Spurs XI 2-2 Ebbsfleet United: (match report)

Spurs XI 2-2 Ebbsfleet United: (match report)

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Our development side returned to action after a summer break when they took on National League side Ebbsfleet United in their first friendly of pre-season, on Saturday afternoon. Wayne Burnett’s side competed well on a warm summers day in County Kent, and they did well against a very physical Ebbsfleet side. It was a close end to end game for large periods of the match although the first half was tough for Spurs, a number of second half changes made the game a lot more even. In particular midfielders Paris Maghoma and Armando Shashoua helped to energise the Tottenham midfield and move the ball about a lot quicker. The game was started well by the home side and after threatening the Spurs defence during the early stages of the game, the ‘ Fleet ‘ took the lead through towering centre half Ayo Obileye from a corner kick in the 15th minute of the game. Ebbsfleet continued to test the Spurs defence for the remainder of the first half but they were unable to extend their lead before halftime. Spurs started the second half well and a rather comical own goal from Ebbsfleet’s James Grimes put them level at the beginning of the half. However, an absolute pile-driver from Ebbsfleet’s Aswad Thomas saw the ‘ Fleet ‘ regain their lead less than a minute later. Spurs improved considerably during the second half and the game became a very even one, with chances aplenty at both ends of the pitch. Wayne Burnett’s side pushed for an equaliser and they finally got it in the 83rd minute of time through Elliot Thorpe. Spurs came close to finding dramatic a later winner through Paris Maghoma however, in the end both sides had to settle for a draw in what was a highly competitive pre-season friendly. Burnett’s side lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation on Saturday afternoon. In goal was trialist and former Southend United goalkeeper Edward Smith. A back four of Jubril Okedina, Maxwell Statham, Jonathan Dinzeyi and Dennis Cirkin lined up in front of him. Tariq Hinds and captain Brooklyn Lyons-Foster teamed up in central midfield, while Dilan Markanday and Shilow Tracey operated out on the flanks either side of CAM Tashan Oakley-Boothe. 18 year old centre forward Rodel Richards led the line for Spurs.

Spurs got the game underway at the Kuflink Stadium but it was Ebbsfleet who managed the first goal attempt of the game. The ‘ Fleet’s ‘ centre forward Gozie Ugwu forced an early albeit comfortable save out of Edward Smith with a speculative effort on the turn from about 20 yards out from goal. A mix up between Maxwell Statham and Jonathan Dinzeyi on the edge of the Spurs box shortly afterwards allowed Ugwu the space and time to test Smith however, he fired the ball over the goalkeepers crossbar. Ebbsfleet continued their strong start to the game after Myles Weston robbed Dennis Cirkin of the ball down the right flank but his resulting whipped cross was cleared away by Maxwell Statham in the Spurs box. Ebbsfleet were seeing a lot more of the ball during the early periods of the game. Ayo Obileye fired an effort wide of the Spurs goal from long range before a slip from Jonathan Dinzeyi on the edge of the Spurs box allowed Myles Weston to shoot. The Antigua and Barbuda internationals effort was parried by Smith before he smothered the ball. A couple of moments later makeshift central midfielder Tariq Hinds lost the ball to Alex Lawless who surged forward down the right side of the Spurs penalty area before dragging an effort across the face of the Spurs goal courtesy of a vital touch from Smith who then did well to hold Lawrie Wilson’s cross. At the other end of the pitch Dilan Markanday had an effort on goal deflected wide by James Grimes, after he had latched onto an excellent cross field pass from Lyons-Foster. Spurs were now enjoying a decent spell of possession in the game. Some good pressing from Shilow Tracey saw him come close to robbing Ebbsfleet goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore of the ball inside his own penalty area but the goalkeeper managed to clear the ball in time. Then in the 15th minute of the game the home side took the lead through Ayo Obileye after the central defender connected with an Ebbsfleet trialist’s corner kick. Smith was hesitant to try and claim the ball and Obileye powered an unstoppable header past the Spurs goalkeeper and into the middle of the goal, despite the best efforts of Lyons-Foster to prevent it on the line, 0-1.

Shortly after the restart Maxwell Statham blocked a shot from Gozie Ugwu inside the Spurs box. After Myles Weston had slipped the ball into the feet of an Ebbsfleet trialist (number 18) down the right side of the Spurs box, he fired an effort wide of Smith’s goal. Shortly afterwards Gozie Ugwu managed to find trialist A in the Spurs box, but the alert Edward Smith rushed out to make an important save. Shilow Tracey then went on an excellent galavanting run down the left flank before firing the ball into Nathan Ashmore’s side netting after entering the Ebbsfleet box. A good move from the ‘ Fleet ‘ at the opposite end of the pitch saw Weston pass the ball to Wilson, he gave the ball to trialist A but his shot was blocked by Jubril Okedina inside the Spurs box. Jonathan Dinzeyi cleared trialist A’s resulting corner kick. Another Ebbsfleet attack, this time resulted in Lawrie Wilson’s cross being headed back across the Spurs goal by trialist A for Gozie Ugwu in the middle of the Spurs box, but he headed the ball over Edward Smith’s crossbar. Dennis Cirkin did well to clear Aswad Thomas’ cross before Jonathan Dinzeyi glanced Tashan Oakley-Boothe’s cross wide of the Ebbsfleet goal. Then at the opposite end of the pitch Smith was called into action to catch a whipped cross from trialist A. After Jubril Okedina conceded a free kick out on the left flank, trialist A’s pacy free kick was punched away well by Smith. Spurs continued to try and see more of the ball. After receiving Jonathan Dinzeyi’s pass, Rodel Richards sublimely turned Ebbsfleet captain Jack King before testing Nathan Ashmore with a low effort which the ‘ Fleet ‘ goalkeeper dealt with relatively comfortably. Tariq Hinds then tested Ashmore long from range. Ebbsfleet then attacked Spurs. After Gozie Ugwu darted into the Spurs box he had a shot blocked by Dinzeyi, a couple of moments before Lyons-Foster cleared a cross from Myles Weston. Gozie Ugwu then headed trialist B’s cross late wide of Edward Smith’s goal in what turned out to be the final piece of action from what had been a lively first half of football.

Spurs made a number of changes at halftime as Wayne Burnett brought on Paris Maghoma, Armando Shashoua, Kazaiah Sterling and Rayan Clarke. Ebbsfleet got the half underway and it got off to the best possible start for Spurs who drew level less than three minutes in. After being put under pressure by the tigerish Armando Shashoua, Ebbsfleet defender James Grimes turned before passing the ball back to Nathan Ashmore. However, his pass had far too much pace on it, and it ended up rolling past the helpless Ashmore and into the back of the Ebbsfleet goal, 1-1. However, the home side regained their lead less than one minute later through Aswad Thomas. After the left back powered an unstoppable effort past the helpless Edward Smith from 25 yards out and into the top right hand corner of the goal. Spurs tried to respond, the lively Rayan Clarke tried to thread a pass through to Kazaiah Sterling inside the Ebbsfleet box but the Spurs striker slipped at the vital moment and Nathan Ashmore was able to gather the ball. A good passing move from Spurs resulted in Cirkin giving the ball to Maghoma out on the left flank. He passed it to Sterling in the middle of the Ebbsfleet box and the 20 year olds resulting effort appeared to strike the arm of James Grimes. However, the referee Alan Dale didn’t spot anything wrong and Dennis Cirkin ended up volleying the loose ball wide of Nathan Ashmore’s goal. A couple of minutes later Paris Maghoma connected with a cross from Shilow Tracey inside the Ebbsfleet box before shooting the ball over Nathan Ashmore’s crossbar on the half volley. Kazaiah Sterling dragged a shot wide of goal a couple of minutes later from long range before Rayan Clarke came close to finding a leveller. After receiving Paris Maghoma’s pass on the edge of the Ebbsfleet penalty area Clarke drilled a low effort narrowly wide of Ashmore’s right hand post. Spurs were now seeing a lot more of the ball and Wayne Burnett’s side were growing in confidence. The ever involved Paris Maghoma sent a powerful dipping effort narrowly over Nathan Ashmore’s crossbar before an Ebbsfleet trialist tested Edward Smith after he had gone down the left side of the Spurs penalty area, before Myles Weston forced a save out of the 23 year old from the edge of the box.

Spurs made a triple substitution when Wayne Burnett brought on Jamie Reynolds, Elliot Thorpe and goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi. Myles Weston’s cross managed to pick out number 17 in the Spurs box but his resulting header was cleared on the line by Jubril Okedina. Spurs then attacked the Ebbsfleet defence, Sterling brought the ball forward well before shifting it out to Clarke on the right wing. Instead of shooting, the Spurs winger whipped the ball across the face of Nathan Ashmore’s goal. An intelligent piece of play from Maghoma shortly afterwards saw him spot the good run of Armando Shashoua into the Ebbsfleet penalty area. Maghoma picked out Shashoua with a nice lofted pass, but the Tottenham midfielder who was at full stretch could only volley the ball over Nathan Ashmore’s crossbar. A dangerous cross from Rayan Clarke a couple of moments later was cleared away by James Grimes, as Burnett’s side continued to push for an equaliser. A menacing cross from number 17 at the other end of the pitch was spilt by Oluwayemi before being headed over the crossbar by Tahjae Anderson. Spurs managed to draw level for the second time in the game on 83 minutes through substitute Elliot Thorpe. A good attacking move resulted in Rayan Clarke passing the ball to Oakley-Boothe down the right flank. Oakley-Boothe surged forward into the Ebbsfleet penalty area before squaring the ball for Elliot Thorpe who had made a run into the middle of the box. And the Wales under 19 international managed to turn Oakley-Boothe’s pass into the back of the net despite the best efforts of Ebbsfleet defender James Grimes on the line. The Ebbsfleet players had tired and Spurs’ good high energy levels were getting the better of them. Kazaiah Sterling fired an effort wide from distance before Jubril Okedina headed behind a potentially dangerous cross from number 17. Spurs came desperately close to netting a dramatic late winner in second half stoppage time after Kazaiah Sterling managed to latch onto a badly misjudged back pass from James Grimes to Ebbsfleet’s substitute goalkeeper Harry Palmer. Sterling shot early but it was saved by the chest of Palmer. The ball then ran out to Maghoma whose subsequent curling effort from over 30 yards out from goal, squirmed a fraction wide of the mark.

It was a very competitive friendly and it was a good test for Wayne Burnett’s young side who managed to give a good account of themselves against a very physical Ebbsfleet side. Next Saturday Burnett’s side will take on National league south side Dulwich Hamlet in their second friendly of pre-season. 

Player reviews: 

  • Edward Smith: The trialist and former Southend United goalkeeper (23) made six saves in total in what was an impressive performance from him. Smith who has formerly represented England at youth level was good at dealing with crosses and his distribution was also good. Although he could have done slightly better to prevent Ebbsfleet’s opening goal Smith made a number of very smart stops and I was impressed with how he played.
  • Jubril Okedina: A player who I thought had a very solid game both at RB and at RCB during the second half. Okedina was good in the air (he made an important clearance on the line) and he was effective in the way in which he protected the right flank. However, I thought that after transitioning to RCB he looked a lot more comfortable, and he made some important defensive interventions in that position. 
  • Jonathan Dinzeyi: It was a good all round performance from the 19 year old at LCB. Dinzeyi looked composed in defence and he wasn’t bullied by Ebbsfleet’s physical centre forward Gozie Ugwu. Dinzeyi made a number of important interceptions and blocks throughout the game, and he was also strong in the air. 
  • Maxwell Statham: The 18 year old completed the the first half of yesterday’s 2-2 draw where he operated at RCB. Statham teamed up well with Dinzeyi in defence and he made a number of good headed clearances. Statham read the game well and like Dinzeyi he wasn’t fazed by physical Ebbsfleet centre forward Gozie Ugwu.
  • Dennis Cirkin: It was a solid showing at left back from young Dennis Cirkin (17) who dealt well with the pacy and experienced Ebbsfleet winger Myles Weston. Cirkin went on some good attacking forays and he also managed to defend tightly during his 68 minutes on the pitch. 
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: The Spurs captain completed the first half of yesterday’s match at CDM. Lyons-Foster did a sterling job alongside the energetic Tariq Hinds and he recycled possession well. He also made some nice forward passes, and he read the game to great effect and made some rather timely interceptions. Hopefully Lyons-Foster will play the whole of next Saturday’s game against Dulwich Hamlet.
  • Tariq Hinds: It was a very tidy performance from the energetic Tariq Hinds (19) in central midfield during the first half. Constantly on the move, Hinds was a real force to be reckoned with in central midfield which he patrolled around well. Hinds broke up play successfully and he also went on some nice surging forward runs. Furthermore, after reverting to RB for the second half he put in another very solid performance.
  • Dilan Markanday: The 17 year old put in a decent first half performance out on the right wing. Markanday managed one goal attempt and he did look tidy whenever he received the ball. 
  • Tashan Oakley-Boothe: Impressing both as a CAM and as a CM Oakley-Boothe had a really positive influence on the game. Apart from setting up Elliot Thorpe’s second half goal, the 19 year old who has been linked with a loan move to Swansea City was, like Hinds a real force in central midfield, he used the ball well and he also moved about the park with real purpose. In addition Oakley-Boothe managed to get himself into some good goal scoring positions.
  • Shilow Tracey: Operating both on the right wing and the left wing, I thought that Tracey had a good game against his former club. The 21 year old went on a couple of good galavanting runs down the flanks, and he constantly made himself available to receive the ball. There was a lot of purposefulness about Tracey’s performance. 
  • Rodel Richards: I was really impressed with Rodel Richards’ first half performance as a number nine. The 19 year old led the line well and he worked tremendously hard to try and impact the game. Richards would often come deep to receive the ball and with his tricky and quick feet he did caused the Ebbsfleet players problems during his time on the field.
  • Paris Maghoma: The 18 year old helped to change the game in Spurs’ favour after he entered the field at halftime. Maghoma put in an industrious performance as a CAM, making some really intelligent passes and runs towards the danger zone. The energetic Maghoma came close to finding the back of the net on two separate occasions yesterday. And I really liked how he linked up with central midfielder Armando Shashoua. The 18 year old was one of Spurs’ main danger men during the second half. 
  • Armando Shashoua: My man of the match, see below.
  • Rayan Clarke: I was impressed with the second half substitutes directness and skill yesterday. He also came close to finding the back of the net on one occasion, and he was involved in the build up to Elliot Thorpe’s late goal. 
  • Kazaiah Sterling: The 20 year old led the line well during the second half and he made himself a handful. Sterling carried the ball well, made some intelligent forward runs and also linked up well with the wide men. 
  • Elliot Thorpe: It was an impressive cameo performance from the Wales under 19 international who operated out on the left wing. Thorpe made a good, intelligent run and he took his late goal well. 
  • Jamie Reynolds: The Spurs trialist who was released by the club last month, put in a commendable performance at left back during the latter stages of Saturday’s game. Reynolds looked very solid at left back during his time on the pitch. 
  • Joshua Oluwayemi: The substitute goalkeeper didn’t have to make a single save during his short time on the pitch.

My man of the match: After coming on at halftime 18 year old Armando Shashoua helped to energise the Tottenham midfield with his sharp movement, low centre of gravity and quick feet, and it helped to change the game. Shashoua’s darting forward runs and link up play with the forwards made him difficult to defend against. That along with his clever one and two touch football made him a real threat going forwards. Shashoua’s aggressive pressing led to James Grimes’ own goal at the start of the second half. Overall it was a very positive day for the young midfielder who certainly didn’t let the physical Ebbsfleet players bully him. He is such an intelligent player who has such a great understanding of the game.

Ebbsfleet United: Ashmore (Palmer 77), King (c), Thomas (Trialist 71), Lawless, Obileye (Dainkeh 52), Grimes, Weston, Ugwu (Anderson 77), Wilson, Trialist (Trialist 71), Trialist.

Spurs: Smith (Tr) (Oluwayemi 68), Okedina, Cirkin (Thorpe 68), Lyons-Foster (c) (A Shashoua 46), Statham (R Clarke 46), Dinzeyi, Markanday (Maghoma 46), Hinds, Richards (Sterling 46), Oakley-Boothe, Tracey (Reynolds (Tr) 68).

Goals: Ebbsfleet – Obileye 15, Thomas 48; Spurs – Grimes (OG) 47, Thorpe 83.

Referee: Alan Dale.

Venue: Kufflink Stadium, Ebbsfleet.

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