Spurs under 18’s 0-2 Chelsea: (match report)
After getting a bus replacement service from Surbiton through the leafy villages of Surrey I eventually reached the small village of Cobham and Stoke d’abernon, which is home to Chelsea’s training ground. Filled with excitement I made my way towards the pitch where the u18 premier league cup final between Chelsea and Spurs was being held. It was all very official, there were separate stands for the Spurs and Chelsea supporting families, and there was even music being blasted out of large speakerphones that were placed by the pitch. It was the biggest game of Scott Parker’s sides career, after progressing past some of the finest teams in the country en route to the final, it was our lads time to show old foes Chelsea what they were capable. Unfortunately they never quite managed to make an impression on the game, which was controlled from start to finish by a dominant possession based Chelsea side whose physical and mental prowess proved too much for our lads. They controlled the game throughout, suffocating our creative supply lines and isolating the likes of Bennett and Markanday out wide. It was a very similar game to the one that saw Jody Morris’s side knock us out of the Youth cup earlier on in the season, we simply weren’t allowed to play. And that showed in front of goal, we only ever managed about two attempts on target and it even made me feel sorry for the blues goalkeeper Karlo Ziger who had so little to do that he had probably developed frost bite. Regarding the team selection for Spurs there was one big surprise, as Parker gave the nod to Troy Parrott to start up front for Spurs on their most important game of the season, despite only making his debut a couple of days before. The absence of top scorer Reo Griffiths from the squad will only fuel rumours of him leaving the club at the expiration of his contract in the summer. But he may just have been injured.
As for the rest of the team selection I was a little disappointed not to see Paris Maghoma and Rayan Clarke start the game. Maghoma for his superb driving runs from the midfield, and Clarke for his lung bursting runs down the right flank, but that is merely my opinion. Spurs got the cup final underway at Chelsea’s bitterly cold Cobham training centre. After a quiet opening couple of minutes Chelsea had the first attempt on goal of the game, after Tariq Uwakwe cut inside from the right before forcing De Bie into making a comfortable save. Spurs then had a penalty shout at the other end after Bennett’s low cross picked out Parrott inside the box. The Dubliner turned his man exquisitely before being brought down from behind, his claims for a penalty were waived away. Chelsea were now stamping their authority on the game, Castillo responded to the brief Spurs threat by whipping a dangerous ball across the face of De Bie’s goal. After a quiet opening 10 or so minutes the game was turned on its head all of a sudden after Daniel Austin (the referee) made a brave call. After a strangely poor back pass by Lyons-Foster allowed Uwakwe to sprint through on goal, De Bie sharply came out of his goal. Supposedly bringing down Uwakwe, who went to the ground as he attempted to get a hand on the ball. Up stepped Conor Gallagher whose powerful low effort was spectacularly saved low down by De Bie, who managed to collapse his body at the perfect time. It really was top class goalkeeping from the Belgian to keep out the usually clinical Gallagher. Spurs were now having to deal with a bit of a Chelsea onslaught.
After sustained pressure on the Spurs defence Chelsea’s patience was rewarded after they took the lead on 18 minutes. The goal came about after an in swinging cross from the right flank picked out Marc Guehi. The defenders acrobatic effort found its way to Charlie Brown, who lashed past De Bie from four yards out. Parker’s side had no way to respond as the blues tight defence prevented them from getting out of their own half. Chelsea almost made it 2-0 shortly afterwards, George McEachran’s brilliant through ball set Brown running through on goal. Brown glided past Lyons-Foster before unleashing a thunderbolt of a shot, which came cannoning off of De Bie’s post. The ball came back to Brown and it ended up rebounding off him and back towards the Belgians goal. De Bie’s razor sharp reaction save only preventing it from being 2-0. This was really poor from Parker’s side who were offering zero threat of a comeback, Parrott was working incredibly hard to make things happen up top. But he was getting no service from the wide men who had been totally isolated. An unfortunate injury occurred when Lyons-Foster pulled up injured, clearly in pain the defender knew that he couldn’t continue, and was duly replace by Jonathan Dinzeyi on the half hour mark. Tariq Hinds received a yellow after making a cynical foul on a Chelsea forward as the one traffic continued. The potent Tariq Lamptey drifted past Reynolds down that right hand side before hitting a powerful effort goal bound effort from an acute angle, which was well saved by De Bie. Gilmour’s volley from the resulting corner kick was well blocked by Bowden inside the Spurs box, but despite this the Chelsea players vehemently protested for a penalty.
Unfortunately it came as no surprise when Jody Morris’s side doubled their lead on the stroke of half time. The blues had managed to open up our defence once again, a clever through ball from Billy Gilmour played Brown through on goal. The centre forward making no mistake as he rifled the ball into the bottom corner of De Bie’s goal, 0-2. It was the least that Chelsea deserved, Spurs had not even managed to have one attempt on the Chelsea goal during the first half! Scott Parker gave Parrott a talking to on the pitch as the players emerged out of the dressing rooms, forward Phoenix Patterson would start the half in a deeper position. The opening couple of minutes of the second half was like a rerun of the first. An intricate Chelsea move saw Brown back heel the ball to McEachran whose effort was deflected narrowly wide. Marc Guehi headed wide from the resulting Chelsea corner kick. Chelsea were giving Spurs no time on the ball, Parker had to change things up. One such positive change occurred shortly before the hour mark after attack minded midfielder Paris Maghoma replaced Jamie Bowden in the centre of midfield. Meanwhile Troy Parrott nodded wide from a Phoenix Patterson free kick, he had been completely crowded out by Chelsea players. Chelsea continued to threaten the Tottenham goal, the only meaningful Spurs attacks were coming from counter attacks. Such as the one orchestrated by Hinds round the 70 minute mark. The right back embarked on a blistering run down the right wing, managing to beat a couple of Chelsea players before crossing towards Bennett at the far post. But the wingers effort was blocked by a Chelsea player as he went clattering to the ground, it was yet another piece of brilliant defending by Chelsea.
Though Chelsea were a lot happier just to the pass the ball around in this half, they could still open our defence at will. Tariq Lamptey beat Reynolds once again down the right hand side, before firing the ball agonisingly across the face of De Bie’s goal. The impressive Jonathan Dinzeyi managed to make two important pieces of defending. First to make a perfect sliding challenge to prevent Lamptey’s advances. And secondly to put Gilmour off inside the penalty area. The Chelsea bombardment continued when substitute Taylor-Crossdale tested De Bie from range. The final was already won, chances were limited to hopeful crosses by Spurs. Such as the delivery that Hinds whipped into the danger zone towards the latter stages of the game, despite Parrott’s best efforts he couldn’t quite reach it. To Spurs’ credit they were giving it a good old go as the game went on. And we almost managed to pull a goal back through Parrott. The striker forced a fine save out of Karlo Ziger, after managing to peal away from his man and connect with Patterson’s inviting cross inside the six yard box. Parrott’s effort was the last real effort Spurs could muster on goal, it was all Chelsea for the final 15 or so minutes of the final. Thanks to Jonathan De Bie in the Spurs goal, we managed to keep it to just being 2-0 down. The Belgian produced a fine stop to prevent Uwakwe’s effort, before making a blunder soon afterwards when he passed the ball straight out to McEachran who quickly squared the ball for Taylor-Crossdale inside the box. However, the strikers first time effort was deflected out for a corner by Tottenham.
Chelsea continued to go in search of goal number three, McEachran testing De Bie from range. Parker’s side didn’t stop trying until the final whistle despite the fact that they struggled to get the ball off of Chelsea. A sloppy pass from Gallagher did present Spurs with a chance in the dying moments of the game, after he passed the ball straight to substitute Rodel Richards. The forward drove at the Chelsea defence before slipping a nice pass into Parrott down the left hand side, but despite his best efforts he was crowded out by the resilient Chelsea defence. Parrott and Lamptey exchanged a few words after clattering into each other. The final score, a disappointing but not unexpected 2-0 defeat to Chelsea in the final of the under 18 premier league cup. After a brilliant run in the competition Spurs eventually met their match in this outstanding Chelsea side, who even had the cheek of leaving out six of their best players at this age group! Next up for Parker’s lads is a trip up to the midlands to face Aston Villa next Saturday, as they resume league action.
Player reviews: – Jonathan De Bie: Had an excellent game in between the sticks, made three or four excellent saves. Including a stunning one to deny Gallagher from the penalty spot. He has been very good all season.
– Tariq Hinds: One of the few players who had a good game, Hinds protected the right flank from the potent threat of Castillo. He was defensively sound and dealt well with the flying Dutchman who is renowned for his lightning fast pace. Also gave a fairly good account of himself going forward.
– Jamie Reynolds: Decent performance, struggled to deal with the powerful Tariq Uwakwe who had the beating of him for pace. Reynolds did however do quite well whenever he managed to burst past the half way line.
– Jamie Bowden: Gave a good account of himself in the centre of the park despite being overpowered on occasions by the dominant Chelsea midfield. I didn’t think the game suited his or Skipp’s style of play. Worked tirelessly.
– TJ Eyoma: Decent performance up against some very tricky customers. Did well to keep up with the pace of the Chelsea forwards.
– Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: Did a fine job up until his unfortunate injury that he picked up on the half hour mark. Sadly it looks like he suffered ligament damage.
– Dilan Markanday: Worked hard down the right flank but he couldn’t really make an impact on the game, was isolated out wide.
– Oliver Skipp: Decent performance by the u23 starlet, but like Bowden he couldn’t really influence the game with his creative play.
– Troy Parrott: My motm, see below.
– Phoenix Patterson: Whipped a couple of nice deliveries into the Spurs box but apart from that he was anonymous for most of the game.
– J’neil Bennett: Another player whose hard work went unrewarded. Bennett was unable to make much of an impact down the left flank.
– Jonathan Dinzeyi: Had an excellent game after coming onto replace Lyons-Foster on the half hour mark. Held his own, showed good positioning and managed to make some vital interceptions and blocks.
– Paris Maghoma: Made a positive impression on the midfield after his second half introduction. It was very hard to break past the Chelsea defence, but he did go on a couple of nice attacking forays.
– Rodel Richards: Too short a cameo to make much of an impact on the game. Richards was played behind Parrott.
My man of the match: Troy Parrott. The schoolboy was my man of the match for many reasons, despite getting virtually no service he tried his utmost to create for himself. Pressed relentlessly and showed fire in his belly, getting stuck in against much more physical defenders. Once again he showed that Kane like ability to drift out wide and work for the team. Some of his movement such as the one where he turned his man inside the box was top draw. Shows great intelligence for a player so young. Parrott won’t be involved for the next two u18 games due to international involvement with Ireland under 17’s.
Chelsea U18s: Ziger, Lamptey, Lavinier, Guehi, Mola, Gallagher (c), Uwakwe, Gilmour, Brown (Taylor-Crossdale 70), McEachran, Castillo (Anjorin 82). Substitute (not used): Tie, Wakely, Redan.
Spurs U18s: De Bie (c), Hinds, Reynolds, Bowden (P Maghoma 58), Eyoma, Lyons-Foster (Dinzeyi 30), Markanday, Skipp (Richards 76), Parrott, Patterson, Bennett. Substitutes (not used): Oluwayemi, A Shashoua.
Goals: Chelsea – Brown 18, 45+1.
Yellow card: Spurs – Hinds 38.
Referee: Daniel Austin.