Under-23s lose out at the Amex
Brighton & Hove Albion 4-1 Spurs (Premier League 2)
Fri 27 September 2019, 21:27|Tottenham Hotspur
Our Under-23s were picked off by Brighton & Hove Albion as we shipped four goals in the Premier League 2 for the second time this week at the Amex on Friday night.
Rodel Richards saw a couple of chances go begging before firing us ahead approaching the half-hour mark as we generally controlled the first period, albeit struggling to hold onto possession at times, and it was only a fortuitous deflected strike from Ryan Longman that drew the Seagulls level.
But when defender Luis Binks accidentally steered Jack Leahy's shot into his own net at the start of the second half, the hosts pushed on to win 4-1, Longman lashing home his second of the night before unselfishly squaring for substitute Lorent Tolaj to score from close range.
Brighton fielded a handful of players who featured as substitutes for their first team in the Carabao Cup defeat to Aston Villa on Wednesday night, including Longman, who looked an early threat with his pace down the right flank. We soon got on the front foot, but some loose play meant we couldn't capitalise as much as we should have done.
Richards, back in at centre-forward after missing Monday night's 4-0 loss at Blackburn, saw a trio of chances slip away, including a shot which crashed off the bar, before finally breaking the deadlock on 28 minutes, taking Tashan Oakley-Boothe's pass from wide on the right and firing home from an acute angle. That gave us added momentum but the odd pass was still going astray and when we handed possession to Brighton on a plate at right-back, they worked the ball across the pitch to Longman, whose driven effort looped up off left-back Tariq Hinds and dropped into the net at the far post, levelling it up with eight minutes to go until half-time.
Brighton went on to make it a miserable first start of the season for Belgian youth international goalkeeper Jonathan De Bie as first Leahy's driven right-foot ball into the area was turned in off the body of Binks on 48 minutes, before Danny Cashman sent Longman striding forward in the right channel and he somehow picked out the top corner from the right-hand corner of the penalty box just beyond the hour mark. Longman dragged his hat-trick chance wide before ghosting in behind Hinds to lay Cashman's defence-splitting pass into the path of Tolaj, who couldn't miss with 10 minutes to go.
Our best opportunities of the second half came shortly after Brighton's second goal as Paris Maghoma stuck one over the bar with the goal gaping, while Richards and Oakley-Boothe had shots blocked at the near post, but we couldn't affect Hugo Keto's goal any further, leaving ourselves without a win in our last five Premier League 2 games - a real frustration considering our strong start to the campaign.
Business seemed to be picking up after Richards had given us the lead as we kept pushing forward in search of a second goal.
But after giving the ball away cheaply, we fell victim to a deflected equaliser from Longman shortly before half-time - a goal that got the hosts back in the game and one which gave them a platform on which to build a high-scoring victory in the second period.
Under-23s Coach Wayne Burnett bemoaned our collective defensive frailties after seeing his side concede four goals for the second time since Monday: "Some of our defending was not acceptable," he said. "We were 1-0 up, in complete control of the game, we gave them a simple goal because we lost possession unnecessarily and before you knew it, they'd equalised. They've had four shots on target and scored four goals - that tells us our defending at times as a group isn't what it should be at the moment.
"It's sometimes really hard to do the simple things well. At half-time we'd come in at 1-1, we weren't under any pressure, they'd only had one shot on our goal and I just said to pass the ball simple, get it out wide and then in the first attack, they scored through a mistake of ours where again the defending as a group was not acceptable. Again, we've paid the price for not being able to defend as a team. It's a concern that we've conceded eight goals in two games. We've tried different pairings, different relationships and we're yet to find the one that will hopefully help us defend better. I thought Luis Binks - as our youngest player - came in and was our best player, he showed some maturity so that's a positive but we haven't defended well enough as individuals or as a team. People haven't taken ownership of their responsibilities and it's cost us. We've paid the price."
Brighton & Hove Albion 4-1 Spurs (Premier League 2)
Brighton & Hove Albion: Keto, Yapi, Furlong (Leonard 68), Spong, Tsoungui, O'Hora (c), Longman, Davies, Radulovic (Tolaj 74), Cashman (Wilson 88), Leahy. Substitutes (not used): McGill, Freestone.
Spurs: De Bie, Okedina, Hinds, Bowden (c) (Etete 79), Eyoma, Binks, Patterson (Markanday 73), Maghoma, Richards, Oakley-Boothe, Tracey (Pochettino 84). Substitutes (not used): Oluwayemi, Lyons-Foster.
Goals: Brighton - Longman 37, 62, Binks (OG) 48, Tolaj 80; Spurs - Richards 28.
Yellow cards: Brighton - Leahy 85, Yapi 87; Spurs - Etete 87, Eyoma 90+4.
Referee: Sam Allison.
Venue: Amex Stadium, Brighton.
Weather: Light breeze, sudden showers, 16 degrees.