Victory for Tottenham youngsters gives experienced Stevenage plenty of food for thought

Harvey White put Tottenham Hotspur ahead in their Papa John's Trophy match at Stevenage.

Harvey White put Tottenham Hotspur ahead in their Papa John's Trophy match at Stevenage. - Credit: CLIVE BRUNSKILL/PA

If a trip to Wembley in the Papa John's Trophy is still in Stevenage's future then they are going to have to do it the hard way after a defeat in their opening game to Tottenham Hotspur U21s.

It was certainly a fun watch for the neutral, finishing 4-3 to the Premier League youngsters, but Boro still had plenty of experience in their ranks and will not be happy with some of the goals conceded.

Harvey White scored twice for Tottenham with Yago Alonso and Brooklyn Lyons-Foster also on target.

Every time Stevenage scored it was to halve the deficit but they did that three times with goals for James Daly, Ross Marshall and Luther James-Wildin.

But winning breeds confidence and with the League Two side having gone four games without a success, this seemed like a missed opportunity.

Tottenham on the other hand will have been pleased with the test against physical opponents, a challenge they certainly met with aplomb.

And they played some neat and intricate stuff that will keep many of them on the watchlist for Tottenham fans.

James Daly scored a fantastic curling effort for Stevenage against Tottenham in the Papa John's Trophy.

James Daly scored a fantastic curling effort for Stevenage against Tottenham in the Papa John's Trophy. - Credit: DANNY LOO

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Stevenage made six changes from the side that lost to Walsall on Saturday, giving first starts for Bradley Barry, Bruno Andrade and Daly.

Tottenham were forced into making a change even before the match started, Romaine Mundle needing to be stretchered off in the warm-up for what was later diagnosed as a soft tissue muscle injury.

Marcel Lavinier replaced him in the starting line-up.

The change didn't make any difference to the start of the game as the young Spurs started brilliantly.

In fact for the majority of the half it literally was men against boys, with the boys running rings round their Football League opponents.

White put Tottenham in front, finishing first time from a pinpoint low cross from Jack Clarke.

The goal also highlighted the difference in style with the visitors passing and passing and passing until they create the opening.

Boro were a lot more direct and a lot quicker in their transition from back to front and it ended with Luke Norris going close with a flicked header.

But Tottenham continued to look the sharper in attack and after a lovely bit of skill in midfield from Dilan Markanday, they made it two.

Alonso seem to have oodles of time, even though Scott Cuthbert and Marshall were in close proximity, and after shifting it to his right foot, he unleashed a low drive that flew across Sacha Bastien and into the far corner. 

He was encouraged to do the same not long after but hit this one straight at the keeper, as did Clarke with a curling shot moments later.

But from being in total control, Spurs suddenly found Stevenage stepping up a gear.

Daly had alright sent a teasing ball right across the face of goal, Norris inches away from tapping in, before he added to the quality goals with a superb curling effort from the edge of the area.

Andrade went close with two from distance as Stevenage finished the better and the second half began with thoughts of a big comeback.

They seemed to be scrubbed in just five minutes of the second period.

White had already sent a seemingly glorious chance over the top after a poor back-pass but within a minute he tapped in Tottenham's third, Markanday getting the assist with some good work by the byline.

And it looked like a matter of time before they scored again, Spurs getting sight of goal with a couple of half chances.

Ross Marshall had brought Stevenage back to within one goal with a header against Tottenham U21s.

Ross Marshall had brought Stevenage back to within one goal with a header against Tottenham U21s. - Credit: DANNY LOO

But then the dynamic changed again with a simple second for Stevenage.

A corner from the left was played to the back post where Marshall thumped a powerful header beyond Joshua Oluwayemi and the keeper had to make a brave block to deny Daly another a few minutes later.

The feeling that there was going to be more goals remained though and so it proved as Tottenham restored their two-goal lead.

An initial free-kick from White was straight into the wall but it came back to him and with Boro static and holding their line, Tobi Omole ran in behind to collect his chip.

His initial shot from a tight angle was saved but it came back to the centre-half and this time he rolled it across goal for Lyons-Foster to knock home from a couple of yards.

Of course there had to be some more drama and another goal and with two minutes to go a deep cross from the left was volleyed in at the back post by James-Wildin.

A minimum of six additional minutes gave the home crowd some hope but there were no further chances.

Stevenage: Bastien, Cocker, Cuthbert, Norris (Reid 74), Andrade (Taylor 51), Lines, Daly, Read, J.Smith, Marshall, Barry (James-Wildin 51).

Subs (not used): T.Smith, Vancooten, Williams, Johnson.

Goals: Daly 4, Marshall 63

Booked: Lines 36, Coker 72

Tottenham: Oluwayemi, White, Fagan-Walcott, Clarke, Omole, Cesay, Lyons-Foster, Markanday (Pedder 88), Lavinier, Muir, Alonso.

Subs (not used): Hayton, Kyezu.

Goals: White 8, 50 Alonso 24, Lyons-Foster 73

Booked: White 14, Lyons-Foster 84, Lavinier 86

HT: Stevenage 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2

Referee: Carl Brook (Hastings)