Spurs under 18’s 4-0 Liverpool: (match report)
Our under 18’s put in their finest performance of the season on Wednesday morning when they took on Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool at a gloriously sunny Hotspur Way. The game, which was an important quarter final of this seasons inaugural under 18 premier league cup saw Spurs field a strong eleven which included the likes of Oliver Skipp and TJ Eyoma. Parker’s desire to progress to the semis was clear, but him and McDermott surely couldn’t have anticipated that their team would tear apart one of the best youth teams in the country, a team who until yesterday had been unbeaten in all competitions. What I witnessed at the training centre yesterday was a phenomenal all round performance from our under 18’s, they defended immaculately and were impeccable tactically. There decision making, counter attacking play and ability to initiate openings against the reds would have seen them beat any youth team on the planet, that is something I am sure about. Spurs got the game underway but it was Liverpool who were straight away looking to impose themselves on the game with their high pressing possession based football. Liam Miller’s wayward effort at goal was the first attempt of the game for the visitors in what had been a fairly even start to proceedings. A lovely lofted pass by Oliver Skipp saw the Spurs man pick out Reo Griffiths on the edge of the reds box, through on goal the striker lashed an effort just wide of Jaros’ left post. Parker’s side started to show more signs of confidence, Patterson’s deep swinging cross on 13 minutes was headed wide at the far post by Richards failed to make sufficient contact with the ball.
Whilst Edvard Tagseth headed inches wide of De Bie’s goal at the opposite end. Liverpool were starting to see more of the ball, Yasser Larouci’s effort was deflected wide by some good defending from Patterson. Whilst a mad scramble in the Spurs box came about after De Bie spilt the ball from the resulting corner kick, a sea of bodies attempted to prod the ball home but the Spurs keeper managed to recover well and smother the ball. Gerrard’s side were creating a flurry of chances, but our lads were containing them really well and weren’t letting them get any clean shots away. As the half hour mark passed Spurs managed to create a couple of good chances of their own, including Lyons-Foster curling effort on goal. Essentially both teams had managed to cancel each other out with their two very similar styles of play. However, Liverpool skipper Adam Lewis almost gave the reds the lead towards the latter stages of the half, when he bent an excellent free kick on to the top of De Bie’s crossbar, leaving him rooted to the spot. Then in a slightly unexpected turn of the events Spurs managed to take the lead in the 43rd minute. It was a goal created by a lovely weighted pass from the influential Oliver Skipp which found Griffiths down the right side of the Liverpool box. The Spurs striker managing to clip the ball past Jaros and into the bottom left hand corner of the net from a tight angle, it was a really good finish from Griffiths who had bagged his 12th goal of the season in the process, 1-0.
As the Spurs players went over to celebrate at the byline Skipp uttered clearly to his team mates to ‘get to half time’. Hardly had Spurs stopped celebrating when the reds missed a glaring chance to equalise straight from the restart. The Liverpool skipper Lewis who was surging down the left opted to fire an effort across goal managing to find Larouci at the back post. A couple of yards out and with an open goal at his mercy, the Liverpool fullback somehow managed to make an astonishing miss to put the ball over the frame of the goal as Spurs escaped. And the reds weren’t finished there, Curtis Jones had enough time to force a good low stop out of De Bie before the referee blew his whistle for halftime. Spurs started the second half with some good attacking play, Rodel Richards flashed a fine effort inches wide of Jaros’ goal as Spurs went in search of their second. The frantic end to end nature of the game did continue to pursue and Spurs had to defend well. De Bie dealt well with Jones’ effort before Eyoma made a superb block moments later, Parker’s side were trying to catch them on the counter. However, some brilliant pressure from Rodel Richards who pressed Jaros ferociously resulted in Spurs doubling their lead in the 54th minute. Richards eagerness had forced Jaros into making a mistake and as the Liverpool keeper went to clear the ball it came rebounding off of the Spurs man and into the bottom right hand corner of the net to leave Spurs in great stead. Since doubling their lead Spurs were showing great confidence in their play as Liverpool started to fade away and drop their high tempo.
Substitute Paris Maghoma went close with a low effort on goal before some more good play from Richards resulted in Spurs’ third of the game. It was a lovely goal which started with some brilliant work down the right from Hinds who impressively won a 50-50 on the half way line. The Spurs fullback drove forward before eventually helping the ball to Richards who continued in to the Liverpool area. The forwards initial effort was blocked but the inform Richards calmly managed to stroke the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the goal on his second asking, at which point I had lost my composure on the sidelines as I jumped up to celebrate with delight. Spurs were by now controlling the game, their crisp passing and inventiveness in the final third was just too much for Gerrard’s team. This was not to say that the opposition weren’t still troubling the Spurs goal, Jones sliced an effort well wide for the reds. Before Camacho’s effort dashed across the face of De Bie’s goal. You could tell by the Liverpool players body language that they had resigned to defeat and they were understandably taking more risks to go forward. As the game reached the last 15-20 minutes Spurs continued to have their wits tested. Lewis’ effort stung the palms of De Bie before a sumptuous long pass picked out Curtis Jones at the far post. The Liverpool forwards effort pinging against the bottom of De Bie’s left hand side. The game was still however in the palms of Spurs’ hands, a brilliant piece of play and tactical awareness from Richards saw him pick out Markanday down the left, the Spurs winger brought the ball forward before firing an effort straight down the throat of Jaros.
Jones fired wide for the faltering visitors, whilst Lyons-Foster produced an excellent piece of defending to get in front of his man. The tireless Oliver Skipp went on a typically excellent forward run, carrying the ball all the way into the Spurs box, before squaring the ball wonderfully to Griffiths who then found Patterson, who couldn’t cap the move off with a goal as he fired just over. Lewis’ free kick from long range went astray as the final minutes approached, and it was on the 90th minute that Spurs managed to put the icing on the cake with a fabulous forth. Tariq Hinds cross from the right found Markanday on the edge of the area and the skilful forward showed great composure before tucking the ball in to the back of Jaros’ net to cap off a remarkable Spurs performance. As Parker’s side go marching into the last four of the competition! COYS
Player reviews: – Jonathan De Bie: Surprisingly, the young Belgian goalkeeper didn’t have that many saves to make. Though the ones he did make were very good. His distribution was excellent as too was his anticipation of set pieces and corner kicks. De Bie is a very brave keeper and this season he has been really consistent. He has also showed great leadership skills as the skipper of the side.
– Tariq Hinds: Very strong display from the tenacious fullback. Hinds who was very good defensively, went on some brilliant attacking runs. Playing a big part in two of our goals, he is in my opinion ready to play under 23 football.
– Jamie Reynolds: Another terrific performance from the left back who I’ve really come around to appreciating how good a player he is, since he made the switch from central midfield earlier this season. Reynolds was solid at the back but excellent going forward. His lung bursting runs, good play in tight situations and his ability to whip in the perfect cross were all on show.
– Oliver Skipp: Sheer dominance in the central areas from the Spurs starlet. Skipp was one of the most influential players in the game. His crisp passing, tenaciousness and creativity in the final third to unlock the Liverpool defence were all top class. It’s obvious that the first year scholar is too good for under 18 football but in big matches he will provide the difference. What I liked particularly about his performance against the reds was his attacking play i.e: his lofted passes and intricate build up play. Skipp’s running and tremendous stamina was also of note, he would have made Gerrard proud!
– Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: Along with fellow centre half TJ Eyoma, Lyons-Foster formed part of a flawless central defence. As I tweeted after the game, it was just like watching Jan and Toby play. Brooklyn’s athleticism and overall defending frustrated Gerrard’s side throughout. The way he just glides in front of the attacker and plays the ball out in an Alderweireldesque fashion is very special indeed. His footballing brain is like that of an experienced under 23 player!
– TJ Eyoma: My motm see below.
– Dilan Markanday: Markanday was the most fouled player on the pitch for a reason. The Spurs attacker was a key player in Spurs’ win. His nifty footwork and ability to carry the ball in tight situations were extremely impressive. He also gets into great positions and his goal was a testament to that.
– Phoenix Patterson: Due to the nature of the game he was less involved, but he still impressed. Whipped in some nice crosses and was tidy in his play.
– Reo Griffiths: Superb performance from the Spurs front man who worked tirelessly in front of goal. Powerful and energetic, Griffiths was always on the move as he looked to run either side of the defenders. Also finished his goal really well.
– Rodel Richards: Two more goals from the inform forward who once again had a great game. He loves to press and he caused great bother to the reds defence with his blistering pace and creativity down the right flank. There’s no such thing as a lost cause for the Spurs man.
– Rayan Clarke: Productive going forward, Clarke was also important at getting back and getting stuck in. Something that Lewis didn’t take too kindly to for the visitors.
– Paris Maghoma: Bolstered the midfield in the second half following his introduction.
– J’neil Bennett: N/A
My man of the match: TJ Eyoma. Eyoma was central to a terrific Spurs defence, the u17 World Cup winner was an imposing figure. He was excellent at snuffing out danger and winning headers in the air. Was never rash in making challenges and showed great strength and intelligence to deal with the Liverpool front line. ‘Flawless’ was an understatement!
Spurs U18s: De Bie (c), Hinds, Reynolds, Skipp, Lyons-Foster, Eyoma, Markanday, Patterson, Griffiths, Richards, Clarke. Substitutes (not used): Oluwayemi, Bowden.
Under 18 Goals scored this season: Reo Griffiths-12
Phoenix Patterson -5
Dilan Markanday- 5
Jamie Bowden- 1
Assists: Phoenix Patterson-6
Matt Lock- 2
Oliver Skipp- 1
Tariq Hinds- 1