well to come out and claim Max Bird’s low cross moments beforehand. However, Burnett’s struggling side managed to mount their first meaningful attack of the half as the result of a sloppy pass from George Thorne whose early free kick was played straight into the feet of Roles in the centre of the park. The alert teenager traveled forwards with the ball before slipping it into Parrot who was able to enter the box before cutting inside and feeding Roles back in. However, he should have hit it first time but instead he took too many touches before seeing his eventual effort blocked behind for a corner by Bird. Japhet Tanganga made a decent block of his own at the other end a couple of minutes later after he cleared Anya’s dangerous low cross from the right wing. And the ’Rams’ came desperately close to opening the scoring right in the dying moments of the first half.

The so far uninvolved Cameron Cresswell ought to have put Derby ahead after he met Aaron Eyoma’s cross at the near post. However, the Derby centre forwards mistimed header flew narrowly over Austin’s crossbar as Burnett’s side escaped danger once more. Former Spurs and Arsenal youth player Aaron Eyoma curled a late effort well wide of the Spurs goal a couple of moments later to bring an end to a disappointing half for Spurs. Burnett made one change at half time as he brought off right wing back Tariq Hinds in place of Tashan Oakley-Boothe, as Spurs reverted to playing with four at the back. The first piece of action came after Duncan threaded a perfectly weighted pass through to Roles down the right hand side of the Derby penalty area. Roles looked up before picking out Parrott in the centre of the box however, it was a difficult chance for the Dubliner to convert on the volley, and his jabbed looping effort was comfortably saved by Kelle Roos. Derby then went straight on an attack down the other end which resulted in the speedy Mitchell-Lawson having an effort from within the left side of the Spurs box, blocked behind for a corner by the arm of Eyoma. Alex Pearce then headed George Thorne’s cross wide a couple of moments later as Derby started to find their feet again, before a good piece of well timed defending from Eyoma prevented an opening for Mitchell-Lawson inside the Spurs box. The alert Tottenham goalkeeper Brandon Austin did well to deal with Thorne’s free kick a couple of minutes later after the England youth international lined his wall up well. First year scholar J’Neil Bennett replaced Jamie Bowden shortly afterwards as Duncan dropped back into the centre of midfield. However, Spurs continued to be put under pressure by Wassall’s unrelenting side. The ever effective George Marsh produced an important piece of defending on Mitchell-Lawson inside the Spurs box before substitute J’Neil Bennett blocked Thorne’s effort on goal. Spurs then went on a good break at the other end after Roles picked out Parrott on the right wing with a nice pass.

Parrott quickly shifted the ball into the feet of Oakley-Boothe who teed it off for Bennett to hit on the edge of the Derby box. The 16 year old winger caught the ball on the half volley but his low powerful effort into the turf was routinely saved by the diving Roos. TJ Eyoma ended up in the referees book a matter of minutes later after he cynically stopped Calum Macdonald from advancing down the right wing by pulling his shirt. And then in the 74th minute of time came the moment that Spurs had indeed been expecting all game as Derby finally took the lead, after coming so close to doing so on numerous occasions beforehand. It was a bolt out of the blue from Derby captain Max Bird who after playing a quick one-two with the newly introduced Kyle McAllister let fly on his right foot with a venomous strike which caught Austin by surprise. Bird’s sweet strike had given Austin little time to react with the Spurs goalkeeper off his line. Bird’s effort struck the underside of the bar before hitting the back of the net, 0-1. A couple of minutes later Austin was forced into making a good save at his near post to prevent Derby from doubling their advantage. After being slipped in down the right side of the Spurs box by Bird, McAllister’s powerful effort was denied by Austin who spread himself well before making the stop. There was no urgency from Burnett’s side who were offering little to suggest that they could mount a fight back. Derby threatened our defence once more after Bird received Cresswell’s pass before travelling towards the edge of the Spurs penalty area with the ball before dragging it across the face of Austin’s goal, just as Tanganga had managed to come across him. Dylan Duncan continued to grow into the game and the Tottenham midfielder sliced an effort wide of goal after receiving Oakley-Boothe’s pass on the edge of the Derby box, a couple of minutes later. Japhet Tanganga blocked Louie Sibley’s effort before the Spurs centre half met Maghoma’s free kick in the Derby box moments later, but the 19 year old could only head the ball straight into the arms of Roos. Derby then had a weak penalty shout in stoppage time after Tanganga had bundled Cresswell to the ground inside the Spurs box. 

The final piece of action was probably the most entertaining of the whole game which speaks a thousand words in itself. After TJ Eyoma and Sibley squared up to each other after the referee had blown the final whistle before shoving one another. All in all it was a pretty dour afternoon at Pride Park. Whilst Burnett’s sides oldest player was only 19 years of age, Derby had the massive advantage of fielding four experienced overage players. I thought we defended well on the day but I feel that we didn’t have the attacking intensity needed in order to trouble what was a strong Derby defence, but it was a good experience for Burnett’s lads to go up against such an experienced Derby side. Spurs will be hoping to return to winning ways when they host out of form Swansea City at Hotspur Way next Friday. I have a feeling that, that will be a far more entertaining game of football.

Player reviews: 

  • Brandon Austin: The 19 year old retained the captains armband for our game against Derby County on Sunday and had another fine game. Austin made four saves, two of which were fantastic reflex saves, particularly the first one to deny Max Bird at his near post from close range. Austin was commanding and led his teammates by example whilst also dealing well with the many corner kicks and free kicks which came his way. Whilst he was a little bit slow with his distribution I thought that Austin couldn’t have done anymore to prevent Max Bird’s goal despite the fact that he was off his line at the time of the strike. Bird’s effort had so much venom and sting on it.
  • TJ Eyoma:  I thought that our whole defence had a really good game against Derby on Sunday. However, I thought that 19 year old centre half TJ Eyoma was the pick of our defenders. He defended well, first on the right side of a back three and later as a right back despite his lack of pace. Eyoma read the game to perfection and made a number of important blocks and interceptions. Including a goal saving block to deny his older brother Aaron from scoring in the first half. 
  • Japhet Tanganga: Tanganga put in another strong performance in the heart of the Tottenham defence making many important blocks and clearances. Tanganga defended solidly but most importantly of all he always kept good positioning and won the vast majority of his aerial duels. The 19 year old didn’t allow Derby centre forward Cameron Cresswell to have many goal scoring opportunities inside the six yard box. 
  • George Marsh: Marsh operated at centre half, first in a back three and then in a back four. The 19 year old didn’t put a foot wrong and like Tanganga he was solid in defence and could often be seen making important defensive interventions, blocks and clearances. He worked extremely hard for the team and covered a lot of ground. 
  • Tariq Hinds: Hinds put in a decent defensive performance at right wing back during the first half, before the 18 year old was replaced at halftime as Spurs switched formations.
  • Paris Maghoma: Sometimes it was hard to work out where the 17 year old midfielder was playing, such was the confusing formation which we started up with. Maghoma would often pop up at both ends of the field and although he struggled alongside Bowden to influence the game during the first half due to how the side were set up, Maghoma grew into the game and made a number of good long range passes during the final stages of the game. He did well to adapt to the game and was positive with the ball at his feet.
  • Jamie Bowden: The 17 year old central midfielder operated alongside Maghoma in the centre of the park. Like his slightly older teammate, Bowden was unable to influence the game in his usual way due to how stifled we had been creatively. However, I thought the young man from Tottenham still did a good job in the central areas. He stayed deep and snuffed out danger on numerous occasions whilst also impressing with his movement and overall reading of the game, and he always looked so calm in possession. 
  • Jaden Brown: The usually attacking left back was neutralised by the speedy and experienced Ikechi Anya who prevented the inform Brown from making any of his usual attacking forays down that side of the pitch. Anya essentially kept Brown out of the game from an attacking point of view. However, the teenager from Lewisham did put in a good defensive shift as he continued his good form of late.
  • Jack Roles: He always looked threatening whenever the attacking midfielder had the ball at his feet. And the 19 year old who operated in an attacking diamond behind lone striker Troy Parrott was one of our most creative players on the day. Making a string of fine passes, Roles helped to create space for Parrott with his first class movement and work rate, despite how isolated he was.
  • Dylan Duncan: My motm, see below.
  • Troy Parrott: Once again I thought that the 16 year old did the best that he could do to lead the line for Burnett’s side. He was isolated throughout the game and the Dubliner was forced into coming deep in order to get the ball and try to make things happen. He had one half chance which he was unlucky with, and he was also involved in two of our most promising attacks, and he was particularly unselfish to square the ball to Roles right on the stroke of half time inside the Derby penalty area.
  • Tashan Oakley-Boothe: Oakley-Boothe replaced Hinds at halftime, and whilst he did make some impressive passes during his time on the pitch I felt that he struggled to get involved much in the game as an attacking midfielder.
  • J’Neil Bennett: The 16 year old was positive during his 35 or so minutes on the pitch. He was willing to take players on and was constantly asking for the ball to be played into him. Bennett did have a decent shot on goal shortly after he was introduced to the game which drew a save from Roos.

My man of the match: The versatile Dylan Duncan was our best player on the day, first as an attacking midfielder where he put in a fine shift for the majority of the game out on the left hand side, and also as a combative central midfielder for the latter part of the game. Duncan worked hard to influence play and he was quite a threat for Spurs going forwards and he made a number of top draw passes which opened up the Derby defence during the second half. Both Duncan’s high work rate and good movement also impressed me, and the 19 year old helped his teammates out throughout the game by showing a real willingness to win balls in the centre of the park. This was only Duncan’s second start of the season but I’m hoping that he will now get a good run in Burnett’s side.

Derby County: Roos, Anya, Macdonald, Thorne, Pearce, Buchanan, Mitchell-Lawson (McAllister 73), Bird (c), Cresswell, Sibley, Eyoma (Shonibare 82). Substitutes (not used): Karic, Barnes, Hunt.

Spurs: Austin (c), Hinds (Oakley-Boothe 46), Brown, Eyoma, Tanganga, Marsh Duncan Bowden (Bennett 57), Parrott, Maghoma, Roles. Substitutes (not used): Glover, Dinzeyi, Reynolds.

Goal: Bird 74.

Yellow cards: Derby – Thorne 89; Spurs – Eyoma 69.

Referee: Josh Smith. 

Venue: Pride Park, Derby.

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

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