Spurs Academy loanees Jubril Okedina and Shilow Tracey were in action for League Two club Cambridge United against Crawley Town on Saturday afternoon (Cambridge United won 3-1). Okedina (he was excellent on the day) started the game at centre-half (League Two debut) and completed the full 90 minutes of the match, while Shilow Tracey came on in the 78th minute, and the winger registered an assist on his Cambridge United debut after joining them on loan earlier in the week. Starting the game at right centre back in a back four, 20 year old defender Jubril Okedina started the game well, and he calmly headed a long forward ball from a Crawley player to his teammate Kyle Knoyle on the right flank. After Crawley forward Tom Nichols received a pass from Sam Matthews down the left hand side of the Cambridge United box, Okedina did well to get in front of the Crawley man before getting on the ball and getting it clear, in what was a really good piece of defending. A couple of minutes later Okedina cleared Tom Dallison’s ball into the Cambridge United box, and in the early stages of the game Okdedina was playing the ball forward quite a lot. Cambridge United took the lead not long afterwards before Crawley equalise not long after the home side had taken the lead. A pass to Tom Nichols in the home sides penalty area (Okedina was covering at LCB at this point) resulted in the Crawley player back-heeling the ball for Jake Hessenthaler who finished off the move to draw Crawley level.
An inviting cross from Crawley’s Josh Wright was headed away well by Jubril in the box, before Jack Powell’s pass to Tom Nichols down the left in a forward position resulted in Okedina getting in front of the Crawley man well, and letting the ball go behind for a goal kick. Winning virtually everything in the air throughout the game, the Spurs defender did well again to head away a good cross into the Cambridge United box from George Francomb on the right flank. Another cross into the box, this time from Sam Matthews a couple of moments later, was headed up in the air by Okedina before the Cambridge United goalkeeper Callum Burton gathered the ball. Maintaining good positioning during the first half, Jubril once again managed to get in front of Tom Nichols, this time down the left hand side of the Cambridge United penalty area, after the Crawley forward was almost picked out from a long forward pass, but Okedina leant into his man and let the ball go out of play. A couple of minutes later the Spurs defender blocked an effort from Sam Matthews inside the Cambridge United box, as he stayed tight to the Crawley forward. A simple but effective long forward ball from Okedina managed to find Cambridge United forward Joe Ironside on the edge of the Crawley box, he won the ball, before Paul Mullin had a shot blocked and then Kyle Knoyle scored with a fine effort as Cambridge United regained the lead just before half-time.
At the beginning of the second-half Okedina came running forward to make a strong challenge on Jordan Maguire-Drew near the halfway line, as he won the ball. It was a very lively game of football, and a couple of minutes after that challenge on Jordan Maguire-Drew, Okedina made a good sliding challenge to stop the same Crawley player from getting further up the pitch and into a good forward position. The Spurs defender did well to head behind a promising looping cross into the Cambridge United box from Crawley substitute Archie Davies, before getting to another cross in the box from the right flank inside the Cambridge United box, before passing it away from the penalty area. Composed and alert in defence but good with his passing, Okedina was really impressing throughout the game, and even in difficult situations during the game he still showed great composure in defence. With Crawley Town playing well as they looked to get an equaliser, Cambridge United made a change on 78 minutes, as Shilow Tracey came on to replace Joe Ironside, and he went to play out on the right flank. After being shown a yellow card for a late challenge on Josh Wright, the Spurs player received a pass from Paul Mullin out on the right hand side of the pitch. Tracey entered the Crawley penalty area before attempting to beat Crawley goalkeeper Glenn Morris from quite an acute angle with a powerful effort on goal, but Morris managed to make a fine save to push the ball away from the goal.
After receiving a pass out on the right flank in the 85th minute of the game Shilow Tracey knocked the ball past the Crawley left-back, before sprinting forward at pace with the ball at his feet. The 22 year old entered the Crawley box before deciding to lay the ball back off to Wes Hoolahan on the edge of the Crawley box, and the former Republic of Ireland international managed to find the corner of the goal with a fine effort, to make it 3-1 to the home team. After making a good run into space in a promising forward position Wes Hoolahan tried to thread a pass through to Tracey, but the Spurs player slipped at an important moment. In the final moments of the game Hoolahan tried to find Tracey who had made a good run in behind the Crawley defence with a ball over the top of the Crawley defenders. Tracey managed to get to the ball as Crawley goalkeeper Glenn Morris came rushing out of his box, but his first touch let him down a bit (it was difficult to control) and Crawley managed to get the ball away, in what was the last real action of the game. Okedina had an excellent league debut in central defence, while Tracey made a really good impact off the bench on his Cambridge United debut, to help them to secure all three points on the day.