Spurs under 23’s 2-2 Norwich City: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 2-2 Norwich City: (match report)


Our under 23’s took on division two side Norwich City at their Colney training centre on Friday afternoon, in the Premier League International Cup. It was Wayne Burnett’s sides second group game in this seasons competition and it was imperative that Spurs got something out of Friday’s game, before going to play Athletic Bilbao B the following Wednesday in their final group game. While it was disappointing that Spurs didn’t win Friday’s match after going ahead on two separate occasions, I thought that it was a very good team performance from Wayne Burnett’s side who did well to record a 2-2 draw in Norfolk under some challenging circumstances. Burnett’s side of which included Netherlands international Vincent Janssen for the third consecutive game, played some good football against the ‘ Canaries ‘ and it was a good all round performance from the team who were unlucky not to get all three points. After a fairly even first half it was Spurs who struck first through Tashan Oakley-Boothe who netted his first goal of the season ten minutes before halftime, after playing a clever one two with Janssen before slotting home from inside the Norwich box. However, David Wright’s Norwich side fought back and disappointingly for the Spurs defence they drew level less than three minutes later through Adam Idah. For large parts of the second half Spurs were the better side although there still wasn’t much between the two teams. And after Spurs regained the lead in the 70th minute through Jack Roles following another well worked move, Spurs looked as if they were going to go on and win the game. However, Burnett’s side allowed Norwich to get back into the game and the ‘ Canaries ‘ punished them for it. Isak Thorvaldsson made it 2-2 in the 81st minute of the game after he was able to turn home Josh Coley’s cross. However, attentions quickly turned to Spurs goalkeeper Brandon Austin after he had went down worryingly after attempting to get to the ball. Austin received some lengthy treatment from the medical staff before going off the pitch in a stretcher and heading straight off to hospital. As Spurs had already made all three of their substitutions 17 year old fullback Maximus Tainio volunteered to go in goal for ten men Spurs. And the Finland under 19 international on only his third appearance at this level made a couple of smart stops to help Spurs see out the remaining 14 minutes of the game. Spurs only need a point against Athletic Bilbao B on Wednesday to top group c and book their place in the knockout stages of the competition.

Wayne Burnett’s side lined up in a 4-1-4-1 formation with Brandon Austin starting in goal for Spurs, while a strong back four of Hinds, captain Tanganga, Eyoma and Reynolds lined up ahead of him. Jack Roles and Tashan Oakley-Boothe were the two central midfielders while Anthony Georgiou and Shilow Tracey operated out on the flanks. Meanwhile, 24 year old Dutchman Vincent Janssen led the line for Wayne Burnett’s side for the third game in a row. Norwich got the game underway on a bitterly cold afternoon in the Norfolk countryside, and after a quiet start to the game it was Spurs who created the first real chance of the match. After Tracey passed the ball to Oakley-Boothe down the right flank the midfielder pulled the ball back to Georgiou who had made a run into the middle of the Norwich box. The winger took a touch before having an effort blocked behind for a corner kick by Louis Thompson. Japhet Tanganga did well at the other end to cut out Josh Coley’s attempted through ball to Adam Idah. Vincent Janssen tested Norwich goalkeeper Aston Oxborough for the first time in the game shortly afterwards, from his powerful curling effort down the left side of the Norwich box which stung the palms of the Norwich goalkeeper who was just able to hold onto the ball. The Norwich City goalkeeper was called into action once again a couple of moments later to deny Janssen’s powerful low effort after he had the ball slipped into him down the left side of the Norwich box by Roles. It was quite an even start to the game with neither side really stamping their authority on the match. Brandon Austin did well to gather Josh Coley’s powerful effort from long range. Norwich came close to taking the lead a couple of minutes later after Bilal Kamal attempted to pick out Adam Idah at Austin’s back post with a whipped low cross. However, Idah was just unable to make contact with the ball and in the end Austin was able to claim the ball. Japhet Tanganga glanced Anthony Georgiou’s corner kick wide at the other end of the pitch before Isak Thorvaldsson became disgruntled with Spurs’ George Marsh.

And the Icelandic winger was right to be annoyed with Marsh who had barged him over the railings after winning the ball down the right flank, Marsh ended up escaping any punishment. The game continued to gather pace, Japhet Tanganga made a good interception on Louis Thompson inside the Tottenham penalty area before George Marsh headed Saul Milovanovic’s free kick away from danger. Spurs then broke down the left flank through Jamie Reynolds who played the ball down the line to Georgiou who whipped a dangerous ball across the face of Aston Oxborough’s goal. A couple of minutes later Jack Roles played a quick one two with Janssen down the left side of the Norwich penalty area, before opening up his body and trying to find the far corner of Oxborough’s goal with a curling low effort across goal. However, the Norwich goalkeeper got down quickly to make the save and to hold onto the ball. The ‘ Canaries ‘ threatened Spurs at the other end of the pitch soon afterwards through Josh Coley who burst down the left flank, before cutting the ball back to Anthony Spyrou inside the Tottenham penalty area. Spyrou’s resulting effort on goal took a hefty deflection off of Tanganga before being gathered by Austin, with the Norwich players claiming to the referee that Tanganga had handled the ball. Wayne Burnett’s side finally managed to break the deadlock in the 35th minute of the match through an unlikely source in Tashan Oakley-Boothe. The central midfielder finished off a good passing move from Spurs by playing a clever one two with Janssen on the edge of the Norwich penalty area. Oakley-Boothe then darted into the middle of the box before calmly tucking the ball into the the bottom right hand corner of Oxborough’s goal, 1-0. The 18 year old showed really good composure in front of goal to score his first goal of the season for Spurs. However, our lead wasn’t to last for long and a mere three minutes later the home side found themselves back level. Norwich centre half Saul Milovanovic caught Spurs out with a simple cross into the Tottenham penalty area from the right wing. Milovanovic’s pacy cross was met by the alert Adam Idah who managed to slot the ball past Brandon Austin at his back post, 1-1. Austin was visibly angry with his defence in the aftermath of the goal.

Vincent Janssen conceded a free kick in a dangerous position just before half time. However, Saul Milovanovic’s resulting delivery was gathered by Austin before Spurs were awarded a free kick in a promising position down the other end of the pitch, but Jack Roles’ delivery was cut out by Caleb Richards before Tanganga could head home at the back post. The referee blew for halftime a couple of moments later. Spurs got the second half underway but it was the ‘ Canaries ‘ who created the first real chance of the half after Bilal Kamal’s dangerous cross was headed away by Tanganga before being volleyed well wide by Spyrou on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area. Spurs tried to respond down the left flank through Georgiou who went on a good surging forwards run before laying the ball off to Jack Roles in the Norwich box. But the Cyprus under 21 international didn’t quite get his angles right and he ended up curling an effort well wide of the Norwich goal. Spurs threatened again shortly afterwards when Tracey played the ball down the line to Oakley-Boothe on the right wing, but the midfielders pull back which had been intended for Janssen inside the box was easily gathered by Oxborough. There was a slightly worrying moment for Spurs a couple of minutes later after Anthony Georgiou had lost the ball to Louis Thompson down the left wing before going flying in on Thompson to try and win the ball back. Georgiou fell to the ground in some pain and it didn’t look good for the 21 year old who had only recently returned from injury. Thankfully Georgiou recovered and he was booked by the referee once he got to his feet for his sliding challenge on Thompson. Spurs had a penalty claim waived away by the referee Alan Young after a challenge from Milovanovic on Tracey inside the Norwich penalty area. The right winger was replaced shortly afterwards by Shayon Harrison who made his first appearance  for the development side since September after returning from injury. Spurs were playing with a lot more width during the second period and it had begun to cause the Norwich defence quite a few issues.

After Jamie Reynolds played the ball down the line to Georgiou on the left flank the speedy winger burst forward before passing the ball to Janssen inside the penalty area. The Dutchman tried to sort his feet out but his low effort was comfortably saved by Oxborough at the Norwich goalkeepers near post. Spurs continued to cause problems down the left hand side and after George Marsh sprayed the ball out to Georgiou on the the left wing, the young Cypriot pumped another pacy cross into the danger zone. However, Georgiou’s delivery was headed away by Louis Lomas. Tariq Hinds then had a dangerous low cross gathered by Oxborough before Spurs finally managed to break down the ‘ Canaries ‘ defence through the inform Jack Roles. Tariq Hinds found Georgiou out on the left wing with a long pass. Georgiou quickly gave the ball to Roles down the left side of the Norwich box and the midfielder played a one two with Janssen, before stroking the ball past Oxborough and into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, 2-1. However, Norwich almost made an immediate response through Isak Thorvaldsson straight from the restart. After Adam Idah had burst down the right wing he pulled the ball back to Thorvaldsson on the edge of the Spurs box. The Icelandic youngsters powerful side footed effort forced a great reaction save out of Austin before Eyoma managed to poke the ball behind for a corner kick before Spyrou could convert. Spurs made a double substitution shortly afterwards when they brought off Jamie Reynolds and Jack Roles for Maximus Tainio and Dylan Duncan as Hinds switched to left back. Once again Burnett’s side were unable to hold onto their lead and less than 11 minutes after Jack Roles‘ goal the ‘ Canaries ‘ managed to pull level for the second time in the game. The danger came from Josh Coley down the left wing after the wide man went on a darting forward run before crossing the ball into the danger zone. Unfortunately Austin was unable to hold the ball as Idah attacked it and the ball fell to Thorvaldsson who was able to poke the ball home from close range, 2-2.

Attentions quickly turned to the injured Brandon Austin who had fallen to the floor while attempting to catch Coley’s cross. The 20 year old received some lengthy treatment on the field by the medical staff before eventually being taken off in a stretcher and then going off in an ambulance. As Spurs had already made all three of their substitutions this meant that Spurs had to put an outfield player in goal. The recently introduced Maximus Tainio volunteered to go in goal and after being prepared by substitute goalkeeper Jonathan De Bie he put on the goalkeeping shirt and went in between the sticks. Due to Brandon Austin’s injury the fourth officials board signalled that there would be 14 minutes of additional time. Norwich quickly piled the pressure on the Tottenham defence and although Anthony Spyrou had been ruled offside Tainio made an impressive stop with his feet to deny the attacking midfielder. George Marsh managed to block the same players shot a couple of moments later before TJ Eyoma cleared Caleb Richards low cross. Norwich came close to finding a winner through the potent Spyrou a couple of minutes later after he had the ball fed into him by Idah down the right side of the Spurs box, before having his powerful strike thwarted by the alert Tainio. Norwich substitute Alfie Payne then fired an effort a fraction wide of Tainio’s goal before the Norwich players tried to bully the 17 year old from a corner kick a couple of moments later. Thorvaldsson’s corner came to Norwich substitute Tom Scully on the edge of the Spurs box, but his powerful effort flew narrowly wide of the Tottenham goal. Thankfully for Wayne Burnett’s side that was to be the final piece of action of the game as Spurs held onto record a valuable point under testing conditions in Norfolk. It was a good performance from our lads who now only need to record a point against Athletic Bilbao B in their final group game on Wednesday, to progress to the next round of the competition.


Player reviews:

  • Brandon Austin: The 20 year old had another good game in goal for Wayne Burnett’s side. But before I talk about his performance it was great to hear that Austin is ok after picking up a worrying injury late on in the game, which forced him to go off to hospital. Austin played well during his time on the pitch and he put in a typically authoritative performance in the Spurs goal where he dealt well with crosses and set pieces. Austin made three saves in total and the pick of the bunch was his excellent reaction save to deny Isak Thorvaldsson’s powerful curling effort late on in the game.
  • Tariq Hinds: In my opinion the right back had an excellent game for Spurs on Friday afternoon. Although he would play the latter stages of the match at left back Hinds didn’t put a foot wrong against Norwich. The 18 year old read the game extremely well and he neutralised the attacking threat of Josh Coley during his time down the right hand side. Hinds also went on some promising attacking forays.
  • Japhet Tanganga: The Spurs captain put in a commanding performance at centre half alongside TJ Eyoma against Norwich. Tanganga was excellent in the air and he made some really important blocks, interceptions and clearances. The Londoner was also good with the ball at his feet.
  • TJ Eyoma: The 18 year old put in a solid performance at LCB where he dealt well with the threat of Norwich’s potent centre forward Adam Idah. Eyoma made some well timed interceptions and like Tanganga he was good in the air. I really like how good he is under pressure and how he plays out from the back.
  • Jamie Reynolds: The 19 year old made only his second appearance of the season for our development squad on Friday where he played at left back. Reynolds completed 79 minutes of our 2-2 draw with Norwich and the energetic fullback put in a really impressive shift for Spurs. Reynolds defended well against both Isak Thorvaldsson and Bilal Kamal down his side of the pitch and the teenager anticipated danger well. The Essex born defender also went on some good forward runs and he linked up well with Georgiou who he would overlap on occasions. It’s great to see him back playing regularly again after suffering such a bad injury at the same venue last April, while playing for our under 18’s.
  • George Marsh: The 19 year old had a good game as a holding midfielder for our under 23’s. Marsh did the nitty gritty side of the game well and he certainly stamped his authority on the match as a ball winning midfielder. Marsh sprayed some nice passes out to Georgiou and Tracey on the flanks.
  • Tashan Oakley-Boothe: The Lambeth born midfielder played in his natural position of central midfield against Norwich. And the talented midfielder had a good game for Spurs where he did a good job as a box to box midfielder for Wayne Burnett’s side. Oakley-Boothe was slick in midfield and he engineered some good attacks for Spurs. He topped off a fine individual performance by scoring a well taken goal during the first half, after playing a clever one two with Vincent Janssen.
  • Shilow Tracey: The winger worked tirelessly down the right flank and he went on some good attacking forays down that side of the pitch. Tracey also tracked back well after him.
  • Jack Roles: The Cyprus under 21 international is a young man who is in a rich vein form. And Jack Roles capped off another fine performance by netting his sixth goal for the development squad this season. The skilful midfielder was involved in some really good attacking moves and he always showed a real desire to create, and to link up with the centre forward Vincent Janssen. Roles scored what should have been the winner in the 70th minute of time after playing a clever one two with Janssen inside the Norwich penalty area.
  • Anthony Georgiou: My motm, see below. 
  • Vincent Janssen: The 24 year old played his third consecutive game for the development side as he works his way back from a foot injury which kept him out for most of last season. Janssen continues to look sharper by each game and although he missed a couple of decent chances to get on the score sheet I thought that he had a good game. He held the ball up exceptionally well and he played with a real awareness about him. The Netherlands international set up both of our goals on Friday.
  • Shayon Harrison: It was great to see the 21 year old return to action following a four month injury lay off. Harrison came on as a second half substitute to replace Shilow Tracey out on the right wing. He was involved in some intricate play during his time on the pitch.
  • Maximus Tainio: Friday’s game was one that will live long in the memory of young Maximus Tainio. The Finland under 19 international came on late in the second half to replace Jamie Reynolds but following Austin’s injury he elected to go in goal as Spurs had already made all three of their substitutions. And Tainio impressed by making two good stops to help Spurs see out the remainder of the game.
  • Dylan Duncan: The 19 year old midfielder only made a short cameo but he he looked nice and tidy in the middle of the park.

My man of the match: Cyprus international Anthony Georgiou is a traditional winger in so many ways and over the years his direct style of play has been something which has always impressed me. For me the 21 year old left winger was our best player against Norwich on Friday afternoon and it was his direct style of play down the left wing which caused so many problems for the Norwich defence. Georgiou was up against a talented young player in Bilal Kamal who operated at right back for the ‘ Canaries ‘ but it was Georgiou who came out on top. His powerful surging runs combined with some fancy foot work and sharp twists and turns proved to be too much for Kamal who couldn’t keep up with the speedy winger. Anthony worked extremely hard to create chances for his teammates and it was his trademark Bale-esque galavanting runs and pacy whipped crosses into the danger zone, which helped to force mistakes out of the Norwich defence. Georgiou created some fantastic chances for Spurs but he also defended well and he did a good job at covering for Jamie Reynolds who would often overlap him, and as I have said many times before it is that hunger in his game which reminds me so much of James McClean. He is looking sharper, fitter and more dangerous by each passing game and it is only a matter of time before he starts to get goals and assists. It is also worth noting that Georgiou played his part in Jack Roles’ second half goal. I am hoping that the Lewisham born winger will play against Athletic Bilbao B on Wednesday.

Norwich City: Oxborough, Kamal, Richards, Lomas, Jones (c), Milovanovic (Payne 59), Thorvaldsson, Thompson (Scully 59), Spyrou, Idah, Coley. Substitutes (not used): McCracken, Omobamidele.

Spurs: Austin, Hinds, Reynolds (Tainio 79), Marsh, Tanganga (c), Eyoma, Tracey (Harrison 60), Oakley-Boothe, Janssen, Roles (Duncan 79), Georgiou. Substitute (not used): De Bie.

Goals: Norwich – Idah 38, Thorvaldsson 81; Spurs – Oakley-Boothe 35, Roles 70.

Yellow cards: Norwich – Jones 9, Thorvaldsson 56; Spurs – Georgiou 50.

Referee: Alan Young.

Venue: Colney Training Centre, Norwich.

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

Goals scored: Jack Roles – 6

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

Vincent Janssen – 1

Tashan Oakley-Boothe – 1

Assists: Jack Roles – 5

Kazaiah Sterling – 3

Paris Maghoma – 2

J’Neil Bennett – 2

Jaden Brown – 2

Vincent Janssen – 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

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