Spurs Under 23’s 2-2 Chelsea: (match report)

Spurs’ Under 23 side got their Premier League 2 season underway on Monday evening at Stevenage’s Lamex Stadium, when they hosted 2020/21 Division One runners up Chelsea. Wayne Burnett’s side were in my opinion the better team during the match and they were very unlucky not to win it, as it ended 2-2. Spurs lined up with Joshua Oluwayemi in goal, while Marcel Lavinier, captain Brooklyn Lyons-Foster, Malachi Fagan-Walcott and Ryan Sessegnon formed the back four. Matthew Craig and Harvey White teamed up in central midfield, and Romaine Mundle and J’Neil Bennett started out on the flanks, either side of CAM Alfie Devine. Dilan Markanday led the line for Spurs. Chelsea got the game underway on a sunny evening in Hertfordshire, and a good early move for the away side saw them get into quite a promising position. However, the move ended with Bryan Fiabema having a low effort saved by Spurs’ goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi, from the edge of the Spurs box. Malachi Fagan-Walcott then did well to stop Charlie Webster from going into the Spurs penalty area, before Dilan Markanday impressively went past a couple of Chelsea players before passing the ball to J’Neil Bennett on the left flank. Bennett then crossed the ball for Devine, whose headed effort was well tipped over the crossbar by Chelsea goalkeeper Lucas Bergstrom.

From the following corner kick which was taken by Harvey White, the ball eventually ended up falling for Alfie Devine, who hit the ball over the Chelsea crossbar, in what was a difficult chance for the former Wigan Athletic player. Romaine Mundle had an effort blocked behind off a Chelsea defender from J’Neil Bennett’s cross, before a good ball over the top of the Chelsea defence from Harvey White ended up coming to Dilan Markanday who then entered the Chelsea penalty area, but didn’t have any teammates in support. However, a couple of moments later and after Spurs couldn’t clear the ball and it ended up deflecting off of Chelsea player Dion Rankine, the ball came to Harvey Vale, who was brought down by Oluwayemi, resulting in the referee pointing to the penalty spot. From the resulting penalty kick Harvey Vale’s powerful effort went just beyond Oluwayemi and into the back of the net, 0-1. Shortly after the game was restarted Bashir Humphreys blocked Romaine Mundle’s effort inside the Chelsea box, before Devine won the ball off of George Nunn and brought the ball forward before forcing a good save from Lucas Bergstrom. Bennett then came inside from the left flank before seeing his fine curling effort on goal saved well by the Chelsea goalkeeper. Bennett then had an effort blocked shortly afterwards.

From a Harvey White free-kick defender Malachi Fagan-Walcott had a headed effort on goal saved by Bergstrom, before seeing a following effort from another Harvey White free-kick go just wide of the Chelsea goal. Lyons-Foster cleared away Charlie Webster’s effort on goal, while Spurs then went forward down the other end of the pitch, with Harvey White whipping a promising cross right in front of the Chelsea goal. Spurs continued to play really well, and after Lavinier headed behind J’Neil Bennett’s cross, Spurs fell further behind after Chelsea got their second goal of the game. A loose pass was latched onto by Harvey Vale, who went on a surging forward run before calmly slotting the ball into the bottom right hand corner of Oluwayemi’s goal, 0-2. After Markanday was fouled on the edge of the Chelsea box Harvey White stepped up to whip a low effort towards goal. His effort was saved by Bergstrom, with the ball coming to Lyons-Foster, and although he managed to find the back of the net, one of the linesmen had his flag up to rule it out for offside, in what was the final piece of action from the first half. Spurs got the second half underway and the second half got off to a great start for Wayne Burnett’s side, who got a goal back on 48 minutes. A really nice pass from Devine found Marcel Lavinier, who then slipped the ball into the feet of Markanday down the left side of the Chelsea box. And Markanday did well to get the ball beyond the Chelsea goalkeeper and into the goal, 1-2.

A good cross from Lyons-Foster was cleared before Lavinier made an important defensive intervention inside his own penalty area. Oluwayemi saved Charlie Webster’s effort before Spurs equalised through J’Neil Bennett. After receiving Alfie Devine’s pass out on the left flank Bennett came inside onto his right foot and curled a really good effort beyond Lucas Bergstrom and into the far corner of the goal, 2-2. Yago Santiago came on to replace Romaine Mundle, and soon after he came on and received the ball and went forward he had an effort saved by Bergstrom, who then saved a deflected effort from Bennett soon afterwards. The constantly impressive Alfie Devine won the ball in central midfield before travelling forward with the ball and passing it to Bennett, who had an effort blocked behind for a corner kick. Markanday hit over an effort from a Harvey White free-kick before Lyons-Foster had an effort from distance saved. The creative Harvey White then managed to find Markanday down the right side of the Chelsea box, but he was fouled by Bergstrom, resulting in a penalty for Spurs. Harvey White’s effort from the resulting penalty kick was saved by the Chelsea goalkeeper, before then being cleared away.

A lofted pass from Michael Craig found former Chelsea player Marcel Lavinier inside the Chelsea box, but his effort was saved by the Chelsea goalkeeper. A late Spurs substitution saw Rafferty Pedder replace Dilan Markanday, before the referee blew the full-time whistle.

Player reviews:

  • Joshua Oluwayemi: The Spurs goalkeeper didn’t actually have an awful lot to do on Monday night. He did make some important but fairly routine saves and he came close to saving the penalty kick that he conceded, but he could have done nothing to prevent Harvey Vale’s second goal of the game.
  • Marcel Lavinier: Making some strong defensive interventions and also joining the forward players well when going forward, I thought that the right-back who later switched to left-back had a good game. Lavinier got the assist for Markanday’s goal.
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: The Spurs captain started the game at RCB alongside Malachi Fagan-Walcott, before then starting the second half at right-back, where I thought that he did well.
  • Malachi Fagan-Walcott: Playing at left-sided centre-back for this game, the 19 year old kept good positioning in my opinion and he came close to scoring in the first half.
  • Ryan Sessegnon: The Spurs first team player got 45 minutes at left-back to help build up his fitness after missing a lot of pre-season because of injury.
  • Matthew Craig: The deepest of the two central midfielders, Matthew Craig was tigerish in midfield, and he kept the ball moving in the central areas well.
  • Harvey White: It was a very good and creative performance from Harvey White in central midfield against Chelsea. The 19 year old created numerous chances and his set-pieces were very good against Chelsea. He was however, unlucky to miss his late penalty kick.
  • Romaine Mundle: The winger operated out on the right flank and he linked up well with right-back Marcel Lavinier during his time on the pitch.
  • Alfie Devine: Making some really clever passes from the CAM role, moving really well off the ball and also working really hard for the team. Alfie Devine was involved in the build up to both of Spurs’ goals against Chelsea, and I thought that he was influential throughout the match. 
  • J’Neil Bennett: Constantly going on good forward runs down the left flank, unpredictable winger J’Neil Bennett had a really fine game for Spurs. The scorer of an excellently taken goal, Bennett could have scored more goals on the another day.
  • Dilan Markanday: My man of the match. See below.
  • Marqes Muir: The centre-half came on to replace Ryan Sessegnon for the second half, and he did well alongside Malachi Fagan-Walcott. 
  • Yago Santiago: The second half substitute had an effort on goal saved soon after he entered the pitch.
  • Rafferty Pedder: N/A.

My man of the match: Dilan Markanday. Starting the game as a centre-forward Dilan Markanday (19) impressed with his movement off the ball and the really hardworking player showed some tremendous skill to go past Chelsea players as if they weren’t even there on occasions. He took his goal really well from a difficult angle and he also won a penalty kick late on in the match. This was an excellent performance from Markanday, who later operated out on the right flank towards the end of Monday’s game.

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