City 2-2 Spurs (PL2)
Report from City Academy Stadium
13 January 2017|Tottenham Hotspur
Our development team hauled themselves back from 2-0 down to secure a deserved point against title-chasing Manchester City in the Premier League 2 at City's Academy Stadium on Friday night (January 14).
This report could well have been about how a 15-minute spell after half-time consigned us to defeat.
But it isn't. It's about how the team dragged themselves back into the game after that spell to rescue a 2-2 draw with two goals in the final quarter-of-an-hour and came within inches of grabbing victory in the final seconds.
By shrugging off City's best spell and coming back, Ugo Ehiogu's team stretched their run to one defeat in the last six.
It was the least they deserved after playing their part in an open, free-flowing game from start to finish.
We edged the first half as Shilow Tracey struck the post and was denied by City goalkeeper Angus Gunn. At the other end, Tom Glover kept out Paolo Fernandes - both goalkeepers impressed.
The game turned in City's favour after the break. Jadon Sancho struck inside two minutes of the restart and that seemed to rock the players back on their heels. City dominated for 20 minutes and added a second goal via Fernandes' rocket into the top corner on 58 minutes.
But we clawed our way back into the game. Gunn denied lively substitute Zenon Stylianides but could do nothing to prevent Nathan Oduwa tucking home at the far post for 2-1 on 76 minutes.
Gunn then produced a double save to keep out Stylianides and Shayon Harrison and you felt an equaliser was on. It was and this time Oduwa turned provider for Tracey to tuck home.
We had the best chance to win it in injury time when Kyle Walker-Peters' cross went between Tracey and Oduwa in front of goal. That would have been the icing on the cake.
Open from the start - 0-25mins
Both teams were intent on playing attractive, attacking football from the first whistle. There were half-chances at both ends with Oduwa firing into the side-netting and Isaac Buckley-Ricketts bursting onto Fernandes' pass but he didn't take the ball in his stride and eventually curled a yard wide.
Saves at both ends - 28-35mins
Fernandes looked lively across City's forward line and forced a fine save from Glover on 28 minutes, working an angle from the left and striking at goal, Glover showed fine reactions to turn away. At the other end, Charlie Owens played in Walker-Peters, who picked out Tracey and his shot was heading for the bottom corner before Gunn got down to it.
Woodwork: Tracey so close - 36mins
The best chance of the first half fell to Tracey as Harrison delivered a perfect ball across the six-yard line, Tracey got there first but watched his angled side-foot hit the inside of the post.
Goal: City 1-0 Spurs - Jadon Sancho - 47mins
The second half was barely two minutes old when Buckley-Ricketts sped through the middle and into the box before letting fly from 16 yards, Glover did well to keep the shot out but Sancho was first to the loose ball and rammed home into the roof of the net from close range.
Goal: City 2-0 Spurs - Paolo Fernandes - 58mins
City enjoyed a purple patch after the opener, a goal that hit us hard. Chances came and went for Buckley-Ricketts and Sancho and Glover did well to turn away Fernandes' fierce strike. He could do little about the second goal moments later though as City took a corner quickly and Fernandes cut in from the right and rifled his shot into the top corner.
Goal: City 1-2 Spurs - Nathan Oduwa - 76mins
We started to work our way back into the game. Harrison was inches away from connecting with Walker-Peters' cross, substitute Stylianides turned superbly but was denied one-on-one by Gunn but the goal soon followed as Tracey crossed to the far post and Oduwa, completely free, converted clinically.
Goal: City 2-2 Spurs - Shilow Tracey - 86mins
The belief was back and just minutes after being thwarted by a double save from Gunn to deny Harrison one-on-one and then Stylianides on the follow-up, we found an equaliser. Oduwa turned provider this time, dancing away from Cameron Humphreys before crossing for Tracey to bundle home from close range. Both teams were determined to the find the winner and we came closest when Walker-Peters' cross somehow went between Oduwa and Tracey in the six-yard box in the latter throes.
Below: Shilow Tracey in action against City
Coach Ugo Ehiogu said
"We were up against a very good City team tactically, technically with power and pace all over the pitch and we had to be at our best. It's always a challenging game against a team that tries to exploit spaces so we had to be right, and in the main, we were.
"The disappointment from the first half is that we had very good chances and didn't kill them off. We've worked on that and it's shame we didn't finish off some lovely football, lovely movement. We had some glorious opportunities late on as well.
"We made a mistake (for City's opening goal) and we let it affect us for 15, 20 minutes and in that spell, the game could have been lost. At 2-0 down, we felt sorry for ourselves. To be fair, the substitutes gave us some impetus to get back into it.
"The positive thing is that the team stayed positive. We had the best chances, we were on top yet it felt like we'd been punched in the stomach - we were 2-0 down after having such good play and chances against a very good team away from home.
"We have to work on aspects of our game but there were very good signs again, the positives that we deserved something from this game, the disappointment that we had the best chances but we weren't ruthless enough."
Manchester City: Gunn, Oliver, Humphreys (c), Adarabioyo, Francis, Diallo, Duhaney, Boadu (Kongolo 67), Buckley-Ricketts (Diaz 78), Fernandes, Sancho (Nmecha 61). Substitutes (not used): Patching, Haug (GK).
Spurs: Glover, Walker-Peters, Ogilvie, Amos (c), Maghoma, Walkes, Pritchard (Stylianides 65), Owens (Muscatt 65), Harrison, Tracey, Oduwa. Substitutes (not used): Goddard, McDermott (GK).
Goals: Manchester City - Sancho 47, Fernandes 58; Spurs - Oduwa 76, Tracey 86.
Yellow cards: Spurs - Walker-Peters 90+4.
Referee: Martin Coy.
The team is back in action in the Premier League 2 against Southampton at Stevenage on Monday, January 30 (7pm).