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#U23 #PL2 #MatchReport #Blackburn #JackClarke

Eight unbeaten for Under-23s after Rovers draw at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Spurs 1-1 Blackburn Rovers (Premier League 2)

Mon 17 January 2022, 21:00|Tottenham Hotspur

Our Under-23s were held to a 1-1 draw by Blackburn Rovers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Monday night.

In a heated encounter on a chilly evening in N17, we largely dominated and deservedly got ourselves ahead when Jack Clarke drilled home his third goal in as many games. But the visitors battled back and were back on terms mid-way through the second half as Connor McBride poked home from close range.

The draw saw us continue our unbeaten run in the Premier League 2 as we have now gone eight games without defeat and sit third in the table, but it felt like two points dropped on the night as we failed to convert our chances into victory.

We made a purposeful start with Dane Scarlett coming close twice in the opening 10 minutes, first flashing a header wide of the mark before seeing his cushioned volley cannon off the post.

It wasn’t long before we did find the opener though as on 16 minutes, Clarke played a neat one-two with Alfie Devine on the edge of the box before progressing into the box and picking out the bottom left-hand corner of the net - a fine solo goal.

The chances then continued to fall for us as we looked to make our dominance count. Harvey White was given the freedom of the visitors’ box on the half-hour mark but could only send his volley wide while moments later, Kallum Cesay would have hoped to have done better as he bore down on goal after showing superb skill to create an opening from the right angle in the box, but he blazed his ultimate effort over the bar. Early substitute Michael Craig then perhaps had the best chance as he was threaded through by Clarke on 36 minutes, but his strike was smothered by goalkeeper Jordan Eastham one-on-one.

We were nearly made to pay for wasting those chances come the closing moments of the half. Firstly, Matthew Craig, who was operating at left-back, was alert to nick the ball off Jack Vale’s toes just as he looked primed to strike in the box, while Omole then showed great composure to match McBride’s surge towards goal stride-for-stride before blocking the striker’s effort.

Those opportunities seemed to spur the visitors on after the break and, just minutes into the second period, Josh Oluwayemi had to produce a vital save to deny Vale as he tried to finish off a threatening Rovers counter-attack. Yet, on 65 minutes, our man between the sticks could do nothing to stop McBride from forcing in an equaliser as the striker claimed the ball off Cesay’s toes inside the box before prodding home.

Frustrated to concede, we then went back on the attack and in search of redemption. In the space of 60 seconds, Scarlett twice came close to doing just that, first drawing a smart save from Eastham before coming agonisingly close to getting a decisive touch on Cesay’s centre.

Then, as we moved into the final 20 minutes, Devine managed to create a chance of his own out of nothing and what a goal it would have been as he wriggled away from three players in midfield before striking. His effort, though, flew wide of the target. The lively Scarlett then had another opportunity as he looked to mark his return to the side with a goal but after being played in by White, his instinctive clipped finish dropped inches the wrong side of the post.

It appeared like it wasn’t going to be our night in north London and that showed in the closing stages as it was the visitors who finished the stronger of the two sides with Oluwayemi twice being called into action in the final 10 minutes to deny substitutes Harry Leonard and Jay Haddow.

After the final whistle, a scuffle on the pitch led to Cesay, Tobi Omole and Rovers’ captain Jake Garrett all being shown red cards.

Spurs 1-1 Blackburn Rovers (Premier League 2)

Spurs: Oluwayemi, Cesay, Matthew Craig, Lyons-Foster (Michael Craig 9), Fagan-Walcott, Omole, Clarke (Santiago 85), White (c), Scarlett, Devine, Mundle (Bennett 68). Substitutes (not used): Lo-Tutala, Muir.

Blackburn Rovers: Eastham, Brown (Haddow 72), Gent, Wharton, Pratt, Phillips, Durrant (Leonard 79), Garrett (c), Vale, Harlock, McBride (Brennan 83). Substitutes (not used): Stergiakis, Batty.

Match data

Goals: Spurs - Clarke 15; Blackburn Rovers – McBride 65.

Yellow cards: Spurs - White 64, Scarlett 89; Blackburn Rovers – Vale 21.

Red cards: Spurs – Cesay 90+5, Omole 90+5; Blackburn Rovers – Garrett 90+5.

Referee: Gary Parsons.

Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Weather: Chilly with clear skies, three degrees.