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Derby spoils slip away from 10-man Under-23s

Spurs 1-2 Arsenal (Premier League 2)

Fri 27 August 2021, 14:35|Tottenham Hotspur

The second-half dismissal of Marcel Lavinier cost our Under-23s as we let a 1-0 advantage slip through our fingers to go down 2-1 against Arsenal at Hotspur Way on Friday lunchtime.

Leading through Alfie Devine’s strike five minutes into the second period, we were pegged back by Kido Taylor-Hart shortly before the hour mark, with full-back Lavinier dismissed 60 seconds later for a second bookable offence.

Arsenal took full advantage and Taylor-Hart doubled his tally with 19 minutes left, although our 10 men rallied in the closing stages and J’Neil Bennett fashioned a couple of shots as we chased an equaliser. Ultimately, though, the Gunners had done enough to consign us to our first Premier League 2 defeat of the season.

Neither side meaningfully tested the opposing goalkeeper in the first half, a sustained spell of pressure in the 21st minute arguably the closest we went to breaking the deadlock as Nile John and Harvey White saw shots charged down before Lavinier’s angled effort was comfortably gathered by Karl Hein. White’s subsequent free-kick was blocked, but Brooklyn Lyons-Foster couldn’t quite take advantage of the loose ball in the box, while Dilan Markanday’s cross from the right was just too far ahead of the diving Dane Scarlett as he arrived in front of goal.

We had to be strong defensively with Arsenal always a threat and we needed a superb block from Kallum Cesay to prevent Taylor-Hart from giving them the lead on the stroke of half-time. Instead it was us who forged ahead five minutes after the break, Devine converting White’s corner at the near post with a neat finish.

Arsenal reacted strongly and after Mazeed Ogungbo was denied by Josh Oluwayemi, Taylor-Hart swept home from the dangerous Omari Hutchinson’s cut-back to restore parity on 58 minutes. Oluwayemi subsequently thwarted Charlie Patino while Scarlett had a good chance to fire us back in front, but blasted into the side netting from Jack Clarke’s pass.

Ogungbo steered over the bar from close range but with 19 minutes remaining, Arsenal pulled ahead as another Hutchinson cut-back was missed by Mika Biereth, only to come to Taylor-Hart, who didn’t need a second invitation to smash home in similar fashion to his first goal. Hutchinson hit the woodwork with a free-kick a few moments later but our depleted side didn’t give up and pushed hard to draw level in the final moments, Bennett trying a couple of shots at goal, albeit without success, as the Gunners escaped with the points.

‘The turning point was the sending-off’

Under-23s Coach Wayne Burnett reflected: “It was quite an even game in the first half, we started the second half very positively, scored a goal and I thought we were doing okay, but they managed to get a goal back and the turning point was the sending-off.

“Saying that, even with 10 men, we had chances, two or three which on another day we might have capitalised on. I can’t fault the players’ work ethic or commitment but it’s disappointing to lose. I felt we were pushing at the end, we were on the front foot and had a couple of half-chances to equalise but it didn’t happen. We just fell short with 10 men.”

Spurs 1-2 Arsenal (Premier League 2)

Spurs: Oluwayemi, Lavinier, Cesay, John, Lyons-Foster (c) (Matthew Craig 88), Omole, Markanday (Paskotsi 69), White, Scarlett (Bennett 79), Devine, Clarke. Substitutes (not used): Hayton, Muir.

Arsenal: Hein, Monlouis, Ogungbo, Swanson (Ideho 83), Rekik, Gabriel (c) (Kirk 46), Hutchinson, Henry-Francis, Biereth, Patino, Taylor-Hart (M’Hand 90+2). Substitutes (not used): Graczyk, Cottrell.

Match data

Goals: Spurs – Devine 50; Arsenal – Taylor-Hart 58, 71.

Yellow cards: Spurs – Lavinier 28, 59, Lyons-Foster 32, John 48, Clarke 63; Arsenal – Hutchinson 63.

Red card: Spurs – Lavinier 59.

Referee: Robert Massey-Ellis.

Venue: Hotspur Way, Enfield.

Weather: Bright, clear skies, 20 degrees.

Attendance: 102.