Spurs 0-5 City (PL2)
Report from Stevenage
02 May 2018|Tottenham Hotspur
The Premier League 2 season ended with a first defeat since January for our Under-23s as Manchester City ran out 5-0 winners at Stevenage on Wednesday night.
With survival already secured thanks to last month's excellent win at Chelsea, victory would have seen us leapfrog City into eighth in the final reckoning.
But the visitors laid the foundations for the win with a resolute first-half performance with goals from Lukas Nmecha and Brahim Diaz – two players who've earned Premier League debuts for Pep Guardiola's title-winners this term – putting them in command.
City wouldn't allow us a sniff at goal until the end of the first half but after Luke Bolton added a third seven minutes after the break, it was hard to see a way back.
The visitors were constantly looking to exploit our high defensive line as the game went on but some good last-ditch defending from centre-backs Japhet Tanganga and Jon Dinzeyi and some smart stops from goalkeeper Alfie Whiteman kept them at bay until the last few minutes when Nmecha added his second and Phil Foden completed the scoring.
Young Dilan Markanday, a first year Under-18s midfielder, looked lively after coming off the bench for us while fellow Under-18s player Tariq Hinds was given a 90-minute stint at full-back, but the final result yielded a disappointing end to an excellent second half of the campaign for Wayne Burnett's side, who finish ninth having been rooted to the bottom of the table less than four months ago.
Goal: Spurs 0-1 Manchester City - Lukas Nmecha - 19mins
City pressed us into our own half for much of the opening spell while their defenders always managed to get a foot in to cut out the final ball on any attacks we did manage to piece together. Ian Poveda and Luke Bolton went close with shots from either side of the goal before the visitors found a 19th-minute breakthrough, Nmecha played through on the left side of the area and his low drive deflecting off sliding defender Tanganga to wrong-foot goalkeeper Whiteman and fly in at the near post. Just over a minute later, Whiteman kept out Brahim Diaz's drive from inside the box with a good stop.
Goal: Spurs 0-2 Manchester City - Brahim Diaz - 30mins
We started to find more opportunities to get forward after the opener but City hit us on the counter to double their lead on the half-hour mark. Bolton delivered low from the right flank and Diaz got a slight touch at the near post to send the ball across goal and into the far bottom corner.
Saves: City Keeper Muric With Two Good Stops - 43-45+2mins
Anthony Georgiou threatened down the left flank as half-time approached and we finally tested towering City goalkeeper Aro Muric in the 43rd minute when he spilled the winger's cross and Oliver Skipp fired at goal on his left foot, only to see his effort saved. Then, in first-half added time, Samuel Shashoua's free-kick from just outside the box seemed bound for the top corner until Muric got across to his right to tip over.
Above: Samuel Shashoua in action.
Goal: Spurs 0-3 Manchester City - Luke Bolton - 52mins
Georgiou's low drive was deflected just wide as we burst out of the traps after the break but City bagged a third goal on 52 minutes when Diaz sent Bolton surging forward down the right channel and he hammered low inside the near post.
Woodwork: Nmecha Hits the Bar - 53mins
City stayed on the front foot after the goal and were inches away from adding a fourth within 30 seconds as Diaz cut back across goal for Nmecha, but his fierce strike hit the underside of the bar and Whiteman was eventually able to gather.
Saves: Whiteman Kept Busy - 70-82mins
Whiteman produced a string of important stops as the half wore on, repelling Nmecha's shot with his foot, then making two saves in a minute when he guided the same player’s low shot onto the post and then deflected Foden's drive away for a corner. Matt Smith tried a long-range strike on 82 minutes but again Whiteman was equal to it with a good save down to his right.
Goal: Spurs 0-4 Manchester City - Lukas Nmecha - 88mins
City finally found a fourth goal with two minutes left as again they looked to exploit the high line. This time it was Nmecha who went charging forward, Whiteman came out of his area to try to meet the ball but the striker beat him to it, carried it around him and rolled into the empty net.
Goal: Spurs 0-5 Manchester City - Phil Foden - 90+1mins
The final blow arrived in stoppage time when Nmecha played the ball forward to Foden, whose powerful rising shot from the left angle beat Whiteman, despite the keeper getting a touch on it.
Spurs: Whiteman, Eyoma, Hinds, Marsh, Dinzeyi (Brown 83), Tanganga (c), Tracey, Skipp, Sterling, S Shashoua (Markanday 65), Georgiou (Bennetts 66). Substitutes (not used): Austin, Duncan.
Manchester City: Muric, Humphreys (Dele-Bashiru 46), Adarabioyo, Latibeaudiere, Francis, Smith, Poveda (Garre 46), Diaz, Nmecha (c), Foden, Bolton (Gonzalez 83). Substitutes (not used): Scott, Kigbu.
Goals: City - Nmecha 19, 88, Diaz 30, Bolton 52, Foden 90+1.
Referee: David Rock.
The domestic fixtures may be at an end, but there are two big end-of-season tournament campaigns for our players to prepare for later this month. Combined with some of the members of our Under-18s squad, the lads will head back to Stemwede, Germany, between 9 and 13 May before revisiting the annual Terborg tournament in the Netherlands between 24 and 27 May.