Fleet 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Fleet twice took the lead but saw themselves pegged back both times as Tottenham’s U23s departed the Kuflink Stadium with a draw.

There was another goal for Ayo Obileye and a screamer by Aswad Thomas to light up the occasion for home fans as the Fleet enjoyed the upper hand for large parts of the game.

Spurs fielded former Fleet youth star Shilow Tracey and named five youth internationals in their squad of 18 but it was the home side who impressed first. Gozie Ugwu’s strength gained him some space to the right of the box on four minutes but his shot was always rising and cleared Edward Smith’s crossbar.

Obileye, who had started the previous friendlies in midfield, took up a more advanced position and he fired an effort just wide after Jamie Grimes had found Ugwu in space with a fine delivery from a free-kick. Moments later, Alex Lawless skimmed a low shot just past the near post from the right wing.

The Tottenham youngsters grew into the game and began to demonstrate good technical ability as they kept possession and forced Fleet to chase them down, but for all the ball retention, there was little to trouble the home defence.

And on the quarter-hour mark it was Fleet who went ahead. A corner from the left was at a perfect height for the tall frame of Obileye to get above two markers and power a header beyond Smith for 1-0.

A flurry of chances followed, with Myles Weston side-stepping the Spurs defence to supply trialist Alfie Egan and his effort was just off-target. Goalkeeper Smith got down well to deny Ugwu before a break at the other end saw Tracey power through and crash a shot into the side netting.

Ugwu and Trialist A directed chances goalwards after that but the action died down for the final 25 minutes of the half as Spurs passed the ball well but neither goalkeeper was taxed.

Tottenham made changes at half-time and it immediately paid dividends – though their equaliser had everything to do with Fleet’s self-destruct button. Inside the first minute of the second period, Grimes misjudged a back pass and Ashmore had time to barely even scramble after it as he was resigned to it bouncing over the line.

The disappointment lasted only two minutes. As Spurs cleared their lines from the next Fleet attack, Aswad Thomas was on to the ball in a flash 25 yards out and arrowed an exquisite shot, fine and true, into the top corner beyond Smith to regain the lead.

Spurs looked more adventurous as the second half progressed, fired up chiefly by substitute Kazaiah Sterling, who played in League One with Sunderland last season, as well as Rayan Clarke’s introduction.

On 55 minutes, Spurs inadvertently cleared their own chance out of the Fleet six-yard box as the goal opened up for Sterling and Clarke was denied a path to goal by a superb Lawless tackle at his feet, the former Orient man always tidy and controlled in midfield.

Sean Shields’ introduction on 65 minutes allowed for some trademark twists on the left wing and he got a shot away that Smith blocked before the goalkeeper gathered Weston’s accurate blast on the target.

More subs came and went over the course of the next 10 minutes, including two more Fleet trialists (one of which had played at K Sports and Dartford). Academy striker Tahjeh Anderson also got 15 minutes while Zach Dainkeh enjoyed almost 40 second-half minutes to show what he could do.

Anderson wasn’t far off making it three goals in three games when Spurs’ substitute goalkeeper Oluwayemi spilled a high ball and the Fleet striker’s header dropped on top of the net.

But the visitors equalised eight minutes from time when substitutes Paris Maghoma and Elliott Thorpe combined, the former’s shot blocked by Shields but the latter finishing the chance off from close range.

Anderson stretched for a good ball into the Spurs box in response and Trialist D tried a neat flick-on from Shields’ supply line but it was the North Londoners who probably should have won it late on.

Grimes’ back pass to former Canvey Island goalkeeper Harry Palmer was short and although the substitute did well to get down and block the advancing Spurs attacker, he was powerless to prevent Maghoma’s long-range effort towards an empty goal that somehow veered off course at the last moment.

Fleet now look to Tuesday and the visit of a strong Charlton Athletic side to the Kuflink Stadium.

EUFC: Ashmore (Palmer 75), Wilson (Trialist C), Thomas, Lawless, King, Grimes, Weston, Egan (Shields 60), Trialist A (Trialist D), Obileye (Dainkeh 52), Ugwu (Anderson 75).
THFC: Smith, Okendina, Cirtlin, Lyons-Foster, Statham, Dinzeyi, Markanday, Hinds, Richards, Oakley-Boothe, Tracey. Subs: Oluwayemi, Maghoma, Shashoua, Reynolds, Thorpe, Clarke, Sterling


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