Spurs’ Under 23 side faced Leicester City in a Premier League 2 fixture on Friday evening, at the Lamex Stadium. Spurs won the game 3-1, after starting the match really well, and going into the half-time break 3-0 up. Spurs lined-up with Thimothée Lo-Tutala in goal, while a back four consisting of Maksim Paskotši, Malachi Fagan-Walcott, Tobi Omole and Marcel Lavinier lined-up in front of him. Captain Jamie Bowden and Matthew Craig started in central midfield, and Kallum Cesay and Yago Santiago started out on the flanks, either side of CAM Alfie Devine, while first year scholar Jamie Donley led the line for Spurs. Spurs got the game underway, and early on in the game Leicester City player Tawanda Maswanhise had an effort blocked inside the Spurs penalty area by Maksim Paskotši. A couple of minutes later at the other end of the pitch, Jamie Bowden had an effort from distance saved by Leicester goalkeeper Brad Young. Jamie Donley then had an effort on goal saved by Brad Young, before Yago Santiago headed an effort wide, after meeting Marcel Lavinier’s cross from the left flank.
Spurs were playing very well, and in the 23rd minute of the match they deservedly took the lead. After controlling Marcel Lavinier’s header well and showing good skill on the ball, Yago Santiago brought the ball forward at pace down the left side of the Leicester box, before finishing low, inside the bottom right hand corner of the goal, 1-0. Less than ten minutes later Spurs doubled their lead, through Alfie Devine. Devine gave the ball to Jamie Donley, who then played the ball through to him inside the Leicester penalty area. Through on goal the England Under 19 international never looked likely to miss, and he confidently finished past Brad Young, 2-0. Spurs wanted to extend their lead before half-time, and after the impressive Jamie Bowden passed the ball out to Alfie Devine on the right flank, Devine brought the ball forward before sending a low cross into the Leicester box. He was almost able to pick out Jamie Donley, but he couldn’t reach the ball, and it deflected past Brad Young off of Leicester player Lewis Brunt, 3-0. This was the final chance of the first half, for either side.
Leicester got the second half underway and early on in the half Thanawat Suengchitthawon hit a free-kick from distance towards the Spurs goal, but Thimothée Lo-Tutala was able to gather his effort. Lestyn Hughes then had a low effort saved by Lo-Tutala, before the Spurs goalkeeper made another save to stop the same Leicester player a couple of moments later. Lestyn Hughes curled an effort over from the left side of the pitch, before Will Russ hit an effort wide on the turn. Spurs then went on a good forward run, as Alfie Devine showed great pace to go past a Leicester defender and enter the Leicester box, before attempting to square the ball for Jamie Donley in the centre of the penalty area, but his pass was put behind by a Leicester player. A couple of minutes later Jamie Bowden took a free-kick early and managed to pick out Jamie Donley inside the Leicester box, but Donley’s resulting effort was blocked by a defender.
After going on a surging forward run with the ball past Malachi Fagan-Walcott and into the Spurs box, Will Russ tried to score past Lo-Tutala with a lofted effort, but it went wide of the Spurs goal. Dermi Lusala came on to replace Maksim Paskotši at right-back, before Tobi Omole received a yellow card. Ethan Fitzhugh hit a free-kick wide for Leicester, from the right side of the pitch, and then captain Jamie Bowden handed the captains armband to Tobi Omole, as he left the field to be replaced by Romaine Mundle. After latching onto Khanya Leshabela’s through-ball pass, Ethan Fitzhugh was through on goal inside the Spurs penalty area, and the midfielder finished past Lo-Tutala, 3-1. The referee sounded his whistle for full-time moments later, as Spurs won their first game of the year at this level. Their next Premier League 2 game is not until the fourth of April, when they travel to East London to face West Ham United.
- Thimothée Lo-Tutala: The Spurs goalkeeper and France Under 19 international made some fairly comfortable saves during the match, but he was very vocal throughout. And he was constantly organising the Spurs defence.
- Maksim Paskotši: Starting the match at right-back and completing 77 minutes of the game, Estonia international Maksim Paskotši had a solid game in defence. The 19 year old made an excellent long run at pace to get back to make a really good and important challenge on a Leicester player to win the ball, not long before he was substituted.
- Malachi Fagan-Walcott: Starting the match on the right hand side of central-defence, Malachi Fagan-Walcott defended well alongside Tobi Omole, although they weren’t really tested too much by the Leicester forwards.
- Tobi Omole: Like Malachi, Tobi Omole hardly made a mistake during the match and he defended well.
- Marcel Lavinier: This was an impressive performance from the 21 year old at left-back, as he went on some very good forward runs at pace with the ball, got an assist for the opening goal of the game and defended well down his side of the pitch.
- Jamie Bowden: The Spurs captain had a really good game in my opinion, on his first competitive start for the Spurs Under 23 side of the season. Bowden showed some really good skill and composure on the ball in midfield, as he helped Spurs to be the better team in midfield, also making some good forward passes. The 20 year old completed 83 minutes of the game.
- Matthew Craig: Starting the match alongside Jamie Bowden in central midfield, Matthew Craig covered a lot of ground and did well alongside Bowden. He completed the whole of the match.
- Kallum Cesay: The full-back actually completed Fridays game as a winger on the right flank. Cesay did however, do some good defensive work.
- Alfie Devine: My man of the match, see below.
- Yago Santiago: Taking his and Spurs’ opening goal of the game really well, and also going on some nice runs forward with the ball down the left flank and also linking up well with left-back Marcel Lavinier, Santiago had a fine game for Spurs.
- Jamie Donley: On only his second ever competitive appearance for the Spurs Under 23 side, the forward and first year scholar didn’t look out of place at this level, and he led the line well and got an assist for Alfie Devine’s goal.
- Dermi Lusala: The full-back replaced Makism Paskotši at right-back for the final part of the game.
- Romaine Mundle: The winger replaced midfielder Jamie Bowden in the 83rd minute of the game.
My man of the match: Alfie Devine. The Spurs CAM for the match scored a goal and got an assist, to take his total goal involvements at Under 23 level for Spurs this season to 13 (nine goals and four assists). Devine would often drop deep to try and get on the ball and influence the game, and the second year scholar showed some really good pace and energy both with and without the ball. He took his goal well during the first half, and it was his cross that resulted in the third goal of the game. The England Under 19 international worked really well both on and off the ball, and he is definitely one of the most clinical finishers in the Premier League 2.