Agony for Under-21s as United force stoppage-time draw
Spurs 1-1 Manchester United (Premier League 2)
Sat 29 October 2022, 14:14|Tottenham Hotspur
A 92nd-minute equaliser from Marc Jurado snatched away what would have been a priceless victory for our Under-21s, as we were agonisingly forced to share the spoils with Manchester United in the Premier League 2 at Stevenage on Saturday lunchtime.
After Noam Emeran missed an early penalty for the visitors and Alfie Devine was denied one-on-one by United goalkeeper Radek Vitek, we grabbed the lead four minutes before half-time when Devine found Yago Santiago, who fired home his second goal in as many games.
Although the Red Devils had their fair share of possession, we limited them to very few openings in the main and it looked as if Santiago's goal would be enough as we battled hard to see out a long-overdue victory... only for Jurado to curl into the top corner after the ball fell kindly for him in a crowded 18-yard box in stoppage time, ensuring the game ended 1-1.
It was heartbreaking stuff for Wayne Burnett's side, who have now drawn three of their last four league matches and continue to scrap for points in the lower reaches of the table, with United surely grateful for the share of the spoils to aid their own quest to edge away from danger.
Both teams enjoyed strong backing from the stands, with our fans given a first glimpse of Pape Matar Sarr in competitive action, while United introduced our former midfielder Tom Huddlestone as a second-half substitute, the 35-year-old now serving as a player-coach for the Red Devils' Development Squad.
Sarr was harshly adjudged to have fouled Zidane Iqbal in our penalty box near the start of the game, but Emeran sent the resulting spot-kick fizzing over the bar with less than four minutes played. At the other end, captain Nile John's low sweeping effort amid a good spell of play from us forced a low stop from Vitek, who then made himself big to deny Devine one-on-one after the midfielder raced clean through on goal in what was our best chance of the opening stages.
Shola Shoretire was a threat for United and he cracked a low shot beyond Josh Keeley which cannoned off the foot of the far post and back across goal, Sarr on hand to shuffle it behind for a corner, while Keeley showed good hands to claim Toby Collyer's rising shot before Shoretire's corner caused us problems in the box, the ball eventually being whacked clear.
Devine and Romaine Mundle combined to send Santiago surging forward in behind the United defence moments later but he couldn't quite divert the ball on target under pressure from Teden Mengi and the advancing Vitek, with the Spanish forward then suffering a bloodied nose after being caught in the face by a United defender. That didn't deter him from firing us ahead in the 41st minute though, as he took a touch to control Devine's clever ball through the defence before slamming across Vitek into the bottom corner following an excellent passing move involving several of our players.
Mundle blazed into the side netting just afterwards while Brooklyn Lyons-Foster agonisingly couldn't turn the ball on target at point-blank range after his central defensive partner Malachi Fagan-Walcott had nodded Harvey White's free-kick back across goal at the start of the second half, Devine also denied by Vitek at the near post after an excellent exchange of passes with Mundle saw him breeze in down the right side.
We would come to regret those missed opportunities, although in fairness we kept United at bay for long spells in the areas that mattered. Rhys Bennett was a threat from aerial balls into our box, but the closest United went was when Emeran dragged a first-time shot across goal and wide following Jurado's cut-back 13 minutes from time... that was until the 92nd minute, when after an initial block in our box, the ball spun out to Jurado, who guided a left-footed shot into the top corner from the right angle inside the area to finally breach our resistance, much to the disappointment of everyone of a Spurs persuasion. Even after that, we valiantly tried to mount a late push to restore our lead, but we were out of time and once again out of luck.
Spurs 1-1 Manchester United (Premier League 2)
Spurs: Keeley, Craig, Cesay, Fagan-Walcott, Lyons-Foster, Sarr (Lankshear 66), Mundle (Muir 71), White (Robson 85), Santiago, Devine, John (c). Substitutes (not used): Hayton, Mathurin.
Manchester United: Vitek, Mengi (c), Hardley, Savage, Bennett, Collyer (Huddlestone 66), Jurado, Iqbal (Forson 27), Mainoo, Shoretire, Emeran. Substitutes (not used): Harrison, Gore, Fredricson.
Goals: Spurs - Santiago 41; Manchester United - Jurado 90+2.
Yellow cards: Spurs - Cesay 47, Keeley 75, Lankshear 89; Manchester United - Hardley 12.
Referee: Adrian Quelch.
Venue: Lamex Stadium, Stevenage.
Weather: Sunny intervals, light breeze, 19 degrees.