Spurs under 18’s 1-0 Swansea City: (match report)
Our under 18’s first league game of 2019 was a 1-0 victory over Welsh club Swansea City in the league. The wonder boys of Hotspur Way absolutely dominated the ‘ Swans ‘ at our training centre in Enfield, on Saturday morning, as Matt Wells side maintained their unbeaten record this season. Wells‘ side controlled the game from start to finish, creating a number of good goal scoring chances and constantly putting the Swansea defence under severe pressure. Were it not for the South Wales clubs ultra defensive approach to the game then our lads could easily have put six or seven goals past them. The ‘ Swans ‘ were well organised and compact throughout the match, and even when they were trailing with less than ten minutes to go, they still played in such a negative and defensive way. Matt Wells made a couple of changes from their last match, with development side regular Paris Maghoma starting in the middle of the park while goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi returned to the side after missing the Middlesbrough game just before Christmas. I thought that we played really well as a team, we created so many good chances, we defended well and we did a good at moving the ball around the park. After controlling the opening periods of the game Spurs took the lead inside 24 minutes through potent midfielder Paris Maghoma who was able to poke home Rodel Richards pass from inside the box, after the Spurs forward had robbed Jake Thomas of the ball. Richards then had an excellent chance to double Spurs’ lead before halftime but the 18 year old couldn’t beat Swansea goalkeeper Nathan Shepperd from close range. Swansea rarely threatened an equaliser and it was a very comfortable second half for Spurs who played some lovely football, but they were just unable to break down the rigid Swansea defence. It was a comprehensive victory for our high flying under 18’s who continue to sit at the top of the under 18 southern league. I was very pleased with how well we played as a team against Swansea, and I don’t at all think that the scoreline tells the story of the game.
Matt Wells made a couple of changes from our under 18’s last competitive game. Wells opted to go for the familiar 4-2-3-1 formation with Joshua Oluwayemi returning in goal. A back four of Okedina, Lyons-Foster, Binks and Cirkin sat in front of him while Paris Maghoma and Harvey White partnerd each other in the middle of the park. Speedy winger J’Neil Bennett started the game out on the left wing, while Rayan Clarke started on the opposite flank either side of captain Dilan Markanday who played in the hole. 18 year old forward Rodel Richards led the line for Matt Wells side. Spurs got the match underway on a bitterly cold winters morning in North London, after moving the ball about the park well during the opening minutes of the game, Spurs had centre back Luis Binks to thank after the England under 18 international cut out a dangerous Swansea attack early on in the game. The ‘ Swans ‘ William Richard almost caught the Spurs defence out after he played a pass through to Mason Jones-Thomas inside the Spurs penalty area. However, young Binks went darting across his man inside the box to make a crucial intervention to poke the ball away from the Swansea forward. Dennis Cirkin attempted to play Rodel Richards through on goal at the other end with an ambitious through ball however, it was to no avail. Captain Dilan Markanday won a free kick out on the right wing a couple of minutes later, but Harvey White’s in swinging delivery which Rodel Richards almost met inside the box was gathered by goalkeeper Nathan Shepperd. Spurs continued to try to break down the Swansea defence, Harvey White’s inch perfect long pass managed to pick out J’Neil Bennett down the left side of the Swansea penalty area. The Spurs winger took the ball down well before firing the ball straight at Jacob Jones who put the ball behind for a corner kick. From the resulting corner kick which was whipped in by Paris Maghoma, Spurs had a penalty claim turned down after Rodel Richards thought that he had been pulled by Owen Evans inside the box. J’Neil Bennett made some really good runs down the left flank, and after Luis Binks’ long pass picked the 17 year old out down the left side of the Swansea box, Bennett tried to test the goalkeeper. His first touch was sublime but his resulting effort wasn’t and he ended up poking the ball wide of Nathan Shepperd’s goal.
After quite a scrappy start to the game Matt Wells side started to find their rhythm and in the 24th minute of the game Spurs took a well deserved lead. It was a great time for Spurs to score as Swansea were becoming increasingly difficult to break down. The goal stemmed from the hard work of forward Rodel Richards who after closing down Swansea defender Jake Thomas down the left wing was caught out by the hardworking centre forward. After doing well to close down Thomas, Richards was able to block the Swansea defenders long clearance upfield. The ball fell quite kindly to Richards who worked his way around Thomas who was unable to keep up with him. Richards then cut inside before traveling into the Swansea penalty area where he spotted the run of Maghoma who he found with a well weighted pass. Maghoma times his run to perfection and he was able to slide in between the Swansea defenders to poke the ball past Shepperd and into the back of the net, 1-0. Shortly after the restart the lively J’Neil Bennett had a tame effort from long range saved by Shepperd, Dilan Markanday then created a fantastic chance for Rodel Richards to make it 2-0. After winning the ball in the middle of the park Markanday managed to slip the ball through to Richards down the left side of the Swansea penalty area. Richards was met by Shepperd who came rushing out to close the Spurs man down and in the end it worked, as Richards powerful effort was palmed away by the Swansea goalkeeper at his near post. Paris Maghoma’s resulting corner kick was met by Lyons-Foster at the back post, he cushioned the ball down to Okedina whose effort appeared to be handled by Swansea’s captain Cameron Evans, but no penalty kick was given despite the protests of Okedina. Spurs were dominating the game and they were creating plenty of chances against the struggling ‘ Swans ‘ who were unable to keep up with Matt Wells side. The impressive Luis Binks managed to pick out J’Neil Bennett down the left side of the Swansea penalty area with a superb long pass. Bennett controlled the ball well but his shot on goal was blocked by Ryan Bevan.
Swansea had a brilliant chance to equalise at the other end from Jacob Jones‘ corner kick. The midfielder whipped the ball towards the far post of Oluwayemi’s goal where he picked out the unmarked Jake Thomas. However, the Swansea centre back could only nod the ball narrowly wide of Oluwayemi’s goal. Spurs looked to respond at the other end, Maghoma played a clever one two with J’Neil Bennett down the left flank before whipping a dangerous low cross into the box, but it was cleared in the nick of time by Jake Thomas before Richards could convert. Spurs were really pushing for that second goal and they were getting closer by every passing minute. The tenacious Harvey White played a lovely lofted pass to set Bennett racing through on goal down the left side of the Swansea box however, the wingers scuffed shot was comfortably saved by Nathan Shepperd. Dennis Cirkin did well to cut out Owen Evans cross at the other end before working the ball out to Bennett on the left wing to try and catch Swansea on the break. The speedy Bennett surged past Ryan Bevan before continuing forward and then cutting inside onto his right foot where his eventual effort on goal was blocked by Dan Williams. Paris Maghoma came close to doubling Spurs‘ lead a couple of minutes later after he was picked put by Dilan Markanday inside the middle of the penalty area. Markanday who had received Rayan Clarke’s pass, managed to pick out Maghoma who had made another excellent run through the middle, but the Spurs midfielder ended up glancing an effort just wide of the Swansea goal. The tricky midfielder went on another good run a couple of moments later. After receiving Dilan Markanday’s pass Maghoma went on a surging run down the middle, he skipped past Jake Thomas before continuing forward unopposed however, he ended up taking a heavy touch which allowed Shepperd to come rushing out of his goal to smother the ball inside the box. Spurs were playing some wonderful attacking football but it was their final ball which was preventing them from putting the game to bed.
After latching onto Cirkin’s pass down the left wing, J’Neil Bennett whipped a promising ball into the Swansea box which happened to pick out Rodel Richards. However, the 18 year old couldn’t sort his feet out in time and the ball ended up bouncing into the arms of the grateful Nathan Shepperd. Paris Maghoma then had a dangerous cross cleared out behind at the back post by Owen Evans a couple of moments before the influential midfielder almost ended the half in style. After receiving Harvey White’s pass Markanday was able to beat Owen Evans before attempting to pick out Maghoma inside the middle of the penalty area. Markanday’s deflected pass did manage to come out to the alert Maghoma but he ended up jabbing the ball narrowly over Nathan Shepperd’s crossbar, in what was the final piece of action from the first half. Matt Wells was forced into making a substitution at half time after Brooklyn Lyons-Foster had picked up an injury. Right back Maximus Tainio replaced the injured centre back, as Okedina slotted in alongside Luis Binks in central defence. Swansea restarted the game but it was Spurs who started the half the better of the two teams. After Richards passed the ball to Maghoma he shifted the ball out to Bennett on the left wing and his whipped cross into the penalty area wasn’t dealt with properly by Nathan Shepperd. However, Jake Thomas managed to clear the ball before Markanday could tap home at the back post. Spurs had a goal disallowed a couple of minutes later. Maximus Tainio’s cross into the Swansea penalty area was met by Bennett who classily chested the ball down before firing an effort at goal, but Shepperd was able to make a terrific diving save to deny Bennett. However, the Swansea goalkeeper could do nothing to stop Luis Binks‘ effort on the follow up, but the Spurs defenders goal was ruled out for offside by the linesman on the near side. Swansea then had a decent chance at the other end through Mason Jones-Thomas. After Cirkin had lost the ball to Bevan the Swansea right back passed the ball to Jones-Thomas on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area. However, the skilful second year scholar could only fire the ball over Oluwayemi’s crossbar.
Spurs were moving the ball around the park well, after Bennett passed the ball down to Maghoma on the left flank, the midfielder shimmied before whipping the ball towards Clarke at the back post. Unfortunately for Clarke he was a couple of centre meters away from being able to nod the ball into the back of the net. Swansea were constantly trying to catch us on the break and while the Welsh club were rarely effective, they still posed a significant danger to the Spurs defence. After Ryan Bevan played a pass down the right flank to the so far uninvolved Bradley Gibbings, the Swansea centre forward managed to get past Luis Binks. Gibbings powered forward before squaring the ball for Jones-Thomas inside the box however, the alert Okedina managed to get in front of his man to make a vital clearance. Spurs quickly regained their rhythm and after a lovely passing move Matt Wells side came close to doubling their lead. The passing move started from Rayan Clarke who passed the ball to White who then quickly gave it to Richards who played a pass into Maghoma, who darted into the Swansea penalty area, before forcing a save out of Shepperd from his curling effort. Dilan Markanday had a powerful effort on goal blocked by Jake Thomas shortly afterwards, after he received Cirkin’s pass before showing off some nice footwork and trying his luck. Paris Maghoma blazed an effort over Nathan Shepperd’s goal, after receiving Bennett’s pass on the edge of the penalty area. J’Neil Bennett did manage to cause the Swansea goalkeeper a few problems from a pacy cross which he whipped into the box a couple of minutes later, which had Shepperd frantically palming the ball away at his back post. After being slipped in down the left side of the Swansea penalty area by Maghoma, Dennis Cirkin had an effort blocked behind for a corner kick by Jake Thomas. Maximus Tainio then fired wide Rayan Clarke’s cross on the volley as Spurs continued to up their tempo. At the other end of the pitch Owen Evans picked up Jake Thomas‘ pass down the left flank before whipping the ball into the danger zone. However, the fullbacks cross was well cleared by the commanding Jubril Okedina.
Jacob Jones had an effort on goal blocked well by Luis Binks before Dan Williams managed to find the newly introduced Jayden Reid inside the Spurs box. But yet again Okedina was on hand to clear the ball once more, the slightly uninvolved Rayan Clarke was then brought off in place of Wales under 19 international Elliot Thorpe. After Maghoma passed the ball to Thorpe who was now playing as a number ten the young Welshman shifted the ball out to Markanday on the right wing. Markanday managed to give the ball back to Maghoma inside the box by delivering a peach of a cross for the midfielder to run onto. However, Maghoma’s effort on the half volley flew narrowly over Shepperd’s goal much to the 17 year olds disbelief. Substitute Elliot Thorpe came close to making an instant impact shortly afterwards. A good move from Spurs resulted in Bennett playing the ball down to Cirkin on the left wing and the flying fullback managed to cut the ball back to Thorpe who had made a run to the edge of the penalty area. However, the midfielders first time side footed effort flew narrowly over Nathan Shepperd’s crossbar. The 18 year old met Dilan Markanday’s cross inside the danger zone a couple of moments later and once again he tried his luck with his side foot, this time on the volley. However, Throrpe’s effort was straight at Shepperd who managed to hold the ball. Chay Cooper entered the frame shortly afterwards when he came onto replace Rodel Richards up front. The skilful Dilan Markanday was always looking to run at the Swansea defence. After latching onto Tainio’s throw in on the right flank the winger managed to weave his way around Jacob Jones and into the penalty area where he was closed down by Shepperd, who prevented Markanday from squeezing the ball home from a tight angle as he made a smart save at his near post. Spurs continued to play some superb football, and after Maghoma gave the ball to Cirkin the left back passed to Thorpe who quickly shifted the ball out to Markanday on the right flank, but the wingers cross was blocked by Cameron Evans.
Swansea did threaten Spurs during the latter stages of the game but they never did manage to have a shot on target. Maximus Tainio managed to clear Jayden Reid’s late cross at the back post, but Spurs ended the game as comfortable and much deserved winners. It was a game in which Matt Wells side could have won by five or six goals had they have been a tad more clinical in front of goal, but in the end they got what they set out to achieve and in doing so they stay at the top of the south league. Our under 18’s have a busy month of fixtures ahead and their next game will take them down to the south coast to face Brighton in a league fixture. That game will take place next Saturday morning. Finally I’d just like to mention that the legendary Cliff Jones was in attendance yesterday as he watched his grandson Matt Wells side take on his home town club Swansea City. What a wonderful man and a legend he is!
- Joshua Oluwayemi: The 17 year old goalkeeper won’t have too many games that are as quiet as the one he played in against Swansea. Oluwayemi didn’t have to make a single save in our 1-0 victory over the ‘ Swans ‘ on Saturday morning. In fact the Tottenham goalkeeper had virtually nothing to deal with. However, I did think that Oluwayemi’s distribution was good, particularly while he was under pressure.
- Jubril Okedina: The second year scholar played the first half at right back where he put in a sterling performance, but after Lyons-Foster was brought off at half time, Okedina slotted in at RCB. And in my opinion the second year scholar was outstanding alongside his defensive partner Luis Binks. Okedina anticipated danger so well and he was commanding in defence, the 18 year old made a number of important interceptions and interventions. The centre half also made a number of vital clearances from inside his own box and he always made sure that he was the first person to a cross. One particular important intervention was the one in which saw him get in front of a square ball to Jones-Thomas inside the Swansea box, to clear the ball away from danger. Okedina looked good on the ball and I thought that he marshalled the defence well. He read the game exceptionally well for such a young man.
- Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: The second year scholar started the game alongside Binks at RCB but he was forced to come off at halftime due to injury. I thought that Lyons-Foster defended well during his time on the pitch and he dealt well with the threat that the Swansea forwards posed. I wish Brooklyn a speedy recovery.
- Luis Binks: My motm, see below.
- Dennis Cirkin: The left back had another fine game for Matt Wells side, and he once again combined his defensive duties with his urge to attack down the flank so well. Cirkin did an excellent job at keeping Swansea’s right winger Tivonge Rushesha in check for the entirety of Saturday’s 1-0 win. The Dublin born defender also linked up really well with J’Neil Bennett down the left hand side.
- Harvey White: Operating as the holding midfielder against the ‘ Swans ‘ the tenacious Harvey White in my eyes, had a very good game. White’s presence in the centre of the park allowed Spurs to play their usual passing game to such effect. White was instrumental in breaking up play and I thought that he played with a real bite about him yesterday. He was tough and resilient, and he helped to keep things ticking much like a certain Oliver Skipp did against Tranmere Rovers the previous night. White’s forward passing was also impressive and he made a number of nice lofted passes to the wide men. It was very a good all round performance from the Maidstone born teenager.
- Paris Maghoma: It was a very Paul Pogba like performance from development side regular Paris Maghoma in the centre of the park, on Saturday. Maghoma ran the show from central midfield and his experience from playing under 23 football really showed. The 17 year old dazzled with his skills and clever ghosting runs through the middle of the pitch. He carried the ball excellently and his surging runs and willingness to take on and beat players helped our forwards out an awful lot. Paris was by far our most creative player and what I really liked was that he provided us with that all important link between defence and attack. He was positive in possession and like White he helped to break up the play in the central areas. Maghoma caused a whole host of problems for the Swansea defence and his Dele Alli like ghosting runs into the box more often then not went undetected. The midfielders match winning goal was well taken and he did well to slide in between the two Swansea centre half’s in order to poke home Rodel Richards pass with a smart finish. On another day he could have bagged a hat-trick had he have had a bit of luck on his side. Maghoma was always alert and I thought that he performed his duties diligently while providing that bit of leadership in the side. I greatly admired his confidence and his urge to test the goalkeeper from range.
- Rayan Clarke: The right winger worked very hard to try and create openings down the right flank however, he found himself frustrated by the solid defending first of Owen Evans, and then by Ryan Bevan after he switched sides with Bennett at the beginning of the second half. Clarke was constantly looking take on and beat players down the flank.
- Dilan Markanday: Captaining our under 18’s for the first time on Saturday morning the skilful forward started the game in the hole. As always Markanday dazzled with his exceptional ball control and urge to take players on and to create chances for his teammates. The 17 year old never lost possession and he came close on a couple of occasions to setting up goals for his teammates, as well as getting on the scoresheet himself. He so desperately came close to doing that during the latter stages of the game after he managed to weave away from his man on the right wing, before entering the penalty area and only being denied by a smart save from the Swansea goalkeeper.
- J’Neil Bennett: The first year scholar played the majority of the game out on the left flank and he made a positive contribution to the game. He went close to scoring on a couple of occasions. Bennett was direct and he was constantly looking to beat his man and score goals. He timed his runs well and he was unlucky that some of his shots didn’t find the back of the net.
- Rodel Richards: The centre forward put in a real workman like shift up top and I thought that he lead the line well for Matt Wells side during his 84 minutes on the pitch. Richards did a good job at closing down the Swansea defenders and it was from his pressing that he was able to create what turned out to be the winner, after some really good work to set up Paris Maghoma’s goal midway through the first half.
- Maximus Tainio: The Finland under 19 international slotted in at right back after coming onto replace Lyons-Foster at halftime. Tainio defended solidly and he protected his side of the pitch well. Maximus made one excellent and brave sliding challenge to win the ball off of Owen Evans shortly after coming on.
- Elliot Thorpe: The Wales under 19 international came on for the final 14 minutes of the game after he replaced Rayan Clarke. Thorpe played in the hole and I thought that he did really well after he came on. The teenager from Cambridgeshire looked really sharp and he came desperately close to putting the ball into the back of the net on two occasions after getting into good positions. His movement in the final third was impressive and he was always involved in our attacks and play in and around the Swansea penalty area.
- Chay Cooper: The son of former West Ham player Antony Cooper made a late cameo appearance for Spurs on Saturday, after he came onto replace Richards up top. Cooper had some nice touches of the ball and he got himself into some good positions inside the box.
My man of the match: Luis Binks. The elegant England under 18 international was in my eyes our best player against Swansea on Saturday. Operating at LCB Binks alongside with first Lyons-Foster, and then Okedina helped to form a very strong Tottenham backline. While Swansea were by no means the best team that we have faced this season, I thought that young Binks did everything so well in defence. In a most Van Dijk-esque way the 17 year old always managed to get across his man when he needed to, and he defended with a real assuredness and coolness about him. The Gillingham born defender made a number of important defensive interventions throughout the game and it was his reading of situations which impressed me so much. He looked sharp against Swansea and after making a crucial last ditch interception to prevent Mason Jones-Thomas from getting a shot away in a dangerous position inside the Spurs box early on, Binks went onto put in another faultless performance. He always kept his position and he looked very sharp in his defending, and as far as I could see he didn’t put a foot wrong. Apart from his excellent defensive work Binks‘ passing from deep helped Spurs out. I liked his awareness and his urge to give the ball to the wide men. And while his short passing was impressive, his numerous long pings out to J’Neil Bennett on the left flank were just as accurate and effective.
Spurs: Oluwayemi, Okedina, Cirkin, White, Lyons-Foster (Tainio 46), Binks, Clarke (Thorpe 76), Maghoma, Richards (Cooper 84), Markanday (c), Bennett. Substitutes (not used): Kurylowicz, Statham.
Goal: Spurs – Paris Maghoma (24).
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 – 3
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
Rodel Richards – 3
Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2
Dennis Cirkin – 2
J’Neil Bennett – 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 – 5