Spurs under 18’s 2-0 Chelsea: (match report)
Our under 18’s continued their 100% start to the new season with a hugely impressive 2-0 league victory over Chelsea on Saturday morning. Matt Wells side got one over on their own rivals as the spectators were treated to more sparkling attacking football. As I spoke about in my preview I mentioned the change that has occurred in the Chelsea academy over the summer, with longtime head coach Jody Morris having departed the club. This new look group of first year scholars are all very new to under 18 football and I always fancied our chances up against them. Wells opted to field a nice blend of first and second year players for the London derby. With 16 year old centre backs Malachi Walcott and Luis Binks starting in the heart of the Tottenham defence. Armando Shashoua retained the captains armband and lead by example in the middle of the park, whilst young J’Neil Bennett started up top for the second time this season. Spurs were excellent throughout the game, the whole team played out of their skin as they performed Tottenham’s attacking football to perfection. We used the ball well and after taking the lead in the ninth minute of the game after a fine finish from Paris Maghoma, Spurs passed Chelsea off the park for the remainder of the half. Dominating possession, the blues were unable to match our high intensity and they really struggled to create many chances of their own. However, despite our excellent first half performance we didn’t make our possession count as we squandered a couple of good chances, we could have been 3-0 up going into halftime. Our slender advantage put us under pressure during the second half as Alan Myers resurgent Chelsea side upped their intensity. They created a hell of a lot more chances in the second half and were it not for the heroic defending of Walcott and Binks who were absolutely sensational then they would have drawn level. Thankfully for Spurs captain Armando Shashoua tapped home from close range to double our advantage on 72 minutes to secure all three points for Wells’s side. I was so proud of how our lads played and I continue to believe that this could be shaping into a glorious season for Spurs at this level, on the domestic stage at least.
Played on a relatively sunny morning at Hotspur Way, Spurs lined up with the 4-2-3-1 formation for the visit of Chelsea. Matt Wells gave goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi his second start of the season, whilst a back four consisting of Tainio, Walcott, Binks and White stood in front of the 17 year old goalkeeper. In front of them was the highly effective midfield partnership of Jamie Bowden and captain Armando Shashoua. With the attacking trio of Markanday, Maghoma and Patterson all behind the potent J’Neil Bennett who lead the line. Chelsea were missing notable second years such as Hudson-Odoi and Gilmour but they still fielded a strong side with the likes of George Nunn and Clinton Mola starting for Alan Myers side. Ahead of the kick off the Spurs players all huddled together as the skipper Armando Shashoua urged his teammates to ’ come on ’ ahead of what was a hugely important league game for Matt Wells’s side. Spurs got the game underway with the first notable piece of action coming in the opening couple of minutes as the attentive Jamie Bowden cleared Clinton Mola’s menacing corner kick. Centre forward George Nunn headed over at the back post after going to meet Henry Lawrence’s cross, with Tainio allowing him a lot of space to get the header away. After a fairly even start the lively J’Neil Bennett embarked on his first testing run of the game after winning the ball in the middle of the park. The 16 year old darted forwards as he beat Jack Wakely with ease out on the left wing before squaring the ball to Patterson on the edge of the penalty area. Patterson controlled the ball before looking up and curling an effort narrowly wide of Karlo Ziger’s far post. After really taking the game by the scruff of the neck, Wells’s extremely energetic side continued to trouble the Chelsea defence, and they caught them off guard on nine minutes as Spurs took a surprise lead through Paris Maghoma.
It was an incredibly well worked goal, the lively Shashoua passed the ball to Bennett who was around 30 yards out from goal and in a central position. The makeshift centre forward spotted the darting run of Maghoma before quickly play a well weighted through ball into the attacking midfielder who had got in front of the Chelsea back line, he powered forwards as he found himself one on one with Ziger in the Chelsea goal. Maghoma steadied himself before just calmly skipping past the goalkeeper who had come running off of his line. With the composure of a seasoned pro Maghoma took his time before slotting the ball past the Chelsea defenders and into the bottom left hand corner of the goal, as they defended frantically on the line, 1-0. It was such a cool finish from Maghoma who had made a difficult chance look like a training ground drill. Spurs had looked so comfortable in possession as they looked to build on their early lead and the young Lilywhites should have had a penalty after Chelsea defender Jon Russel had so blatantly brought down the advancing Shashoua in the Tottenham penalty area without getting anything on the ball. Chelsea were struggling to play as Spurs continued to dominate the game, I was surprised at how much time Chelsea were allowing our players on the ball. After having dominated the last ten or so minutes of the game Spurs had come close to extending their lead on more then one occasion. After Shashoua had passed the ball to Bowden the midfield craftsman played a clever through ball which Patterson had raced to meet down the right hand side of the penalty area. However, Karlo Ziger had read the situation well and came rushing out before doing just about enough to palm the ball away from the feet of the darting Patterson. One player who had been really threatening for Spurs in the early stages of the game was Dilan Markanday, and the speedy winger created a good chance for Maghoma.
After sprinting down the right wing, the strong winger cut inside onto his left before running across the face of the penalty area and laying the ball of to Maghoma in a central area. However, Maghoma’s first time curling effort was comfortably saved by Ziger in the Chelsea goal. The tigerish Jamie Bowden made a crucial interception shortly afterwards to win the ball off of Armando Broja on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area. And the same player let fly at the other end only a couple of moments later. Bowden’s deflected low drive from the edge of the penalty area was however, gathered by the Croatian goalkeeper Karlo Ziger. Spurs were hogging possession and were looking so composed on the ball as they built out from the back. I spotted a certain red card which the Spurs players didn’t seem to protest after the high pressing skipper Shashoua had his shirt tugged by Chelsea defender Clinton Mola just as he was about to latch onto a poorly hit back pass to the Chelsea goalkeeper, he was the last man. The linesman on the near side should have picked up on this as he had such a clear view of it. Chelsea’s Henry had a deflected effort at goal go out for a corner kick, whilst Jon Russell lashed over from range as Spurs continued to control the game much to Chelsea’s frustration. The Tottenham goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi had yet to make a save. The so far solid Maximus Tainio made an excellent challenge on Nunn to prevent a Chelsea break down the left hand side. Matt Wells’s superb Tottenham side were pressing the Chelsea defenders into making mistakes and their intricate attacking football had completely unsettled Alan Myers side during the first half, as Spurs went into the break a goal to the good after a superb first half performance. However, they could easily have been 3-0 up.
Chelsea got the second half underway as Spurs looked to consolidate on their slender one goal advantage. The half had barely started and the resurgent were already putting our defence under extreme pressure. Wells side had been caught out down the right hand side as the potent Armando Broja had been allowed to sprint down the wing unchallenged, before squaring the ball to Ballo inside the penalty area. With the goal gaping Ballo decided to let the ball roll through his legs and onto Marcel Lewis who picked it up from about nine yards out from the goal. Everybody was expecting the net to bulge as the unbalanced Oluwayemi attempted to get back into the centre of the goal. However, the blues midfielders powerfully struck effort was somehow blocked on the line by the sliding Malachi Walcott. It was the most heroic block you’ll ever see, as the young English defender popped up out of nowhere to make a goal saving block on the line. Had that have been Vertonghen or Sanchez the whole world would be talking about it for weeks on end. Clearly spurred on the blues had upped their tempo and were out to test Oluwayemi in the Tottenham goal. And Myers side came close to drawing level again a couple of moments later. Marcel Lewis’s diagonal pass to Chelsea’s George Nunn was picked up the by the centre forward down the right side of the penalty. However, the former Crewe schoolboys powerful effort was stopped by Oluwayemi who saved it at his near post. The central defensive partnership of Walcott and Binks were really being forced into the action. And England youth international Malachi Walcott was everywhere across the backline. The 16 year old made an incredible sliding challenge on Broja on the edge of the penalty area. Clinton Mola let fly from range shortly afterwards forcing another good stop out of Oluwayemi, as Binks and Walcott continued to save Spurs.
Ball playing centre half Luis Binks made an excellent challenge on Thierno Ballo to break up a dangerous Chelsea attack. And at the other end Phoenix Patterson had an excellently worked goal ruled out for offside much to Spurs’ annoyance. Captain Armando Shashoua immediately went over to the linesman on the near side to question his decision which I feel was an incredibly tight one to say the least. Chelsea continued to be the far better attacking team in this half, Walcott hit a clearance out to Marcel Lewis on the edge of the Tottenham box. Thankfully the midfielders powerful low effort flew wide of Oluwayemi’s left hand post. A couple of moments later Spurs had to deal with Lewis’s dangerous free kick after the midfielder whipped the ball into the penalty area. Picking out Jack Wakely at the back post the Chelsea fullbacks header was well cleared out by the alert Bowden. A big 20 minutes remained as Spurs tried desperately hard to cling onto their narrow lead. Oluwayemi was certainly making up for his lack of activity in the first half, the Tottenham goalkeeper produced an incredible save when he stopped Lewis’s powerful effort with a diving save. Lewis had the ball laid off to him on the edge of the penalty area by Henry Lawrence. However, Spurs almost caught Chelsea out at the other end after launching a promising counter attack straight from Oluwayemi’s quick throw to Markanday out on the right. The skilful winger launched the ball up to Patterson who darted through the middle before spotting the run of Bennett out on the left and shifting the ball to the forward whose quick fire effort was blocked by a Chelsea defender. However, Bennett’s miss wasn’t to matter as only a couple of moments later Spurs doubled their advantage to essentially put the game to bed. After receiving Maghoma’s pass Bennett embarked on a jinking run to beat his man down the left side of the penalty. The tricky forward squared the ball to Patterson whose effort was stopped by the diving Ziger who could only palm it into the path of the onrushing Shashoua who was there to just drive the ball home from close range, at the far post, 2-0.
Spurs made their first tactical change of the game shortly afterwards as Wells bolstered the Tottenham defence, by bringing on Lyons-Foster for Tainio as Spurs reverted to a back three for the remaining 15 or so minutes of the game. And shortly after the young centre half’s introduction to the game there was a melee involving both sets of players. It occurred after Lyons-Foster had conceded a free kick out on the left wing after a foul on Lewis. After just kicking the ball away the Chelsea midfielder snapped and unwisely threw the Tottenham defender to the floor. Lyons-Foster reacted by pulling the Chelsea defender by the scruff of the neck which for a moment looked like the famous Mackay on Bremner photograph. Anyhow, after a bit of handbags between both sets of players the referee booked both Lyons-Foster and Lewis. It was shaping into a proper London derby and rightly so! Chelsea could easily have pulled a goal back when Ballo was allowed to sprint into the middle of the penalty area, unchallenged before dragging the ball across Oluwayemi’s goal at the final moment. The flawless Luis Binks then made an impressive clearance at the near post to clear Ballo’s menacing cross before Nunn dragged the ball wide of the Spurs goal a couple of moments later, as Chelsea continued to push for a late goal. The skilful Markanday had won a free kick in a promising position for Spurs at the other end. Harvey White’s resulting effort around the Chelsea wall was well saved by the diving Ziger. Chelsea head coach Alan Myers could be seen frantically urging his players on as we reached the final stages of the game. Wells introduced Enock Asante in the place of Patterson as Spurs continued to move the ball around the pitch well. Lyons-Foster made a vital clearance to get to the ball before the racing Lewis out on the right wing. The ever threatening Maghoma then forced a good save out of Ziger at the other end after meeting Markanday’s pass on the edge of the box.
The effective Lyons-Foster was helping to keep Spurs’ clean sheet intact as he got a vital head on the ball to divert Clark’s dangerous cross. There was a late flurry of action at both ends of the pitch as we entered stoppage time. Maghoma hit an effort well wide from range whilst Chelsea came close to pulling a goal back. After the newly introduced Lewis Bate fed the ball into Nunn inside the penalty area, the forward squared it for Ballo who found himself one on one with Oluwayemi. However, Lyons-Foster produced the most incredible piece of defending as he bolted towards Ballo before making an incredible sliding challenge as Oluwayemi smothered the loose ball. It was the most incredible and complete performance from Matt Wells’s side on Saturday morning and it just goes to show that Spurs can challenge for the title this season. I was extremely proud of how mature a performance it was from our lads as they continued their 100% start to the new season. Next up for Matt Wells side is a trip to the south coast as they face Southampton next Saturday morning at their Staplewood training ground. I shall be reporting on that game.
Player reviews: – Joshua Oluwayemi: It was a really impressive performance from the 17 year old goalkeeper on only his fourth appearance at this level. After a very quiet first half, Oluwayemi was called into action in the second half and remained busy throughout the half. Making a string of important saves including a terrific diving save to superbly deny Marcel Lewis’s powerful effort from the edge of the penalty, Oluwayemi had an excellent half. The 17 year old’s distribution was good and he was very cool and composed on the ball, almost Neuer-esque.
– Maximus Tainio: Another player who put in an excellent performance, the tenacious young Finn who has just been called up for Finland’s under 19 side, put in a really solid performance against Chelsea at right back. He protected that side of the pitch well from the potent Armando Broja. Making some excellent challenges and interceptions, the alert Tainio also made some promising attacking forays down the right wing. He has really cemented his place in the team.
– Malachi Walcott: My motm, see below.
– Luis Binks: It was such a tough decision between Binks and Walcott as to who I was going to give man of the match to. The English ball playing centre half who turns 17 next week was incredible against the blues. Flawless throughout the game he read the game so very well and defended with aplomb. Making many important sliding challenges and well timed interceptions, in and around the danger zone. Binks was dominant in the air and his lovely diagonal passes helped to contribute to the Spurs attack. He has taken to under 18 football so very well so far and I’m not surprised in the slightest, he is a real leader. And I would surprised if he wasn’t included in the England under 17’s squad for the next international break.
– Harvey White: White has certainly proved his versatility during this early stage of the season. The Maidstone born midfielder played at left back for the visit of Chelsea on Saturday. And once again he put in a really impressive and commanding performance against Chelsea’s right winger Henry Lawrence. White covered for other players a lot whilst defending tightly down that side of the pitch. He was incredibly impressive once again considering he wasn’t playing in his natural position of cdm.
– Jamie Bowden: A defensive rock in the centre of midfield, Bowden did what he does best and that is recycling possession and breaking up play, which he did so effectively once again. His passing was slick and accurate as always but I was particularly impressed with the way in which he served as a barrier to the defence and broke up play so decisively.
– Armando Shashoua: A leader of men in the centre of the park, the impressive Shashoua retained the captains armband for our London derby with Chelsea. He combined defence with attack, covering more of the pitch then anybody else as he kept the ball moving in the middle of the park. He was skilful and brave, adventurous also as he showed the tactical nous to peel off of the Chelsea defenders and make good runs into the danger zone. He was also committed and was very much a ball winning midfielder as he helped Bowden to dominate that part of the pitch. The goalscorer of our second goal which he showed great awareness to convert in the first place. Shashoua lead by example and I was incredibly impressed with how assertive he was at dealing with certain situations. I think he’d do an excellent job for Wayne Burnett’s development side!
– Dilan Markanday: The winger who only turned 17 this month put in another electric performance down the right. He was hard working and extremely strong on the ball. Causing the Chelsea defence with a whole host of problems with his zooming runs down the flank. Markanday mixed it up by cutting inside a lot and going on some promising runs through the middle. He was on of our main creative outlets.
– Paris Maghoma: Playing as a number ten for the visit of Chelsea, young Paris Maghoma put in a really effective role in the cam position. Creative and menacing as he traveled through the middle. Maghoma made some really intelligent runs through the middle and was able to create good pockets of space for himself in and around the danger zone. The timing of his run for our opening goal was superb as too was the way in which he just calmly shimmied away from the Chelsea goalkeeper before cooly slotting home. It was Zidane-esque. That’s two goals from two games for Maghoma this season, I hope that he’ll start for the under 23’s against Arsenal on Saturday as he is more then ready to make that permanent step up.
– Phoenix Patterson: Another major creative outlet for Spurs, Patterson put in a good shift out on the left wing. Subtly creative, Patterson danced his way around Chelsea full back Clark down that side of the pitch and managed to get into some good positions. His goal which was ruled out for offside in the second half should have stood!
– J’Neil Bennett: One of our best players on the day picking up one assist, the ridiculously quick forward started up top for the second consecutive game in a row after his heroics against Swansea the previous Saturday. The lightening quick forward caused havoc for the Chelsea defence, he was direct and powerful but hugely intricate and menacing with his mesmeric skill in the final third. Hardworking and good at tracking back, Bennett would often drift out to the left hand side and this allowed Maghoma to get into better positions around the penalty area. He gave James Clark a torrid time down that flank and tore him to shreds with his lightening quick pace and fine balance. I would love to see him start on the left wing against Arsenal on Friday, our under 23’s could desperately do with having him in the side. Especially with the width that there is at the Emirates stadium.
– Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: A short but lively fifteen cameo from the young defender on Saturday. Slotting into a back three, Lyons-Foster made three vital pieces of defending during his time on the pitch and he read the game so well. His incredible last ditch challenge on Ballo inside the Tottenham penalty area was a work of art.
– Enock Asante: N/A.
My man of the match: Malachi Walcott. Ever present across the backline on only his fourth appearance at the this level, the 16 year old centre half put in a heroic performance against Chelsea. Walcott was superb against Chelsea as he put in the complete defensive performance alongside his teammate Luis Binks. The England youth international won everything in the air and made sure that he defended tightly up against the threatening George Nunn. He read the game well and above all else he was committed. Making many excellent sliding challenges, blocks and clearances Walcott showed his class both on and off the ball. And that incredible goal line block he made in the first half was just outstanding in every respect.
Spurs: Oluwayemi, Tainio (Lyons-Foster 74), White, Bowden, Walcott, Binks, Markanday, A Shashoua (c), Bennett, Maghoma, Patterson (Asante 84).
Substitutes (not used): Kurylowicz, Okedina, Mukendi.
Chelsea: Karlo Ziger; James Clark, Jack Wakely, Pierre Ekwah Elimby, Clinton Mola; Jon Russell (Lewis Bate 73), Henry Lawrence, Marcel Lewis, Thierno Ballo; George Nunn, Armando Broja (Dion Rankine 70)
Substitutes (not use) Dynel Simeu, Jake Askew, Jordan Aina.
Spurs under 18’s statistics 2018/19:
Goals scored: J’Neil Bennett – 4
Troy Parrott – 2
Paris Maghoma – 2
Dennis Cirkin – 2
Luis Binks – 1
Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 1
Armando Shashoua – 1
Assists: Harvey White – 4
Armando Shashoua – 3
Phoenix Patterson – 2
Paris Maghoma – 1
Jamie Bowden – 1
Maurizio Pochettino – 1
J’Neil Bennett -1
Clean sheets: Joshua Oluwayemi – 1