Spurs under 23’s 2-1 Wolfsburg II: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 2-1 Wolfsburg II: (match report)


Wayne Burnett’s development side ended their run of four games without a win in superb fashion on Monday evening, by beating a very good Wolfsburg II side at Broadhall Way. Spurs took on the German club in their opening group game of this seasons Premier league international cup a competition which they have entered for the second season in a row. Burnett’s side came up against an experienced and technically gifted Wolfsburg side who had only lost one game from the 23 that they had played this season going into their meeting with us. The German clubs reserve side are also the league leaders of the Regionalliga North back in Germany. It really was an enthralling encounter with Wolfsburg, it was a fiercely competitive game in which both sides tried to implement their own brand of attacking football. The visitors were the more experienced side and Ton Lokhoff’s team included 26 year old Felix Klaus in their starting eleven. The big news from our match day squad was the inclusion of Cyprus international Anthony Georgiou (21) who started on the bench following a frustrating three month injury lay off. The first half was played at an extremely high intensity as both teams went in search of an opener. Wolfsburg looked the more dangerous team in front of goal, but their were chances aplenty at both ends of the pitch. A thrilling first half ended in the alert Jack Roles pouncing on an error from Niklas Klinger to curl home from inside the six yard box from an acute angle, to put Spurs 1-0 up on the stroke of halftime. Burnett’s side started the second half in similarly excellent fashion, Jack Roles turning the provider this time for striker Kazaiah Sterling. The 19 year old capping off an excellent run across the edge of the Wolfsburg box by rifling an effort beyond Klinger to double Spurs’ advantage. Spurs were the better side and following Sterling’s goal they started to grow in confidence and this resulted in them creating some excellent chances. However, for all the shots that they had on goal, they were unable to put the game to bed. And after Daniel Hanslik pulled a late goal back for the visitors it was a nerve racking end to the game. However, Burnett’s side defended superbly throughout and in the end they did just about enough to get off to a winning start in group C, and they did it in some style too. 

Wayne Burnett opted go for the familiar 4-2-3-1 formation for the visit of the German club. Brandon Austin started in goal, with a back four of Hinds, Eyoma, Tanganga and Brown starting in front of him. George Marsh and Dylan Duncan started in the middle of the park with 17 year old Jamie Bowden out injured. While the attacking trio of Oakley-Boothe, Maghoma and Roles lined up behind centre forward Kazaiah Sterling who led the line. Spurs got the cup match underway on a chilly evening in Hertfordshire, in front of a crowd which included our under 18 squad who were supporting teammates Pochettino and Thorpe who started on the bench. Spurs won an early free kick out on the left wing after Duncan was fouled. Paris Maghoma’s delivery found Tanganga on the right hand side of the penalty area however, the defenders weak header was cleared by Wolfsburg defender Robin Ziegele. Felix Klaus went on a searing run down the left flank shortly afterwards, before cutting inside and travelling across the edge of the Spurs box and firing a powerful low effort off of the inside of Austin’s left hand post. Fortunately for the Tottenham goalkeeper the ball bounced back away from goal. George Marsh cleared Felix Klaus‘ low cross a couple of moments later as Wolfsburg began to dominate possession during the early stages of the game. The German side created another good passage of play after Murat Saglam received Gian-Luca Itter’s pass before slipping the ball into Klaus inside the Tottenham penalty area. However, Duncan got to his man in time to win the ball off the German before clearing it away from danger. The visitors were playing with a lot of confidence about them and they were taking the game to Burnett’s side. Malcolm Badu’s long pass out to Klaus on the left flank was cushioned down to Saglam on the edge of the Spurs penalty area, but he blazed an effort over Austin’s crossbar. Spurs responded at the other end through Duncan who drove forward through the middle before slipping the ball through to Sterling who was brought down by the sliding Tim Siersleben.

Paris Maghoma picked up the loose ball before taking it around the goalkeeper however, he took one touch too many and he ended up taking the ball away from goal. In the end he chipped the ball back across goal for Tanganga, who couldn’t make significant contact with it. The ball then came out to Brown on the edge of the box but he shot a low effort wide of goal. Tanganga did well to block Felix Klaus’ effort at the other end of the pitch as the game continued to pick up pace. Paul Seguin then headed Saglam’s corner kick narrowly wide a couple of moments later. Neither side was able to get a stranglehold on the game and this meant that both sides were trying to catch one another on the break. A well worked move from Burnett’s youngsters resulted in Hinds passing the ball to the lively Paris Maghoma who twisted around his man before giving the ball to Sterling whose first time shot was blocked by Wolfsburg defender Robin Ziegele. However, the ball rolled out to Roles on the left side of the box and the Cyprus under 21 international had a low effort on goal well saved by Klinger who put it behind for a corner kick. Jaden Brown’s resulting corner kick was nodded wide by Tanganga who couldn’t keep his header down. The tenacious TJ Eyoma did well to block Saglam’s effort on goal at the other end of the pitch before blocking the Wolfsburg forwards effort for a second time a couple of moments later. Felix Klaus then whipped a menacing ball across the face of Austin’s goal from the right wing before John Yeboah fired an effort narrowly over Austin’s crossbar with an effort from 20 yards out. Japhet Tanganga was booked shortly afterwards for a mistimed challenge on Felix Klaus. Some more intricate play from the German club resulted in Wolfsburg centre forward Daniel Hanslik heading Felix Klaus’ cross narrowly over Austin’s crossbar as the visitors continued to put pressure on the Spurs defence. A long pass over the top of the Wolfsburg defence almost set Sterling through on goal, and Wolfsburg broke straight down the other end but Tanganga was on hand to clear Malcolm Badu’s teasing cross into the Tottenham penalty area. 

Brandon Austin punched Daniel Hanslik’s resulting corner kick away from danger. However, the Tottenham goalkeeper got lucky a couple of moments later after passing the ball straight to Paul Seguin on the edge of the Spurs penalty area. But the 19 year old made amends for his error a matter of minutes later when he stopped Malcolm Badu’s powerful effort, after he had cut inside from the left wing before testing Austin. The Tottenham goalkeeper then did well to prevent John Yeboah’s effort on the follow up with his feet. TJ Eyoma headed the same players cross away from danger a couple of minutes later. The game had developed into a frantic end to end affair with chances aplenty at both ends of the pitch, as both sides impressed going forward. The energetic Kazaiah Sterling won a free kick on the edge of the Wolfsburg penalty area after he was obstructed by Seguin. Jaden Brown’s powerful low effort was turned just wide by the fast thinking Jack Roles on the volley. Spurs’ most potent attacking player Paris Maghoma advanced on a mazy run a couple of minutes later as he took the ball into the Wolfsburg penalty area before leaving it for Jack Roles to pick up. However, Roles’ shot was blocked by a Wolfsburg defender who had done well to close him down. Spurs then had their best chance of the half through Kazaiah Sterling shortly afterwards. What should have been a routine tap in for the Spurs striker turned out to be a moment to forget for the 20 year old, who somehow managed to nod Dylan Duncan’s cross wide from only four yards out, at the back post in front of an empty goal. The potent Felix Klaus forced a decent stop out of Brandon Austin at the other end after he cut inside onto his right foot before running across the edge of the penalty area and dragged a low effort across goal, which was stopped by the diving Austin. The impressive Oakley-Boothe was cynically brought down right on the edge of the Wolfsburg box by Klaus, winning a free kick in a good position for Burnett’s side. Maghoma’s resulting delivery was met by Roles who headed the ball down to Duncan whose volley was turned into the back of the goal by Sterling, however the linesman on the far side had raised his flag for offside, and the goal was disallowed.

Paris Maghoma fired an effort narrowly wide after picking up the ball down the left side of the Wolfsburg penalty. The German club responded at the other through the Klaus who managed to latch onto a headed clearance from Tanganga on the edge of the Spurs box before wildly volleying well wide of the mark. An over hit pass from Hinds to Austin shortly afterwards put the Spurs goalkeeper under unnecessary pressure and forced him into hurriedly clearing the ball. However, Wayne Burnett’s side took the lead right on the stroke of halftime through the inform Jack Roles, after the alert north Londoner had caught Wolfsburg goalkeeper Niklas Klinger out. It was a sloppy goal to conceded from Wolfsburg’s perspective, the goal came from Paris Maghoma’s corner kick which was headed clear by a Wolfsburg defender but only out to Duncan on the edge of the box. The Spurs midfielder headed the ball back into the danger zone but Paul Seguin’s header back to the goalkeeper wasn’t a good one. And this resulted in Roles and Klinger racing to get to the loose ball out on the left side of the box. The Spurs man beat Klinger to the ball before twisting around and curling the ball into the opposite corner of the goal, from an almost improbable angle, 1-0. It was an excellently taken goal from the 19 year old capping off an excellent half of European football. Wolfsburg got the second half underway and the German club almost drew level shortly after the restart through Felix Klaus, who fired narrowly over Austin’s crossbar after receiving Yeboah’s pass down the left side of the Spurs box. However, Spurs responded by doubling their lead courtesy of an incisive counter attack. It was a clever break away down the left flank from Spurs which started with Roles who played the ball down the channel to Sterling who cut inside onto his right foot. Sterling ran across the edge of the penalty area before rifling the ball into the bottom left hand corner of Klinger’s goal, 2-0. Although it was a great run and finish from the Tottenham centre forward, a lot of the goal had to do with young Paris Maghoma whose excellent darting run through the middle confused Klinger, and he was excepting Sterling to square the ball for Maghoma.

 Spurs almost extended their lead a couple of minutes later after Jack Roles received the ball out on the left flank after Duncan had passed to him. Roles then whipped the ball towards Sterling at the back post. The Spurs striker headed the ball back across goal to Maghoma whose volley was saved by the feet of Klinger much to the Spurs teenagers disbelief. Ton Lokhoff’s side came close to pulling a goal back through Hanslik who fired an effort narrowly wide of Austin’s goal after receiving Iba May’s pass on the edge of the Spurs penalty area, following a well worked passing move from the visitors. Wolfsburg were knocking the ball about the park patiently as they looked for gaps in the Spurs defence. However, Spurs were catching the opposition on the break at every opportunity, Jack Roles almost set Sterling through on goal with a clever pass over the Wolfsburg defence, but Klinger came rushing off of his line to get to the ball before Sterling. Maghoma managed to find Sterling down the left side of the Wolfsburg box a couple of minutes later, but the Spurs striker fired an effort narrowly wide of Klinger’s near post. Brandon Austin showed good hands to hold Daniel Hanslik’s free kick after Tariq Hinds had conceded the free kick on the edge of the Tottenham box. Duncan gave the ball away to Hanslik shortly afterwards but the strikers effort on goal was blocked superbly by the sliding Eyoma. Paris Maghoma then had a powerful low cross cleared by a Wolfsburg defender at the other end moments later, before Burnett made his first substitution of the game when he brought on Anthony Georgiou for Jack Roles. The game continued to be played at a high tempo as both sides attacked with intent. TJ Eyoma cleared Davide Itter’s cross before Dylan Duncan was replaced by Jamie Reynolds in the centre of the park. Paris Maghoma then had a golden chance to put the game to bed after he received Tariq Hinds‘ pass before weaving his way into the Wolfsburg box in style and then firing an effort narrowly over Klinger’s crossbar. The tireless George Marsh blocked Paul Seguin’s shot at the other end, before Brandon Austin saved Felix Klaus’ free kick.

Wolfsburg had upped their tempo during the final stages of the game and they were really pushing for a late goal. Substitute Jesaja Herrmann blazed an effort  over Austin’s goal from range before Tanganga did well to block Seguin’s effort on goal. However, the Spurs defence couldn’t do anything to prevent Wolfsburg from pulling a goal back in the 82nd minute through Daniel Hanslik. The Wolfsburg centre forward managed to get on the end of Gian Luca-Itter’s corner kick before powering a header into the bottom left hand corner of Austin’s goal. Itter’s bullet header came off of the inside of Austin’s post before going in, 2-1. Maghoma was replaced by Pochettino shortly afterwards as Oakley-Boothe switched into the number ten role. Tanganga cleared Felix Klaus’ low cross as Wolfsburg really started to put the pressure on Burnett’s tiring defence, as they went in search of an equaliser at the death. Some good work from Georgiou down the left flank resulted in the 21 year old slipping the ball through to Brown down the left side of the Wolfsburg penalty, but the fullback dragged his effort across Klinger’s goal, squandering a great late chance for Spurs to put the game to bed. Some desperate late defending from Spurs prevented Wolfsburg from punishing us. Tariq Hinds blocked Hanslik’s effort on goal before the same player whipped the ball into the danger zone. However, Austin came out to confidently claim the ball. George Marsh was given a yellow card shortly afterwards for a foul on Tim Siersleben as Spurs held on, to record a hugely impressive win against the experienced German side. Our under 23’s next game is on Friday when Burnett’s side face Everton at Hotspur Way in the PL2.

Player reviews:

  • Brandon Austin: The 19 year old goalkeeper put in another excellent performance for the Lilywhites on his eight appearance for the development side this season. Austin made five saves in total against Wolfsburg on Monday evening and once again he dealt superbly with set pieces and corner kicks. Austin’s double save in the first half to prevent both Badu’s and Yeboah’s effort proved to be a decisive moment in the game. He also made three other important stops and I was impressed with how quick he was on his feet, how commanding he was inside the six yard box and also how good he was with his hands. It was another fantastic performance from a fantastic young goalkeeper.
  • Tariq Hinds: The right back had a good game and he defended relatively well against Wolfsburg’s most potent attacking player in winger Felix Klaus. Hinds was attentive throughout the game and although the 26 year old winger caused him quite a few problems I thought that Hinds defended well down that side of the pitch. 
  • TJ Eyoma: Playing at lcb, 18 year old defender TJ Eyoma had an absolutely fantastic game alongside Japhet Tanganga on Monday. Eyoma read the game very well, he also anticipated potentially dangerous situations well. He was good in the air and calm on the ball, but it was the quality of some of his blocks and interventions which helped Spurs to see out the game. The Londoners positioning and awareness was second to none, and as far as I could see he didn’t put a foot wrong. Eyoma and Tanganga work very well together at centre back.
  • Japhet Tanganga: Like his partner at centre back Tanganga had an excellent game for Spurs. The 19 year old who was operating at rcb skippered Wayne Burnett’s side for the visit of the German club. Like Eyoma his positional understanding was good and he didn’t allow Wolfsburg’s experienced centre forward Daniel Hanslik the space which he so desperately craved. Tanganga was everywhere across the back four and it was a very good all round performance from the Spurs captain, who performed his duties so diligently throughout the match.
  • Jaden Brown: The left back got up and down the flank well and he dealt well with Wolfsburg winger John Yeboah. However, Brown impressed me most going forward and he was involved in some good moves down that side of the pitch, particularly when Georgiou came on in the second half as he allowed him to take more attacking risks.
  • George Marsh: It was another tireless performance from the hardworking and combative holding midfielder who did a good job at helping us to control the midfield. Marsh got back well to cover for the defenders and he made some important blocks and interceptions. He really helped us to manage the game during the latter stages of the match.
  • Dylan Duncan: Duncan started alongside Marsh in the middle of the park and like his teammate he put in a very respectable performance. He won a lot of balls in the central areas of the pitch and he recycled possession well. He also went on some good driving runs through the middle of the pitch and he showed a real willingness to get into decent positions in and around the oppositions penalty area. Duncan played his part in Jack Rolea’ opener with his header towards the Spurs forward from Paris Maghoma’s corner kick. The 19 year old was replaced by Jamie Reynolds in the 72nd minute of the game.
  • Tashan Oakley-Boothe: The 18 year old had an excellent game out on the right flank, in fact it was one of the best games that I have seen him play this season. Oakley-Boothe was one of our most creative players on the night and he helped to link play with centre forward Kazaiah Sterling. The 18 year olds movement was impressive and he got back well to help out Tariq Hinds at right back. Oakley-Boothe used the ball intelligently and his ball control, hold up play and ability to wriggle away from opponents in tight spaces helped Spurs out on so many occasions. He was positive in possession and he would often look to take on players as he got further up the pitch. Oakley-Boothe also linked up well with our number ten Paris Maghoma and he would fill in for the 17 year old after he was replaced late on in the game.
  • Paris Maghoma: My motm, see below. 
  • Jack Roles: A 19 year old who has been in red hot form this season, Jack Roles had another productive game out on the left wing. Chipping in with a goal and assist, Roles used the ball well and his aggressive pressing and willingness to create space for himself proved to be very useful for Wayne Burnett’s side. Roles took his goal excellently from a tight angle and he did well to set up Kazaiah Sterling for our second of the game.
  • Kazaiah Sterling: The 20 year old scored his first goal of the season and it was no more than he deserved after putting in an excellent shift up top against Wolfsburg on Monday. Sterling put in an electric performance and his many well timed runs in and behind the Wolfsburg defence made him a real pain to play against. Sterling worked his socks off in order to get into good positions. He held up the ball well and he helped out his teammates at the other end of the pitch. Despite missing a sitter in the first half, Sterling made up for it at the beginning of the second half after he cut inside from right flank before rifling an unstoppable effort beyond the Wolfsburg goalkeeper.
  • Anthony Georgiou: I couldn’t have been more delighted for Anthony to see him make his long return from injury as a second half substitute against Wolfsburg on Monday evening. Georgiou put in a really good shift out on the left wing after replacing Jack Roles in the 65th minute. Georgiou got up and down that left flank so well, he was disciplined and he knew when and when not to let Brown overlap him. However, Georgiou also went on some good runs of his own and he made some smart decisions in the final third. It was so good to see him back out on the pitch, and hopefully he’ll start against Everton on Friday as he continues to make his comeback from injury.
  • Jamie Reynolds: The 19 year old replaced Dylan Duncan in central midfield late on in the game and helped Spurs out at the back with some brave defending.
  • Maurizio Pochettino: It was only a fleeting cameo for the 17 year old who made his debut for the development side after replacing Maghoma late on in the game. 

My man of the match: Paris Maghoma. The 17 year old was absolutely outstanding against Wolfsburg on Monday evening. Playing in the number ten role, Maghoma was by far and out Spurs’ most influential player and the midfielder was pivotal in us carving open the German clubs defence. A constant thorn in Wolfsburg’s side, Maghoma’s weaving runs and urge to take on players helped us to break down what was a sturdy back line. He moved around the park extremely well and he was forceful much like Dele Alli is for the first team. However, the intelligence and unpredictability about his game made him almost unplayable for large periods of the match. His driving runs, balance and ability to trick his way around the Wolfsburg defence was simply sublime. Maghoma had four excellent chances in the game to get on the scoresheet and although he will have been disappointed that he couldn’t have put any of those away, I thought that his swiftness of thought and intelligence in the final third more than made up for this. Some of his jinking forward runs and twists and turns were an absolute joy to watch. As was his movement in and around the oppositions penalty area. Maghoma played a big part in our second goal of the game after he confused the Wolfsburg goalkeeper and defence by making a darting run into the penalty area, as if Sterling was going to play him in. However, this allowed Sterling to catch the Wolfsburg goalkeeper by surprise, by going for goal instead. It was a wonderful performance from Maghoma who is improving by every game that he plays.

Spurs: Austin, Hinds, Brown, Marsh, Tanganga (c), Eyoma, Oakley-Boothe, Duncan (Reynolds 72), Sterling, Maghoma (Pochettino 83), Roles (Georgiou 85).

Substitutes (not used): Glover, Thorpe.

VFL Wolfsburg: Klinger, Badu, G Itter, May, Ziegele (Moker 74), Siersleben, Klaus, Seguin, Hanslik (c), Saglam (Herrmann 58), Yeboah (D Itter 59).

Substitutes (not used): Tasche, Messeguem.

Goals: Spurs – Roles 45+2, Sterling 47; Wolfsburg – Hanslik 82.

Yellow cards: Spurs – Tanganga 21, Duncan 65, Marsh 90+1; Wolfsburg – Saglam 15, May 39, Klaus 56, Ziegele 68, Seguin 72.

Referee: Savvas Yianni.

Venue: Lamex stadium, Stevenage.

Attendance: 433.

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

Goals scored: Shayon Harrison – 5

Paris Maghoma – 4

Jack Roles – 4

Jaden Brown – 2

Samuel Shashoua – 1

Marcus Edwards – 1

Dylan Duncan – 1

Phoenix Patterson – 1

Harvey White – 1

Kazaiah Sterling – 1

Assists: Jack Roles – 4

Paris Maghoma – 2

J’Neil Bennett – 2

Jaden Brown – 2

Troy Parrott – 1

Shayon Harrison – 1

Oliver Skipp – 1

Tashan Oakley-Boothe – 1

Dylan Duncan – 1

Kazaiah Sterling – 1

Jamie Bowden – 1

Clean sheets: Brandon Austin – 2

Alfie Whiteman – 1

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