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Under-21s' perfect run ended by Hammers with draw at Hotspur Way

Spurs 1-1 West Ham (Premier League 2)

Sat 17 February 2024, 13:58|Tottenham Hotspur

Our 100 per cent record in the Premier League 2 in 2023/24 came to an end on Saturday afternoon as we were held to a 1-1 draw with second-placed West Ham United at Hotspur Way.

Having won each of our first 11 games of the campaign in the development league, our Under-21s were forced to settle for a point against the Hammers after Yago Santiago 67th-minute effort cancelled out Sean Moore's opener on 55 minutes.

The result sees us remain top of the Premier League 2 table with our four-point lead over the east London outfit intact while we also have two games in hand.

Wayne Burnett was forced into a number of changes for the game, particularly at the heart of defence as a lack of centre back options saw midfielders Dante Cassanova and George Abbott line up alongside each other.

In our forward line, both Jamie Donley and Dane Scarlett returned to the our Under-21s line up while Ryan Sessegnon also marked his return to action, starting his first competitive game since playing for our first team away at Preston in last January's FA Cup fourth round tie.

In a season where we have been able enjoy a certain consistency in selection in the Premier League 2, it was clear the enforced changes would naturally take some time to bed in as we took the side sitting directly behind us in the league table. And that was noticeable on six minutes as the Hammers strode forward before Levi Laing skied over from the edge of the area.

However, after a slow start by our high standards this term, we grew into the game and had two good opportunities as we approached the midway stage of the first half. On 15 minutes, Scarlett headed into the arms of goalkeeper Jacob Knightbridge from Sessegnon's knockdown before Tyrese Hall hit the post with a trivela shot from the edge of the box five minutes later.

Despite our improvements, West Ham were showing why have been such a force in the division this season and we were thankful to goalkeeper Aaron Maguire on a number of occasions as we kept the game at deadlock by the break. First the shot stopper claimed Lewis Orford's header from a corner well before he did brilliantly to palm Junior Robinson's angle drive away for a corner. As the Hammers' pressure increased in the half, we were also thankful to Premier League 2 Player of the Month Will Lankshear who, having won the award for a purple patch in front of goal with five goals in two games, showed his defensive prowess to get back and clear Luizao's header off our line.

We should have taken the lead nine minutes after the break when Jude Soonsup-Bell was released at the end of a sensational free-flowing move up the centre of the field however, when Donley worked the ball out to him on the right, he couldn't keep his fierce effort on target. And we were made to rue that miss as less than a minute later, our visitors hit us on the counter attack with a long ball over the top picking out Moore before he cut inside and finished across Maguire into the near corner of the net.

As frustrating as it was to concede, that setback did seem to energise us further though as, from then on, we dominated proceedings and really took the game to the Hammers. And, after Lankshear had seen an effort well blocked, we were back on terms on 67 minutes as Santiago played a neat one-two with Nile John before curling home into the far corner with a sumptuous finish.

And, bar a brave save from Maguire to deny Kamarai Swyer, from there, it looked like we were going to go on and win the game as we created numerous opportunities. While Lankshear flicked a header wide just two minutes after we had levelled, Santiago came inches away from putting us ahead but just couldn't get a decisive touch on Soonsup-Bell's low cross across the face of goal. Then in the final minute of the game, Hall flashed an angle effort just wide of the mark.

Ultimately though, it finished a point apiece at our Enfield training base as we dropped points for the first time this season. Next up is a Premier League Cup clash with Fleetwood Town at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium - tickets are available now.

Spurs 1-1 West Ham (Premier League 2)

Spurs: Maguire, Soonsup-Bell, Ashcroft, Abbott (c), Cassanova, Hall, Santiago, Donley, Lankshear, Scarlett (John 46), Sessegnon (Linton 37). Substitutes (not used): Gunter, Williams, McKnight.

West Ham: Knightbridge, Robinson, Luizao, Orford, Laing, Casey (c), Moore (Clayton 82), Kelly, Swyer, Earthy, Scarles. Substitutes (not used): Terry, Tarima, Rigge, Halim.

Match data

Goals: Spurs - Santiago 67; West Ham - Moore 55.

Yellow card: Spurs - Scarlett 28, Linton 52; West Ham - Moore 44

Referee: Stephen Parkinson

Venue: Hotspur Way

Weather: Cloudy but dry, 14 degrees.