Spurs under 18’s 4-1 Aston Villa: (match report)
It was our under 18’s best performance of the season which saw them see off a talented Aston Villa side, at Hotspur Way this afternoon. It was a display of the highest quality as Scott Parker’s highly attacking side totally out played the villains with slick and fast attacking football, played at a high intensity. It really was champagne football from the Spurs lads as Parker’s side secured their second win in the final group game of this seasons u18 premier league cup, and in doing so have managed to secure one of two runner up berths to make the knockout stages. Parker’s side which included talented school boy J’neil Lloyd Bennett, started with a real zip about their game. They passed the ball around with pace and were instantly looking to attack. Villa were trying to play us on the counterattack and it worked early on. After Graham burst down the left channel before forcing De Bie into making a good save at his far post. With the ball then deflecting off Reynolds and then on to the post, before eventually falling to Indiana Vasillev who slotted home, 0-1. Having looked the better team in the opening stages it was of no surprise to me when we equalised just minutes later courtesy of a stunner from Rodel Richards. It was the youngsters first of the season, after a move was started by Shashoua the ball came to Griffiths who passed to Richards, he turned on the edge of the area before firing a low effort inside the bottom corner of Idem’s net, 1-1.
The prominent Lloyd-Bennett surged down the left soon after the restart, picking out Clarke at the far post, though the wingback missed timed his header and Idem was easily able to gather. Villa looked for a response but Colin Odutayo could only force De Bie into making a routine save. Parker’s side had got a real grip on the game, they were dictating play across all areas. Villa were being reduced to long range efforts, as demonstrated by Dmitri Sea on 15 minutes, when he dragged an effort wide of goal. Spurs soon continued their attacking forays down the flanks, Patterson’s cross was glanced just over by Clarke. Before Griffiths turned and fired just wide, we then threatened through the potent Lloyd-Bennett whose searing pace resulted in him whipping an inviting cross into the area, which was duly cleared by a Villa defender. Reo Griffiths tested the defence soon afterwards, when he ran across the length of the box before firing into the side netting. Whilst De Bie had to be alert at the other end as Villa broke forward, the Belgian making a fine stop to keep the danger at bay. Another lively player was Phoenix Patterson, playing in the centre of the park, he managed to cut in and fire an effort straight at the keeper as Spurs continued their domination on the game. Perhaps Parker’s side weren’t having enough efforts on goal considering there possession but they were really impressing, especially with the the pace and crosses of Lloyd Bennett and Clarke.
Rodel Richards had a goal ruled out for offside, whilst Patterson tested Idem from range, as Spurs continued to outplay the villains. However, Parker’s lads were almost caught out by a long ball from Villa which put Odutayo through on goal. The wingers powerful effort being superbly tipped over the crossbar by De Bie. Spurs then took a deserved lead towards the end of the half through the lively J’neil Lloyd Bennett who manage to get on the end of Clarke’s deep cross. Before sweetly catching it on the half volley, to power it inside the far corner of the goal, to give Spurs the lead. Spurs weren’t content with just a one goal lead as Griffiths proved soon afterwards, when his effort flew inches wide of the goal. The half could have ended very differently for Spurs when Statham was beaten for strength by Sea in a dangerous part of the pitch. Thankfully for Spurs the forwards low effort was well saved by the alert De Bie. Shashoua tested Ide towards the dying stages of the half with a powerful effort, whilst Griffiths went close with a bicycle kick. Spurs were looking much the fitter side. We started the second half even brighter, Lloyd Bennett showing great pace early on to whip in a dangerous cross, which was only inches away from being met by Clarke. Then a fine move saw the wingback test Idem once again. Spurs had limited Villa’s options to only long range efforts as demonstrated by Graham on the hour mark, the defenders effort being easily caught by De Bie.
Another good chance for Clarke followed before Spurs managed to extend their lead on 66 minutes courtesy of a brilliant goal. Bowden’s delicate chip played Richards through on goal, showing remarkable skill inside the area before being intercepted, Patterson then tried his luck. Before the ball eventually fell back into Richards feet to see him squeeze it home, 3-1. The passing and fluid attacking play from Spurs was truly breathtaking. And things got even better when Richards secured his hat trick to put the game beyond doubt, bolstering our goal difference in the process. Rayan Clarke’s powerful drive was thwarted by Idem straight into the path of Richards who buried his chance, 4-1. It was champagne football from the young lilywhites! However, the visitors seemed to up their game after conceding the fourth, Lewis Brunt came very close to pulling a goal back. Whilst a crucial save from Oluwayemi and a goal line block by Reynolds ensured a fantastic result for our lads! COYS
– Jonathan De Bie: Had a fine game, made some really important stops including a stunning reflex save in the first half.
– Rayan Clarke: Adapted really well to the right wing back role, powerful and creative going forward. Managed to set up two goals.
– Jamie Reynolds: Put in an excellent shift at left back, very decisive and solid.
– Jamie Bowden: Dictated play in the central areas, playing in a deep lying role the 16 year old holding midfielder. Was Winkseque in his play, neat and tidy with a crisp pass. He anticipated the game well and played a big part in Richards second of the game.
– Maxwell Statham: Had a decent game, strong in the challenge.
– Tariq Hinds: The versatile Hinds managed to slot in well at LCB today, he formed a good partnership with Statham.
– Rodel Richards: Absolutely phenomenal performance from the promising striker. Playing on the right flank today Richards got a rare start and he seized his opportunity. All three of his finishes were classy, but it was his intelligent runs and energy that were so impressive, I really like his style of play and his willingness to track back.
– Phoenix Patterson: One of his best performances of the season, operating on the right side of central midfield. Patterson put in a brilliant display, he was so creative in his play. His decision making second to none, the forward was instrumental throughout the game, I’ve started to think of he reminds of a bit. And it’s Brighton’s Izzy Brown when he was the same age. Patterson was so involved in today’s game.
– Reo Griffiths: Had a decent game up top though he didn’t manage to test Idem much in goal. He did however, get the assist for our first of the game.
– Armando Shashoua: Another great performance from young Shashoua, done his job perfectly. Operating as a 10 he dropped back, created space for others and instigated some good attacking moves, he has been excellent for us this season.
– Josh Oluwayemi: Came on as a late substitute (only his second appearance of the season) but done a good job, made one very good reflex save.
– Maurizio Pochettino: N/A
– Dilan Markanday: N/A
My man of the match: I feel really bad not giving it to the hat-trick hero Rodel Richards who was absolutely phenomenal out wide. But I’m going to award it to the school boy J’neil Lloyd-Bennett, the wide man who I first saw play at the under 16 game in Cambridge a couple of months back, appears to be making rapid progress since joining our Academy from QPR. This was his third consecutive under 18 game in a row, and I’m sure it will have been his best. This kids got incredible ability, he had Aston Villa defenders on the floor during todays game, they just couldn’t cope with his speed, power and decision making especially in the final third. He took his goal so well, but it was his eagerness to just run at defenders with sublime pieces of skill (think Zaha) he also delivers a mean cross. I know it’s only the second time that I’ve seen him live but I really like how he plays. Something I liked in particular was the way he played with a smile on his face, he appeared to be loving the game, buoyant and determined throughout the 90 minutes.
Spurs U18s: De Bie (c, Oluwayemi 76), Clarke, Reynolds, Bowden, Statham, Hinds, Richards (Markanday 79), Patterson, Griffiths (Pochettino 76), A Shashoua, Lloyd-Bennett. Substitutes (not used): Tainio, Mukendi.
Under 18’s Goals scored this season: Reo Griffiths-9
Phoenix Patterson -3
Dilan Markanday- 3
Jamie Bowden- 1
Assists: Phoenix Patterson- 4
Matt Lock- 2