City & Spurs Re-Live Last Season's High Scoring Draw
MCFC Starting XI: Gunn(GK), Maffeo, Humphreys(Bryan 31), Evans, Smith-Brown(Intima 90), Glendon(Capt.), Nemane(Faupala 71), Garcia, Ambrose, Celina, Barker.
Goals: Ambrose(25), Garcia(47), Celina(90+2)
Unused Subs: Haug(GK), Horsfield.
City locked horns with the North Londoners at the Minihad having only just met them just over three months previously towards the end of last season and amazingly the outcome was exactly the same although the scoring pattern was different in that this game saw City hold an early second half lead but only briefly. A fine solo goal from Manu Garcia a second goal of the season for Thierry Ambrose after his long injury lay off and a stoppage time equalizer for Bersant Celina.
Right from the start seeing City’s line up who were facing a Spurs side that had put four goals past Everton at the beginning of the week you knew that they would struggle to keep a clean sheet against the Londoners.
We didn’t have long to see that prediction come true as right from the start Spurs were having far too much space in front of the fullbacks and so in the fifth minute Kenny McEvoy was given the freedom of the right hand side to be able to run around Smith-Brown and into the area and fire his right footed shot across Angus Gunn and into the far corner of the goal to give them the lead.
Just minutes later and again McEvoy was free inside the area on the right hand side and floated a ball over the top of Gunn which was probably more a cross but it drifted in and only the crossbar saved City’s blushes as Gunn was left completely stranded having rightly covered the angle at the near post.
It was then City’s turn to cause problems in front of goal and both times it was Celina that made Tom Glover work with a couple of decent saves in the Spurs goal. His first effort was when he came on to the ball with a fine twenty yard strike and the second was direct from a free kick from similar distance.
Then in a two minute spell we saw Spurs have chances to add to their lead with both chances coming to Shayon Harrison with the first being dubious; as in the build-up, Pablo Maffeo was clearly fouled but Gunn came off his line well and spread himself well to prevent the ball passing him. Then as City were trying to clear their lines from that attack they conceded a foul which gave Harrison stepped up to take the free kick but again Gunn covered his goalmouth well to produce another decent save.
But as quickly as those efforts came City were up the other end and thanks to fine work by Celina on the left hand side of the pitch where he forced his way past the defence with neat footwork and onto the bi-line where he pulled it back for Ambrose who held off his defender and shot in as he fell back and the ball forced its way through over the line.
Angus Gunn was perhaps at the centre of attention as far as action goes for the remainder of the half as he was involved in a collision with Harrison where he landed on top of him awkwardly and had to receive treatment for a fair few minutes and then near the end of the half he pulled off a great close range one handed save after McEvoy had cut in from the right and wriggled his way into space past the City defence.
City started the second half very brightly with Ambrose forcing his way past the Spurs defence on the right and firing across goal that went just wide.
Then perhaps the best goal of the game when Manu Garcia picked the ball up he had a wall of Spurs players in his vicinity and the defensive back line were all set and in place but somehow he took the ball past them playing an impromptu one two with one of the Spurs players before moving into the area but he seemed to slightly get in front of the ball but was still able to dig it out and fire into the top corner to give Glover absolutely no chance of saving it.
Just five minutes later saw Spurs level when the ball was crossed in there was Ismail Azzaoui who fired in but the shot was immediately cannoned and looped up and Azzaoui had a second attempt; this time with his head which looped over Gunn and despite Pablo Maffeo’s best efforts crossed the line.
Both sides continued to press for a winner and both Gunn and Glover saw a fair bit of the ball but the final dramas of the game came in the dying minutes when Spurs took a lead in what they probably thought was a winner in the ninetieth minute from a corner when Christian Maghoma headed a looping ball from a deep crossed corner over Gunn and in off the post and the linesman said it had crossed the line.
City brought on Jorge Intima for Ash Smith-Brown to try to win the game but it was Brandon Barker who was the man to instigate the decisive action of the game despite being fairly quiet for most of it as he ran at the defence from about the half way line on the left side passing players with ease before continuing his run to the bi-line and firing the ball back into the area where Celina was rushing forward and he fired into the top corner to give City the share of the spoils and record their second scoring draw of the campaign after just two games.
Next up for City will see them make their inaugural Premier League International Cup title defence with the first of their group fixtures against Borussia Monchengladbach next Wednesday evening at the Minihad.
Posted in EDS Match Reports by Gavin Cooper/Andrew Waldon.