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Late penalty save denies Under-21s first win

Spurs 1-1 Fulham (Premier League 2)

Sat 22 October 2022, 14:08|Tottenham Hotspur

Romaine Mundle’s 87th-minute penalty was saved by Fulham goalkeeper Alex Borto, denying our Under-21s a precious victory at Hotspur Way on Saturday lunchtime.

Despite conceding to Connor McAvoy inside three minutes, we were the better side throughout and created a host of chances to score, Borto notably denying Kallum Cesay and Mundle during the first period.

When Yago Santiago planted home a 63rd-minute equaliser from inside a congested Fulham box, we looked good value to go on and secure a long overdue Premier League 2 victory, Alfie Devine and Brooklyn Lyons-Foster going close from a subsequent corner as we determinedly tried to find a second goal.

But when that one last golden opportunity we craved finally arose in the last few minutes, Mundle – who also failed to score from the spot in last weekend’s defeat at Wolves – was denied by Borto to ensure the game ended 1-1, leading to a feeling of immense frustration at full-time.

It was all too easy for Fulham to get themselves in front as McAvoy rose unchallenged to nod Ollie O’Neill’s corner into the net with the game still in its early stages, but we quickly took control and should really have equalised before half-time. Devine and Mundle fired off-target from the right angle inside the box while Max Robson’s 18-yarder deflected through to Borto, before Cesay went through on goal just past the hour-hour mark, only for his shot to be blocked by the Cottagers’ goalkeeper one-on-one. Eight minutes later, Mundle’s right-footed curler after cutting in off the left flank looked destined for the top corner, but Borto pulled off a miraculous save to claw his effort away. Malachi Fagan-Walcott might also have been in with a shout after latching onto Mundle’s corner at the back post, but his header was blocked by a defender in the six-yard box.

Devine squared for Santiago when perhaps he might have shot at goal himself as we opened up the second half still on the front foot, but we didn’t have to wait too much longer for a leveller as Mundle’s shot-on-the-turn inside the box was blocked amid a mass of Fulham bodies, the ball falling kindly for Santiago to take a touch and drill across Borto into the bottom corner from six yards out.

It could have been 2-1 with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining as, not for the first time in the second half, Devine darted towards the near post to meet Mundle’s corner with a venomous header, the ball hit Borto without him knowing much about it and possession was worked to Lyons-Foster – impressive at centre-half on his first 90 minutes since January – but his low drive was charged down by Stefan Parkes.

Still we pushed for that elusive winner, and our pressure seemed to have paid off when Matthew Craig was fouled in the box by Matt Dibley-Dias after a defensive error by the visitors with only three minutes of normal time remaining. Up stepped Mundle, but his effort was beaten away by Borto diving to his right.

Fulham substitute Callum McFarlane almost made us pay the ultimate price with a turn and shot at the other end, but Josh Keeley was equal to it as honours ended even.

Spurs 1-1 Fulham (Premier League 2)

Spurs: Keeley, Robson, Muir, Fagan-Walcott, Lyons-Foster, Craig, Cesay (Lankshear 76), John (c), Santiago (Mathurin 88), Devine, Mundle. Substitutes (not used): Maguire, Dorrington.

Fulham: Borto, D’Auria-Henry, Parkes, Bowatt, McAvoy, Williams (McFarlane 58), Godo, Dibley-Dias, Sanderson, Sekularac (Tanton 81), O’Neill (c). Substitutes (not used): Allen, Okkas.

Match data

Goals: Spurs – Santiago 63; Fulham – McAvoy 3.

Yellow cards: Spurs – Lankshear 90+1, Lyons-Foster 90+3; Fulham – Williams 46, Sanderson 70, O’Neill 79, McAvoy 85, McFarlane 90+3.

Referee: Elliott Swallow.

Venue: Hotspur Way, Enfield.

Weather: Sunny, 17 degrees.