Enfield Town 0-0 Spurs U21
Town Hold Spurs’ Young Pros
Report by Andrew Warshaw
Just what the doctor ordered is perhaps the best way to sum up Tuesday night’s prestige friendly against a Tottenham Under-21 side.
Gavin and his management team got just what they asked for in terms of concentrating on how we performed off the ball, with players covering for each other and not leaving too many gaps for the visitors to exploit.
The crowd of 1,125 was a revelation, some 300 more than for the same fixture last season, and whilst there were no goals, there was plenty of encouragement for the rest of the pre-season campaign when the focus will switch to seeing how we take the game to opposition from the same level as us, or lower.
It was inevitable that our visitors, many of whom had trained with the Spurs senior team and won both the under-17 and under-18 Premier League Cup, would control the game and have almost all the possession.
But in truth, they didn’t carve out too many clearcut chances, the two best both saved — by Rhys Forster’s spectacular tip-over from Dante Cassanova in the first half (pictured) and Adi Connolly pushing Lyons-Foster’s deflected effort onto the upright in the second period.
Rio Kyerematen and Nile John missed further chances but although Tottenham’s pace and dribbling skills were there for all to see, we kept our shape throughout and closed off the spaces as best we could.
Just as against QPR on Saturday, Gavin fielded two separate elevens in each half, with five of our summer recruits playing the first 45 minutes and Reece Beckles-Richards making a promising Town debut when introduced after halftime.
Louis Birch’s lung-busting industry and Ollie Knight’s crossing ability will surely be huge assets and although he was still nursing an injury, it was encouraging to see Jake Cass do some light running on the touchline as he attempts to regain fitness.
“Very pleased with our night’s work,” said Gavin afterwards. “How often have we been broken down by two professional clubs, on Saturday and tonight? Not that often. Your out of possession work is worth a lot points.”
“What we saw in the last two games is what we’ve been working on in training. We can now tick that box to an extent and move on to what we want to build with the ball.”
“That’ll take some time. I’m still seeing things I don’t particularly like such as going long too quickly. We’ve got different ideas and the players are having to adapt. Having said that, they are not going to meet teams at Step 3 as sharp as Spurs in terms of closing down your passing options.”
Next up Bracknell on Saturday. “They’re a very good Step 3 side,” said Gavin. “It’s a good opportunity almost at the halfway stage of pre-season to see where we’re at against a side at our level.”
first half: Forster, Parcell (c), Payne, Birch, Trailist, Richmond, Bessadi, Youngs, Trialist, Wyllie, Knight.
Second half Connolly, Bailey, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist, Thomas (c), Taaffe, Trialist, Beckles-Richards, Trialist, Wilkes. Substitute: Trialist.