Going into the game Stevenage knew that a draw would ensure they topped Group D of the Papa John’s Trophy, Tottenham had a tall order of having to win by a six-goal swing to progress in the competition, and even that would need the game between Wycombe and Peterborough to end a draw.
These two sides have played each other before in this competition as last season Tottenham ran out 4-3 winners against ‘Boro. Tottenham would certainly take that result again this time round as the academy are yet to register a win this season.
Stevenage dominated the first half, controlling the game with a greater share of possession. Tottenham rarely ventured into Stevenage’s half, Yago Alonso had Spurs’ best chance in the first half an hour as he dribbled through Stevenage’s backline and got himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper, only to hit it straight at the home side’s keeper, Aaron Chapman.
Stevenage kept probing and eventually found their breakthrough in the 24th minute as full-back Max Clark crossed the ball towards Tottenham’s box, Stevenage’s Jordan Roberts committed himself the most and poked the ball into the right of Tottenham’s goal.
In the 42nd minute it looked as though Tottenham could be in on goal as Jamie Donley picked up on a loose ball, the forward threaded through Yago Alonso, but the striker frustratingly slipped, letting the ball and chance run away from him.
Referee Samuel Barrott called time on the first half and Tottenham couldn’t have many complaints about the score as Stevenage had looked the more mature and better side for the first 45 minutes and ultimately deserved their lead.
The second half starts a lot more evenly than the first, Tottenham are manufacturing more chances for themselves and start to test the Stevenage defence.
However, the spell of dominance is ended by Nile John giving away a freekick in Stevenage’s half, a foul that is awarded with a booking for John.
John finds himself at the heart of the action again as he weaves his way through Stevenage’s defence but Stevenage’s captain, Vancooten denies the midfielder as soon as he starts to pull the trigger.
Tottenham become aware of the increasingly slim chances of them progressing and give minutes to Lyons-Foster and summer signing Will Lankshear.
Despite bringing on attack-minded players Tottenham find themselves having to defend again, and Stevenage may have even scored if it wasn’t for Fagan-Walcott’s sliding block.
The game starts to draw to a close, and it seems as if the result will finish unchanged, but it didn’t mean there still wasn’t to be late drama as Nile John is sent off for a second bookable offence after he slides in on Stevenage’s Jake Taylor.; a harsh end to a largely impressive evening from the 19-year-old.
The full-time whistle is blown and Tottenham continue to be winless so far in the 2022/23 campaign but this performance wasn’t without positives as Yago Alonso showed promising signs and trickery up front, Malachi Fagan-Walcott put in an impressive defensive display and Nile John was probably Tottenham’s most dangerous player despite his late dismissal.
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