Spurs 1-1 United (PL2)
Report from Hotspur Way
28 October 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
Shayon Harrison was on target – and could have scored more – as our young side ended their recent run of defeats in the Premier League 2 with a hard-fought point against Manchester United at Hotspur Way on Friday afternoon (October 28).
We fell behind 20 minutes in when United split us open with a cross-field ball and Joe Riley converted, but we made our control of the game count with a fine reaction and finish from striker Harrison 11 minutes later.
With Charlie Owens marshalling the back line with real desire, we gave ourselves a platform to push on in the second period and it was all Spurs after the break.
Kyle Walker-Peters and Harrison – twice – had chances to win it but United were able to close ranks and it finished 1-1, yielding our first point in six games in this competition.
Goal: Spurs 0-1 Manchester United - Joe Riley - 20mins
We imposed ourselves on the game from the outset with some crisp passing and good movement but although Walker-Peters – usually a full-back but this time playing in a wide attacking position as he did in the England youth set-up earlier this year – saw his shot deflected over following good work from Anthony Georgiou, it was United who took a 20th-minute lead when Riley latched onto a cross-field ball in the left-channel, stepped inside as Owens slid in and slotted beyond Tom Glover, who was back in goal after an extended international stint with Australia Under-19s.
Goal: Spurs 1-1 Manchester United - Shayon Harrison - 31mins
The equaliser just after the half-hour mark was no more than our good play deserved. Georgiou, who had switched flanks, sent in a low centre from the right that the lively Cy Goddard met on the half-volley 20 yards out. His effort was well blocked but Harrison, fresh from his senior debut at Liverpool in Tuesday's EFL Cup tie, reacted quickest to steer a good shot into the far corner.
Challenge: Owens there to thwart Willock - 42mins
Owens seemed to be acclimatising well to the new centre-half role that he's performed in recent weeks and after making a brave block from Matthew Willock's close-range shot, he was there again three minutes before the break with a brilliant sliding tackle from behind to win the ball at Willock’s feet as he surged through in the right channel.
Chances: Walker-Peters and Harrison close - 69mins
We had two great opportunities within 60 seconds of each other midway through the second half as first Walker-Peters saw his angled shot from the right saved by Dean Henderson on 68 minutes and then, in our next attack, Harrison (pictured, above) met Georgiou's low cross from the left but saw his effort blocked by Regan Poole four yards out.
Chance: Harrison unable to grab second goal - 86mins
We were in total control as the game entered its latter throes and, shortly after Owens had made another crucial close-range block to deny Willock in United's clearest opening of the second half, we had a chance to win it four minutes from the end. Substitute Shilow Tracey crossed from the right, Harrison threw himself at it but couldn't get enough on the ball with his outstretched leg and it flew wide of the far post.
Coach Ugo Ehiogu said
“It was important to stop the rot and it’s great credit to the boys, especially after going a goal down when we dominated the first half. With the areas we got into in between their lines, we just needed to be a bit more decisive in our final ball but we’ve created chances, we’ve produced crosses and they’re defending for their lives at times. There was a real resilience and arrogance to our play which was really pleasing. We now need to work on the final pass, the details and be a bit more clinical but we thoroughly deserved at least a point today.
“With Charlie Owens playing at centre-half, sometimes it’s a necessity. He’s suffered a little bit from a lack of confidence, we’ve tried to help him through that, he’s taken a lot on board and he’s gained belief. He’s had some hard times but he’s now played three lots of 90 minutes where he’s arguably been one of our best players. He’s got two great feet with long- and mid-range passing but just couldn’t produce it so sometimes coming down a line into defence can help because he can see things on the pitch.
“The back four got stretched in the Leicester game on Monday but all the boys gave everything they’ve got and I thought they deserved to go again today, then we’ve got the luxury of playing Kyle Walker-Peters, who has got the technical ability to play pretty much anywhere on the pitch, further ahead. At times he glides past defenders, he’s not fazed and he’s a top technician when he puts his mind to it.
“It’s pleasing for the boys – Anthony Georgiou as well. We feared the worst when he came off against Leicester but he’s shown a relentless effort to be fit for the game today so he deserves credit. We’re happy with the performance and the boys can be as well.”
Spurs: Glover, Muscatt (Tracey 83), Stylianides (Bennetts 87), Amos (c), Owens, Maghoma, Walker-Peters, Walkes, Harrison, Goddard (Pritchard 68), Georgiou. Substitute (not used): Austin (GK).
Manchester United: Henderson, Williams, Tuanzebe (c), Poole, Riley, Goss (Kehinde 77), Olosunde (Warren 82), Redmond, Willock, Harrop (Mitchell 58), El Fitouri. Substitutes (not used): Scott, O'Hara (GK).
Goals: Spurs - Harrison 31; Manchester United - Riley 20.
Yellow cards: Spurs - Muscatt 45+1, Georgiou 68, Pritchard 79; Manchester United - Harrop 17, Williams 50, Tuanzebe 88.
Referee: Alan Young.
After two games in five days in the Premier League 2, we’ll now have to wait until mid-November to build on this solid outing. It’s a game to look forward to though as Arsenal, newly-promoted to this level, will be our visitors on Friday, November 18. In the intervening time, a handful of players involved against United are eligible for our fourth outing in the UEFA Youth League at home to Bayer Leverkusen next Wednesday (November 2).