Tuesday 14 May 2013
Jon Obika scored with a last-minute header to put Tottenham Hotspur into the final of the Barclays Under-21 Premier League.
The 22-year-old striker stooped to head home a late Cristian Ceballos cross to settle a thrilling contest at White Hart Lane.
Spurs will now take on the winner of Tuesday’s semi-final between Liverpool and Manchester United. Tottenham have been drawn away for the final.
"I am pleased for the club and the boys," Tottenham Hotspur senior professional phase coach Chris Ramsey told premierleague.com. "They have worked very hard this season. They have played in a style that we feel is befitting of our club and we are happy that we have got to the final. We are looking forward to it.
"Towards the end of the game it could have gone either way"
"Some of the young kids are eligible for this for two or three years to come so it’s great for them to experience that and I think any final is a good thing.
"It's always difficult to play any Everton team. They have got some good coaches there that instil a good work-rate and a good ethos. Towards the end of the game it could have gone either way."
Tottenham, roared on by a vocal home support, made the early running on a fine night in north London and they took the lead on 11 minutes when winger Alex Pritchard took advantage of John Stones' weak header to the goalkeeper.
Everton goalkeeper Jan Mucha saved well from Obika soon afterwards as Spurs continued to press but as the half drew to a close, the visitors started to get a foothold in the match and they claimed the equaliser in first-half stoppage time when top-scorer Conor McAleny turned to fire Stones' cross into the bottom corner.
Parity did not last long, however, as Spurs regained the lead just after the interval, Obika finishing calmly after Stones was caught in possession.
But Everton hit back two minutes later when Chris Long equalised with superb looping lob that he hooked over his shoulder and over Jordan Archer into the far corner.
"They were the best team we have faced this season"
Everton dominated the rest of the half with Archer making some fine stops while Long hit the outside of the post from a Luke Garbutt cross.
Obika, though, scored the decisive goal with time running out although Archer produced a magnificent save to deny Long right at the death.
Everton U21 manager Alan Stubbs told premierleague.com: "There's a lot of disappointment in the dressing but from my point of view, there's a lot of pride and satisfaction.
“In the first half we were awful but in the second half we looked like a team and that’s all credit to them. There’s a lot of character in that squad.
"We scored a couple of great goals and their goalkeeper has made some fantastic saves, I think he was the difference. I am sure Tottenham will say it was a really tough game for them and they were the best team we have faced this season. Good luck to them."
Monday 13 May
Tottenham Hotspur (Pritchard, Obika 2) 3-2 Everton (McAleny, Long)
Tuesday 14 May
Manchester United v Liverpool (7pm)
To view the league tables after the qualificaton stage, click here