Terry Westley’s U23 side’s impressive unbeaten run was abruptly ended by a sublime Tottenham Hotspur with an incredible 7-2 thrashing in the first round of matches for the group stage of the 2017 Premier League Two International Cup.
In a remarkable 90 minutes, our starlets were awarded none other than four penalties by referee Alan Young, as the hosts needed no second chance to take their opportunities at Stevenage’s Lamex Stadium.
Westley decided to rest most of the main youngsters who had contributed to our barnstorming 5-2 league triumph over Swansea City last Sunday, making six changes.
Among those who didn’t feature from the start were, Dan Kemp and Nathan Trott who are away on England Youth duty, with Nathan Holland and star man Toni Martinez rested to the bench.
However, the hosts had revenge on their minds after our comeback victory over Wayne Burnett’s men last week and named a similar side to the one that was fielded that day at Hotspur Lane.
That very team boasted some of England’s most exciting prospects with the likes of Shilow Tracey, Dylan Duncan, and Joe Pritchard all starting.
The strength of the home side proved too much for our weakened youngsters in the early stages, just like in the previous encounter.
It took all of 11 minutes for The Lilywhites to find the breakthrough in the form of a powerful free header from Congolese International Christian Maghoma to convert a Pritchard corner.
Just moments later, they doubled their lead as Kazaiah Sterling burst through on goal to finish past our Trialist between the sticks after receiving a ball from Tracey.
The action was soon coming thick and fast in Hertfordshire as we were awarded the first of our penalties on 16 minutes, only for Joe Powell to see his effort saved by Alfie Whiteman.
However, we would be thrown a lifeline just before the break as Anthony Scully was successful from the penalty spot.
Spurs would start the second-half in the same vein that they started the match and soon restored their two-goal advantage thanks to Joe Pritchard who capitalized on some poor defending to finish well under pressure. the goal would be the start of a crazy period in the game.
The following nine minutes would see four goals for the hosts as Samuel Shashoua added a double, with Dylan Duncan and Kazaiah Sterling also getting in on the act, to make it an incredible 7-1 to their side in only the 68th minute.
Incredibly, the drama didn’t end there as we were awarded yet another penalty in the 80th minute, with Whiteman pulling off a second fantastic save to deny substitute Antonio Martinez.
But just 30 seconds later, Martinez would convert our fourth spot kick for his third goal of the season.
However, Burnett’s boys had done more than enough to rule out a comeback this time around.
The thumping victory is a valid follow on from last week’s 3-0 drubbing of Manchester United for Spurs, with attentions now turning to their next PL2 outing against Everton at Goodison Park in ten days’ time.
For our bright youngsters, embarrassment at The Lamex tarnishes an otherwise perfect start to the season, as our first ever Premier League International Cup fixture ends in defeat.
We will have to rely on winning our other Group F ties against Benfica and Villarreal to have a chance of Qualifying for The Knockout Round, but the immediate focus will now turn to the PL2 trip to The King Power Stadium on September 11.
So, can our bright starlets get their campaign back on track on the same night that Slaven Bilic’s first team try to emulate them against Huddersfield Town?