Spurs under 18’s 0-0 Swansea City: (match report)
A much rotated Spurs under 18’s side took on Swansea City this morning in an important league fixture at Hotspur Way. Scott Parker left some key players out for this one, with the u19 youth league occurring the previous day. Players such as Griffiths, Maghoma and Bennett were also being saved for our u18 premier league cup final against Chelsea at the weekend. This meant that players such as Rayan Clarke and Maxwell Statham were given a rare start. But the biggest news of all was the inclusion of Irish schoolboy Troy Parrott who after recently turning 16 was now eligible to represent Spurs at this level. The schoolboy who played up front would do so for the entirety of the game. Ending in an incredibly rare goalless draw (for u18 level) it was a fiercely contested game. Swansea were the more physical side by some distance, opting for long balls and crosses in to the target man as oppose to working it into box. On the other hand Parker’s side played the much for fluid football, dominating the central areas through the tireless duo of Shashoua and Patterson and later Bowden. The forwards were able to get up more and create and were given a lot of freedom. But despite our best efforts we just couldn’t break through the Swans defence in what was an even and end to end game which would ultimately end in a goalless draw. However, the sheer competitiveness and fast paced nature of the game ensured that it was no bore draw.
The strong winds came down hard on those in attendance, as Spurs got the game underway. After a quiet opening few minutes Swansea had the first attempt on goal of the game through Craig Davies. Whose jinking run across the Spurs penalty area ended in him hitting a low effort towards De Bie’s far post, which the Belgian keeper dealt with comfortably. Spurs were enjoying the lions share of possessions passing the ball about with real pace and intent. Our first chance of the game came down the left flank. Speedy winger Rayan Clarke managing to beat his man with ease before being tripped by Evans inside the penalty area, Clarke was adamant that it was a penalty. Unfortunately the referee didn’t share his view as he waved away his claim. Tom Price blasted an effort wide for the visitors shortly before Spurs almost took the lead at the other end. Parker’s side had come so close to breaking the deadlock. Rayan Clarke’s effort from out left was parried by the swans goalkeeper Alex Lang as Patterson was quickest to the loose ball. The Tottenham midfielder also saw his effort saved by Lang from close range, it was a great piece of goalkeeping. Without there being any clear cut chances for either side, Spurs had to be patient and were willing to the pass the ball about in an attempt to break down a rigid back line. The closest we came to scoring in the first half was through Jamie Bowden’s free kick from around 25 yards out from goal. The makeshift centre half curled a beautiful effort over the Swansea wall and onto the top of the cross bar, leaving Lang rooted to the spot.
A slightly odd moment followed after De Bie’s long goal kick came to Parrott up top, the Irishman thinking he was offside decided to leave it much to the fury of his team mates. It was only when u18 assistant coach Matt Wells roared ”you can’t be offside from a goal kick, that Parrott had realised his error. We were playing a lot more fluidly as the half progressed, and we were almost rewarded for it after yet another great run from Clarke down the left side. Surging past his man and continuing on to the byline, Clarke managed to pick out Markanday inside the box. The right wingers well improvised header being well kept out by Lang who made a fine reaction save. We continued to trouble the Swansea defence, a lovely piece of skill from Parrott to pick up Shashoua’s cross field pass resulted in a decent chance for Parrott. But with little time he tried to volley it towards goal but hardly connected with the ball as it rolled into the gloves of Lang. Dinzeyi was alert at the other end to get a good block in to stop Oliver Coopers effort. It had been a good first half for Spurs who just couldn’t quite cut through this Swansea defence. Whilst the Spurs players waited on the pitch for the second half to begin, the Swansea players were taking a long time in the dressing room. This prompted Richards to have a word with the referee. Eventually the game got back underway, and it didn’t take long for the Spurs players to create their first real chance. The tireless Markanday pounced inside the Swansea half after a defender slipped with the ball at his feet. Markanday drove forward, the ball glued to his foot he eventually slipped the ball into Parrott down the right side of the penalty area. But the strikers first time effort was aimed straight at Lang, who was there to make the save.
Ben Cabango came close to giving Swansea the lead after getting on the end of a free kick inside the box but he totally fluffed his chance with a poorly executed effort. Spurs got lucky shortly afterwards when centre half Dinzeyi completely missed out on the ball whilst trying to intercept a pass to Marc Walsh down the right wing. The Irishman left him trailing in his wake as he surged forward before squaring to Wynter-Coles, whose first touch let him down big time. We got caught out again a couple of minutes later when Lang’s long goal kick bounced over the head of Statham before falling for Wynter-Coles on the edge of the Spurs penalty area. The forwards first time volley was thwarted away by De Bie. De Bie then made another save a couple of moments later to keep out Tom Prices’ free kick. Then followed some excellent Harry Kane like off the ball work by Parrott. Who used his physical presence to win the ball down the right before holding off his man and passing to Markanday on the edge of the box. Markanday slipped the ball out to Clarke on the left hand side but his promising effort was closed down by a Swansea defender. The end to end nature of the game continued to flow and Swansea ought to have been 1-0 up after a golden chance came their way after the hour mark. Tricky winger Craig Davies managed to pick out substitute Jayden Reid, who found himself unmarked inside the box. The ball fell nicely for Reid but much to De Bie’s relief his side footed effort flew high over the crossbar. The impressive Phoenix Patterson replaced Maurizio Pochettino shortly afterwards presumably to save him for the cup final on Sunday.
Reid came close again a couple of minutes later with a shot at the near post which flew just wide. This was anyone’s to win, Spurs continued to play the better football but Swansea had gone more offensive and were causing Spurs numerous problems at the back. Parker’s side fought back through the determination of Markanday out wide, the mesmeric dribbler did some great initial work to evade Swansea players before passing to Pochettino down the right channel. Pochettino drove forward before delivering a lovely low cross into the feet of Parrot who was standing just inside the Swansea box. It was a good chance for the Irish starlet who found himself in a bit of space, but his low effort wasn’t enough to trouble Lang who gathered comfortably. Immediately after getting that chance Parrott was straight down the other end defending and getting stuck in. As much as both sides tried, neither could get that illusive goal. Parrott hit an effort from range into orbit, the wind playing a massive factor. Whilst Clarke had another penalty shout waived away. Matt Lock replaced Richards as Spurs switched Statham to centre half. Oliver Cooper fired an effort narrowly over the crossbar for the visitors before Spurs had a good half chance of there own in the dying stages of the game. When Armando Shashoua received the ball inside the box it looked as if he was going to slot home and he would have done were it not for a brilliant last ditch challenge by a Swansea defender. The final score from Hotspur Way was Spurs 0-0 Swansea. When I was leaving the game I happened to overhear an unhappy John McDermott having a word with the officials. The Spurs coach saying ”whatever you say is standard is where the game goes.” We now look forwards to the massively important cup final against Chelsea on Sunday. COYS
Player reviews: – Jonathan De Bie: Had a solid game in between the sticks, was good in the air and made a couple of decent stops.
– Maxwell Statham: It was a rare start for the 17 year old this morning, Statham started the game at right back and did a fine job making some really meaty challenges whilst keeping the talented Walsh at bay. Later switched to centre back where he also looked solid, he was dominant in the air.
– Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: It was a rare outing at left back for the supremely talented Lyons-Foster against Swansea. The versatile defender putting in another fine display, dealing well with the threat down that side. He really is such a silky customer even for a defender. He played the latter part of the game at centre back.
– Jamie Bowden: My motm, see below.
– Jonathan Dinzeyi: It was a good commanding performance from the 18 year old Dinzeyi at centre half. Dominant in the air and strong in the challenge. He read the game well.
– Armando Shashoua: There has not been one game this season where I haven’t walked away being so impressed by the tenacious midfielder. Today was another one of those such performances, operating in the slightly deeper CM role. Shashoua was combative in the central areas, aggressive and relentless as always. He kept things nice and simple when he needed to, but he also made some sublime passes to the forwards with such pin point accuracy. He also mopped up well in the defensive areas whilst knowing when to join the attack, has a perfect balance to his game. One thing which I just can’t get over is his ridiculous stamina, his constant chasing of opposition players for 90 minutes and off the ball movement is quite remarkable for that of a 17 year old, he is non stop. The only player that I can compare him with in regards to his stamina and work rate is the super fit James McClean. There’s no such thing as a lost cause!
– Dilan Markanday: Another player with a great work rate, Markanday put in an impressive performance against the swans. The right winger put in a fine shift down the right hand side, with his mesmeric dribbling and low centre of gravity he went on some really tricky runs. Also tracked back well.
– Phoenix Patterson: After being involved in the second half of the Porto game on Tuesday, Parker chose to start Patterson for this game. Operating as a CM, Patterson put in a lovely shift. He used the ball wisely and creatively and was a real force going forward with his constant twisting and turning and vision for a nice pass.
– Troy Parrott: This was the first time that I’d gotten to see Parrott play properly in the flesh apart from 15 minutes of an u16 game earlier in the season. I’ve seen him star for Ireland u16’s and u17’s on numerous occasions but I was absolutely thrilled to see him on the team sheet. A real grafter, the lone striker had a really impressive debut. With his thick Dublin accent and swagger you could tell that he wasn’t nervous. He was really eager, making great movement off the ball and pealing away from his man. Had a couple of half decent chances, but what was so striking was that almost Harry Kane like willingness to get stuck in. The tall striker was playing all over the shop, getting stuck in on the flanks and trying to win the ball. He was clearly very hungry on his debut, that constant need to be involved in play saw him track back on numerous occasions and start defending at the opposite end. There were some really clever pieces of skill and sudden off the ball movement which really caught the eye. He certainly has a tendency to pull off the unexpected. Eager to see more!
– Rodel Richards: Did ok behind Parrot, had some nice moments but he did fade away for big chunks of the game. A good performance nonetheless.
– Rayan Clarke: Produced some exciting stuff down the left wing, when he was in full flow he proved very difficult to stop.
– Maurizio Pochettino: Decent half an hour cameo from Poch Junior out wide. Made some intelligent passes and managed to find space.
– Matt Lock: N/A
My man of the match: Jamie Bowden. Rock solid as a centre half for the majority of the game, Bowden played the remainder in his more natural CDM role. Bowden was superb in both positions. With a coolness and a cleverness to his game, a quick thinking and intelligent performance from Bowden saw him dictate the tempo from deep. Playing some lovely intricate passes up the pitch whilst also managing to menace the Swansea forwards with his aggressive and well timed defending, showing great off the ball movement (something I watched closely) he kept things ticking and mopped up well after him as he made some decisive and well timed interceptions. He reminds me a bit of Winks but I think he is far more of a creative force, playing lovely over the top balls. His slick Pirloesque passing and immaculate reading of the game saw the 16 year old put in another motm performance. Hardly put a foot wrong.
Spurs U18s: De Bie (c), Statham, Lyons-Foster, Bowden, Dinzeyi, A Shashoua, Markanday, Patterson (Pochettino 61), Parrott, Richards (Lock 85), Clarke. Substitutes (not used): Oluwayemi, Thorpe.
Updated injury news: Mukendi, Okedina and Charlie Freeman are all currently out injured.
Other news: It looks as if we may have a young goalkeeper currently trialing with our u16’s/18’s. He was warming up with De Bie before today’s game. I have never seen him before.
Under 18 Goals scored this season: Reo Griffiths- 23
Phoenix Patterson -8
Dilan Markanday- 5
Jamie Bowden- 1
Assists: Phoenix Patterson-9
Matt Lock- 2
Oliver Skipp- 1
Tariq Hinds- 1