The story of Spurs’ journey to the under 18 premier league cup final:
All of my in-depth match reports from each game in the run up to the final can be found on superhotspur.com !
I am delighted to confirm that I have been granted access to report on our under 18′ premier league cup final against Chelsea on Sunday afternoon, a big thank you to all who made this possible! As a celebratory piece on top of my preview I thought I’d write a brief recap of how Scott Parker’s side made it to the final, chronicling our journey from the group stages right up until the semifinals. Drawn in a group containing Leicester, Fulham and Aston Villa where only the highest placed side was guaranteed progression into the quarters, Parker’s side had their work cut out if they wanted to get past the first hurdle. We started our journey with a visit to Leicester City’s Belvoir drive training ground back in September. This was already our second meeting with the foxes this season after suffering a 4-2 league defeat to Trevor Peake’s side only a couple of weeks previously. Two early goals from Dilan Markanday which were both assisted by Patterson gave Spurs a comfortable lead at half time. But after an impressive first half performance Spurs fell under the cosh to a resurgent foxes side, Leshabela pulling a goal back for the foxes shortly after the restart. Somehow and after about 15 attempts at De Bie’s goal Spurs managed to cling on to an underserved victory to take the three points back to north London. Our next group game took place at Hotspur Way in early November when we took on Fulham.
It was a drab and uninspiring game against the cottagers, the much rotated Tottenham side failing to get out of the blocks fast enough. Struggling to deal with the electric Sonny Hilton who took the lead for the west London club inside 4 minutes, Spurs struggled to play their attacking brand of football. However, the return of Rayan Clarke from a three month injury struggle managed to shake things up for Parker’s side. Clarke’s pace and exciting style of play quickly managed to caused Fulham problems and it didn’t take long for Spurs to draw level. The instinctive Clarke managing to power home Jamie Reynolds cross to give Spurs fresh hope of a comeback. Unfortunately no such comeback occurred, Fulham replied a mere 7 minutes later through Nico Santos who scored what turned out to be the winner. This severely dented our chances of making the knock out stages, meaning that we didn’t just have to win our final group game against Aston Villa, but that we had to win it by a healthy goal margin in order to stand any chance of progression. When the villains made the visit to Hotspur Way back in December Parker’s side had the odds stacked against them if they wanted to get one of the best runners up berths to progress to the knockout stages. Things started badly for Parker’s side who fell behind after just 5 minutes through Vassilev.
Almost destined for an early exit from the competition, Spurs produced a remarkable comeback. Levelling through Rodel Richards just 4 minutes later, the wide man would provide the inspiration behind our victory as he scored a further 2 more goals with the other coming from schoolboy J’neil Bennett who put in a similarly excellent performance to ensure that we beat the villains 4-1, ensuring our progression to the quarter finals. We were then drawn against Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool in the next round with the tie taking place at Hotspur Way in January. Unbeaten in all competitions I feared that the mighty reds would prove one hurdle too high for our lads. And after a difficult half an hour against a fluid Liverpool side I thought my predicament may come true, but thankfully Spurs changed the game on its head. Taking an unexpected lead through Reo Griffiths on the stroke of half time, Spurs dominated the second half. Completely out playing Liverpool at their own game. A brace from Richards and a late goal by Markanday capping off a spectacular performance as Spurs booked their place in the semis.
The semifinal tie against Arsenal would prove the sweetest of all as Spurs produced another spectacular display when it mattered. Things didn’t look positive when Parker’s side fell behind after just three minutes, but once again Spurs fought back and provided an inspired comeback. A well worked leveller from Paris Maghoma changed the flow of the game and a later hat-trick from Reo Griffiths capped off yet another spectacular victory over our old foes. Booking our place into the final of the inaugural competition which takes place on Sunday afternoon, against the high flying blues a side who have already inflicted so much hurt on our side over previous seasons. My match preview for that game will be out tomorrow. COYS