Spurs under 18’s 0-2 Derby County: (match report)
Our Premier League Cup quarter final against Derby County at the Loughborough University Stadium on Friday night resulted in yet more disappointment for Matt Wells‘ under 18 side, who crashed out of the competition after being defeated 2-0 by Derby County. This was the second cup that our under 18’s had been eliminated from in just over a week, it was also our second defeat in a row after having been on a long unbeaten run before our FA youth cup defeat to Arsenal the previous Thursday. It was a strange game of football in the sense that Spurs dominated the midfield for large periods of the game. However, it was Justin Walker’s extremely well organised Derby defence which Spurs just could not get past on the night after falling behind early on to Jack Stretton’s well worked goal. The ‘ Rams ‘ early opener set the tone for the rest of the game and while they did look dangerous whenever they entered our final third, it was their tenacious back line which caused Wells‘ side the most difficultly on the night. Although Spurs moved the ball about well and played some nice football, they were never really able to test the ‘ Rams ‘ goalkeeper Sam French after falling behind so early on in the game. Spurs, who were without a whole host of their players had to resort to playing an under 16 player (Tarrell Whittaker) up top on what was his first ever competitive appearance at this level. Derby on the the other hand fielded a very strong side with a number of their under 23 players dropping down for Friday’s important cup tie. The ‘ Rams ‘ did have a number of opportunities to double their lead during the second half but our goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi had been on hand to make some really important stops. However, the 17 year old could do nothing to prevent Jack Stretton from making it 2-0 with a close range finish right at the end. Derby’s second goal had come about because the Spurs defence had been so open after the team had pushed players so far forward up the pitch, as they went in search of a late leveller. It was a disappointing defeat for Spurs to suffer especially when you consider Matt Wells‘ side FA youth cup heartbreak only the previous week. However, Justin Walker’s Derby County side were the most well organised and well drilled side that we have come up against so far this season, and they deserved to go through to the semi finals of the competition.
Matt Wells side lined up in the slightly unusual 3-4-2-1 formation on Friday with goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi starting in goal for Spurs, while a back three of Okedina, Walcott and Lyons-Foster lined up in front of him. Maurizio Pochettino and J’Neil Bennett started as wingbacks either side of holding midfielders Jamie Bowden and Paris Maghoma. And most interesting of all was that Armando Shashoua and Harvey White were being played as attacking midfielders behind schoolboy Tarrell Whittaker who led the line for the first time at this level. It was the home side Derby County who got the game underway on a chilly night at the state of the art Loughborough University Stadium. And after a bright start the ‘ Rams ‘ took a slightly surprising lead through Jack Stretton after just five minutes of time. It was a well worked move from Justin Walker’s side which started from midfielder Louie Sibley who passed the ball to Kornell McDonald on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area. McDonald quickly slipped the ball into the feet of Jack Stretton who had made a run into the Spurs box behind our defence. Stretton then struck a powerful low effort past the helpless Oluwayemi to finish off a well worked move, 0-1. Spurs looked to respond straight from the restart after Harvey White attempted to play young Tarrell Whittaker through on goal, but the strikers first time effort deflected off of Derby defender Lee Buchanan before being plucked out of the air by their goalkeeper Sam French. A couple of minutes later Spurs went close to drawing level through the lively Tarrell Whittaker. After captain Shashoua passed the ball to Bowden the midfielder sent a lovely curling cross into the danger zone which was met by Whittaker at Sam French’s near post. However, the schoolboys diving header flew a fraction wide of the Derby goal. Spurs continued to respond well to going behind so early in the game. After knocking the ball about well in the middle of the park Paris Maghoma played a pass to J’Neil Bennett down the left side of the box but the wingers resulting effort on goal was blocked by Eiran Cashin, before Maghoma fired an effort over from 25 yards out from goal shortly afterwards.
Tarrell Whittaker came close to making contact with J’Neil Bennett’s dangerous whipped cross into the Derby penalty area, a couple of moments before Paris Maghoma managed to find Bennett down the left side of the Derby penalty area. However, the wingers volley across goal deflected off of a Derby defender before going behind for a corner kick. Spurs were dominating the match but they just couldn’t break down the solid Derby back line. After picking the ball up on the edge of the ‘ Rams ‘ penalty area makeshift wingback J’Neil Bennett forced a decent save out of Sam French from his curling effort. The home side broke forward down the opposite end through Lee Buchanan who surged forward down the left flank before whipping a dangerous ball across the face of Oluwayemi’s goal. Buchanan went on another dangerous run a couple of minutes later before squaring the ball for Louie Sibley on the edge of the Spurs box. However, the midfielders first time effort was blocked by Malachi Walcott before coming back out to Sibley whose following effort was blocked by Lyons-Foster a couple of moments before Morgan Whittaker clipped a teasing ball across the face of the Spurs goal. The ‘ Rams ‘ had started to find their rhythm again and they were looking to double their advantage, and after Jason Knight slipped the ball into Whittaker inside the Spurs box, Lyons-Foster had to be alert to make a last ditch sliding challenge on the Derby wide man before he could pull the trigger. However, the 18 year old centre half almost made a costly error after his lofted pass towards Okedina was cut out by Irishman Jason Knight who darted into the Spurs penalty area, only to be dispossessed by Lyons-Foster who made a superb recovery challenge. Joshua Oluwayemi made his first save of the game when he managed to keep out Louie Sibley’s fizzing effort. Captain Shashoua conceded a free kick right on the edge of the Spurs box shortly afterwards when he committed a foul on Jason Knight. Morgan Whittaker stepped up to take the resulting free kick but his curling effort flew narrowly over Oluwayemi’s crossbar.
The alert Jubril Okedina did well to clear Tyree Wilson’s pacy cross into the Spurs box before Spurs tried to attack the ‘ Rams ‘ down the opposite end of the pitch. After Jamie Bowden had passed the ball to Bennett down the left wing the 17 year old darted past Callum Minkley and into the penalty area before trying to pick out Pochettino at the back post with a good low cross. However, Derby goalkeeper Sam French was able to get down to smother the ball before Pochettino could tap home. Spurs did create one further chance of note before the half was up when Bowden shifted the ball out to J’Neil Bennett on the left wing. Bennett quickly cut inside before firing an effort on goal which was well blocked by Derby defender Lee Buchanan. Spurs got the second half underway as they looked to try and breakdown the tenacious ‘ Rams ‘ back line. After Paris Maghoma passed the ball to Pochettino down the right side of the Derby penalty area, Pochettino attempted to pull the ball back across goal but Sam French came out to to gobble it up before any Spurs player could convert. After receiving the ball on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area Jack Stretton fired an effort against Harvey White which rebounded straight off Stretton before going over Oluwayemi’s crossbar. After Malachi Walcott lost the ball to Lee Buchanan the Derby defender darted into the Tottenham penalty area before being intercepted by Lyons-Foster. Spurs tried to work a clever opening after Maghoma received Bowden’s pass down the left wing before passing the ball to Shashoua who attempted to scoop the ball into Whittaker inside the penalty area, but French managed to get to the ball before the schoolboy to gather the ball. Spurs then created a good chance to draw level, after Shashoua received Okedina’s pass he shifted the ball into the feet of Pochettino down the right wing. He then sent in a low cross to Whittaker at Sam French’s near post, but his first time side footed effort went just wide of the mark. Joshua Oluwayemi was called into action at the other end after left back Tyree Wilson sprinted down the left flank before squaring the ball for Sibley in the middle of the Spurs box. However, the Derby midfielders powerful first time strike was impressively palmed behind for a corner kick by the alert Oluwayemi.
Matt Wells made his first change of the game after he brought off Maurizio Pochettino for Rayan Clarke as Spurs went for a more attacking approach as the clock ticked down. After Maghoma gave the ball to the substitute Rayan Clarke out on the right wing the 17 year old fired an effort into the side netting of Sam French’s goal. After receiving Harvey White’s pass down the left flank Bennett attempted to pick out Whittaker inside the box with a low cross but once again, Sam French managed to get to the ball before the young centre forward could. The ‘ Rams ‘ then broke down the opposite end of the park through Jordan Brown who surged forward down the left flank before crossing for substitute Liam Delap down the right side of the Tottenham penalty area. However, Delap’s powerful first time effort was well saved by Oluwayemi before Lyons-Foster managed to clear the ball. Spurs were trying desperately hard to try and carve their way through the Derby defence but it was proving to be extremely difficult. After receiving Harvey White’s pass on the edge of the Derby box the unusually far forward Lyons-Foster attempted to slip the ball into Maghoma inside the penalty area, but the midfielders first touch let him down and French was able to smother the ball. Luis Binks replaced Brooklyn Lyons-Foster shortly afterwards and shortly after coming on the defender managed to find Bennett on the right flank from his long pass. Bennett looked up before whipping the ball into the danger zone and it wasn’t dealt with properly by French who dropped the ball, but he managed to claim it before Rayan Clarke could get to it. Louie Sibley had an effort on goal blocked by Bowden before he had a golden chance to put the game to bed for the home side. After Sibley had received Delap’s pass inside the Spurs box he managed to swivel around Walcott but he then ended up firing the ball over Oluwayemi’s crossbar, much to the relief of the Tottenham goalkeeper. Oluwayemi was called into action a couple of minutes later later after he managed to palm away Louie Sibley’s powerful effort from long range.
Matt Wells‘ side tried hard to try and open up the Derby defence with their short passing game but they were unable to succeed. A good passing move from Spurs ended in White passing the ball to Maghoma down the left side of the Derby box but, the midfielders effort on the stretch was comfortably saved by the diving Sam French. Maximus Tainio replaced Shashoua soon afterwards as Spurs reverted to a back four with Harvey White switching to left back. Jamie Bowden came close to picking out Malachi Walcott (who was playing as a centre forward alongside Whittaker) in the box from his cleverly weighted cross. However, any chance of a Spurs come back was virtually extinguished in the 87th minute after Derby doubled their lead through Jack Stretton who netted his second goal of the game. After Tyree Wilson had picked up the ball on the left flank the fullback went forward before passing the ball to Delap down the right hand side of the Tottenham penalty area. Delap quickly squared the ball to Stretton who just stroked the ball past Oluwayemi and into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, 0-2. Harvey White could be seen urging his teammates on as Spurs prepared to restart the game. A misplaced pass from Bowden came to substitute Liam Thompson who blazed over from range before Spurs kicked the ball down the other end of the pitch. Harvey White pumped a hopeful late ball into the oppositions penalty area but Malachi Walcott ended up heading an effort wide of Sam French’s goal. From the Derby goalkeepers resulting goal kick the ball came all the way up the field to Delap at the opposite end of the pitch, but the England under 16 international ended up firing the ball over Joshua Oluwayemi’s crossbar, in what was the final piece of action from the game. Matt Wells’ side played some really good free flowing football on Friday night but they lacked that bit of cutting edge in the final third and that is what cost them the cup tie. Up next for our under 18’s is a home league game against Southampton next Saturday. Spurs will be desperate to be desperate to return to winning ways when they host the ‘ Saints ‘ at Hotspur Way.
- Joshua Oluwayemi: The Spurs goalkeeper was one of our best players against Derby. Oluwayemi made some really impressive stops (four in total) and I thought that his all round game was of a really high quality. The former England under 15 international was good in the air and he was very cool with the ball at his feet where he impressed with his distribution. Oluwayemi has been superb for Matt Wells’ side this season.
- Jubril Okedina: The 18 year old played the majority of the game on the right side of a back three before later slotting into the back four with Binks at centre half. Okedina made some really important clearances and interceptions on Friday, the second year scholar also looked really good on the ball.
- Malachi Walcott: The 16 year old played in the middle of the back three before going onto play up front with Whittaker for the the final minutes of the game. I was really impressed with Walcott’s positioning and awareness as well as his reading of the game. The England under 17 international was good in the air and he also made some important interceptions.
- Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: The Londoner started the game on the left side of the back three and while the ball playing centre half was unlucky with a couple of his passes, I thought that defensively speaking he had a very good game. Lyons-Foster made three vital defensive interventions against Derby.
- Maurizio Pochettino: The 17 year old completed 60 minutes of Friday nights 2-0 defeat to Derby. Pochettino played the game at right wing back where I thought that he had put in a good shift, he tracked back well after him and he went on some promising attacking forays down the opposite end of the pitch. Pochettino looked good on the ball and he made some clever twists and turns.
- Paris Maghoma: My motm, see below.
- Jamie Bowden: Like Maghoma, Jamie Bowden played as a holding midfielder against Derby. And the 17 year old formed a particularly strong midfield partnership with Maghoma who he showed a real understanding with. Bowden moved the ball about well and he was nice and aggressive when he was out of possession. The lifelong Tottenham fan also created some some really good chances for Matt Wells’ side from his trademark curling crosses. I thought that Bowden put in a really intelligent performance.
- J’Neil Bennett: The agile winger started the game at the unfamiliar position of LWB a position where the England under 18 international showed real discipline in. Bennett was our most dangerous attacking player on Friday and he really made Derby fullback Callum Minkley work hard to try and keep up with his searing runs down the flank. Bennett whipped some quality crosses into the box and throughout the game he was involved in some promising attacking moves. He was so positive and direct whenever he was in possession. Bennett moved out onto the right wing shortly after Rayan Clarke entered the game on the hour mark.
- Armando Shashoua: The skipper operated as an attacking midfielder alongside Harvey White against the ‘ Rams ‘ where he played behind lone striker Tarrell Whittaker. Shashoua showed good leadership and he put in a typical workmanlike performance for Spurs, getting into some good positions and making some clever passes.
- Harvey White: The 17 year old played alongside Armando Shashoua as an attacking midfielder against Derby. The tenacious holding midfielder had a good came as a CAM and he made some wonderful and ambitious passes to the likes of Bennett and Whittaker. White also demonstrated good leadership skills.
- Tarrell Whittaker: It was great to see the under 16 striker make his debut for our under 18’s in such an important cup tie. Whittaker looked really lively and he got into some good goal scoring positions, and while he did have a couple of good chances to find the back of the net he was unlucky with his efforts. The schoolboy held his own despite his height and lack of physicality. I look forward to seeing more of young Tarrell over the coming seasons.
- Rayan Clarke: The winger replaced Pochettino in the 60th minute of the game and he went on some promising attacking forays during his time on the pitch.
- Luis Binks: The left sided centre back came onto replace Lyons-Foster in the 78th minute of the game. Binks made some good passes and while it was only a brief cameo he did look strong at the back.
- Maximus Tainio: It was only a very fleeting cameo from the Finland under 19 international who slotted in at right back for the final minutes of the game.
My man of the match: Paris Maghoma. The silky midfielder operated as a holding midfielder alongside Jamie Bowden against Derby. And although that isn’t the attack minded Maghoma’s natural position, I thought that the 17 year old performed his role as a midfield enforcer to great effect. Maghoma did a good job at breaking up play, recycling possession and moving the ball around well in the central areas. The England under 18 international did move further forward as the game progressed and he initiated some good chances for the Lilywhites. Once again Maghoma has demonstrated just how versatile a midfielder he is and like winger J’Neil Bennett he showed really good discipline throughout the game.
Spurs: Oluwayemi, Okedina, Lyons-Foster (Binks 78), Bowden, Walcott, Maghoma, Pochettino (Clarke 60), White, Whittaker, A.Shashoua (c, Tainio 83), Bennett. Substitutes (not used): Kurylowicz, Thorpe.
Spurs under 18’s statistics 2018/19:
Goals scored: Troy Parrott – 12
J’Neil Bennett – 8
Dilan Markanday – 7
Rayan Clarke – 7
Rodel Richards – 5
Armando Shashoua – 5
Harvey White – 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 – 11
Armando Shashoua – 10
Troy Parrott – 6
Jamie Bowden – 5
Phoenix Patterson – 4
Rayan Clarke – 4
Dilan Markanday – 3
Rodel Richards – 3
J’Neil Bennett – 3
Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2
Dennis Cirkin – 2
Paris Maghoma – 2
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