Spurs under 23’s 1-1 Liverpool: (match report)
Our under 23’s first PL2 game of 2019 was a highly competitive encounter with Neil Critchley’s Liverpool at the Lamex stadium on Monday evening. Ending in a 1-1 draw after a thrilling second half, Wayne Burnett’s development side of which included a certain Vincent Janssen, will have been disappointed that they couldn’t have put Monday’s game to bed when they were 1-0 up. Liverpool were missing a number of their regular under 23 players due to their first teams FA cup tie against Wolves on the same night. Critchley essentially fielded a B team against us with players such as Rafael Camacho and Curtis Jones all missing from the squad. After a fairly even first half of football which saw few clear cut chances at either end, Spurs really upped their tempo for the second half and Burnett’s side blew Liverpool away with the energy that they brought to the game. After pushing Cyprus international Anthony Georgiou further up the pitch the 21 year old ended up terrorising the Liverpool defence and this ultimately created a whole host of chances for the likes of Kazaiah Sterling and Jack Roles. Georgiou’s pace and trickery proved to be too much for Liverpool fullback Neco Williams, and after going on one of his darting runs down the left channel the South Londoner helped to create Kazaiah Sterling’s opener at the beginning of the second half. After Sterling put Spurs ahead we looked destined to add to our advantage and the many driving runs of Georgiou and pin point crosses which he was delivering into the box, were creating some glorious chances for Spurs. We dominated the game for much of the second half and had it not been for the heroics of former Spurs schoolboy Kai McKenzie-Lyle in the Liverpool goal, then the game would have been out of sight by the hour mark. However, Spurs were unable to put away the chances needed in order to make the game safe, and as the half went on Critchley’s side started to get back into the game. Burnett’s youngsters were dealt a bitter blow in the 65th minute after Liam Coyle drew Liverpool level with a superb curling effort from the edge of the penalty area.
Jack Roles tried his utmost to win the game for Spurs during the latter stages but in the end Spurs had to make do with a point against the Merseyside club. Wayne Burnett went for the usual 4-2-3-1 formation on Monday evening, with Alfie Whiteman starting in goal. A back four of Hinds, Tanganga (the skipper), Eyoma and Georgiou lined up in front of him, while George Marsh and Dylan Duncan teaming up in the centre of the park. Tashan Oakley-Boothe and Jack Roles operated out wide, either side of Kazaiah Sterling, and Netherlands international Vincent Janssen who led the line after returning from a long standing foot injury. There was a big crowd at the Lamex stadium on Monday and with the loan window having recently reopened it was interesting to see that there were over 70 scouts in attendance for Monday nights PL2 fixture. The ‘ Reds ‘ got the game underway in Stevenage on a chilly winters evening. After a fairly event start to the game Liverpool started to threaten the Tottenham defence. After George Marsh did well to cut out Liam Millar’s pass to Conor Masterson inside the Spurs penalty area, Juanma Garcia whipped a menacing ball across the face of Alfie Whiteman’s goal, after receiving Bobby Duncan’s pass out on the left wing. Neil Critchley’s Liverpool side were playing with a lot of width and they continued to try and cause problems for Spurs down the flanks. Bobby Duncan whipped a menacing cross across the face of the Spurs goal a couple of minutes later before the ‘ Reds ‘ won a free kick out on the left flank, after Tanganga had fouled Pedro Chirivella. The Spaniards resulting delivery came out to George Johnston at the back post, the Liverpool skipper headed the ball across the face of the Spurs goal but the alert Tariq Hinds managed to get a vital toe on the ball to get it clear. However, the ball ended up coming back out to Johnston who fired the ball over Whiteman’s crossbar on the half volley. Spurs then went on a good attacking move at the other end of the pitch after Dylan Duncan shifted the ball out to Georgiou on the left wing.
The left back darted forward down the flank before surging past Liverpool fullback Neco Williams and continuing towards the byline and picking out Jack Roles in the box from his whipped cross. Roles’ first time effort on the volley was well executed however, it was well blocked by Liverpool defender Corey Whelan. Roles almost managed to play Sterling through on goal with a nice pass through the middle but it was cutout in the nick of time by Whelan who made the challenge. Spurs continued to push forward and after Oakley-Boothe played a clever one two with Hinds down the right flank the former England under 18 international whipped a dangerous low cross right across the face of the Liverpool goal. A terrific corner kick from Anthony Georgiou shortly afterwards somehow managed to deceive every Spurs player inside the danger zone. Liverpool did come close to opening the scoring after going on a good move at the other end. After Johnston gave the ball to Liam Coyle the Liverpool defender found Garcia out on the left flank. The Spanish youngster was then able to pick out Bobby Duncan in the Spurs box with a pin point cross, and the nephew of Steven Gerrard headed the ball a fraction wide of Whiteman’s left hand post. Vincent Janssen was almost played through on goal at the other end of the pitch by Sterling, who after receiving Duncan’s pass attempted to feed Janssen through on goal with a pass through the Liverpool defence. However, Liverpool goalkeeper Kai McKenzie-Lyle was quick to react and he came rushing off his line to get to the ball before the Netherlands international to palm it away from under his feet. TJ Eyoma did well to clear George Johnston’s dangerous cross at the other end as the game started to develop into quite an end to end affair. Centre back Japhet Tanganga was posing a threat from corner kicks and the 19 year old came close to breaking the deadlock after he sent a looping header narrowly over McKenzie-Lyle’s crossbar after meeting Anthony Georgiou’s corner inside the box.
We finished the first half quite strongly and after George Marsh picked out Jack Roles down the left wing, the Cyprus under 21 international passed the ball to Janssen inside the penalty area. But the Dutchman’s resulting effort on goal was blocked behind for a corner kick by Liam Coyle. After making an excellent surging run to over lap Roles down the left wing, Georgiou whipped another of his teasing crosses across the face of the Liverpool goal all the way out to Oakley-Boothe on the opposite flank but the 18 year olds strike across goal was blocked by a Liverpool defender. Spurs continued to create some decent chances and after Oakley-Boothe passed the ball to Roles the midfielder managed to find Janssen inside the Liverpool box with a clever lofted pass. However, the Dutchman’s sliding effort was blocked behind for a corner by Conor Randall who appeared to be tugging at the 24 year olds shirt. The Dutchman had another effort on goal blocked a couple of moments later, this time by Liverpool captain George Johnston. Tariq Hinds made one important late defensive contribution to cut out Chirivella’s attempted through ball to Liam Millar in what happened to be the last piece of action of the half. Wayne Burnett made one substitution at halftime when he brought off Vincent Janssen for Jamie Reynolds who played at left back while Georgiou switched to left wing. Meanwhile Kazaiah Sterling played up top with Jack Roles playing in the hole. Burnett’s side got the game back underway and the young Lilywhites started the half with a different energy about them. After Jamie Reynolds passed the ball to Roles he flicked the ball out to Georgiou on the left wing. The speedy winger whipped the ball into Sterling inside the danger zone but his first time effort was deflected behind for a corner kick by Liam Coyle. A couple of minutes later Roles managed to work the ball out to Georgiou on the left wing once again. The young Cypriot pumped the ball into the box and his menacing cross was attacked by Sterling whose bullet header was spectacularly saved by McKenzie-Lyle, who managed to palm the ball away. However, the ball ended up falling for Hinds on the right wing and he whipped the ball back into the danger zone. Once again it was attacked by Sterling who made no mistake this time round to power a header past McKenzie-Lyle and into the back of the net, 1-0.
Japhet Tanganga conceded a free kick in a dangerous position out on the left flank shortly after the restart. George Johnston’s delivery was cushioned down to Garcia in the middle of the Spurs box but the Spaniard ended up blazing the ball over Whiteman’s crossbar. Young Anthony Georgiou was causing Liverpool many problems out on the left wing, and after receiving Reynolds pass down the left flank, the winger was able to beat both Neco Williams and Conor Masterson before picking out Roles in the centre of the box from his low cross. The midfielder met Georgiou’s cross on the volley and his side footed effort was well saved by the alert McKenzie-Lyle. The ball came back to Roles who was unable to head home on the follow up, and instead headed the ball narrowly over. Spurs were dominating the game, after George Marsh picked out Georgiou on the left flank the winger whipped another teasing cross across the face of the Liverpool goal. The potent Jack Roles embarked on a weaving run into the Liverpool box after latching onto Anthony Georgiou’s deflected cross on the edge of the penalty area. Roles worked his way into the box with some exquisite skill. The attacking midfielder managed to skip past two Liverpool defenders before dragging the ball across the face of McKenzie-Lyle’s goal. TJ Eyoma did well to block Neco Williams effort at the other end after the Welshman had cut inside from the right flank. Japhet Tanganga then made an important block to thwart Pedro Chirivella’s shot on goal as Liverpool started to threaten once again. George Marsh bravely cleared Neco Williams cross as the ‘ Reds ‘ continue to put pressure on the Spurs defence. And their fight back paid off and in the 65th minute of time Liam Coyle stunned Alfie Whiteman by drawing Liverpool level. After receiving Conor Randall’s pass on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area the Liverpool defender opened up his body before curling an unstoppable effort around the Spurs defence and into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, 1-1.
Wayne Burnett’s side looked to respond and his players were constantly trying to get the ball to the speedy Georgiou out on the left flank. After Reynolds passed the ball down the line to the 21 year old, Georgiou managed to turn Neco Williams sublimely before sprinting forward and having a pop on goal however, his powerful effort was blocked by Conor Masterson. Sadly that was Georgiou’s last involvement of the game and he was brought off in place of Shilow Tracey shortly afterwards. Tracey would play out on the right flank while Oakley-Boothe switched onto the opposite flank. Shilow Tracey nodded Dylan Duncan’s corner kick wide shortly after coming on, before Tashan Oakley-Boothe had an effort kept out at McKenzie-Lyle’s near post after he latched onto Tracey’s cross. Sterling attempted to get to the loose ball and he succeeded in doing so however, McKenzie-Lyle had closed him down well and he was able to deny the Spurs man on the follow up with another smart stop. Japhet Tanganga’s header from Jack Roles‘ corner was also stopped by the Liverpool goalkeeper who was able to hold Tanganga’s powerful header. Burnett made one last attacking chance when he brought on young Troy Parrott for Dylan Duncan in the 89th minute of the game. Both sides really went for the win during the final stages of the game, Tanganga did well to block Conor Randall’s long range effort and Liverpool then came close to netting a late winner through Liam Millar. After the Canadian managed to control Bobby Duncan’s cross inside the Spurs box the Liverpool centre forward tried to beat Whiteman with a clever back heel but Marsh managed to block his effort. The ball then came back to Millar who tried to back heel the ball into the goal again, but this time Whiteman was able to make the save before Roles cleared the ball away from danger. Spurs were able to catch Liverpool on the break as Oakley-Boothe burst forward down the left wing before passing the ball to Parrott who cut the ball back to Sterling inside the danger zone. He then passed the ball to Roles on the edge of the area but his deflected effort on goal flashed narrowly wide of McKenzie-Lyle’s goal.
Jack Roles‘ effort was the last bit of action from what had been an enthralling second half. Spurs dominated the game during the second half and they created so many chances which they should have taken. In the end we were dealt a cruel blow by Liam Coyle however, I thought that it was another really positive and impressive performance from Wayne Burnett’s side who it’s worth noting are only eight points of table toppers Everton in division one. Up next for our under 23’s is a trip to Dagenham in East London, where they will face London rivals West Ham in the league on Sunday lunchtime.
- Alfie Whiteman: The 20 year old wasn’t awfully busy on only his sixth appearance of the season for Wayne Burnett’s development side. The 20 year old goalkeeper only made one save on the night but I thought that the former England youth international impressed with his distribution and with how he dealt with set pieces.
- Tariq Hinds: The 18 year old put in a really well rounded performance at right back for Wayne Burnett’s side. Hinds attacked well but he defended superbly against the talented Bobby Duncan. Hinds made a number of important interceptions and clearances and he read the game well while maintaining good positioning throughout.
- Japhet Tanganga: The skipper operated at RCB against Liverpool and like his defensive partner TJ Eyoma, Tanganga put in a strong performance. The 19 year old lead the defence well and he helped to keep out the likes of Liam Millar and Bobby Duncan. Tanganga made a number of important blocks and interceptions and he came close to finding the back of the net from set pieces on a couple of occasions.
- TJ Eyoma: Fresh from making his first team debut against Tranmere Rovers in the FA cup on Friday, TJ Eyoma put in an excellent shift at LCB against Liverpool. The 18 year old centre half defended solidly for the entirety of the match and he defended with a real assuredness about him. Eyoma made some really important defensive interventions and headed clearances, and the Londoners positioning was impeccable. I was also impressed with how he played out from the back.
- Anthony Georgiou: My motm, see below.
- George Marsh: Like TJ Eyoma, Marsh will have been feeling confident after making his first team debut for Spurs the previous Friday. And the tireless central midfielder put in a real shift for Burnett’s side on Monday, Marsh covered so much ground for Spurs and he did a good job at breaking up play and making sure that he got back to cover for our defenders. The 19 year old made a couple of really brave and important blocks and tackles.
- Dylan Duncan: The slightly more advanced of the two central midfielders, Duncan moved the ball around the park well and he went on some promising attacking forays through the middle of the pitch.
- Tashan Oakley-Boothe: The 18 year old operated out on the right wing for the majority of the game before switching onto the left flank for the final stages of the match. Oakley-Boothe worked exceptionally hard to try and influence the game and his off the ball work and tracking back was very impressive. He also went on some nice forward runs and he linked up well with fullback Tariq Hinds down the right wing.
- Kazaiah Sterling: The 20 year old played behind Janssen in the hole during the first half where he helped to create some good chances for the Dutchman. However, it was after Janssen was substituted that Sterling really started to flourish when he moved up top. Sterling worked tirelessly to create chances for his teammates and he also made sure that he got into some good goal scoring positions inside the danger zone. The hardworking centre forward took his goals well and he was unlucky not to have added to his account later on in the game.
- Jack Roles: The Cyprus under 21 international played the first half out on the left wing and the second half in the hole, as a number ten. Once again Roles put in an outstanding performance for our development side, with his darting movement, trickery and late runs into the penalty area. The potent 19 year old used the ball so intelligently and the quality of his passing and ability to dictate play was hugely important for Spurs. Roles came desperately close to scoring on a number of occasions from inside the danger zone and once again his skill and agility caused problems for the oppositions defence. One particular mazy run from Roles during the second half which saw him beat two players inside the box before unselfishly cutting the ball back to Kazaiah Sterling was absolutely sublime.
- Vincent Janssen: The 24 year old centre forward played 45 minutes of our under 23’s encounter with Liverpool on Monday night following a long injury lay off. The unsurprisingly rusty Janssen did an ok job for Wayne Burnett’s young side, the Netherlands international held the ball up well and he linked up well with CAM Kazaiah Sterling. Janssen had a couple of half chances but that was about it. It was good to see him back playing in a Spurs shirt again.
- Jamie Reynolds: The 19 year old came on at halftime to replace Janssen where he slotted in at left back. Reynolds put in a good defensive shift during the second half, he linked up well with Georgiou down the flank and he did a sterling job at protecting his side of the pitch.
- Shilow Tracey: The right winger played the last 23 minutes of the game after coming on for Anthony Georgiou. Tracey went on some positive runs down the right flank.
- Troy Parrott: It was only a fleeting cameo for the 16 year old Dubliner who came onto replace Dylan Duncan in the 89th minute. Parrott made one impressive cut back to Sterling in the middle of the Liverpool box after picking the ball up on the left flank late on. Troy kindly took the time to pose for photographs with young fans while he was warming up.
My man of the match: Cyprus international Anthony Georgiou put in an outstanding performance against the ‘ Reds ‘ first at left back during the first half and then as a left winger in the second half. Georgiou looked really sharp against Liverpool and he was our best player on the night and he caused the oppositions defence a whole host of problems. The Londoner started the game at left back and throughout the first half he defended solidly, combining his defensive duties with some really promising attacking forays and driving runs down the flank, Georgiou gave a really good account in the first half. But it was after he switched onto the left wing for the second half that he really started to terrorise the Liverpool defence and their right back Neco Williams who he ran absolutely ragged, to the stage that the Welshman needed Conor Masterson to help him out every time that Georgiou ran at him. The 21 year old always managed to create space for himself out on the left flank and although he always remained defensively disciplined and he would track back well after him to help Reynolds out at left back, he was so, so positive in possession. Georgiou managed more successful take ons than any other player on the night and the quality of his runs and twists and turns was something which Liverpool just couldn’t deal with. Apart from his searing pace and fancy footwork Georgiou’s pacy crosses were just as good and after helping to create Kazaiah Sterling’s opener the Cyprus international whipped many more inviting crosses into the box. Furthermore, Georgiou’s corner kicks were just as good and effective. He was superb during his 70 minutes on the pitch everything from his work rate to his crossing was top class. It was a performance to admire!
Spurs: Whiteman, Hinds, Georgiou (Tracey 70), Marsh, Tanganga(c), Eyoma, Oakley-Boothe, Duncan (Parrott 89), Janssen (Reynolds 46), Sterling, Roles. Substitutes (not used): Austin, Bowden.
Liverpool: McKenzie-Lyle, Williams, Johnston (c), Masterson, Whelan, Coyle (William 84): Duncan (McAuley 68), Randall, Millar, Chirivella, Garcia. Substitutes (not used): Atherton, Glatzel.
Goals: Spurs – Sterling 49; Liverpool – Coyle 65.
Yellow card: Liverpool – Coyle 72.
Referee: Josh Smith.
Venue Lamex Stadium, Stevenage.
Spurs under 21/23’s statistics 2018/19:
Goals scored: Jack Roles – 5
Shayon Harrison – 5
Kazaiah Sterling – 5
Paris Maghoma – 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
Tariq Hinds – 1
Clean sheets: Brandon Austin – 2
Alfie Whiteman – 1