Spurs under 18’s 5-2 Southampton: (match report)

Spurs under 18’s 5-2 Southampton: (match report)

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After a chaotic journey which involved me being stuck in traffic for large periods of the morning, I made it in the nick of time to Staplewood on Saturday morning to report on our under 18’s league game against Southampton. I was mightily relieved to have got to see Matt Wells side continue their excellent 100% start to the season on Saturday, despite them missing a whole host of important players. Wells side overcame the Saints with an emphatic 5-2 victory as Spurs moved up to first place in the southern league. It was another excellent attacking performance from our youngsters against a Southampton side with a lot of talent in it, Spurs’ high energy football was unmatchable. The way in Which Wells’s side were able to up their tempo in the second half despite already finding themselves 2-1 up, was hugely impressive. As too was the way in which they picked apart the Southampton defence with such intricate and clever attacking football. It was in so many ways the perfect team performance from the young Lilywhites who even with a depleted side still showed just how talented this pool of players are, and just how far they can go this season under the tutelage of Matt Wells. Sharp and incisive from the offing in what was an incredibly even and end to end game during the first half, Spurs took the lead early on through makeshift centre forward Jeremie Mukendi. The lively forward then doubled Spurs’ advantage with his second of the game 15 minutes later, in what was almost a carbon copy of the first goal. However, Southampton were really testing us in the final third and the home team pulled a goal back on 19 minutes through wide man Enzo Robise. However, it was in the second half that Spurs really started to up their game.

Playing with a much higher intensity to their game, Spurs moved the ball about quicker. A 19 minute three goal blitz from Wells’s side effectively put the game to bed, as goals from Markanday, Clarke and Patterson put the game out of sight. Sparkling and at times unplayable, Spurs put in a really mature performance against a good Southampton team. Despite pulling a goal back through former Tottenham schoolboy Rio Glean in stoppage time, Wells’s side held on, to record an impressive 5-2 victory at Staplewood. That win sees them go top of the southern league joint on points with West Ham who they play later this month. Without the talented trio of Paris Maghoma, J’Neil Bennett and Troy Parrott all of whom were involved in the under 23 game the night before, Wells was forced into rotating his side for our encounter with Southampton, this meant that some of the fringe members of the squad were able to get rare starts at this level. Spurs lined up with overage goalkeeper Jonathan De Bie in goal, with a back four of Tainio, Walcott, Binks and White sitting in front of him. In the middle of the park was the central midfield pairing of Armando Shashoua (captain) and Jamie Bowden. Whilst Pochettino, Markanday and Patterson lined up behind 17 year old Jeremie Mukendi who made a rare start up top. Spurs got the game underway on what was a sunny morning down in County Hampshire. There was a lively start to the game as Southampton came close to taking the lead early on after a good move down the left hand side. James Morris’s pacy delivery into the Tottenham penalty area picked out the Saints skipper Sean Brennan inside the box. The Irishman looked up before firing the ball straight at Jonathan De Bie who gathered it comfortably. And straight from that chance came Spurs’ first real attack. De Bie quickly distributed the ball out from the back, as Jamie Bowden powered forward through the middle before playing a wonderful defence splitting pass through to Mukendi.

Mukendi took a touch on the edge of the penalty area before continuing into the box and rifling the ball into the bottom left hand corner of Jack Bycroft’s goal, despite being put under pressure by a Southampton defender, 1-0. It was an excellent finish from Mukendi in only the fourth minute of the game, he managed to show his composure in front of goal with an excellent finish across goal. The game quickly picked up pace and there was an air of unpredictably about it, with chances aplenty at both ends of the pitch. Southampton came close to scoring after a well worked move from the home side which saw Dan Bartlett play in Christian Norton down the right wing. The Southampton forward whipped the ball across goal where he managed to find Will Ferry at the back post. Ferry’s powerful effort at goal was excellently blocked out for a corner by Tainio on the line. Ferry pumped the resulting corner kick into the box with Allan Tchapchet rising to meet the ball. The towering centre half’s looping header was heading in but for an excellent headed clearance from White on the line. Bartlett then fired over from long range as the fast paced start to the game continued, as Spurs looked to strengthen their advantage. Dilan Markanday and Armando Shashoua combined well around the Southampton penalty area, as the former attempted to scoop the ball over the Southampton defence and onto Shashoua on the edge of the penalty area. However, the skippers effort was blocked by the alert David Agbonthoma who managed to get in front of the Spurs man, Markanday then had a shot blocked in a similar position a couple of minutes later. There was plenty of intricate attacking football on show from Matt Wells side during the opening stages of the game. Shashoua was buzzing around like a bee across the final third and the captain almost doubled Spurs’ advantage when he met Patterson’s cross inside the penalty area. Shashoua controlled the ball before side footing it narrowly wide of Bycroft’s near post.

Malachi Walcott conceded a free kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the penalty area a couple of minutes later at the other end of the pitch, after fouling Enzo Robise. Robise’s resulting under the wall free kick was however, comfortably gathered by the attentive De Bie in the centre of the Spurs goal. Then on 19 minutes Spurs doubled their advantage courtesy of Mukendi’s second of the game. It was a wonderfully direct attack from Spurs as Walcott’s long pass from deep managed to bounce over the head of Tchapchet on the edge of the penalty area and into the feet of Mukendi. The 17 year old managed to control the ball and shrug off the attention of Tchapchet before calmly finding the bottom left hand corner of the goal with a powerful finish. It was in many ways a carbon copy of Mukendi’s first goal, 2-0. Armando Shashoua’s dangerous cross into the Southampton penalty area just deceived Pochettino who was lurking at the back post a couple of moments later, as Spurs continued their good start to the game. However, Southampton had been just as dangerous going forwards in the half, and the Saints came close to pulling a goal back. Will Ferry’s excellent cross into the box just missed the head of Norton who was ghosting in at the back post, the ball continued across to Caleb Watts who couldn’t control the ball as it went harmlessly out for a goal kick. Ferry whipped another menacing ball across the face of De Bie’s goal a couple of moments later as Southampton looked to exploit us down that side of the pitch. Markanday and Mukendi failed to combine inside the penalty area at the other end. However, Southampton were allowed a way back into the game on the half hour mark after De Bie gave away a penalty. A lovely ball over the top of the Tottenham defence from Ferry managed to pick out Robise down the right side of the penalty area. De Bie came rushing out of his goal to try and close down the angles for Robise, but the Belgian had clipped the feet of Robise who went flying to the ground, as the referee pointed to the spot. Robise regained his composure to take the resulting spot kick, and the winger cooly fired the ball into the bottom right hand corner of De Bie’s goal despite the best efforts of the Spurs keeper who had managed to guess the right way, 2-1.

Southampton seemed to get a bit of a boost in confidence after Robise had pulled a goal back for the home team. A good pass from Norton managed to pick out Brennan down the left side of the penalty area shortly after the restart. The Irishman’s powerful low effort at goal was saved well by De Bie who managed to produce an impressive reflex save to deny the Saints from drawing level. De Bie punched clear Bartlett’s corner kick a couple of minutes later as the Saints continued to pile the pressure on the Tottenham defence. A sloppy pass from Markanday into the feet of Brennan shortly afterwards allowed the Dubliner to set Norton racing through the right side of the penalty area after Brennan had slipped the ball through to him. Norton took his effort early and forced an excellent save out of De Bie who managed to stop the strikers venomous effort with an impressive diving save. The tireless Jamie Bowden then blocked a shot from the same player inside the box a matter of seconds later. Wells’s side weren’t playing with enough width and this was putting their back four under unnecessary pressure as they tried to play the ball through the middle. Shashoua did well to win a free kick in a dangerous position for Spurs as the young Lilywhites looked to strengthen their lead. However, Harvey White’s resulting delivery into the danger zone managed to deceive every one in navy blue as it went harmlessly wide. Jeremie Mukendi then had the chance to secure his hat-trick after Shashoua had left the ball off for the forward on the edge of the penalty area, after working his way through the middle of the Southampton defence. However, Mukendi’s resulting effort was dragged wide across the face of Bycroft’s goal even though he had Shashoua in space down the left side of the box. Spurs were then caught on the break as Ferry played in Brennan down the left hand side of the penalty area. In time and in space, the Southampton captain made the wrong decision as he attempted to find Norton at the back post despite having so much of the goal to aim at. Brennan’s mistimed cross ended up going out for a goal kick for Spurs.

Jamie Bowden then fired an effort narrowly over the top of Bycroft’s goal after being picked out on the edge of the area by Patterson, on the stroke of halftime. The Saints got the second half underway as both sides looked to capitalise on what was a chaotic and fast paced game of football. Spurs had really upped their tempo for the beginning of this half, and they looked a lot sharper with the ball. Straight from the restart Markanday embarked on a weaving run into the Southampton penalty area, but the attack was stopped by Southampton fullback Kayne Ramsay who produced a well timed sliding challenge to rob the ball off of Markanday inside the area. Shashoua tried a similar route through to goal a couple of minutes later after he attempted to trick his way through the Southampton defence and he almost succeeded but for an interception from Agbonthoma on the edge of the penalty area. Spurs had started the half in excellent fashion and they were really making the Southampton defence work hard. Midfield craftsman Jamie Bowden almost managed to pick out Mukendi inside the penalty area with a well weighted through ball, but Bycroft came out to smother the ball. Everything was pointing to a third Spurs goal, and that duly arrived for Matt Wells side in the 51st minute of time. It was a sublime move from Spurs as the flawless Luis Binks spotted the run of Markanday towards the penalty area. The teenager made a laser beam of a pass into the danger zone which Markanday met just as Bycroft came rushing out to meet it. Markanday smartly chested the ball away from Bycroft before swivelling round the Southampton keeper, and clipping home from a tight angle down the left hand side of the box, it was an excellently taken goal from the number ten, 3-1. Jamie Bowden fired just over after the restart as the attacking pressure from Matt Wells side showed no signs of slowing down. The resulting goal kick from Bycroft was poor and ended up coming straight out to Mukendi who was around 25 yards out from goal.

The pacy forward powered down the left hand side before having a wild swing at goal, of which was deflected out for a Tottenham corner kick. Still vulnerable on the counter as shown by Ferry when he sped away from the Tainio out on the left wing, Spurs were only let off because Ferry had little to aim at inside the box as De Bie comfortably gathered the wingers cross. Wells then made his first substitution of the game when he brought off the slightly ineffective Pochettino for Clarke on the hour mark. Unable to keep up with Matt Wells super fit and energetic side, Spurs made it 4-1 on 66 minutes after the newly introduced Rayan Clarke extended our lead. Bowden turned the creator once more after he fed in Clarke down the right side of the penalty area. Clarke cut inside onto his left before showing off his fancy footwork as he worked his way past Morris and Tchapchet inside the area before firing the ball into the bottom right hand corner of Bycroft’s goal, 4-1. It was a superbly taken goal from Clarke on what was his first appearance of the season for our under 18’s, after a lengthy injury lay off. It was all Spurs, as Matt Wells dominant side continued to trouble the rather fragile looking Southampton defence. The lively Mukendi almost managed to pick out Dilan Markanday inside the penalty area with a clever lofted pass. Whilst Southampton almost pulled a goal back at the other end after the pacy Kayne Ramsay powered down the right wing before cutting inside and finding Ferry on the opposite side with a nice crisp pass. Ferry got the ball out of his feet early and managed to find Norton at the back post with a nice cross. Thankfully for De Bie and the Tottenham defence, Norton’s effort from close range flew over De Bie’s crossbar. And it was from the following attack down the other end of the pitch that Spurs managed to put the game to bed once and for all to make it 5-1. The potent Phoenix Patterson played a clever one two with Bowden on the edge of the penalty area, as the former picked up the ball on the edge of the penalty area before continuing into the box and firing the ball past Bycroft and into the far right hand corner of the goal, 5-1. Bycroft did manage to get a touch on the birthday boys effort, but he wasn’t able to prevent it from flying in.

Spurs continued to dominate proceedings, Markanday’s pass to Clarke down the right resulted in the winger firing the ball over the goal, Luis Binks was replaced moments later by Elliot Thorpe, whilst Maxwell Statham came on for Walcott to make his return from injury. Spurs were just knocking the ball around the park with ease however, Southampton always remained dangerous on the counter. After Shashoua had given the ball straight to the newly introduced Simon Kozak, the Southampton substitute had managed to play the ball into Norton inside the Tottenham penalty area. However, Norton’s powerful effort at goal was excellently blocked by Statham who came sliding across the Saints striker, as De Bie gobbled up the loose ball. Norton then volleyed over the Spurs goal after going to meet Southampton substitute Rio Glean’s cross at the back post. And once again the frustrated Southampton striker came close to finding the net as we approached the final stages of the game. Will Ferry’s superb delivery into the box was met by Norton at the back post, but with the goal gaping at his mercy, Norton fired the ball against De Bie’s crossbar from close range. The rebound came out to Bartlett on the edge of the box as the Southampton midfielder blazed the ball over the crossbar. Much deserving of a goal of his own, Armando Shashoua came close to finding a late goal. After Clarke had slipped the ball into the Tottenham midfielder inside the penalty area. Shashoua shimmied away from a Southampton defender before firing the ball into the side netting. Markanday attempted to play Patterson in down the right side of the penalty area a couple of minutes later, but the attacking midfielders pass was slightly over hit. There was a further flurry of action as we entered stoppage time, Harvey White made a good block to stop Ramsey’s effort down the right. Whilst Bowden had an effort at goal blocked by Morris at the other end.

And it was from Bowden’s attempt at goal that the Saints counter attacked us and with late consequences. Norton powered through the middle before slipping the ball into the feet of former Spurs schoolboy Rio Glean down the right side of the penalty area. Despite Harvey White’s last ditch challenge on his former teammate, Glean managed to fire the ball into the bottom left hand corner of De Bie’s goal, 5-2. The final score from Staplewood was Spurs under 18’s 5-2 Southampton, it was another hugely impressive and mature performance from Matt Wells side as they managed to outplay a direct but talented Southampton outfit, to send them top of the under 18 southern league after four games played. Spurs will be looking to continue their 100% start to the season when they face Reading at Hotspur Way after the international break.

Player reviews: – Jonathan De Bie: It was an impressive performance from the overage goalkeeper, on only his second appearance of the season. De Bie made a string of fine saves to deny the Saints from scoring more goals, he was attentive and effective at dealing with set pieces. However it was the Belgians many impressive saves especially to deny the potent Christian Norton which proved so effective, including an excellent stop to deny Norton in the first half. In total the 18 year old made eight saves against the Saints.
– Maximus Tainio: A player who seems to be improving by every game, Tainio managed to put in a strong defensive performance up against the tricky Will Ferry on Saturday. Reading the game well, Tainio’s tight defending against Ferry made up for his lack of pace, as the young Finn managed to thwart numerous attacks down that side of the pitch. Tainio also managed to make a heroic goal line block to prevent Southampton from taking the lead early on in the game.
– Malachi Walcott: Forming a great defensive partnership with Luis Binks, Walcott put in another strong performance for Spurs on Saturday. Playing 78 minutes of the game, Walcott dealt well with the threat posed by Norton up top. Dominant in the air and strong in the challenge, Walcott read the game well and capped off a fine performance with a lovely long pass to set up Mukendi’s second goal of the game. Walcott and Binks complimented one another, they are such a strong centre back pairing.
– Luis Binks: It was another flawless performance from young Luis Binks (17) in the centre of Tottenham defence. He read the game to perfection and never allowed Norton to be given much space in and around the Tottenham penalty area. So composed and Alderweireld like in his defending, and the way in which he just steps in front of his man, Binks never looked fazed. He also contributed to the Spurs attack with his trademark cross field diagonal passes, Binks created Markanday’s and Spurs third of the game with a superb laser like pass. Not only was it a wonderful ball into Markanday, but he also showed great awareness to spot the impending run of the attacking midfielder.
– Harvey White: The versatile midfielder slotted in at left back for the trip to Southampton. And once again the 16 year old put in a really assured performance this time up against Southampton’s Enzo Robise out on the left wing. White kept his man in check throughout the game and made some important defensive contributions during the match. Of which included a goal line clearance early on in the game, as well as some really good blocks in and around the Tottenham penalty area. There was shades of Ogilvie in White’s performance agains the Saints, I look forward to seeing him play in his natural position of central midfield as the season progresses.
– Jamie Bowden: My motm, see below.
– Armando Shashoua: Wearing the captains arm band for the third consecutive game in a row, Armando Shashoua played in central midfield alongside Jamie Bowden. The 17 year old put in another impressive performance in the centre of the park even though he would often drift out to the left flank. Shashoua’s ball retention rate was impressive as were the many interceptions he made alongside Jamie Bowden. However, he managed to link defence with attack, going on some nice attacking forays through the middle. The teenagers movement in and around the penalty area was also very good and he managed to have two attempts on goal.
– Maurizio Pochettino: Although Pochettino always looked good on the ball whenever he received it out on the right wing, he often found himself isolated due to Spurs not playing with much width during the first half. By the time that Spurs started to play down the channels more, Pochettino was withdrawn in place of Rayan Clarke.
– Dilan Markanday: Markanday played through the middle as a number ten as oppose to being a wide man for our game against Southampton. He was one of our main creative outlets and his many weaving runs through the middle unsettled the Saints defence. Markanday capped off a fine performance with an excellently taken goal right at the beginning of the second half.
– Phoenix Patterson: It was another good showing from the birthday boy out on the left wing. Hard working throughout the game, Patterson’s good runs down the left were often ignored in the first half as Spurs played with little width about their game. However, the 18 year old was far more involved in the game in the second half, often linking up well with Shashoua down that side. Patterson embarked on some fruitful twisting runs and he remained a creative force for Spurs throughout the half. The winger ended up netting our fifth and final goal of the game after a well worked move with Bowden resulted in Patterson finishing the move off in style with a fine finish.
– Jeremie Mukendi: Constantly making good runs in and behind the Southampton defence, Mukendi made the most of a rare start at this level to put in a terrific performance against Southampton. This was the first time that I’d seen the winger play up front since his days as an under 15 and I was mightily impressed with what I saw. The quality of Mukendi’s runs and his high work rate would have greatly impressed Wells. But it was the 17 year olds two well taken goals that showed how clinical a finisher he is and how well timed his runs are. It was a very promising performance from a player who has really struggled for game since joining us full time in 2017.
– Rayan Clarke: Introduced in the hour mark to replace Pochettino out on the right wing, Clarke’s first under 18 appearance of the season was a good one. And apart from his excellently taken goal shortly after his introduction, Clarke was a live wire down that right hand side, his searing pace and willingness to take men on and cut inside onto his left was great to see.
– Elliot Thorpe: A short cameo for the Welsh under 19 international who replaced Binks with 15 or so minutes left of the game. Thorpe’s passing was crisp and he looked promising on the ball, I just hope that we get to see a lot more of him this season as he is a player with real ability.
– Maxwell Statham: Another player who came off the bench to make a short cameo late on in the game. Statham made a hugely important late block to close down Norton inside the Tottenham penalty area.

My man of the match: Jamie Bowden. Like his peer Oliver Skipp, Bowden is one of the least English, English (even though he’s second generation Irish!) central midfielders you’ll find at this level. Bowden dictated the tempo of the game against Southampton and was Matt Wells most influential player on the day. He read the game so very well, and whilst combative and good at breaking up play it was Bowden’s creativity which really stood out. His vision and guile in the centre of the park, Bowden was a midfield craftsman who oozed with confidence. Getting a hat-trick of assists against Southampton, Bowden was ubiquitous across the field. His perfectly weighed through ball to set up Mukendi for his first of the game was superb. As too was his vision to spot Clarke making the run down the right hand side for our fourth goal. Bowden was tireless, aggressive but most of all he was effective at both ends of the pitch. A vital cog in Matt Wells’s side, the Londoner was a midfield technician against the Saints. He plays almost like a young Italian midfielder, cultured but mature beyond his years. He doesn’t need strength to show his quality. Ironically Bowden has been overlooked for the Ireland under 19 side which Troy Parrott has just been called up to. The FAI surely must be keeping tabs on one of England’s best central midfielders at u18 level!

Spurs: De Bie, Tainio, White, Bowden, Walcott (Statham 78), Binks (Thorpe 76), Pochettino (Clarke 60), A Shashoua (c), Mukendi, Markanday, Patterson. Substitutes (not used): Oluwayemi, Asante.

Spurs under 18’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: J’Neil Bennett – 4
Troy Parrott – 2
Paris Maghoma – 2
Dennis Cirkin – 2
Jeremie Mukendi – 2
Luis Binks – 1
Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 1
Armando Shashoua – 1
Dilan Markanday – 1
Rayan Clarke – 1
Phoenix Patterson – 1

Assists: Harvey White – 4
Jamie Bowden – 4
Armando Shashoua – 3
Phoenix Patterson – 2
Paris Maghoma – 1
Maurizio Pochettino – 1
J’Neil Bennett -1
Malachi Walcott – 1
Luis Binks – 1

Clean sheets: Joshua Oluwayemi – 1

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