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#U23 #PL2 #MatchReport #WestHam

Under-23s dispatch Hammers

Spurs 3-0 West Ham United (Premier League 2)

Fri 18 September 2020, 16:11|Tottenham Hotspur

A resilient second-half display from our Under-23s saw us claim a 3-0 win over West Ham United in a fiery Premier League 2 encounter on Friday lunchtime.

After a closely fought first half, we took charge of the game on 52 minutes as captain George Marsh volleyed home. Harvey White then doubled our lead from the penalty spot on 86 minutes, before substitute Rodel Richards wrapped up the win with just a minute left, as he tapped in our third from close range.

Marsh was dismissed following an off-the-ball incident in added time, but we'd already secured the three points.

Despite the comfortable final scoreline, it had been our visitors who had started as the better of the two sides as they controlled the opening 20 minutes. Offering a greater intensity in the encounter, the Hammers created three good opportunities to open the scoring in the opening stages, yet Harrison Ashby, Sean Adarkwa and Oladapo Afolayan could not keep their efforts on target.

As the first period progressed past its halfway mark though, we began to grow into the game as we started to get hold of the ball. Dilan Markanday had our first shot on 27 minutes, testing goalkeeper Joseph Anang from distance, before J'Neil Bennett came close from the resulting corner.

In the opening minutes of the second half however, the visitors were once again on the front foot and managed to create two more promising openings as they looked to break the deadlock. Again, full-back Ashby was causing problems for our defence as he skipped around two players before seeing his effort blocked. Jamal Baptiste then sent a shot narrowly wide.

On 52 minutes though, we had the lead. From deep, White clipped a searching ball into the box picking out the run of Marsh and the defensive midfielder did the rest, slickly taking control of the ball in flight before lashing it home on the volley from close range.

With a breakthrough made on the scoreline, the game’s intensity picked up. The next goal was crucial, and thus the drive and determination in the contest stepped up. West Ham pushed forward and twice came close to getting back on terms. Afolayan forced an effort wide on 55 minutes just before we survived an even nervier moment as we were forced into a last-gasp goal-line clearance.

While the visitors were pressing for an equaliser though, we were constantly offering a threat on the break, and when Markanday managed to find a way into West Ham's box on 86 minutes, we were awarded a golden opportunity to make sure of all three points. The winger was brought down in the area by Ashby, leaving the referee no choice but to award a penalty and, from the spot, White delivered, slotting the ball home and sending goalkeeper Anang the wrong way.

I think the most pleasing thing was how well we competed – especially when we were slightly under pressure.

Under-23s Coach Wayne Burnett

Three minutes later, the win was wrapped up by substitute Richards. Dennis Cirkin provided the assist as he beat his man to the by-line before cutting the ball back for the waiting striker, who had the simple task of tapping the ball over the line.

Continuing to press in the dying moments, we squandered chances to extend our lead further through Kion Etete and scorer Richards before, in the final minute of the game, we were reduced to 10 men as Marsh was shown a red card for an off-the-ball incident.

‘We scored at a crucial time’

Under-23s Coach Wayne Burnett felt his side were not at their best against the Hammers but admitted that the resilience they showed to find a way to win the game under pressure was very pleasing.

“We didn’t start particularly well,” he admitted. “But in the second half it was a better performance and we scored at a crucial time which gave us the platform to get us the second and third goals.

“It was a really pleasing result, but I think the most pleasing thing was how well we competed – especially when we were slightly under pressure, we were able to find a way to stay in the game. The character of the team was really good. The intensity changed after the goal and maybe the conditions played a part. Overall, it was pleasing that we found a way to win the game while perhaps not being at our best.”

Spurs 3-0 West Ham United (Premier League 2)

Spurs: Austin (Oluwayemi 79), Ferguson, Okedina, Lyons-Foster, Cirkin, Marsh (c), White, Pochettino (Richards 67), Markanday, Sterling, Bennett (Etete 75). Substitute (not used): Pedder.

West Ham: Anang, Ashby, Baptiste, Alese (Cardoso 61), Longelo, Coventry (c), Rosa (Ashley 77), Lewis, Dju (Chesters 46), Adarkwa, Afolayan. Substitutes (not used): Greenidge, Knightbridge.

Match data

Goals: Spurs – Marsh 52, White 86 (pen), Richards 89.

Yellow cards: Spurs – Okedina 10, Bennett 62, Cirkin 65, White 90+3; West Ham – Coventry 59, Baptiste 70.

Red card: Spurs – Marsh – 90+4.

Referee: Robert Whitton.

Venue: Hotspur Way, Enfield.

Weather: Cloudy with some bright spots, 18 degrees.