Spurs U21s 4-1 Everton U21s
Report from Hotspur Way
10 August 2015|Tottenham Hotspur
Alex Pritchard marked his return to action with a sparkling brace in our Under-21s’ opening game of the season against Everton on Monday lunchtime.
Pritchard ran the show in the 45 minutes that he played, buzzing around all over the pitch and helping some of our younger players cause a host of problems for the Toffees. His first half brace was added to by goals from Nathan Oduwa and Shaq Coulthirst as we ran out comfortable 4-1 winners.
The attacking midfielder lined up with goalkeeper Hugo Lloris alongside our youngsters for the Barclays Under-21 Premier League curtain-raiser in a bid to gain match fitness, the pair having sustained respective ankle and wrist injuries over the summer months.
Skipper Cameron Carter-Vickers came forward from the back to get on the end of an early Pritchard free-kick but saw his header loop over the top, while Coulthirst forced Everton goalkeeper Mateusz Hewelt into a low save with a dangerous shot on the turn inside three minutes.
Quick distribution by Lloris, who completed the full 90 minutes, led to a swift attack down the right a few minutes later, the keeper answering an early call from Kyle Walker-Peters by picking out the full-back, who in turn sent Ismail Azzaoui racing down the flank. Unfortunately, though, with both Oduwa and Coulthirst lurking in the box, the young Belgian couldn’t force the ball across and Everton cleared their lines.
The visitors had their first chance four minutes later when Sam Byrne burst through the middle, but Lloris was out quickly to gather at the striker’s feet just inside the box.
Pritchard saw an 18th-minute free-kick clawed away by Hewelt as it arrowed towards the top corner, but there was no stopping the midfielder’s second set piece 60 seconds later, the England Under-21 international curling home from a central position 20 yards out after Oduwa was brought down.
Seven minutes later the same player doubled our advantage when a sublime back-heel from Coulthirst set him free on the right side of the box, with Pritchard ruthlessly firing across the keeper and into the far corner.
Hewelt made a low stop to deny Pritchard his hat-trick, but as the half went on the visitors started to carve out a couple of chances for themselves. Gethin Jones embarked on a purposeful run down Everton’s right and turned inside left-back Connor Ogilvie but fired wastefully wide of the far post, while Walker-Peters just did enough to put Tom Davies off his shot in front of goal following a cross from the right by Jones two minutes later.
Our lead was halved on 43 minutes when Conor Grant launched the ball up field following our own failed attack, with Byrne running through the middle and slotting past the advancing Lloris.
We hit straight back, though, as Oduwa swept home following a swift attack down the right within 60 seconds to restore our two-goal cushion.
The second period was quieter in terms of clear chances, with the half mainly characterised by Coulthirst’s efforts to get on the scoresheet, while Everton struggled to get on the ball as our players did a good job of managing the game.
Ogilvie went on a marauding run down the left but his eventual shot was blocked by Toffees skipper Matthew Pennington, while the complexion of our wide endeavours was changed when Oduwa and Azzaoui were replaced by Emmanuel Sonupe and Kenny McEvoy shortly after the hour mark.
Sonupe’s deflected shot sailed wide while the hard-working Coulthirst curled off target with his left foot with 20 minutes remaining. McEvoy then arrowed the ball into the danger area from the right looking for Sonupe, but Pennington was there again to hack clear.
Coulthirst worked himself into a shooting position again on 86 minutes but scooped over the top from 20 yards, but his persistence finally paid off just seconds later when Shayon Harrison won possession and fed the ball through Everton’s back line for the striker, who turned inside the box on the left and lashed the ball inside the far post.
Coulthirst tried one more shot with two minutes remaining but, with Hewelt diving low to his right, it zipped just the wrong side of the upright.
Ugo Ehiogu said
“It’s good to see hard work, intent and application applied to talent and that always gives you a chance to win any football match,” said Ugo.
“Alex Pritchard was excellent and Hugo brings a calmness and reassurance when he plays, it’s wonderful when the lads can play in front of him.”
“We dominated the first half for long periods and the break can often upset your rhythm,” added Ugo. “Pritch played 45 minutes so we had to reshuffle after that.
“It’s the first game after pre-season so the players are still looking for sharpness and will still be rusty but there are lots of plusses to take from that game.”
Spurs U21s: Lloris, Walker-Peters, Ogilvie, Lesniak, Ball, Carter-Vickers, Azzaoui (McEvoy 64), Harrison, Coulthirst, Pritchard (Amos 46), Oduwa (Sonupe 64). Substitutes (not used): Maghoma, Voss (GK).
Everton U21s: Hewelt, Jones, Robinson, Walsh, Pennington, Connolly, Williams, Davies (Donohue 64), Byrne, Evans (Charlesley 81), Grant. Substitutes (not used): Ledson, Yates, Stanek (GK).