Spurs under 23’s 0-1 Derby County: (match report)

Our inform under 23 side took on Derby County at the Loughborough University Stadium on Monday night, in what was Spurs’ latest Premier League 2 game. However, Spurs’ seven game unbeaten run in the league came to an end as Wayne Burnett’s side lost 1-0 to Derby, and they had to play the majority of the game with ten men after Marqes Muir was shown a straight red card during the first half on his first competitive start for Spurs’ under 23’s. Lining up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Josh Oluwayemi in goal, a back four consisting of George Marsh, Marqes Muir, Tobi Omole and Dennis Cirkin lined up in front of him. Captain Jamie Bowden and Nile John teamed up in central midfield while J’Neil Bennett and Dilan Markanday started out on the flanks either side of CAM Alfie Devine, while Kion Etete started up front for Spurs. Derby got the game underway on Monday night as both sides started the game cautiously, but the first chance of the game came the way of the home side. Festy Ebosele’s long throw in from the right was headed away by Cirkin but the ball fell nicely for Josh Shonibare inside the Spurs box and his volleyed effort flew not too far away from Oluwayemi’s goal. A couple of minutes later there was a penalty shout for Derby after Josh Shonibare wanted a foul given from a tackle on him from Muir, but the referee gave nothing. Kion Etete wasn’t too far away from connecting with Alfie Devine’s cross inside the Derby box before a promising spell of possession for the visitors came to an abrupt end after a Derby breakaway ended in Muir (he was the last man) fouling Shonibare on the edge of the Spurs box and being shown a straight red card by the referee (as a result of this Spurs shifted to a back three).

Jordan Brown’s resulting free-kick was parried by Oluwayemi however, only as far as Cameron Cresswell who lashed home from close range to give Derby the lead, 0-1. After Nile John dispossessed Connor Dixon the the Spurs midfielder travelled forward with the ball before curling an effort narrowly wide of the Derby goal from the edge of their penalty area before then being shown a yellow card not too long afterwards. After latching on to Connor Dixon’s pass Tyree Wilson brought the ball into the Spurs box before trying to beat Oluwayemi with an effort on goal, but the Spurs goalkeeper made a strong save before then doing well to stop Wilson from scoring on the follow up. J’Neil Bennett was shown a yellow card before a Dilan Markanday free-kick was cleared away by a Derby defender with Nile John’s resulting effort from the edge of the penalty area being deflected narrowly wide by Liam Thompson, in what was the final action of the first half. Spurs made a substitution for the start of the second half as J’Neil Bennett was replaced by under 18’s midfielder Michael Craig who was making his competitive under 23 debut for Spurs. Archie Brown shot wide from the edge of the Spurs box before George Marsh did well to prevent Cameron Cresswell from getting onto Tyree Wilson’s low cross in the Spurs box. After receiving the ball down the right hand side of the Spurs box Jayden Mitchell-Lawson had a powerful effort saved well by Oluwayemi before Elliot Thorpe came on to replace Kion Etete up front after the striker had picked up an injury late on in the first half. A good lofted ball into Bowden inside the Derby box from Devine was poked on target by the Spurs midfielder, forcing a corner kick for Spurs after a save from Derby goalkeeper George Sykes-Kenworthy. 

Dennis Cirkin cleared away Tyree Wilson’s dangerous cross into the Spurs box before Connor Dixon had a volleyed effort on goal saved by Josh Oluwayemi. Mitchell-Lawson whipped the ball across the face of the Spurs goal from the right before Oluwayemi then gathered a cross from the same player shortly afterwards. A long ball forward managed to find Alfie Devine who sprinted with Jordan Brown to get into the Derby penalty area. Devine managed to carry the ball into the box before having a powerful effort on goal saved by Sykes-Kenworthy, with the ball bouncing back off Devine and off of Sykes-Kenworthy before going behind for a Spurs corner as Spurs continued to work really hard. Marcel Lavinier came on to replace captain Jamie Bowden (the captains armband was given to George Marsh) before an effort/pass from Cameron Cresswell from the edge of the Spurs box was gathered by Oluwayemi. A free-kick from Jayden Mitchell-Lawson found Archie Brown inside the Spurs box and he forced a good save out of Oluwayemi before Eiran Cashin’s resulting effort went over the crossbar. At the other end of the pitch Elliot Thorpe had a low effort from the edge of the Derby box deflected behind by Jordan Brown before Cashin cleared away Dilan Markanday’s corner kick. Dennis Cirkin was shown a late yellow card for stopping a Derby county attack in what was the final piece of action from the game. Spurs’ next PL2 game is on Friday afternoon when Wayne Burnett’s side host Manchester United at Hotspur Way.

Player reviews: 

  • Josh Oluwayemi: Making a number of good reaction saves to keep Spurs in the game as long as possible, goalkeeper Josh Oluwayemi had a fine game for Spurs.
  • George Marsh: Starting at right back Marsh would soon have to slot into a back three, but he adapted well and made an important defensive intervention during the second half.
  • Marqes Muir: The second year scholar and RCB was shown a straight red card in the 20th minute of the game.
  • Tobi Omole: A player who I thought had a solid game, 21 year old centre-half Tobi Omole performed well when Spurs went down to ten men, and he always looked composed in defence.
  • Dennis Cirkin: Because of the red card early on in the game Cirkin didn’t have that license to get forward as much as I’m sure that he would have liked to, but he held his own in defence.
  • Jamie Bowden: The Spurs captain was tenacious, energetic and showed good skill in central midfield for Spurs on Monday night.
  • Nile John: The second year scholar got forward well from central positions and I was impressed with the way that he played.
  • J’Neil Bennett: The winger had to help out George Marsh defensively a lot down the right flank following Marqes Muir’s sending off.
  • Alfie Devine: My man of the match, see below.
  • Dilan Markanday: The winger did some great defensive work for Spurs down the left flank.
  • Kion Etete: The 19 year old centre-forward worked very hard in the final third and pressed the Derby defenders well before having to come off through injury. 
  • Michael Craig: The second year scholar came on and played in central-midfield for the second half.
  • Elliot Thorpe: Playing in the unfamiliar position of centre-forward Thorpe pressed really well and moved well off the ball.
  • Marcel Lavinier: The former Chelsea Academy played in defence after coming on in the 73rd minute of the game.

My man of the match: Alfie Devine (16) may not have got on the ball as much as he would have liked to during the game, but the first year scholar showed a tremendous desire to press the Derby players and try and influence the game. Devine also had some nice touches and showed good skill with the ball as well as showing good movement off the ball, but it was that great desire to chase down the ball and work for the team which impressed me the most. He is always a pleasure to watch.

Derby County: Sykes-Kenworthy, Ebosele, Archie Brown, Thompson, Jordan Brown (c), Cashin, Mitchell-Lawson, Dixon, Cresswell, Shonibare (Williams 65), Wilson (Bateman 90+1). Substitutes (not used): Foster, Aghatise, Cybulski.

Spurs: Oluwayemi, Marsh, Cirkin, Bowden (c) (Lavinier 72), Muir, Omole, Bennett (Michael Craig 46), John, Etete (Thorpe 51), Devine, Markanday. Substitutes (not used): Lo Tutala, Pedder.

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