Toni Rudiger successfully negotiated 90 minutes at Aldershot tonight as our development squad team came back from 2-0 down at half-time to remain unbeaten this season.
This was the second outing at this level for Rudiger and one that Frank Lampard had said earlier in the day would be the final step of his rehab from injury before he is properly in contention for a place in the senior team once again.The action that led to the Spurs strikes did not directly involve the German and once we went 2-0 down, to goals by Phoenix Patterson and from the penalty spot by Harvey White, it was Rudiger who helped take the game to the visitors at the other end of the pitch, with his aerial power and some strong running.Chelsea continued to dominate after the break and did pull a goal back during the middle of the second half when midfielder Clinton Mola found the net following a strong run.
Time appeared to have run out when Tariq Lamptey, who had conceded the earlier spot-kick, finished superbly with practically the last kick of the game to the joy of the Chelsea fans present. A point was no more than we deserved and it returns us to the top of the PL2 table.
For today’s starting line-up, Andy Myers was without Juan Castillo, who had played in all four development squad games prior to this one. The winger left on loan earlier in the day with Ajax his destination. In central defence Rudiger lined up alongside captain Marc Guehi who was fresh from his first call-up into the England Under-21 squad in the morning.
The first sniff at goal was for Chelsea, but Charlie Brown was crowded out before he could shoot. Instead it was the north Londoners who went ahead with just 10 minutes played when Patterson finished low past Jamie Cumming from a ball in from the right. It needed a strong wrist from the Chelsea keeper to prevent Rodel Richards from doubling the Spurs lead soon after.However Tottenham were still the next team to find the net, and they did so from the penalty spot with 20 minutes played. Tariq Lamptey was the player judged to have made a foul, on winger Shilow Tracey, a decision our full-back who was called up by England Under-20s today certainly disagreed with. White converted the penalty comfortably.In our first attack since going behind, Thierno Ballo curled wide with a shot he had to hurry. It began a good spell of pressure by Chelsea. George McEachran began to get on the ball in midfield and Rudiger rose high to meet a corner but there was no one on the end of his knock-down.
Tino Anjorin worked himself space and smashed a shot that took a deflection for a Blues corner which again was reached first by Rudiger. His header into the danger zone was met by the head of Charlie Brown but unfortunately the young striker sent it over.Rudiger was certainly making his presence felt as an attacking force and his powerful surge set up Anjorin but the shot was blazed too high. That was just before half-time.
We continued after the restart in the same vein, playing on the front foot and pushing Spurs back. Brown sent a 56th-minute header off target and was only a whisker away from getting a stretched-out boot to Tariq Uwakwe’s searching cross.Ball after ball was being delivered in from out wide and when Uwakwe met one cleanly, Alfie Whitman in the Spurs goal made a very good save.Instead it was from an attack straight down the middle that a Chelsea goal finally came. Mola drove through the heart of the Spurs defence past two challenges and rifled in a low finish. That made it 2-1 to Spurs with just under 20 minutes to go.
The visitors then survived a Guehi header on target and then a shot following a goalmouth scramble by the same player.A late Chelsea effort came from Uwakwe after a move he started by catching Spurs dozing. After that, it needed a good Cumming save and then some strong running by Rudiger, who was demonstrating his fitness in added time, to prevent our opponents landing a sucker punch.How important those two moments proved when the pacy Lamptey showed skill out wide and struck a low fizzer from distance to rescue a point.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1) Jamie Cumming; Tariq Lamptey, Toni Rudiger, Marc Guehi (c), Henry Lawrence; George McEachran, Clinton Mola; Thierno Ballo, Tino Anjorin (Marcel Lewis 79), Tariq Uwakwe; Charlie Brown (Armando Broja 82).Unused subs Karlo Ziger, Marcel Lavinier, Jack Wakely.Scorers Mola 71, Lamptey 90+5
Tottenham Alfie Whiteman; Jubril Okedina, TJ Eyoma (c), Brooklyn Lyons-Foster, Tariq Hinds; Harvey White; Phoenix Patterson (Armando Shashou 75), Tashan Oakley-Boothe (Jonathan Dinzeyi 89, Paris Maghoma (Rayan Clarke 77), Shilow Tracey; Rodel Richards.Unused subs Jonathan De Bie, Maurizio Pochettino-Grippaldi.Scorers Patterson 10, White 20 penCrowd 1215