A Tim Sherwood-led Spurs XI successfully overcame a plucky Kingstonian outfit 2-1 to get their pre-season campaign off to a winning start. The goals, courtesy of Ryan Mason and Jack Barthram, were enough to see off the Isthmian League outfit, despite the away side ending the game with nine-men, after Mason and Nathan Byrne limped off late on with cramp.
It was an impressive victory for the youth side, with Mason being the oldest player for Spurs at just 21-years-old. Despite a shaky start to the encounter, the North London side quickly began to find their stride and, lining up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, grew into the game as the first half wore on. Eventually, the gulf in class shone through and Spurs were able to take the initiative after 50 minutes.
The first, courtesy of Mason, came just after the restart. The 21-year-old, captain for the evening, did well to turn two Kingstonian defenders, before driving from the halfway line towards goal. Despite support in the middle for the midfielder, Mason continued his run and fired brilliantly past Rob Tolfrey at the near post to make it 1-0.
In the 69th minute, it was 2-0 courtesy of substitute Barthram. Kevin Stewart, excellent at left-back, was played through by Jack Munns. Stewart looked to be fouled in the 18-yard box, but Barthram, who replaced Alex Pritchard, was on hand to tap home into an empty net to double the advantage.
With five minutes to go, substitute Simon Clayton was felled by Jordan Archer in the area, leaving the referee little choice but to point to the spot. Andre McCollin was on hand to bury the ball in the bottom corner to set up a tense five minutes, but nine-man Spurs held on for the win.
All three goals can be seen here.
After the game, Sherwood on the performance said: “It was a good performance; they’re only young boys.
“They came up against men, playing in men’s football and I thought they did well.
“They moved the ball around after the first 20 minutes.
“They were a little bit shell-shocked with the physicality of it, but after that, they moved the ball well.”
I couldn’t agree more with Sherwood on the performance. It was a very scrappy opening 20 minutes, but once Spurs began to play the ball around, they did well to control the game. Furthermore, it was good to see Sherwood and Les Ferdinand shouting orders from the touchline. Both knew exactly what they were talking about when giving instructions to the players and it is evident to see the youth teamers highly respect the duo and their coaching ways.
Players that stood out
Having witnessed little of the Lionel Messi look-a-like following his arrival from Barcelona last summer, it is clear to see he received his coaching from a young age at La Masia. Some of his passes and tricks may not have paid off on the night, but he worked hard and at just 19 years of age, has room to improve. It would be good to see him get some first-team action in the Europa League next season.
Much has been made of Mason in the past and he didn’t disappoint in the win. Netted the opener with a superb individual effort and controlled proceedings in the middle of the park. Injury problems have perhaps hampered his impact on the first-team, but if he can overcome these, he could become a real asset in the future. Like Ceballos, it would be good to see him gain some Europa League experience.
After the game, having tweeted him about his goal and injury, Mason replied “cheers mate, just a bit of cramp its been a long summer lol [sic].”
Pritchard has received a lot of hype on blogs and forums, with Windy in particular singing his praises, and he is capable to living up to the potential. Interlinking with Mason and Ceballos behind John Bostock, the Kingstonian back-line were struggling to contain the trio, with the 19-year-old enjoying the freedom going forward. Showed good awareness in the first-half to get his shot away after a short corner from Ceballos, which was well saved by Tolfrey.
Playing behind Mason and alongside Tomislav Gomelt, Nabil Bentaleb was regularly on hand to receive the ball from the back-four and make things happen. Regularly found space and was able to pick his pass, he did well at creating chance for the front-men.
Nathan Byrne and Kevin Stewart
Both were excellent getting forward and defensively aware as they stretched the Kingstonian defence. Nathan Byrne, in particular, was up and down the right-back flank all evening before being forced off with cramp late-on.
Hard to believe he is only 16-years-old, but the young Milos Veljkovic was particularly impressive once again. Showing mature performances beyond his age; looked assured when called upon alongside Grant Hall.
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