Tottenham Hotspur Under- 21s side secured a hard fought 2-1 win over West Ham United Under- 21’s at Stevenage Broadhall Way last night.
The Spurs side had significant experience, with Tom Carroll, who spent last season on loan at Queens Park Rangers and Ryan Fredericks, who had a spell with Millwall, both included in the starting line-up.
West Ham named goalkeeper Raphael Spiegel – currently out on loan at Crawley Town – between the sticks.
With the game being played at a frenetic pace, it was West Ham who had the first real effort as Blair Turgott, another player with Football League experience, forced Harry Voss into a smart save.
Soon after it was Spiegel’s turn to be called into action as first he turned away Emmanuel Sonupe’s effort and then he reacted well to tip behind Cristian Ceballos’ strike.
The visitors very nearly took the lead however, as Elliot Lee glanced Kieran Bywater’s inviting free-kick wide of the mark.
Barely five minutes later, the Hammers would live to rue that miss as Josh Onomah played Daniel Akindayini in behind, and despite having a lot to do, he finished well beyond Spiegel to hand Spurs the lead.
With the home side holding their lead until the interval, it was West Ham who started the second half the brighter and a moment of magic from Bywater drew them level on 53 minutes.
The youngster curled in his free-kick from a tight angle into the top corner to drag the Hammers back into the contest.
Akindayini had a golden opportunity to restore Spurs’ lead a short time later when he was unable to connect sufficiently with Ceballos’ cross after Carroll had charged down a clearance.
Up the other end of the pitch, the high tempo at which the game was being played did not subside and Voss was forced into two smart saves in as many minutes to deny Lee.
The first was an effort from around 15 yards but the second was arguably the save of the game as he somehow got his body in front of an effort from point black range following a Matthias Fanimo cross.
As the game entered its final stages, Ceballos might have thought he should have turned home Carroll’s cross and given his side the lead once more but the chance went begging.
Yet he wasn’t about to be denied much longer when he lashed his effort from the right side of the box past West Ham’s Spiegel with what proved to be the winning goal on 74 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur: Voss; Fredericks, Ball, Veljkovic (c), McQueen; Carroll, Winks; Sonupe (Oduwa, 46), Onomah (Lesniak, 69), Ceballos (Miller, 75); Akindayini.
Subs: Glover (GK), Coulibaly.
West Ham United: Spiegel, Westley, Potts (c), Poyet, Oxford, Burke, Turgott (Sadlier, 74), Cullen (J Brown, 84), Lee, Bywater, Lletget (Fanimo, 64).
Subs: T Brown (GK), Page.