Spurs under 18’s 3-1 Swansea City: (match report)
Our second group game of this seasons premier league cup took place on Saturday morning at Hotspur Way. As Matt Wells inform side took on bottom of the group Swansea City with the sole objective of getting all three points. And despite making wholesale changes to his side for the visit of the ‘Swans’ to north London. Owing both to the impending international break and next Tuesdays hugely important Checkatrade trophy game against Portsmouth, Wells was understandably missing a couple of his regular players for the Swansea game. This was a positive thing as it gave starts to players who have hardly played for the under 18 side this season. Such as second year scholars Jubril Okedina and Elliot Thorpe who both made their first starts of the season for Matt Wells side. Spurs needed to win Saturdays game to bolster their chances of making the knockout stages of the competition. And despite a slow start to the game against a defensively resolute Swansea side, Wells side had to dig deep to achieve the win. A slow and pretty uneventful first half was ended in positive circumstances after Rayan Clarke gave Spurs the lead in the 38th minute of the game following a well worked move by the Lilywhites. Spurs enjoyed the lions share of possession throughout the game but we were unable to put the game to bed during the opening stages of the second half, despite creating a plethora of decent chances. And we were punished for this after Mason Jones-Thomas drew level for the visitors with a powerful strike on 69 minutes. However, the introduction of Irishman Troy Parrott shortly afterwards changed the game and the centre forward finished off an excellently worked move to regain Spurs’ lead in the 74th minute. And the win was made safe less than two minutes later, courtesy of an excellent solo goal from the impressive Dilan Markanday. It was an impressive win and performance from Spurs when you consider just how many changes were made from our league game against Fulham the previous week.
Following our 3-1 win over the ‘Swans’ we remain in second place in the group with six points to our name. Our final group game against table toppers Middlesbrough will decide who progresses out of the group as group winners. Matt Wells heavily rotated side for the visit of Anthony Wright’s Swansea side saw the Spurs head coach go for the 4-2-3-1 formation. Overage goalkeeper Jonathan De Bie started in goal whilst a back four of Tainio, Statham, Okedina and Markanday lined up in front of him. Phoenix Patterson and captain Armando Shashoua started in the middle of the park, as the attacking trio of Pochettino, Thorpe (his first ever under 18 start) and Clarke started behind lone striker Rodel Richards. Swansea got the premier league cup game underway on a cool autumnal morning in Enfield. Spurs created some good passages of play during the opening stages of the half as Mart Wells side hogged possession. Makeshift holding midfielder Phoenix Patterson made an important early interception on Swansea’s Mason Jones-Thomas on the edge of the Spurs penalty area, before Spurs winger Maurizio Pochettino had to receive treatment following Ben Erickson’s meaty challenge on him. Phoenix Patterson managed to make an important defensive intervention after the 18 year old trapped and cleared Jones-Thomas’ low cross inside the Spurs box. Josh Thomas then fired an effort narrowly wide of De Bie’s goal from the edge of the Tottenham penalty area, as Spurs struggled to find their rhythm in the game. A good jinking run from makeshift left back Dilan Markanday resulted in the 17 year old tricking his way past Bailey Owen inside the Swansea box before attempting to square the ball to Richards who was unable to make contact with the ball in the middle of the box. The game was very slow and it lacked any real sort of intensity from either side. This resulted in their being large periods of the half with nothing to write home on.
Spurs brightened up towards the end of the half and the energetic Dilan Markanday came desperately close to giving the boys from Bulls Cross the lead on the stroke of halftime. After picking the ball up on the edge of the Swansea penalty area, Markanday drifted onto his right foot before curling an effort onto the upright, leaving Swansea goalkeeper Scott Reed with little chance of getting to the ball. However, a couple of minutes later Spurs did manage to find the breakthrough with six minutes of the first half remaining. Centre back Maxwell Statham who had defended superbly at the back during the first half, spotted Rayan Clarke out on the left flank. Statham picked the winger out with an accurate cross field diagonal pass to pick out the run of Clarke, who took the ball down before darting away from the Swansea defenders and down the left side of the penalty area. The Swansea defenders desperate appeals for an offside were ignored by the referee, and Clarke showed good composure to tuck the ball past Scott Reed and into the back of the net from five yards out, 1-0. Spurs created a good move shortly after the restart as Richards received Pochettino’s pass before passing the ball to Thorpe on the edge of the Swansea penalty area. However, the Wales youth international blazed the ball over Scott Reed’s crossbar, bringing a quiet first half to an end. Matt Wells side got the second half underway but it was the visitors who had the first attempt on goal of the half. After having the ball slipped into him down the right side of the penalty area by Ryan Bevan, Swansea’s Josh Thomas fired an effort into the side netting courtesy of a deflection off of Patterson who managed to get a vital touch on the ball. A nice bit of skill from Pochettino down the right wing a couple of minutes later, resulted in the teenager from Barcelona beating his man down the right hand side of the penalty area before cutting the ball back to Clarke on the edge of the area. However, Clarke’s powerful first time effort was well blocked by the brave Cameron Evans who threw himself in front of the ball.
Dilan Markanday had an effort on goal blocked by Bevan a couple of moments later before Swansea went on a dangerous attack down the other end. A well worked move from the Welsh club resulted in Josh Thomas threading a pass into Jones-Thomas, down the right side of the Spurs penalty area. The attacking midfielders low shot/cross was held by the diving De Bie. Phoenix Patterson almost managed to put Markanday through on goal with a nice lofted pass over the Swansea defence a couple of moments later, as Spurs started to change shape. Then in the 69th minute of the game Swansea drew level after De Bie had been caught out by Mason Jones-Thomas’ powerful low effort. Jones-Thomas created the goal out of nothing after he cut inside from the left flank as he beat Tainio for pace. Jones-Thomas continued towards the edge of the Spurs penalty area before rifling the ball across De Bie and into the bottom left hand corner of the goal, 1-1. Spurs responded through Rayan Clarke who cut inside from the left flank before blazing an effort well wide of Reed’s goal. Wells knew that he needed to shake things up in order to change the game and he introduced centre forward Troy Parrott for Elliot Thorpe in the 71st minute, Parrott moved up top whilst Richards dropped back into the number 10 role. The Irish starlet made an instant impact on the game and it took the inform striker less than three minutes to get on the scoresheet. Markanday passed the ball out to Rayan Clarke on the left wing, Clarke spotted the run of Parrott before cutting the ball across goal for the Dubliner to tap home at the back post. Spurs came close to extending their lead straight from the restart, after Markanday embarked on a good run down the left wing before slipping in Richards inside the penalty area. The 18 year old forwards powerful low effort forced a good stop at his near post from Swansea goalkeeper Scott Reed.
Matt Wells side made it 3-1 in the 76th minute of the game courtesy of an excellent solo goal from 17 year old Dilan Markanday. After Shashoua managed to get to the ball before a Swansea player, the Spurs captain poked the ball out to Markanday who advanced on a typical jinking run down the right wing. Markanday beat Daniel Williams before cutting inside Cameron Evans in the penalty area, and then tucking the ball past Scott Reed to finish off a fantastic solo effort to effectively put the game to bed, 3-1. Swansea centre half Cameron Evans felt that he should have been awarded a penalty kick a couple minutes later, after he went to meet Ryan Bevan’s corner kick inside the Spurs box, before going to ground at the back post. Evans was claiming to the referee that he had been pushed from behind by Spurs defender Jubril Okedina. Jeremie Mukendi replaced Dilan Markanday shortly afterwards, this resulted in Mukendi playing up top as Parrott played behind him. Spurs were now in full control of the game, a dangerous whipped cross from the right wing by Pochettino was almost turned into his own net by Ben Erickson. Jeremie Mukendi then had a penalty shout waived away after having his shirt pulled by Evans inside the Swansea penalty area after receiving Parrott’s pass. Matt Wells side were making a series of short passes in the centre of the park as they looked to see out the final minutes of the game against a tiring Swansea side. Spurs goalkeeper Jonathan De Bie got lucky after dropping substitute Owen Evans corner kick, before managing to smother the loose ball. Then in stoppage time defender Cameron Evans fired an effort wide of the Belgians goal with a deflection off of Statham helping to divert the ball away from goal. That was to be the final piece of action from the game, as Matt Wells side managed to record their second win in the competition this season. Our final group game against Middlesbrough next month will be a hugely important game for both sides. Our under 18’s next match is a massive north London derby against Arsenal in the league, on the 24th of this month.
- Jonathan De Bie: The overage goalkeeper had a very quiet game and the Belgian had very little to deal with. De Bie could have done nothing to prevent Mason Jones-Thomas’ goal, and other than that Swansea only managed one more shot on target. De Bie is likely to link up with the Belgian under 19 squad during the international break.
- Maximus Tainio: The young Finn put in a solid performance at right back and he did well to keep the wide players in check throughout the game. Although Tainio had a good game on the whole, he did allow Mason Jones-Thomas to cut inside him for Swansea’s goal. Tainio will likely link up with the Finland under 19 side during the international break.
- Maxwell Statham: The 18 year old centre half put in an excellent performance at rcb on only his third start for Matt Wells side this season. Statham formed a particularly strong defensive partnership with Okedina, and both players complimented each other throughout the game. Statham read the game well and did a good job at closing down the Swansea forwards as well as defending in tight spaces. Like Okedina the 18 year old was excellent in the air and he made a couple of really important blocks and interceptions. Statham got the assist for our opening goal after he picked out Rayan Clarke on the left flank with a superb Dawson-esque diagonal pass. He played a really big part in our victory over the South Wales club and he has been excellent whenever he has played for us this season.
- Jubril Okedina: I was very happy to see Okedina make his first start for Matt Wells side this season, when we took on Swansea on Saturday morning. Operating at lcb Okedina put in a real defensive shift for Spurs, and his lack of game time over the past year didn’t show in the slightest. Strong in the air and committed in the challenge the 18 year old centre half looked very comfortable on the ball and I was impressed with how composed he was both in and out of possession. Okedina made a number of important defensive interventions against Swansea.
- Dilan Markanday: Surprisingly the winger started at left back in the absence of Cirkin and Lyons-Foster. The tricky wide man slotted in well at left back although he would often switch positions with other players. Markanday carried the ball well and as always he used it positively and was constantly looking to take on and beat players down the channels. Markanday created a couple of good chances for Spurs and after hitting the post with an excellent effort on the stroke of halftime, Markanday scored a wonderful solo goal in the second half as he continues his excellent start to the season. Markanday has been directly involved in eight goals from the ten games that he has played for our under 18’s this season.
- Phoenix Patterson: For the second consecutive under 18 game Patterson played as a holding midfielder, and once again the 18 year old put in a fine performance in the middle of the park. Patterson’s skill and agility helped him out in the central areas of the park and this helped him to carry the ball. Patterson made some good passes throughout the game and he did a good job at breaking up play and recycling possession, whilst making a number of important recoveries.
- Armando Shashoua: The skipper put in another energetic performance in the middle of the park and he made a positive contribution to the game. Shashoua kept things ticking and he used the ball intelligently when in possession. He worked tirelessly alongside Patterson (he played a slightly more advanced role than Patterson) and his constant chasing down of opposition players helped to force mistakes from the Swansea defence. Armando got the assist for Dilan Markanday’s goal late in the second half. Shashoua has now been directly involved in 12 goals for our under 18’s this season!
- Maurizio Pochettino: Pochettino had a good game out on the right wing and he was positive and direct with the ball. Showing nice feet and a good turn of pace, Pochettino beat his man on numerous occasions and helped to create a couple of decent chances for his teammates. He also tracked back well after him.
- Elliot Thorpe: The 18 year old Welshman impressed me on his first ever start for our under 18’s. Thorpe played behind lone striker Rodel Richards and during the first half he was one of our best players. The technically gifted Thorpe made some really clever passes and he constantly created space with his good movement and willingness to get into good positions. Thorpe had one attempt on goal during his time on the pitch, he was replaced by Troy Parrott in the 71st minute of time.
- Rayan Clarke: The left winger had an excellent game and he chipped in with a goal and an assist. Clarke was a real live wire out on the left flank and he put in a shift at both ends of the park. Clarke made some excellently timed runs in and behind the Swansea defence and he beat the trap on several occasions. The 17 year old took his goal well after latching onto Statham’s long pass before darting into the Swansea box. Clarke also managed to set up Parrott for his goal. Clarke was one of the most positive attacking players on the pitch and he was always looking to take players on. He is such a direct and powerful winger who has really started to remind me of Andros Townsend.
- Rodel Richards: Richards had a fairly quite game by his standards and the lone centre forward struggled to influence play during his time up top. Later reverting into the cam role, the hardworking forward managed to test Swansea goalkeeper Scott Reed on one occasion before being replaced by Jeremie Mukendi in the 80th minute.
- Troy Parrott: My motm, see below.
- Jeremie Mukendi: Mukendi made a positivelate cameo after replacing Richards in the 80th minute. Mukendi led the line for the final minutes of the game and he should have been awarded a penalty after going on a good run through the middle of the Swansea defence, before being fouled in the box.
My man of the match: Troy Parrott. The centre forward changed the game following his introduction in the 71st minute, with the scores still tied at 1-1. Parrott provided Spurs with a focal point up top, and the hardworking and imposing presence of the Irishman helped us to break down what had been a very solid Swansea defence. Some excellent movement shortly after his introduction resulted in the 16 year old managing to get in a good position to convert Clarke’s low cross. Parrott looked so sharp and powerful and his darting movement really upset the Swansea defence. He held the ball up well and he used it unselfishly, going on some good runs through the middle after picking up the ball on the edge of the six yard box. He looked on another level to anyone else on the park and that sheer quality proved to be the difference between the two sides on the day. Parrott has taken to under 18 football like a duck to water, finding the back of the net on eight occasions from just five appearances. The Dubliner has also laid off three goals for his teammates. I would expect him to be involved in the squad that travels to Portsmouth on Tuesday for our Checkatrade trophy game at Fratton park.
Spurs: De Bie, Tainio, Markanday (Mukendi 80), Patterson, Statham, Okedina, Pochettino, A.Shashoua (c), Richards, Thorpe (Parrott 71), Clarke. Substitutes (not used): Kurylowicz, White.
Spurs under 18’s statistics 2018/19
Goals scored: Troy Parrott – 8
Dilan Markanday – 6
J’Neil Bennett – 5
Rayan Clarke – 5
Armando Shashoua – 4
Harvey White – 3
Paris Maghoma – 2
Dennis Cirkin – 2
Jeremie Mukendi – 2
Rodel Richards – 2
Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2
Luis Binks – 2
Phoenix Patterson – 2
Maurizio Pochettino – 1
Assists: Armando Shashoua – 8
Harvey White – 7
Jamie Bowden – 5
Phoenix Patterson – 4
Troy Parrott – 3
Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2
Dilan Markanday – 2
J’Neil Bennett – 2
Rodel Richards – 2
Rayan Clarke – 2
Paris Maghoma – 1
Maurizio Pochettino – 1
Malachi Walcott – 1
Luis Binks – 1
Dennis Cirkin – 1
Rafferty Pedder – 1
Maxwell Statham – 1
Clean sheets: Joshua Oluwayemi – 3