Our under 23 side started Monday evenings Premier League 2 fixture against Chelsea at Kingsmeadow really well, and they found themselves leading by two goals after just 17 minutes, courtesy of goals from Jubril Okedina and Dane Scarlett, in what was a fantastic first half performance from Spurs. However, Chelsea came back at Spurs strongly in the second half of a very lively match, and unfortunately for Spurs they ended up winning the game three-two, in a match which saw two red cards, shown to Alfie Devine and Danny Drinkwater respectively. Lining up with Brandon Austin in goal, a back four made up of captain Jubril Okedina, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster, Tobi Omole and Marcel Lavinier started in front of the 21 year old goalkeeper. George Marsh and Harvey White teamed up in the centre of the park while Dane Scarlett (competitive under 23 debut) and Jack Clarke lined up either side of CAM Alfie Devine, while Kion Etete started up front for Spurs. Spurs got the game underway at Kingsmeadow, and the first real chance of the game ended in a goal for Wayne Burnett’s side. 38 year old Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech had been put under pressure by Kion Etete in the Chelsea penalty area, and Cech ended up putting the ball behind for a Tottenham corner kick. Alfie Devine played the corner short to White, whose delivery into the Chelsea box was deflected off of a Chelsea player, and the ball bounced up to Lyons-Foster on the edge of the area and he nodded the ball to Jubril Okedina whose shot went beyond Cech and into the back of the net, 1-0.
Brandon Austin comfortably gathered Dion Rankine’s low cross from the right, before Valentino Livramento blocked Kion Etete’s effort on the edge of the box, at the other end of the pitch. Spurs continued their strong start to the game, and after Alfie Devine won the ball off of Dynel Simeu he went forward down the right flank and delivered in a good low cross towards Jack Clarke, but Danny Drinkwater got back to intercept the ball well. Still yet to be tested by Chelsea, Spurs were enjoying a good spell of possession when the impressive Harvey White picked the ball up about 35 yards out from goal, and he picked out young Dane Scarlett down the right hand side of the Chelsea box with a brilliant curling pass. Scarlett rose ahead of a Chelsea defender and powered a quite brilliant header beyond Petr Cech and into the goal, 2-0. Chelsea weren’t playing with much of an intensity during the opening periods of the game and Spurs continued to go forward. Jack Clarke’s cross in from the left picked out Dane Scarlett, and he got a toe on the ball but it ended up going behind for a goal kick. The Spurs forward then claimed that Chelsea defender Dynel Simeu had handled the ball inside his penalty area a couple of minutes later, but the referee saw nothing in it. After Jubril Okedina passed the ball to Alfie Devine, the former Wigan Athletic player tried to get around Dynel Simeu before trying his luck on goal, but his effort was deflected behind for a corner kick. Tobi Omole’s long ball up to Kion Etete was taken down well and controlled by the centre forward, he took the ball into the Chelsea box but was put under pressure when he tried to beat Cech, who comfortably saved his effort which was straight at the Chelsea goalkeeper.
Wayne Burnett urged his Spurs team to keep their shape as Chelsea upped their intensity during the closing stages of the first half. Spurs defender Tobi Omole headed clear Valentino Livramento’s cross, before Marcel Lavinier was shown a yellow card after giving away a free kick (taken by Marcel Lewis), which Harvey White cleared, in what was the final piece of action of the first half. Chelsea got the second 45 minutes underway, and Jubril Okedina cleared away Thierno Ballo’s low cross before Kion Etete cleared away a corner kick which had been taken by Marcel Lewis. Petr Cech gathered Alfie Devine’s pumped ball into the box before Dynel Simeu headed narrowly over at the back post, from a Chelsea corner kick. Marcel Lewis headed over Valentino Livramento’s cross before giving away a free kick after being deemed to have pushed George Marsh inside the Spurs box, as Chelsea were now on top of the game. After Valentino Livramento had passed the ball to Chelsea forward George Nunn, Nunn took on Okedina inside the Spurs box and got a toe on the ball to put it through the Spurs mans legs, but he (Okedina) lunged in and ended up giving away a penalty. Chelsea’s Myles Peart-Harris took the resulting penalty kick, and he slotted the ball straight down the middle of the goal as Brandon Austin dived to his right, 2-1. A couple of minutes later Henry Lawrence whipped a dangerous cross into the Spurs box, but it was cleared away brilliantly by the lunging Tobi Omole. A long ball to Valentino Livramento down our left flank resulted in Livramento surging past Lavinier before passing to Marcel Lewis inside the middle of the Spurs box, and he calmly slotted it past Austin and into the back of the net, 2-2.
Spurs looked to respond through Harvey White who had a shot blocked by a Chelsea defender. Brandon Austin then passed the ball straight to Chelsea substitute Jude Soonsup-Bell on the edge of the Spurs box, and the 16 year old forward advanced into the box before attempting to take the ball around Austin who was able to recover excellently to get a hand on the ball and take it away from Soonsup-Bell. After Jack Clarke had won a free kick on the edge of the Chelsea box, Harvey White hit his resulting effort straight into the Chelsea wall, before Jack Clarke had an effort blocked. Levi Colwill headed behind a corner kick from Lewis Bate at the other end of the pitch, before a long forward ball to Alfie Devine was brilliantly brought down by the midfielder, who then managed to do well to get past George Nunn before shooting wide after getting into a more central position. George Nunn cleared a Jack Clarke free kick before a melee took place, after a strong two footed lunge on Danny Drinkwater from Alfie Devine resulted in Drinkwater kicking out at Devine. After the melee had ended the referee showed straight red cards to both players, before showing yellow cards to several players including Kion Etete. Elliot Thorpe replaced George Marsh in the middle of the park, before White fouled Jude Soonsup-Bell right on the edge of the Spurs penalty area. However, Marcel Lewis curled his resulting over Brandon Austin’s crossbar, before Henry Lawrence excellent strike from range went just wide of Austin’s goal. Under 18 player Romaine Mundle then replaced Dane Scarlett out on the right flank to make his competitive under 23 debut, before Lyons-Foster put behind a cross from Marcel Lewis.
Chelsea went ahead in the game on 88 minutes after Thierno Ballo had passed the ball to Marcel Lewis on the right flank, before Lewis dragged the ball back for Myles Peart Harris in the Spurs box, and he slotted the ball well into the bottom left hand corner of Austin’s goal, 2-3. Spurs responded by sending on Maurizio Pochettino for Marcel Lavinier, as Spurs tried desperately hard to level up the scores. After Clarke had won a free kick Harvey White tried to test Cech, but his effort was stopped by the Chelsea wall. A good late move for Chelsea saw George Nunn pass the ball to Jude Soonsup-Bell who then gave it to Lewis Bate who found Myles Peart-Harris down the right side of the Spurs box, but his volley went wide of the goal, in what was to be the final piece of action from a pulsating game of Premier League 2 football. Spurs’ next game at this level is against Liverpool on Saturday, in Merseyside.
- Brandon Austin: The Spurs goalkeeper surprisingly didn’t actually haven’t an awful lot to do against Chelsea, apart from facing their three efforts on goal, which he really couldn’t have done anything about. Austin did make a superb recovery to get a hand on the ball to prevent a certain goal for Chelsea’s Jude Soonsup Bell, after he had given the ball straight to him on the edge of the Spurs box.
- Jubril Okedina: The Spurs captain had a solid first half, and he always stayed tight to his man throughout the game. Okedina did make a slightly untimed challenge on Chelsea’s George Nunn inside the Spurs box during the second half, but these things can happen to any defender especially against a team as good as Chelsea.
- Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: Operating at RCB, 20 year old defender Brooklyn Lyons-Foster made some good clearances and I thought that he read the game well against what was a very good Chelsea front line.
- Tobi Omole: A defender who I have always been impressed with when I have seen him play for Arsenal at academy level over the years, Tobi Omole put in another impressive performance for our under 23 side. Making some fine clearances, like Lyons-Foster I thought that he read the game well but was also disciplined from a defensive point of view, while also looking good on the ball.
- Marcel Lavinier: Starting against his former club for the first time on Monday evening and playing at left back, Marcel Lavinier showed great pace on occasions during the game. He also went on some good forward runs for Spurs and showed good tenacity during his time on the pitch.
- George Marsh: The CDM never stopped running and he allowed Harvey White to get forward more.
- Harvey White: My man of the match, see below.
- Dane Scarlett: Our under 18’s top scorer this season marked his competitive under 23 debut for Spurs by scoring a really well taken headed goal. What I really liked about Scarlett’s performance while he was playing out of position on the right wing, was his good defensive work and his determination to track back and help out Okedina. Scarlett also showed some good movement off the ball, and he took his goal brilliantly by scoring yet another header!
- Alfie Devine: Showing some fine pieces of individual skill, CAM Alfie Devine’s night may have been ended by him receiving a late red card, but there was plenty that he should be proud of. He was confident on the ball and not afraid to take players on, but he was also intelligent and not afraid to get stuck in and make his mark on the game.
- Jack Clarke: Another player who showed good pace, left winger Jack Clarke liked to take on his man. He was confident and showed good skill, and I thought that he gave a good account of himself on the night.
- Kion Etete: After scoring in our last three under 23 games, hardworking centre forward Kion Etete may not have scored against Chelsea on Monday, but he did work really hard and pressed the Chelsea defence well, while also showing good strength on the ball and also laying it off well to the other forward players.
- Elliot Thorpe: The 20 year old substitute got stuck in during the latter stages of the game after replacing George Marsh.
- Romaine Mundle: N/A.
- Maurizio Pochettino: N/A.
My man of the match: After Monday evenings game against Chelsea, central midfielder Harvey White has now been directly involved in seven goals (four assists and three goals) from ten Premier League 2 matches for Spurs’ under 23’s this season. White (19) was as always nice and tidy on the ball, using it well and intelligently throughout what was a very demanding game. However, his defensive work really impressed me, and his willingness to get stuck in as well as not being afraid to be on the other end of some strong challenges, showed how good his desire and determination is. The Maidstone born midfielder also assisted Dane Scarlett’s goal with a superb curling pin point pass, to cap off another fine performance from the consistent and versatile midfielder.
Spurs u23’s stats:
Goals: Kion Etete – 3
Harvey White – 3
Rodel Richards – 2
Kazaiah Sterling – 1
George Marsh – 1
Jack Clarke – 1
Dilan Markanday – 1
Alfie Devine – 1
Maurizio Pochettino – 1
Dane Scarlett – 1
Jubril Okedina – 1
Assists: Harvey White – 4
Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2
Jack Roles – 1
Dilan Markanday – 1
Dennis Cirkin – 1
Kazaiah Sterling – 1
J’Neil Bennett – 1
Jack Clarke – 1
Danny Rose – 1
Alfie Devine – 1
Substitutes (not used) against Chelsea: Kurylowicz, Muir.