My interview with former Spurs apprentice Martin O’Donnell:


My interview with former Spurs apprentice Martin O’Donnell:

Martin O’Donnell is probably a name that most Spurs fans won’t know, Martin was an apprentice at Spurs during the 1960’s, a time when the club was enjoying the most historic part of its history. A midfielder with a promising career that was cut short by injury. Mr.O’Donnell kindly agreed doing an interview with me, and in doing so has shared some of his fascinating memories about his time at the club.

What are your earliest memories of your time at Spurs and how did you come about joining the club?

Martin: My earliest memories are turning up to White Hart Lane on a ‪Sunday morning‬ for my trial game………..I had been spotted the day before playing an Under 13 District Match v Hackney Boys in the final of the Middlesex Bower Cup at Eton Manor F.C.

In the dressing room after the match which we drew 2-2 I was asked to go outside once changed and meet Eddie Baily who was the Assistant Manager at Tottenham to Bill Nicholson he had asked our manager if I could attend the trial match at WHL the following day as he thought I was a good player.( His son Graham was in the Hackney side).

We won the replay at our home ground the following ‪Saturday 4-1‬ !!

My District Team was Acton,Brentford and Chiswick it was the local schools best players representing the District.

I got back home after the match and told my parents……..who did not believe me that I had been approached by Spurs…….I actually went up to the trial match on my own !!!

I played on WHL on the Sunday in the trial match against other triallists who were in fact two years older than me and did ok I was nervous but loved the fact that you got changed in the home dressing room and wore the Spurs kit……..they asked me to sign schoolboy forms immediately after the game.

I took the forms home and the Chief Scout Dick Walker made arrangements to visit my parents and talk to them about the possibility of attending training at WHL Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

We lived in Chiswick, West London so it was a long journey twice a week on the Piccadilly Underground but I did it and loved every second of it plus every Sunday there would be a game at Cheshunt our training  ground against a District or County side from all over the country ……….there were no academy’s in those days.

I also used to get tickets for the first team home games and would travel to them with my Mum on most occasions as my Dad worked 6/7 days a week.

What was your time at Spurs like on the whole?

Martin: My time at the club was brilliant I loved the fact that the club at the time were one of the the top 3 clubs in Britain and that to be associated with the club was really exciting.

The first team players were always good fun to be around……as apprentices we had to clean their boots after each game and also clean the dressing rooms plus sweep the gym but they would always have a kind word for you I got to know Phil Beal and Mike England particularly well and have met up with both of them in recent times.

When I signed Apprentice forms for the club in July 1965 I was very proud to do so I had been approached by the other London clubs to go and sign for them but I wanted to stay at Spurs.

Who was your footballing inspiration/hero?

Martin: My footballing hero as a kid growing up was Denis Law who played for Man Utd…….my inspiration was a player called Jim Baxter he was a Scottish midfielder whom I had seen play a few times and his style appealed to me he was very skilful and made everything look easy.
George Best was on another planet I had the pleasure of seeing him play a few times and in fact got his and Denis Laws autograph in the players car park at Spurs.

My three heroes at Spurs though were Jimmy Greaves who to this day is the best goal scorer I have ever seen……Alan Gilzean the most stylish and clever centre forward you could wish to see and finally the late Cyril Knowles he was a lovely bloke who always had time for us apprentices.

Who were your greatest influences at the club?

Martin: My greatest influences at the club were Johnny Wallis who was our trainer in those days (nowadays they are called coaches)he was firm but fair.
Eddie Bailey always motivated me and took a liking toward me I guess because he had spotted me originally.
Bill Nicholson he was the manager of the first team but he always took an interest in our youth games turning up unannounced on many occasions. Also, Jimmy Neighbour was a seriously talented player who became a first team player over the years. He sadly passed away after a hip replacement operation a few years ago.

Were there any other players at the club or outside, who you’d model your game around?

Martin: I loved Dave Mackay he was a fantastic player who was the captain at the time of the first team and actually broke his leg twice.
Outside the club I loved watching the Liverpool side they had some very skilful players in the sixties in particular Jimmy Melia Peter Thompson and Billy Stevenson I tried to emulate them at times!!

What was the toughest thing about being a young up and coming player during that time and what were the training facilities like in those days?

Martin: The training facilities compared to today were very basic but given the era they were top notch there was no sports science in those days or gadgets to measure how far you had run etc.

Our training normally consisted of getting to WHL every day with the apprentice groups going out first ‪at 9.30am‬ with a warm up lap around the pitch at least 16/18 of us trying to muscle our way to the front for the final sprint into the gym !!

We would then split into groups and have five a side games in the gym plus various skills drills with the ball and on Tues/Thursdays we would have Bill Watson who would take groups of us on free weights and gym exercises.

On a Wednesday we normally travelled to Cheshunt by coach for a practice match between all of us which always ended up being very competitive.

The toughest thing was getting noticed/recognised by the club there were games every ‪Saturday 1st‬ team ,Reserves ,A-Team ,Youth Team U18s and Juniors U17 depending on the importance of the game and the team you we playing against the teams sheets would go up on the board late ‪Friday morning‬.

I made it into the A Team and also was in the Reserve team squad for a few games I played against Plymouth Argyle when Dave Mackay broke his leg for the second time !!

In those days the Youth and Junior teams were made up of Amateurs and some triallists along with us apprentices so it was sometimes difficult to get a consistency to the teams because of these changes.

Looking back to the first team in those days it was always going to be difficult to break into because of the nature of the league and also the first team was full of internationals.

Were there any youth players at Spurs who you were particularly close to and are you still in touch with any of your former team mates?

Martin: I was close to ‪Ray Evans‬ John Clancy Ray Bunkell and John Cutbush but was good friends with all the players,there was the odd one whom you didn’t get on with but generally we were a good bunch.
I am not in touch with any old team mates I knew Steve Perryman as he lived nearby and have seen him from time to time but Steve signed a couple of years after I had broken my thigh.

What was your greatest memory from your time at the lilywhites?

Martin: My greatest memory was being asked to sign apprentice forms at 15 years of age and also winning the South East Counties League and Cup Double and being the captain.

Also the fact that everyday I turned up for training I had to pinch myself that I was working for Tottenham Hotspur.

My saddest day was fracturing my femur (thigh bone) two days after I was told that I was going to be offered a pro contract at the club !!!

Could you talk me through your career after you left Spurs?

Martin: My career ended at Chestnut our training ground in 1968 when I was just having a kick about before training started with Keith Weller and Derek Possee two young pros at the time……I turned to pass the ball back to one of them and my left thigh snapped and I was in agony I had a compound fracture of the thigh bone.

The previous Christmas I had an operation on Christmas Day to remove an abscess from my thigh which we thought had been successful but I contracted osteomyelitis which is a disease of the bone marrow which I only found out about after my thigh snapped.

I was in hospital for nine months in a plaster cast…….the first six weeks I was in the Prince of Wales Hospital Tottenham alongside Phil Beal who had broken his arm in a first team game and needed a series of operations we were in private rooms and became good friends we were visited by all the first team players including Terry Venables who had just signed for Spurs and I was gobsmacked when he came into my room to say hello and even more so when he gave my Dad a lift back to where we lived in Chiswick.

I could not play for another 18 months as my leg was not strong enough for professional football but I got myself back to fitness and went to do pre season with Hayes F.C. I did ok got fit again and signed for them where I met Dave Bassett who is still my best mate to date and our families meet up regularly.

After a few games with Hayes I was approached by a scout from Notts Forest who wanted me to go up there for a trial however the week I was going up there the manager Johnny Carey got sacked.

I also went on trial for two weeks to Bradford City my close pal at the time and an ex Spurs player John Clancy was playing for them and he suggested to there manager he should have a look at me I went up there they offered me a contract but only wanted to pay me £22 per week so I turned them down plus Bradford was a dump in those days.

Hayes played in the Isthmian League in those days which was one of the top amateur leagues at the time we used to get paid £15/£20 a game it was a good standard and many ex pros played in the league as well.

I left Hayes and got approached by Walthamstow Avenue to join them they had a couple of ex Spurs Youth players playing for them and I played for them for about two years.

I got married in September 1972 and decided that I needed a career so i started in Sales and worked for a food company then got myself into the Fragrance and Cosmetics business working for Revlon i then joined Estate Lauder where I eventually became Sales Director for Europe I worked for them for 12 years and then decided to go out on my own and I set up my own Cosmetic and Fragrance company.

We introduced Dolce&Gabbana into the UK it was a huge success plus other brands.

I retired from the business seven years ago having fought Prostate Cancer and Bladder Cancer successfully and over that period my wife and I have travelled extensively since.

My two boys lived and worked in Sydney one has come back but the youngest still lives and works out there with his wife and daughter we visit them every other year.

I enjoy my life I am still very active I train two/ three times a week at a local gym plus during the Summer I play a lot of golf I am a member at Mill Ride Golf Club Ascot.

I am also a patron for the Topic of Cancer Charity which supports individuals through the trauma of Cancer and also organise a Charity Golf Day to help raise funds for the charity.

What was the pinnacle of your footballing career?

Martin: Because of the nature of my injury and the ultimate level that I played at ‘pinnacle’ is probably not the right word however I was very proud and privileged to be associated with such a great football team and club.

The very fact that I could continue to play at any level after my injury was the ‘pinnacle’ it’s only when I look back now and think about what could have been however my salary as an apprentice was £7 per week at 15 years of age £8 at 16 years of age and when I was about to sign pro it was going up to £20 per week not a lot of money these days but back then you could live quite comfortably if you were not married.

I did play in a practice match on one occasion with the first team we were at Cheshunt and two of us were called over to make the numbers up that for me was unreal and I thought I did well.

The other practice match that really stood out was that in 1966 the World Cup was held in England and the group that England were playing comprised of France Uruguay and Mexico the Mexicans were using our training ground Cheshunt as a training base whilst still in the competition

One afternoon we were watching them train and they were short 2/3 players and I was one of the lucky ones to be asked to play as part of their shadow squad we were told by the interpreter that we were not allowed to tackle my position was left half in those days and I ended up marking their centre forward his name was Enrique Borja who was a top player.

Anyway I didn’t kick him or tackle him and at the end of the game he came up to me and we shook hands and he gave me his Puma King boots that were leather soles and the softest leather you have ever seen…….I have never seen a pair of boots like that since.

Two players you may never have heard of but I had the pleasure of knowing and playing with them and they became great friends were Robin Friday he lived nearby where I lived in Chiswick and we grew up together as kids he played for Reading and Cardiff City he could have played for England but he wasn’t interested…….check him out on the internet.

The other player was Ray Knowles he played for Dave Bassett at Wimbledon he is still a close friend he played alongside Alan Cork in the Crazy Gang team a top striker. I also scored a hat trick against Chelsea in a South East Counties game that was a proud moment for me.

What would your advice be to the current Spurs academy players, as they look to make their way up the footballing pyramid?

Martin: My advice would be work hard train hard and be conscientious about your career it’s very different these days to when I was first around as a lot of these boys now have agents etc and pushy parents but be yourself.

Also if possible get a decent education it will always stand you in good stead if you don’t make it.

Do still you follow Spurs’ progress?

Martin: I do still follow Spurs they will always be a part of me forever my Mum is 100 and she still supports them !!


Spurs under 23’s 3-1 Manchester United: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 3-1 Manchester United: (match report)


Wayne Burnett’s side arrived at Old Trafford on Monday night, knowing that they needed a win to bolster their chances of beating relegation. Our opponents Manchester United who were also in the relegation zone (2 points above us in 11th) also desperately needed the three points. I anticipated a very tight game of football. On my train up to Manchester at lunchtime I noticed some familiar faces in the seats behind me, U18 players Brooklyn Lyons-Foster, Reo Griffiths and Spurs goalkeeping coach Rob Burch. Both Lyons-Foster and Griffiths were named on the bench for the United game. Upon arrival at Old Trafford I was made to sit in a different stand to the home fans (as I was one of very few if any away fans). My seat was by the corner flag meaning that I had a birds eye view of all three of our goals in the second half. Ricky Sbragia fielded a strong United team which included starlets Angel Gomes and Dutch youth international Tahith Chong. The first half was a bit of a non event, both sides cancelled each other out whilst Spurs missed a penalty towards the end of the half. United had been the better team going forward, and they took the lead early on in the second half. The game reminded me of our uninspiring 1-0 defeat to Derby earlier on in the season and I really thought this was going to be another repeat. Fortunately Burnett’s side upped their tempo and really went at United, this resulted in a stunning three goal blitz inside 11 minutes, which sees us leap frog the Red Devil’s into 11th place, with a game in hand over Sunderland who sit above us in 10th.

Spurs got the game underway, both teams playing a cautious style of play in the opening minutes as neither dared to go out of their own half. Ethan Hamilton’s effort was the first of the game, after the United defender drilled a low shot at the Spurs goal from the edge of the box. Whiteman dealt well with his effort and comfortably managed to parry the ball to safety. United were enjoying the majority of possession inside the opening 10 minutes, the intricate Chong creating chances for the reds from the centre of the park. Spurs had a penalty shout waved away by the referee Andrew Miller at the other end, before creating a nice little opening of their own. When Jack Roles threaded a nice pass into Sterling down the right side of the penalty area, the Spurs striker flashed an effort just wide of Pereira’s near post, both teams were cancelling each other out. Tottenham centre half Jonathan Dinzeyi made an important clearance to prevent a clear passage towards goal for Bohui, whilst Bennetts received a yellow for a cynical pull back on the advancing Chong who continued to be the main attacking threat. Chances were at a minimum, the so far uninvolved Gomes saw his deep cross palmed out for a corner by Whiteman as the game lacked any sort of fluency. That’s why it came as a great surprise to me when Spurs won a penalty in the 34th minute, after a rare attacking foray. Shilow Tracey showed initiative down the left flank, bursting forward before outmuscling Warren to enter the Man United penalty area only to be brought down by the United fullback to win a penalty.

Kazaiah Sterling took responsibility only to see his well struck effort saved at Pereira’s bottom right hand corner, before a United defender managed to clear the loose ball. An incisive Man United move at the other end almost saw them take the lead, after Warren’s inviting cross was attacked by Indy Boonen inside the area. The Belgians header deflected off of Dinzeyi and onto Whiteman’s post, leaving the Spurs keeper rooted to the spot. Burnett’s side managed to create a couple of good chances in the final minutes, Sterling had a penalty shout waived away. And Brown whipped a dangerous ball across the face of Pereira’s goal. The prominent George Marsh who had been a real defensive force in the first half, managed to get back into the Spurs box to get a vital clearance. Before the lilywhites created one last attack, as Sterling brought the ball forward he passed to Roles who from around 20-25 yards out from goal, curled a low effort towards the left hand corner of the goal but Pereira dealt with it well, making a comfortable save. United’s mascot ‘Fred the red’ came onto the pitch at half time to entertain the home fans, as an important second half followed. Defender Jonathan Dinzeyi presented United with a half chance shorty after the restart. When he lost the ball deep inside the United half to Chong. The Dutchman surged forward before slipping through Joshua Bohui whose effort at goal was deflected safely into the arms of Whiteman. It came as a big blow for Burnett’s team when they conceded the opener on 50 minutes after a sloppy bit of play.

Whiteman played the ball short to Skipp whose unusually sloppy pass was picked up by Chong, who advanced into the Spurs area before calmly slotting the ball into the bottom left hand corner of Whiteman’s goal, 0-1. Spurs were now forced to go forward, and go forward they did. Burnett’s side showed a more open and attacking shape. After struggling to make much of an impression in the first half Keanan Bennetts looked to get forward more, winning a free kick in a dangerous area out wide. His resulting effort went straight down the throat of Pereira. Burnett was then forced into making a change after Dinzeyi went down inured, this meant a first league appearance for Dylan Duncan in over 3 months. The flow of the game was changing, Spurs had upped their tempo and began to really utilise the wide players, this was when the fight back started. Keanan Bennetts equalised on 59 minutes after some great work of his own. Sterling’s effort was blocked towards Bennetts inside the area, the Spurs man beat Joe Riley to the ball. Who continued racing forwards before converting at the far post with a scruffy finish into the ground, which managed to squirm past Pereira, 1-1. Roles fired over shortly afterwards as Spurs looked to control the game and find that second goal. It took a mere three minutes before Spurs took the lead, overwhelming Sbragia’s side with their fast attacking football. Jack Roles’ high pressing put the United goalkeeper under pressure with the ball at his feet, the Portuguese youth international overplayed the situation and the aggressive Roles managed to close him down, getting a vital foot on Pereira’s clearance which found its way into the back of the United net. Roles was elated and jumped for joy, 2-1.

There was to be a frantic final half hour to the game as United tried to get more players forward, whilst Burnett’s side caught them on the break. The home side almost found an equaliser straight away, after Aidan Barlow flicked Boonen’s cross agonisingly wide. The tenacious George Marsh had to make a vital header to clear the danger before Bohui fired just wide of the Spurs goal, in a frantic five minutes of football. I didn’t get the impression that we were going to sit back and see out the remainder of the game, Burnett’s side continued to go forwards and seemed determined to get that all important third goal. The lively Bennetts fired over from range for Spurs minutes before Spurs netted their third. It was their best goal of the night, Roles managed to get the ball before a United player and strode forward before threading a perfectly weighted through ball to Sterling who fired emphatically into the roof of Pereira’s goal, it was such a clean strike and a real poachers finish. Sterling went to celebrate at the corner flag where I was sitting, it was a lovely moment. The whole team gathered round, cheering with elation! Spurs were controlling the game and they were in no mood to play it safe, they continued to go forward and showed an energy level that the home team couldn’t match. Tracey squandered a good chance inside the opposition penalty area after he found the ball in space, only to curl his effort well wide of Pereira’s goal. Bohui almost pulled a goal back for United late on in the game, after running across the face of the Spurs goal before dragging an effort a fraction wide. Spurs resiliently saw out the final minutes of the game, defending with great conviction. They were assured, composed and mature beyond their years, this was our under 23’s first away league win since September 2016! We host Liverpool at the Lamex stadium next Monday. COYS

Player reviews: -Alfie Whiteman: Had a sound game all round, his distribution was particularly impressive.
– TJ Eyoma: Very tidy and assured. Did a fine job at fullback and even more so at centre half following Dinzeyi’s departure.
– Jaden Brown: Defensively sound. Good going forward on occasions with some lung bursting runs.
– Oliver Skipp: Not his best performance of the season by any means, made some sloppy passes and didn’t control the central areas as much as he usually does. He still played well, particularly good at getting back and defending, made some really tough challenges!
– Christian Maghoma: Did his job very well, kept the United forwards out of the game and was quick to danger.
– Jonathan Dinzeyi: Very assured in his defending and did a good job on the ball, up until suffering an injury around the hour mark.
– Shilow Tracey: Continued his fine form of late in to this one, Tracey was one of the only players that ran at the United defence in the first half. He showed good initiative going forward, switching wings with Bennetts on numerous occasions. He caused many problems for Warren, going on to win a penalty in the first half.
– George Marsh: An engine in the centre of the park, Marsh put in an excellent shift. He was everywhere, covering for other players at the back. Winning decisive headers and challenges in the central areas, he was nonstop. He hounded the United midfield throughout and defended efficiently, excellent stuff from the skipper.
– Kazaiah Sterling: Fine performance from the energetic centre forward. His high pressing and eagerness in front of goal made him a potent threat. After missing a penalty in the first half, Sterling recovered well and made a big impact in the second half. His goal was finished brilliantly!
– Jack Roles: My motm, see below.
– Keanan Bennetts: A real threat going forward in the second half, the winger created and finished a fine goal of his own to level the scores. Bennetts offered that bit of magic which we lacked for such a big part of the game. Wasn’t afraid to have a go from distance!
– Dylan Duncan: Duncan changed the game after coming on in the second half, he was a real force going forward. Strong, powerful and with a good eye for a pass. It’s great to see him back playing.

My man of the match: Jack Roles. The attack minded midfielder was the difference during our game with Man United. Tidy and intelligent as always, Roles enjoyed an excellent game. Really came to life in the second half with his attacking play. Roles ghosted towards the far post (in acres of space) for the opening goal, in case Bennetts effort came across goal. Our second of the game was down to his hunger in front of goal, he pressurised Pereira and forced him into making a costly error. And for the third goal, Roles set up Sterling with a perfectly weighted through ball. He is a natural finisher and his goal against United makes it 3 in his last 3 games for the Cypriot youth international!

Manchester United: Pereira, Riley (c), Warren, R. Williams, O’Connor, Hamilton, Barlow (Burkart 74), Chong, Gomes (Buffonge 79), Boonen (Kehinde, 71), Bohui. Substiutes (not used): O’Hara, Olosunde.

Spurs: Whiteman, Eyoma, Brown, Skipp, Maghoma, Dinzeyi (Duncan 57),
Tracey (Griffiths 87), Marsh (c), Sterling, Roles (Pritchard 79), Bennetts. Substitutes (not used): Austin, Lyons-Foster.

Goals: Manchester United – Chong 50. Spurs – Bennetts 59, Roles 63, Sterling 70.

Yellow cards: Manchester United – Warren. Spurs – Bennetts, Tracey.

Referee: Andrew Miller.

U23’s 2017/18 statistics: Top scorers: Sterling-8

Assists: Skipp-1

Reo Griffiths: A short piece on Spurs’ prolific academy striker

Reo Griffiths: A short piece on Spurs’ prolific academy striker


The star of our under 18’s 3-0 victory over Bournemouth in the FA youth cup fourth round last week, forward Reo Griffiths has been one of the most impressive and consistent performers within Scott Parker’s under 18 side this season. Griffiths who is 17 has scored 17 goals at all levels this campaign and the versatile forward looks like he has plenty more in his tank from now until the end of the season. Compare that tally of 15 goals and 5 assists in all competitions, to last years total of 15 goals and 6 assists it would suggest that the 17 year old has vastly improved his game. And that is correct, Griffiths has become more clinical in front of goal and the experience of last season has clearly helped his development as a centre forward. I have watched the young forward play extensively over the past year and a half for our under 18’s, so the following are just some my thoughts on Reo’s style of play, traits and overall ability. Griffiths joined our academy set up from Leyton Orient and since then he has played in a variety of different roles. Including as a fullback and as a winger which is where I first heard of him, when he was banging in over 30 goals for the under 16’s in the 2015/16 season. Following on from his time as a schoolboy, his time as a first year scholar saw him compete for the centre forward spot with the older Kazaiah Sterling and for a time Aramide Oteh (now of QPR). This resulted in him playing out wide for a fair chunk of the season, still managing to chip in with an impressive goal tally. Whilst he impressed me a lot last season, it’s the current campaign which has really made me appreciate how good a centre forward he is, and the great potential that he has.

The adaptable Griffiths is a powerful and pacy centre forward who loves to press the opposition defenders, whilst also looking for pockets of space. He is very much a ‘fox in the box’ kind of striker who is good in the air and excellent at holding up the ball. He is rapid over a long distance and in someways he is Vardyesque and direct. But it’s the versatility from playing in so many different positions that gives him a different edge to fellow academy centre forwards, Kazaiah Sterling and Shayon Harrison in front of goal. I am not saying that he is the better player, but he has a nous as a striker that the others don’t have. An awareness and a physical side to his game that allows no defender to bully him inside the box. His style of play is lively, he is excellent with his back to goal and good at scoring from acute angles. He is by no means the finished article, his touch can be erratic at times and he can be quite sloppy when he receives the ball. In addition, his decision making can cost him in the final third, he is still very raw and unpredictable. What I like a lot about Griffiths is his motivation to his team mates during matches, he is a charismatic figure on the field who is always communicating with and encouraging his teammates. He is one of the best strikers in the u18 league and he will prove vital in our quest for the fa youth cup glory this season. The next test for the young centre forward will be adapting to u23 football which he will be a part of from next season, that will be very interesting indeed to see how this talented young player adapts. COYS


Spurs under 23’s versus Manchester United: (match preview)

Spurs under 23’s versus Manchester United: (match preview)


I’m back on my travels tomorrow where this time I’ll be heading up to Manchester, to report on our under 23’s crucial relegation six pointer with Man United at the theatre of dreams (Old Trafford). This really is a must win game for Wayne Burnett’s side who face a Man United team two points above them in the league table in 11th place. A win for Burnett’s team against a fairly poor Man United side would leave them one point of 10th placed Sunderland with a game in hand. However, it is worth noting that we don’t do too well on the road, our last away win in all competitions came all the way back in August of 2016. Ricky Sbragia’s United team proved no match for Spurs when they met in Stevenage earlier on in the season, a dominant Spurs team managed to brush aside a Red Devil’s outfit which included the likes of Luke Shaw, Axel Tuanzebe and James Wilson 3-0. None of those players will feature for the home team tomorrow. Sbragia’s side have suffered with their form this campaign, scoring the fewest goals out of anyone in the league (11). They have also only been able to manage two league wins all season. League form out the window, I feel that we’re the much better side, with a more potent attack. And if we can keep their attacking talents like Angel Gomes and Callum Gribbin quiet. Whilst also replicating that brilliant team performance which saw us draw 3-3 with Benfica B in midweek, then I think we’ve got an almighty chance. I’m really forward to this one it’s going be really competitive, and it will provide a memorable experience for Burnett’s group of players. Tomorrows game is also begin shown live on MUTV for those Spurs fans that are interested.

Previous meetings: 1-1, Man U 3-2, Spurs 3-0.

United’s top scorer in the league: Demetri Mitchell (currently on loan with Hearts.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Whiteman, Walkes, Eyoma, C.Maghoma, Bennetts, Skipp, Amos(c), Tracey, Harrison, Georgiou, Sterling.

Subs from: Austin, Marsh, Dinzeyi, Pritchard, Roles.

Doubtful: Samuel Shashoua, Japhet Tanganga, Nick Tsaroulla.

My score prediction: Spurs 3-2.

One to watch: The jewel in Manchester United’s academy, 17 year old Angel Gomes is a name that most of you will know. Widely regarded as one of the most promising young English players in the country. The forward who made a lively cameo for Mourinho’s senior side on Friday night against Yeovil, is a player similar to Marcus Edwards and one that the Spurs defenders will have to keep at bay.


Spurs under 23’s 3-3 Benfica B: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 3-3 Benfica B: (match report)


After being postponed due to the pouring rain in Stevenage on Monday evening, Spurs under 23’s premier league international cup game with Benfica B was rearranged for Thursday morning at Hotspur Way. Thankfully I was one of very few that was granted permission to report on the game, (with it being behind closed doors) and I’m very grateful that I got to see it. A draw was of little use to both teams if they wanted to be one of two second placed sides to progress to the knockout stages. This resulted in a very attacking game which would ultimately finish 3-3 after a late equaliser from the Portuguese club, meaning that Burnett’s side will be reliant on the Porto v Bayern Munich game resulting in a draw on Friday night to secure that second spot . It was a brilliant team performance from Burnett’s side on a glorious morning in north London, his side matched the opposition for attacking quality, and defended tightly. In fact I was a little disappointed with the renowned Portuguese club, as I was expecting a far more attacking performance from them. Played at a very quiet Hotspur way bar members of staff including Pochettino, it had an air of prestige about it. Both sets of players walked out on to the pitch side by side and the Benfica players even had their names on the back of their shirts. It was a fairly quiet opening couple of minutes, both sides seemed happy to just pass the ball around at the back. Benfica had the first real chance of the game when Jose Gomes’ dangerous cross from out right was only just missed by Tavares in front of Austin’s goal. The same player tried a dipping effort from range moments later which failed to trouble the Spurs goalkeeper. Spurs fullback Anthony Georgiou was causing some early problems with his surging runs down the left, one such run resulted in him putting a deep cross into the box which was headed over by Tracey at the back post.

Both sides were defending well and hence there were few clear cut chances in front of goal, the Portuguese side looking very composed in their play, and they
were the more physical too. It had been a very close game up until Benfica took the lead on 21 minutes through Joao Sequeira. A good passing move resulted in Jose Gomes’ cross from the right flank being nodded home by Sequeira from close range, the Spurs goalkeeper Austin was absolutely livid with his defenders for not thwarting the goal. Benfica kept the ball for a fair time after taking the lead and they seemed in no rush to go for a second, instead passing casually around the central areas, defending very tightly in the process. Burnett’s team were living off scraps. Jack Roles had a penalty claim waved away after being the victim of a crunching challenge inside the penalty area. We were really lacking the creative spark of someone like Shashoua and Edwards in the final third. The prominent Shilow Tracey had his high cross headed on to the outside of Zlobin’s post by Amos, in a rare Spurs chance. Before a late attack resulted in the lilywhites getting an equaliser just over 5 minutes before the break. It all came out of nowhere, the determination and pressing of Tracey seeing him win the ball on the edge of the area. The winger played a clever one two with Harrison inside the area before drilling the ball into Zlobin’s bottom right hand side despite the best efforts of the Benfica keeper, 1-1. Joao Sequeira fired a volley harmlessly over soon after the restart as Spurs managed to see out the final few minutes of the half.

Just as the second half was about to begin and after Pochettino had gone in to do his press conference for the Newport game, we were joined by two keen spectators who had come to watch the second half. Davinson Sanchez and Paula Gazzaniga. A common trend in our under 23’s games this season which is conceding straight after kick off occurred again in this game, after Tavares regained Benfica’s lead only seconds after the restart. The lively centre forward had caught us by surprise with his eagerness, Tavares brought the ball forward before beating Austin with a thumping effort into the left side of the goal, 1-2. Shilow Tracey fired a teasing ball across the face of Zlobin’s goal shortly afterwards, whilst Christian Maghoma done well at the other end to make an important block to prevent a Benfica opening. The fast pace to the second half continued when our lads drew level for the second time on 50 minutes. It was another good response from Burnett’s side, coming once again through the hard work of Tracey down the right. The wide man picked up a short corner down the right before creating the space to whip a cross into the box. The ball was picked up by Roles on the edge of the area, the midfielder dealt well with the pressure from the Benfica defenders before firing a low half volley into the bottom left hand corner of Zlobin’s goal, 2-2. Anthony Georgiou who was electric down the left, advanced on a great surging run shortly afterwards. His cross was met by Harrison who fired wide of Zlobin’s goal.

This great spell of possession continued for Spurs and just five minutes after finding the equaliser, we took the lead through an unlikely source. It was like a game of pinball in the Benfica box! Roles took the ball down near the right corner flag before sending the ball into the danger zone. Sterling got on the end of Roles’ cross before hitting an effort at goal from close range, which forced a spectacular reflex save out of Zlobin who flapped it away. But the ball came back out to Spurs, this time to Anton Walkes who fired the ball emphatically into top right corner of Zlobin’s goal, 3-2. This had turned into a great game of football, Spurs had really upped their tempo and wanted to find their fourth of the game. And it should have came, Jack Roles’ corner was headed straight at the keeper by Tracey with the ball coming back out to Walkes at the far post, the defender somehow jabbed his effort wide of Zlobin’s far post, it should have been a goal. Spurs were the more aggressive team and Benfica couldn’t cope with the relentless high pressing from our lads. Burnett’s side were controlling the game, Amos and Skipp were dominating the middle of the park, whilst Georgiou’s pace and guile caused havoc down the left. Brandon Austin coped well with a dipping cross at the other end before Burnett made a defensive change when he brought off Roles for holding midfielder George Marsh. Benfica were struggling to break down a very strong defence, Tavares showed this when he got his goal bound effort all wrong. But despite needing a win to go through the Portuguese club weren’t giving up hope. A dangerous counter attack almost caught us out were it not for a brilliant interception by Georgiou, to stop a Benfica forward advancing through on goal.

Sadly all our hard work was undone in the 78th minute after Nuno Santos drew level for Benfica. It was a really frustrating goal to concede, George Marsh clumsily gave them a promising free kick down the right when he raised his hands to stop a cross. From this the away team played a clever little move to catch us out, captain Amaral subtly passing the ball across the edge of the area. The loose ball was met by Nuno Santos who drilled a low effort between the many bodies in the box and past Austin whose vision would have been impaired. It was a frantic end to the game as Spurs struggled to create despite all their huff and puff. The away side were now looking the more likely to find the winner, Amaral’s cross was met by Daniel Anjos inside the Spurs area. The substitutes dipping header was tipped over by Austin. Benfica had their keeper up for a late corner in stoppage time, and their ultra attacking play almost culminated in them finding a late winner. After Tavares late bicycle kick flew just wide of Austin’s near post, it would have been a spectacular winner. A frustrating result in the end for Burnett’s players who lay dejected on the pitch at the final whistle, even when they walked off down the path they seemed distraught. We now must wait and hope on the Porto game ending in a draw! COYS

Player reviews: -Brandon Austin: Made a couple of decent stops, his handling from set pieces was impressive.
– Anton Walkes: Did a good job defending down the right, and was incredibly productive going forward. Reminded me of his days as a centre forward. Walkes took his goal brilliantly and probably should have had a brace late on. Looked very assured in his play.
– Anthony Georgiou: My motm, see below.
– Oliver Skipp: An absolute engine in the centre of the park, caused so many problems for the Benfica players. Played noticeably deeper for this game and did his job to perfection, carried the ball so well.
– Christian Maghoma: Another fine performance from the commanding centre half. Maghoma put in a fine shift at the back, kept good positioning. And made some really important challenges and interceptions.
– TJ Eyoma: Solid, composed and efficient, very good in the air.
– Shilow Tracey: Terrific performance from Tracey down the right. He worked his socks off, pressed ferociously throughout. Making many lung bursting runs down the flank. Created and scored the opener with a fine finish and also did well to set up the second. I was very impressed.
– Luke Amos: Another player who had a great game, Amos formed a really effective midfield partnership with Oliver Skipp. Amos was aggressive, strong in the air and in the challenge. He really frustrated the Benfica midfield with his tenacity and guile in the central areas.
– Shayon Harrison: Made a good impact up top, setting up Tracey’s opener in the process. Quick feet and good pressing. He did however, make a few slightly misjudged choices in the final third when he received the ball, especially towards the latter part of the game.
– Jack Roles: Played in the number 10 role and once again showed how effective he can be in front of goal. Always in the right place at the right time in and around the area. His goal was really well taken, Roles also played a part in the third. That’s 2 in 2 for the Cypriot youth international!
– Kazaiah Sterling: Did a good job on the left flank, was strong on the ball and done well in tight areas.

My man of the match: Anthony Georgiou. This was a tough decision to make between the fullback and the brilliant Shilow Tracey. But in the end I’ve chosen to award to it to a player who I felt highly influenced the game from start to finish. Operating at left back on this occasion, the determined Georgiou was one of our main attacking outlets, he was electric down the left flank causing havoc for the Benfica defenders with his many powerful surging runs, close ball control and pin point crossing. His strength and sheer pace was something that created so many moves for Spurs from that left hand side. He also got back well and defended with aplomb. Thoroughly deserves to be on the coach to Newport for our FA Cup fourth round tie on Saturday evening.


U23’s 2017/18 statistics: Top scorers: Sterling-7
Bennetts: 2

Assists: Skipp-1

Spurs: Austin, Walkes, Georgiou, Skipp (Duncan 80), C Maghoma, Eyoma, Tracey (Pritchard 83), Amos (c), Harrison, Roles (Marsh 69), Sterling. Substitutes (not used): O’Reilly, Dinzeyi.

Benfica: Zlobin, Kalaica, Willock (Anjos 71), Amaral (c), Luis, Gomes (Soares 46), Sequeira, Mendes (Santos 59), Tavares, Lystcov, Cuevas. Substitutes (not used): Duarte, Dju, Araujo, Alvaro.

Goals: Spurs – Tracey 39, Roles 50, Walkes 55; Benfica – Sequeira 21, Tavares
46, Santos 78.

Referee: Alan Young.

Spurs under 23’s versus Benfica B: (match preview)

Spurs under 23’s versus Benfica B: (match preview)


Wayne Burnett’s development side host Benfica B at the Lamex stadium on Wednesday night in their final group game of this seasons premier league international cup. It’s a crucial game again Benfica’s B team (who ply their trade in the second tier of Portuguese football). Spurs need to win and ideally by a decent goal margin if they are to achieve one of the two best ranked second team spots to progress. As Villarreal B have already won group F, it’s all to play for tomorrow night, both sides will be vying for that second spot, and a draw will be no good for either side. Benfica have a renowned academy set up and their squad tomorrow will no doubt contain some very talented young players. One who most of you will know, is the highly rated ex Arsenal forward Chris Willock, who made the move to Portugal last summer. What worries me about tomorrows game is the fact that the Portuguese side will probably have the older and without a doubt more experienced players. For example Brazilian striker Allan (24) and Lystov Vitali (22). Regardless it’s a massive game for Burnett’s team and it’s one that they really need to win, so they can lift their morale after such a poor run of results. As always I shall be reporting on tomorrows game, and will have by match report published on Thursday. COYS

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Whiteman, Walkes, C.Maghoma, Eyoma, Bennetts, Skipp, Amos(c), Tracey, Pritchard, Georgiou, Harrison.

Doubtful: Samuel Shashoua, Japhet Tanganga, Nick Tsaroulla, Dylan Duncan.

Subs from: Austin, Marsh, Brown, Roles, Sterling.

My score prediction: 3-2 to Spurs.

One to watch: Benfica B forward Heriberto Tavares, the 20 year old has 11 goals from 15 league games this season.

Spurs under 17’s 2-4 PSG: (player reviews)

Spurs under 17’s 2-4 PSG: (player reviews)

I didn’t have enough time to write a full match report of our under 17’s 4-2 defeat to PSG in the ALKAAS international cup on Tuesday afternoon, so instead I thought I’d just do some player reviews. The defeat which leaves Parker’s side bottom of their group, was a game for which they lacked the energy and guile to break down an immensely talented and well organised PSG team. After playing such a high tempo game the day before against Kashiwa Reysol, Parker’s side unsurprisingly looked tired and were unable to play with the same intensity. PSG thoroughly deserved their win, they really impressed and none more so than forward Ruben Providence who was so lively and creative down the right hand side.

Player reviews: – Joshua Oluwayemi: Was very busy throughout, was annoyed at himself for conceding his second of the game, which was an unfortunate blunder. But apart from that, I thought he done a good job. Showed very fast reactions and reflexes.
– Luis Binks: Impressive once again. Tidy and efficient at centre half. It was the England u16 internationals excellent long Dawsonesque diagonal balls which once again stood out. Looked very comfortable in his defending.
– Dennis Cirkin: Decent display at fullback, was really tested by Providence down the right.
– Maximus Tainio: Had to be adaptable, changing positions throughout the game. But like Cirkin I felt that he put in a decent display.
– Jamie Bowden: Operated predominantly at centre half for this game and done a fine and tidy job. However, we really missed his creativity from he holding midfield role.
– Dilan Markanday: Another Impressive display. Excellent on the ball. Sharp, intelligent and skilful. Got the assist for Asante’s second.
– Paris Maghoma: Unsurprisingly after a terrific and energetic performance the day before, Maghoma looked quite tired in the centre of the park and wasn’t able to have the same attacking influence on the game. Played slightly deeper for this one.
– Noni Madeuke: Didn’t see too much of the ball due to PSG’s tight defending which stopped him making much of an impact out wide. Did however, show some nice footwork.
– Nile John: Struggled to really impact the game from the centre of midfield, is still only an u15!
– J’neil Bennett: Another who looked a little tired out there. Bennett did impress with his surging runs and skill and movement, both on and off the ball.
– Enoch Asante: My motm see below.
– Rayan Clarke: Looked lively after coming on in the second half.
– Marqes Muir: Impressive late cameo at right back.

My man of the match: It has to go to the lively striker Enoch Asante for his well taken brace against the Parisians. Asante pressurised goalkeeper Trey Vimalin throughout, was always on the move. And looked to get into good goalscoring positions.


Spurs under 18’s 6-3 Brighton: (match report)

Spurs under 18’s 6-3 Brighton: (match report)


I was treated to a thrilling game down at the south coast on Saturday morning, as Scott Parker’s under 18 side overcame Brighton 6-3 to record a valuable league win. It was a wonderful game to watch with free flowing attacking so eminent throughout, but it was Parker’s side who were the better and far more creative team and in many ways it was a 6-1 kind of game as oppose to the actual result. A much rotated side from the one that had beaten Bournemouth in the youth cup in midweek, Parker’s team included a mixture of regulars and fringe players in need of game time. A host of players were missing due to participation in the ALKAAS international cup in Qatar, the game also saw young u15 goalkeeper Lo-Tutala named on the bench (a new name to me!) Spurs got the game underway as frontman Reo Griffiths bellowed to his team mates that ‘we need to get these 3 points!’ The rotated Spurs side started the game well, moving the ball around with a zip and attacking intent as the rain came lashing down. Wide man Rodel Richards wasted an early chance when he missed an opportunity to put Mukendi through on goal down the right hand side. A lovely lofted ball from Dinzeyi soon afterwards almost picked out Armando Shashoua in the area after the latter made a good run, as Spurs began to dominate possession. Another good move came about after Richards pulled off a sublime turn on his man before finding Hinds on the edge of the area, the holding midfielders effort landed straight in the palms of seagulls goalkeeper Tom McGill. Spurs’ excellent opening play gifted them the lead on 18 minutes courtesy of an emphatic finish from Rodel Richards. It was a fine attacking move which started with Hinds who passed to Patterson, the lively forward picked out Richards on the left side of the penalty area, the Spurs forward showed good feet before curling a lovely effort into the bottom right side of McGill’s goal, 1-0.

Spurs had barely finished celebrating when the seagulls unexpectedly levelled four minutes later. Brighton had caught us by surprise, Brighton’s Ryan Longman cut inside from the left before curling a wonderful effort inside the postage stamp of Austin’s goal as Spurs were left to ponder. Spurs soon begun to maintain the ball playing some nice stuff, though they were not utilising the electric Jeremie Mukendi who found himself free and unmarked down the right, continuously. Spurs were given an opportunity to test McGill when the lively Shashoua won a free kick in a dangerous position around 25 yards out from goal. Winger Phoenix Patterson stood up confidently to bend a beautiful effort into the top right hand corner of the goal, which despite a good hand from McGill was never going to be stopped, 2-1. It was definitely a goal of the season contender. McDermott roared to his players the need to show urgency after regaining the lead, and they showed that in their play. That’s why it came as another big surprise when the seagulls drew level for the second time in he game, on 39 minutes. It was quite a silly goal to concede, Hayden Roberts cross from out wide wasn’t dealt with by Jonathan Dinzeyi who failed to pick up the danger man Stefan Ljubicic in the area, the Brighton man powering his header past Austin to make it 2-2. But once again Parker’s lads picked themselves up and went on the offensive, Maxwell Statham’s brilliant low cross from the right was only missed by a couple of inches by Richards who went sliding in towards the near post. Spurs almost scored straight from kick off at the beginning of the second half when Shashoua’s inviting cross into the area was headed straight at McGill by Dinzeyi.

Brandon Austin spread himself well to close down Brighton’s Ryan Longman shortly afterwards. Whilst the seagulls looked sharper in this half, it was Spurs who got the decisive third goal. When the inform Reo Griffiths made it 3-2 five minutes into the half, after Spurs caught the seagulls on the break. Phoenix Patterson threaded a lovely through ball to Griffiths up top, he raced away from his man before cooly slotting the ball into the left side of the goal. This incredibly open and exciting game of football was one of those that you wouldn’t want to predict. Jonathan Dinzeyi made a crucial intervention in the following minutes, when he managed to flick wide Hamish Morrison’s dangerous cross. The energy of Parker’s team proved too much for the home side. The potent Reo Griffiths made it 4-2 to Spurs in the 59th minute after pouncing on a loose ball after some sloppy defending from Brighton. Before advancing forwards and curling the ball onto the inside of the right hand post, to see it roll past McGill’s line, 4-2. Spurs still had to be alert at the other end, Statham doing brilliantly well to block Danny Cashman’s acrobatic volley. Cochrane fired well over moments later, as Parker’s side dictated play. Reo Griffiths came so close to netting his hat-trick, after going on a surging run across the edge of the penalty area before firing an effort at McGill, which was well stopped by the Brighton goalkeeper. But he couldn’t hold onto the ball and Patterson was there to bundle the ball home courtesy of a deflection of a Brighton defender, 5-2. However, a good move from the seagulls minutes later resulted in them pulling a goal back. After Tareq Shihab’s well measured pass picked up Longman in between two Spurs defenders, the Brighton striker managing to tuck the ball past Austin to make it 5-3.

Patterson forced a save out of McGill soon afterwards as the rain continued to fall. Brighton were still holding out for an unlikely draw, first through Cashman who curled an effort inches wide of goal. And then through Ljubicic who fired agonisingly wide after meeting Longman’s cross. Yet another golden chance came the seagulls way when Ljubicic somehow managed to be head the ball over the open goal, after receiving a pacy cross at the far post. Thankfully for Spurs the game was done and dusted when the fantastic Patterson got his first hat-trick at this level to put us 6-3 ahead. It was another well worked move from Spurs, Griffiths picking up Shashoua’s crisp pass before racing forwards. The strikers thumping effort was parried by the Brighton goalkeeper straight into the path of Patterson who tapped home. Spurs were still hungry to extend their lead even in the dying moments of the game, Reynolds saw his effort cleared on the line. Whilst at the other end, Morrison fired straight at Austin from an acute angle. Spurs’ magician Phoenix Patterson almost got his fourth of the game late on when he dragged an effort across the face of the goal. The final score from a thrilling game Spurs 6-3 Brighton, Parker’s sides good run of form continues. They host Southampton next on the third of February. COYS


Player reviews: -Brandon Austin: Made some important stops, particularly in the second half.
– Maxwell Statham: Very impressive display. Defended well, kept good positioning and made some crunching challenges and important blocks. Starting to remind me a bit of a Dunk/Duffy type of player.
– Jamie Reynolds: Another impressive showing from the left back, solid defensively and potent going forward with his lung bursting runs down the left.
– Tariq Hinds: The versatile Hinds played in the holding midfield role for this game, and he was immense. Very tidy and efficient, held his own very well. Also very skilful in tight situations, very calm and composed!
– Jonathan Dinzeyi: Apart from an unfortunate misjudgement from Dinzeyi for Brighton’s second of the game, I felt he put in a good shift at centre half, made some crucial interventions.
– Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: Another top notch performance, calming and influential from the back. Lyons-Foster thwarted the Brighton front line on numerous occasions. Good defending.
– Jeremie Mukendi: Really impressed me out right when he got on the ball, he was electric going forward. Sadly despite constantly finding himself free down the right in good pockets of space, Spurs failed to utilise him.
– Armando Shashoua: Excellent as always, a driving force going forward. Shashoua showed tremendous strength (like his brother) both on and off the ball. He initiated many attacks, and went on many good runs in between the Brighton defence. The number 8 was also tidy and crisp in his passing. Some of the Brighton parents near me were very impressed with him, even wondering if he was Pochettino’s son.
– Reo Griffiths: Continued his excellent form, scored two well taken goals and provide two assists. The stats don’t lie, he is a top prospect.
– Phoenix Patterson: My motm see below.
– Rodel Richards: Another who had an excellent game, the trickery of Richards out left caused many problems for the Brighton defence. One of the most skilful players I’ve seen at this level. Richards showed fantastic stamina, tracking back and getting stuck in throughout. He also scored a lovely goal which takes his tally to 10 this campaign.

My man of the match: Phoenix Patterson. The creative force behind an excellent attacking display. The intelligent wide man had a superb game, scoring his first hat-trick at this level. Showed great movement on the ball, showed great feet and managed to get in many goalscoring positions. The highly talented winger has been involved in 17 of our under 18’s goals this season.

Spurs U18s: Austin (c), Statham, Reynolds, Hinds, Dinzeyi (Lock 63), Lyons-Foster, Mukendi (Okedina 83), A Shashoua, Griffiths (Thorpe 83), Patterson, Richards. Substitute (not used): Lo-Tutala (GK).

Stats: Under 18 Goals scored this season: Reo Griffiths-16
Phoenix Patterson -8
Dilan Markanday- 5
Jamie Bowden- 1
Moroyin Omolabi-1
Rayan Clarke-2
Maurizio Pochettino-1
Paris Maghoma-2
Rodel Richards-10
J’neill Lloyd-Bennett-1
TJ Eyoma-1

Assists: Phoenix Patterson-9
Jamie Bowden-1
Matt Lock- 2
Jeremie Mukendi-2
Jamie Reynolds-3
Reo Griffiths-7
J’neill Lloyd-Bennett-4
Rayan Clarke-2
Rodel Richards-1
Dilan Markanday-1
Oliver Skipp- 1
Tariq Hinds- 1
Paris Maghoma-2

Spurs under 17’s 2-3 Kashiwa Reysol (match report)

Spurs under 17’s 2-3 Kashiwa Reysol (match report)

A Spurs under 17 side (managed by Scott Parker) played their first group game of this seasons ALKAAS international cup this evening in Doha, against talented Japanese side Kashiwa Reysol. Thanks to the brilliant live coverage provided by the tournament on their YouTube channel, I was able to watch the entirety of what was a thrilling and frantic game of football. As Parker’s young side were narrowly beaten 3-2 by the Japanese club in a game inwhich they really deserved to win, with fast attacking football and creativity aplenty there will be many positives taken out of this game after a superb team display, ahead of Spurs’ crucial second game against PSG tomorrow. Spurs have the youngest side in the tournament and Parker and McDermott chose to field a side consisting of both u16’s and first year scholars. Spurs started the game well in the opening couple of minutes, a good incisive move which was started by Maghoma saw him slide the ball down to Bennett on the left flank. The 16 year old’s pacy cross needed to be well cleared by a Kashiwa defender. The winger then fired an effort straight at Kashiwa’s goalkeeper Leo Kokubo, from a tight angle shortly afterwards. The highly skilful Paris Maghoma was causing many problems in the central areas, with his neat passing and forward runs and would continue doing so for the remainder of the game. Spurs looked assured in their play and were enjoying more of the ball in the opening 20 minutes, though it was still quite even overall as Kashiwa held a strong back line. Another fine chance came Spurs’ way after Maghoma slipped a pass through to Bennett on the left, the wingers cross came bouncing off the top of the cross bar totally outwitting Kokubo. Before falling to Pochettino on the rebound, whose first time volley was cleared off the line by a defender.

Then moments later the so far quiet Dilan Markanday hit a deflected effort on to the side netting, as Kashiwa escaped once again. Spurs were really testing Reysol’s rock solid defence, J’neil Bennett tested Kokubo shortly afterwards with a drilled low effort. Before front man Rayan Clarke forced Kokubo into making a terrific low save, to deny the Spurs man’s powerful effort. Reysol were gifted a half chance when Maghoma sloppily gave away possession inside his own half, but Fumiya Unoki’s audacious effort from long range was never going to test Oluwayemi inside the Spurs goal. Things were going so well for Parker’s side up until Reysol were awarded a penalty kick, when Daichi Meda’s cross struck the arm of centre half Luis Binks inside the penalty area (totally unintentional). Unfortunately for the lilywhites Mao Hosayo’s spot kick was emphatically fired into the roof of Oluwayemi’s net (unstoppable). Parker’s side were incredibly unlucky to find themselves a goal down. Our lads looked to make an instant response straight from kick off, Max Tainio’s fine cross picking out makeshift centre forward Rayan Clarke but the Spurs man couldn’t connect properly with the ball, as it sailed well wide. A terrific pass from Luis Binks almost lead to a Spurs equaliser when Maghoma drove forward after picking up the ball. Shrugging off an opposition player in the process the midfielder curled a magnificent effort onto the top of Kokubo’s cross bar leaving him rooted to his spot. The ball came back out to Pochettino who could only volley wide, Spurs were continuing to be the better team. But it was Kashiwa Reysol who were the more decisive. An excellent defence splitting pass set Unoki advancing towards the Spurs goal as the half drew to a close, thankfully for Spurs his effort was blocked to safety by Binks.

Deep in stoppage time Spurs finally managed to break down Reysol’s tenacious defence, when Dilan Markanday drew level for Parker’s side. With the loose ball bouncing on the edge of the penalty area, Bowden managed to prod it down to Markanday, who swiftly entered Reysol’s box. Before wrapping his foot around the ball, to curl it into the back of Kokubo’s net courtesy of a hefty deflection off of Keita Ide, so well deserved! Spurs started the second half even sharper then they had done during the first, some brilliant early work from Paris Maghoma saw the midfielder carry the ball forward. Before setting up Bennett with a perfectly weighted pass, but the winger got his feet all wrong and ended up side footing the ball over the bar. Another incisive move swiftly followed when Markanday’s inviting cross was stabbed inches wide by Clarke. The same player then volleyed over on the turn moments later, as Spurs continued their fine start to the half, they could easily have been 3-1 up. The game was being played at a fast pace as Spurs continued to dominate, Clarke should have been awarded a penalty after being taken out in the area, whilst the influential Markanday curled wide of goal moments later. Spurs were peppering the Kashiwa goal, another fine effort this time from Pochettino followed. But Parker’s side had to be focused at the back, as Reysol were good on the counter. The composed Luis Binks got himself out of a sticky situation inside his own box, whilst Oluwayemi done well to deal with Unoki’s freekick. Binks done really well to snuff out Ide’s pass shortly afterwards, as he continued to impose himself at the back.

Despite their excellent start to the half Spurs found themselves behind again after being caught out by a great Kashiwa move. Hosoya’s defence splitting pass unlocked the Spurs defence, setting Yuusuke Shimizu through on goal. Shimizu scooped the ball wonderfully over the out coming Oluwayemi to cap off an excellent team move. Spurs looked to respond once again, this time Markanday trying his luck from range but to no avail. Whilst Oluwayemi showcased his quick reflexes to brilliantly keep out Hosoya’s powerful effort on the turn, at the other end. The game was becoming impossible to predict, it was both end to end and fast paced. The impressive Jamie Bowden came inches away from feeding a wonderful chance Into Markanday. Before Paris Maghoma’s dipping free kick went just over. And we could easily have found ourselves level after Rayan Clarke’s shot was spilled straight into the feet of Markanday by Kokubo. Unfortunately the Spurs man was harshly penalised after he managed to win the ball. A bizarre incident then followed, as substitute Enoch Asante was booked for entering the field of play early, much to Parker’s bemusement. Luis Binks testing effort stung the palms of Kubo, before an excellent move saw Spurs draw level. A brilliant surging run from Markanday resulted in the forward slipping a lovely and intelligent pass through to Bennett inside the penalty area. The composed 16 year old made easy work of a tough chance to convert with a deft dink over the goalkeeper. And we almost took the lead straight afterwards, when Clarke cut inside from the right before firing a low and accurate effort at goal, which was superbly tipped onto the post by Kokubo.

Substitute Enoch Asante hit Jamie Bowden’s promising cross straight at Kokubo before Markanday was ruled out for offside after interfering with play. However, the game then took a painful late twist when Kashiwa Reysol netted a late winner through Mao Hosoya, after his side managed to carve through the Spurs defence. After a good counter attack the move ball eventually came to Hosoya inside the area, as he managed to slot the ball past Oluwayemi who despite managing to get a foot to the ball, couldn’t prevent the winner. Maximus Tainio slammed the turf in frustration after Reysol had managed to get past his defence. Spurs had little time to try and find and equaliser but to their great credit they didn’t stop and went so close on occasions. A brilliant cross from Bennett managed to pick out Asante in the box but unfortunately the strikers effort (which came off his shoulder) went inches wide of the goal. Harvey White was called into making a brilliant last ditch challenge at the other end. Whilst Spurs frantically looked to get the ball forward after the fourth official indicated that there would be four minutes added time. A late surging run from the potent Bennett resulted in the winger whipping the ball into the danger zone, picking out Max Tainio. But the fullbacks weak effort done little to trouble the alert Kokubo. Late substitute Noni Madeuke showed some electric skill and pace down the right before Bennett struck what seemed to be a late equaliser, only to see his effort somehow turned on the post by the excellent Kokubo. In the end it was a disappointing 3-2 defeat for Parker’s lads, but they were absolutely excellent and on any other day they would have come out with three points. Parker’s side play PSG tomorrow afternoon, needing a win to progress to the knockout stages. COYS

Apologies for not publishing my report of our under 18s 6-3 win over Brighton at the weekend, I’ll have that published by tomorrow.

Player reviews: – Joshua Oluwayemi: Showed good hands and decision making, made a couple of decent saves. Good distribution also. Commanding from the back.
– Luis Binks: Cool composed and decisive at the back, once again I was left mightily impressed by the young centre half who I thought showed real maturity in what was a fine performance. Binks long range passing was top notch.
– Dennis Cirkin: Done a decent job at the back, look forward to seeing more.
– Maximus Tainio: I was quite impressed with the Finnish youth internationals performance against Reysol, he stayed deep and looked solid at the back.
– Jamie Bowden: Top performance from the skipper, who mopped up so well in the holding midfield role. So neat and tidy, managing to get into good positions at the important time. Also made some lovely passes, Winksesquse. Such a calming and composed figure to have sitting in front of the defence. Not forgetting that he got the assist for Markanday’s goal.
– Maurizio Pochettino: Decent display outwide, managed to get quite a few shots away at goal. Looked good on the ball.
– Dilan Markanday: Terrific. Continued his good form into this game. Markanday provided a goal and assist in what was a great performance. Used the ball so intelligently and posed a constant threat.
– Paris Maghoma: My motm, see below.
– J’neil Bennett: Another excellent performance. Was electric down the left, got into some great positions and whipped in many inviting crosses, scoring a really well taken goal in the process. His searing pace was evident right until the final whistle.
– Rayan Clarke: Was interesting seeing him start up front. Whilst he done a decent job up top, it was his efforts from range and cutting inside that impressed me the most.
– Harvey White: Industrious display.
– Enoch Asante: Good cameo, came close to scoring. Lively in the box.
– Noni Madeuke: Exciting late cameo, hoping he starts the PSG game.

My man of the match: Paris Maghoma. It was only yesterday that Gary Neville spoke about the lack of central midfielders who take on players, when he was referring to Mousa Dembele in our 1-1 draw with Southampton. Well 16 year old midfielder Paris Maghoma is certainly one of those rare type of players, as he has shown so impressively throughout this season. The attack minded central midfielder had the commentators waxing lyrical about him during today’s game, and rightly so. He was superb, he was the main supply line to the Spurs forwards. He initiated countless moves, with his creative passing and guile on the ball. His attacking flare and skill caused so many problems for the opposition, as did his strength on the ball and shooting from range. Like a young Paul Pogba!

Spurs under 18’s versus Brighton: (match preview)


I’m back on my travels tomorrow, this time to Lancing in Sussex where I’ll be reporting on our under 18’s latest league game against Brighton. From the seagulls American Express Elite Football Performance Centre, as Scott Parker’s side look to continue their recent good form. Unbeaten in four games and off the back of a sparkling performance against Bournemouth in midweek, Parker’s side will be confident of making it three wins on the bounce when they make the trip to the south coast (once again) tomorrow. It’s a battle between the 7th and 8th placed teams in the league and our lads will fancy their chances against a seagulls side, whose last win in the league came against us all the way back in August! I would expect there to be a fair bit of squad rotation following the Bournemouth game. I noticed that a Spurs under 17 side will be participating in this years ALKASS international cup in Qatar, the tournament starts this Sunday. Spurs are in group D alongside Japanese club Kashiwa Reysol and French club PSG, I would imagine that a couple of our first year scholars will take part in that tournament. COYS

My predicted lineup: De Bie(c), Lock, Statham, Lyons-Foster, Reynolds, Bowden, P.Patterson, Clarke, Markanday, Bennett, Richards.

Subs from: J.Oluwayemi, Hinds, P.Maghoma, A.Shashoua, Griffiths.

Doubtful: Moroyin Omolabi, Charlie Freeman, Elliot Thorpe.

My score prediction: 3-2 to Spurs.

One to watch: A player who impressed me in the reverse fixture, scoring the winner that day in a 1-0 win. Was Brighton centre half Tareq Shihab, the England under 17 international scored the winner that day.