Spurs under 18’s 3-0 Norwich City: (match report)
Our under 18’s returned to league action on Saturday afternoon when they took on Paul Williams’ struggling Norwich City side, at their Colney training centre in Norfolk. Following the departure of our under 18’s head coach Matt Wells, Academy chief John McDermott took charge of the team on Saturday as Ryan Mason joined him in the dugout, as Spurs ran out 3-0 winners to keep the pressure on league leaders Arsenal. The wonder boys of Hotspur Way put in a very assured performance against the ‘ Canaries ‘ in the absence of players such as Troy Parrott, J’Neil Bennett and Rodel Richards on a day where the heavy winds made life challenging for both sides. Although it was a game that McDermott’s side would have been expected to win considering how poorly Norwich have performed in the league this season, the home side played significantly better to when we faced them in the reverse fixture at Hotspur Way, back in October. We beat Norwich 7-0 that day, completely outplaying them from the first to the final minute of the game. While this Saturday’s match wasn’t as one sided an affair, title challengers Tottenham Hotspur still did well to cut open what was a fairly solid and well structured ‘ Canaries ‘ defence. After a fairly tight opening 40 minutes, McDermott’s side took the lead shortly before halftime. The young Lilywhites most dangerous attacking player Dilan Markanday netted a superb goal after striking the ball so sweetly from the edge of the Norwich penalty area. Markanday had been a constant thorn in the Norwich defences side throughout the first half, his clever mazy forward runs through the middle of the pitch causing a number of problems for the hosts. Spurs started the second half well and they began to play a lot more fluidly as they moved the ball around the pitch faster. Spurs doubled their advantage in the 64th minute of the match after 16 year old centre forward Tarrell Whittaker had managed to win a penalty for Spurs. Our captain Armando Shashoua gave Norwich goalkeeper Daniel Barden the eyes before cooly slotting the ball home. McDermott’s side rubber stamped their victory less than four minutes later after the potent Dilan Markanday had received Shashoua’s pass on the edge of the Norwich box, before firing the ball past Daniel Barden and into the back of the Norwich goal.
Spurs appeared to lower their tempo following their third goal of the game, and this allowed Norwich to attack our defence more freely. The Tottenham defenders made some important challenges while our goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi made a number of late saves. Most notable of which was the penalty saving specialists save to deny Isak Thorvaldsson from the spot, after Malachi Walcott had given away a late penalty. It was a very assured team performance from Spurs with all of John McDermott’s side playing their part in the victory. John McDermott’s team lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation for Saturday’s lunchtimes game. Joshua Oluwayemi had recovered from an injury he sustained in our 5-3 league victory over West Ham to start in goal. A back four consisting of Jubril Okedina, Malachi Walcott, Luis Binks and Maxwell Statham lined up in front of him. Captain Armando Shashoua and first year scholar Rafferty Pedder partnered up in central midfield, while Maurizio Pochettino and Rayan Clarke operated out on the flanks, either side of CAM Dilan Markanday who played behind schoolboy centre forward Tarrell Whittaker. Spurs got the game underway in extremely blustery conditions at Norwich’s Colney training centre. Right back Jubril Okedina was called into action early on in the game to clear an in swinging cross from Norwich’s Atli Barkarson. At the other end of the pitch, Rayan Clarke had a deflected cross in to the Norwich danger zone claimed by the ‘ Canaries ‘ goalkeeper, Daniel Barden. Former Spurs schoolboy Anis Mehmeti attempted to lob Joshua Oluwayemi from inside the Spurs box shortly afterwards however, Mehmeti ended up clattering into his old teammate and Spurs were awarded a free kick. Malachi Walcott then made a good sliding challenge on Spanish forward Gassan Ahadme inside the Tottenham penalty area to break down a dangerous Norwich attack. It had been quite an even contest during the opening stages of the game. Makeshift left back Maxwell Statham managed to pick out Maurizio Pochettino at Daniel Barden’s cross, after putting a good delivery into the Norwich box. Pochettino managed to get to Statham’s cross but he ended up volleying it back across goal. After receiving Dilan Markanday’s pass inside the Norwich box, schoolboy centre forward Tarrell Whittaker attempted to turn and shoot however, Norwich defender Zac Dronfield managed to close him down.
Saul Milovanovic came close to setting Gassan Ahadme through on goal with a well weighted pass on the edge of the Spurs box. Fortunately for the Spurs defenders Ahadme took a heavy first touch which took the ball away from him. After Maxwell Statham had conceded a free kick out on the right flank, Norwich’s Atli Barkarson whipped the ball into the danger zone, towards Josh Martin at the back post. However, the ‘ Canaries ‘ winger could only volley the ball wide of Oluwayemi’s goal. Rayan Clarke had been lively during the early moments of the game. After winning a free kick out on the left flank the 17 year old opted to take it. Clarke pumped the ball into the danger zone where he managed to pick out centre half Malachi Walcott, who ended up volleying the ball over Daniel Barden’s crossbar, on the turn. Walcott was in action at the other end, a couple of moments later. After Anis Mehmeti had received William Hondermarck’s pass out on the right wing the Albanian youth international attempted to pick out Thorvaldsson in the centre of the Spurs box. However, his low cross was snuffed out by Walcott who cleared the ball away from the danger zone. Joshua Oluwayemi dealt comfortably with a delivery from a free kick by Josh Martin as the home side continued to grow in confidence. After Armando Shashoua had played a corner kick short to Dilan Markanday, the tricky forward whipped a menacing ball into the danger zone. His cross flashed dangerously across the face of the Norwich goal, with all of their players unable to get a head on the ball. Markanday was involved in another move a couple of moments later. The 17 year old managed to thread a pass through to Rayan Clarke down the left side of the Norwich penalty area. Clarke quickly came inside onto his right foot before firing an effort narrowly wide of Daniel Barden’s left hand post. Rayan Clarke whipped a teasing ball into the danger zone a couple of minutes later but his cross was cleared by Saul Milovanovic, before the lurking Tarrell Whittaker could get to the ball.
Spurs came very close to taking the lead through Dilan Markanday after he tormented the Norwich defence by going on another mazy run. After latching onto Armando Shashoua’s pass down the left flank, Markanday decided to run at Ethen Vaughan. The North Londoner managed to dart past the Norwich fullback and into the penalty area, before jinking his way around Gassan Ahadme and curling the ball onto Barden’s near post from an acute angle. It would have been a spectacular goal had Markanday had managed to squeeze the ball past the Norwich goalkeeper. Paul Williams’ side tried to respond down the opposite end of the pitch. Josh Martin attempted to slip the ball into the feet of Gassan Ahadme down the left side of the Spurs box but the alert Malachi Walcott read the situation well and he managed to get in front of Ahadme in time to cut out the attack. The heavily involved Markanday managed to win the ball off of Ahadme down the left flank before darting forward and eventually entering the Norwich penalty area. It was there that Markanday tried to square the ball to Whittaker however, the young striker ended up completely missing the ball and a glorious chance went to waste. The schoolboy tried to make amends after he brought the ball into the Norwich box from the right wing shortly afterwards, but he ended up dragging an effort well wide of Daniel Barden’s goal, before Luis Binks blazed an effort wide of the Norwich goal from long range. Spurs’ fortune changed in the 40th minute of the match after the best player on the pitch gave Spurs the lead. It was a nice move which led to the goal. Pochettino passed the ball to Clarke out on the left flank, he then passed the ball to Markanday who was waiting on the edge of the Norwich box. Markanday took a touch before firing an unstoppable, swerving effort past Daniel Barden and into the top right hand corner of the goal, 1-0. John McDermott’s side tried to get a second before the half was up, after receiving Markanday’s pass out on the left flank, Clarke whipped the ball into the danger zone but it was cleared away by Atli Barkarson. The referee Mark Ames sounded his whistle for half time a couple of moments later.
Norwich got the second half underway as the strong winds continued to cause havoc for both sets of players. After receiving Josh Martin’s pass out on the left wing, Atli Barkarson whipped a teasing cross across the face of Oluwayemi’s goal. An excellent surging run from Armando Shashoua shortly afterwards saw the Spurs captain race through the middle of the park before eventually shifting the ball out to Clarke on the left flank. The pacy forward got the ball out of his feet quickly before rifling an effort across Daniel Barden’s goal, it flew a fraction wide of the mark. John McDermott’s side were now in control of the game and they were playing some nice fluid football. After pulling off a lovely piece of skill Markanday slipped the ball into the feet of Clarke who had made a run down the left side of the Norwich box. Clarke had only Barden to beat but his powerful low effort was saved by the legs of the Norwich goalkeeper. The ball then came out to the off balanced Maxwell Statham, who fired the ball into the side netting. After winning a free kick, Rayan Clarke decided to play it short to Rafferty Pedder on the edge of the Norwich penalty area. However, the midfielders resulting effort on goal was blocked by William Hondermarck. Spurs continued to test the ‘ Canaries ‘ defence, and after Maurizio Pochettino had won a free kick on the edge of the Norwich box, John McDermott’s side came desperately close to doubling their advantage. Markanday stood up to take the free kick, he curled the ball towards the far post where he managed to pick out the unmarked Jubril Okedina. The Spurs defender tried to direct his header into the bottom right hand corner of the goal however, it lacked power and it ended up coming to Rayan Clarke who was only three yards out from goal. However, the inform winger was unable to keep his effort down and it ended up cannoning off of Daniel Barden’s crossbar, much to everyone’s disbelief. The ball ended up coming out to the edge of the Norwich box where it was picked up by Spurs’ Luis Binks. However, the England under 18 internationals powerful effort was blocked by Andrew Omobamidele.
After managing to win the ball in the centre of the park Spurs captain Armando Shashoua was able to pick out the run of Maurizio Pochettino, down the right hand side of the Norwich box. The 17 year old winger was met by the outrushing Daniel Barden who was able to keep out his poked effort at goal. A couple of minutes later the referee Mark Ames awarded Spurs a penalty kick after young Tarrell Whittaker has been barged off the ball by Andrew Omobamidele, inside the Norwich penalty area. The young Lilywhites skipper Armando Shashoua stood up to take the resulting spot kick. The typically cool midfielder gave Norwich goalkeeper Daniel Barden the eyes before calmly slotting the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, 2-0. John McDermott made a double change shortly afterwards as he brought off Rafferty Pedder and Tarrell Whittaker for Nile John and Chay Cooper. Spurs essentially put the game to bed in the 68th minute of time, after the ever impressive Dilan Markanday further extended Spurs’ lead by netting his second goal of the game. The goal was created by Spurs captain Armando Shashoua after the 18 year old had managed to pick out Markanday on the edge of the Norwich danger zone, with a clever lofted pass from the left flank. Markanday came across onto his left foot before firing a low effort towards the bottom right hand corner of Daniel Barden’s goal. The ‘ Canaries ‘ goalkeeper managed to get a significant hand on the ball but he couldn’t prevent it from hitting the back of the net, 3-0. Spurs were playing some wonderful one and two touch football during the second half and McDermott’s side showed no signs that they were going to lower their tempo. Shortly after the restart Spurs went on another dangerous attack, this time it resulted in Armando Shashoua playing the ball into the feet of Pochettino down the right side of the Norwich penalty area. The ‘ Canaries ‘ midfielder William Hondermarck managed to make an important interception but he ended up sloppily passing the ball straight to Rayan Clarke on the edge of the box. Fortunately for the Norwich midfielder Clarke’s resulting effort on the turn, was kept out Barden who made a smart save.
Elliot Thorpe replaced Spurs’ man of the match Dilan Markanday shortly afterwards as McDermott’s side started to lower their tempo. Malachi Walcott did well to clear a dangerous cross from Atli Barkarson before the same player pumped a good ball into the Spurs box from a corner kick. Oluwayemi was initially unable to gather the ball and it ended up coming to Isak Thorvaldsson at the back post. The Icelandic youth international volleyed the ball up into the air and Oluwayemi was then able to claim it. Substitute Chay Cooper rolled the ball down the left wing to Elliot Thorpe who raced forward before firing the ball over Daniel Barden’s crossbar from a tight angle on the edge of the penalty area. Maxwell Statham managed to clear a free kick from Atli Barkarson at the other end of the pitch before Joshua Oluwayemi made his first save of the game, to deny Anis Mehmeti’s curling effort from long range. Luis Binks was on hand to clear Barkarson’s dangerous cross into the Spurs box, before being able to block a cross from Gassan Ahadme. The ball then ended up coming to Thorvaldsson on the edge of the box, but once again Binks was there to block his effort on goal. After Thorvaldsson had received Mehmeti’s pass down the left side of the Spurs box, after Walcott had failed to clear the ball initially the 17 year old panicked and he ended up tripping Thorvaldsson to concede a late penalty kick. Gassan Ahadme stood up to take the resulting spot kick however, the Norwich forward was unable to beat penalty saving specialist Joshua Oluwayemi who dived to his right to deny Ahadme’s curling effort, before then smothering the ball before he could get to it. After Nile John had been give the ball by Pochettino, he managed to skilfully turn his way around Zac Dronfield before darting into the Norwich penalty area. It was there that the England under 16 international let fly, his powerful low effort was parried by Barden into the path of Thorpe but he couldn’t convert, and the Welshman’s poked effort was saved by the Norwich City goalkeeper. Paul Williams’ side broke forward down the left flank, and after Mehmeti had played a one two with Thorvaldsson down the left side of the Spurs box he was met by the outrushing Oluwayemi, who managed to keep out his powerful low effort with his feet.
Poor Armando Shashoua ended the game in great pain after he bravely blocked Isak Thorvaldsson’s stinging effort on the edge of the Spurs box. The Norwich forwards shot had hit Shashoua in a very sensitive part of his body before Anis Mehmeti fired wide, and Shashoua was forced to go off the pitch to recover, before he bravely soldiered on to complete the remainder of the match. Schoolboy Nile John blazed an effort over Daniel Barden’s crossbar in second half stoppage time, that was to be the final piece of action from the game. This was another impressive performance from title chasers Spurs, who managed to outplay Norwich on the day with John McDermott’s young side able to play their passing game to great effect, while also defending well throughout the match. Spurs remain four points behind Arsenal in the league table but we still have two games in hand. Up next for our high flying under 18’s is a historic league match against Southampton at the new White Hart Lane next Sunday. I cannot wait for that match!
- Joshua Oluwayemi: The second year scholar put in another impressive performance for our under 18’s, making three important stops against Norwich on Saturday. Oluwayemi kept his sixth clean sheet of the season for Spurs and once again his performance was faultless. The former England youth international did a good job at dealing with set pieces and crosses, and I thought that he read the game well. Joshua made his fifth save from the spot of this season to deny Gassan Ahadme before making an impressive save with his feet late on in the game, to deny Anis Mehmeti from a one on one position.
- Jubril Okedina: The 18 year old put in a really strong performance at right back against Norwich, where he defended solidly against their left winger. This was another classy performance from Okedina on his 15th appearance for our under 18’s this season. The Greenwich born defender defended his side of the pitch well and I felt that he read the game well and he was particularly good whenever he found himself under pressure. Okedina is so, so good on the ball and when called upon this season at right back he has been faultless for our under 18’s.
- Malachi Walcott: Although he conceded a late penalty kick the England under 17 international impressed once again at RCB. Walcott made many important clearances, blocks and interceptions throughout the match, and alongside Luis Binks he was so effective. The 17 year old cut out many a dangerous Norwich attack. Walcott did suffer from cramp during the latter stages of the game and I did notice that he was limping about the pitch.
- Luis Binks: It was yet another rock solid performance from one of the best left sided centre backs of his age group in the country, when we faced Norwich on Saturday. Defensively speaking I thought that Binks was outstanding. Dominant in the air and strong in the challenge, the England under 18 internationals reading of the game was superb. He also tried his luck on goal from long range on a couple of occasions. As always Binks’ passing was top class.
- Maxwell Statham: Playing in the unfamiliar role of left back on Saturday afternoon, the 18 year old centre back put in a very solid shift for John McDermott’s side. Not once did I see Statham put a foot wrong against the ‘ Canaries ‘. The second year scholar stayed deep for the majority of the game and he managed to keep his former Spurs teammate Anis Mehmeti quiet down the left flank. Statham made some important blocks and clearances.
- Armando Shashoua: The Tottenham captain was outstanding in central midfield alongside the slightly younger Rafferty Pedder, where he put in the complete midfield performance on Saturday. Shashoua had such a positive effect on the game at both ends of the pitch. Hardworking and tenacious as a midfield anchorman, Shashoua was nice and tidy in possession and he was majestic with the ball at his feet. The Spurs skipper created some excellent chances for the forwards where he impressed me with his quick feet and excellent vision. The 18 year old also went on some good surging runs through the middle of the park which helped to open up the Norwich defence. Shashoua converted from the penalty spot during the second half before going onto set up Dilan Markanday’s third goal of the game. The intricate midfielder was like a magnet to the ball and the much more physical Norwich midfielders found it difficult to deal with his movement and clever twists and turns. After bravely blocking Isak Thorvaldsson’s powerful late shot with a sensitive part of of his body, Shashoua would have been forgiven if he had decided to skip the last few minutes of the match. However, you would have had to drag Armando off the pitch and unsurprisingly he came back on to see out the final moments of the game.
- Rafferty Pedder: This was only the first year scholars fourth competitive appearance for our under 18 side but he looked very comfortable in central midfield for John McDermott’s team. Despite his size the 16 year old imposed himself well on the game and he helped Spurs to play through the middle of the pitch. The Maidstone born midfielder impressed with his jinking runs through the midfield, he was also aggressive and he pressed the Norwich players well. The skilful midfielders passing was nice and crisp and he moved the ball around well during his time on the pitch.
- Maurizio Pochettino: The Barcelona born winger operated out on the right flank against Norwich. Pochettino went on some nice runs down the channel and he created some good chances. He tracked back excellently after him.
- Dilan Markanday: My motm, see below.
- Rayan Clarke: The inform 17 year old was one of our best players against Norwich. Clarke started the game out on the left flank where his many purposeful attacking forays caused numerous problems for Norwich right back Ethan Vaughan. Clarke was tricky and direct and he had a tendency to cut inside onto his right foot and test Daniel Barden for which he did do on a number of occasions. The second year scholar got the assist for Dilan Markanday’s opener and he went onto create some good chances from out on the left flank. He would later play up top after Tarrell Whittaker was substituted but it was out wide where he had his best effect on the game. On another day Clarke could have scored on a couple of occasions, he certainly had the chances to do so on Saturday!
- Tarrell Whittaker: The schoolboy led the line well for McDermott’s side against some very physical Norwich defenders. Whittaker impressed with his movement inside the danger zone and he made some good runs during his time on the pitch. The 16 year olds pace did cause the Norwich defenders some problems.
- Chay Cooper: The 17 year old came onto replace Tarrell Whittaker during the second half although he would operate out on the left flank. Cooper went on a couple of good attacking forays and he impressed me with his passing and his skill.
- Nile John: This was the England under 16 internationals second appearance for our under 18’s. The silky midfielder replaced Rafferty Pedder during the second half and I was impressed with how the 16 year old adapted to the game. John went on some good driving runs through the middle of the park and he wasn’t afraid to drive at the Norwich defence. In addition I thought that John was good on the ball.
- Elliot Thorpe: The Wales under 19 international enjoyed a bright cameo appearance for Spurs after he replaced Dilan Markanday in the hole. Thorpe was very positive in possession and he came close to finding the back of the net on a couple of occasions.
My man of the match: Dilan Markanday was the star of the show on Saturday afternoon for John McDermott’s side. The exceptionally skilful attacker singlehandedly tore the Norwich defence to shreds with his many mesmeric jinking runs through the heart of the Norwich defence. Almost impossible to dislodge while he was in possession, Markanday’s incredible skill, balance and vision stunned the spectators who were in attendance. The North Londoner scored a stunning goal to open the scoring right on the stroke of halftime, and he had come on several occasions before that to giving Spurs the lead. The second year scholar continued to be a thorn in Norwich’s side throughout the second half and his trickery was sublime. Markanday netted his second goal of the game in the 68th minute of time with a powerful low finish from the edge of the Norwich box. Markanday’s work rate, ability to weave his way around the Norwich defence and his vision for a pass was absolutely outstanding on the day. Dilan has now scored ten goals for our under 18 side this season, it is astonishing that he still hasn’t been called up to represent England at youth level.
Spurs: Oluwayemi, Okedina, Statham, A Shashoua (c), Walcott, Binks, Pochettino, Pedder (Cooper 65), Whittaker (John 65), Markanday (Thorpe 70), Clarke. Substitute (not used): Kurylowicz.
Spurs under 18’s statistics 2018/19:
Goals scored: Troy Parrott – 12
Dilan Markanday – 10
J’Neil Bennett – 8
Rayan Clarke – 8
Armando Shashoua – 6
Rodel Richards – 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 – 2
Kion Etete – 2
Jubril Okedina – 1
Tarrell Whittaker – 1
Assists: Harvey White – 11
Armando Shashoua – 11
Rayan Clarke – 8
Troy Parrott – 6
Jamie Bowden – 5
Phoenix Patterson – 4
Dilan Markanday – 3
Rodel Richards – 3
J’Neil Bennett – 3
Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2
Dennis Cirkin – 2
Paris Maghoma – 2
Luis Binks – 2
Maurizio Pochettino – 1
Malachi Walcott – 1
Rafferty Pedder – 1
Maxwell Statham – 1
Jeremie Mukendi – 1
Elliot Thorpe – 1
Nile John – 1
Kion Etete – 1
Tarrell Whittaker – 1
Clean sheets: Joshua Oluwayemi – 6
Jonathan De Bie – 1