Spurs under 18’s 3-1 Southampton: (match report)
A very historic under 18 game took place on Sunday afternoon in North London, when Tottenham Hotspur’s under 18 side hosted Southampton in a league game, in what was the first ever match to be played at Spurs’ brand new 62,000 seater stadium. Not only was it a massive day for all of our under 18’s, it was also a must win game for John McDermott’s title chasing side, who were only four points behind league leaders Arsenal going into Sunday’s match. Everything about Sunday afternoon was special. Walking into our state of the art new home, the walk down Tottenham High road, watching a football match for the very first time at the new stadium, and the sheer enormity of the stadium quite simply took the Spurs fans breath away from them. It was a glorious day in the history of our football club in so many ways, and for our under 18 squad it was a day which none of them will ever forget. This exceptionally talented side were the talk of Tottenham for one day with over 28,000 Spurs supporters turning out to watch the stars of tomorrow take to one of the finest stages in European football for the grand opening of the new White Hart Lane. Our undefeated under 18 side certainly rose to the occasion on Sunday afternoon and they didn’t let the pressure of the day get to them. John McDermott fielded a strong side for Sunday’s important league fixture with Oliver Skipp, Harvey White and J’Neil Bennett all included in the starting 11 to face Southampton. Spurs’ passing game suited the slick pitch at the new stadium, the size of the pitch also helped wide men J’Neil Bennett and Dilan Markanday to influence the game. Spurs rose to the occasion and they were able to play their passing game to great effect against a ‘ Saints ‘ side who were missing a number of important players. McDermott’s side started the game well and the wonder boys of Hotspur Way played with a good energy about them. After impressing during the opening stages of the match Spurs took the lead after just 11 minutes through J’Neil Bennett. The first year scholar made history by becoming the first ever player to score at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The 17 year old caught out Southampton goalkeeper Jack Bycroft after he came inside from the left wing, before curling an unstoppable effort into the far corner of his goal.
After J’Neil Bennett’s opener Spurs grew in confidence, and they were starting to overwhelm Southampton particularly in the centre of the park, through the dominant midfield pairing of Oliver Skipp and Harvey White. John McDermott’s side continued to grow in confidence as the game went on and the crowd became noisier. The lively Dilan Markanday managed to win a penalty kick for Spurs in the 20th minute of time after being fouled by Southampton’s James Morris inside the Southampton penalty area. The typically assured Harvey White stepped up to clinically tuck the ball past Bycroft from the resulting spot kick. Spurs continued to create chances during the remainder of the half but they were unable to extend their lead over a Southampton side who had barely entered the Tottenham half. John McDermott’s side didn’t start the second half with the same aggression which they had ended the first half with. The young ‘ Lilywhites‘ ‘ football wasn’t as fluent and this allowed Southampton to get back into the game. One such sloppy error resulted in the visitors pulling a goal back on 62 minutes through Kornelius Hansen. However, McDermott’s side regrouped well and they created a number of good chances which they should have put away. Fortunately for Spurs the alert Dilan Markanday secured all three points for Tottenham, after he was on hand to slot home Harvey White’s parried effort in the 77th minute of the game. Spurs comfortably saw out the remaining minutes of the match to record a hugely important and iconic win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. After the final whistle had went the young Spurs players including those who had missed Sunday’s game to injury came out onto the pitch to take in the atmosphere, and saviour the moment. Every single one of our under 18’s did the club extremely proud on Sunday afternoon. John McDermott’s side lined up in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation for Sunday’s historic match. Joshua Oluwayemi started in goal while a back four of Jubril Okedina, Malachi Walcott, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster and Dennis Cirkin lined up in front of him. Harvey White and Oliver Skipp partnered up in central midfield as Dilan Markanday and J’Neil operated out on the flanks, either side of CAM and Tottenham captain Armando Shashoua. In the absence of any recognised strikers Rayan Clarke led the line for the first time this season.
After walking out into the bowl of our world class new home to the booming sound of the Tottenham supporters, it was John McDermott’s side who got the game underway on a sunny afternoon in North London. Spurs started the game brightly and they didn’t appear to be letting the occasion get the better of them. After Dilan Markanday had managed to win a free kick right on the edge of the Southampton penalty area, set piece specialist Harvey White prepared to take it. And the 17 year old midfielder forced the first save of the game from Southampton goalkeeper Jack Bycroft. White managed to get his curling effort up and over the wall but it was saved by Bycroft who managed to hold onto the ball before it flew into the top left hand corner of the goal. Spurs continued to play with a good energy about them as they knocked the ball around the park freely. A free kick delivery into the Southampton penalty area, from Harvey White was cleared away by Kayne Ramsay. Spurs came close to taking the lead a couple of moments later. After Okedina had passed the ball to Markanday down the right wing he cut inside onto his left foot before picking out the unmarked Shashoua in the middle of the Southampton box, with an inch perfect cross. The Tottenham captain tried his luck first time with a looping header however, it flew narrowly over Jack Bycroft’s crossbar. Southampton had barely gotten out of their own half and McDermott’s sides stranglehold on the game was causing them a lot of problems. Winger J’Neil Bennett went into the Tottenham Hotspur history books after he netted the first ever goal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, to give Spurs the lead in the 11th minute of the match. After Oliver Skipp had passed the ball to Bennett on the edge of the Southampton penalty area, the former QPR schoolboy cut inside onto his right foot, before curling a wonderful effort past Jack Bycroft and into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, 1-0. It’s fair to say that Bennett and the Spurs supporters enjoyed the goal and after the ball hit the back of the net, a deafening roar ran out through the stadium. Spurs were in full control of the game. After Kayne Ramsey gave the ball straight to Dilan Markanday on the edge of the Southampton box, the tricky Spurs winger surged forward through the middle before curling an effort towards the bottom left hand corner of Bycroft’s goal. However, Markanday’s fine, curling effort was impressively tipped onto the post by the diving Southampton goalkeeper, before it went behind for a Spurs corner kick.
Spurs continued to move the ball around the pitch well and by each passing minute John McDermott’s side grew in confidence. After a slightly sloppy pass from J’Neil Bennett was well kept in by Markanday out on the right flank, the Spurs winger came across goal, and he took the ball into the Southampton box where he was faced by James Morris. Markanday managed to go around Morris courtesy of a sublime piece of skill, knowing that he was in trouble Morris decided to tug Markanday from behind. The second year scholar fell to the floor and the referee Craig Pullen pointed to the penalty spot without any hesitation. The ice cool Harvey White stood up to calmly convert from the resulting penalty kick. The Spurs midfielder clinically slotted the ball past Bycroft who dived the wrong way, and into the bottom right hand corner of the goal to spark further scenes of jubilation on the terraces, 2-0. Shortly after the restart, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster did well to cut out former Spurs schoolboy Rio Glean’s lofted pass towards Southampton striker Benni Smales-Braithwaite. Harvey White then did well to cut out Rio Glean’s low cross in the middle of the Spurs box before clearing the ball to safety. Spurs broke forward down the opposite end of the pitch. After J’Neil Bennett had received Harvey White’s pass on the edge of the Southampton box, Bennett had a pop on goal. However, his effort was blocked by ‘ Saints ‘ defender Dare Olufunwa. We continued to test the Southampton defence throughout the remainder of the half. After Dennis Cirkin had passed the ball to Bennett down the left wing he whipped the ball into the Southampton penalty area where he managed to pick out Shashoua who was unmarked once again. However, the Spurs captain just missed the ball and it ended up going behind for a goal kick. The defensively solid Jubril Okedina did well to make an important interception on Kornelius Hansen down the left side of the Spurs penalty area, after Southampton had caught us on the break. Malachi Walcott did well to clear Hansen’s corner kick a couple of minutes later. After Harvey White had been given the ball by Dilan Markanday on the edge of the Southampton box, he tried his luck on goal. However, his hopeful effort was blocked by Alex Jankewitz. A good passing move from John McDermott’s side resulted in Bennett passing the ball to Skipp who shifted the ball out to Shashoua on the left flank. He managed to pick out Markanday who had made a run into the Southampton box but he was intercepted by Caleb Watts. Dennis Cirkin had a cross cleared by the same player a couple of moments later.
After latching onto Dennis Cirkin’s pass, Oliver Skipp passed the ball to Rayan Clarke who had his back to goal on the edge Southampton box. However, the makeshift centre forwards resulting effort on the turn was blocked by Dare Olufunwa, before J’Neil Bennett then blazed an effort wide on the follow up. Spurs continued to attack the struggling ‘ Saints ‘ defence. After Markanday had received White’s pass out on the right flank he decided to play the ball down the line to Okedina. The Spurs right back then curled the ball across the face of Jack Bycroft’s goal and in the end the ball was kept in by Cirkin on the opposite flank. Southampton tried to respond by using the width of the pitch to test our defence. After James Morris had received Kornelius Hansen’s pass down the left flank, the Southampton fullback whipped a low cross into the Spurs box, but it was gathered by Oluwayemi. A couple of minutes later the skilful Hansen managed to jink his way past both Okedina and White down the left side of the Tottenham penalty area before squaring the ball for Smales-Braithwaite in the middle of the box. Lyons-Foster threw himself in front of the Southampton striker and it was in fact his attempted clearance, which forced Oluwayemi into making his first save of the game to prevent the ball from going in. Spurs continued to play some wonderful one and two touch football during the remaining minutes of the first half. After Markanday received the ball from Shashoua he attempted to slip Clarke through on goal with a clever pass into the Southampton box. However, his pass had too much pace on it, and Bycroft was able to come out and smother the ball before Clarke could get to it. Joshua Oluwayemi did well to gather Rio Glean’s cross at the other end of the pitch, before Cirkin managed to pick out Markanday in the middle of the Southampton box with a clever cross from the left flank. However, Markanday’s resulting header on goal was blocked by Allan Tchaptchet who ended up hurting himself in the process, and the game was temporarily halted by the referee as Tchaptchet received treatment. Dilan Markanday came close to extending Spurs’ lead shortly before the break. After he had received Walcott’s pass on the edge of the Southampton box, he decided to cut inside onto his left foot before curling a decent effort a fraction wide of Jack Bycroft’s goal. Craig Pullen blew the whistle for half time a couple of seconds later. McDermott’s side could easily have been leading 4-0.
Southampton got the second half underway but it was Spurs who managed to have the first shot on goal of the half. After Rayan Clarke had received Markanday’s pass on the edge of the Southampton penalty area, he decided to come inside onto his left foot before testing Bycroft with a powerful low effort, which the Southampton goalkeeper managed to gather. After embarking on a long surging run through the middle of the pitch Oliver Skipp managed to slip the ball into the feet of Markanday down the right hand side of the Southampton box. Markanday managed to cooly skip past the outrushing Jack Bycroft but he couldn’t slot the ball into the back of the goal. The 17 year olds powerful low effort was blocked on the line in superb fashion by the sliding Pascal Kpohomouh. At the other end of the pitch Malachi Walcott did well, first to clear a cross from Kornelius Hansen and then to block a shot on goal from Benni Smales-Braithwaite. Although the second half was a much more even affair, it was Spurs who were still in control of the game. After the overlapping Cirkin managed to latch onto Bennett’s pass down the left flank, the Spurs fullback decided to whip the ball into the Southampton box. His cross ended up coming to Skipp down the right side of the penalty area. Skipp cut inside onto his left foot before picking out Shashoua in the centre of the box with a nice lofted pass. However, the 18 year couldn’t manage to keep his header down and it ended up going wide of Jack Bycroft’s goal. The dominant Oliver Skipp did well to win the ball off of Jack Turner in central midfield before testing Bycroft from long range. However, the ‘ Saints ‘ goalkeeper managed to hold his effort before Southampton attacked us down the opposite end of the pitch. After Smales-Braithwaite had managed to find Hansen down the left side of the Spurs box, the Southampton winger attempted to pull the ball back across the face of the goal, but Lyons-Foster was on hand to clear it. Malachi Walcott did well to clear a dangerous low cross from Jack Turner as Spurs’ hold on the game started to slip away from them.
Paul Hardyman’s resurgent Southampton side managed to pull a goal back in the 62nd minute of the game. After Spurs had been caught out playing about with the ball inside their own half, Jack Turner managed to win possession before giving the ball to Kornelius Hansen who was in too much space, on the edge of the Spurs box. Hansen was allowed to get a shot away on goal and his powerful effort caught Oluwayemi slightly by surprise, and although the Spurs goalkeeper was able to get a hand on the ball he couldn’t prevent it from going into the back of the net, 2-1. A couple of minutes later Hansen managed to pick out Allan Tchaptchet at Oluwayemi’s back post from a corner kick. The unmarked Tchaptchet was able to head the ball across the face of the Spurs goal, but Oluwayemi came out to confidently claim the ball. Spurs had allowed Southampton to get back into the game. After being given the ball by Hansen out on the left wing, James Morris found himself in a lot of space. However, Oliver Skipp managed to track back and make a great crunching challenge to win the ball off of Morris before he could cross the ball into the penalty area. Spurs should have made it 3-1 after J’Neil Bennett had a fantastic chance to put the game to bed. After Markanday passed the ball to White, the Spurs midfielder threaded a perfectly weighted pass through to J’Neil Bennett in the Southampton box. Bennett found himself one on one with Bycroft but he didn’t have enough time to open up his body and tuck the ball around the Southampton goalkeeper. Instead Bennett tried to beat Bycroft with a first time side footed effort which ended up squirming narrowly wide of the goal. Chay Cooper was introduced shortly afterwards in place of Rayan Clarke, as Dilan Markanday moved up top to lead the line for Spurs. The Spurs striker ended up sloppily giving the ball to Southampton’s Jack Turner who ended up giving the ball to Smales-Braithwaite but his resulting cross into the Spurs box, was cleared away by Walcott. After Lyons-Foster had failed to clear Kayne Ramsay’s dangerous low cross into the Tottenham penalty area, Walcott was forced to clear the ball. A couple of moments later Spurs goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi was forced into action. The second year scholar did well to beat away a powerful first time strike from Jack Turner on the edge of the Spurs box. At the opposite end of the pitch J’Neil Bennett had an effort from long range blocked by Alex Jankewitz.
Spurs finally managed to secure the win in the 77th minute of time after the potent Dilan Markanday restored Spurs’ two goal cushion. After the ball had come to Harvey White on the edge of the Spurs box, the central midfielder let fly on his left foot. His powerful effort was parried by Bycroft but only into the path of Markanday down the right hand side of the penalty area. The North Londoner took a quick touch before slotting the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, 3-1. McDermott made a double substitution shortly afterwards when he brought off Jubril Okedina and J’Neil Bennett for Maxwell Statham and Maurizio Pochettino. The latters introduction drew rapturous applause from the Spurs fans. Maxwell Statham did well to block Rio Glean’s effort inside the Spurs box. Oliver Skipp almost managed to play Chay Cooper through on goal but his pass was cut out by Southampton’s Allan Tchaptchet before Malachi Walcott managed to clear Caleb Watts’ cross at the other end of the pitch. A wayward pass from Statham came to Kornelius Hansen on the edge of the Spurs box. He slipped the ball into the feet of the newly introduced Roland Idowu down the right side of the penalty area. The Irishman had managed to cut inside Statham who had raced back to try and make a recovery. Idowu’s resulting effort on goal was superbly blocked by Malachi Walcott. Maxwell Statham then managed to head away James Morris’ cross before Walcott cleared the same players corner kick a couple of moments later. After Chay Cooper had received Maurizio Pochettino’s pass down the left flank, the first year scholar did well to keep the ball in before driving forward all the way into the Southampton box, where he ended up curling the ball into the side netting of Jack Bycroft’s goal from an acute angle. After Jack Turner had passed the ball to Benni Smales-Braithwaite down the right side of the Tottenham penalty area, the Southampton centre forward managed to cut inside Statham before forcing a decent save out of Oluwayemi at his near post, Statham was then able to clear the ball. Smales-Braithwaite hit a late free kick into the Spurs wall before Chay Cooper made a good sliding challenge to win the ball off of Dare Olufunwa on the edge of the box.
The referee Craig Pullen blew the final whistle shortly afterwards to bring an end to a historic game for the wonder boys of Hotspur Way. John McDermott’s side are now only one point behind league leaders Arsenal and we still have a game in hand. Up next for Spurs is a home league game against Fulham next Saturday morning at Hotspur Way.
- Joshua Oluwayemi: The second year scholar had another good game for our under 18’s on Sunday when we took on Southampton at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Oluwayemi made three saves in total and he impressed me with his overall play. Oluwayemi made a couple of smart stops and he dealt well with crosses and set pieces. He was unlucky not to keep out Kornelius Hansen’s second half strike.
- Jubril Okedina: The 18 year old put in another solid shift for John McDermott’s side at right back. Okedina defended well against one of Southampton’s best players on the day in Kornelius Hansen. Okedina kept good positioning throughout the game and he made some timely interceptions, including an important one on Kornelius Hansen inside the Spurs penalty area during the first half. Okedina was very cool on the ball.
- Malachi Walcott: Operating at RCB Malachi Walcott (17) put in a very solid shift against the ‘ Saints ‘. Walcott defended well throughout the match, he was dominant in the air, strong in the challenge and he made many good blocks and interceptions. The England under 17 international asserted himself well on the game and he made life difficult for Southampton striker Benni Smales-Braithwaite.
- Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: Walcott’s partner at centre back was ball playing defender Brooklyn Lyons-Foster. Operating at LCB the 18 year old had a very solid game albeit it against a not too threatening Southampton attack. Lyons-Foster made some important defensive interventions and overall he had a very good game. The second year scholar brought the ball out well from the back.
- Dennis Cirkin: The attacking left back caught the eye once again by putting in a well rounded performance under testing circumstances on Sunday afternoon. Cirkin linked up really well with left winger J’Neil Bennett throughout the match. Bennett is a player who he seems to have a very good understanding with and the pair always play on the same wavelength as one another. Cirkin defended well against his old Spurs teammate (Southampton winger) Rio Glean and he rarely let the first year scholar get the better of him down that side on the pitch. The 16 year old went on some good attacking forays of his own down the left flank, but it was his defensive work which impressed me most, on the day.
- Oliver Skipp: The most experienced member of the squad dropped down to our under 18’s for the first time on Sunday to make his first appearance for them since April 2018. Skipp put in an outstanding performance in central midfield alongside Harvey White. The 18 year old looked as if he was a man playing against boys, such was his dominance and the impact that he had on the game. Skipp controlled the midfield for the entirety of the match where he performed his duties as a midfield technician and destroyer so diligently. The second year scholar was involved in some nice passages of play for Spurs. He got the assist for J’Neil Bennett’s opener after picking out the winger with a nice pass. Skipp also managed to keep things moving in the middle of the park, and he made some superb crunching challenges and interceptions, as well as going on some excellent surging runs through the middle of the pitch. It was an excellent all round performance from one of England’s most exciting young talents.
- Harvey White: Another player who put in a sparkling performance in central midfield was the elegant Harvey White. The 17 year old looked very mature alongside Oliver Skipp and from both an offensive and defensive point of view he was very good. White created some good chances for the forwards, he also showed good vision and awareness. The Kent born first year scholar capped off an excellent performance by chipping in with a goal and an assist against Southampton. The tenacious midfielder cooly tucked away a first half penalty before getting the assist for Dilan Markanday’s late goal after testing Jack Bycroft with a powerful effort on goal. White also created an excellent chance for J’Neil Bennett to score a second goal after slipping the winger through on goal with a perfectly weighted pass.
- Dilan Markanday: My motm, see below.
- Armando Shashoua: The proud Spurs captain played in the hole on Sunday as oppose to as a CDM where he has played for most of this season. Shashoua led the team by example particularly during the second half when he dropped slightly deeper. Shashoua managed to get himself into some excellent goalscoring positions and his sharp movement almost resulted in him scoring a couple of headed goals. Shashoua’s off the ball work was very good and he helped to break up play in the middle of the park.
- J’Neil Bennett: The first year scholar had an excellent game out on the left wing particularly during the first half when he tormented Southampton right back Kayne Ramsay. Bennett entered the Tottenham Hotspur history books after he scored the first ever goal at the new stadium after just 11 minutes of Sunday’s game. The Camden born forward curled home a lovely effort after cutting inside from the left flank. The speedy wingers unpredictably and flair made him a difficult player to defend against and he was one Spurs’ most potent players on the day. Bennett worked hard and he tracked back well after him. He will be disappointed that he couldn’t have netted a second goal in the second half, after being played through on goal by Harvey White.
- Rayan Clarke: The 17 year old was forced to play in the unfamiliar role of centre forward due to our lack of available strikers. Clarke led the line well and he did a good job at managing to create space for himself. The second year scholar managed one shot on target during his time on the pitch.
- Chay Cooper: Second half substitute Chay Cooper played out on the left wing for John McDermott’s side. It was a bright cameo from the skilful midfielder who went on a couple of good attacking forays down the left channel. The energetic 17 year old went on a good surging, long run, late on in the game which ended in him firing the ball into the side netting of Jack Bycroft’s goal.
- Maxwell Statham: The 18 year old bolstered the Spurs defence after he replaced Jubril Okedina at right back late on in the game. Statham was dominant in the air during his time on the pitch.
- Maurizio Pochettino: It was a positive cameo appearance for Pochettino who impressed out on the right wing. He had a couple of nice touches and he made some impressive passes during his time on the pitch. He was very positive in possession and he was constantly looking to take on Southampton fullback James Morris.
My man of the match: For the second week in a row it has to go to Dilan Markanday for putting in another game changing performance. Markanday started out on the right wing against Southampton and during the first half he was one of our best players. The North Londoner made the ‘ Saints ‘ left back James Morris work hard, as he found it difficult to defend against the tricky and agile Spurs winger. After creating a fantastic early chance for Armando Shashoua to open the scoring, Markanday went on to win a penalty after cutting inside from the right wing and working his way around James Morris in the penalty area. Markanday came close to finding the back of the net on two separate occasions before he netted his 11th goal of the campaign in the 77th minute of the game. The alert forward was in the right place at the right time to tuck the ball past Jack Bycroft from close range after he had spilt Harvey White’s shot. Markanday’s positioning and razor sharp movement was top class and his sheer creativity was a big factor behind our dominant performance. The 17 year olds off the ball work was also very good and he tracked back well after him to help out Okedina at right back.
Spurs: Oluwayemi, Okedina (Statham 78), Cirkin, Skipp, Walcott, Lyons-Foster, Markanday, White, Clarke (Cooper 71), A.Shashoua (c), Bennett (Pochettino 79). Substitutes (not used): Kurylowicz, Thorpe.
Southampton: Bycroft, Ramsay (c), Morris, Watts (Defise 86), Olofunwa, Tchaptchet, Glean (Kpohomouh 46), Jankewitz, Smales-Braithwaite, Turner (Idowu 78), Hansen. Substitutes (not used): Wright, Cluett.
Goals: Spurs – Bennett 11, White 21 (pen), Markanday 77; Southampton – Hansen 62.
Yellow card: Southampton – Jankewitz 81.
Referee: Craig Pullen.
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Spurs under 18’s statistics 2018/19:
Goals scored: Troy Parrott – 12
Dilan Markanday – 11
J’Neil Bennett – 9
Rayan Clarke – 8
Armando Shashoua – 6
Rodel Richards – 5
Harvey White – 5
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 – 12
Armando Shashoua – 11
Rayan Clarke – 8
Troy Parrott – 6
Jamie Bowden – 5
Phoenix Patterson – 4
Dilan Markanday – 4
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
Oliver Skipp – 1
Clean sheets: Joshua Oluwayemi – 6
Jonathan De Bie – 1