Spurs under 15/16’s 6-1 Ipswich Town: (match report)
A Spurs under 15/16’s side put in a sparkling performance at Portman road this afternoon to brush aside Ipswich town 6-1 in the annual academy showcase game, in front of a crowd of over 560 spectators. The game was held in memory of Ipswich’s Dick Parker who was an ardent Spurs supporter, the game was held as the Dick Parker trophy. The young Spurs lads shone throughout the game, totally overwhelming and out playing the tractor boys. Spurs were the stronger and more energetic side, they passed the ball around well and managed to carve open the Ipswich defence with intricate attacking football. Kieron Dyer’s side were unable to match the lilywhites high intensity, they also struggled to make much of an impact in the Tottenham half. This wasn’t helped by the fact that they were missing their star player Ben Knight, who missed out through injury. Mehmet Ali’s Spurs side included some of our brightest young talents, under 18 regular J’neil Bennett started the game on the right wing whilst highly thought of midfielder Harvey White started in the middle. Spurs lined up with Timi Lo Tutala in goal, Luis Binks and Marqes Muir as the centre backs with Kallum Cisse and Dennis Cirkin as the fullbacks. White and Aird Munn formed a tenacious pairing in the centre of the park whilst J’neil Bennett, Chay Cooper and Max Robson played behind the prolific Enoch Asante who was up top. It was an excellent team performance from the young Spurs lads who deserved to win by five goals at the very, very least. I was able to get a team sheet prior to kick off however, there were quite a few mistakes on the sheet, several players numbers were missing and incorrect. Whilst the most noticeable mistake was the listing of Arjunah Crighton who was in fact J’neil Bennett!
The home side got the game underway as they attacked the Sir Alf Ramsey stand. Spurs were passing the ball around well in the opening couple of minutes and it wasn’t long before they started to initiate some promising moves. The lively Chay Cooper passed the ball out to Cirkin on the left wing, the fullback crossed for Bennett in the box, his resulting effort on the turn flew narrowly over the crossbar. Cirkin did well a couple of moments later to make an important block at the other end to stop Zak Brown’s effort. The young lilywhites were looking very comfortable on the ball and were really taking the game to Ipswich. Chay Cooper managed to pick out Enoch Asante at the back post with a pin point delivery, but the Spurs strikers looping header went just wide of the mark. Spurs continued to impress going forwards and they were rewarded a couple of minutes later when they opened the scoring in the seventh minute. Harvey White did well to win possession in the centre of the park following Jake Alley’s free kick. The Industrious midfielder found Cirkin with a well timed through ball, the Tottenham fullback sprinted forward into the box before rifling an effort at goal. Cirkin’s powerful low effort forced Alley into making a fine save, but the Ipswich keeper could do nothing to prevent J’neil Bennett from tapping the loose ball home at the back post, 1-0. Spurs had been dominant in the opening stages and they were showing no signs of slowing down following their early opener. Cirkin continued to cause problems for the Ipswich defence when he whipped a menacing cross agonisingly wide of the approaching Asante who was ghosting in at the back post.
Despite their stranglehold on the game Spurs almost threw away their lead in the most unfortunate of circumstances. Luis Binks pacy back pass towards Lo Tutala almost caught out the Spurs keeper, who desperately scurried back to clear the ball off of the line. Sashon Aird Munn’s cross forced a panicked last minute clearance by Kabongolo. Whilst Zak Brown’s saw his deflected effort easily gathered by Lo Tutala at the opposite end of the pitch. Continuing to dominate possession Spurs were beginning to really pile the pressure on what was looking like an increasingly lightweight Ipswich defence. Ali’s side doubled their advantage on 27 minutes after capping off an intricate piece of attacking play. Spurs managed to work the ball out to Bennett on the right wing, the wide man whipped a deflected cross into the danger zone. Managing to pick out Asante at the back post, the Tottenham striker cooly volleyed the ball into the back of the empty net, 2-0. J’neil Bennett had an effort blocked shortly after the restart, before the potent Max Robson forced a good save out of Alley with a powerful driving effort from range. It had been sheer domination from Spurs who were showing no signs of lowering their attacking tempo. J’neil Bennett continued to cause problems for the tractor boys, Bennett managed to round his man sublimely before darting forwards through the middle. He eventually slipped the ball out to Cooper on the left, the former Southend lad pinged the ball into the danger zone towards Kallum Cisse, (also known as Cesay Kallum) but the fullbacks header across goal was well intercepted by the Ipswich keeper, who gratefully clutched the ball. Spurs were intent on extending their lead before half time, Bennett showed some lovely foot work before sliding the ball into Cisse inside the penalty area. However, the right back dragged his effort wide of the mark as Ipswich escaped danger once more.
The game was briefly paused by the referee after Asante and and Kabongolo clashed in the centre of the park. Soon after the game was back underway Spurs were back at it again. Cooper and Asante almost managed to cap off a sublime move after combing in and around the danger zone. And that illusive third goal was never far away from Spurs, who extended their lead moments later courtesy of a wonderful Pochettino-esque move. Cooper passed the ball to Cirkin who burst into the box from the left wing, the England u16 international wrong footed Harry Knock with a sublime piece of skill, before squaring it for Asante to tap home from close range, 3-0. After a dominant first half Spurs got the second half underway, hoping to build on what was an already impressive lead against a fine Ipswich outfit. However, it was the home side who came close to pulling a goal back shortly after the restart when Teddy Baker managed to put Dylan Ruffles through on goal with a clever defence splitting pass. Ruffles sprinted forward down the right before dragging an effort across Lo Tutala’s goal in what had been yet another missed opportunity for the home side. Soon afterwards, Dennis Cirkin sent a teasing cross into the danger zone which was well snuffed out by Jake Alley. It was soon back to business for Spurs who netted their fourth of the game on 49 minutes through J’neil Bennett. The move started with Robson whose through the eye of a needle pass set Asante racing through on goal, but the Tottenham striker was closed down by Alley who came rushing off his line before making a decent stop from Asante’s effort. Thankfully for Spurs Bennett was there to pick up the loose ball on the edge of the danger zone. The winger steadied himself before calmly tucking the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the goal, to put Spurs 4-0 up.
Shortly afterwards Mehmet Ali’s rampant Spurs side netted their fifth of the game through Chay Cooper. After receiving Robson’s pass, Cooper embarked on a jinking run before sharply cutting onto his left foot and curling a beautiful effort into the top left hand corner of the goal, forcing jubilant reactions from his teammates. We made our first substitution of the game shortly afterwards, as Aird Munn replaced number 15 (not on the team sheet!). The game was quickly becoming a training game for the Spurs lads, who were continuing to open up the increasingly faltering Ipswich defence. Spurs made it 6-0 on 56 minutes courtesy of a stunning strike from the impressive Cirkin. Harvey White’s long forward pass was headed away by Kabongolo, but only straight into the path of Cirkin on the edge of the box. The fullback let fly with a first time effort that rifled into the bottom right hand corner of Alley’s goal via a slight deflection off an Ipswich defender on the way in. Harvey White had a free kick saved a couple of minutes later as Spurs looked to extend their lead. Something which was striking from the game was Spurs’ ridiculously high pressing, every time Ipswich were on the ball you’d have two Spurs players chasing them down, this ultimately led to some costly errors from the tractor boys. Despite our overwhelming stranglehold on the game we conceded a penalty during the midpoint of the half. Tyreece Simpson had managed to get the wrong side of the Spurs right back Kallum Cisse who pulled the Ipswich forward back as he surged past him in the box. Zak Brown stood up to take the resulting penalty kick, the brother of Chelsea’s Charlie Brown struck a powerful low effort at goal which was excellently saved down to his left by Lo Tutala. Unfortunately the ball came straight back to Brown who tapped home for Ipswich, 6-1. Lo Tutala was furious that he had conceded a goal.
Ipswich almost pulled another goal back shortly afterwards, Tommy Smith’s long ball was excellently brought down by Brown inside the box. Brown opened up his body before forcing the Tottenham keeper into making a fine reflex save. The ball came back out to the Brown on the left wing, he whipped the ball into the danger zone towards Simpson, who controlled it before poking it inches wide of the Spurs goal. Following a double substitution Spurs winger Chay Cooper had now been reverted into playing as a right wing back. After a short blip Spurs began to reassert their authority on the game, Cirkin sent a lovely pass to Bennett down the right side of the box. The 16 year old forced a fine diving save out of Alley with a thumping effort. Harvey White’s resulting corner kick was beaten away by the Ipswich keeper but only into the feet of Asante whose quick fire effort was blocked by Brown. The lively Bennett forced another good save out of Alley soon afterwards as the game drew to a close. Then the former QPR schoolboy was able to find White in the box with a sublime rabona cross. There was a late flurry of action for both sides, White saw his free kick deflected wide after Bennett had won it in a dangerous area. Tottenham’s number 16 (u14) gave the ball away to Knock who fed it through to Brown, who then tested Lo Tutala with a strong effort at his near post. Luis Binks wanted to get on the scoresheet, the young centre forced a good stop out of Alley with an effort from over 30 yards out. It was becoming an end to end game, Ipswich’s Liam Gibbs doing well to round our number 17 before forcing Binks into making an important clearance inside the box.
Spurs saw out the game with a flurry of meaningless passes across the park the last notable piece of action came from a J’neil Bennett free kick, which was hit straight at the wall. The young Spurs lads held on to record a hugely impressive 6-1 victory over Ipswich at Portman road. It was an excellent team performance from Spurs whose attacking prowess managed to totally overwhelm the tractor boys over the course of 80 minutes. After the game an Ipswich official gave a moving speech about the late Dick Parker before awarding Spurs with the trophy. Tottenham fullback Dennis Cirkin was also given the Spurs player of the match award for his excellent performance. It was a real pleasure to report on the game and I look forward to following this group of players progress over the next few seasons.
Player reviews: – Timi Lo Tutala: After a quiet first half the Tottenham goalie put in a magnificent second half performance. Lo Tutala who appeared on the bench for our u18’s back in January, made many a fine save. Most notably his diving save to prevent Zak Brown’s penalty going in, but also from a wide range of situations. He was alert and showed good reflexes, Lo Tutala remained vocal throughout the game.
– Kallum Cisse: The former West Ham teenager put in a fine performance at right back, he was powerful going forward but managed to maintain good defensive discipline with the exception of conceding a penalty in the second half. Cisse also showed good positioning throughout.
– Marqes Muir: The 15 year old put in an impressive showing at centre half, cool and composed on the ball Muir read the game well and like Binks he loved to play it out from the back. Whilst he is still quite small Muir looked at home in his role, his anticipation second to none. He remained ice cool during moments of great pressure.
– Luis Binks: Assertive, intelligent and good at passing the ball out from the back. Once again I was left extremely impressed with England u17 international Luis Binks who skippered Spurs today. Binks was flawless and decisive in the challenge and assertive across the back line leaving Brown with little space to run through. His eye catching long forward passes were on show throughout, Binks showed that he is more than ready to make the step up to under 18 football.
– Dennis Cirkin: My motm, see below.
– Sashon Aird Munn: Aird Munn did a good job in the centre of midfield, he looked good on the ball and embarked on some eye catching weaving runs but it was his neat passing and tidy play which were so effective.
– Harvey White: The tenacious Harvey White put in an excellent performance in the midfield. Industrious as always, White impacted play from the very start with his deftly accurate passing. He was everywhere, chasing players down and getting back to cover for the more adventurous defenders. His challenge lead to the opening goal for Spurs. White also shows good two footedness. I like him a lot!
– J’neil Bennett: Our number 14 certainly wasn’t Arjunah Crighton as the team sheet suggested, it was u18 regular J’neil Bennett. Bennett played the entirety of the game out on the right wing and my word was he influential. He oozed quality and confidence, he caused mayhem for the Ipswich defence with his weaving and menacing runs down the flank. But it was the 16 year olds decision making which proved most effective, he didn’t even have to run at full power to trouble the Ipswich defence (he appeared to be carrying an injury to his left arm). He showed exceptional ball control and balance and was able to produce some magical moments throughout the game. Bennett chipped in with two goals and an assist.
– Max Robson: I liked the look of the cam, Robson linked up well with the forwards combining well with Asante, he also showed good movement.
– Chay Cooper: It was my first look of Cooper in the flesh and I was left mightily impressed with the former Southend United teenagers performance. Cooper was tricky and intricate and showed plenty of flair out on the wing. Cooper filled in well at right wing back for the latter stages of the game and worked hard for the team. The winger scored a terrific and well deserved goal during the second half.
– Enoch Asante: Asante put in a top performance up top, clinical and hardworking the centre forward held the ball up well and showed good movement in and around the danger zone. Asante was rewarded with two goals in the first half, he is very much a fox in the box kind of striker.
My man of the match: Dennis Cirkin. It was a day in which the young fullback won’t forget in a hurry, awarded the official Spurs man of the match in a presentation after the game, Cirkin has also been awarded the slightly less prestigious Superhotspur man of the match, for his performance against Ipswich. An England u16 international, Cirkin wowed the crowds from left wing back with his perfectly timed surging runs. He was able to get back and put in a fine performance at the other end. But it was Cirkin’s offensive qualities that really caught the eye, he was nimble footed and quick thinking. Like a young Nick Tsaroulla he burst forward down the left causing multiple problems for the Ipswich defence with his trickery and pin point crossing ability. Cirkin claimed two assists and also netted our sixth of the game courtesy of a thunderbolt from the edge of the penalty area.