Sunderland 2-2 Spurs (PL2)
Report from Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground
28 November 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
Shilow Tracey won't forget his night at the Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground in a hurry.
It might have been freezing cold at the venue 10 miles outside Sunderland but the young striker, 18, was on fire in front of goal, bagging his first goals at this level as we came from 2-0 down to more than earn a draw against the Black Cats in an entertaining Premier League 2 encounter on Monday (November 28).
As always seems the case here, we conceded early, but that didn't knock the team's confidence. Indeed, we were the better side after that goal but got punished by Adnan Januzaj on 39 minutes, the Belgian international latching onto a clearance and breaking away to finish in style.
The home side had won four on the trot ahead of this fixture and with us seven without victory, the outcome appeared to be going one way. But Ugo Ehiogu's team kept going forward, kept getting into good areas and maintained their belief, rewarded in first half injury time when Tracey played a one-two with Shayon Harrison and drilled home.
That boosted the team's confidence further and we controlled the second half. We went close on three occasions including Harrison's close-range effort cleared off the line before equalising on 54 minutes with a lovely finish from Tracey, pinging Kyle Walker-Peters' cross into the top corner first-time from 12 yards.
The only thing missing was the winner as we continued to press. Harrison was inches away from Joe Pritchard's cross and the same player curled one effort at Mika Domingues and then fizzed just wide from 25 yards.
Goal: Sunderland 1-0 Spurs – George Honeyman - 12mins
George Honeyman tested Pau Lopez to his right on 10 minutes but the goalkeeper could do nothing as the same player handed Sunderland the lead two minutes later. Josh Maja challenged for Lynden Gooch's cross and the ball fell at the feet of Honeyman, who slammed home from close range.
Chances: Tracey denied, Pritchard close - 18-38mins
We were the better team for the next 27 minutes. Harrison almost connected with Walker-Peters' low cross and then provided Tracey with a chance after intercepting George Brady's pass, Tracey this time denied by Domingues' legs. Cy Goddard then laid off for Pritchard to volley just over.
Goal: Sunderland 2-0 Spurs – Adnan Januzaj - 39mins
As we pressed forward, we were caught out down the middle. Sunderland cleared their lines from our attack, Januzaj latched onto the ball and raced from halfway to the edge of the box, where he drilled across Pau Lopez into the far corner. It was clinical from the Belgian international.
Above: Shilow Tracey in action.
Goal: Sunderland 2-1 Spurs – Shilow Tracey - 45+2mins
Our first half display was rewarded by a goal back in added time. Tracey played a sharp one-two with Harrison and from a similar position to his earlier chance, drilled low past Domingues.
Off the line: Harrison so close - 53mins
We started the second half brightly, Tracey was played in but Michael Ledger took the pace off his shot, Harrison and Pritchard tested Domingues and then Maja somehow blocked Harrison's volley on the line from Goddard's corner.
Goal: Sunderland 2-2 Spurs – Shilow Tracey - 54mins
It was no surprise when we levelled with a fine strike from Tracey. Walker-Peters provided the ammunition again and Tracey drove his low cross first-time into the top corner from 12 yards.
Chances: close at both ends - 81-84mins
The teams both went close to finding a winner. Ethan Robson saw his 25-yarder fizz over the crossbar on 81 minutes before Harrison flashed a drive just wide from 25 yards.
Coach Ugo Ehiogu said
“We spoke about resilience, spoke about coming up to Sunderland on a freezing cold Monday night, six hours on the coach. We’ve been on a difficult run, had some misfortune and some bad play over the last four games but we said we had to get back to running forward with intent and purpose as well as running back and recovering and we did all that. The front five were sensational at times and but for some blocks and good defending we might well have come away with three points. I thought we were unlucky not to win.
“Shilow Tracey looked a threat playing on the shoulder – we’ve talked about how we can get him to be more of a threat and he’s seen the fruits of that labour. Hopefully he’ll take it in his stride and he’ll get confidence from that display. The players were terrific. Luke Amos led by example. He was clinical in his passing and good in his distribution, voice and performance. Shayon Harrison’s movement and the combination with Shilow was pleasing, plus Joe Pritchard has managed 90 minutes and that’s a massive thing for him. It was great to see little components coming together. We created so many chances, controlled the game and in my time, we’ve never come up here and put in an all-round performance like that. We’re still disappointed with the goals we conceded but the response was what we would have wanted and this is progress.”
Sunderland: Domingues, J Robson, T Robson, Love, Ledger, Brady, Honeyman, E Robson, Maja (Molyneux, 90+2), Gooch (Embleton, 27), Januzaj (Asoro, 48). Substitutes (not used): Stryjek (GK), Casey.
Spurs: Pau Lopez; Walker-Peters, Owens, Walkes, Ogilvie; Pritchard, Stylianides, Amos (c, Brown 90+4), Goddard (Muscatt, 80), Harrison, Tracey. Substitutes (not used): Glover (GK), Omolabi, Lock.
Goals: Sunderland - Honeyman 12, Januzaj 39; Spurs - Tracey 45+2, 54.
Yellow cards: Sunderland - Love 90+3.
Referee: Mr M Coy.
Our next Premier League 2 outing comes on Monday, December 12, as we host Derby County at Stevenage. We’ll be looking to complete the double over the Rams after winning 2-1 in the reverse fixture back on August 26.