Spurs Under 23’s 1-4 Crystal Palace: (match report) 

Spurs’ Under 23 side welcomed south London club Crystal Palace to Hotspur Way, on Monday afternoon, for their latest Premier League 2 game. Wayne Burnett’s Spurs side lost the match 4-1, and the away side Crystal Palace deserved to win today. Spurs lined-up with Joshua Oluwayemi in goal, while a defence of Dermi Lusala, Marqes Muir, captain Malachi Fagan-Walcott and Marcel Lavinier, started in front of the Spurs goalkeeper. Matthew Craig and Max Robson started in central-midfield, while J’Neil Bennett and Yago Santiago started out on the flanks, either side of CAM Alfie Devine. Dane Scarlett led the line for Spurs. Crystal Palace got the game underway, and it was the away side who took an early lead. After latching onto a loose ball on the edge of the Spurs penalty area, Scott Banks hit an unstoppable effort into the top left hand corner of the Spurs goal, 0-1. Malachi Fagan-Walcott blocked Jesurun Rak-Sakyi’s effort inside the Spurs box, not long after. Max Robson narrowly missed making contact with Dane Scarlett’s cross inside the Crystal Palace box, before Spurs midfielder Matthew Craig received a yellow card after conceding a free-kick on the edge of the Spurs box.

Scott Banks stepped up to take the resulting free-kick, and his curling effort went into the Spurs goal, after hitting the post, 0-2. Spurs responded well though, and after Dane Scarlett found the run of Alfie Devine with a nice pass. Devine continued with the ball down the right side of the Crystal Palace penalty area, before hitting a low effort towards the goal, which went in off the left hand post, 1-2. Scott Banks headed wide from Jesurun Rak-Sakyi’s cross, before Matthew Craig had an effort saved from distance. Jack Wells Morrison saw his volleyed effort on goal, take a deflection off of John-Kymani Gordon and go wide, and then a promising ball over the top of the Crystal Palace defence from Dermi Lusala, resulted in Dane Scarlett trying to get to the ball. Scarlett managed to get onto the ball but his looping effort was headed away by Crystal Palace goalkeeper Joe Whitworth. After receiving the ball out on the right flank from Dermi Lusala, J’Neil Bennett cut inside onto his left foot and hit Joe Whitworth’s left hand post. From a cross on the right flank, John-Kymani Gordon tested Oluwayemi, with a good headed effort on goal. However, the Spurs goalkeeper tipped the ball over his crossbar.

A cross from Marcel Lavinier was volleyed back into the Crystal Palace box by Dermi Lusala, but Max Robson, who met the ball, had his headed effort on goal saved by Whitworth. Nya Kirby then headed wide Omotayo Adaramola’s cross wide of the Spurs goal, in what turned out to be the final chance of the first half. Spurs got the second half underway. J’Neil Bennett hit an effort over from the edge of the Crystal Palace box, before Scott Banks hit an effort narrowly wide at the other end of the pitch. Crystal Palace regained their two goal lead not long after, as former Spurs Academy player Nya Kirby received the ball inside the Spurs box. Kirby hit a powerful effort towards Oluwayemi’s goal, and although the Spurs goalkeeper managed to get a hand on the ball, he was unable to keep it out of the goal, 1-3. Spurs tried to respond again, as Dermi Lusala’s cross was brought down inside the Crystal Palace box by Dane Scarlett. However, Max Robson managed to find the ball, but his effort went over the Crystal Palace goal. Malachi Fagan-Walcott blocked behind an effort from Nya Kirby, before Marqes Muir headed clear an effort from Daniel Quick. 

Dermi Lusala received a yellow card after conceding a free-kick on the edge of the Spurs box. Scott Banks stepped up to curl his resulting effort onto Joshua Oluwayemi’s crossbar. However, the ball then came to Jesurun Rak-Sakyi, who finished from close range. Spurs made a double substitution, as Jaden Williams and Rio Kyerematen came on to replace Max Robson and Dane Scarlett, respectively. There wasn’t much more to report on during the remainder of the game, but a red card was shown to Spurs defender Malachi Fagan-Walcott, late on in the match, for an off the ball incident. Spurs’ next Premier League 2 game is away to Chelsea, on the 18th of February.

Player reviews:

  • Joshua Oluwayemi: The Spurs goalkeeper made a good save to stop John-Kymani Gordon from scoring a first half goal. However, Oluwayemi was clearly frustrated that he was unable to stop Crystal Palace’s third goal of the game, after managing to get a hand on the ball, from Nya Kirby’s effort.
  • Dermi Lusala: The right-back had a lot of work to do to defend down the right side of the pitch, today. Lusala did get forward well though, to help out J’Neil Bennett.
  • Marqes Muir: The right sided centre-half teamed up with Malachi Fagan-Walcott in central-defence. Muir had a lot of defending to do, and although this was only his second consecutive start for the first time in a while, I thought that overall he did a good job defensively speaking. He also showed good quality on the ball.
  • Malachi Fagan-Walcott: The Spurs captain and left sided centre-half for the game, like Marqes Muir, had a lot of defending to do today against the talented Crystal Palace forwards. Fagan-Walcott will however, miss the next three Spurs Under 23 matches, after being shown a late red card.
  • Marcel Lavinier: The left-back was particularly good going forward today, and he was often making good forward runs off the ball.
  • Matthew Craig: One of Spurs’ most impressive performers on Monday, midfielder Matthew Craig had a strong game alongside Max Robson, in my opinion. He used the ball well, and worked hard for the team.
  • Max Robson: This was midfielder Max Robson’s first start in a competitive game of football for a very long time. And the player who was playing in central-midfield today, did well in my opinion. Robson made some good runs off the ball, and wasn’t that far away from managing to score a goal. He pressed the Crystal Palace players really well, and his off the ball work didn’t go unnoticed.
  • J’Neil Bennett: Playing out on the right flank as a winger, J’Neil Bennett didn’t see lots of the ball. However, he did manage to hit the post during the first half, with a good effort.
  • Alfie Devine: My man of the match, see below.
  • Yago Santiago: Playing as a left-winger, again today, Yago Santiago did go on some good forward runs with the ball as the game went on.
  • Dane Scarlett: The Spurs centre-forward had a good first half. He made some good runs off the Crystal Palace defenders, set-up Alfie Devine’s goal with a good pass, and he worked hard throughout the game.
  • Rio Kyerematen: Making his competitive debut for the Spurs Under 23 side as a second half substitute, midfielder Rio Kyerematen played in central-midfield.
  • Jaden Williams: Replacing Dane Scarlett at centre-forward, first year scholar Jaden Williams worked hard after being introduced during the second half. He has been playing well for the Spurs Under 18 side so far this season.

My man of the match: Alfie Devine. The second year scholar impressed with his vision with the ball, off the ball running and all round play. Devine played as a CAM, and he scored a really well taken goal during the first half. The former Wigan Athletic player did show his quality throughout the game, and he was always available to receive the ball, as he tried to be inventive with it.

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