All square in Under-23s' north London derby
Spurs 1-1 Arsenal (Premier League 2)
Fri 29 January 2021, 14:20|Tottenham Hotspur
Our Under-23s were left to rue a number of missed chances in the second half – including an uncharacteristic penalty miss from Dane Scarlett – as we shared the spoils in the Premier League 2 north London derby at Hotspur Way on Friday.
Having fallen behind to Ben Cottrell’s strike, we levelled when Kion Etete converted past Arsenal goalkeeper Karl Hein on the stretch just beyond the half-hour mark.
But after Scarlett was felled in the box by Joseph Olowu shortly after half-time, a golden opportunity to take the lead slipped away when the young striker skied his spot-kick over the bar.
Alfie Devine and Etete subsequently fired wide in further good chances as we controlled the play for much of the second half without being able to find a winner.
Under-23s Coach Wayne Burnett named a young side with first-year Under-18s players Scarlett and Devine joined by youth team colleague Nile John in the starting XI. Centre-back Tobi Omole lined up against his former club, while our ex-defender Jon Dinzeyi was on duty at the back for the Gunners in a hard-fought game that saw referee Scott Jackson put the names of five of the visitors’ players and three of ours into the book.
Dilan Markanday once again filled in at left-back and it was from his cross that Etete’s glancing header went just wide in the 10th minute, but Arsenal grabbed the upper hand seven minutes later when the ball was squeezed through our defence for Cottrell to lash high into the net from the left angle inside the box.
Scarlett came flying in to meet another useful Markanday delivery at the other end but it was fractionally too far ahead of him to connect with properly, while Folarin Balogun forced a five save from Josh Oluwayemi down to his right as Arsenal looked for a second goal inside the opening half-hour. We grew into the game through and it was thanks to the long legs of Etete that we drew level on 33 minutes, the striker poking past the advancing Hein on the stretch after George Marsh did well to feed the ball through Arsenal’s defensive line. Scarlett caught J’Neil Bennett’s cross from the right with a superb volley in the lead-up to half-time, but saw his effort fly agonisingly wide.
Four minutes after half-time, Scarlett was at the centre of the action again. Substitute Jamie Bowden robbed Akinola in midfield and played in to the feet of the striker inside the area, who was brought down by the same player. Scarlett stepped up to take the resulting penalty but while his effort was powerful, he lifted it over the top.
The game was fairly one-sided in terms of chances thereafter as Scarlett hammered a shot into the side netting after initially winning the ball back himself in midfield and exchanging passes with Devine, before Devine himself saw a useful opportunity go begging when he dragged across goal and wide on his right foot following Marcel Lavinier’s cut-back on 66 minutes. Seven minutes later, Devine won possession high up the pitch and played Etete in on goal from a tight angle on the left, but he floated his effort wide.
Arsenal tried to exploit our high defensive line as we pushed forward and they did manage to conjure up one big opportunity to snatch maximum points eight minutes from time but after Balogun wriggled away from centre-back Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – who was on a yellow card – he saw his effort brilliantly blocked one-on-one by the advancing Oluwayemi.
‘We’re disappointed that we haven’t won’
Under-23s Coach Wayne Burnett said: “It was a competitive match, after 20 minutes we took a foothold in the game, probably shaded it with chances and we’re disappointed that we didn’t come away with all three points but that’s a measure of where we are – we’re a team that’s growing and still developing. We had three young scholars in the team today but as we’ve spoken about on numerous occasions, if these young players are good enough then they’ll play. The three young players – Alfie, Dane and Nile – I thought they were very good. We had good chances in the first half with Kion, Dane mis-hit one, then in the second half, Dane with the penalty, Kion had another chance… it was a good team performance and there were some very good individual performances, but we’re disappointed that we haven’t won.”
Spurs 1-1 Arsenal (Premier League 2)
Spurs: Oluwayemi, Lavinier, Markanday, Marsh (Bowden 46), Lyons-Foster (c), Omole, Bennett, John, Etete (Thorpe 86), Devine, Scarlett. Substitutes (not used): Kurylowicz, Pochettino, Mukendi.
Arsenal: Hein, Alebiosu, Lopez (Oguagbo 74), Dinzeyi, Olowu, Akinola, Cirjan (Taylor-Hart 54), Patino (Oyegoke 54), Moller, Cottrell, Balogun (c). Substitutes (not used): Hillson, Lewis.
Goals: Spurs – Etete 33; Arsenal – Cottrell 17.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Devine 32, Lyons-Foster 54, Bowden 76; Arsenal – Patino 14, Balogun 66, Alebiosu 68, Cottrell 70, Akinola 80.
Referee: Scott Jackson.
Venue: Hotspur Way, Enfield.
Weather: Bright, clear skies, 10 degrees.