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Under-21s victorious over Seagulls

Spurs 3-1 Brighton & Hove Albion (Premier League 2)

Sat 11 February 2023, 16:20|Tottenham Hotspur

Romaine Mundle scored twice as our resurgent Under-21s made it three wins on the bounce with a deserved victory over Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday afternoon.

Leading 1-0 at half-time through a sumptuous curler from the attacking midfielder, we saw a number of chances go to waste before Yago Santiago added a second in the 54th minute following a mistake by visiting goalkeeper Fynn Talley.

Brighton hit back almost immediately through substitute Marcus Ifill, but after a couple more big opportunities for us, including a header off the bar from Malachi Fagan-Walcott, Mundle completed a 3-1 win after snatching the ball high up the pitch, running on and planting past Talley.

The result at Hotspur Way continued our 100 per cent record in the Premier League 2 since the turn of the year and lifted us out of the drop zone, although we have played a game more than Wolves and Leicester City below us.

Coach Wayne Burnett handed a debut to January signing Jude Soonsup-Bell up front and the former Chelsea striker impressed throughout - indeed, he saw a shot at goal charged down inside 12 minutes after a good foray into the box by Kallum Cesay, while he also set up Santiago for a golden chance mid-way through the first half, but the winger's shot from inside the box was saved by Talley and he could only turn the rebound wide. Between those openings, Fagan-Walcott's back-post header went over the bar from a tight angle while midfielder Max Robson, pressed into duty at right-back with a handful of players out injured, caused Brighton problems with some menacing runs in the early going as part of a hard-working overall display.

We deservedly opened the scoring on 35 minutes with a fine piece of quality from Mundle, who cut in from the left flank and curled a beautiful shot into the far top corner. And after Alfie Devine flicked a header wide from a subsequent Mundle free-kick and Cesay guided a shot wide one-on-one against Talley, you felt we deserved more than the one-goal lead we had at the break.

Devine sent a near-post header from a corner into the side netting as we started the second half in the same pressing manner and after Talley scuffed a clearance straight to Santiago, the attacker took a touch to set himself up in the box before firing home to double our lead. The two-goal advantage lasted all of one minute, though, as Cameron Peupion picked out Ifill on the opposite side of the box and he rifled home from the left angle.

In spite of the setback, we continued to push forward, forcing the Seagulls into mistakes. Talley again gifted possession to Santiago after spilling the ball in the process of making a save, but this time the winger could only put it wide, while Devine hooked a left-footed attempt just off-target as more opportunities came and went. Ifill could have got Brighton back on level terms but only found the side netting from the left angle inside the box before Fagan-Walcott was somehow unable to convert Santiago's header back across goal following Mundle's free-kick, the defender heading against the bar and subsequently not managing to turn the rebound over the line.

Thankfully, we eventually found the third goal our play deserved when Mundle won the ball in the visitors' territory, advanced towards the box and sent Talley the wrong way with his 65th-minute shot. Brooklyn Lyons-Foster and Cesay later had near misses as we remained very much on the front foot for the rest of the game, with the three points proving just reward following another good team performance.

'We had control of the game for large parts'

Coach Wayne told SPURSPLAY afterwards: "It's really pleasing - we're pleased with the performance, obviously with the result too, we had control of the game for large parts and overall I felt we deserved to win. We created lots and lots of chances. It was a brilliant first goal from Mundle where he cut inside - he's capable of that - and then we managed to get the second, which we probably should have added sooner. It was pleasing that we managed to get the second but then we haven't defended properly, we've probably still focused on the second goal and they've managed to get a goal back, but I felt confident because we were creating chances and we just had to capitalise on those. I was most pleased with our energy and I've said it previously - when this group of players play with energy and apply themselves correctly, we can be a very difficult team to play against and I think we showed that again today."

On debutant Soonsup-Bell, Wayne added: "We like Jude, he's a player that has qualities, he's a player that gives us something a little bit different, wants to run in behind but he works tirelessly as well and he showed that today. He's probably not had as much football as he'd have liked of late, but he's come in and he's played 80 minutes and made a massive contribution to the team. The small details... with the first goal he's managed to defend at the corner, then he's pressed the goalkeeper for Romaine's second and like I say, he works tirelessly for the team, so I thought he had a very good first game for us."

Spurs 3-1 Brighton & Hove Albion (Premier League 2)

Spurs: Keeley, Robson (Abbott 89), Paskotsi, Lyons-Foster, Fagan-Walcott, Craig (c), Santiago, Cesay, Soonsup-Bell (Williams 82), Devine, Mundle (Mathurin 90+2). Substitutes (not used): Gunter, Sayers.

Brighton & Hove Albion: Talley, Offiah, Samuels, Jackson, Packham (Barrington 46), Hinshelwood, Nilsson, Hinchy (c) (Everitt 75), O'Mahony (Baker-Boaitey 75), Peupion, Mullins (Ifill 46). Substitute (not used): Reid.

Match data

Goals: Spurs - Mundle 35, 65, Santiago 54; Brighton - Ifill 55.

Yellow cards: Spurs - Robson 82, Cesay 88; Brighton - Hinchy 73.

Referee: Ben Atkinson.

Venue: Hotspur Way, Enfield.

Weather: Light cloud, light winds, 11 degrees.