Devine double hands Under-23s victory over Liverpool
Spurs 2-1 Liverpool (Premier League 2)
Sat 11 September 2021, 17:31|Tottenham Hotspur
Alfie Devine scored twice against his former club as our Under-23s came back from a goal down to beat Liverpool 2-1 at Stevenage on Saturday afternoon.
Trailing to Kaide Gordon's strike inside four minutes, we soon grew into the contest and had the majority of the game's clear chances, Jack Clarke twice firing narrowly wide from a tight angle on the right while Reds goalkeeper Marcelo Pitaluga denied Devine and Yago Santiago.
Devine, who played for Liverpool until the age of 11, scored a wonderful solo goal to equalise just beyond the half-hour mark, collecting a loose ball mid-way inside the visitors' half and working his way between defenders and into the box before hammering a low shot with precision into the far corner.
Nile John almost bagged a second for us just prior to half-time but we stayed in control and deservedly won it with nine minutes remaining as Clarke sent Devine through on goal and the midfielder kept his composure to clip past Pitaluga.
In a rare Saturday 3pm kick-off in the Premier League 2, we fell behind in disappointing fashion early on as Billy Koumetio's diagonal pass out from the back found Gordon on the right flank and he cut inside to fire past Josh Oluwayemi at his near post.
Clarke sped into good positions in the box from the right wing on two occasions but fired narrowly wide of the far post both times, his efforts sandwiching a shot from Liverpool's Mateusz Musialowski that just missed the target at the other end, while keeper Pitaluga kept out Devine's glancing near-post header from Harvey White's corner on the 20-minute mark.
Operating at centre-forward, Santiago was a constant thorn in Liverpool's side during the first period as he chased the ball down and stole possession at the feet of defenders on multiple occasions, going close on 22 minutes when his low shot was repelled by Pitaluga before Devine dribbled his way into a shooting position and equalised with a right-footed shot on 32 minutes. Midfielder John almost made it 2-1 as half-time approached, but his first-time shot from Santiago's cut-back was somehow turned behind for a corner.
Devine and White went close at the start of the second half while Jack Bearne stung the palms of Oluwayemi at his near post on the hour mark. Marqes Muir almost steered White's corner on target as we controlled proceedings before the decisive moment arrived on 81 minutes as Clarke played the ball in from the right and sent Devine through on goal to slot past Pitaluga despite having two retreating defenders hot on his heels. White subsequently picked out John in space at the edge of the box, but he took fractionally too long on the ball, tried to square it and Liverpool closed ranks as a third goal eluded us. Nevertheless, we were worthy winners on the day.
'I'm pleased for Alfie and pleased for the team'
Under-23s Coach Wayne Burnett said: "Alfie has scored two very well-taken goals but he gets himself into those positions because he's willing to get forward and make those intelligent runs, so that was pleasing. As a team we've created some decent chances, at times we got into key areas and failed to capitalise but we've managed to score two goals through Alfie so I'm really pleased for him and equally, really pleased for the team. We were up against a Liverpool team who are always difficult to play against because they have good players and are hard-working, and they made it difficult for us. For the first 15 minutes we played completely out of character but after that we showed our identity and our style a bit more, and in the end I felt it was a thoroughly-deserved win."
Spurs 2-1 Liverpool (Premier League 2)
Spurs: Oluwayemi, Matthew Craig, Cesay, Lyons-Foster (c) (Michael Craig 74), Muir, Fagan-Walcott, Clarke, White, Santiago (Pedder 74), John (Paskotsi 90+2), Devine. Substitute (not used): Lo-Tutala.
Liverpool: Pitaluga, Gallacher, Beck, Clayton (c), Koumetio (Wilson 85), Corness (Boyes 55), Gordon, Morton, Woltman, Bearne, Musialowski (Norris 55). Substitute (not used): Hughes.
Goals: Spurs - Devine 32, 81; Liverpool - Gordon 4.
Yellow cards: Spurs - Cesay 75, Clarke 80; Liverpool - Bearne 63.
Referee: Sunny Gill.
Venue: Lamex Stadium, Stevenage.
Weather: Sunny, gentle breeze, 22 degrees.