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#U21 #PL2 #MatchReport #Wolves #JamieDonley

Late drama as Under-21s are held by Wolves

Spurs 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers (Premier League 2)

Fri 07 April 2023, 15:17|Tottenham Hotspur

Jamie Donley's thunderous strike was cancelled out by Wolverhampton Wanderers' Ty Barnett six minutes from time as our Under-21s were forced to share the spoils in a key battle in the lower reaches of the Premier League 2 table on Friday afternoon.

After an uneventful display for much of the game with Nile John denied by goalkeeper Louie Moulden in our two best chances and Josh Keeley making a couple of important stops at the other end, we grabbed the lead in emphatic style on 78 minutes when Kallum Cesay ferried on Damola Ajayi's cut-back for Donley to blast high into the net.

But we couldn't make the advantage stick and when substitute Josh Esen picked out Barnett in the box, the Wolves man slotted home to make it 1-1 as we missed the chance to leapfrog the visitors out of the relegation zone.

There was a welcome return to action for Jamie Bowden after he'd been sidelined since the second game of the season with an ankle injury, the midfielder joined in the starting line-up by Dante Cassanova and Nile John who also came back from injury in Monday's defeat to Manchester City. But after a delayed kick-off at Colchester United's JobServe Community Stadium due to travel problems in the area, they had little to shout about in a subdued first half from the team, midfielder John having our best chance in the 35th minute when he collected a pass from Matthew Craig - forward from left-back - and drilled a shot low towards the near post that was well saved by Moulden.

Wolves' Justin Hubner and Nathan Fraser each had a couple of half-chances earlier on while Owen Farmer's header was tipped over the bar by Keeley on the half-hour mark in the visitors' closest opportunity of that period.

The second half was just 15 seconds old when John's sublime strike from distance was saved by Moulden, but after a determined restart from us the visitors fashioned a couple more attempts in the next 10 minutes, Farmer's attempt saved by Keeley down to his right and Fraser heading a good chance wide from eight yards out.

Moments later, Cesay drove a menacing ball across the face of goal from the right angle but was left frustrated as the chance slipped away. Nevertheless, we pressed on and with Under-18s players Jaden Williams and Ajayi proving a lively influence off the bench, we finally found the breakthrough with 12 minutes remaining. Yago Santiago played Ajayi into space down the left flank, his cut-back found Cesay and he knocked it on into the path of Donley, who smashed a shot just underneath the bar on his right foot, prompting joyous scenes among players and fans alike.

However, six minutes later, Wolves restored parity as Esen's cross from the right fell nicely for Barnett to slide a low shot under the covering Donley and past Keeley, who was rooted to the spot. Despite some nice passages of play in the attacking areas late in the game, we couldn't regain the lead and had to settle for a point.

'It was a game with little quality'

Under-21s Coach Wayne Burnett was disappointed with the performance of his players, telling SPURSPLAY after the game: "The first half was completely unlike us - we didn't play with any energy, which was very disappointing. We were slightly better in the second half but I didn't think we did enough to win the match and I've expressed that to the players. I don't think we threatened their goal enough, we didn't show the characteristics that we've shown in previous games, we didn't play with energy, didn't play with enthusiasm, which we have done, so overall it was a game with little quality. We managed to score a goal but it's disappointing that we conceded so quickly afterwards. With this game being held at Colchester, we've had a lot of people that have come in from the local area who are Tottenham Hotspur supporters and we're disappointed that we couldn't give a better account of ourselves."

Spurs 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers (Premier League 2)

Spurs: Keeley, Cassanova, Craig (c), Sayers (Dorrington 46), Fagan-Walcott, Bowden (Ajayi 70), Cesay, John, Soonsup-Bell (Williams 65), Donley, Santiago (Mathurin 90+1). Substitute (not used): Maguire.

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Moulden, Lembikisa (Esen 77), Hubner, Tipton (c) (Kandola 83), Marques, Pond (Keto-Diyawa 83), Birtwistle, Hesketh, Fraser (Griffiths 65), Barnett, Farmer. Substitute (not used): Arinbjornsson.

Match data

Goals: Spurs - Donley 78; Wolverhampton Wanderers - Barnett 84.

Yellow cards: Wolverhampton Wanderers - Tipton 32, Pond 40.

Referee: Wayne Cartmel.

Venue: JobServe Community Stadium, Colchester.

Weather: Sunny, gentle breeze, 14 degrees.

Attendance: 911.