Spurs under 23’s 0-1 NK Dinamo Zagreb 2: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 0-1 NK Dinamo Zagreb 2: (match report)

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Croatian side NK Dinamo Zagreb 2 stood between Spurs’ development squad, and a place in the semi-finals of this seasons Premier League International Cup. Wayne Burnett’s side took on the Croatian club at the Lamex Stadium on Tuesday evening, knowing that they would have to be at the very top of their game, to overcome Igor Jovicevic’s team. Spurs fielded a very young team for Tuesday’s match due to ongoing injury problems, and this may have cost Spurs on the night who were up against a much older and more experienced opposition. The young Lilywhites came up against a side who were content to play with ten men behind the ball for large periods of the match. The Croatian club were physical and aggressive, but it was their ultra defensive approach to Tuesday’s game which is what caught us out. Wayne Burnett’s side didn’t have any out and out centre forwards available for Tuesday’s match, and in the end they had to resort to playing central midfielder Jack Roles up top. The lack of creativity and experience in Burnett’s side meant that they struggled to break down a very stubborn Dinamo Zagreb defence. Although, we did start the cup tie relatively well it was evident from quite early on in the game that it was going to be extremely difficult to break down a side who were content at staying in their own half. After a fairly even first half which saw few clear cut chances, the second half was slightly more open. After threatening our defence Dinamo Zagreb broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute of time after the unmarked Mario Ćuže fired past Brandon Austin from inside the Tottenham penalty area, after meeting Damian Kadzior’s cross on the volley. Wayne Burnett tried to respond by sending on both Rayan Clarke and George Marsh, as Spurs started to attack the Dinamo defence more. Due to the Croatian clubs solidity at the back Spurs’ best chances came from set pieces and crosses. Harvey White, Paris Maghoma, Japhet Tanganga and Shilow Tracey all came close to finding a late equaliser, but in the end it just wasn’t to be Spurs’ day. The game ended in quite unpleasant circumstances after both Shilow Tracey and Dinamo’s captain Josip Ćalušić were shown straight red cards for a coming together in second half stoppage time. Furthermore, neither sets of players shook hands after the final whistle was blown, as the visitors all huddled together to celebrate their win. 

Wayne Burnett’s side lined up in a 4-1-2-3 formation for Tuesday evenings important cup game. Development side regular Brandon Austin started in goal, while a back four of Brooklyn Lyons-Foster, TJ Eyoma, the skipper Japhet Tanganga and Tariq Hinds started in defence. First year scholar Harvey White started the game as the midfield anchorman behind both Armando Shashoua and Paris Maghoma. While Spurs lined up with a front three of Tashan Oakley-Boothe, Jack Roles and Shilow Tracey. Spurs got the game underway at the Lamex stadium, and it was the home side who started the cup tie the brighter of the two teams. After Tashan Oakley-Boothe passed the ball to Armando Shashoua down the right flank, the central midfielder continued towards the edge of the Dinamo penalty area before attempting to slip the ball into the feet of Paris Maghoma in the centre of the box however, his pass was cut out by Dinamo defender Josip Sutalo who then cleared the ball. A couple of moments later Shilow Tracey went on a promising run down the left flank before forcing a decent save out of Dinko Horkas, from his powerful low effort. Burnett’s side had started the game with a good pace about them while the visitors had been happy to just defend and soak up all of the pressure. Harvey White delivered a decent free kick from the right flank into the danger zone, but it was cleared by Sutalo. Shortly afterwards TJ Eyoma passed the ball to Shashoua who went on a darting run through the middle of the pitch, before being stopped by Dinamo defender Josip Ćalušić on the edge of the penalty area. Tashan Oakley-Boothe had a dangerous low cross cleared by the same player a couple of minutes later before Harvey White had another free kick cleared away by the Dinamo defence. Quite out of nowhere the Croatian club almost took a surprise lead from Mario Ćuže’s free kick. After the attacking midfielder had managed to pick out the unmarked Leon Šipoš inside the Spurs box, the Dinamo Zagreb striker attacked the ball in the centre of the box. And Šipoš came desperately close to giving Dinamo the lead after he headed the ball onto Brandon Austin’s left hand post, before it went behind for a goal kick.

Dinamo’s 25 year old right back Tomislav Barišić whipped a dangerous ball across the face of Brandon Austin’s goal shortly afterwards, before the Tottenham goalkeeper managed to hold Damian Kadzior’s free kick, from long range a couple of minutes later. Spurs tried to respond, after Shilow Tracey had received Shashoua’s pass down the right wing he whipped a menacing ball into the danger zone, but one again there were no Spurs players there to meet it. Spurs captain Japhet Tanganga made an important interception at the other end of the pitch after he managed to win the ball off of Mario Ćuže inside the Spurs box. Brooklyn Lyons-Foster blocked Antonio Marin’s shot inside the box a couple of seconds later. The ever impressive TJ Eyoma did well to clear behind Jakov Gogić’s cross behind for a corner kick, before Maghoma managed to clear Antonio Marin’s cross away from the danger zone. After Tashan Oakley-Boothe had won a free kick out on the right wing, young Harvey White saw yet another of his deliveries cleared away by a Dinamo defender. After Armando Shashoua had picked the ball up down the right hand side of the oppositions penalty area, he cut inside onto his left foot before slicing an effort well over Dinko Horkas‘ crossbar. The visitors created a good chance a couple of minutes later after Leon Šipoš managed to pick out Damian Kadzior down the right hand side of the Tottenham penalty area with a clever lofted pass. He managed to get in front of Lyons-Foster, but he could only fire over Austin’s crossbar from a tight angle, before taking out his frustration on the advertising hoarding behind the goal. That brought to an end a fairly uneventful first half of football in which neither side could really take a hold of. Before the second half got underway Spurs were forced into making a substitution. TJ Eyoma who had picked up an injury during the first half was replaced by Jonathan Dinzeyi at centre back. Dinzeyi had only recently returned from an injury himself. The beginning of the second half was scrappy, as both sides tried to get back into the flow of the game.

After Japhet Tanganga had passed the ball to Shilow Tracey the winger tried to get a shot away but it was blocked by Tomislav Barišić. Antonio Marin had a powerful low effort from the edge of the Tottenham penalty area saved by the diving Brandon Austin. A couple of minutes later Brooklyn Lyons-Foster did well to clear a pacy cross from Tomislav Barišić with a diving header, before then clearing another cross from Barišić a couple of moments later. After managing to go around Lyons-Foster down the left side of the Spurs box Antonio Marin fired an effort at goal which Austin did well to tip behind for a corner kick. Marin’s resulting corner kick was headed narrowly wide by Josip Ćalušić. Then in the 63rd minute of time the visitors took the lead through Mario Ćuže. After Damian Kadzior had whipped the ball into the Spurs box from the left wing, Jonathan Dinzeyi attempted to clear the ball but he was unable to make significant contact with it. The ball ended up coming to Ćuže at the back post and he fired the ball past the helpless Brandon Austin on the volley, 0-1. After doing well to prevent Tariq Hinds’ long pass from going out of play, Lyons-Foster flicked the ball onto Oakley-Boothe down the right flank. The Tottenham midfielder squared the ball to Maghoma who was in space in the centre of the Dinamo penalty area. However, the 17 year old snatched at the ball and he ended up firing the ball over Dinko Horkas’ crossbar, with a first time side footed effort. Brandon Austin did well to gather Damian Kadzior’s in swinging cross. Jakov Gogić appeared to handle the ball after attempting to control Josip Ćalušić’s pass inside his own penalty area shortly afterwards, Shashoua made an appeal to the referee Will Finnie, but he didn’t take any action. Spurs made their second change of the game in the 75th minute after a seemingly injured Jack Roles was replaced by winger Rayan Clarke, as Shilow Tracey moved up top. Our right back Brooklyn Lyons-Foster was taken off shortly afterwards for George Marsh, as Burnett’s side reverted to playing three at the back. Spurs continued to try and carve their way through the stubborn Dinamo defence, but Igor Jovicevic’s side were able to maintain their discipline.

After Tottenham’s skipper Japhet Tanganga had won a free kick in a promising position, young Harvey White had a good opportunity to test Dinamo Zagreb goalkeeper Dinko Horkas. The free kick specialist curled an excellent effort up and over the Dinamo wall, forcing Horkas into making an important save to just tip the ball over the crossbar before it headed into the top left hand corner of the net. Harvey White’s following corner kick was met by Tanganga in the middle of the box, the centre half powered a header a fraction wide of Horkas‘ goal as Spurs continued to come closer to finding an equaliser. Dinamo changed into a more defensive shape for the final stages of the game. After Damian Kadzior whipped a dangerous corner kick across the face of Brandon Austin’s goal, George Marsh managed to clear Marko Gjira’s cross away from danger. Japhet Tanganga fired an effort over Dinko Horkas’ crossbar from long range. A matter of minutes later Brandon Austin almost got himself into a spot of bother after he kicked the ball straight at Roko Baturina on the edge of the box, fortunately for Austin, Baturina couldn’t control the ball and it was eventually cleared. After going on a darting run down the left flank Marko Gjira fired the ball over Brandon Austin’s crossbar. Spurs tried to respond at the other end through Oakley-Boothe, he went on a surging run down the right flank before pumping the ball into the Dinamo penalty area where he managed to pick out Tracey. The forward connected well with the ball, but his looping header lacked a little bit of power, and it was tipped behind for a corner kick by Horkas. Then, in second half stoppage time came the main talking point of the game, the dismissal of both Shilow Tracey and Josip Ćalušić. Both players had squared up to each near the corner flag after the Dinamo man had tried to take the ball away from Tracey to waste even more time. Tracey reacted and a melee ensued, although there was a bit of pushing and shoving I didn’t think that it was enough to warrant both players dismissals. It was a frustrating end to what had been a very frustrating game for Wayne Burnett’s side. It will have been particularly frustrating for Spurs because the opposition were by no means a top quality side and they will have felt that they should have won.

Dinamo Zagreb had the big advantage of having the older and more experienced players in their side on Tuesday night and I think that, that was what the difference between the two sides was. Wayne Burnett’s young side battled hard on the night and although they will be disappointed that they couldn’t make all of their possession count, I still think that they should be proud of how they performed, as a team on the night against a very physical side. Wayne Burnett’s side will return to PL2 action on Friday evening, when they host Chelsea at the Lamex Stadium.

Player reviews:

  • Brandon Austin: The 20 year old shot stopper made two saves on the night, but on the whole he didn’t have an awful lot to do. Austin was authoritative inside his own penalty area and he dealt well with crosses and set pieces.
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: The second year scholar put in a very solid performance at right back against Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday evening. Lyons-Foster protected his side of the pitch well against the Croatian club, dealing well with the threat which posed from their left winger Damian Kadzior. The 18 year old made some important clearances and interceptions, he also made sure that he stayed deep, and he was very rarely caught out of position. I thought he was one of our best players on the night.
  • TJ Eyoma: Operating at RCB TJ Eyoma only managed to play the first half of Tuesday’s game after starting the game with strapping around one of his legs. The 19 year old had a solid game at the back where he made a couple of timely interceptions. It was a a good performance from Eyoma before he went off injured at halftime. 
  • Japhet Tanganga: Like Eyoma, the Spurs captain put in a particularly solid performance at centre back. Tanganga hardly put a foot wrong against Dinamo Zagreb who he made some really important defensive contributions against. Tanganga was excellent in the air.
  • Tariq Hinds: Due to our ongoing injury problems, right back Tariq Hinds had to play on the opposite side on Tuesday. He did however, put in a good shift for Wayne Burnett’s side in that position.
  • Harvey White: My motm, see below.
  • Armando Shashoua: Along with White, Lyons-Foster and Tracey, Armando Shashoua should have been proud of how he played on Tuesday. The second year scholar started the game in the centre of the park and he had a positive effect on the game from that position. Shashoua carried the ball well in the middle of the park and he used the ball well. Our under 18’s captain fantastic impressed with his passing, movement and exceptional pressing and off the ball work. The 18 year old left nothing out on the pitch against Dinamo Zagreb, and he was quietly very creative throughout the match. Shashoua went on some clever darting runs through the middle of the park, he also managed to link up well with the forwards. This was only Armando’s first ever competitive start at this level.
  • Paris Maghoma: The 17 year old midfielder did his very best to try and impact Tuesday’s cup tie however, difficult the Dinamo players made life for him. Maghoma made many intelligent runs into the danger zone and he always made himself available to receive the ball. However, the England under 18 international did struggle at times to get into the game.
  • Tashan Oakley-Boothe: Once again the 19 year old played out on the right wing for Wayne Burnett’s side. Oakley-Boothe had a particularly strong second half and he went on some good surging runs down the right flank, often getting the better of Dinamo left back Jakov Gogić for pace and skill. 
  • Jack Roles: Unfortunately Roles was unable to make much of an influence on the game, on his 20th birthday. Roles often found himself quite isolated up top during his 75 minutes on the pitch.
  • Shilow Tracey: The 20 year old started the match out on the left wing although he would later go onto play up top after Jack Roles was substituted. Tracey got up and down the left flank well and he went on some good attacking forays. Furthermore, he put in a good shift up top during the latter stages of the game, where he came close to finding a late equaliser for Spurs.
  • Jonathan Dinzeyi: The 19 year old centre half came on at halftime to make his first appearance since September. I personally thought that Dinzeyi did a good job after coming on and I was impressed with how he brought the ball out from the back.
  • Rayan Clarke: He worked hard down the left wing during his late cameo.
  • George Marsh: The 19 year old got stuck in during his time on the pitch.

My man of the match: First year scholar Harvey White was my man of the match on Tuesday night, for his sterling performance as a midfield anchorman. White put in a very mature performance for Wayne Burnett’s side on only his second competitive appearance at this level. The first year scholar (17) was combative and tidy in the middle of the park. He was strong on the ball and he moved it around well, recycling possession and making some clever passes to the attacking players out on the flanks. The Maidstone born midfielder became one of our most important creative outlets during the second half and his teammates would often try to pass the ball to him in the middle of the park. White came desperately close to scoring from a free kick late on in the game, he also whipped some menacing balls into the danger zone. This was a very intelligent performance from a very intelligent young man, who looked right at home playing for our under 23’s. I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see him start against Chelsea on Saturday. His performance was very Skipp-esque!

Spurs: Austin, Hinds, Lyons-Foster (Marsh 76), White, Tanganga (c), Eyoma (Dinzeyi 46), Oakley-Boothe, A Shashoua, Roles (Clarke 75), Maghoma, Tracey. Substitutes (not used): Glover, Duncan.

Dinamo Zagreb: Horkas, Barisic, Gogic (c), Franjic, Calusic, Sutalo, Marin (Jovicevic 90+3), Gjira, Sipos (Baturina 73), Cuze, Kadzior (Cuic 84). Substitutes (not used): Juric, Maloku, Tolic, Fintic.

Goal: Dinamo Zagreb – Cuze 63.

Yellow cards: Dinamo Zagreb – Gjira 45+1, Cuze 60.

Red cards: Spurs – Tracey 90+2; Dinamo Zagreb – Calusic 90+2.

Referee: Will Finnie.

Venue: Lamex Stadium, Stevenage.

Attendance: 438.

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

Goals scored: Jack Roles – 8

Shayon Harrison – 5

Kazaiah Sterling – 5

Paris Maghoma – 4

Jaden Brown – 2

Vincent Janssen – 2

Samuel Shashoua – 1

Marcus Edwards – 1

Dylan Duncan – 1

Phoenix Patterson – 1

Harvey White – 1

Tashan Oakley-Boothe – 1

Shilow Tracey – 1

Anthony Georgiou – 1

Assists: Jack Roles – 6

Kazaiah Sterling – 3

Vincent Janssen – 3

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

Jamie Bowden – 1

George Marsh – 1

Tariq Hinds – 1

Anthony Georgiou – 1

Shilow Tracey – 1

Clean sheets: Brandon Austin – 2

Alfie Whiteman – 1

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Spurs under 23’s versus NK Dinamo Zagreb 2: (match preview)

Spurs under 23’s versus NK Dinamo Zagreb 2: (match preview)

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Our under 23’s will be preparing to host Croatian side NK Dinamo Zagreb 2 on Tuesday evening at Stevenage’s Lamex Stadium, in the quarter finals of this seasons Premier League International Cup. This is a massive game for Wayne Burnett’s side who for one night at least will be able to forget about their poor league form, and focus on booking their place in the semi-finals of this seasons Premier League International Cup. Spurs qualified for the knockout stages of this competition after topping a group which contained Wolfsburg II, Athletic Bilbao B and Norwich City. Whereas tomorrows opposition qualified for this stage of the competition as one of the two best placed runners up. Igor Jovicevic’s side picked up two wins from group A after beating both Porto B and West Ham United. They did however, fall to a 1-0 defeat to Southampton in their opening group game. The Croatian giants have long been famed for their world famous academy set up which has produced world class players such as  former Spurs player Luka Modric, and Ivan Rakitic. The Croatian clubs second team ply their trade in the second division of Croatian football (the 2 NHL). Although the league appears to be on some sort of mid season break, Dinamo Zagreb occupy second spot in the table, just two points off league leaders Sibenik. Interestingly Jovicevic’s side haven’t played a competitive game of football since they took on Porto B in the group stages of this competition, back in November. Their lack of competitive football and match sharpness could work in Spurs’ favour on Tuesday. I’ve been doing a fair bit of research on Dinamo Zagreb’s second team since the draw for the quarter finals was made. Some of the players to keep an eye on tomorrow if they are involved, will be Dinamo’s 22 year old goalkeeper Lovro Juric, 25 year old right back Tomislav Barisic and forwards Mario Cuzi and Leon Sipos. It will be fascinating to see how the visitors will approach tomorrow’s cup game, but one things for certain and that is that their quality cannot and should not be underestimated.

The beauty of competitions like this one is that young English teams such as Spurs get the opportunity to go toe to toe with some of the continents best development sides, and B teams. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Tuesday evenings match will go, but I know for definite that it will be a fiercely competitive cup tie. Wayne Burnett’s will still be without a number of players through injury however, if the likes of Japhet Tanganga, Jack Roles and Shilow Tracey are on form tomorrow night, then I would fancy our chances of overcoming the Croatian side. I will be reporting on Tuesday nights match and I shall have my in-depth match report published sometime on Wednesday evening. I would like to wish Wayne Burnett’s side all the very best of luck for the game, I fully believe in their ability to make it all the way to the final of this seasons competition.

My predicted lineup: (3-4-2-1) Austin, Eyoma, Tanganga (c), Lyons-Foster, Hinds, Marsh, Duncan, Cirkin, Oakley-Boothe, Tracey, Roles.

Subs from: Glover, Dinzeyi, A.Shashoua, White, Clarke.

Injured/unavailable: Luke Amos, Jamie Reynolds, Jamie Bowden, Rodel Richards, Jeremie Mukendi, Enoch Asante, Phoenix Patterson.

Doubtful: Alfie Whiteman, Troy Parrott, J’Neil Bennett.

Previous meeting: N/A.

My score prediction: Spurs 3-2.

My one to watch: Dinamo’s experienced right back Tomislav Barisic (25). The fullback featured for Dinamo Zagreb in their last league game against Sibenik back in November. 

Some notes on Spurs loanee Anthony Georgiou’s performance against Hércules CF:

Some notes on Spurs loanee Anthony Georgiou’s performance against Hércules CF: 

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It was a very special day for Tottenham youngster Anthony Georgiou on Sunday in so many ways. Georgiou made his first start for his loan club Atlético Levante in their 1-1 league draw against Hércules in the Spanish Segunda Division B group III. The Cyprus international played the game out in his natural position of left wing, a position from which he scored his first ever goal in competitive mens football, after he put Levante ahead during the first half with a drilled finish from close range. And to top it all off it was Anthony’s 22nd birthday on Sunday! The Lewisham born winger completed 78 minutes of the ‘ Granotas ‘ 1-1 draw against Hércules, and it was a performance of real quality from the Tottenham youngster who caused havoc for the opposition down the left hand side of the pitch. Georgiou played with flair and confidence about him against Hércules, and the former Watford schoolboy wasn’t afraid to run at their defence. Before I get into my review of Anthony’s excellent performance on Sunday, I’d just like to apologise that I will have to refer to a number of players by their number because I was unable to find a team sheet of any sort. Georgiou started the game out on the left wing in a 4-2-3-1 formation at the ‘ Granotas ‘ Ciudad Deportiva De Buñol. After a bright start to the match from the home side, Anthony’s first involvement in the game came shortly after the second minute. After doing well to keep in Shaq Moore’s overhit cross on the left flank, Georgiou whipped a menacing cross into the danger zone, but it was cleared away by Pablo Íñiguez. A couple of minutes later Georgiou received Rulo’s pass out on the left wing, he then whipped a quality first time cross into the Hércules penalty area. Levante’s number nine attempted to make contact with the ball at the near post, but Hércules’ Diego Benito managed to get across his man to put the ball behind for a corner kick. Anthony continued to be heavily involved in the game during the opening stages, and he could constantly be seen asking for the ball out on the left flank. A couple of minutes later Georgiou received Pablo Serrano’s pass out on the left wing, he did well to hold off Hércules’ Álvaro as he darted forward however, his pacy cross into the danger zone was cleared once again by a Hércules defender.

Luis Tevenet‘s side were starting to realise that Georgiou’s pace and skill was causing the oppositions defence so many problems, and they would look to shift the ball out to the young Cypriot out on the left wing, at every possible opportunity. After the 22 year old winger had received Pablo Serrano’s pass he sped forward down the left hand channel, completely outmuscling Hércules’ Samuel who he brushed past before passing the ball back to Serrano on the edge of the penalty area. Georgiou had managed to create space for himself down the left side of the penalty area but Serrano chose not to pass the ball to him and in the end the move amounted to nothing. Anthony continued to try and make things happen for the home side, he was being positive in possession and working hard to get into promising positions down the left flank. After Levante had won a free kick on the left hand side he whipped an inviting cross into the danger zone but it was headed away by Pablo Íñiguez. Chechu fired a free kick into the Levante wall before Hércules‘ number seven fired narrowly over Cárdenas‘ crossbar. After doing well to hold off both Hércules’ number 11 and Álvaro, Anthony attempted to send a cross into the danger zone but he lost his balance and he was unable to get his feet sorted out in time, to get the cross away. Eneko curled an effort narrowly wide of Hércules’ goal a couple of moments later as both sides continued to test each other’s back four. After he had received Fran Manzanara’s pass down the left wing Georgiou sprinted past Hércules number 11 before swivelling around Álvaro and passing the ball back to Manzanara who ended up pumping the ball into the danger zone. Soon afterwards Georgiou had two crosses blocked by Samuel in quick succession, before he had a further whipped cross blocked by the sliding Álvaro. All of Anthony’s hard work during the first half was rewarded right on the stroke of halftime when he gave Levante the lead in the 42nd minute. After the ‘ Granotas ‘ number ten had went on a surging run down the right wing he sent a low cross into the penalty area. However, Levante’s number seven was unable to make any real contact with the ball, and it rolled into the feet of Georgiou who was waiting in the middle of the box.

The Cypriot international kept his composure in front of goal, he steadied himself before shifting the ball onto his left foot, and rifling a low and unstoppable effort under the body of Hércules goalkeeper Falcón and into the back of the net. That goal was Anthony’s first competitive one in men’s football and it was what separated both sides at the break. The Spurs mans first involvement in the second half came from a corner kick. Instead of whipping the ball into the box, Georgiou played the ball short to Pepelu who travelled into the penalty area before seeing his resulting pass cut out by a Hércules defender. Georgiou received the ball in a promising area of the oppositions six yard box after being given the ball by Eneko down the left side of the penalty area. However, Georgiou slipped just as he was about to test the goalkeeper. Cárdenas made an important save to deny Diego Benito’s effort at the other end of the pitch before Levante threatened the Hércules defence once again. Joan managed to pick out Georgiou inside the penalty area from his free kick. Anthony darted down the left side of the six yard box before attempting to pick out number seven at the back post, with a clever cross. However, it was cleared in the nick of time by Pablo Íñiguez, before the Levante man could convert. Anthony continued to test Hércules‘ right back Álvaro during the remainder of his time on the pitch. After the home side had won a free kick, Georgiou delivered another excellent ball into the oppositions penalty area however, it ended up being cleared by a Hércules defender. Levante’s man of the match was replaced in the 77th minute by Alex Blesa Pina. Soon after Anthony had left the field Hércules had drawn level through Marca Benja, the final score was 1-1.  It was an absolute pleasure to watch Anthony make his full debut for Levante on Sunday, it was a performance of real quality from the the young Cypriot who  really seized his opportunity with both hands.

Georgiou completed more successful take ons than any other player on the pitch, he created numerous chances for the home side while also covering for Pablo Serrano at left back. Anthony’s performance reminded me of his one against Liverpool for our under 23 side last month. He was so sharp and intelligent down that left hand side, always looking to work the Hércules right back Álvaro and whip the ball into the danger zone. He was so positive and direct with the ball at his feet, but there were so many other aspects of his game to appreciate. He was very strong on the ball and he never lost possession, he was also disciplined and he got up and down the left flank well to help out the team at both ends of the pitch. His movement on the day was class and he constantly managed to find pockets of space for himself throughout the match. But above all else Georgiou’s performance was a very intelligent one, and in my eyes he was a cut above anybody else on the pitch. With his pace and skill, quality deliveries into the danger zone, and his well taken goal on the stroke of halftime, you couldn’t have asked for much more from the left winger. This was a very good performance from Georgiou which was topped off by him netting his first competitive goal in men’s football. This will do his confidence the world of good and it should also see him cement his place in Luis Tevenet’s side over the coming games. I was very proud of how the young man from Lewisham conducted himself on the pitch on Sunday, and it made my day to see him find the back of the net. At times on Sunday it looked as if Anthony was a man who was playing against boys. Atlético Levante’s next game is against Castellon on Sunday the third of March.

Anthony Georgiou for Atlético Levante this season:

Appearances: 2

Goals: 1

Assists: 0

Spurs under 18’s 2-0 Reading: (match report)

Spurs under 18’s 2-0 Reading: (match report)

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Our under 18’s returned to league action on Saturday morning when they faced a struggling Reading side at the ‘ Royals ‘ Hogwood Park training complex in the Berkshire countryside. Matt Wells fielded a much changed side to the one which beat Brighton 4-1 back in January, in their last league match. Three schoolboys featured for Spurs on Saturday due to our ever growing list of absentees, which appears to have extended since our last game with Troy Parrott, Jamie Bowden and Rodel Richards all missing from the match day squad. In the absence of 15 of our scholars schoolboy Tarrell Whittaker led the line for only the second time at this level, while identical twins and Scotland youth internationals Michael and Matthew Craig appeared off the bench to make their under 18 debuts. Although Spurs saw more of the ball than the home side, for large periods of the match it was a fairly close game with a number of chances for both teams at either end of the pitch. Spurs’ overage goalkeeper Jonathan De Bie made a couple of impressive early stops during the opening stages of what proved to be a very even game. However, it was Matt Wells‘ side who took the lead in the 26th minute of time through Dilan Markanday on his return from injury. The 17 year old guiding home Rayan Clarke’s low cross from close range to give Spurs the early advantage. Spurs continued to dominate possession during the second half, but it was David Dodds’ Reading who created the better chances throughout the second period. However, Belgium under 19 international Jonathan De Bie proved his worth on more than one occasion during the second half. Fortunately for Spurs a rather embarrassing own goal from the home side settled the game with less than 13 minutes on the clock. Substitute Maxwell Statham applied good pressure on Reading’s Josh Hewitt down the right wing. The Reading defender turned before passing the ball back to goalkeeper Jokull Andresson however, Hewitt had overhit his pass and after Andresson had taken a sloppy first touch the ball comically rolled past him and into the back of the net.

Spurs were defensively very solid against Reading, with the likes of Luis Binks, Malachi Walcott and Jubril Okedina helping to quell the threat of Reading’s attacking players. Matt Wells’ side put in a very mature performance and while they may not have been as dominant or as electric as they have been in recent league games, Saturday’s match however, was one in which their maturity stood out in, and I for one thought that the team played very well. Spurs lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with overage goalkeeper and captain Jonathan De Bie starting in goal. A back four of Jubril Okedina, Malachi Walcott, Luis Binks and Dennis Cirkin lined up in front of him. Paris Maghoma and Rafferty Pedder partnered up in the centre of the park while Maurizio Pochettino, Dilan Markanday and Rayan Clarke formed an attacking line behind lone striker Tarrell Whittaker. The ‘ Royals ‘ got the game underway on a gloriously sunny morning at their Hogwood Park training complex. After Luis Binks had conceded a free kick out on the right flank in the opening minute, Dejan Tetek whipped an inviting ball into the Tottenham penalty area however, it was well cleared by Dennis Cirkin. A couple of moments later Cirkin was called into action again, this time to clear Khalid Simmo’s dangerous cross. After Dilan Markanday had went on a darting forward run through the middle of the park, the skilful attacker managed to win a free kick right on the edge of the Reading penalty area after he was fouled by Jeriel Dorsett. Paris Maghoma managed to get his resulting effort up and over the wall, forcing Reading goalkeeper Jokull Andresson to get down to his left to parry the ball before it was eventually cleared by a Reading defender. Spurs were seeing more of the ball during the opening stages of the game however, the home side did look threatening whenever they entered our final third. Khalid Simmo’s low cross only just missed Reading striker Nahum Melvin-Lambert inside the Spurs box, before Malachi Walcott managed to get the ball clear. At the opposite end of the pitch young Tarrell Whittaker came close to pouncing on a sloppy pass from Reading goalkeeper Jokull Andresson.

A couple of moments later the Spurs schoolboy managed to win a free kick on the edge of the Reading penalty area. This time Paris Maghoma ended up bending an effort well wide of Andresson’s goal. A corner kick from Kian Leavy at the opposite end, caused a bit of havoc inside the Tottenham penalty area. The ball fell first for Simmo who had a shot blocked by Walcott, before the 16 year old defender managed to block Jeriel Dorsett’s resulting attempt on goal. Both sides had tried their best to create during the opening stages of the game however, it was the young Lilywhites who struck first, after Dilan Markanday put Spurs ahead in the 26th minute. It was a well worked move which started with Rafferty Pedder who passed the ball to Maghoma, he shifted the ball out to Clarke on the left wing. The wide man sprinted forward before whipping a dangerous low cross into the box, and he managed to pick out Markanday who had enough space and time to just direct the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the goal from close range, 1-0. The ‘ Royals ‘ tried to respond straight from the restart, after Melvin-Lambert received Leavy’s pass he slipped the ball into Thierry Nevers down the left side of the Tottenham penalty area. However, his first time side footed effort was saved by the alert Jonathan De Bie. The Belgian goalkeeper was called into action again a couple of minutes later, this time to tip Dejan Tetek powerful curler from 25 yards out, over the crossbar. Reading continued to put our defence under pressure as the first half progressed. After receiving Walcott’s pass on the edge of the Spurs box, Maghoma lost possession to Simmo whose powerful low drive on goal was excellently saved, and held by De Bie who managed to get down quickly to his left to make the save. A corner delivered from Dilan Markanday managed to pick out Walcott inside the Reading box, he headed the ball into the air before he attempted to get up and head the ball back towards goal, but it was comfortably held by Andersson. A fantastic surging run from Paris Maghoma was cut out by Roberto Nditi right on the edge of the Reading penalty area, just before he could get a shot away on goal. 

After receiving Jubril Okedina’s pass Markanday gave the ball to Pochettino on the right wing. The winger whipped the ball into the danger zone but it was cleared by Dorsett before Pedder could tap home from close range. At the opposite end of the pitch, Jubril Okedina did well to cut out Claudio Osorio’s through ball before it came to Nevers down the left flank. The attentive Dennis Cirkin did well to get in front of Simmo inside the Spurs box to clear behind Thierry Nevers in swinging cross. After meeting Claudio Osorio’s corner kick Roberto Nditi tried to head the ball towards De Bie’s goal, but it was headed away by Markanday. After recycling possession Dejan Tetek whipped the ball into the Spurs box, managing to pick out Nditi at the back post. The defenders headed effort on goal came off of Walcott before falling down for Nditi who fired over De Bie’s crossbar on the turn. The ever impressive De Bie reacted quickly to come off of his line and get to Tetek’s pass down the right side of the penalty area before Thierry Nevers could get to the ball. The English forward forced a fairly comfortable save out of De Bie shortly before the referee blew the whistle for half time, after De Bie managed to deny Nevers low side footed effort, from long range. At times during the first period our final ball had been lacking and this had prevented us from extending our lead. Matt Wells’ side got the second half underway as they looked to extend their slender advantage over the home side. After receiving Pochettino’s pass down the right flank Maghoma pumped the ball into the oppositions penalty area. Malachi Walcott attacked the ball in the air but he ended up colliding with Jeriel Dorsett before Reading managed to clear the ball away from danger. After receiving Dejan Tetek’s pass down the left wing Thierry Nevers whipped a menacing ball into the Tottenham penalty area, but the commanding Luis Binks was on hand to clear the ball away from danger. Spurs made their first change of the game shortly afterwards when Dilan Markanday left the field to be replaced by under 18 debutant Matthew Craig who slotted in at central midfield alongside Paris Maghoma. 

A corner kick from Claudio Osorio caused havoc inside the Tottenham penalty area after it was attacked by Leavy. The ball eventually fell to Simmo but the Reading player couldn’t beat De Bie from six yards out, and his jabbed effort at goal was caught by the diving Belgian. The Tottenham defence looked as if it was in a spot of bother after Nditi played the ball down the left flank to Melvin-Lambert. However, the Reading striker was robbed off the ball on the edge of Spurs the penalty area by Malachi Walcott who made a timely interception. Spurs made another tactical change in the 69th minute after they brought off Rafferty Pedder for defender Maxwell Statham. Matt Wells’ side shuffled their formation as they switched to five at the back. A couple of minutes later the second Craig brother entered the field. Michael Craig came onto replace Tarrell Whittaker as Spurs switched to a 5-2-2-1 formation, with Maurizio Pochettino playing up top. After Paris Maghoma had won the ball off of Thierry Nevers the Tottenham midfielder gave the ball to Rayan Clarke who advanced forward through the middle before passing the ball to Maghoma who had made a run into the penalty area. Although Maghoma slipped he was able to adjust his body to flick the ball back to Clarke who was waiting on the edge of the box. The winger tried to tuck the ball around the Reading goalkeeper with a low side footed effort, but Jokull Andresson managed to be equal to it to palm the ball away from goal. Then in the 77th minute of time Spurs managed to double their advantage in slightly unusual circumstances. After substitute Maxwell Statham had applied pressure to Reading’s Josh Hewitt down the right wing, the ‘ Royals ‘ defender was forced to turn around before hurriedly passing the ball back to the Reading goalkeeper Jokull Andresson. However, Hewitt had overhit his pass and the Icelandic goalkeeper had misjudged the pace of it. Embarrassingly for Andresson he tried to trap the ball with his foot, but he got it all wrong and the ball just rolled under his foot and into the back of the goal to virtually put the game to bed, 2-0.

After receiving Michael Craig’s pass out on the right flank Maxwell Statham, the makeshift right back whipped a menacing low cross into the Reading box, which was only just missed by the in sliding Pochettino at the near post. Jubril Okedina did well to clear Dejan Tetek’s delivery from a free kick before Spurs broke forward down the other end of the pitch. Clarke passed the ball to Statham who gave the ball out to Maghoma on the right flank. Maghoma attempted to square the ball for Pochettino inside the penalty area but it rolled past him and onto Statham whose resulting effort on goal was blocked by Josh Hewitt. A late free kick for the home side gave David Dodds’ team some hope of netting a consolation goal. Dejan Tetek delivered the ball towards the back post, his pass was met by Roberto Nditi who tried to volley the ball across goal. However, a young defender with impeccable positioning was on hand to clear the ball away from the danger zone, and that’s exactly what Malachi Walcott did. There was a late coming together between Paris Maghoma and Dejan Tetek, this resulted in Roberto Nditi also getting involved. The Reading defender decided to take matters into his own hands and push Maghoma before the referee stepped in to defuse the situation. The final whistle was sounded shortly afterwards by the referee, to bring to an end a highly competitive game of league football between two sides who are in completely contrasting circumstances in the table. I was very proud of how this much changed Tottenham team managed Saturday’s game at Hogwood Park. Yes, we may have been playing against a team who are of a completely different gulf in class to us however, when you analyse the team that Matt Wells picked then you will really appreciate just how impressive a win it was. Not only were three of our schoolboys involved in yesterday’s win, we also had a player who was making his first ever start at this level (Rafferty Pedder) as well as players who haven’t been regulars in Matt Wells’ under 18 side this season. This was a very good win for Spurs and not only does it keep us hot on Arsenal’s heels in second place in the league table, it also gave players like Pedder, Whittaker and the Craig twins vital playing time at this level, and that was just as pleasing to see as the win itself. It’s also worth noting that under 16 goalkeeper Thimothee Lo-Tutala featured on the bench for our under 18’s for only the second ever time on Saturday.

Arsenal beat Southampton 3-1 on Saturday morning and they stay at the top of the league table, only one point above us. However, Matt Wells‘ side still have that all important game in hand. Up next for the wonder boys of Hotspur Way is a London Derby against West Ham at Hotspur Way. That league match will take place next Saturday morning, the last time we faced the ‘ Hammers ‘ we thrashed them 9-0!

Player reviews:

  • Jonathan De Bie: The overage Belgian shot stopper was in fine form on Saturday morning against the ‘ Royals ‘. De Bie made some seriously impressive stops (five in total) and he saved us on a number of occasions throughout the match. Of particular note was the Uccle born goalkeepers superb reaction save to deny Khalid Simmo from close range, in the first half. De Bie was vocal throughout the match and he could constantly be heard encouraging and instructing his teammates. The 18 year olds distribution was also good.
  • Jubril Okedina: The second year scholar started the game at right back for Matt Wells’ side, although he would play at centre half in a back five for the latter stages of the match. Once again this was another very accomplished  defensive performance from Okedina who kept Reading’s talented forward Thierry Nevers in check for large periods of the game. The Woolwich born defender made some important clearances and interventions. He has now made 13 appearances for our under 18 side this season.
  • Malachi Walcott: My motm, see below.
  • Luis Binks: A defensive rock alongside Malachi Walcott at centre back, ball playing defender Luis Binks was flawless against Reading. Both him and Walcott read the game as if they were playing chess. Cool, calculated but above all else decisive in their defending. Binks looked so in control against what was a decent Reading attack. The 17 year olds positioning and anticipation was excellent on the day.
  • Dennis Cirkin: The 16 year old left back who recently starred for our under 19’s and 23’s, returned back to under 18 level on Saturday to play his third game in less than eight days. The Dubliner put in another sterling performance for Matt Wells’ side where he was able to snuff out the danger which Reading’s Khalid Simmo posed. Cirkin always made sure that he was first to every ball, and his commitment was admirable. The left back looked good on the ball and he went on a number of driving runs down the left flank. Cirkin also won the vast majority of his aerial duels, this was another very good performance from a very good left back.
  • Paris Maghoma: The England under 18 international operated as a CDM for the majority of our encounter with Reading. Maghoma put in a very disciplined performance, he broke play up well, linked up effectively with fellow CM Pedder, and he also demonstrated good game management skills e.g slowing down the game when we were under pressure. The Enfield  born midfielder got around the pitch well and he was good at vacating space for himself. Maghoma would later go onto play on the right side of a diamond after Spurs switched to a 5-2-2-1 formation. The 17 year old went on a couple of good attacking forays from that position. Once again the midfielders versatility was plain to see.
  • Rafferty Pedder: This was the first year scholars first start for Matt Wells’ side at this level. Despite having recently returned from injury, the 16 year old looked very sharp alongside Maghoma in the centre of the park. The Maidstone born midfielder completed 69 minutes of Saturday’s match where he gave a really positive account of himself. Pedder was energetic and he pressed well against the ‘ Royals ‘. The quality of the first year scholars passing was good and despite his size he imposed himself well on the game, in the central areas against both Reading’s Kian Leavy and Dejan Tetek. It was a very promising performance from Pedder who was also involved in the build up play of our opening goal. 
  • Maurizio Pochettino: The Barcelona born second year scholar started the game out on the right wing where he tried his best to make an impact on the game. Pochettino worked hard at both ends of the pitch, he also did a good job up top during the latter stages of the game.
  • Dilan Markanday: The tricky winger returned from injury in time for Saturday’s game where he played as a number ten. Markanday looked as sharp as ever against the ‘ Royals ‘ at times balletic as a CAM his weaving runs through the heart of the Reading defence allowed players like Clarke and Pochettino to enjoy more space out wide. Markanday’s work rate was of a very good quality and he would often drop deep to help out both Pedder and Maghoma, to win the ball in the midfield. Markanday took his goal well from Rayan Clarke’s low cross and overall it was a very positive afternoon for the North Londoner, who completed 61 minutes of the game. Unsurprisingly the 17 year old was the most fouled player on the pitch!
  • Rayan Clarke: The left winger had a huge impact on Saturday’s game from  his many driving and purposeful runs down the flank. Despite setting up Markanday’s opener with a clever low cross, Clarke threatened the Reading defence on numerous occasions throughout the game. The North Londoner came close to finding the back of the net himself, in the second half. The 17 year old has now been directly involved in 12 goals from 15 appearances for Matt Wells’ side this season.
  • Tarrell Whittaker: The schoolboy led the line for only the second ever time at this level on Saturday. Whittaker was lively inside the danger zone and despite often finding himself crowded out, he worked extremely hard to get himself into goal scoring positions. Whittaker completed 73 minutes of the game. He was up against some very physical Reading defenders.
  • Matthew Craig: The schoolboy put in a very tidy performance in central midfield during his 29 minutes on the pitch. He looked like a very technical player.
  • Maxwell Statham: The Southend born defender had a lively cameo at right back, after coming onto replace Rafferty Pedder in the 69th minute. It was Statham’s aggressive pressing which put Josh Hewitt under severe pressure for Jokull Andresson’s own goal. The 18 year old went on some good overlapping runs down that side of the pitch and he pumped a couple of decent crosses into the danger zone.
  • Michael Craig: Like his identical twin, Michael put in a very tidy performance in central midfield. He also looked very comfortable on the ball.

My man of the match: I honestly could have given this award to any of our defenders, all of whom were superb on the day. However, 16 year old Malachi Walcott was for me, our best player on the day. The England under 17 international won everything in the air and this helped to thwart Reading centre forward Nahum Melvin-Lambert’s impact on the game. Walcott made countless blocks, interceptions, challenges and clearances but it was his impeccable positioning alongside Luis Binks, which for me was the highlight of his performance. Everything that the first year scholar did was timed to perfection, and time and time again he found himself in the right place at the right time to cut out a Reading attack. He was absolutely flawless!

Spurs: De Bie (c), Okedina, Cirkin, Maghoma, Binks, Pochettino, Pedder (Statham 69), Whittaker (Michael Craig 73), Markanday (Matthew Craig 61), Clarke. Substitutes (not used) Oluwayemi, Lo-Tutala.

Goals: Spurs – Dilan Markanday 26, Jokull Andresson 77 (OG).

Spurs under 18’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Troy Parrott – 12

J’Neil Bennett –  8

Dilan Markanday – 8

Rayan Clarke – 7

Rodel Richards – 5

Armando Shashoua – 5

Harvey White – 4

Luis Binks – 3

Paris Maghoma – 3

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Jeremie Mukendi – 2

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2

Phoenix Patterson – 2

Maurizio Pochettino – 1

Jubril Okedina – 1

Assists: Harvey White – 11

Armando Shashoua – 10

Troy Parrott – 6

Jamie Bowden – 5

Rayan Clarke – 5

Phoenix Patterson – 4

Dilan Markanday – 3

Rodel Richards – 3

J’Neil Bennett – 3

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Paris Maghoma – 2

Maurizio Pochettino – 1

Malachi Walcott – 1

Luis Binks – 1

Rafferty Pedder – 1

Maxwell Statham – 1

Jeremie Mukendi – 1

Elliot Thorpe – 1

Clean sheets: Joshua Oluwayemi – 5

Jonathan De Bie – 1

Spurs under 18’s versus Reading: (match preview)

Spurs under 18’s versus Reading: (match preview)

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Our under 18’s will return to league action on Saturday for the first time in over a month, when they take on a struggling Reading side at their Hogwood Park training ground. Matt Wells’ side will be looking forward to continuing their title charge as the title race between both them and Arsenal intensifies. The ‘ Gunners ‘ leapfrogged Spurs in the league table on Tuesday after they defeated Leicester City 5-0. However, our bitter rivals have played one game more than us in the Under 18 Premier League South. This will be our first competitive game of football since we were knocked out of the Premier League Cup by Derby County back in January. Memories of both that game and our FA Youth cup defeat to Arsenal will surely motivate Spurs ahead of tomorrow’s important game. Still unbeaten in the league this season, Spurs will be facing a side who have really struggled in domestic competition since the season started back in August. David Dodds side have lost their last ten league matches and they currently find themselves languishing in tenth place in the league table, only three points ahead of bottom of the table Norwich City. Dodds side lost all three of their Premier League Cup games and they were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup in the fourth round by Aston Villa. The ‘ Royals ‘ current under 18 side might not be as good as any of their recent sides however, they did manage to hold us to a 1-1 draw in the reverse league fixture at Hotspur Way, back in September despite us completely dominating the match. Despite their poor form Reading do have some talented young players on their books who we will need to pay close attention to tomorrow. Centre forward Thierry Nevers is David Dodds sides main danger man however, midfielders Connor Lawless and Kian Leavy are two other players worth paying attention to. Furthermore, former Spurs schoolboy Marcel Elva-Fontaine (now in his second year of scholarship) has been a key player for Reading’s under 18 side this season, Elva-Fontaine is a fullback.

Matt Wells’ side will still be without a number of players for Saturday’s match due to injury and Irish centre forward Troy Parrott, who missed our under 19’s match against PAOK on Tuesday possibly because he was injured could also miss out. I will be in attendance at Hogwood Park tomorrow morning to report on this important league game. I would like to wish Matt Wells‘ side all the very best of luck for their encounter with Reading.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Oluwayemi, Okedina, Walcott, Binks, Lyons-Foster, White, A.Shashoua (c), Bennett, Thorpe, Clarke, Asante.

Subs from: Kurylowicz, Tainio, Statham, Pochettino, Whittaker.

Injured/unavailable: Jeremie Mukendi, Jamie Bowden.

Doubtful: Phoenix Patterson, Rodel Richards, Dilan Markanday, Troy Parrott, Enoch Asante.

Previous meeting: 1-1.

My score prediction: Spurs 4-1.

My one to watch: The ‘ Royals ‘ too scorer this season Thierry Nevers. The first year scholar has scored eight goals for David Dodds side so far this campaign.

Spurs under 19’s 1-0 PAOK: (match report)

Spurs under 19’s 1-0 PAOK: (match report)

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Our under 19’s qualified for the last 16 of this seasons UEFA Youth league on Tuesday evening, by overcoming Greek side PAOK Thessaloniki by one goal to nil in, what was a hard fought win for Matt Wells’ side. Very few of our under 19’s would have experienced an atmosphere as hostile and as intimidating than the one which greeted them at the Toumba stadium on Tuesday night. The PAOK fans turned out in force to support their youngsters on a humid night in Thessaloniki, with almost 9,000 supporters in attendance at the Toumba stadium. It was a very physical game from start to finish, and the Greek side tried to rough our players up by making many late challenges and cynical fouls, but it was those such fouls which would cost PAOK so dearly on the night. After a decent start to the match, Matt Wells‘ side took the lead from a corner kick after just 13 minutes of time through Brooklyn Lyons-Foster, the defender clinically guiding home Harvey White’s pin point delivery into the bottom left hand corner of the PAOK goal. Things got even better for Spurs after PAOK were harshly reduced to ten men, after Theocharis Tsiggaras was shown a straight red card for a challenge from behind on J’Neil Bennett. Spurs did manage to create some decent chances during the remainder of the half but they were unable to extend their lead, despite seeing so much of the ball during the first period. However, the second half was a much tighter affair and it really tested Spurs’ game management skills. PAOK opened up as the half progressed but the young Spurs players kept their cool and they were disciplined while in possession. The home side did have chances to draw level however, the solidity of our back five dealt excellently with the threat which was posed by the Greek clubs attacking players. Spurs held the ball up well, they knew when to waste time and knock the ball around, but most importantly of all they were able to grind out the result. It may not have looked aesthetically pleasing for those of you who were were watching the game on the television but, however dour the second half was, our young lads demonstrated extraordinary maturity and professionalism to see out the game. Matt Wells’ lads didn’t let the pressure get to their heads and I thought that they showed how mentally strong they really are, to overcome PAOK in normal time. 

Spurs lined up in the unfamiliar 5-3-2 formation on Tuesday evening with the skipper Brandon Austin starting in goal for Matt Wells‘ side once again. The back five consisted of both Tariq Hinds and Dennis Cirkin at fullback, either side of the three centre backs TJ Eyoma, Malachi Walcott and Brooklyn Lyons-Foster. Meanwhile, Armando Shashoua, Harvey White and Tashan Oakley-Boothe lined up in the centre of the park, with both Jack Roles and J’Neil Bennett playing as out and out strikers in the absence of our top scorer in the competition this season, Troy Parrott. Spurs got the game underway at the lively Toumba stadium and it didn’t take long before the game started to gather pace. Tariq Hinds was on hand to clear behind Theocharis Tsiggaras’ early cross into the Tottenham penalty area. A couple of moments later Eleftheros Lyratsiz saw his cross bounce off PAOK striker Alexandros Gkargkalatzidis, before going wide of Brandon Austin’s goal. Spurs then broke forward down the opposite end of the pitch, Harvey White managed to pick out Bennett in the penalty area with a pacy cross. Bennett managed to get his head on the ball, but his attempt on goal was headed away by Apostolos Diamantis before it could trouble the PAOK goalkeeper Symeon Papadopoulous. Dennis Cirkin then pumped a teasing ball into the oppositions penalty area but it was cleared away by Giannis Michailidis before Tariq Hinds almost managed to pick out Shashoua inside the box. Spurs were seeing more of the ball during the opening stages of the game. After Armando Shashoua played a clever one two with Jack Roles on the edge of the PAOK penalty area, Shashoua slipped the ball into the feet of Bennett who swivelled around before shooting over Papadopoulous’ crossbar (on the bounce) courtesy of a heavy deflection off of Michailidis. However, Matt Wells’ side managed to take the lead from Harvey White’s resulting corner kick. After the Maidstone born midfielders perfect delivery had managed to pick out Brooklyn Lyons-Foster who had managed to leap above Georgios Doumtsis in the box, before planting a powerful header into the bottom left hand corner of Symeon Papadopoulous’ goal, 1-0. The young defender made the most of netting his third goal of the season by running over to the corner flag on the far side, to celebrate in front of a photographer.

The young centre half thought he had scored his and Spurs’ second goal of the game a matter of minutes later, after Oakley-Boothe had won a free kick out on the right flank. Harvey White whipped another excellent ball into the box which managed to pick out Lyons-Foster who had managed to get in front of Zisis Chatzistravos, before jabbing the ball past Papadopoulous and into the back of the net, on the volley. However, the referee Jérôme Brisard ruled out Lyons-Foster’s goal on the strange belief that the Tottenham defender had fouled Chatzistravos before getting to the ball. Harvey White had a cross cleared by Diamantis before Brandon Austin was called into action for the first time in the game to claim Georgios Doumtsis’ powerful low cross into the Spurs box. There was a brief pause in play after Tashan Oakley-Boothe had went down injured after being caught by Marios Tsaousis however, he was ok to carry on. Tariq Hinds whipped a dangerous cross into the PAOK penalty area but it was cleared by Diamantis, with Jack Roles claiming to the referee that the Greek defender had handled the ball. Shortly afterwards Brooklyn Lyons-Foster was harshly give a yellow card for allegedly holding back Tsiggaras with his arm. After receiving the ball down the right flank J’Neil Bennett had burst forward towards the edge of the PAOK penalty area before letting fly on his right foot. However, the 17 year olds powerful low effort was tipped behind acrobatically by the diving Papadopoulous. After the ball had fell to Tsaousis inside the Spurs penalty area the fullback had a pop on goal, but his powerful low effort came off of Eyoma before going behind for a corner kick. After receiving Dennis Cirkin’s pass inside the PAOK penalty area Jack Roles took a heavy first touch before lunging into try and win the ball off of Diamantis. However, he missed the ball and he ended up catching the PAOK defender, this resulted in him getting a yellow card. The Cyprus under 21 international came close to playing Armando Shashoua through on goal a couple of moments later, after Spurs had regained possession.

The decisive moment in the game occurred in the 33rd minute after the French referee Jérôme Brisard made a very brave call. After receiving Jack Roles’ pass J’Neil Bennett went on a darting run through the middle of the park before being brought down from behind by a sliding challenge from Theocharis Tsiggara. The PAOK midfielder had shown from his cynical foul that he had shown no desire to catch anything other than the back of Bennett’s leg however, I think that everybody had been surprised that the referee had shown Tsiggara a straight red card. Following the sending off Spurs seemed content to hold onto the ball and they looked very calm in possession. J’Neil Bennett almost managed to pick out the unmarked Jack Roles at the back post of Papadopoulous’ goal, but the 17 year olds cross was slightly overhit. The attentive Brooklyn Lyons-Foster did well to cut out Antonio Gaitanidis’ through ball before it came through to PAOK centre forward Gkargkalatzidis. The home side won a free kick in a promising position shortly afterwards but Dennis Cirkin was on hand to clear Tsaousis’ delivery. However, the ball ended up coming down and bouncing inside the Spurs box and back to Tsaousis, but he could only blaze over Austin’s goal on the half volley. Towards the end of the first half Theocharis Komsis’ side went on a dangerous counter attack which came close to catching Spurs out. Chatzistravos broke forward through the middle of the pitch before being caught from behind by White who would later receive a yellow card. However, the referee waived play on and the PAOK midfielder managed to stay on his feet before continuing forward and picking out Gkargkalatzidis down the right channel with a nice lofted pass. The PAOK centre forward quickly prodded the ball across to Antonio Gaitanidis who was through on goal. However, the Greece under 19 international didn’t feel that he had the pace to continue all the way into the Spurs box, and he ended up blasting the ball over Austin’s crossbar on the edge of the penalty area. A couple of minutes later Achileas Salamouras fired an effort over from long range before Spurs almost played themselves into a spot of bother. After receiving Brooklyn Lyons-Foster’s back pass, Austin spent too long pondering about what he was going to do with the ball, and he was quickly closed down by Georgios Doumtsis who he ended up firing the ball straight at. However, the 20 year old goalkeeper was fortunate that the ball came back to him kindly. The referee blew the whistle for half time a couple of seconds later.

PAOK got the second half underway and it was evident from the opening couple of the minutes of the half that Spurs were being quite cautious in possession, as they played short and simple passes in and around the middle of the park. Brandon Austin made his first save of the game after substitute Giorgos Tzvaros glanced Diamantis’ cross towards the Spurs goal, the ball seemed to just bounce into the arms of the Tottenham goalkeeper who comfortably saved Tzvaros’ effort. A couple of of minutes later Gkargkalatzidis managed to slip the ball through to Eleftheros Lyratsiz down the right side of the Tottenham penalty area however, the PAOK fullback ended up firing a low effort wide of Brandon Austin’s goal. After connecting with Diamantis’ cross inside the Spurs box Salamouras had a headed effort on goal deflected over by Hinds who got an important head on the ball. Spurs had been playing sensible football, only attacking the PAOK defence when the moment was just right. Such a moment almost resulted in Spurs netting their second goal of the game after Jack Roles came desperately close to netting his third goal in the competition, this season. After receiving Harvey White’s pass out on the left flank Dennis Cirkin surged forward before squaring the ball into Roles who was lurking on the edge of the PAOK danger zone. Roles’ first time side footed effort was struck cleanly but it ended up cannoning straight off of Papadopoulous’ left hand post before coming back to White on the edge of the box. The Spurs midfielder hit his first time effort hard and low, but the ball ended up flashing narrowly wide of the goal, although it is worth noting that White was caught by Lyratzis just as he was about take the shot. Spurs had a penalty shout a couple of moments later, after Roles appeared to be caught inside the box by Diamantis, after receiving Bennett’s pass. PAOK came close to netting an equaliser at the other end of the pitch from Georgios Doumtsis’ corner kick. Doumtsis had managed to pick out Giannis Michailidis at Brandon Austin’s back post. However, the Spurs goalkeeper did well to tip Michailidis’ powerful looping header over the crossbar.

J’Neil Bennett became the third Spurs player of the match to receive a yellow card after he collided with Giannis Michailidis inside the PAOK penalty area. Spurs made their first change of the game in the 67th minute of time, after Paris Maghoma came onto replace Malachi Walcott. After doing well to skip past Salamouras in the middle of the park, Oakley-Boothe went on a brilliant surging forward run before managing to play Jack Roles through on goal, with an excellent pass from the outside of his boot. Roles advanced towards the PAOK penalty area and he continued right onto the edge of the box before firing a low effort towards goal. However, Papadopoulous had been saved once again by his left hand post. Armando Shashoua had a nervy moment at the opposite end of the pitch after the PAOK players appealed to the referee that he had fouled Chatzisvaros inside the penalty area. The 18 year old midfielder did concede a free kick right on the edge of the Spurs box a couple of seconds later, after fouling the same player. However, Lyratzis‘ resulting effort flew well wide of Brandon Austin’s goal. The Spurs players had started to really slow the game down and they were doing their fair share of time wasting. Brandon Austin was booked for doing just that in the 83rd minute. Rayan Clarke replaced J’Neil Bennett shortly afterwards, before Jubril Okedina came on for Tashan Oakley-Boothe to help to bolster the Spurs defence during the final moments of the game. Matt Wells’ side managed to see out the remaining minutes of the game with relative ease to record a hugely impressive win in Greece to book their place in the last 16 of the UEFA Youth League. Spurs’ game management skills and off the ball intelligence proved to be hugely important on the night. The draw for both the last 16 and the quarter finals will be made on Friday afternoon at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. Spurs could meet anybody from Hertha Berlin to Manchester United in the next round of this prestigious competition. In some unrelated news I noticed that our under 18’s dropped down to second in the league table on Tuesday, after Arsenal defeated Leicester City 5-0, although the ‘ Gunners ‘ have played one more game than Matt Wells’ side who return to league action on Saturday when they face Reading.

Player reviews: 

  • Brandon Austin: The Tottenham captain made two saves in total against PAOK on Tuesday evening. One of the saves was a fairly routine one, while the other was an important reflex save to tip Giannis Michailidis powerful, looping header over the crossbar. Austin was unlucky with his distribution at times against PAOK, and he did get quite lucky on a couple of occasions.
  • Tariq Hinds: The right back had a really solid game for Matt Wells’ side, and the Goodmayes born teenager defended particularly well against winger Georgios Doumtsis down that side of the pitch. Like Dennis Cirkin on the opposite flank Hinds managed to get up and down the wing well and he was involved in a couple of good attacks for Spurs. The 18 year olds crossing was of particular note.
  • TJ Eyoma: Operating at RCB in a back five for the majority of Tuesday’s game, the England under 19 international put in a very solid performance alongside both Walcott and Lyons-Foster. Eyoma made some important interceptions and clearances, and his positioning was impeccable.
  • Malachi Walcott: The 16 year old played in the middle of the three centre backs. The England under 17 international completed 67 minutes of the match, and like Eyoma he was flawless in defence. He looked very composed and assured.
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: The match winner operated at LCB and he was one  of our best players on the night. Lyons-Foster read the game effectively and he brought the ball out well from the back. He was also excellent in the air and strong in the challenge, but there were two very important pieces of defending to cut out two dangerous through balls, which for me were his most important defensive contributions of the game. Lyons-Foster scored an excellent header to win Spurs the game early on in the first half. I thought that his overall play was excellent on the night.
  • Dennis Cirkin: My motm, see below.
  • Armando Shashoua: Industrious, slick and tidy in his overall play. The 18 year old put in another good shift in central midfield for Matt Wells’ side where he helped to keep things ticking alongside midfield anchorman Harvey White. Shashoua’s passing was nice and crisp, and his darting movement in and around the oppositions penalty area was impressive. As was his tracking back and relentless pressing.
  • Harvey White: The midfield anchorman had an excellent game in the middle of the park for Spurs where he was able to influence the match in a positive way. White’s pin point delivery from a first half corner kick set up Brooklyn Lyons-Foster’s goal, and the 17 year old whipped many more inviting balls into the danger zone throughout the remainder of the game. White was excellent on the ball and he performed his duties as an anchorman both diligently and effectively.
  • Tashan Oakley-Boothe: The central midfielder who lined up in a midfield three completed 92 minutes of Tuesday’s match. I personally thought that the 19 year old had a very good game alongside side both White and Shashoua. Oakley-Boothe went on one excellent attacking foray during the second half which resulted in him setting Jack Roles through on goal with an intelligent pass.
  • Jack Roles: The 19 year old started up top alongside J’Neil Bennett where he operated as a false nine. Roles was involved in some nice passages of play and he managed to get himself into some very promising positions. The Cyprus under 21 international was denied by the woodwork on two separate occasions against PAOK.
  • J’Neil Bennett: Roles’ partner up top worked very hard all game to try and make an impact. Bennett had a good first half and he came close to finding the back of the net on a couple of occasions.
  • Paris Maghoma: The young midfielder entered the game in the 67th minute of time. Maghoma offered Spurs much needed energy out wide.
  • Rayan Clarke: It was only a fleeting cameo from the winger who helped to hold the ball up during the final moments of the game.
  • Jubril Okedina: The 18 year old helped to bolster the Spurs defence during the final moments of the game, after he was introduced in second half stoppage time.

My man of the match: For the second time in less than four days 16 year old left back Dennis Cirkin was my man of the match. The accomplished full back was an ever present force down the left hand side of the pitch against PAOK. The Dubliner proved to be a very influential player from his many driving runs down the left flank. The first year scholar defended solidly and he managed to neutralise the threat that was posed by PAOK winger Antonio Gaitanidis. Cirkin also managed to combine both his defensive and attacking duties to great effect. He looked very assured indeed against the Greek club.

PAOK: Papadopoulos, Lyratzis, Tsaousis, Tsiggaras, Diamantis, Michailidis, Doumstis (Tzovaras 46), Salamouras (Maniotis 81), Gaitanidis (Panidis 84), Chatzistavros (c, Meletidis 84), Gkargkalatzidis (Pournaras 76). Substitutes (not used): Talichmanidis, Tachatos.

Spurs: Austin (c), Hinds, Cirkin, Walcott (Maghoma 67), Eyoma, Lyons-Foster, Oakley-Boothe (Okedina 90+2), White, Bennett (Clarke 87), Roles, A Shashoua. Substitutes (not used): De Bie, Binks, Pochettino, Whittaker.

Goal: Spurs – Lyons-Foster 12.

Yellow cards: PAOK – Michailidis 27, Diamantis 44; Spurs – Lyons-Foster 20, Roles 25, White 45+1, Bennett 66, Austin 83, Cirkin 88.

Red card: PAOK – Tsiggaras 33.

Referee: Jérôme Brisard (FRA).

Venue: Toumba Stadium, Thessaloniki.

Attendance: 8,958.

Spurs under 19’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Troy Parrott – 3

Jack Roles – 2

Rodel Richards – 2

Paris Maghoma – 1

Jaden Brown – 1

Malachi Walcott – 1

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 1

Assists: Jamie Bowden – 3

Troy Parrott – 2

Jack Roles – 2

J’Neil Bennett – 1

Jaden Brown – 1

Paris Maghoma – 1

Harvey White – 1

Clean sheets: Brandon Austin – 3

Spurs under 19’s versus PAOK: (match preview)

Spurs under 19’s versus PAOK: (match preview)

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On Tuesday afternoon our under 19’s will take on Greek side PAOK in the last 16, play off round of this seasons UEFA youth league. After finishing as runners up in their group, Spurs were drawn against one of the teams (PAOK) who have qualified for this round from the domestic path of the competition. Matt Wells‘ under 19 side flew out to Thessaloniki in Greece on Monday, ahead of the match at the Toumba Stadium, the 29,000 seater ground that PAOK’s first team play their home matches in. After qualifying from a group which contained Barcelona, Inter Milan and PSV the young Spurs lads will fancy their chances of overcoming today’s opposition and progressing to the last 16 round (proper). PAOK are one of the biggest teams in Greek football and while I don’t know an awful lot about their youth team, I have been doing my research on their under 19 side since the draw for the play off round was made back in December. Managed by Theocharis Komsis, the Greek club overcame AEL Limassol and FC Minsk to progress to this stage of the the competition. Their side is made up entirely of Greek nationals and a fair number of Komsis‘ squad have represented Greece at international level. PAOK like to play in a 4-3-3 formation but I imagine that they will lineup in a more defensive shape when they face us. Apart from their main danger man Antonio Gaitanidis another PAOK player worth keeping an eye on is tricky wide man Georgios Doumtsis who has netted one goal from four appearances in the UEFA youth league this so far season. It will be a fantastic experience for Matt Wells’ side to test themselves against a side who play a completely different style of football to them. It will also be a good experience for the young Spurs players to play in a big stadium, in front of what should be quite a decent crowd. Although we will be missing a couple of important players through injury we still have a ridiculously talented squad who will fancy their chances of progressing to the next stage of the competition. Tuesdays match kicks off at 5pm and it will be broadcast live on BT Sport ESPN. My in-depth match report will be out on Wednesday evening. I would like to wish Matt Wells’ side all the very best of luck for the game, I am sure that they will do the club proud no matter what the result is.

My predicted lineup: (4-3-3) Austin (c), Hinds, Eyoma, Lyons-Foster, Cirkin, Maghoma, White, A.Shashoua, Bennett, Parrott, Roles.

Subs from: De Bie, Binks, Walcott, Okedina, Oakley-Boothe, Markanday, Clarke.

Injured/unavailable: Jamie Bowden, Maxwell Statham, Jamie Reynolds, Jeremie Mukendi, Enoch Asante.

Doubtful: Phoenix Patterson, Dilan Markanday, Rodel Richards.

Previous meeting: N/A.

My score prediction: Spurs 3-0.

My one to watch: Greece under 19 international Antonio Gaitanidis has been an important player for PAOK in European competition, this season. The 18 year old forward is one of the Greek clubs main danger men, and Gaitanidis has scored three goals from his four appearances in the UEFA youth league this campaign. 

Some notes on Spurs loanee Samuel Shashoua’s performance against Conquense:

Some notes on Spurs loanee Samuel Shashoua’s performance against Conquense:

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Spurs loanee Samuel Shashoua was in action once again for his parent club Atlético Baleares on Saturday afternoon, when they traveled to the Spanish region of Castillo-La Mancha to take on Conquense. Samuel completed 83 minutes of Atlético Baleares‘ 1-0 win over Conquense yesterday afternoon, that win was only Atlético’s second away win of the season. However, it would ensure that Manix Mandiola’s side went to the top of the Spanish Segunda Division B group III for the first time this season. Once again Shashoua started the game out on the left wing as the ‘ Balearicos ‘ lined up in a 4-1-4-1 formation. It didn’t take long before Samuel managed to find the back of the net courtesy of a smart finish around the goalkeeper however, the 19 year old was ruled out for offside. After latching onto Francesc Fullana’s through ball down the left side of the Conquense penalty area, Shashoua managed to go around Conquense’s outrushing goalkeeper before then squeezing the ball home  from a tight angle. From the resulting television replay it was clear that Samuel had been in an offside position when Fullana had made the pass. After a fairly slow start to the game winger Canario saw his low cross from the right flank deflect onto the crossbar. Samuel had made a good run into the middle of the penalty area and he must of questioned why Canario didn’t try and cut the ball back to him. Samuel was having to create his own space out on the left flank during the opening stages of the game, as the Conquense defenders were defending so tightly against him After playing a quick one two with Yelko, Shashoua darted towards the Conquense penalty area however, he was fouled from behind by Jon Vega right on the edge of the area. What could well have been a red card was only a yellow, and Atlético had to settle for a free kick, much to Samuel’s disappointment. The teenagers next involvement in the game came after he received Francesc Fullana’s short corner on the edge of the penalty area, Samuel steadied himself before firing an effort on goal, which was headed behind for a corner kick by Conquense forward Aguilera.

A couple of minutes later Samuel was almost played through on goal by Yelko but, Conquense defender Maxi managed to cut the pass out. Samuel had been tracking back well after him throughout the first half and he was also making some good runs both in and behind the Conquense defence. Atlético Baleares took the lead right on the stroke of halftime after Peris received Canario’s pass just inside the oppositions penalty area, before curling a wonderful effort into the top left hand corner of the goal. Right at the beginning of the second half Shashoua went on a good mazy run down the left flank before then laying the ball off to Canario who fired an effort well wide of Marqueta’s goal. A couple of minutes later he whipped a dangerous cross into the box, but it had too much power on it, and it ended up going out for a goal kick. After a quiet spell in the game Shashoua looked to get more involved in the game as it entered the final stages. After the teenager had received Yelko’s pass out on the left wing he managed to successfully go around Conquense right back Marquez with a sublime bit of skill before darting forward down the flank. Shashoua then played a quick one two with Fullana who flicked the ball into the penalty area. Samuel raced to meet it however, Conquense defender Jon Vega managed to come across Samuel inside the box to block his resulting effort on goal. That was to be Samuel’s final piece of action from the game as he was replaced by Adrian Hernandez shortly afterwards. This was a hugely impressive win for Samuel’s parent club who battled hard to break down a very strong Conquense defence. Shashoua’s relentless pressing, intelligent movement and ability to create space for himself played a big part in helping Atlético to record only their second away win of the season. The Conquense defenders really focused their attentions onto Shashoua on the left flank. He was constantly fouled throughout the match but he never let that get to him, and he managed to put in another very good performance for the high flying club from Mallorca. Up next for Atlético Baleares is a home league game against Barcelona B, next Sunday morning at the Son Malferit.

Samuel Shashoua for Atlético Baleares this season: 

Appearances: 22

Goals: 4

Assists: 2

Spurs under 23’s 0-4 Arsenal: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 0-4 Arsenal: (match report)

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Our under 23’s returned to PL2 action on Friday evening when they hosted bitter rivals Arsenal at the Lamex stadium. However, it was a night of torment for Wayne Burnett’s side, who to put it quite frankly were torn to shreds by the ‘ Gunners ‘ for large periods of Friday’s game. Our out of form development side had to try and compete with an Arsenal side, which included a number of players who have played for the ‘ Gunners ‘ first team (five to be exact). When you take into consideration the quality of the players that Arsenal fielded, players such as Greece under 21 international Konstantinos Mavropanos, Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah it was unsurprising that it was such a one sided North London Derby. Arsenal overpowered us in the middle of the park and their quick passing and razor sharp movement allowed them to pick us apart. Without a natural central forward up top Wayne Burnett’s side struggled to play around Shilow Tracey. And although they did improve during the second half Spurs were unable to create many clear cut chances on the night, that and their slow passing were two major factors why we struggled so badly on the night. Freddie Ljunberg’s Arsenal side started the game well and after a sharp, incisive passing move the ‘ Gunners ‘ took the lead in the fourth minute of the game through Joe Willock. The away side continued to trouble our defence in the minutes that followed, and they started to grow in confidence. After creating a couple of good goal scoring chances Ljunberg’s side doubled their lead in the 25th minute from the penalty spot. After George Marsh had given away a cheap penalty for a handball inside the area, Charlie Gilmour stood up to calmly tuck the ball past Brandon Austin to double the visitors lead. Arsenal continued to dominate the game and Spurs were unable to respond. Joe Willock capped off another good passing move with his second goal of the game, to make it 3-0 in the 32nd minute. Wayne Burnett’s side did play considerably better during the second period as the likes of Jack Roles, J’Neil Bennett and Paris Maghoma started to get a lot more involved in the game. However, any chances of a Tottenham comeback were virtually extinguished less than two minutes into the second half after the potent Eddie Nketiah punished a sloppy back pass from Jack Roles by going around Austin and making it 4-0.

Spurs did battle well during the second half and they put up a good fight against the ‘ Gunners ‘ and they were unlucky not to pull a goal back, after creating some really good chances. At the end of the day Arsenal were the much better side and they had far more quality in their ranks than we did. This difficult game will be a big learning curve for Wayne Burnett’s young side, who following Friday nights defeat have now been well and truly sucked into this seasons relegation battle. Spurs lined up in a 4-1-4-1 formation against their bitter rivals Arsenal on a cool Friday evening at the Lamex stadium, in Stevenage. Brandon Austin started in goal for Spurs while a back four consisting of Tariq Hinds, TJ Eyoma, captain Japhet Tanganga and young Dennis Cirkin lined up in front of him. George Marsh operated as the holding midfielder, with Paris Maghoma and J’Neil Bennett starting out on the flanks, either side of our two central midfielders Tashan Oakley-Boothe and Jack Roles. 20 year old forward Shilow Tracey led the line for Wayne Burnett’s side for the first time since pre-season. Spurs got the game underway in front of a fair crowd of both Tottenham and Arsenal supporters. Freddie Ljunberg’s side started to move the ball around well during the opening minutes of the game, and they were playing with a real attacking intent about them. After initiating a good passing move the ‘ Gunners ‘ stunned Spurs when they took the lead after just four minutes of action through their inform midfielder Joe Willock. The Spurs defence had been opened up by the first real meaningful attack from the away side. After Eddie Nketiah had passed the ball to the speedy Bukayo Saka down the left flank, the winger managed to pick out Xavier Amaechi who was in space down the right side of the Tottenham penalty area. Amaechi quickly passed the ball into the feet of Willock who clinically slotted the ball past the helpless Brandon Austin, 0-1. It had been a cheap early goal to concede for Spurs, who had been unable to keep up with the movement of the Arsenal forwards.

Ljunberg’s side continued to move the ball about well and they were playing with a lot of width about them. The referee Josh Smith waived away a penalty appeal from the visitors after TJ Eyoma had made a sliding challenge on Eddie Nketiah inside the Tottenham penalty area. Shilow Tracey was unable to get to George Marsh’s through ball at the other end of the pitch and Arsenal’s goalkeeper Deyan Iliev was was able to smother the ball in time. A couple of minutes later Spurs created a decent chance to draw level. After Marsh had passed the ball to Bennett down the left wing the wide man sped past Arsenal’s  Jordi Osei-Tutu before shifting the ball into the feet of Shilow Tracey inside the penalty area. However, the makeshift centre forward was unable to sort his feet out in time and Iliev managed to close him down and get to the ball, before winning a free kick. It was becoming apparent that our final ball was lacking, as the half progressed. Our skipper Japhet Tanganga produced an important piece of defending at the opposite end of the pitch, after he made a crucial interception on the advancing Xavier Amaechi on the edge of the Spurs penalty area. A couple of moments later George Marsh was warned by the referee for a strong challenge on Danny Ballard which caused Freddie Ljunberg to lose his cool on the sidelines. Therefore it was quite ironic that the Tottenham midfielder gave away a penalty kick a matter of minutes later. After attempting to win the ball off of Xavier Amaechi inside the Spurs box, Marsh blatantly handled the bouncing ball, giving the referee no other option but to point to the spot. Young Scottish midfielder Charlie Gilmour stood up to take the resulting spot kick and Gilmour made no mistake from seven yards out. The midfielder calmly tucked the ball past Austin and into the bottom right hand corner of the 20 year olds goal, 0-2. Wayne Burnett’s side tried hard to respond and they almost managed to create a good chance shortly after the restart. After Spurs had broke forward through the middle of the pitch, Jack Roles attempted to play a quick one two with Shilow Tracey. Roles received the ball back but he ran out of steam as he attempted to dart into the penalty area, and he was intercepted by Arsenal’s Danny Ballard.

Arsenal responded through Eddie Nketiah who came close to making it 3-0 to the home side, after he latched onto Joe Willock’s through ball down the left side of the Spurs box. However, Nketiah’s powerful effort was saved well by the diving Austin who somehow managed to tip the ball over the crossbar. Arsenal’s third goal of the game duly arrived in the 32nd minute of the game through none other than Joe Willock. After Jordi Osei-Tutu had taken a corner kick short to Eddie Nketiah the Arsenal centre forward slipped the ball into Willock who was in vast amounts of space inside the Spurs box. Dennis Cirkin charged towards Willock to try and close down his angles but Willock kept his composure, and he cooly curled the ball into the far left hand corner of the goal, leaving Austin unable to react, as his sight had been obscured by the Tottenham players, 0-3. Austin could be seen debating with his teammate Jack Roles following Arsenal’s third goal of the game. To Spurs’ credit the players were working hard to try and change their fortunes. After Paris Maghoma passed the ball out to Bennett on the left flank the winger cut inside onto his right foot before whipping the ball into the danger zone. Tracey managed to meet Bennett’s cross but the former Ebbsfleet United man could only manage a very tame glancing header at goal, which was comfortably saved by Iliev. Arsenal broke forward down the opposite end of the pitch and after Bukayo Saka did well to keep the ball in down the left wing the England under 18 international passed the ball to Willock who fired the ball across the face of Brandon Austin’s goal. Spurs had a penalty shout waived away in first half stoppage time after Julio Pleguezuelo had appeared to catch Tashan Oakley-Boothe inside the Arsenal penalty area. The halftime whistle was sounded a couple of moments later to bring an end to a very difficult first half for Wayne Burnett’s side, who had been far too slow with the ball during the first 45 minutes of the game.

‘ The Gunners ‘ got the second half underway and it didn’t take Freddie Ljunberg’s side long before they found their rhythm once again. Arsenal made it 4-0 through Eddie Nketiah less than two minutes in to the second half. The alert Arsenal striker was able to pounce on Jack Roles‘ sloppy back pass towards Austin. The pacy centre forward worked his way around the outrushing goalkeeper before managing to squeeze the ball home from a tight angle, 0-4. The commanding Brandon Austin could be seen frantically urging his teammates on in the aftermath of Arsenal’s fourth goal of the game. After Oakley-Boothe had passed the ball to Tracey down the right side of the Arsenal box the 20 year old had a pop at goal but his powerful effort was stopped by the leg of Iliev. The ‘ Gunners ‘ then went straight down the other end after Willock passed the ball to Saka who attempted to play Nketiah through on goal, but Tanganga was on hand to cut Saka’s pass out. A couple of minutes later Tariq Hinds had a cross cleared by Konstantinos Mavropanos before Jack Roles won a free kick out on the right flank. However, Maghoma’s resulting free kick flashed right across the face of Iliev’s goal before going out of play. Spurs started to move the ball around a bit quicker and they were starting to work the Arsenal defence a bit more. After Shilow Tracey had managed to find J’Neil Bennett down the left side of the Arsenal penalty area Bennett tried to beat Iliev with a low effort at the Macedonian’s near post, but he was able to comfortably hold the Spurs wingers effort. Spurs continued to try and create openings down the left flank, just a couple of minutes after Bennett’s chance, attacking left back Dennis Cirkin came close to beating Iliev. After receiving J’Neil Bennett’s pass on the edge of the Arsenal penalty area, Cirkin continued forward before cutting inside onto his right foot and curling a powerful effort towards the left hand corner of the goal. Cirkin’s effort was well thwarted by Iliev who managed to get a strong hand to the 16 year olds shot. 

The towering Konstantinos Mavropanos did well to clear a teasing cross into the Arsenal penalty area from J’Neil Bennett, before the unusually quiet Jack Roles tested the Arsenal goalkeeper. After coming inside from the left wing Roles attempted to beat Iliev with a lofted effort but the experienced goalkeeper managed to read what Roles was trying to do, and he comfortably claimed the ball. Tariq Hinds did well to block Dominic Thompson’s cross at the other end of the pitch before Austin authoritatively claimed Xavier Amaechi’s corner kick. Brandon Austin then kicked the ball all the way up the field to Tracey who was able to bring the ball down before continuing forward down the right wing. Tracey then teed the ball off to Roles on the edge of the Arsenal penalty area but the Cyprus under 21 internationals curling effort flashed narrowly wide of Deyan Iliev’s near post. Wayne Burnett’s side had been enjoying quite a decent spell in the game and they were continuing to create some good chances. After some good work to control the ball Bennett tried to beat Iliev from more than 20 yards out. However, the Arsenal goalkeeper was equal to Bennett’s powerful low effort on goal. Charlie Gilmour whipped a dangerous ball across the face of Brandon Austin’s goal shortly afterwards as the game started to develop into a more even affair. Japhet Tanganga did well once again to break up another dangerous Arsenal attack after he cleared Nketiah’s low cross into the Spurs box. Wayne Burnett made his first substitution of the game in the 73rd minute of the game after he brought on second year scholar Armando Shashoua in place of midfielder Jack Roles. After Spurs had won a free kick Maghoma managed to pick out Japhet Tanganga at Iliev’s far post, but the Spurs defenders resulting effort on goal was blocked by Osei-Tutu. Tashan Oakley-Boothe then whipped a dangerous ball across the face of the Arsenal goal before Arsenal broke forward down the other end through Osei Tutu. The fullback darted forward down the right flank before entering the Tottenham penalty area, where he was fouled from behind by J’Neil Bennett who had been tracking him. Fortunately for Spurs the referee had deemed the foul to have taken place outside the penalty area, and instead a free kick was awarded right on the edge of the box. Bennett also received a yellow card for bringing down the Arsenal man.

Xavier Amaechi was desperately unlucky not to score from his resulting effort which smashed off the inside of Brandon Austin near post before rolling out. The Tottenham goalkeeper would have had no chance of getting to the ball had   Amaechi’s effort had been on target. The game had been won by Arsenal long ago but the young Spurs players continued to work their hardest, to try and pull a goal back. After Paris Maghoma received Dennis Cirkin’s pass the silky midfielder came inside from the left wing before blazing an effort over Iliev’s crossbar. After taking a free kick early Shashoua slipped the ball into the feet of Oakley-Boothe who burst forward down the right flank before attempting to pump the ball into danger zone. Unfortunately for Oakley-Boothe his cross took  a heavy deflection off of Ballard and this allowed Iliev to gather it comfortably. The energetic Armando Shashoua did well to head clear Jordi Osei-Tutu’s dangerous cross into the Spurs box before linking up well with Bennett at the opposite end of the pitch. After receiving a pass from Bennett down the left side of the Arsenal penalty area, Shashoua squared the ball to Tracey who had made a good run into the centre of the box. However, the Spurs player was unable to sort his feet out and he was intercepted by Mavropanos. There was a late melee involving both sets of players after there had been a coming together between TJ Eyoma and Jordi Osei-Tutu. J’Neil Bennett then went over to confront the Arsenal fullback as Tanganga also got involved. Even after the referee had blown the final whistle a matter of moments later, Tanganga could still be seen trying to get to Osei-Tutu who had clearly angered him. This will have been a difficult defeat to take for Wayne Burnett’s side against their bitter local rivals however, the team that Freddie Ljunberg picked was far too good for Spurs on the night, and although their efforts were commendable they just couldn’t match what was a very classy opposition. Spurs will be hoping to bounce back from Friday’s particularly painful defeat when they welcome Chelsea to the Lamex stadium next month. However, Wayne Burnett’s side must go up against Croatian side NK Dinamo Zagreb 2 in the quarter finals of this seasons Premier League International Cup before they can think about league football once again. Our game against Dinamo Zagreb will take place on Tuesday the 26th of February, also at the Lamex stadium.

Player reviews:

  • Brandon Austin: Despite having a very busy night Austin only made one save against Arsenal, that save was to deny Eddie Nketiah from close range during the first half. I thought that Austin’s distribution was good on the night and I also thought that he dealt well with crosses and set pieces. There was nothing that the 20 year old could have done to prevent any of Arsenal’s four goals. It’s also worth noting that he was constantly trying to motivate his teammates throughout the match.
  • Tariq Hinds: The 18 year old right back had the extremely difficult task of trying to defend against Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka. The England under 18 international really made Hinds work hard throughout the match and while he did cause Hinds quite a lot of problems, I thought that the right back gave a good account of himself on the night.
  • TJ Eyoma: Like Hinds, centre half TJ Eyoma had his work cut out against Freddie Ljunberg’s side. Eyoma operated at RCB and although he did make some very important defensive interventions, he did struggle at times to deal with Arsenal centre forward Eddie Nketiah who was a real handful.
  • Japhet Tanganga: The 19 year old had quite a good game at LCB under the circumstances. Tanganga did cut out a couple of dangerous Arsenal attacks and he made some important clearances.
  • Dennis Cirkin: My motm, see below.
  • George Marsh: The holding midfielder was overpowered for much of the night by Arsenal’s formidable midfield. Marsh found it very difficult to break up play when the ‘ Gunners ‘ had the likes of Joe Willock and Charlie Gilmour pulling the strings from midfield.
  • Tashan Oakley-Boothe: Although Oakley-Boothe started the game out on the right wing he would often change positions with central midfielder Paris Maghoma. Oakley-Boothe did manage to go on numerous attacking forays down the right flank throughout the game, and I thought that he carried the ball well.
  • Jack Roles: The inform central midfielder had an unusually quiet night for Wayne Burnett’s side in the middle of the park. Roles did manage to initiate a couple of decent chances for Spurs while also getting himself into some good goalscoring positions.
  • Paris Maghoma: Maghoma started the game in the middle of the park although he would often switch with Oakley-Boothe out on the right flank during the match. Maghoma did well to create space for himself and he did look good on the ball. The 17 year old went on some good attacking forays through the middle of the pitch.
  • J’Neil Bennett: I thought that the first year scholar (17) was one of our best players against Arsenal on Friday night. Bennett was extremely positive out on the left wing and he was constantly trying to create chances for the likes of Shilow Tracey. The skilful winger had the beating of Arsenal fullback Jordi Osei-Tutu on quite a few occasions and what I liked about young Bennett’s performance was the fact that he mixed his game up. He would often look to cut inside and try his luck at goal from just outside the penalty area, but he also delivered some good crosses into the penalty area. The former QPR schoolboy tracked back excellently after him and he helped Cirkin out at left back. 
  • Shilow Tracey: Due to a lack of natural centre forwards in our under 23 squad, winger Shilow Tracey was forced to play up top against Arsenal. Although it isn’t the 20 year olds natural position, I thought that he did a relatively good job considering that he was up against a very good Arsenal defence. Tracey worked tirelessly to try and get himself into good positions in the final third and he managed to win almost half of his aerial duels. Tracey’s off the ball work was very, very good.
  • Armando Shashoua: Seeing Armando Shashoua come off the bench to make his PL2 debut on Friday evening, was for me, one of the highlights of the night. Our under 18’s captain fantastic replaced Jack Roles in central midfield in the 73rd minute of the game and despite it being only Shashoua’s second competitive appearance for the development side, I thought that he had a really bright cameo against Arsenal. Armando was energetic and he helped us to move the ball a lot quicker. The 18 year olds movement in and around the penalty area was superb. Shashoua also played quite a few clever one twos during his time on the pitch. I look forward to seeing him make more appearances for the development side before the end of the season.

My man of the match: 16 year old left back Dennis Cirkin was my man of the match on Friday evening for a number of reasons. The England under 17 international had to defend against a very good young player in Xavier Amaechi, and while he did have some difficult spells in the game I thought that he defended really well against the tricky winger on the whole. Cirkin got up and down the left flank well, and once again I thought that he combined both his defensive and attacking responsibilities really well. The Dublin born defender maintained good positioning throughout the game and he was really aggressive in his defending. He made some good blocks, challenges and interceptions, but young Cirkin was also good at bringing the ball forward down the flank. The tireless fullback went on some really promising attacking forays down that left hand side and he overlapped, and linked up well with J’Neil Bennett who he had a good understanding with. Cirkin is a very good dribbler and he helped to create some good little chances for Spurs. The first year scholar also came close to getting on the scoresheet during the second half. It was a performance that the young man should be proud of, especially as it was only his second ever appearance for the development side.

Spurs: Austin, Hinds, Cirkin, Marsh, Tanganga (c), Eyoma, Maghoma, Oakley-Boothe, Tracey, Roles (A Shashoua 73), Bennett. Substitutes (not used): Glover, Duncan, Lyons-Foster, Dinzeyi.

Arsenal: Iliev (Smith 77), Osei-Tutu, Pleguezuelo (c, John-Jules 66), Gilmour, Ballard, Mavropanos, Amaechi (Zelalem 86), Willock, Nketiah, Thompson, Saka. Substitutes (not used): Coyle, Medley.

Goals: Arsenal – Willock 3, 31, Gilmour 25 (pen), Nketiah 47.

Yellow cards: Spurs – Bennett 81; Arsenal – Pleguezuelo 43, Gilmour 74, Smith 84.

Referee: Josh Smith.

Venue: Lamex Stadium, Stevenage.

Attendance: 890.

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

Goals scored: Jack Roles – 8

Shayon Harrison – 5

Kazaiah Sterling – 5

Paris Maghoma – 4

Jaden Brown – 2

Vincent Janssen – 2

Samuel Shashoua – 1

Marcus Edwards – 1

Dylan Duncan – 1

Phoenix Patterson – 1

Harvey White – 1

Tashan Oakley-Boothe – 1

Shilow Tracey – 1

Anthony Georgiou – 1

Assists: Jack Roles – 6

Kazaiah Sterling – 3

Vincent Janssen – 3

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

Jamie Bowden – 1

George Marsh – 1

Tariq Hinds – 1

Anthony Georgiou – 1

Shilow Tracey – 1

Clean sheets: Brandon Austin – 2

Alfie Whiteman – 1

Spurs under 23’s versus Arsenal: (match preview)

Spurs under 23’s versus Arsenal: (match preview)

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Our under 23’s return to PL2 action on Friday evening after an 11 day break, as Wayne Burnett’s side welcome bitter rivals Arsenal to the Lamex stadium. After losing their last PL2 match to Brighton, Burnett and his coaching staff will be hoping that we can bounce back by getting a positive result against Freddie Ljungberg’s side. The ‘ Gunners ‘ sit two points above Spurs in the table in eighth place, after accumulating 20 points from 15 games. In many ways tomorrow’s match will be a relegation six pointer for both sides however, it will also be about pride. And if the reverse fixture at the Emirates stadium back in August was anything to go by, then Friday’s match should be a fiercely competitive North London derby. Arsenal’s form over recent months has been a bit hit and miss to say the least. Although the ‘ Gunners ‘ recorded a hugely impressive 5-1 victory over Manchester City they have also suffered some quite humiliating defeats to both Derby County and Blackburn Rovers, and their form this season has been pretty erratic, and this has resulted in them being where they are in the league table. When at full strength Ljunberg’s side have the capability to play any team off the park. With the attacking talents of Bukayo Saka, Eddie Nketiah, Xavier Amaechi and Joe Willock just some of their most exciting attacking players. The current PL2 Division One champions are also pretty good in other departments. Arsenal could also be bolstered by the inclusion of Spanish defender Julio Pleguezuelo (22) and American midfielder Gedion Zelalem (22) for Friday’s match. Both players have been involved with Freddie Ljunberg’s side during recent matches. Some may remember former Barcelona player Pleguezuelo from the reverse league fixture, after he got young Troy Parrott sent off late on in the game. Ljunberg’s side like to play a high energy passing game, much like Unai Emery’s first team. However, they seem to focus on the wingers a lot and I have noticed this at both under 18 and 23 level this season. They like to work the ball out to the likes of Saka and Amaechi on the flanks and while both of them are unpredictable wingers, they like to work the ball into the penalty area. This style of play caused us a lot of problems in our 2-1 defeat to the ‘ Gunners ‘ right at the beginning of the season.

It will be interesting to see what side Wayne Burnett will pick on Friday evening, following our 2-0 defeat to Brighton in our last match. I would imagine that creative midfielder Paris Maghoma will return to the side for the North London derby along with TJ Eyoma who missed out last time as he was suspended, but other than that I assume we will see quite a similar team, with a few under 18’s included in the match day squad. Due to our lack of options up top, 17 year old Ireland under 19 international Troy Parrott should lead the line for the second consecutive PL2 game. Friday evenings match is likely to bring a sizeable home crowd to Hertfordshire to support our youngsters, as there are no first team matches this weekend. This will be a very big game for both sides but it will also provide Wayne Burnett’s lads with a good opportunity to test themselves against one of the best teams in the league. As always I will be reporting on Friday’s match, and my in-depth match report of the game will be out on Saturday night. I would like to wish Wayne Burnett’s lads all the very best of luck for what promises to be a fascinating game of PL2 football.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Austin, Okedina, Tanganga (c), Eyoma, Hinds, Marsh, Oakley-Boothe, Tracey, Maghoma, Roles, Parrott.

Subs from: De Bie, Lyons-Foster, Cirkin, Duncan, Bennett.

Injured/unavailable: Jonathan Dinzeyi, Jamie Reynolds.

Doubtful: Alfie Whiteman, Rodel Richards, Dilan Markanday, Phoenix Patterson.

Previous meeting: Spurs 1-2 Arsenal.

My score prediction: Spurs 4-2.

My one to watch: The ‘ Gunners ‘ left winger Bukayo Saka was a thorn in our under 18’s side during our recent FA youth cup fourth round tie against the ‘ Gunners ‘ at Meadow Lane, last month. Saka who is an England under 18 international has already featured for Arsenal’s first team on a couple of occasions so far this season. The speedy and extremely skilful winger who is also capable of playing at wingback, is a very unpredictable winger who likes to come inside and test the goalkeeper from just outside the penalty area. Saka has scored four goals from 15 PL2 appearances this season.