Spurs 7-4 Leicester U21s
Report from Hotspur Way
Mon 21 September 2015, 15:03|Tottenham Hotspur
A crazy spell of eight goals in 33 second half minutes saw our Under-21s twice surrender a two-goal lead against Leicester City before motoring on to win the game 7-4 this afternoon (Monday, September 21).
The first period gave little indication of what was to come as we met the Foxes at our Training Centre in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League.
Young striker Kazaiah Sterling scored on his competitive Under-21s debut with 37 minutes on the watch to initially turn what had, until that point, been a game of few opportunities in our favour.
Cameron Carter-Vickers quickly bundled home a second but, after Harry Panayiotou halved our lead just before the interval, it was a very different story after the restart as the rain came down and the goals followed suit.
We began with Under-18s striker Sterling leading the line with Shayon Harrison supporting him in the number 10 role, while England youth international goalkeeper Alfie Whiteman was also drafted in from the Under-18s to play in goal in the absence of Tom Glover and Harry Voss.
A burst forward from Anthony Georgiou nearly led to a breakthrough in the 13th minute but Foxes goalkeeper John Maddison was out quickly to deny him with Harrison curling off target from the rebound.
Right-back Kyle Walker-Peters had his hands full with Leicester’s left-sided attacking midfielder Brandon Fox in the opening stages, but he did well to contain him to the point where the visitors changed tack and switched their wide men over.
Anton Walkes, given a start in central midfield after he scored off the bench in last week’s defeat to Reading, picked out Kenny McEvoy racing towards the byline on the right on 24 minutes, with the wide man’s dangerous low cross being forced behind by Joe Davis at the expense of a corner as we sought an opening.
Seven minutes later, Jack Barmby skipped his way into our 18-yard box from the right after a quick throw-in but Christian Maghoma got himself in the way to block his angled shot.
Sterling and Harrison then broke away and found themselves two-on-two with Leicester’s defence, but the latter held onto possession for too long and when Sterling eventually got the ball he ran into retreating bodies in the Foxes’ area.
A low drive from Walker-Peters forced Elliott Moore to clear off the line as we continued to probe before we grabbed the lead on 37 minutes, Georgiou sending Walker-Peters’ right-sided cross back into the danger zone from the left with the unmarked Sterling finishing from eight yards out.
Two minutes later it was 2-0 as Georgiou cut the ball back from close to the byline on the left and defender Cameron Carter-Vickers – up for a set piece just beforehand – got his toe to it ahead of Maddison and prodded in at the near post from close range.
Leicester got themselves back in it on 44 minutes, though, as we saw the first signs of struggles to defend aerial balls into the box that would haunt us later in the contest as well. Davis rose highest in the area to head Barmby’s corner onto the post and, after the ball was recycled and Moore had a shot blocked, it was played back out to Barmby on the right – Panayiotou scoring with a free header from his resulting cross.
The visitors brought on Keanan King at the break and within two minutes of the start of the second half he had his side back on level terms, forcing the ball over the line at the second time of asking after his initial effort from Barmby’s corner was blocked by Carter-Vickers.
To their credit, the lads kept going and we regained the lead four minutes later when Walkes won possession centrally and played in McEvoy on the right, the winger lashing high into the net from just inside the box.
Whiteman palmed away Michael Cain’s rising drive and Walker-Peters had to knock the ball behind for a corner with the keeper off his line as Leicester pressed once more, but we were next to score as Georgiou floated in an inch-perfect cross from the left for McEvoy to head home on the opposite side.
The latter then flicked the ball across goal for Harrison to nod in, but an early off-side flag meant his effort was ruled out.
Back came Leicester with another Barmby corner causing us problems, the ball being knocked down for Moore to strike home from close range on 61 minutes and, two minutes later, it was all square again as Panayiotou broke free in the box and emphatically fired past Whiteman for 4-4.
The pendulum swung back in our favour on 65 minutes, though, as McEvoy’s cross from the right was cleared only as far as Harrison, whose fine half-volley from 20 yards took a slight touch off a defender on its way into the net.
Changes were made by both sides, but we continued in the ascendancy and finally put the game to bed with two quickfire goals.
Harrison passed infield from the left to Milos Veljkovic who forced the ball through to fellow substitute Emmanuel Sonupe in a crowded Leicester area on 79 minutes. He was hauled down by Alie Sesay, the visiting skipper booked for his troubles, with Harrison converting the resulting penalty.
And within 60 seconds the scoring was completed as Harrison once again fed the ball into the middle and after Walkes’ shot was charged down, Filip Lesniak’s left-footed first-time effort from the rebound spun into the net from 22 yards for his first Under-21s league goal.
The only real chance for either side after that arrived a minute into stoppage time when Sonupe saw a low shot from an acute angle on the right saved by Maddison, with the lads able to reflect on a dramatic return to winning ways at the final whistle.
Ugo Ehiogu said
“It was unbelievable with the amount of goals scored,” said Ugo as he reflected on the match. “We produced some fantastic attacking play and some wonderful patches of play where we cut Leicester to shreds, but we looked vulnerable at set pieces at the other end.
“You have to look at where the boys have come from over the last two weeks, especially after the Everton and Reading games where they’ve been under pressure and they’ve had to deal with an element of nervousness and anxiety.
“Performances had to get better and today they showed application, intent and a willingness to tackle and head the ball. There was a lot more team spirit which pleased me no end and, yes, there were a lot of things that we can work on but I think the boys deserve a lot of credit today.”
Spurs U21s: Whiteman, Walker-Peters, Amos, Lesniak, Carter-Vickers (c), Maghoma, McEvoy (Sonupe 70), Walkes, Sterling (Veljkovic 67), Harrison, Georgiou (Goddard 80). Substitute (not used): McDermott (GK).
Leicester City U21s: Maddison, Miles, Sesay (c), Chaudhury (Barnes 73), Moore (Olukanmi 73), Davis, Ndukwu, Cain, Panayiotou, Barmby, Fox (King 46). Substitutes (not used): Kipre, Bramley (GK).