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ProKit UK Stadium | 3rd February 2014 19:00

Tottenham U21s v Everton U21s

Everton Under-21s were held to a goalless draw at Tottenham on Monday evening.

The young Blues headed to Bishops Stortford with several loaned-out players returning for action in compliance with the Premier League's youth loan ruling.

But although there was a more experienced look about the side than in recent weeks, Spurs were equal to the test and it finished 0-0.

The game started brightly despite the poor surface that was visibly cut up after recent weather and Hallam Hope almost steered the Blues into a third-minute lead.

A loose ball in the box fell to the forward, who recently completed a one-month spell at Northampton Town, but his outstretched leg prodded it narrowly wide.

Tottenham had gone even closer moments earlier when Souleymane Coulibaly struck the post from 25-yards.

Recalled from Colchester United for first-team cover at left-back, Luke Garbutt almost returned with an outrageous bang after his floating cross-cum-shot came close to sneaking in over the head of Jordan Archer.

George Green then had two efforts in quick succession. A perfectly-weighted pass at the end of an Everton counter saw the attacker in on goal, but Spurs threw bodies behind goalkeeper Archer and blocked his shot on the line.

Green was undeterred and caught everyone off guard moments later when appearing set to deliver a free-kick into a crowded box from out on the right.

Instead, he opted for the near post and Archer scrambled across to see the ball skip just beyond the upright, much to his relief.

A crowd of 387 was complimented by a few handfuls or so of Evertonians and special mention must go to them for singing loudly and proudly through the Blues' entire songbook.

A sparsity of chances followed the early flow, with Coulibaly having a close-range effort deflect wide moments before the interval.

Lone frontman Courtney Duffus worked tirelessly against a rigid backline, hounding them into errors as the Blues began the second half on the front foot.

Dominic Ball saw a header drift agonisingly wide as Spurs looked to take home advantage, but there was little to separate the sides throughout.

As the clock neared the hour-mark, Conor McAleny made a welcome return to action after five months out.

The 21-year-old forward suffered a broken leg soon after joining Brentford on loan at the start of the season and he stepped up his recovery with a solid 30-minute outing.

Mason Springthorpe was called into rare action midway through the second period when the Shrewsbury-born stopper produced a marvellous save to deny a finely-struck shot from the edge of the box.

Spurs hit the woodwork with 13 minutes to spare - Laste Dombaxe swivelling to unleash a sublime volley that bounced off the crossbar with Springthorpe at full stretch.

And it was almost a dream comeback for McAleny in the closing stages.

Cutting in from the left, he fired a low shot that looked to be sneaking in at Archer's near post, but a last-gasp dive provided merely sufficient reach to steer the ball beyond.

It was to be a fair share of the spoils for Alan Stubbs' side, who find themselves in action next at home to Sunderland on Monday 10 February.

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