In front of a bumper crowd of 866, our celebratory pre-season friendly against a Tottenham Hotspur under-23 development squad was a roaring success on Tuesday night despite us going down 4-0 to understandably slicker, more skilfull opponents, writes Andrew Warshaw.
Spurs showed their class on the pitch with a superb display of passing and movement, and off it when special guest and Tottenham ambassador Gary Mabbutt presented the signed shirt and ball to the winners of the auction, respectively – James Patman who with his brother John jointly bid £475 and Kirk Wilson who bid £210, much-needed funds for which we are most grateful.
Very much like last Saturday, we lined up with a mixture of familiar names and young triallists in what was a challenging but highly useful workout in the evening heat against polished opponents, some of whom were on the fringes of the Tottenham first team last season and were always going to cause us problems.
A rare mistake by Nathan McDonald, his clearance going straight to a Spurs player, almost proved costly from the off but after seven minutes McDonald could nothing about an unstoppable strike from J’Neil Bennett, who in March 2019 scored the first-ever goal at Tottenham’s new stadium in an Under-18 test event. Moments later the same player’s 25-yard thunderbolt struck the bar and appeared to cross the line, only for it to be ruled out.
It was hard for the boys to gain a foothold in the game and McDonald pulled off a couple of terrific saves to keep Spurs at bay.
But it was only a matter of time before our visitors scored again, this time from Kion Etete, who earlier had another effort cleared off the line. Six minutes later it was game over as skipper Jubril Okedina headed home a corner off a Towners defender.
Defenders Rian Bray and Charley O’Keefe, two of our new signings who made their Towners debuts at Cockfosters, will rarely have a tougher test but it will certainly stand them in good stead. Both showed they will be key players in the months ahead. Among the other starters of note, Sam Youngs and Lee Chappell made their first pre-season appearances.
Our only notable first-half effort in what was, in truth, an onslaught was a Sam Youngs snapshot but although Spurs completed the scoring six minutes after the break through Dilan Markanday, the management team will have taken some encouragement from the second-half display following a number of halftime changes, especially considering we are unlikely to face anywhere near that standard in the league.
For most of the second period, we managed to limit Spurs to few further chances whilst carving out a couple of our own, one from Junior Mubiayi who looked sharp when he came on and another from a triallist.
All in all, a fantastic evening with a wonderful atmosphere. Next up FC United of Manchester on Saturday in what promises to be another memorable occasion.
Enfield Town: McDonald, Trialist, Chappell, Thomas (c), Bray, O’Keefe, Trialist, Youngs, Trialist, Taaffe, Nzembela.
Substitutes: Urquhart, Kiangebeni, Maja, Gyebi, Mubiayi, Walsh, Trialist, Trialist. Spurs: Lo-Tutala (Oluwayemi 67), Lavinier (Cassanova 67), Hackett (Kyezu 67), Matthew Craig (Michael Craig 67), Muir (J Davies 67), Okedina (c), Mundle (Haysman 67), Santiago (Lyons-Foster 46), Etete, Markanday (Bowden 46), Bennett (Mathurin 67).
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