Spurs under 18’s 0-2 West Ham United: (match report)
Despite a heartened performance against London rivals West Ham, there was to be no back to back victory for Scott Parker’s side who fell to an unfortunate 2-0 defeat at Little Heath yesterday despite being the far better side for large chunks of the game. I couldn’t wait to get up and report on our u18’s latest outing, having attended a fairly drab international friendly involving Colombia and Australia the previous night, I was longing for more of the stuff that saw us thrash Aston Villa 5-0 at the weekend. That’s why it came as a nasty shock to me when I arrived at the hammers academy in Chadwell Heath, to find out that West Ham aren’t capable of hosting games their! From there I sprinted all the way back to the nearest station and managed to get a cab to Little Heath, a sports ground which contains just two pitches and is located on the grounds of a nearby primary school! I eventually arrived at Little Heath to see the rain drenched pitch where the game would take place, the conditions were awful and I feared that my notepad would not last the game. Spurs’ captain Jonathan De Bie was testing the bounce of the ball prior to kick off. Spurs lined up with a much different team to the one that thrashed Villa at the weekend. With an u17 tournament in Italy starting next week, first year scholars such as Paris Maghoma and Jamie Bowden were all being rested after their heroics at the weekend. It was a surprising selection by Parker who opted to play Skipp at centre half alongside Dinzeyi. Whilst also choosing to play Oakley-Boothe in the centre of the park. The home side got the game underway and went at us straight from kick off through Rosaire Longelo down the left hand side. The left back caught Spurs by surprise as he went gallivanting down the left flank before whipping an inviting cross into the danger zone, which the composed Jonathan Dinzeyi cleared.
Spurs were domination possession in what was a quiet opening couple of minutes of action. The hammers would have the first attempt at goal through Oddyseas Spyrides who fired narrowly wide at De Bie’s near post. Parker’s side were controlling the game but they were struggling to carve open a very defensive West Ham side, the pouring rain was hardly helping matters. Despite our dominance it was the hammers that would have the better chances in the half. A lovely move between Bernardo Rosa and Nkagia resulted in the fullback bursting forward down the right before rifling an effort wide of the mark. Shortly afterwards Spurs produced their first goal attempt of the game through lively left back Jamie Reynolds. Whose powerful effort from range flew across Anang’s goal. There was little in the game apart from a huge gulf in possession, Spurs were having to keep alert to the opportunistic hammers who were more than happy to go route one. The impressive Dinzeyi got back to make a vital block for Spurs who were intent on trying to play fluent attacking football in such dire conditions. After a quiet first half, Parker’s side got the action back underway and it would spell the start of much different half for the lilywhites. It didn’t take long for the half to gather pace. West Ham centre half Mingi spotted an opportunity when he played Spyridis through on goal with a defence splitting pass. One on one with De Bie he seemed destined to score, but the sheer decisiveness of Tottenham centre back Oliver Skipp proved otherwise. Skipp had managed to keep up with Spyridis and despite being the last man he had no hesitations in going in for the challenge. Skipp executed it perfectly and managed to prevent a certain goal for the home team.
Spurs were trying desperately hard to unlock West Ham’s defence, an excellent piece of skill from Patterson almost provided the breakthrough they needed when he burst into the box. Patterson left the ball for Griffiths to follow up but is low effort lacked conviction and it was comfortably saved by Anang. Then came the turning point in the game when the hammers took an unexpected lead through Spyridis on 55 minutes. The goal came about after a cross from Jeremy Ngakia was punched away by the alert De Bie straight into the feet of Spyridis who stood in waiting on the edge of the penalty area. Spyridis made no mistake from close range, and calmly slotted home to give the hammers an undeserved lead on the hour mark. Spurs responded soon afterwards through Reo Griffiths who fired narrowly wide of Anang’s goal. But it was the now resurgent hammers side who were playing with more fluency and creative freedom, the influential Jeremy Ngakia cut inside from the right wing before smashing an effort inches wide of De Bie’s goal. It didn’t take long before the newly introduced Dilan Markanday to make an impact for Parker’s side. After being picked out by a superb cross from Reynolds towards the far post. Markanday only had to tap home, but he got his angles wrong and ended up volleying the ball a fraction wide of the mark, it was a golden chance. And it wouldn’t be long before another golden chance came the lilywhites way, Markanday turned the creator this time. After threading a lovely through ball to Griffiths inside the area, but Spurs’ top scorer fired an effort narrowly wide of the mark.
Parker’s side were actually playing really well despite the abhorrent conditions, but the luck just wasn’t on our side. The usually clinical Griffiths headed a weak free header from Patterson’s corner straight down the throat of Anang. Whilst De Bie kept out Rosaire Longelo’s effort at the other end with a fine stop. The hammers then seized their chance with just over 15 minutes of the game remaining when they made it 2-0. Spyridis was once again causing the Spurs defence problems, this time as he twisted and turned his way past both Skipp and Dinzeyi before entering the penalty. Skipp tried to be the hero once again but this time he got his sliding challenge all wrong and ended up bringing Spyridis down for a blatant West Ham penalty. Up stepped the hammers top scorer Korrey Henry who calmly fired home from the penalty spot. Despite the two goal deficit Parker’s side continued to fight hard to try and break the deep lying West Ham defence. Apart from a powerful effort from Ngakia for the home side it was Spurs who would dominate the last 15 minutes of the game. The creative Reynolds managed to slip Griffiths in inside the danger zone, Griffiths took the ball past Anang before trying to slalom his way past a West Ham defender and then aiming a low effort at goal. However, his effort lacked pace and was easily cleared on the line by Mason Barrett. A flurry of late chances came Spurs’ way but still the West Ham defence would not budge. Oliver Skipp who had now been converted into the centre of midfield following the introduction of Maxwell Statham. Managed to pick out Griffiths inside the area with a lovely drilled pass. But despite a good first touch from the Spurs forward his effort managed to fall short of the target once more.
The hammers almost got their third of the game when substitute Sean Adarkwa volleyed centremetres wide of goal at De Bie’s near post. To Spurs’ credit thy continued to go for the game despite the risks of conceding a third. Reo Griffiths had his promisingly struck effort deflected behind for a corner. Whilst the final piece of action came from that corner kick, which was whipped in with venom by Reynolds who had managed to pick out the totally unmarked Statham at the back post. But what should have been a simple tap in for the Spurs defender turned out to be yet more agony. Statham’s volley was excellently blocked on the line by the feet of Longelo. Luck wasn’t on Spurs’ side for this frustrating encounter in east London. Our next league fixture is away to Fulham on Saturday 7 April. In the meantime a Spurs u17 side will compete in a short tournament in Italy next week. The tournament which is called the Torneo Mario Maggioni – Walter Rhigi. Begins tomorrow and will last until the third of April. Our group contains Juventus, Dynamo Kyiv and Borgaro Nobis. As for attending that next league game against Fulham I’m in a bit of a dilemma. Our under 23’s are hosting Derby at the training centre on the same day in an important relegation six pointer, but I obviously can’t attend both games. Though I am more inclined to report on the Derby County game due to the importance of it. COYS
Player reviews: – Jonathan De Bie: Despite conceding two goals De Bie had little else to deal with during the game apart from having to make a fine save in the second half. Was by no means at fault for either of those goals.
– Tariq Hinds: Stayed deep and all in all put in a solid showing at right back. Allowed the more attacking fullback in Reynolds to have creative freedom down the opposite side.
– Jamie Reynolds: Another fine performance from the flying left back who remained one of Spurs’ best players throughout the game. His promising attacking forays combined with his excellent close ball control and crossing ability made him one of our main attacking threats. Whilst also managing to give a good account of himself defensively. His crossing is absolutely perfect! Reynolds continues to impress me.
– Tashan Oakley-Boothe: I was a tad surprised to see Oakley-Boothe’s name on the team sheet for this one. He was played in the holding midfield role but in my eyes he didn’t make much of an impression on the game. Yes he was tidy with the ball but I didn’t feel that he impacted the game from both a creative and defensive aspect. He is not a steely defence minded player.
– Oliver Skipp: My motm, see below.
– Jonathan Dinzeyi: Yet another excellent and assured display from the imperious centre half. Dominant in the air and decisive on the ground making many an important intervention. Dinzeyi was so composed not eh ball and hardly put a foot wrong apart from the second West Ham goal.
– Jeremie Mukendi: The pacy winger struggled to make much of an impact down the right flank. His touch wasn’t the best at times and the imposing Longelo rarely allowed him to get past.
– Armando Shashoua: Very good on the ball. Kept things moving with his fast and deftly accurate passing in the middle of the park. Showed great movement and got forward on plenty of occasions, Shashoua does so much for the team. There was incident which summed up his ‘tough as nails’ attitude. It occurred during the second half, a West Ham player ended up blasting the ball from close range at a very sensitive part of his body. In absolute agony for some time, he still carried on regardless and covered the pitch like nobody else before eventually being brought off some 20 or so minutes later.
– Reo Griffiths: Not his day at all. Had four golden chances but failed to make them count could easily have been celebrating a hat-trick on another day. The ball just wouldn’t fall for him. Whilst he has been exceptional this season I think it’s worth remembering just how new he is to the position of centre forward.
– Phoenix Patterson: Showed good vision and awareness and managed to embark on a couple of promising attacking forays. But I felt that he went missing for large periods of the game.
– Rodel Richards: Gave a good account of himself out left, struggled to impact the game as much due to the wet conditions. Worked very hard as always.
– Dilan Markanday: Provided the spark we so desperately needed following his introduction to the game on the hour mark. His tricky little runs down the right flank managed to cause many problems for the hammers defence. His low centre of gravity and weaving techniques making him almost unflappable with the ball at his feet. One such attacking foray saw him totally embarrass Longelo with a lovely nutmeg. He also laid a lovely pass to Griffiths later on.
– Maxwell Statham: Decent cameo at centre half. Looked good on the ball, could/should have scored after receiving that late chance.
My man of the match: Oliver Skipp. I thought that the mature Oliver Skipp put in a really good display at centre half for the majority of the game. He read the game well and was quick at anticipating danger. Managed to also make a terrific last ditch challenge in the area during the first half. Yes, he may have conceded a penalty later on in the game but I thought that he looked really composed and intelligent in his play. Even after being moved to central midfield later on, he made a couple of really clever passes. He played with his arm out, constantly pointing out things to his team mates. His extraordinary reading of the game knows no bounds.
Spurs U18s: De Bie (c), Hinds, Reynolds, Oakley-Boothe, Skipp, Dinzeyi, Mukendi (Markanday 60), A Shashoua (Statham 72), Griffiths, Patterson, Richards. Substitutes (not used): Freeman, Lock, Thorpe.
Under 18 Goals scored this season: Reo Griffiths-25
Phoenix Patterson -8
Dilan Markanday- 6
Jamie Bowden- 1
Assists: Phoenix Patterson-9
Matt Lock- 2
Tariq Hinds- 1
Maurizio Pochettino -1