Spurs under 23’s 2-1 Leicester City: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 2-1 Leicester City: (match report)

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Our under 23’s traveled up to the East Midlands on Friday to face Leicester City at Holmes Park, for what was another important PL2 game for Wayne Burnett’s side. It was a night to remember for Burnett’s struggling side, who fought back from going a goal down to beating the ‘ Foxes ‘ 2-1 thanks to a glorious brace from Jack Roles. The young Spurs lads dug deep, battled extremely hard but above all else they played well as a team. And it was that fighting spirit which helped the young Lilywhites to overcome a very well structured, and a very physical Leicester City side. It was an eventful and fast paced game at Leicester’s Holmes Park, and it was a game that had a very competitive edge about it right from the very start. Burnett’s injury hit side made only one change from their 1-1 draw with Chelsea the previous Friday, once again he named a number of under 18’s in the match day squad. With scholars such as Dennis Cirkin, Harvey White and J’Neil Bennett all starting the match. The game was played at a high tempo and there was a competitive edge about it right from kick off. The ‘ Foxes ‘ created a number of good chances, really testing the Spurs defence during the opening stages of the match. Steve Beaglehole’s sides pressure paid off in the 20th minute of the game, after midfielder Khanya Leshabela volleyed an effort past Austin and into the back of the goal, from the edge of the Tottenham penalty area. Burnett’s side tried to respond, Jack Roles replaced Tashan Oakley-Boothe as Spurs switched formation. However, the home side continued to dominate, and the Spurs back four did well to prevent them from extending their lead before the break. The introduction of Jack Roles  around the 30 minute mark of the game had noticeably improved Spurs’ overall play. Burnett’s side played with a lot more energy about them during the second half, and the game started to become a lot more even. It took Spurs less than four minutes to find their leveller in the second half. An excellent surging run from young Dennis Cirkin down the left wing helped to open up the Leicester defence. Cirkin then slipped the ball into the feet of J’Neil Bennett down the left side of the ‘ Foxes ‘ penalty area. Bennett’s low pass was met by the sliding Jack Roles who managed to jab the ball off of the bottom of the right hand post and into the back of the net.

Both sides really went for the win during the remainder of the game, and both teams came close to finding that all important third goal. However, it was Burnett’s battling young men who managed to find the winner. A slick attacking move late on in the game, which started and ended with Jack Roles, helped to secure a massive three points for the club from North London. It was a really classy finish from Roles who managed to turn home Tariq Hinds’ low cross with a clever back heel from inside the Leicester penalty area. The combative Spurs players managed to see out the remaining minutes of what was a very lively game. Leicester ended the match with ten men after Calvin Ughelumba was shown a straight red card in second half stoppage time, for squaring up to Spurs captain George Marsh. However, Burnett’s young side managed to see out the remaining moments of the game to record a hugely important three points. Friday’s win lifts Spurs up to ninth place in the league table, six points clear of the relegation zone. Although it is worth noting that 11th place West Ham do have two games in hand. Wayne Burnett’s side lined up in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation for Friday’s PL2 game in the Leicestershire countryside. Brandon Austin started in goal while a back four consisting of Tariq Hinds, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster, Jonathan Dinzeyi and Dennis Cirkin lined up in front of him. George Marsh and Harvey White teamed up in the centre park, with wide men Tashan Oakley-Boothe and J’Neil Bennett playing either side of CAM Paris Maghoma who played behind lone centre forward Shilow Tracey. Leicester got the game underway on a cool and wet evening at Holmes Park, and Steve Beaglehole’s side impressed early on in the game with their energy and aggressive pressing. Almost straight from kick off Layton Ndukwu tried his luck on goal after driving forward through the middle of the pitch, before firing a low effort towards goal, which Jonathan Dinzeyi managed to block on the edge of the Spurs box. Shilow Tracey won a free kick in a promising position at the other end of the pitch a couple of minutes later. However, Harvey White curled wide from long range, from the following free kick.

After Brandon Austin had sloppily passed the ball straight to Leicester’s Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall on the edge of the Spurs box, the ‘ Foxes ‘ midfielder slipped the ball into the feet of Ndukwu down the right side of the penalty area. Dennis Cirkin attempted to win the ball off of him by sliding in, but he missed and Ndukwu tried to cut the ball back across goal, but Harvey White was on hand to head it away from danger. Spurs broke forward through J’Neil Bennett who went on a positive driving run down the left flank before cutting inside onto his right foot and dragging an effort wide of Eldin Jakupović’s goal. The game was being played at a high tempo. The alert Brandon Austin did well to tip Lamine Kaba Sherif’s powerful effort from long range, over the crossbar. Steve Beaglehole’s side almost took the lead from the resulting corner kick, after the unmarked Taylor Allen (on trial for Leicester) was picked out at the back post from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s corner kick. However, Allen decided to head the ball into the ground, and it ended up bouncing harmlessly over Brandon Austin’s crossbar much to the Spurs goalkeepers relief. A couple of minutes later Callum Wright managed to twist and turn his way around Harvey White down the left flank, before entering the Tottenham penalty area. Wright attempted to test Austin with a powerful effort, but Lyons-Foster was in a good position to block his shot. The game continued to be played at a high tempo, a cross from Calvin Ughelumba almost managed to pick out Admiral Muskwe inside the Spurs penalty area however, the brave Dennis Cirkin had managed to get in front of the Leicester striker in the middle of the box, to win a free kick. Shilow Tracey went on a promising attacking foray through the middle of the pitch a couple of minutes later, before blasting the ball over Eldin Jakupović’s crossbar from long range. The ‘ Foxes ‘ continued to put pressure on the young Spurs defence. After Leshabela had shifted the ball out to Callum Wright on the right wing, the wide man whipped a menacing ball into the Spurs box which Lyons-Foster was forced to clear behind for a corner kick. From Dewsbury-Hall’s resulting corner kick the ball ended up coming to Layton Ndukwu inside the penalty area. Ndukwu had two shots on goal blocked by Jonathan Dinzeyi in quick succession.

Tariq Hinds then conceded a free kick right on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area. However, Leicester’s Layton Ndukwu curled his resulting effort high and wide of the Spurs goal. Wayne Burnett’s side tried to respond, Harvey White passed the ball to Cirkin on the left flank. The left back played the ball down the line to Bennett who came inside before having a pop on goal. Bennett’s powerful low effort took a hefty deflection off of Leicester defender Alex Pascanu before going narrowly over Eldin Jakupović’s crossbar. Harvey White managed to pick out Brooklyn Lyons-Foster at the near post from the following corner kick however, the defenders headed effort on goal was blocked by Alex Pascanu who had closed him down well. The Tottenham defence had to be alert at all times against Steve Beaglehole’s well structured side. A dangerous in swinging cross from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall came to Layton Ndukwu inside the Spurs penalty area. The Leicester City striker sent a looping header towards the Spurs goal, where Calvin Ughelumba ended up heading it up in the air. The ball was eventually cleared, but only to Khanya Leshabela who was waiting on the edge of the penalty area. The Leicester midfielder set himself up well before volleying the ball past Brandon Austin and into the back of the net to give the home side the lead, 0-1. Burnett’s side tried to respond, Dennis Cirkin played a clever pass down the left flank towards Shilow Tracey however, Jakupović came out to claim the ball before the 20 year old could get to it. Jonathan Dinzeyi was on hand at the opposite end of the pitch to clear Calvin Ughelumba’s dangerous cross. However, the 19 year old centre half didn’t deal so comfortably with the same players cross a couple of minutes later. Dinzeyi completely missed the ball while trying to clear Ughelumba’s cross however, he did manage to recover well to clear the ball in time. The impressive Brooklyn Lyons-Foster did well to cut out Khanya Leshabela’s intended through ball to Layton Ndukwu as the ‘ Foxes ‘ maintained their high tempo. 

After Ughelumba had done well to find Taylor Allen down the right hand side of the Spurs penalty area the winger tried to get a shot away quickly however, J’Neil Bennett had tracked back well to close him down and block his resulting effort. Leicester continued to dominate the match, after Ndukwu had received Kaba Sherif’s pass down the right wing he advanced forward, beating Cirkin for pace before whipping the ball into the danger zone towards Ughelumba at the back post. Fortunately for Spurs, Tashan Oakley-Boothe was there to knock the ball behind for a corner kick. After being allowed to run unopposed through the middle of the pitch Layton Ndukwu forced a comfortable save out of Brandon Austin to deny his powerful low effort on goal. With a little over ten minutes of the first half remaining Wayne Burnett decided to make a substitution. He brought off Tashan Oakley-Boothe for Jack Roles who would play up top, with Shilow Tracey switching out on to the right flank as Spurs played in a 4-3-3 formation. J’Neil Bennett had a cross cleared away by Leicester captain Sam Hughes, before George Marsh managed to clear Kaba Sherif’s cross at the other end of the pitch. Spurs went on a good attack shortly afterwards, Cirkin passed the ball to Bennett who then passed it to Roles. The Cyprus under 21 international gave the ball to Tracey who then passed to Bennett on the edged of the Leicester penalty area. The wingers resulting effort on goal was blocked by Lamine Kaba Sherif. After receiving Jack Roles’ pass midfielder Harvey White fired a hopeful low effort wide of the Leicester goal, from long range. The game continued to excite, after doing well to meet Alex Pascanu’s low cross on the edge of the Tottenham box, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall fired a first time effort over Brandon Austin’s crossbar to waste a great chance for the home side. The Spurs goalkeeper was called into action a couple of minutes later to keep out Taylor Allen’s powerful effort after he had received Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s pass down the left wing before Callum Wright fired an effort over Austin’s goal. Harvey White’s corner kick in first half stoppage time did cause quite a bit of panic inside the Leicester City penalty area. Eldin Jakupović resorted to punching White’s delivery into the air, Kaba Sherif managed to head the ball away from the goal but only towards Maghoma on the edge of the box. Where the Spurs midfielder volleyed the ball wide of the relieved Jakupović’s goal. Bringing to an end a difficult first half for Wayne Burnett’s young side.

Spurs got the second half underway but once again it was Leicester who managed to create the first decent chance of the half. Callum Wright managed to pick out Sam Hughes inside the Spurs box from his free kick. However, Hughes’ powerful low header was tipped behind for a corner kick by Austin who made another impressive reflex save. Thanks mainly to a wonderful surging run from Dennis Cirkin, Burnett’s side managed to net a surprise equaliser less than three minutes into the second half. The adventurous left back picked the ball up down the left flank before going on an excellent surging run. Cirkin sprinted past both Lamine Kaba Sherif and Layton Ndukwu as he brought the ball forward before passing the ball into the feet of Bennett who made a run down the left side of the Leicester box. The speedy winger tried to cut the ball back to Roles in the centre of the box. His pass deflected off of Alex Pascanu before the alert Roles came sliding in to poke the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, courtesy of it coming off the bottom of the post on its way in, 1-1. Jack Roles went in search of a penalty kick shortly after the restart, when his effort on goal appeared to strike the hand of Layton Ndukwu inside the Leicester box. Spurs were playing a lot better during the beginning of the second half and they continued to create chances. After receiving Lyons-Foster’s pass, Shilow Tracey attempted to slip Jack Roles through on goal with an ambitious pass, but Jakupović came rushing off his line to claim it before Roles could get to it. Incidentally Jack Roles came close to playing Tracey through on goal a couple of minutes later. Dennis Cirkin did well to block Lamine Kaba Sherif’s low drive at the other end of the pitch, after the ‘ Foxes ‘ fullback had pounced on Lyons-Foster’s sloppy pass out from the back. J’Neil Bennett was given a yellow card for a late challenge on Sam Hughes, before Cirkin did well to head Calvin Ughelumba’s dangerous in swinging cross away from danger, at Brandon Austin’s back post. After managing to latch onto Kaba Sherif’s pass down the right side of the Spurs box Layton Ndukwu attempted to catch Austin by surprise with a quick effort. However, the attentive Lyons-Foster managed to block his effort behind for a corner kick.

After White had passed the ball to Maghoma the Tottenham midfielder decided to have a pop on goal from just over 20 yards out. Maghoma’s effort deflected off of Alex Pascanu and it almost ran through to Marsh inside the penalty area, but Jakupović managed to smother the ball in the nick of time. Dennis Cirkin made an excellent sliding challenge on Layton Ndukwu to win the ball off of the Leicester forward down the left channel, before Tariq Hinds managed to block Callum Wright’s effort on goal. The game was anybody’s to win as we entered the final stages of the second half. J’Neil Bennett whipped an excellent cross into the Leicester penalty area but it was cleared behind for a corner by Sam Hughes. Beaglehole’s side came close to regaining their lead after Wright managed to pick out Ndukwu in the centre of the Spurs box with a clever pass. However, the Leicester striker couldn’t convert from close range and he somehow ended up jabbing the ball over Brandon Austin’s crossbar. Burnett’s battling young men then went on an attack down the opposite end of the pitch and it would end in Jack Roles netting what turned out to be the winner in the 82nd minute of time. After Roles had done well to win the ball with his back to goal, on the edge of the Leicester penalty area, he passed the ball to Marsh. The Spurs captain shifted the ball out to Hinds down the right flank. The fullback spotted Roles who had made a run into the penalty area, before sending in a low cross towards the makeshift centre forward. The intelligent playmaker managed to flick Hinds’ pass underneath Jakupović and into the back of the net, courtesy of a clever, improvised back heel to net the winner, 2-1. Paris Maghoma was replaced by Dylan Duncan shortly afterwards as Spurs switched to a more defensive formation. Shilow Tracey got booked for time wasting before Jonathan Dinzeyi did well to clear Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s cross. Khanya Leshabela had an effort on goal blocked by Lyons-Foster before Austin comfortably gathered the ball. Spurs made their last substitution deep in second half stoppage time when they brought off J’Neil Bennett for 16 year old centre half Malachi Walcott.

Brandon Austin did well to claim Kaba Sherif’s late cross before there was a late confrontation between Alex Pascanu and Shilow Tracey. There was to be another more serious confrontation a matter of moments later, this time it involved Calvin Ughelumba and George Marsh. After not liking a challenge that the Spurs captain had made on him, Ughelumba squared up to Marsh and the two put their heads together with Marsh ending up throwing himself on the floor, claiming that Ughelumba had head butted him. The Spurs captain had milked the situation and the Leicester City full back was shown a slightly harsh straight red card, before the referee Peter Gibbins showed Marsh a yellow card. The Tottenham captain did well to clear Callum Wright’s late free kick as Burnett’s combative side held on to record a hugely important three points. It was an excellent second half performance from the considerably younger team (Spurs) and it was a good all round performance from the lads who really needed to record a win on Friday. Spurs’ next PL2 game is not until Monday the eighth of April when they host Blackburn Rovers at our brand new 62,000 seater stadium. We are now in a good position to avoid the drop into division two.

Player reviews: 

  • Brandon Austin: The Tottenham goalkeeper made five saves on Friday evening as he helped Spurs to record their first PL2 win of 2019. As always, Austin put in an assured performance, dealing well with crosses and set pieces. He also made a number of smart stops which proved to be very important on the night. The 20 year old will be hoping to be included in the England under 20 squad for the upcoming international break. 
  • Tariq Hinds: It was another solid performance from the 18 year old right back who dealt well with the threat that Leicester’s left winger Taylor Allen posed. Hinds protected his side of the pitch well, and he made a couple of important blocks and interceptions.
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: Operating at RCB the second year scholar put in another very solid performance for our under 23’s on Friday evening. The classy ball playing centre half formed a particularly strong partnership with his former under 18 teammate Jonathan Dinzeyi. He was dominant in the air, he also made some good passes and some important interceptions. However, it was the the 18 year olds almost impeccable positioning and ability to be in the right place at the right time, which impressed me the most on the night. I lost count at the number of blocks that Lyons-Foster made against Leicester.
  • Jonathan Dinzeyi: The 19 year old made his first start for Burnett’s side of 2019 on Friday. Dinzeyi put in a very assured defensive performance alongside Lyons-Foster. He read the game well and he really grew in to the game as it went on. The Islington born defender made some really important defensive interventions, and throughout the game he performed his role diligently and to great effect. Dinzeyi was excellent in the air and I thought that he did a good job at bringing the ball out from the back.
  • Dennis Cirkin: My motm, see below.
  • Harvey White: The star of the following Friday’s 1-1 draw against Chelsea, put in yet another impressive performance in central midfield for Burnett’s side on the Friday just gone. It was a more combative performance from White who did a good job at breaking up play and recycling possession. The 17 year old made some brilliant crunching challenges, and he asserted himself well on the game.
  • George Marsh: Playing in a slightly more advanced role against Leicester, Spurs captain George Marsh put in a tidy performance in central midfield alongside Harvey White. The hardworking and motivational midfielder was involved in the build up play to our late winner.
  • Tashan Oakley-Boothe: Once again the Under 17 World Cup winner started out on the right wing. However, the 19 year old only completed 34 minutes of Friday’s match before being replaced by Jack Roles. Oakley-Boothe saw very little of the ball during his time on the pitch however, he could well have been carrying an injury.
  • Paris Maghoma: The England under 18 international started the game as a CAM although he would later drop back to play in a midfield three. It was a tireless performance from the North Londoner who always made himself available to receive the ball and attempt to create chances for his teammates by going on driving forward runs. Maghoma’s surging run through the middle of the pitch contributed to us netting our late winner.
  • J’Neil Bennett: This was another very good performance from the tricky winger out on the left flank. Bennett’s direct style of play caused problems for Leicester right back Lamine Kaba Sherif. The Camden born forward created a number of good chances for Spurs on the night, he also tracked back well to help out the defence, once again linking up well with left back Dennis Cirkin. Bennett got the assist for Jack Roles’ first goal, the 17 year old has now made ten appearances for Wayne Burnett’s side so far this season.
  • Shilow Tracey: The 20 year old started the game as an out and out striker although he would later play out on the right wing following the introduction of Jack Roles. Tracey worked exceptionally hard throughout the match, using the ball intelligently, and going on many purposeful, lung bursting forward runs.
  • Jack Roles: It was a quite magnificent from the first half substitute who totally transformed Friday evenings game after he was introduced in the 34th minute of the match. It was a seriously intelligent performance from Roles who put in a great shift as a number nine. He linked up play well and he played with a real confidence about him. Constantly getting himself into good positions and managing to link up well with the likes of Bennett, Tracey and Maghoma. Roles scored both of our goals, the first was a poachers finish to turn home J’Neil Bennett’s cut back from inside the penalty area. His second started and ended with the 20 year old who managed to convert Tariq Hinds’ low cross with a classy back heel from close range. Roles has now scored ten goals for our development side this season!
  • Dylan Duncan: The 20 year old helped to bolster the midfield during the late stages of the game. It was a good cameo from Duncan who pressed the Leicester players well during his time on the pitch.
  • Malachi Walcott: The 16 year old PL2 debutant helped out the Spurs defence after coming on in second half stoppage time.

My man of the match: Dennis Cirkin put in yet another assured and highly efficient performance at left back for Burnett’s side, in their 2-1 win over Leicester City on Friday. Cirkin put in a typically faultless performance where he was intelligent, dominant, aggressive and decisive. Cirkin defended extremely well against Leicester’s Callum Wright and he made numerous interceptions, blocks, challenges and clearances. What I liked about the England under 17 internationals performance was that he always wanted to be first to every ball, and it’s that Rose-esque aggressiveness which is one of his greatest attributes. Cirkin played a massive part in our opening goal after he went on a superb surging run down the left flank, before passing the ball to J’Neil Bennett inside the Leicester penalty area. I couldn’t sing the first years scholars praises high enough. He is a special young talent and the fact that he is England under 17’s first choice left back says a lot. Offensively, he reminds me a lot of our former Academy player Nick Tsaroulla who was another favourite of mine.

Leicester City: Jakupovic, Sherif, Ughelumba, Dewsbury-Hall, Hughes (c), Pascanu, Wright, Leshabela, Muskwe, Ndukwu (Loft 80), Allen (Shade 76). Substitutes (not used): Heaven, Johansson, Tavares.

Spurs: Austin, Hinds, Cirkin, White, Lyons-Foster, Dinzeyi, Oakley-Boothe (Roles 34), Marsh (c), Tracey, Maghoma (Duncan 84), Bennett (Walcott 90+2). Substitutes (not used): De Bie, Markanday.

Goals: Leicester – Leshabela 20; Spurs – Roles 49, 82.

Yellow cards: Leicester – Ndukwu 69; Spurs – Bennett 61, Tracey 90.

Red card: Leicester – Ughelumba 90+4.

Referee: Peter Gibbins.

Venue: Holmes Park, Leicester.

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

Goals scored: Jack Roles – 10

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

J’Neil Bennett – 3

Paris Maghoma – 2

Jaden Brown – 2

Tariq Hinds – 2

Troy Parrott – 1

Shayon Harrison – 1

Oliver Skipp – 1

Tashan Oakley-Boothe – 1

Dylan Duncan – 1

Jamie Bowden – 1

George Marsh – 1

Anthony Georgiou – 1

Shilow Tracey – 1

Dennis Cirkin – 1

Clean sheets: Brandon Austin – 2

Alfie Whiteman – 1

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