Under-21s enjoy perfect start to new year with victory at Liverpool
Liverpool 0-2 Spurs (Premier League 2)
Sun 08 January 2023, 14:00|Tottenham Hotspur
Our Under-21s made the ideal start to 2023 as they earned a 2-0 win away at Liverpool on Sunday afternoon in the Premier League 2.
Having endured a frustrating first half of the campaign with six draws and seven defeats recorded from our opening 13 games, three points were much needed for Wayne Burnett's side and, when Reds defender Calvin Ramsay was shown a red card on 21 minutes for a foul on Romaine Mundle, you thought it might just be our day.
While we had the upper hand in terms of numbers though, we still had to find a way to make that count, and that was easier said than done as Harvey Davies enjoyed a fine opening period between the sticks for our opponents, denying us on numerous occasions. But, despite Davies' best efforts and his side's resolve, we did manage to find a way through as, on the stroke of half-time, Jamie Donley popped up to break the deadlock and his duck at this level. Looking for a way back into the game, our hosts continued to fight in the second period, looking a threat throughout, and we had to be thankful for some superb stops from returning goalkeeper Alfie Whiteman to maintain our lead.
Yet, with 10 minutes to go, we found and took the opportunity to make sure of all three points as Malachi Fagan-Walcott rose highest in the box to flick home a Harvey White cross.
With Liverpool sitting third heading into the game, it was our hosts that started the brightest, enjoying a number of openings in the early stages but without really testing Whiteman. However, come the 21st minute, the control of proceedings entirely flipped as Ramsay clipped the heels of Mundle as he bore down on goal.
From there, we went on the offensive and looked to make inroads into the game. One of our best openings came on 39 minutes but we were denied by an impressive double save from Davies, the goalkeeper first parrying an Alfie Devine strike before immediately diving to prevent Donley from close range. A minute later, Davies once again denied Donley, this time a left-angled drive. The striker though was not to be denied a third time as in the second minute of injury time he collected a lofted pass from Kallum Cesay and took a touch before slotting it into the right-hand corner.
Having fallen behind, our hosts naturally went on the front foot looking for a response as we moved into the second half - and perhaps they would have found that had it not been for some heroics from Whiteman. It was two huge chances for the Reds in the space of four minutes and both fell to Bobby Clark. The first saw him wriggle through our defensive line but Whiteman was quick off his line to smother any effort. The second was quite simply stunning - a one-handed diving save to divert Clark's drive from the left. On 72 minutes, Jarell Quansah then had a free header from a set-piece from the left but he couldn't generate enough power to beat Whiteman.
As the depleted Reds tired though, we began to dominate possession once more and we used that pressure to secure all three points. From a corner on 80 minutes, substitute Nile John was first denied by Davies with a strike from 12 yards but, when the ball was recycled with White able to cross back in from the right, Fagan-Walcott leapt above Lee Jonas to head home and earn us our first win of the season.
Reaction on SPURSPLAY
Highlights on SPURSPLAY
Liverpool 0-2 Spurs (Premier League 2)
Liverpool: Davies, Ramsay, Chambers, Quansah, Jonas, Corness (c), Doak (Stephenson 46), Jones (Cain 46), Frauendorf (Blair 78), Clark, Norris. Substitutes (not used): Musialowski, Kelly.
Spurs: Whiteman, Cesay, Paskotsi (John 62), Fagan-Walcott, Lyons-Foster, Craig (c), Donley, White, Santiago, Devine, Mundle (Lankshear 88). Substitutes (not used): Hayton, Sayers, Mathurin.
Goals: Spurs - Donley 45+2, Fagan-Walcott 80.
Yellow cards: Liverpool - Blair; Spurs - Devine.
Red card: Liverpool - Ramsay.
Referee: Daniel Middleton.
Venue: Liverpool Academy.
Weather: Chilly with showers, six degrees.