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Five-star Under-21s secure big win at Colchester

Colchester United 0-5 Spurs (EFL Trophy)

Tue 19 September 2023, 21:50|Tottenham Hotspur

Four goals in 20 second-half minutes blew Colchester United away as our Under-21s stormed to their biggest-ever win in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday night.

Leading 1-0 at the break through the superb Jamie Donley, who has roots in the Colchester area, we produced an excellent performance to romp to a 5-0 victory at the JobServe Community Stadium, Donley adding another to his tally with Jude Soonsup-Bell also bagging a well-taken brace and Will Lankshear heading home, moments before being replaced by Alejo Veliz for his debut in our colours.

Josh Keeley made a couple of important saves at the other end as the League Two side, who made 11 changes from their weekend draw with Mansfield Town, applied spells of pressure at times, but once we got into our stride there was no stopping us as we continued our 100 per cent start to the season at this level and put an early three points on the board in Southern Group D.

We had to bide our time at the start of the game with Yago Santiago, Soonsup-Bell and Lankshear all firing wastefully over the bar whenever we managed to find a sight of goal but once the opener arrived, we really took control. Soonsup-Bell was key, advancing down the right and driving a low ball into the box for Donley to shift himself into a shooting position before converting from the right angle with 33 minutes played. Tom Hopper nearly equalised for Colchester, his looping header tipped onto the woodwork by Keeley before Alfie Dorrington scrambled the ball behind - the resulting two corners also caused us problems - but it was at the other end where the majority of the chances were starting to come, Tyrell Ashcroft stinging the palms of Tom Smith after finding space for a shot in the area as half-time approached.

Soonsup-Bell scored a crucial second on 53 minutes to really dent the hosts' hopes of taking anything from the game, roaming across the edge of the box from right to left before picking his spot and rifling home and from there we took off, Donley doubling his tally with a low shot into the bottom corner after Ashcroft's knock-down three minutes later before the latter supplied another assist for goal number four on the hour mark, his excellent cross from the right nodded in by Lankshear at the back post.

That was Lankshear's last action of the game as summer signing Veliz - on his 20th birthday - was introduced for a planned half-hour shift, the striker immediately coming up with some clever play to keep us on the front foot after receiving a nice reception from the healthy away following in attendance.

We rounded off the scoring 17 minutes from time, Soonsup-Bell with another sumptuous left-footed finish from the edge of the box which flew inside the far post, although Mauro Bandeira could have bagged a consolation for the hosts three minutes later, closing in at the far post after Keeley had parried the ball into his path, only to be denied by a superb last-ditch block from Charlie Sayers. Veliz subsequently went through on goal a couple of times as he looked to round off his debut by adding his name to the scoresheet, but on both occasions he was denied by Smith.

Colchester, who introduced our former Academy player Chay Cooper in the second half, kept fighting until the end but we were superb on the night and fully deserved the victory.

Reaction on SPURSPLAY

'We scored some really good goals'

Under-21s Coach Wayne Burnett was delighted with the manner of his side's victory, telling SPURSPLAY afterwards: "To come to a Football League club and get a result - and score five goals - is pretty good. We played some really good stuff this evening, scored some really good goals and had some really good performances so I'm very, very pleased. I felt that we got into some good positions in the first half but didn't really capitalise on that and our shooting was a little wayward but it was certainly different in the second half and we scored some really good goals. Jamie Donley played with energy and enthusiasm, you can see his quality and I really liked his performance this evening, I thought he was outstanding. Jude as well, he scored two goals and I thought Will Lankshear worked tirelessly. Our front players were very good, looked dangerous and we created more opportunities than the 5-0 scoreline suggests."

On the involvement of Veliz in the second half, Wayne added: "The first team wanted Ale to play, it was a planned 30 minutes. You can see his quality, you can see the runs he makes and he's certainly an exciting prospect."

Colchester United 0-5 Spurs (EFL Trophy)

Colchester United: Smith, Greenidge, Nelson (Cooper 60), Beadle, Bandeira (Thorn 76), Jay (Mitchell 60), Thomas, Mingi (Chilvers 60), Newby, Hopper (c) (Tovide 60), Ihionvien. Substitutes (not used): Hornby, Bennett.

Spurs: Keeley, Ashcroft (Robson 81), Dorrington, Phillips, Sayers, Craig (c) Lyons-Foster (Cassanova 81), Donley (Andiyapan 89), Santiago, Lankshear (Veliz 62), Soonsup-Bell (Kyerematen 81). Substitutes (not used): Maguire, McKnight.

Match data

Goals: Spurs - Donley 33, 56, Soonsup-Bell 53, 73, Lankshear 60.

Yellow cards: Colchester - Hopper 22, Tovide 71, Ihionvien 87; Spurs - Santiago 15, Lyons-Foster 73, Donley 81.

Referee: Sunny Singh Gill.

Venue: JobServe Community Stadium, Colchester.

Weather: Cloudy, mild, 17 degrees.

Attendance: 1,895.