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#U21 #PL2 #Swansea #MatchReport

Swansea 2-2 Spurs (PL2) - report from Landore

Fri 16 February 2018, 21:39|Tottenham Hotspur

A first-half brace from Kazaiah Sterling saw our Under-23s recover from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Swansea City in the Premier League 2 on Friday night.

With both sides enjoying unbeaten runs in the division at opposite ends of the table, the hosts capitalised on a poor opening 20-minute spell in which we looked particularly vulnerable to take a 2-0 lead at Landore Training Centre.

Goalkeeper Brandon Austin was kept busy on his return to the starting XI with shots raining in, but was powerless to prevent Courtney Baker-Richardson and Jordon Garrick from finding the back of the net with two of City's numerous early opportunities.

However, Sterling popped up with a timely penalty just moments after Swansea's second goal and, as we started to impose ourselves on the game in the run-up to half-time, cracked a fine strike past goalkeeper Gregor Zabret in added time at the end of the first period to level things up.

The hope was that we'd continue on the front foot after the restart, but in reality neither side was able to grab the upper hand, George Byers going closest to finding a winner when he hit the post for Swansea, forcing us to settle for a second 2-2 draw in five days following the same outcome at West Ham on Monday night.

That result against the Hammers had seen us move out of the drop zone on goal difference and, with bottom two Manchester United and Sunderland both losing on Friday night, we edged a point away from the relegation trap door thanks to our fourth game unbeaten in the division and fifth in all competitions since January 25.

Key action

Goal: Swansea City 1-0 Spurs - Courtney Baker-Richardson - 2mins
Swansea's opener inside two minutes was a sign of things to come in the first half-an-hour of the game. Garrick advanced down the right before delivering into the centre, where Baker-Richardson made a run to the front post and fired high into the net. Goalkeeper Austin was facing shots from all angles, making a great double-save from Byers and Liam Cullen, keeping out Brandon Cooper's header from a corner and then diving low to his right to turn Garrick's curling left-footed shot around the post.

Goal: Swansea City 2-0 Spurs - Jordon Garrick - 19mins
Swansea finally capitalised on their pressure with a second goal on 19 minutes. A corner was flicked on amid a mass of bodies at the front post and Garrick was in the right place at the right time to bundle home from close range.

Goal: Swansea City 2-1 Spurs - Kazaiah Sterling (penalty) - 21mins
Had Swansea been able to sit on their two-goal lead for a while, we might have been in trouble but within two minutes of Garrick's goal we were thrown a lifeline. Shilow Tracey was upended in the box on the right by defender Matic Paljk and Sterling kept his cool to reduce the arrears from the penalty spot.

Above: Kazaiah Sterling celebrates after making it 2-2.

Goal: Swansea City 2-2 Spurs - Kazaiah Sterling - 45+1mins
In spite of their setback, the home side still looked on course to add to their side of the scoreline with Austin again saving from Cullen at his near post but, after Cullen and Byers went close in separate chances, we finally started to kick into gear as the interval approached. Keanan Bennetts planted a header over the bar from Anthony Georgiou's left-sided cross during a spell in the ascendancy before we fashioned an equaliser in first-half stoppage time, Tracey again zooming down the right and picking out Sterling in the middle, who took a touch on the edge of the box before powering a shot beyond Zabret.

Woodwork: Byers a whisker away from winning It for Swansea - 73mins
The second period was a much cagier affair with neither team really able to take the game by the scruff of the neck. Free-kicks were wasted at either end but, with 17 minutes left, Swansea almost stole in front once more when Garrick crossed from the right and Byers swept the ball across Austin, only to see it rebound back off the inside of the far post, with the keeper eventually pouncing to avert the danger. Baker-Richardson later arrowed a shot over the top with Austin unusually far off his line while Joe Pritchard's free-kick sailed off-target at the other end as the points were ultimately shared.

Coach Wayne Burnett said

“We didn’t start particularly well, we very quickly found ourselves two goals down but we came back with Shilow Tracey looking dangerous again and committing players. When you do that you’ve always got a chance of creating chances and he committed the left-back and was brought down for the penalty, which Kazaiah took calmly, and that gave us an opportunity to get back into the game. We were pleased about that and after going it at 2-2 at half-time, we said that we needed to be a little bit more aggressive with our play, be more on the front foot and I think we did that at times in the second half. It wasn’t a pretty game by any stretch of the imagination but it was a competitive game and we competed much better in the second half.

“In the first half we were under some pressure but causing our own problems and Brandon Austin pulled off some excellent saves and probably kept us in the game early on, but we showed some really good character coming back from 2-0 down, which is not an easy thing to do when you consider that Swansea have won six of their last seven games before tonight, so that’s very pleasing and it keeps our mini run going that we’re on at the moment.

“The goals are coming for Kazaiah from his work ethic. He’s working incredibly hard, not only in games but he’s also showing determination and commitment in training – which we expect – and he’s been rewarded on the pitch tonight, so hopefully long may that continue.”

Match data

Swansea City: Zabret, Lewis, Paljk (Davies 46), Evans, Harries (c), Cooper, Cullen, De Boer, Baker-Richardson, Byers, Garrick. Substitutes (not used): Lang, Darame, Lewis, Biabi.

Spurs: Austin, Pritchard, Brown, Oakley-Boothe (Lock 81), C Maghoma (c), Dinzeyi, Tracey, Roles, Sterling, Bennetts, Georgiou (Duncan 61). Substitutes (not used): O'Reilly, Clarke.

Goals: Swansea - Baker-Richardson 2, Garrick 19; Spurs - Sterling 21 (pen), 45+1mins.

Yellow cards: Swansea - Byers 57, Baker-Richardson 66, Evans 84, Garrick 89; Spurs - Tracey 89.

Referee: Samuel Allison.

Up Next

Some players from this group are eligible for next Wednesday's return to UEFA Youth League action. We host AS Monaco at Stevenage in a 12.45pm kick-off in the round of 16, looking to build on an excellent group stage campaign that saw us finish top of the pile, having seen off Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and APOEL. The next Premier League 2 outing for our Under-23s is on Friday 2 March at home to Derby County, kick-off 12pm at Hotspur Way.