Spurs U21s 0-2 Norwich U21s
Report from the Training Centre
16 March 2015|Tottenham Hotspur
Close-range efforts from Kyle McFadden and Michee Efete saw Norwich City hand our Under-21s their first defeat of the calendar year on Monday afternoon.
Both goals came after we failed to deal with corner kicks in what was a physical match-up in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League.
We fielded a much-changed side to that which earned a 1-1 draw at Manchester United last time out, with full-backs DeAndre Yedlin and Connor Ogilvie flanking the unfamiliar centre-half pairing of Alex McQueen and Filip Lesniak.
There was also a return to Under-21 action for Cristian Ceballos, with Daniel Akindayini returning to the starting line-up as the central striker.
Norwich took the lead after only six minutes at the Training Centre when Ray Grant’s corner was knocked down in the area and skipper Kyle McFadden slid the ball home from close range.
An injury to Aaron McEneff caused a delay and subsequent reshuffle of personnel, Chris Paul coming on as the first of three Under-18s players to make his debut at the higher level.
Norwich’s Reece Hall-Johnson also needed medical treatment, stretching the first half out even longer, with neither side really able to get a foothold in the contest.
A free-kick from Grant forced Paul to head behind at the expense of a corner on 25 minutes, while Will Miller burst in from the left-flank and saw his deflected shot palmed away by visiting goalkeeper Remi Matthews.
The latter’s opposite number, Luke McGee, then got low to tip a fierce effort from Conor McGrandles beyond the far post as the Norwich man pulled the trigger from a tight angle on the left.
Paul motored down the left wing on 43 minutes and sent in a low cross which found its way to Yedlin, whose subsequent drive from 22 yards out hit Akindayini amid a crowded area. The latter was in an off-side position, though, and the assistant referee’s flag prevented us from capitalising.
Ceballos stung the palms of Matthews with a rising shot from the right side of the box deep into first half stoppage time, while Kenny McEvoy’s deflected effort looped towards the top corner three minutes after the break – only for Matthews to get across his goal and gather.
We nearly found a breakthrough on 51 minutes when Yedlin’s centre was headed out by Hall-Johnson as far as Lesniak, who prodded the ball back into the danger zone. Norwich repelled it once more, with Paul then striking a crisp half-volley from 22 yards that forced a smart stop from Matthews.
Five minutes later, Ogilvie climbed above his marker to get on the end of a Ceballos corner – but his effort was straight at the keeper.
The visitors squandered a golden chance to extend their lead on 57 minutes when Louis Ramsay played Sam Kelly through on goal to the left of centre, but the Norwich man could only fire wide with only McGee to beat.
A second goal did finally arrive for the Canaries with 12 minutes remaining as another Grant corner was headed back across goal by Ryan Bennett and – with McGee deceived by the flight of the ball – Efete prodded in from three yards.
The introduction of more Under-18s players either side of the goal, Armani Daly and Ryan Loft replacing Yedlin and Ceballos respectively, didn’t lead to any further chances being created, with Cameron Norman’s effort in the fourth minute of stoppage time – blocked by McGee at his near post – the closest either side went to adding to the scoreline in the closing stages.
Ugo Ehiogu said
“Everyone says goals make a difference, and they do,” said Ugo. “The disappointment was that we spoke about the small details, spoke about the other side of the game and we take for granted central defenders who can head the ball from a goal-kick or a corner and we didn’t have anyone dominant in that respect.
“It just shows that if a Norwich player wins that first header, it leads to all sorts of problems and that’s what happened when they had set-pieces.
“There were positives for us as well. I thought Chris Paul did well after his early introduction and our thoughts go out to Aaron, we hope he’s well and it’s not too serious, Armani Daly also did well when he came on and Will Miller did okay.
“It was the first time we didn’t show that real intensity. After playing United at Old Trafford we had to make sure we were right on it and we weren’t today. I take a bit of the blame for that as well.”
Spurs U21s: McGee, Yedlin (Daly 73), Ogilvie, McEneff (Paul 14), Lesniak, McQueen, Ceballos (Loft 80), Winks, Akindayini, Miller, McEvoy. Substitute (not used): Miles (GK).
Norwich City U21s: Matthews, Hall-Johnson, Efete, McGrandles, McFadden, Bennett, Norman, Grant, Morris (Couzens 75), Ramsay (Black 82), Kelly. Substitutes (not used): Boateng, Killip (GK).