MK Dons Under-15s and Tottenham Hotspur Under-15s went head-to-head in front of over 2,000 supporters at Stadium MK.
On what was an evening that'll live long in the memory of both sets of players, it was Tottenham Hotspur who were victories in the annual Gwen and Jim Mann Academy Challenge Match sponsored by Kinship Logistics, as they ran out 3-2 winners in an entertaining affair.
Despite what could have been a night where the emotions took control, MK Dons came out of the blocks playing confident, free-flowing football, and enjoyed the majority share of possession.
John Bitting’s side could’ve had the lead just two minutes into the game when Ryan Holmes was played in one-on-one with Tottenham keeper Aaron Maguire – the offside flag prevented the forward having a shot on goal.
The Young Dons didn’t have to wait long for their break-through though, as Arnold Matshazi scored the opening goal of the evening just four minutes into the clash.
Spurs failed to clear Louie Gill’s low cross, and after Brooklyn Illunga picked out Matshazi, the striker fired into the back of the net. 1-0.
The Dons could’ve had their second just two minutes later when Holmes was freed down the left wing, his first shot was saved by Maguire – before the shot-stopper gathered the rebound.
Spurs soon found their feet in the game as could’ve equalised from Charlie Smith’s free-kick, some good positioning and alert defending from Jaden Ogwuazor prevented the equaliser.
Dons forward Brooklyn Ilunga was looking lively on the left-wing, his pace and trickery saw him get in down his flank, his cross was turned behind for a corner. From the set-piece, Gill’s delivery found Joe Riley at the far-post, however, his header didn’t trouble Maguire.
Alfie Mumford was forced into his first save of the evening on 12-minutes, he got down well to same from Jamie Donley. Mumford then bravely claimed Dante Cassanova’s deep corner two minutes later.
Holmes, who was linking up well with Matshazi, once again freed his strike-partner, however, alert keeping from Maguire prevented a shot on goal.
After a string of impressive saves from Mumford, the visitors found the back of the net with 23-minutes played. Ben Watt’s curling delivery was saved by Mumford before Alfie Dorrington converted from close-range. 1-1.
Romario Martin was on hand to prevent a second goal within a matter of minute for Tottenham, as the Dons defender shadowed a ball out of play under pressure from Roshaun Mathurin.
Tom Bloxham thought he had given Tottenham the lead, only to be denied by a great diving save from Mumford.
Ilunga then threaded a pass into the path of Matshuzi who hit the side netting from a tight angle.
Mumford then produced another impressive save as he saved Watt’s curling strike.
Minutes before the break, the Dons could’ve taken the lead, however, Holmes glancing header ended wide of the post.
The last chance of the half fell the way of Jamie Donley - his header was saved by Mumford.
The second-half started in emphatic fashion, having made his way onto the pitch at the break, Jamie Box gave the Dons the lead just 30-seconds after the whistle. Holmes saw his shot on goal saved by Adam Hayton, before Box smashed home. 2-1.
With 50-minutes on the clock, the Dons had penalty appeals waved away after Holmes was fouled inside the area, the referee instead awarded a corner. Riley almost doubled the Dons lead, his header ended narrowly over the bar.
Spurs had a chance to draw back level on 57-minutes, however, Watt failed to test Mumford.
Shortly after the hour-mark Khalon Haysman struck the crossbar with a spectacular effort from the edge of the box, Riley was there to block to rebound from Renaldo Torraj.
Spurs eventually equalised with 63-minutes played, through the dangerous Haysman. After a goalmouth scramble, the Spurs man tapped home from close range. 2-2.
Mumford continued his fine display between the sticks, this time preventing Cassanova from two-yards.
Matshazi tried to put the Dons back ahead but was unable to keep his shot from range down.
It was Spurs, however, found the fifth goal of the evening as Roshaun Mathurin put the away side ahead after his half-volley beat Mumford. 3-2.
Jesse Wangusi fired a free-kick into the arms of Hayton as the Dons looked to claw their way back into the game.
With 13-minutes remaining, Mumford saved from Ferdinand Okoh's curling shot.
Box almost had his second of the afternoon - Hayton saved well down to his right to deny the Dons man.
With minutes left in the game, Box attempted to lob Hayton, his effort landed on top of the net.
MK Dons XI: Alife Mumford, Charlie Smith, Louie Gill, Jack Empson, Joe Riley, Jaden Ogwuazor, Harvey Stock, Romario Martin, Ryan Holmes, Arnold Matshazi, Brooklyn Ilunga.
45 - Jamie Box replaced Harvey Stock, Kenzie Cross replaced Louie Gill.
55 - Jesse Wangusi replaces Jack Empson.
64 - Austin Collins and Jacob Anderson replace Brooklyn Ilunga and Ryan Holmes.
69 - Lucas Denny comes on for Arnold Matshazi.
82 - Ronnie Sandford and Joel Anker replace Alfie Mumford and Romario Martin.