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98th-minute White free-kick winner sees Under-21s edge Sunderland in cup opener

Spurs 3-2 Sunderland (Premier League Cup)

Tue 29 August 2023, 21:00|Tottenham Hotspur

A 98th-minute winner from Harvey White saw our Under-21s make the perfect start to our Premier League Cup campaign as they took all three points in their Group E opener, edging Sunderland 3-2 at the Lamex Stadium on Tuesday night.

In a fiery clash in Stevenage, White curled home in style in the eighth minute of injury time to give us victory over a resilient Black Cats side, who finished the game with10 men as Nectar Triantis was dismissed for a second bookable offence three minutes later.

Making our first ever appearance in the competition, Jamie Donley opened the night's scoring as he dispatched a penalty on 21 minutes after Nile John had been brought down in the box. The visitors from the north east were back on terms by the half-hour mark though as Ellis Taylor's drilled effort took a considerable deflection to leave goalkeeper Luca Gunter with no chance but we managed to restore our lead before the break as a sublime team move saw Yago Santiago clinically dispatch Will Andiyapan's cutback on 37 minutes.

Sunderland came out strongly in the second half and it was only thanks to a number of brilliant saves from Luca Gunter and a goalline clearance from Max Robson that we preserved our lead. However, four minutes from time, that advantage was eventually taken from us as Ben Crompton was picked out at the far post to tap home.

Yet, with eight minutes added on, we were sure to find opportunities to make amends, and White did that. Having seen a free-kick from a similar position saved by goalkeeper Matt Young just seconds before hand, he made no mistake with his second attempt in the final of those added minutes, curling in from 20 yards out to seal all three points.

Coming into the game having enjoyed a perfect start to the season in the Premier League 2 with three wins from three, our determination to continue that was clear from the off as White showed great endeavour to burst through the lines before seeing an effort saved by Young at his near post.

And it was that same sort of endeavour that brought about our opener. This time it was Nile John on the opposite flank who offered the directness, holding off challenges and surging into the box before being brought down by Triantis. Penalty duly awarded, Donley then stepped up to the spot before dispatching impeccably into the right-hand corner on 21 minutes

Despite our bright start, Sunderland should have been level seven minutes later as Burke progressed into the box but, one-on-one with the goalkeeper, he couldn't keep his effort down. Our visitors didn't have to wait long for a slice of luck to come their way though as, moments later, Taylor's drive from range cannoned in off a Spurs man to cancel out our lead.

We were still the dominant force in the game and, by 37 minutes, our advantage was restored as a sweeping move, initiated by Michael Craig's reverse pass to split the defence and pick out Will Andiyapan to cross, was tucked home by Yago Santiago from 16 yards out.

However, it was a different story after the break as our visitors came out with a renewed vigour. Within two minutes of the restart, Gunter was called up to make a superb save to prevent Max Thompson equalising with a thumping header.

We should have extended our lead on 52 minutes after another piece of adventurous play from Santiago saw him carry the ball 25 yards into the opposition half before releasing Donley, but the forward could only find the crossbar with his effort. A series of attacks on our goal then followed with Gunter being called into action on less than six occasions, and that included a stunning double save of 66 minutes which saw him first deny Thompson before reacting brilliantly to deny Gardiner on the follow up. Yet, for all his heroics, there was little he could do on 86 minutes as a ball squirmed across the box for Crompton to tap home and bring the scores level.

It looked like the visitors had stolen a point at the last but we responded exceptionally to conceding and should have got our winner on 89 minutes after Rio Kyerematen showed great strength and drive to get us moving in the heart of midfield. He then had the vision to release Lankshear but the striker couldn't then beat Young who produced an exceptional save.

We would find our winner though. Winning a free-kick 22 yards out from goal, having seen one from an almost identical position just moments before-hand, White shook off that frustration, kept his nerve and whipped home emphatically to win the game in the final minute cuing euphoric scenes at the Lamex.

Spurs 3-2 Sunderland (Premier League Cup)

Spurs: Gunter, Andiyapan (McKnight 60), Robson, Phillips, Dorrington, Craig (c) (Kyerematen 61), John, Santiago, White, Donley (Soonsup-Bell 82), Lankshear. Substitutes (not used): Maguire, Sayers.

Sunderland: Young, Crompton (Wilson 90), Taylor (c), Burke, Johnson (Fieldson 80), Triantis, Spellman, Chiabi (Jones 68), Thompson, Rigg, Gardiner (Pye 68). Substitutes (not used): Metcalfe.

Match data

Goals: Spurs – Donley 21 (pen), Santiago 37, White 90+8; Sunderland – Taylor 30, Crompton 86

Yellow cards: Spurs - White 90+2; Sunderland - Triantis 75, 90+11, Rigg 90+4.

Red card: Triantis: 90+11.

Referee: Gary Parsons

Venue: The Lamex Stadium, Stevenage

Weather: Light rain, 17 degrees.