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Under-21s held at home by Reading

Spurs 2-2 Reading (Premier League 2)

Sat 06 April 2024, 15:50|Tottenham Hotspur

A late equaliser from substitute John Clarke saw 10-man Reading snatch a point as our Under-21s endured a disappointing day at a windswept Hotspur Way on Saturday.

Leading 2-0 inside 20 minutes through headers from Yago Santiago and Will Lankshear, we appeared to be in control, but we let it slip as Tom Holmes pulled one back for the visitors – also with a header – in the first half before Clarke swept home in the 88th minute to make it 2-2.

You sensed the Royals – who had played most of the second half with 10 men after Jack Senga-Ngoyi was shown a straight red card for his challenge on George Abbott shortly after the break – might have been able to take something from the game as we produced a below-par display for much of the second period and saw a succession of chances spurned over the course of the game, with Santiago and Jamie Donley hitting the woodwork, Lankshear having an effort cleared off the line and Tyrese Hall going close on a couple of occasions, including a golden chance in stoppage time which he turned over the bar.

Nevertheless, the point secured was enough to send us back to the top of the Premier League 2 table with four more games left before we enter the play-off stage of the competition.

We were in front in only 11 minutes as Donley’s corner was headed in by Santiago, who was completely free at the back post, before a great solo burst down the left from the latter saw him deliver a low cross which Lankshear converted with a brave diving header nine minutes later.

Aerial chances seemed to be a theme in the opening stages as Hall had a good opening, but couldn’t get enough on his header from Donley’s cross to trouble goalkeeper Coniah Boyce-Clarke, before the Royals pulled one back on 26 minutes as Holmes was left unmarked at the back post to plant home a header from a left-sided cross in the wake of a corner.

Santiago’s free-kick struck the crossbar at the other end, while the winger also had appeals for a penalty waved away when his cross appeared to hit the arm of Charlie Wellens in the box, before a rasping shot from Hall was clawed away by Boyce-Clarke as it arrowed towards the top corner in the lead-up to half-time.

Less than three minutes after the restart, Reading were left with a numerical disadvantage as Senga-Ngoyi was dismissed for his challenge on Abbott, the latter forced off a few minutes later after initially trying to play on. Donley had a chance to extend our lead but lashed off-target on his weaker right foot just prior to the hour mark, although the battling visitors almost snatched an equaliser a few moments later when John Ryan’s back-post shot from Adrian Akande’s cross hit team-mate Mamadi Camara, before the full-back’s second attempt was diverted behind by Luca Gunter.

Further opportunities came our way as Lankshear’s angled drive went through the hands of Boyce-Clarke at his near post, only for Louie Holzman to clear off the line, while Donley turned onto his left foot in space in the box, but his curling effort hit the bar. Lo and behold, we were punished two minutes from the end of normal time as Jeremiah Okine-Peters sent in a low delivery from the right on the counter, which fellow substitute Clarke turned home from the middle of the box, despite Gunter getting his hands to it. We stayed composed in an attempt to reclaim the lead, but our best chance to do so came and went in the fourth of seven added minutes as Hall arrived onto Donley’s corner unchallenged at the back post, but diverted the ball over the bar.

Spurs 2-2 Reading (Premier League 2)

Spurs: Gunter, McKnight (Kyerematen 75), Ashcroft, Abbott (c) (Robson 54), Dorrington, Hall, Ajayi (Soonsup-Bell 61), John, Lankshear, Donley, Santiago (Williams 75). Substitute (not used): Maguire.

Reading: Boyce-Clarke, Ryan, Carson, Senga-Ngoyi, Holzman, Holmes (c) (Stickland 46), Akande, Rushesha, Tuma (Okine-Peters 83), Wellens (Borgnis 83), Camara (Clarke 83). Substitute (not used): Sharlott.

Match data

Goals: Spurs – Santiago 11, Lankshear 20; Reading – Holmes 26, Clarke 88.

Yellow cards: Spurs – John 84, Dorrington 85; Reading – Holzman 9, Carson 73.

Red card: Reading – Senga-Ngoyi 48.

Referee: Aaron Farmer.

Venue: Hotspur Way.

Weather: Bright, gusty winds, 17 degrees.

Attendance: 174.