Spurs under 21’s 0-3 Oxford United: (match report)
Our development side crashed out of the Checkatrade trophy on Tuesday evening, after Wayne Burnett’s side were beaten 3-0 by league one club Oxford United at the Kassam stadium. It was one challenge to many for our development side who after achieving so much in order to progress from the group stages of the competition were unable to match the league one side on the night. Oxford United who are managed by Karl Robinson were superior to us on Tuesday evening. They were stronger, quicker and much more experienced than us and despite their best efforts Burnett’s side were unable to overcome the ‘ U’s ’ who unlike us put out their strongest available side. Burnett’s side on the other hand was without the likes of Anthony Georgiou, TJ Eyoma and Paris Maghoma and the trios absence was sorely felt. It was a disappointing end to what has been an extremely positive journey in the competition this campaign. However, when youngsters are coming up against league one players of the ilk of James Henry, Simon Eastwood and Ricky Holmes you know that you’re going to be up against it. Tuesdays match under the floodlights at the Kassam stadium would have been one of the biggest games that some of our lads have ever been involved in. Oxford played some attractive attacking football and it didn’t take the league one side long before they troubled our defence. All three of the ‘ Yellows ’ goals came from crosses and this was something which Robinson would have been instructing his players to do, as it was extremely difficult for the young Spurs defence to deal with. Oxford took the lead after just 12 minutes through Charlie Raglan who headed home Tony McMahon’s free kick. The ‘ Yellows ’ doubled their advantage less than four minutes later through Sam Smith as Robinson’s high pressing side took control of the game. Kazaiah Sterling squandered a fantastic chance to pull a goal back for Spurs before half time. Oxford made it 3-0 early on in the second half through Tony McMahon who essentially sealed the win for the home side. Spurs did improve in the second half and they created some good chances, with Jack Roles being their best and most potent attacking player on the day. However, in the end it proved to be one test too many for Spurs who bowed out of this seasons competition with their heads held high, after picking up some valuable experience on the way.
Wayne Burnett opted to go for the familiar 4-2-3-1 formation for our Checkatrade trophy second round game against Oxford United on Tuesday. Brandon Austin started in goal, while a back four of Hinds, Marsh, Tanganga (the captain) and Brown sat in front of him. Dylan Duncan and Jamie Bowden lined up in the centre of the park, with Oakley-Boothe, Roles and 17 year old Rayan Clarke starting behind Kazaiah Sterling who led the line for Spurs. Oxford got the game underway at the Kassam stadium on a wet winters night in county Oxfordshire. Young Jamie Bowden conceded a free kick in a dangerous position early on in the game after he fouled Cameron Brannagan on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area. And the ‘ U’s ’ almost took the lead from the resulting free kick. Tony McMahon’s curling effort managed to get up and over the Spurs wall before flying into Brandon Austin’s side netting. Sam Smith looked to attack James Henry’s cross at the back post shortly afterwards but he ended up fouling Tariq Hinds as he attempted to get to the ball. Spurs were playing about with the ball at the back as Karl Robinson’s side pressed the Spurs players aggressively. Spurs looked to attack down the other end, Duncan shifted the ball out to Clarke on the left wing. The second year scholar played the ball down the line for the overlapping Jaden Brown whose whipped cross flashed across the face of the Oxford goal. The home side then created a good chance at the other end after Gavin Whyte received James Henry’s pass out on the right flank. Whyte managed to pick out Sam Smith in space, in the middle of the Tottenham penalty with a pin point cross. However, the Oxford strikers header went narrowly over Austin’s crossbar. Oxford continued to work the Spurs defenders and they took the lead in unsurprising fashion in the 12th minute of the game. Oxford were awarded a free kick out on the right wing after Jaden Brown had fouled James Henry. Tony McMahon stood up to deliver the ball into penalty area and he managed to pick out Charlie Raglan in space in the middle of the box. Raglan got above the Spurs defenders before planting a header into the bottom right hand corner of Austin’s goal, 0-1.
Jamie Bowden managed to clear Sam Smith’s menacing cross shortly after the restart before the home team managed to carve open our defence following a well worked move. Brannagan passed the ball to Armani Little out on the right wing and the forward cut inside onto to his left foot before entering the penalty area and blazing an effort across Austin’s goal. Robinson’s side were dominating the game and it was only a matter of time before they scored again and that second goal duly arrived in the 17th minute through the ‘ U’s ’ centre forward Sam Smith. The goal came from a corner kick which was whipped into the danger zone by Everton loanee Luke Garbutt and met by Smith, who darted across the Spurs defence to meet it at the near post and head it into the top right hand corner of Austin’s goal, 0-2. The Tottenham goalkeeper was livid that his defenders hadn’t picked up Smith and rightfully so. James Henry fired an effort wide from long range a couple of minutes later after Bowden had lost possession, as Spurs struggled to get into the game. Oxford were attacking down the flanks and their wide players were pumping the ball into the box at every opportunity. George Marsh managed to clear Armani Little’s cross but it came out to Brannagan on the edge of the penalty area, and the midfielders sweetly struck effort on the half volley was well saved by the diving Austin. The so far uninvolved Kazaiah Sterling managed to intercept Luke Garbutt’s pass before darting into the Oxford penalty area. However, the alert Curtis Nelson managed to get across Sterling to win the ball off of him before the Spurs man could pull the trigger. James Henry fired an effort over Austin’s crossbar shortly afterwards when he received Sam Smith’s pass on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area. Spurs managed to go on a good attack at the other end as Oakley-Boothe passed the ball to Duncan who shifted the ball out to Clarke on the left flank. Clarke continued forward before cutting inside onto his right foot and firing an effort narrowly wide of Simon Eastwood’s goal. Jamie Bowden then created a glorious chance for Kazaiah Sterling a couple of minutes later.
The intelligent midfielder played one of his perfectly weighted defence splitting passes through the Oxford defence which Sterling ran onto. The Spurs striker had timed his run well and he travelled all the way into the Oxford penalty area where he was met by the outrushing Eastwood. The usually clinical Sterling took his time before trying to tuck the ball past the Oxford goalkeeper, but the Spurs mans effort lacked power and Eastwood was able to stop it with his left leg. The ‘ U’s ’ went straight down the other end as they tried to catch Spurs on the break. Henry passed the ball to Tony McMahon down the right side of the Tottenham penalty area, but his powerful effort was parried by the alert Brandon Austin. The Spurs goalkeeper accidentally gave the ball away to Armani Little shortly afterwards and the winger played a first time pass into Sam Smith inside the penalty area however, George Marsh managed to make an important interception to win the ball off the Oxford striker. Spurs were working hard in order to try and work the Oxford defence. A move from the young Lilywhites saw Bowden pass the ball to the creative Jack Roles who gave the ball to Clarke out on the left wing before cutting inside and having his effort on goal blocked by Charlie Raglan who put the ball behind for a corner. Jamie Bowden’s resulting delivery from the corner kick was only just missed by Tanganga at the back post. The final attack of the half came from the home side who almost extended their lead in first half stoppage time. Gavin Whyte passed the ball to Tony McMahon who managed to pick out Armani Little at the back post, but Little ended up flashing a header a matter of inches wide of Austin’s goal. Spurs got the second half underway after the break as Burnett’s side looked to shake things up to prevent going out of the competition. Oxford soon reestablished their strangle hold on the game, Luke Garbutt had an effort on goal blocked by Tanganga after he had received Armani Little’s pass.
The ‘ Yellows ’ effectively put the game to bed a couple of minutes later when Tony McMahon put Oxford 3-0 up. A corner kick by Luke Garbutt was not dealt with properly by the Spurs defence and the ball came out to Whyte on the opposite flank. His cross eventually came into the feet of McMahon who fired past Austin from inside the penalty area, 0-3. Oxford came close to making it 4-0 shortly after the restart when Gavin Whyte cut inside from the right wing before firing narrowly over on the edge of the penalty area. Sam Smith had a shot on goal blocked by Duncan a couple of moments later as the Spurs defence struggled to keep out the Oxford forwards. Jack Roles came mighty close to pulling a goal back for Spurs after he received Clarke’s pass on the edge of the Oxford penalty area before curling an effort onto Eastwood’s left hand post. The alert Dylan Duncan tried to pounce on the loose ball but Eastwood just beat him to it, to smother the ball. The potent Jack Roles was involved in another Spurs chance a couple of minutes later. After the forward had slipped the ball into Sterling inside the Oxford box, the Spurs striker gave the ball back to Roles who was waiting on the edge of the penalty area. However, Roles’ resulting effort was blocked by Jamie Hanson before Sterling hit a deflected effort wide of the mark. Spurs were enjoying a good spell in the game and that had a lot to do with Jack Roles. After winning a free kick on the edge of the Oxford penalty area following a foul from Raglan, Roles had a deflected effort put behind for a Spurs corner kick. After getting on the end of Jaden Brown’s cross inside the penalty area Sterling turned his man before having his shot blocked by Charlie Raglan a couple of moments later. Then a couple of minutes later Sterling found Oakley-Boothe who went on a driving forward run before passing the ball to Sterling whose effort was blocked once again by Raglan. Both defences had started to open up as both sides looked to attack at every opportunity. Japhet Tanganga did well to block substitute Marcus Browne’s effort on goal following a good passing move from Oxford. The West Ham loanee threatened the Spurs defence again a couple of moments later, this time he wrong footed Tariq Hinds down the left side of the penalty area before forcing Austin into making an impressive reflex save at his near post to stop his thumping effort on goal.
George Marsh blocked substitute Ricky Holmes’ effort shortly afterwards before the makeshift Tottenham defender did well to block Gavin Whyte’s cross a couple of moments later. Sam Smith won a free kick in a promising position for the ‘ U’s ’ soon after but his effort was blocked by Hinds before Tanganga made a superb block to deny Marcus Browne on the follow up. Hinds received treatment from the Tottenham medical staff after going down injured after being struck painfully by Sam Smith’s powerful free kick. Charlie Raglan managed to pick out Browne at Austin’s back post shortly afterwards. The West Ham loanee met Raglan’s cross with his head and the 21 year olds header seemed to strike Jaden Brown’s hand before Austin made the save. The Oxford players were looking for a penalty but the referee thought otherwise and play resumed. Cameron Brannagan fired an effort narrowly over Austin’s crossbar shortly afterwards after he received Sam Smith’s pass on the edge of the Spurs box. Shilow Tracey made his return to action from a long injury lay off when he replaced Jamie Bowden in the 73rd minute. The game had started to ebb away from Spurs and they were lacking the intensity that they had shown during the first half. Brandon Austin made another save this time to deny Ricky Holmes’ strike from 20 yards out. After Oakley-Boothe whipped a dangerous ball into the penalty area shortly afterwards the ball ended up coming out to Clarke on the left flank. The 17 year old managed to find Roles who gave the ball to Sterling in the middle of the box, but the strikers tame effort was easily saved by Eastwood. George Marsh conceded a free kick right on the edge of the Spurs penalty area at the other end. Substitute Ricky Holmes stood up to take it but the former Charlton man ended up curling the ball over Austin’s crossbar. Jack Roles tried to beat Eastwood at the other end with a cheeky chip on the edge of the Oxford penalty area after receiving Hinds‘ pass however, the Oxford goalkeeper knew what Roles was going to do and he made an easy save to deny the Spurs man.
Tariq Hinds was replaced by Jamie Reynolds in the 85th minute as Burnett made his second substitution of the game. After Dylan Duncan conceded a free kick out on the right flank Tony McMahon’s resulting delivery was headed wide by Jamie Hanson at the back post. Jack Roles came close to setting Kazaiah Sterling through on goal at the other end before Rayan Clarke was brought off in the place of Elliot Thorpe who came onto make his debut for the development side. Armani Little fired narrowly over after meeting Luke Garbutt’s cross inside the Tottenham penalty area. Sam Smith headed Tony McMahon’s cross narrowly over Austin’s crossbar shortly afterwards in what turned out to be the final piece of action from the game. It was a shame that Spurs got knocked out of the competition in such fashion but it’s worth remembering the quality of the opposition that we were playing. This competition has provided Spurs’ young players with the invaluable experience of playing against EFL clubs and I for one am extremely proud of all that our lads have achieved in the competition this season. Our development sides next game isn’t until the 7th of January when we will face Liverpool in the PL2.
- Brandon Austin: One of our best players on the day was goalkeeper Brandon Austin who made five impressive stops against the ‘ U’s ’ to prevent the league one side from winning by a greater margin. Austin dealt well with corner kicks and his distribution was also good. Furthermore, I really admired Austin’s leadership skills and his passionate response to his defenders in the aftermath to all three goals that we conceded. Austin’s save to deny Marcus Browne’s powerful effort in the second half was the pick of the bunch.
- Tariq Hinds: I thought that the right back did quite a good job at protecting his side of the pitch against the speedy Armani Little. Hinds completed 85 minutes of the match before being replaced by Jamie Reynolds.
- Japhet Tanganga: The skipper was busy throughout Tuesday nights cup tie and he made a number of important blocks, clearances and interceptions. Tanganga marshalled the defence well.
- George Marsh: Like Tanganga the makeshift centre half defended to the best of his abilities and he made some really impressive blocks and defensive interventions.
- Jaden Brown: I thought that the left back had an ok game. Brown was good at going forwards and he overlapped Rayan Clarke on several occasions throughout the match.
- Dylan Duncan: The central midfielder was one of our best players on the day. Duncan carried the ball well in the centre of the park and he helped to link defence with attack. The 19 year old went on some really promising driving runs through the middle of the park and this helped to create chances for both Sterling and Roles. Duncan worked tirelessly in the midfield and he sprayed some lovely passes out to the wide men on the flanks. I’ve been really impressed with how the West Londoner has been playing for our development side this season.
- Jamie Bowden: Karl Robinson and his coaching staff had clearly done their research on Tottenham’s young midfield craftsman. Robinson had the experienced James Henry pressing Bowden throughout the game, preventing him from getting into space and following his every move. The 17 year old did however, manage to have a very tidy game in the centre of the park. And the second year scholar also managed to play a superb defence splitting pass to set Sterling racing through on goal during the first half.
- Tashan Oakley-Boothe: Operating out on the right wing, after a quiet first half Oakley-Boothe grew into the game and he went on some particularly promising attacking forays during the second half. He was also involved in a lot of nice passages of play.
- Jack Roles: My motm, see below.
- Rayan Clarke: The 17 year old went on some positive runs down the left wing and he was confident in the way that he went about things. Clarke came close to scoring in the first half after he cut in onto his right foot before powering an effort narrowly wide of the Oxford goal.
- Kazaiah Sterling: The centre forward worked hard throughout the game but things didn’t quite come off for the 20 year old from Enfield, on Tuesday. Sterling would have been bitterly disappointed that he had been unable to score from a one on one against Eastwood in the first half, and he also had a couple of decent half chances which he was unable to put away in the second half. However, you couldn’t fault his exceptional work rate.
- Shilow Tracey: Tracey came onto replace Bowden in the 73rd minute of the game to make his first appearance for the club since August the 13th, following a long injury lay off. I was delighted to see Tracey back playing again and the former Ebbsfleet man went on some positive surging runs down the right flank during his time on the field.
- Jamie Reynolds: The left back filled in for the injured Tariq Hinds at right back for the final couple of minutes of the game. Reynolds defended solidly during his time on the pitch.
- Elliot Thorpe: It was only a very fleeting cameo for the Wales under 19 international who showed a real willingness to press during his short time on the pitch. On a side note I was delighted that the second year scholar got to make his debut for the development side in such a big game.
My man of the match: Jack Roles. I thought that the classy Cyprus under 21 international was our best player by a country mile on Tuesday night. Roles played in the hole for the majority of our 3-0 defeat to Oxford. He was the only Spurs player who ever looked like scoring and once again he put in a very silky performance for Burnett’s side. He travelled with the ball well and he played with an almost Berbatov-esque panache about him. He worked hard to create space for himself and he would always track back after him to help Spurs out in defence. However, it was the 19 year olds movement in and around the six yard box which caused problems for the Oxford defence. Roles came close to getting on the scoresheet in the second half after he hit the post with a clever curling effort from the edge of the six yard box. Everything from his awareness to his ability to get in and behind the Oxford defence was so impressive, he really was the shining light for Burnett’s side.
Oxford United: Eastwood (c), McMahon, Garbutt, Hanson, Nelson, Raglan, Brannagan (Heap 77), Little, Smith, Henry (Browne 58), Whyte (Holmes 58). Substitutes (not used): Stevens, Mousinho, Mackie, Long.
Spurs: Austin, Hinds (Reynolds 84), Brown, Bowden (Tracey 71), Tanganga (c), Marsh, Oakley-Boothe, Duncan, Sterling, Roles, Clarke (Thorpe 89). Substitutes (not used): De Bie, Cooper, Okedina.
Goals: Oxford – Raglan 13, Smith 16, McMahon 47.
Yellow card: Oxford – Smith 90.
Referee: Kevin Johnson.
Venue: Kassam Stadium, Oxford.
Spurs under 21/23’s statistics 2018/19:
Goals scored: Jack Roles – 5
Shayon Harrison – 5
Paris Maghoma – 4
Kazaiah Sterling – 4
Jaden Brown – 2
Samuel Shashoua – 1
Marcus Edwards – 1
Dylan Duncan – 1
Phoenix Patterson – 1
Harvey White – 1
Assists: Jack Roles – 5
Paris Maghoma – 2
J’Neil Bennett – 2
Jaden Brown – 2
Kazaiah Sterling – 2
Troy Parrott – 1
Shayon Harrison – 1
Oliver Skipp – 1
Tashan Oakley-Boothe – 1
Dylan Duncan – 1
Jamie Bowden – 1
George Marsh – 1
Clean sheets: Brandon Austin – 2
Alfie Whiteman – 1