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#U21 #PL2 #MatchReport #LeedsUnited #JudeSoonsup-Bell

Jingle bells, Soonsup-Bell, three points all the way!

Spurs 1-0 Leeds United (Premier League 2)

Mon 18 December 2023, 21:04|Tottenham Hotspur

Jude Soonsup-Bell scored the only goal of the game to seal victory against Leeds United on Monday night and ensure our Under-21s remain top of the tree at Christmas with a 100 per cent record in the Premier League 2.

This time last year, we hadn't won a game at this level but fast forward 12 months and Wayne Burnett's charges have won EVERY game against Under-21 opposition - 13 matches in total, including the Premier League 2 and Premier League Cup. The only two games we've lost have been against first team sides in the EFL Trophy.

Soonsup-Bell was the match-winner on this occasion, glancing home Jamie Donley's cross just before half-time to settle an end-to-end contest at the Lamex Stadium, while a determined defensive performance against an always threatening Leeds side was rewarded with a clean sheet.

It means both our Under-21s and Under-18s sit atop their respective divisions as the action breaks for the festive period - a fine first half of the season for all concerned.

We named an unchanged side to that which beat Sunderland in the Premier League Cup last week but after a lightning-fast start on that occasion, it was more even this time, the woodwork rattled at both ends in an open, attacking contest. Rio Kyerematen arrived onto Yago Santiago's cut-back and tested Dani van den Heuvel with a rising shot, while Joe Snowdon cracked a left-footed shot against the crossbar and Luca Thomas went through one-on-one with Josh Keeley, only for the keeper to make himself big and block his deft attempt as Leeds showed their threats in the attacking areas.

Donley almost fired us ahead mid-way through the first half when he collected Soonsup-Bell's pass and took his shot on early from the edge of the box, forcing van den Heuvel to scramble down to his left and push the ball onto the post, while Soonsup-Bell dragged a low effort across goal and Donley's right-footed shot from Santiago's pass was pushed over the bar by the keeper. Luca Thomas then fizzed a first-time strike just over for Leeds before we took a 44th-minute lead, Donley playing a short corner routine with Brooklyn Lyons-Foster and hooking over a cross which Soonsup-Bell diverted home despite the presence of defender Connor Ferguson in front of him.

The frenetic action continued after the restart, Soonsup-Bell's fierce shot somehow kept out by van den Heuvel, who later denied Will Lankshear after a great first touch from Donley's equally smooth through ball saw the striker go storming through on goal.

Leeds maintained their threat, Keenan Carole denied by a superb tackle from behind by Lyons-Foster in the box as he was about to pull the trigger and Darko Gyabi seeing his glancing effort hit the far post with just over a quarter-of-an-hour left. Substitute Harvey Sutcliffe and Lewis Bate both went close with shots from the right angle inside the area in the latter stages, but we stood strong at the back to see out another impressive win.

'I'm delighted that we've kept a clean sheet and won again'

This win was particularly hard-fought and coach Wayne was again proud of his players for the way they got through it to maintain our winning momentum: "It was a very tough game, quite open in the first half, I thought we slightly edged it with the chances that we had, in the second half we had one or two very good chances, didn't take them in key moments and then in the last 15 minutes they came on quite strongly, but I'm delighted that we've kept a clean sheet and delighted that we've won again," he told SPURSPLAY.

"Credit to the players, they've work tirelessly and I'm delighted for the players and the staff that we've managed to win again. I've said on numerous occasions that training determines performance and that's shown at times. It's an absolute pleasure to work with this group - they come in and work hard every single day, they've shown real commitment, they want to learn and you can't ask for more than that. They know the expectation is high, our objective is still to try to hopefully help players become first team players but part of their development and growth is also about learning how to win and they've certainly done that this year in the league and the cup."

Reaction on SPURSPLAY

Spurs 1-0 Leeds United (Premier League 2)

Spurs: Keeley, Lyons-Foster, Robson (Linton 83), Dorrington, Ashcroft, Craig (c) (Cassanova 83), Soonsup-Bell (McKnight 79), Kyerematen, Lankshear, Donley, Santiago (Williams 90+4). Substitute (not used): Gunter.

Leeds United: Van den Heuvel, Mullen, Ferguson, Crew (Coleman 56), Hjelde, Moore (c), Snowdon, Bate, Thomas, Gyabi, Carole (Sutcliffe 73). Substitites (not used): Mahady, Monteiro, Debayo.

Match data

Goal: Spurs - Soonsup-Bell 44.

Yellow cards: Spurs - Soonsup-Bell 67, Donley 71, Dorrington 75; Leeds United - Bate 90+4.

Referee: Callum Walchester.

Venue: Lamex Stadium, Stevenage.

Weather: Cloudy, mild, 11 degrees.

Attendance: 643.