Spurs under 18’s 2-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers: (match report)
Our under 18’s continued their excellent start to the season with a comprehensive 2-1 victory over northern division side Wolverhampton Wanderers, in the premier league cup on Saturday afternoon. Despite Matt Wells fielding a significantly weakened Spurs side which was missing the likes of Binks, Bowden and Markanday all of which are presumably being rested for our UEFA youth league game against Barcelona on Wednesday. His side coped well with the threat posed by the Wanderers and despite a late flurry of chances for the away team it was a fairly comfortable win for Spurs. Having reached the final of this competition last season the Tottenham coaches will be hoping that our youngsters can go one step further in this seasons competition. And after being drawn in a group which contains Wolves, Middlesbrough and Swansea, Wells will fancy his sides chances of topping the group and progressing to the knockout stages of the competition. After missing one of my train back from Lancashire the previous night I was forced into travelling to Preston before getting a night coach back to London to make sure that I would make Saturday’s cup tie, it was great fun as I’m sure you can imagine. Originally scheduled to take place at Wolverhampton’s training ground it was only changed to Hotspur Way less than a week before the game due to building work at the Wanderers training ground. Darren Ryan’s side had started the season in poor form in the under 18 northern division, a total contrast to the way that Wells side have started the season. After dominating possession during the early stages of the game, Spurs had a foot hold on the tie from the very start. And whilst they lacked a bit of sharpness at times they were far superior to Wolves when it came to technical ability. After a good start to the game Wells side took the lead in the 24th minute through the inform Harvey White who was able to convert from the spot after Lyons-Foster had won a penalty. We saw a lot more of the ball after taking the lead and see we managed to threaten Wolves goalkeeper Jamie Pardington on numerous occasions throughout the remainder of the half. We started the second half well and after upping our intensity and moving the ball around quicker we managed to double our lead in the 69th minute of time after Brooklyn Lyons-Foster powered home Patterson’s corner kick to give Spurs some leeway over the visitors.
Wolves forward Austin Samuels pulled a late goal back for Ryan’s side but despite their best efforts Spurs were able to survive a nervy final few minutes to the game, and pick up a well deserved and fairly straight forward three points against the Wanderers. Wells side was much changed to the team that faced West Ham in their previous fixture. With the likes of Troy Parrott, Dilan Markanday, Luis Binks and Jamie Bowden all missing for Saturday lunchtimes cup game. Spurs lined up with Joshua Oluwayemi in goal, whilst a back four of Tainio, Statham, Lyons-Foster and Cirkin sat in front of him. Harvey White and captain Armando Shashoua formed a central midfield partnership, as a front three of Pochettino, Patterson and Clarke lined up behind lone striker Rodel Richards who made his second start of the season. Wolves got the game underway at a rather sunny Hotspur Way but it was Matt Wells side who started the better of the two teams, and they came close to catching the Wanderers out in the opening couple of minutes. A typically slick attacking move resulted in Shashoua threading a perfectly weighted pass through to Richards, to set the forward through on goal. Richards showed off his pace as he rounded the Wolves goalkeeper before trying to tuck the ball into the back of the net. However, Wanderers defender Lewis Richards was on hand to make a vital clearance on the line. Spurs were moving the ball around quite well. After receiving the ball down the left wing Cirkin tried to find Richards in the box however, the fullbacks inviting cross was cleared by Wolves captain Aaron Crabtree. Spurs continued to hog possession against Darren Ryan’s nervous looking side. And we came desperately close to opening our account through midfield Harvey White after the midfielder sent a dipping cross into the danger zone which almost managed to creep into the top right hand corner of the goal, but for an excellent finger tip save by Pardington. The attacking onslaught continued when Rayan Clarke pumped the ball across the Wolves goal, which almost ending up being met by Pochettino who came ghosting into the box.
Spurs were continuing to pump balls into the Wolverhampton penalty area and the most eager player to do so was left back Dennis Cirkin. Wolves had their first attempt on goal of the game shortly afterwards when Taylor Perry’s low drive was deflected narrowly wide by Lyons-Foster, after the Spurs defender had given the ball away to Perry. Lewis Richards then nodded over from Perry’s resulting corner kick as Wolves started to find their footing in the game. Clarke almost managed to find Richards at the near post with a well timed cross but Wolves defender Lewis Richards managed to step in front of the Spurs forward at the vital time to make the clearance. Then came the major turning point in the game after Spurs were awarded a penalty in the 23rd minute. After Maurizio Pochettino picked the ball up out wide the 17 year old managed to find Lyons-Foster inside the penalty area with a low cross. The young centre half managed to get to the ball before Wolves defender Ray O’Sullivan. However, the Irish fullback ended up bringing Lyons-Foster to the floor without getting anything on the ball. This left the referee with no other choice than to point to the spot. Harvey White stood up to clinically slot the ball inside the bottom left hand corner of the goal to net his second of the campaign, as Pardington went the other way, 1-0. And the goal scorer turned creator a couple of moments later when he sent a wonderful ball into the penalty area from a free kick. White managed to pick out Richards inside the penalty area and the forward managed to meet it as he powered a header onto the base of Pardington’s left hand post. O’Sullivan blocked Rayan Clarke’s shot moments later after the winger had darted into the Wolves penalty area. Spurs had appeared to up their intensity after taking the lead and Wells side continued to put pressure on the Wolverhampton defence. Another incisive attacking move from the Lilywhites resulted in Cirkin slipping the ball into Shashoua down the left wing. The skipper squared the ball for Patterson inside the box but the Scotland youth internationals effort was blocked by Richards. Spurs were in full control against a Wolverhampton Wanderers side who could hardly manage to get out of their own half never mind being able to test Oluwayemi in the Spurs goal.
Wells’ side were often using the wings to try and break down the Wolves defence, the likes of Cirkin and Clarke were particularly involved down the left flank. Pardington easily gobbled up a Phoenix Patterson free kick inside the Wolves box whilst Clarke came close to doubling Spurs’ lead after latching onto a lovely pass from White which looped over the Wolverhampton defence. Clarke sprinted into the penalty area before taking on O’Sullivan who was the only Wolves defender back, and forcing a save out of Pardington at his near post after unleashing a powerful effort on goal. Maxwell Statham made a vital last ditch clearance inside the Spurs box to clear Taylor Townsend’s delivery. Before Phoenix Patterson embarked on a surging run through the middle of the park before shifting the ball out to Clarke down the left side of the penalty area. The winger cut inside onto his right before seeing his fizzing attempt on goal blocked by Aaron Crabtree who ended up being winded in the process. It had been a very comfortable half for Spurs who didn’t need to play at full capacity to get the better of Darren Ryan’s side. Spurs got the second half underway as they looked to put the cup tie out of sight. After starting the half with a bit of a bite about their game, Spurs created an early chance after Shashoua set Clarke racing down the left wing, the speedy winger went on a driving run before forcing an awkward looking stop out of Pardington from his powerful effort. The goalkeeper spilt the ball as it got worked out to Cirkin on the left wing. Cirkin quickly fed the ball into Patterson who had made a run towards the edge of the Wolverhampton penalty area. However, the forward ended up curling his effort wide of the mark. Matt Wells side had really upped their tempo at the beginning of this half and they were playing with a real attacking intent about their game. The lively Rodel Richards went close to extending Tottenham’s lead. After receiving Cirkin’s pass, Richards turned his man sublimely inside the penalty area before forcing Pardington into making an important stop to deny his curling effort. The frantic start to the half continued when Cirkin and Clarke played a clever one – two inside the Wolves box before the former saw his attempt on goal blocked by Crabtree.
A rare Wolves attack at the other end resulted in Austin Samuel’s narrowly missing Kevin Berkoe’s dangerous ball across the face of Oluwayemi’s goal. Tainio made a good recovery a couple of moments later to make an important block from Samuels effort on goal after the Finn had given the ball away to the Wolves striker in the first place. Harvey White then made an important block to thwart Luke Cundle’s effort on goal after Lyons-Foster had been caught out after playing out from the back. Wolves were starting to look a lot more potent going forward and they were starting to cause the Tottenham defence to sweat. The solid Maxwell Statham managed to make an excellent last ditch sliding challenge on Todd Parker inside the penalty area to break up a dangerous move from the visitors. And the 18 year old centre back made another excellent challenge to win the ball off of Townsend in the centre of the park to break up another dangerous attack. Maximus Tainio was replaced by defender Jubril Okedina a couple of minutes later whilst the slightly ineffective Maurizio Pochettino was brought off in place of Jeremie Mukendi. Rodel Richards forced a comfortable save out of Wolves goalkeeper Jamie Pardington with his looping header on goal after he met Cirkin’s cross inside the penalty area. A nice one – two between Patterson and Mukendi inside the box resulted in Mukendi’s effort being saved by Pardington before being cleared out for a corner. However, Patterson’s resulting corner kick was headed across the face of goal by Statham. It was quite clear to me that we were missing the focal point of Troy Parrott up top. Mukendi only just missed Clarke’s cross at the back post a couple of moments later as Wells side continued to push for that all important second goal. Rodel Richards then fired an effort wide of goal after picking the ball up on the edge of the Wolves penalty area. And then in the 69th minute of time Spurs made it 2-0 through centre back Brooklyn Lyons-Foster. The goal had come from a corner kick which was whipped in towards the near post by Patterson, Lyons-Foster made a good run across the face of the Wolves goal before planting a powerful header into the top right hand corner of the goal, 2-0.
Chay Cooper replaced the creator Phoenix Patterson shortly afterwards to make his under 18 debut for Spurs. Wolves threatened the Tottenham defence moments later after substitute Conor Carty received Townsend’s pass. Carty tricked his way past Statham before forcing a good diving save out of Oluwayemi with his low effort towards the bottom right hand corner of the goal. That was Oluwayemi’s first save of the game. The game continued to be quite an end to end affair as we entered the last 15 or so minutes of action. After Rodel Richards had won a free kick on the edge of the Wolverhampton box after nutmegging Lewis Richards, the ever impressive Harvey White came desperately close to making it 3-0 to Spurs. The free kick specialists effort over the top of the wall was heading towards the top right hand corner of the goal but for a fine reflex save by the diving Pardington. White then delivered an inch perfect cross into the box which only narrowly deceived Mukendi. Spurs were then caught out by an incisive move from the visitors who managed to pull a goal back through Austin Samuels. After receiving the newly introduced He Zheung’s pass down the left side of the Tottenham penalty area Samuels sorted his feet out quickly before firing an unstoppable effort into the top left hand corner of Oluwayemi’s goal, despite Oluwayemi managing to get a hand on the ball, 2-1. Spurs responded through Chay Cooper who forced a decent save out of Pardington with his curling effort on goal before Mukendi saw his effort blocked by Lewis Richards inside the box. Harvey White then came close to playing Clarke in, inside the penalty area with a lovely pass over the top of the Wolves defence, but Pardington came rushing out to take the Spurs man out. Unsurprisingly the Spurs players looked for a penalty from the referee Jonathan Hill. And despite a nerve racking final few minutes to the game which saw Harvey White make a vital headed clearance on Cundle’s cross inside the box, Matt Wells side held on to record a comprehensive 2-1 victory over the northern division side to maintain their unbeaten start to the season. Meanwhile in the other game in our group Middlesbrough thrashed Swansea 6-0 to go top of the group for now at least.
Player reviews: – Joshua Oluwayemi: A spectator for the most part of the game, Oluwayemi was only called into action late on. Making an impressive save to deny Conor Carty from close range, Oluwayemi could have done nothing to stop Austin Samuels strike shortly afterwards.
- Maximus Tainio: It was another solid defensive performance from the right back who managed to defend well against Taylor Townsend down the right flank. Tainio was replaced by Okedina shortly before the hour mark.
- Maxwell Statham: Statham put in an excellent performance at centre back and the 18 year olds many important challenges in the second half could well have won Tottenham the game. Statham managed to make some magnificent challenges and defensive interventions throughout the game, particularly in the second half when he made an excellent last ditch challenge on Wolves’ Todd Parker inside the penalty area. Statham was confident and assured in his defending and showed a real maturity and understanding about the game. After missing some of our under 18’s opening league games I’ve no doubts that Statham will go onto force himself into Wells side.
- Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: Scoring and assisting goals is becoming quite a trend to the young centre half’s game. After his involvement in two of our goals against Wolves including winning our penalty and scoring our second of the game. Lyons-Foster put in a typically efficient shift at centre half alongside Statham and managed to deal well with Samuels without looking unremarkable. I’m hoping he will start our UEFA youth league game against Barcelona on Wednesday.
- Dennis Cirkin: I was extremely impressed with the 16 year old Dubliners performance at left back. Defending well against Wolverhampton’s Luke Cundle out on that side of the pitch, Cirkin got up and down the wing very well and he went onto whip dozens of promising crosses into the box. However, it was Cirkin’s reading of the game and well timed defending which proved to be so effective. He is such an intelligent and tricky fullback who is able to fulfil both sides of his game really well.
- Harvey White: My motm, see below.
- Armando Shashoua: The skipper continued his excellent start to the season with another fine performance in the centre of midfield. He used the ball intelligently and made some nice passes through to the forwards whilst buzzing around and helping to keep things moving in the middle of the park. He helped Spurs to control the game.
- Maurizio Pochettino: Whilst looking good on the ball whenever he got on it, the right winger wasn’t heavily involved in the thick of the action. He did however, help Spurs to win their penalty after finding Lyons-Foster in the box.
- Phoenix Patterson: Patterson operated as a ten for the premier league cup tie against Wolves. Energetic and willing to run at the opposition defence, Patterson was involved in a lot of our attacks and set up Lyons-Foster’s goal in the second half. Overall I thought he had quite a good impact on the game.
- Rayan Clarke: Clarke asked a lot of questions out of the Wolves right back Ray O’Sullivan with his many surging runs down the left wing. Clarke was powerful and direct, and the 17 year old tested Pardington on numerous occasions. Furthermore, Clarke also whipped some decent crosses into the Wolverhampton penalty area.
- Rodel Richards: The centre forward was one of our best players on Saturday. He led the line well and came close to finding the back of the net on a couple of occasions. His movement was good and so was his dribbling in and around the six yard box. The way that he moves his body and goes around defenders is so impressive. The energetic forward also made a number of good challenges throughout the game.
- Jubril Okedina: Okedina replaced Tainio in the 57th minute at right back and the 17 year old impressed in that position on what was a rare appearance for the talented centre half. Okedina put in a strong performance and he defended well against Wolves winger Taylor Townsend. Hopefully Okedina will start against Norwich at the weekend.
- Jeremie Mukendi: The 18 year old replaced Pochettino out on the right wing during the second half. And Mukendi went on some decent attacking forays down that side.
- Chay Cooper: He looked lively during his late cameo on his u18 debut. Cooper showed good movement and managed to force a decent save out of Pardington late on.
My man of the match: Harvey White. The 17 year old midfielder continued his excellent start to the season with a superb performance against the Wanderers on Saturday afternoon, from the centre of midfield. White was the best player on the pitch by a country mile and I paid close attention to him throughout the game, as the versatile teenager started in his natural position of central midfield for the first time this season for the under 18’s. White was instrumental to the way that Spurs played and the tireless midfielder helped Spurs out at both ends of the pitch. Energetic and deep lying, the midfield anchorman broke up play extremely well and he was a combative almost Skipp-esque shield to the back four, as he maintained good positioning throughout the cup tie. He was strong on the ball and good at closing players down, and he also made some important blocks and challenges. But it was White’s superb passing range and vision which proved so critical to us getting the win. The Kent born teenager dictated play from deep and his laser like passing range was sublime to say the very least. White took Bowden’s place as the orchestrator of the side and the 17 year old created a ridiculous amount of chances for the likes of Richards and Clarke with his deftly accurate passes. The scorer of a well taken penalty in the first half, White also came close to scoring a free kick in the second half. The Maidstone born midfielder has now been directly involved in seven of our goals this season, a statistic which is made even more impressive by the fact that he has played across the back four for the vast majority of those games. On Saturday I saw a young midfielder who not only played the game well beyond years but was able to control the game, and I for one cannot recall him misplacing a single pass.
Spurs: Oluwayemi, Tainio (Okedina 57), Cirkin, White, Statham, Lyons-Foster, Pochettino (Mukendi 57), A Shashoua (c), Richards, Patterson (Cooper 73), Clarke. Substitutes (not used): Kurylowicz, Thorpe.
Spurs under 18’s statistics 2018/19
Goals scored: J’Neil Bennett – 5
Troy Parrott – 4
Dilan Markanday – 3
Paris Maghoma – 2
Dennis Cirkin – 2
Jeremie Mukendi – 2
Rayan Clarke – 2
Rodel Richards – 2
Harvey White – 2
Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2
Luis Binks – 1
Armando Shashoua – 1
Phoenix Patterson – 1
Assists: Harvey White – 5
Jamie Bowden – 5
Armando Shashoua – 4
Phoenix Patterson – 3
Troy Parrott – 2
Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2
Paris Maghoma – 1
Maurizio Pochettino – 1
J’Neil Bennett – 1
Malachi Walcott – 1
Luis Binks – 1
Rodel Richards – 1
Dilan Markanday -1
Rayan Clarke – 1