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Tuesday 12 March 2013

Barclays U21s: Free-scoring Spurs soar clear

Spurs strengthen grip on Elite Group with 4-0 win over West Brom, Man Utd and West Ham draw 3-3

  • Jack Munns curls in one of Tottenham Hotspur's four goals against West Bromwich Albion

Tottenham Hotspur extended their lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League Under-21 Elite Group with a 4-0 success over West Bromwich Albion, while second-placed Manchester United and Liverpool, in third, remain separated by a point following Monday night draws.

Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 West Bromwich Albion

In-form striker Jack Munns scored twice as Tottenham Hotspur strengthened their hold on the Elite Group with a comfortable home victory over West Bromwich Albion.

The hosts got off to a strong start, hitting the woodwork twice through Grant Hall and Tom Carroll, before Munns broke the deadlock midway through the first half, following fine build-up play by Shaquille Coulthirst and Carroll. Kenny McEvoy struck nine minutes after the interval with a firm shot at the far post and Munns completed his double just before the hour-mark. A pinpoint pass from second-half substitute Giancarlo Gallifuoco then teed up Coulthirst for the fourth as Spurs surged seven points clear at the top.

Tottenham report | West Brom report

Manchester United 0-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers

United fell two points further adrift of Tottenham as they were frustrated by 10-man Wolverhampton Wanderers  in freezing conditions at Moss Lane.

Though Chris Smalling, Anderson, Nick Powell and Alexander Buttner all appeared for a United side watched by Sir Alex Ferguson, they were unable to break the deadlock against visitors shorn of Zeli Ismail, who had threatened with his pace early on, after he was shown a straight red card for a lunge on Smalling in the 10th minute.

Powell drove narrowly wide in the first-half and Anderson fluffed his lines following a sweeping move at the end of the first period, while Larnell Cole missed a golden chance for a winner with six minutes left. A point was enough, however, for the Red Devils to remain second in the section.

Man Utd report | Wolves report

Liverpool 3-3 West Ham United

Elliot Lee’s last-minute equaliser earned West Ham United a share of the spoils against Liverpool in an exciting encounter at the Kirkby Academy.

The visitors were hoping to move above the Reds with an away victory and they got off to the perfect start when Dan Potts headed in Kieran Bywater’s corner after just four minutes.

However, Raheem Sterling levelled for the hosts on 24 minutes with a spectacular effort from 25 yards and on the half-hour Suso produced an equally impressive effort, launching on a run from the half-way line before rifling a fierce drive past Raphael Spiegel.

Another corner brought the Hammers back in the match as Wellington Paulista met a hanging Bywater delivery but the hosts, featuring Jonjo Shelvey and Andre Wisdom from the start, restored their advantage through Suso with 10 minutes to go, as he cut in from the right before beating Spiegel with an angled strike.

Liverpool were on the brink of leapfrogging Man Utd into second place, only for Lee to pounce at the death, following another set-piece. This time George Moncur's corner was met by Potts, whose header fell invitingly for the 18-year-old to volley home.

Liverpool | West Ham report

Arsenal 2-0 Southampton

Arsenal managed their first win of the Elite Group stage with a convincing victory over Southampton.

A goal in either half from Kyle Ebecilio and Chuba Akpom proved the difference on a chilly evening at Underhill, where Serge Gnabry, in particular, shone for the Gunners.

The Germany youth international fired a warning shot after 10 minutes which Paulo Gazzaniga dealt with, but, three minutes later, helped set up the opening goal. The 17-year-old won the ball just inside the Southampton half before finding Nico Yennaris 25 yards out, whose pass was dispatched by the onrushing Ebecilio from range.

Arsenal started the second period positively, with both Kris Olsson and Akpom shooting off target in the opening stages, before doubling their lead on 56 minutes. Jordan Wynter's long ball was inadvertently cushioned into the path of Akpom by Jack Stephens and the striker, who had netted six times in his previous five appearances, slid a cool shot past Gazzaniga.

Their first defeat in five matches leaves fourth-placed Southampton two points behind Liverpool, and three points ahead of Steve Gatting's side.

Arsenal report | Southampton report

Everton 1-0 Chelsea

Everton remain on course to finish top of Group 1 after a narrow win against Chelsea at the Cobham training ground.

Connor McAleny scored the only goal of the game with a 25-yard drive on 53 minutes that left Jamal Blackman with no chance. McAleny’s fifth goal in six appearances reflected the visitors’ supremacy as Shane Duffy and Apostolos vellios had both earlier come close.

That said, the hosts responded strongly and Mason Springthorpe had to be alert to dive low to thwart striker Lewis Baker, before Adam Nditi skied the rebound, and to save from Todd Kane.

The Toffees held on, despite the 89th-minute dismissal of Ross Barkley for an off-the-ball incident, to move five points clear at the top, while a third consecutive defeat leaves the Londoners seven points adrift in fourth.

Chelsea report | Everton report

Sunderland 1-1 Middlesbrough

Sunderland are still bottom of Group 1 after drawing their second game in succession at the Stadium of Light.

Ryan Noble gave the Black Cats the lead just after half-time with an opportunist strike after Mikael Mandron’s shot had been blocked by Jayson Leutwiler. Bradley Fewster equalised for MIddlesbrough with a rasping 74th-minute strike from just inside the area, that keeps them a point behind second-placed Fulham.

Sunderland report | Middlesbrough

Stoke City 0-1 Reading

Reading remain three points clear at the top of Group 2 after completing a last-gasp victory over Stoke City at Clayton Wood training ground.

Gozie Ugwu marked his return from a loan spell at Plymouth to score an added-time penalty for the Royals, after Dominic Samuel was felled by defender George Rigg. Ugwu stepped up to send Daniel Bachmann the wrong way from the spot and keep his side on course for a Final Stage appearance.

Stoke report | Reading report

Crystal Palace 1-5 Norwich City

The Canaries kept the pressure on Group 2 leaders Reading with an emphatic third victory of the second phase at the KNK Stadium.

With first-team manager Chris Hughton observing from the sidelines, the visitors raced into a two-goal first-half lead thanks to goals by Josh Murphy and George Francomb. After the interval Jamar Loza and Jacob Murphy netted within two minutes of each other to put Scott Marshall's side in charge.

Korey Smith fired home City's fifth five minutes before the end before Palace secured a consolation goal when Kwesi Appiah slotted home a penalty moments later.

Crystal Palace report | Norwich City report

Barclays Under-21 Premier League results  

Monday 11 March       

Elite Group
Arsenal (Ebecilio, Akpom) 2-0 Southampton
Liverpool (Sterling, Suso 2) 3-3 West Ham United (Potts, Paulista, Lee)
Manchester United 0-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Tottenham Hotspur (McEvoy, Munns 2 Coulthirst), 4-0 West Bromwich Albion

Group 1
Chelsea 0-1 Everton (McAleny)
Sunderland (Noble) 1-1 Middlesbrough (Fewster)

Group 2
Stoke City 0-1 Reading (Ugwu pen)
Crystal Palace (Appiah pen) 1-5 Norwich City (Josh Murphy, Francomb, Loza, Jacob Murphy, Smith)
Newcastle United P-P Bolton Wanderers

Friday 8 March

Group 1
Blackburn Rovers (Evans) 1-3 Fulham (David, Altman, Smith)
Group 2
Newcastle United (Logan) 1-1 Manchester City (Lopes pen)

Download full fixture list here  | For full results click here

To view the league tables after the qualificaton stage, click here

You can follow developments on Twitter with the Premier League's account @premierleague or via the hashtag #BU21PL

Key Points

  • Tottenham Hotspur surge clear at top of Elite Group after 4-0 win over West Brom
  • Liverpool share 3-3 draw with West Ham United, while Man United also held
  • Arsenal seal first win of Second Phase, as Everton beat Chelsea in Group 1

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