Spurs under 18’s 2-2 Middlesbrough: (match report)
Our under 18’s contested a hugely entertaining cup match up in Darlington on Saturday morning as Matt Wells side took on Middlesbrough at their Rockliffe Park training ground, in the Premier League under 18 cup. It was another important cup game for Matt Wells unbeaten under 18 side, who only needed a point to progress to the quarter finals of the competition as one of the two best placed runners up. And despite the fact that Spurs had made wholesale changes from their FA youth cup win against Millwall in midweek, Wells still put out a strong Tottenham team which was more than capable of defeating ‘ The Boro ’ who had conceded 12 goals from their last two matches in all competitions. Rotation made by Matt Wells and the Tottenham coaching staff resulted in Kacper Kurylowicz making his debut for the under 18 side between the sticks, while rare starts were also handed out to Chay Cooper and Maurizio Pochettino. Spurs dominated large periods of Saturdays 2-2 draw and they were unarguably the better side. However, Mark Tinkler’s Middlesbrough were extremely well organised and their Pulis-esque direct style of play did manage to unsettle our lads throughout the match. After a good start to the game Spurs managed to create a number of good chances to take the lead but it was ‘ The Boro’ who took the lead against the run of play through fullback Daniel Dodds. Spurs responded well and after showing good feet Rodel Richards slotted Spurs level before halftime. Middlesbrough improved during the second half and after enjoying a good spell in the game, they regained their lead courtesy of young Spaniard Alberto Balde’s sweetly struck volley. As a result of this Matt Wells made a double substitution, bringing on Paris Maghoma and Rayan Clarke in an attempt to draw Spurs level once again. And after battling hard to break down the rigid Middlesbrough defence, Spurs managed to find an equaliser through substitute Rayan Clarke’s delicious curling effort. The home side were reduced to ten men shortly afterwards when Cain Sykes was sent off off after picking up his second yellow card of the game. But despite the numerical advantage Spurs were unable to find the winner with Tinkler’s youngsters playing with nine men behind the ball at all times.
It was another good performance from Spurs who managed to get that all important point to book their place in the quarterfinals of the competition. Potential opponents include Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Everton. Spurs lined up in the familiar 4-2-3-1 formation under the morning sun on Saturday. First year scholar and goalkeeper Kacper Kurylowicz made his first appearance for the under 18 side while a back four of Tainio, Okedina, Binks and Cirkin lined up in front of him. Captain Harvey White (his first time skippering the under 18 side) and Elliot Thorpe started in central midfield due to the absence of Armando Shashoua who suffered a studded thigh against Millwall earlier in the week. Maurizio Pochettino and Chay Cooper operated out on the flanks with Dilan Markanday either side of them playing in the hole. And 18 year old centre forward Rodel Richards led the line for the young Lilywhites. Middlesbrough were not giving out team sheets on Saturday so unfortunately a lot of the Middlesbrough players were unidentifiable and will have to be referred to by their numbers. Spurs got the game underway on a glorious sunny morning at Rockliffe Park. And Matt Wells side started the game really well, and they could have taken the lead inside the opening five minutes of the match. A perfect long pass from Luis Binks at the back managed to pick out Dilan Markanday on the right flank and the tricky 17 year old managed to beat Middlesbrough’s left back before crossing for Cooper who had made a run towards the back post. However, with the goal gaping the 17 year old couldn’t keep his header down and he ended up heading narrowly over. Middlesbrough responded at the other end through the speedy Alberto Balde who received Daniel Dodds pass down the left side of the Tottenham penalty area. However, the former Portadown schoolboys powerful low effort, was saved well by the feet of Kurylowicz. Middlesbrough were pumping the ball into the danger zone at every opportunity and Luis Binks managed to effectively clear Gabriel McGill’s cross from the right wing.
The alert Kacper Kurylowicz did well a couple of minutes later to read number 3’s through ball to McGill which outwitted the Spurs defence, but the teenager from Milton Keynes came rushing out of his box to clear the ball. Middlesbrough were growing into the game and after the potent Balde went on a surging run down the left flank, the winger squared the ball to McGill inside the danger zone, but the the striker missed the ball and it was picked up by number 7 on the edge of the box. However, ‘ The Boro ’ wingers powerful strike was blocked by Elliot Thorpe who went down injured and had to receive treatment from the medical staff. After winning a corner kick Maurizio Pochettino played a short pass to Markanday who gave the ball back to the winger. Pochettino then passed the ball to Thorpe on the edge of the penalty area, but his first time curling effort flashed just wide of Solomon Brynn’s goal. And it was straight from the resulting Middlesbrough attack that the home side took a slightly unexpected lead. Mark Tinkler’s side had caught Spurs out down the left flank, as number 7 advanced on a galavanting run down the channel, before passing the ball to Daniel Dodds down the right side of the penalty area. The fullback managed to shift away from Okedina before firing a low effort across the diving Kurylowicz and into the far corner of the goal from a tight angle, 0-1. Spurs went on a good move shortly after the restart, White passed the ball to Thorpe who gave it to Richards and then Cooper out on the left wing. However, his whipped cross which was intended for Pochettino who was ghosting in at the back post was smothered by Brynn. Tinkler’s side went down the other end of the pitch, number 6 gave the ball to Balde on the left flank and he passed the ball down the line for number 3 who whipped a dangerous ball across the face of Kurylowicz’s goal. The Spurs goalkeeper comfortably gathered Daniel Dodds’ strike from long range a couple of minutes later. However, Matt Wells side always maintained their high intensity and they managed to draw level a couple of minutes later through Rodel Richards.
Captain Harvey White passed the ball to Thorpe who threaded a clever pass through to Richards on the edge of the Middlesbrough penalty area. The Spurs forward showed good feet as he entered the box, and he did well to jink away from Daniel Dodds and Middlesbrough’s number 5, before calmly slotting the ball into the bottom left hand corner of Brynn’s goal, 1-1. Luis Binks could be seen claiming a penalty for Spurs shortly after the restart, after Harvey White’s corner kick appeared to be handled by Middlesbrough’s number 4 inside the penalty area. This had become a very open game of football despite the fact that Spurs were dominating possession. Daniel Dodds played a pass down the line to Cain Sykes on the right wing. Sykes cut inside onto his left foot on the edge of the penalty before firing over Kurylowicz’s crossbar. A laser like long pass from Luis Binks managed to pick out Pochettino on the right flank a couple of minutes later. However, Pochettino’s resulting ball into the penalty area ended up bouncing off of Richards who was unable to get the ball under control. Markanday managed to work ‘ The Boro ’ defence shortly afterwards when he received Tainio’s pass down the right hand side of the Middlesbrough penalty area. Markanday’s first touch was sublime but after cutting inside onto his left foot he ended up curling an effort well over Brynn’s crossbar. The defensively flawless Luis Binks made a crucial sliding challenge to thwart a dangerous Middlesbrough attack shortly afterwards. Middlesbrough’s left back had played a perfectly weighted defence splitting pass beyond the Tottenham back line to set number 10 racing through on goal. However, Binks did excellently well to get back before making a superb inch perfect sliding challenge on their number 10 inside the box, to win the ball off of him and and get it clear. Spurs went on a promising attack down the other end after Tainio passed the ball to Markanday, he beat two Middlesbrough players before surging towards the box and forcing a good stop from Brynn to deny his curling effort on goal. However, the Middlesbrough goalkeeper couldn’t hold the ball and it was pounced upon by Richards who quickly gave the ball to Pochettino, who was quickly closed down by number 5 who prevented him from getting his shot away.
Luis Binks conceded a free kick on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area right on the stroke of halftime following a supposed foul on McGill. However, Cain Sykes resulting effort deflected off of Tainio in the Spurs wall before Kurylowicz made the save. Middlesbrough got the second half underway and Mark Tinkler’s side had started the half well. Harvey White managed to clear number 3’s delivery from a free kick, before Middlesbrough defender number 6 went on a surging run through the middle of the pitch before firing an effort well wide of the mark. Kacper Kurylowicz did well to gather the same players cross a couple of moments later. And ‘ The Boro ’ player continued to cause Spurs problems after he took the ball off of Cooper on the right wing before whipping a danger ball across the face of the Tottenham goal, which Balde came close to meeting at the back post. And once again the Middlesbrough player threatened the Spurs defence this time after receiving number 3’s pass inside the Spurs box. However, his effort on the turn was well blocked by Cirkin who threw himself in front of the ball. Cirkin then managed to block the Middlesbrough’s defenders cross a couple of minutes later which was intended for McGill inside the box. Middlesbrough were enjoying a really good spell in the game and they continued to come at the Spurs defence. A fast attacking move resulted in number 3 passing the ball to McGill and then to number 10 who gave it to Balde on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area. However, the wingers effort on the edge of the box was well saved by the diving Kurylowicz. Spurs responded down the other end through Dennis Cirkin who after receiving Rodel Richards pass blazed an effort over Solomon Brynn’s crossbar from long range. Alberto Balde came close to regaining the lead for Middlesbrough at the other end after he received number 3’s pass down the left side of the Tottenham box. Balde then cut inside Jubril Okedina before seeing his powerful effort on goal blocked behind for a corner kick by Tainio. And it was from the resulting corner kick that Middlesbrough regained the lead.
Number 7’s corner was played short to Daniel Dodds who crossed the ball for number 6 inside the penalty area. The Middlesbrough defenders header was blocked away by Cirkin but the ball ended up coming out to Balde on the edge of the box. The young Spaniard caught the ball so sweetly on the volley and his unstoppable thunderbolt flew past Kurylowicz and into the middle of the goal, 1-2. Captain Harvey White could be heard frantically urging his teammates on in the aftermath of the goal. Matt Wells responsed by sending on Rayan Clarke and Paris Maghoma who replaced Elliott Thorpe and Maurizio Pochettino. Harvey White had a corner kick cleared by number 6 at his near post before the Spurs captain got on the end of Rayan Clarke’s corner a couple of minutes later. White passed the ball to Richards inside the box but the Tottenham strikers resulting effort was blocked by Daniel Dodds. Dilan Markanday then had an effort blocked by number 4 as Spurs upped their tempo as they went in search of that all important equaliser, as the home side dropped deeper. Kacper Kurylowicz was called into action to deny Alberto Balde after the left winger darted into the Tottenham penalty area, after receiving number 6’s pass, before having his powerful low effort saved by the feet of the Spurs goalkeeper before Binks passed the loose ball back into the hands of Kurylowicz. This resulted in a number of Middlesbrough players protesting to the referee that Binks had made the back pass. After playing with a higher intensity following the introduction of Paris Maghoma and Rayan Clarke, Matt Wells side managed to score an all important leveller through Clarke. The goal had been created by Dilan Markanday who after picking the ball up inside his own half on the right flank, somehow managed to shrug off number 3’s flying challenge on him before continuing down the wing. Markanday travelled forward down the channel on one of his jinking runs before cutting inside and finding Clarke down the left side of the box with a good pass. Rayan Clarke did a couple of step overs before cutting inside and bending a powerful effort into the top right hand corner of Brynn’s goal, 2-2.
Maxwell Statham came on for Maximus Tainio at right back to bolster the Spurs defence for the final stages of the game. Spurs received a boost after Cain Sykes was dismissed after receiving his second yellow card of the game for a nasty challenge on Rayan Clarke down the left wing. Paris Maghoma then had a dangerous cross cut out by number 12 before Clarke could meet it at the back post inside the Middlesbrough box. Tinkler’s side were time wasting during the final moments of the game and in the end both sides were content to settle for a draw. It was a good performance from Matt Wells lads a number of whom haven’t been regular starters for the side this season. We defended well and had Cain Sykes have been sent off ten minutes earlier then we would have got the win. It was another positive result and performance from unbeaten Tottenham Hotspur to cap off an excellent 2018. I would like to wish Matt Wells and his under 18 side a very happy Christmas and I hope that they enjoy their winter break. Our under 18’s next game isn’t until Saturday the 5th of January, that is a league game against Swansea City at Hotspur Way.
- Kacper Kurylowicz: The first year scholar had an excellent game on his debut for our under 18 side. Kurylowicz made five saves in total against Middlesbrough and he impressed with his shot stopping, distribution and vocalness on the pitch. The 17 year old made a string of important stops, two of which were made with his feet to deny ‘ The Boro ’ from close range including an excellent reaction save to deny Alberto Balde early on in the game. Kurylowicz dealt well with crosses and set pieces, and I thought that he read the game well.
- Maximus Tainio: The Finland under 19 international defended solidly during his 80 minutes on the pitch. Tainio who operated at right back had the tough task of defending against Middlesbrough’s speedy winger Alberto Balde, but he dealt with the threat posed by Balde well. Tainio got up and down the flank well, and he linked up well with Pochettino down that side of the pitch.
- Jubril Okedina: Operating at RCB Jubril Okedina formed a particularly strong partnership with Luis Binks at centre back. The second year scholar put in another good performance for our under 18’s and he was impressive all round. Okedina was excellent in the air and calm under pressure, and the 18 year old dealt well with the threat of Middlesbrough centre forward Gabriel McGill.
- Luis Binks: My motm, see below.
- Dennis Cirkin: It was another strong defensive performance from the 16 year old left back who looked very assured against Middlesbrough on Saturday. Cirkin kept Middlesbrough’s number 7 in check for the majority of the match and he combined his defensive duties well with his many attacking forays down the right channel. The Dubliner made a number of important blocks and interceptions.
- Harvey White: Captaining our under 18’s for the first time this season, central midfielder Harvey White was domineering in the middle of the park in Saturday’s 2-2 draw. White moved the ball around well and he made some nice passes from midfield. In addition the 17 year old helped to break up play and recycle possession. White motivated his team mates well and he was a good leader on the field.
- Elliot Thorpe: Like White, Elliot Thorpe had a good game in central midfield and he used the ball well. Thorpe went on some nice runs through the middle of the park and he made some nice crisp passes. The 18 year old was neat and tidy but he was positive in possession and moved around well and tracked back after him. Thorpe set up Rodel Richards goal for our first of the game with a clever pass.
- Maurizio Pochettino: The 17 year old started out on the right wing where he made a positive impression on the game. Pochettino whipped some good crosses into the danger zone.
- Dilan Markanday: Despite starting the match in the hole Markanday played out on the right wing for the final 25 or so minutes of the game. Markanday was superb against Middlesbrough and he played a big part in helping us to secure that all important point. He dazzled with his clever runs through the middle and out on the flan, and he was by far our most potent attacking player. The 17 year old created numerous chances for his teammates and he whipped some delightful crosses into the Middlesbrough box. However, it was his excellent balance and intelligent weaving runs at the defence which were so effective. Markanday troubled the Middlesbrough defence for large period of the game and he would often look to test ‘ The Boro ’ goalkeeper Solomon Brynn. The second year scholar did ever so well to create substitute Rayan Clarke’s equaliser. Not only did Markanday do a fantastic job at staying on his feet after being challenged by the Middlesbrough left back he then went on a darting run down the right flank before cutting inside and showing the composure to pick out Clarke inside the box.
- Chay Cooper: Cooper operated on the left flank for what was only his third appearance of the season for Matt Wells side. Cooper impressed out wide although he would later fill in at CM. He was tricky and direct and he was always looking to work Middlesbrough right back David Dodds. The 17 year old came so close to opening the scoring after heading Markanday’s cross narrowly over right at the beginning of the first half.
- Rodel Richards: The 18 year old forward led the line well for Spurs on Saturday and he made some good runs in and behind the Middlesbrough defence. Working hard to create space and to press the defenders Richards was rewarded with a well deserved goal which he took well to make it 1-1.
- Rayan Clarke: After coming on in the 64th minute of the game to replace Pochettino, superb sub Rayan Clarke helped to sway the game in Spurs’ favour with his positive running and willingness to take players on. Clarke went on a number of searing runs down the left wing and he often had the beating of David Dodds. The 17 year netted our late leveller in superb style after he picked the up down the left side of the Middlesbrough penalty area before stepping inside and curling an unstoppable effort into the top right hand corner of Solomon Brynn’s goal. That was Clarke’s seventh goal of the campaign.
- Paris Maghoma: The development squad regular came off the bench to help Spurs fightback to secure a point up in County Durham. Maghoma played as a CAM and he showed a willingness to drive at the Middlesbrough players which resulted in us opening up their defence. Maghoma worked hard and he made some nice passes and crosses. He was unselfish and always looking to create for the wide men Dilan Markanday and Rayan Clarke. The 17 year old brought a positive energy to the game.
- Maxwell Statham: The 18 year old came on for the last ten minutes of the match to replace Tainio at right back, and Statham did a good job at strengthening the Spurs defence. Statham made a couple of good headed clearances during his time on the pitch.
My man of the match: Luis Binks. The elegant defender performed his duties diligently at centre half against Middlesbrough on Saturday. Binks operated at LCB alongside Okedina in a back four, and I for one thought that the England under 18 international was flawless. I paid particularly close attention to Binks throughout the match and I was so impressed by how he defended and how the 17 year old read the game and anticipated dangerous situations. It was a very commanding performance from Luis who never seemed to put a foot wrong. Binks was excellent in the air and while he was strong in the challenge the Alderweireld-esque teenager never made rash decisions. He effectively kept Middlesbrough’s centre forward Gabriel McGill out of the game and he prevented him from making runs in and behind the Spurs defence. Binks made some really important defensive interventions and he was so calm whenever he did so. The way he would stepped inside or across his man to make an interception was always done with such assuredness. The centre half helped to cut out some dangerous Middlesbrough attacks but his most impressive piece of defending was a perfectly timed sliding challenge inside the Tottenham penalty area to win the ball off of Middlesbrough’s number 10, after he had managed to go through on goal, the challenge was executed superbly by the Spurs man. Furthermore, Binks’ excellent laser like passes to Pochettino and Cooper out on the flanks was equally as impressive. He always looked so classy and so composed in what ever he was doing on the pitch.
Spurs: Kurylowicz, Tainio (Statham 80), Cirkin, White (c), Okedina, Binks, Pochettino (Clarke 64), Thorpe (Maghoma 64), Richards, Markanday, Cooper.
Substitute (not used): Oluwayemi.
Spurs under 18’s statistics 2018/19:
Goals scored: Troy Parrott – 10
Dilan Markanday – 7
Rayan Clarke – 7
J’Neil Bennett – 6
Armando Shashoua – 4
Harvey White – 4
Rodel Richards – 4
Luis Binks – 3
Paris Maghoma – 2
Dennis Cirkin – 2
Jeremie Mukendi – 2
Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2
Phoenix Patterson – 2
Maurizio Pochettino – 1
Jubril Okedina – 1
Assists: Harvey White – 10
Armando Shashoua – 9
Jamie Bowden – 5
Phoenix Patterson – 4
Rayan Clarke – 4
Troy Parrott – 4
Dilan Markanday – 3
Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2
Dennis Cirkin – 2
J’Neil Bennett – 2
Rodel Richards – 2
Paris Maghoma – 1
Maurizio Pochettino – 1
Malachi Walcott – 1
Luis Binks – 1
Rafferty Pedder – 1
Maxwell Statham – 1
Jeremie Mukendi – 1
Elliot Thorpe – 1
Clean sheets: Joshua Oluwayemi – 4