Spurs under 18’s 3-2 Aston Villa: (match report)

Spurs under 18’s 3-2 Aston Villa: (match report)

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Our under 18’s took on Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon knowing that they had to respond from their devastating 3-2 league defeat to Arsenal the previous Tuesday. John McDermott’s side did exactly that when they took on the ‘ Villains ‘ at their Bodymoor Heath training ground. It was another good performance from what was a much changed Spurs side than the one which played against Arsenal last Tuesday. Bolstered by the return of centre forward Troy Parrott who had been out for over seven weeks with a toe injury, in Parrott McDermott’s side had a much needed focal point up top. And the Dubliner’s presence on the pitch allowed Spurs to play their passing game to its usual effect. This was arguably the biggest psychological test of the season for the young Spurs lads who, for the first time during this league campaign had to bounce back from a defeat. The wonder boys of Hotspur Way dominated possession on Saturday afternoon although it was a far from one side affair. Spurs were unquestionably the better team and they created considerably more chances then David Hughes’ Aston Villa side. However, the ‘ Villains ‘ physicality and directness made life difficult for the Spurs defence on occasions. It is fair to say that it was quite a scrappy game of football. After starting the game well title challengers Spurs took the lead with less then six minutes on the clock. A well worked and incisive move ended with Elliot Thorpe picking out Troy Parrott in the middle of the Aston Villa penalty area, after floating in a cross from the left flank. Parrott battled with Aston Villa defender Myles Sohna to get to the ball, and he did just about enough to get to it and prod it past the ‘ Villains ‘ goalkeeper Akos Onodi to give Spurs the lead. Following the opening goal of the game Spurs started to play with more zip about them. After creating a number of good goal scoring opportunities Spurs doubled their lead nine minutes before the break. After the influential Chay Cooper had won a penalty, Parrott stood up to cooly slot the ball past Onodi to get his and Spurs’ second goal of the game. David Hughes’ Aston Villa side started to take considerably more risks during the second half.

A slight error of judgement from Spurs goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi ended in the 18 year old giving away a penalty early on in the second half. Dutchman Colin Odutayo stood up to convert the resulting spot kick to get Aston Villa back into the game. However, less than six minutes later Spurs regained their two goal cushion courtesy of a smart finish from Maurizio Pochettino on the half volley. However, the ‘ Villains ‘ did fight back and Ben Guy managed to pull a goal back for the hosts. During the 23 remaining minutes of the game the home team piled the pressure on our back four. However, the likes of Jubril Okedina and Brooklyn Lyons-Foster held strong to help Spurs to record another important win to keep the pressure on league leaders Arsenal. Sadly the ‘ Gunners ‘ defeated Reading 8-0 on Saturday to maintain their four point lead at the top of the Premier League South. John McDermott’s side lined up in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation for Saturday’s league match in county Staffordshire. Joshua Oluwayemi retained his place in goal while a back four of Rayan Clarke, Jubril Okedina, captain Brooklyn Lyons-Foster and Maxwell Statham lined up in front of him. Dilan Markanday and Phoenix Patterson partnered each other in central midfield due to the absence of both Harvey White and Armando Shashoua. Maurizio Pochettino and Chay Cooper operated out on the flanks either side of CAM Elliot Thorpe, while Troy Parrott returned to the side to lead the line for the first time since January. Aston Villa got the game underway and it was the home side who had the first real chance of the game. After Ben Guy had passed the ball to Michael Tait down the left wing, the second year scholar burst forward towards the edge of the Spurs penalty area, where he let fly on his left foot. Tait’s powerful effort took a big deflection off of Jubril Okedina before looping narrowly wide of Joshua Oluwayemi’s goal. Makeshift holding midfielder Phoenix Patterson conceded a free kick in a dangerous position shortly afterwards however, Tait’s resulting effort flew straight into the Tottenham wall. At the other end of the pitch, Aston Villa defender Myles Sohna did well to clear a cross from Maurizio Pochettino a couple of moments before McDermott’s side took the lead, right out of the blue.

After pouncing on a loose ball inside Aston Villa’s half the alert Elliot Thorpe managed to latch onto the ball before passing it to Parrott. The Dubliner gave the ball back to Thorpe as he bolted forward down the left flank. The Wales under 19 international waited until Parrott had got into the penalty area before floating in a low cross towards the Spurs striker. Parrott battled it out with ‘ Villains ‘ defender Myles Sohna and he managed to just do enough to get to the ball first, and knock it past Aston Villa goalkeeper Akos Onodi on the volley, after just six minutes on the clock, 1-0. A couple of minutes later the lively Chay Cooper was given the ball by Thorpe on the edge of the Aston Villa box. The skilful Cooper came inside onto his right foot before forcing a good save out of Onodi from his powerful curling effort. After sprinting down the left flank Aaron Pressley passed the ball to Jaden Philogene-Bidace on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area. However, the Aston Villa winger fired the ball over Joshua Oluwayemi’s crossbar on the half volley. There was a good tempo to the game and both sides were creating some decent early chances. Elliot Thorpe was on hand to flick a free kick from Jack Birch away from danger before Dilan Markanday managed to clear a teasing cross from Michael Tait, Myles Sohna then had an effort on goal blocked by Pochettino on the edge of the Spurs box. Joshua Oluwayemi did well to claim Philogene-Bidace’s hopeful ball into the Tottenham penalty area before Spurs broke forward down the opposite end of the pitch. After Chay Cooper had received Dilan Markanday’s pass he gave the ball to Pochettino down the right flank. The 18 year old floated the ball into the Aston Villa box where he attempt to pick out Parrott at the far post but Brad Burton was on hand to head the ball behind for a corner kick, before Parrott could attack it. Phoenix Patterson’s resulting corner kick was cleared by Mungo Bridge, but only to Pochettino who was waiting on the edge of the penalty area. The Barcelona born winger struck the ball sweetly on the half volley but his effort flew into the chest of Okedina who was in an offside position. The energetic Phoenix Patterson did well to track back and make an important interception to win the ball off of Aaron Pressley on the edge of the Spurs penalty area, before Oluwayemi managed to gather the ball.

After the balletic Dilan Markanday went on a surging run through the middle of the park he decided to thread a pass into the the feet of Cooper down the left side of the Aston Villa box. Cooper attempted to cut the ball back to Parrott but it was cleared away by Myles Sohna. The young Lilywhites were in control of the match. Maxwell Statham had a cross cleared by Mungo Bridge, before Elliot Thorpe came inside from the left wing before slipping the ball into Parrott inside the Aston Villa box. However, the tigerish Tottenham centre forward was intercepted by Sohna. A dangerous attack from the home side followed, after Michael Tait passed the ball to Philogene-Bidace down the left flank the skilful winger managed to skip past Okedina, before squaring the ball for Ben Guy on the edge of the Spurs box. However, Guy’s powerful, first time side footed effort was well kept out by the diving Oluwayemi who made a smart stop. Shortly after Troy Parrott won a free kick in a promising position, Phoenix Patterson fancied his luck from range. However, his resulting curling effort flew straight into the Aston Villa wall. A couple of minutes later Thorpe passed the ball to Statham on the edge of the oppositions penalty area. Statham whipped the ball into the penalty area but it was headed away by Mungo Bridge. The impressive Chay Cooper did ever so well to bring down a long pass from Brooklyn Lyons-Foster on the edge of the Aston Villa box. Cooper passed the ball to Parrott who then laid the ball off to Thorpe whose resulting curling effort flew high and wide of Akos Onodi’s goal. Chay Cooper had a cross cleared by the commanding Myles Sohna a couple of minutes later. A free flowing attacking move from Spurs led to them winning a penalty. After Markanday received Thorpe’s pass he slipped the ball into the feet of Cooper who had made a run down the left side of the Aston Villa box. Before Cooper could test Onodi he was aggressively barged off the ball by Villa’s Jack Birch, and the referee almost immediately pointed to the penalty spot. Penalty specialist Troy Parrott stood up to take the resulting penalty kick. The Ireland under 19 international cooly slotted the ball past Onodi and into the bottom right hand corner of the goal to net his and Spurs’ second goal of the game, 2-0.

David Hughes’ side tried to respond before the end of the first half. After Philogene-Bidace received Jack Birch’s pass out on the left flank he came inside onto his right foot before curling an effort wide of Oluwayemi’s goal. Brooklyn Lyons-Foster then did well to clear Colin Odutayo’s cross away from the danger zone. Jubril Okedina did well to nod behind a corner kick from Jack Birch, before Maurizio Pochettino received the first yellow card of the game for a mistimed challenge. The alert Joshua Oluwayemi assertively claimed Brad Burton’s cross before the referee blew for half time. Spurs got the second half underway but it was clear from quite early on that the home side were now playing a lot quicker with the ball. Philogene-Bidace cut inside from the left flank before firing an effort wide of Oluwayemi’s goal. A couple of moments later the Spurs goalkeeper conceded a penalty. After latching onto Michael Tait’s through ball to Philogene-Bidace down the left side of the Spurs box. Philogene-Bidace was about to pull the trigger when Oluwayemi came rushing out to try and close him down. However, Oluwayemi slightly mistimed his run and he ended up missing the ball and bringing down the Aston Villa winger with his feet. Once again the referee pointed straight to the penalty spot. Colin Odutayo managed to tuck the resulting penalty kick past Oluwayemi and straight down the middle of the goal to get Aston Villa back into the game, 2-1. Jubril Okedina failed to deal with Jack Birch’s cross a couple of moments later, and the ball ended up bouncing up to Philogene-Bidace inside the Spurs box. The Aston Villa winger then forced a decent save out of Oluwayemi from a fabulous overhead kick which the Spurs goalkeeper was able to gather. After some good feet from Parrott on the edge of the Aston Villa penalty area the Spurs striker fired an effort wide of Akos Onodi’s goal. Rayan Clarke did well to clear Charlie Farr’s cross at the other end of the pitch, before Dilan Markanday did well to win the ball off of Philogene-Bidace inside the Spurs box, before Patterson managed to get the ball clear. 

Spurs managed to regain their two goal cushion in the 57th minute of time thanks to a fine strike from Maurizio Pochettino. After Cooper received Maxwell Statham’s pass on the left wing, the Spurs winger looked up before coming inside and spotting Pochettino who was in space down the right side of the Aston Villa penalty area. Cooper’s precise lofted pass was controlled well by Pochettino who chested the ball down before firing it past the helpless Akos Onodi on the half volley, and into the far left hand corner of the goal, 3-1. Shortly after the restart Michael Tait went on a surging run down the right wing before cutting the ball back to Aaron Pressley on the edge of the Spurs penalty area. However, the Aston Villa striker curled the ball narrowly wide of Oluwayemi’s goal and a corner kick was surprisingly given after the referee deemed his effort to have deflected off of Okedina. Elliot Thorpe did well to clear Colin Odutayo’s free kick before Spurs made their first change of the game, bringing off Troy Parrott for schoolboy Tarrell Whittaker up top. The potent Chay Cooper managed to slide the ball into the feet of Thorpe on the edge of the Aston Villa box however, Thorpe’s resulting curling effort was gathered well by Akos Onodi who made a fine save. Jubril Okedina made a good challenge on Pressley inside the Spurs box a couple of minutes later before the Spurs defender managed to put the ball behind for a corner. And it was from the resulting corner kick which the ‘ Villains ‘ netted their second goal of the game. Philogene-Bidace’s whipped delivery was flicked on by Sohna and the ball came to Ben Guy at the back post. Guy managed to weave his way around Pochettino inside the box, before firing the ball past Oluwayemi and into the roof of the goal, 3-2. Shortly after the restart Rayan Clarke conceded a free kick down the right flank. Colin Odutayo’s resulting delivery was confidently claimed by Oluwayemi. A couple of minutes later Michael Tait played the ball down to Pressley on the right flank. The ‘ Villains ‘ centre forward came inside onto his left foot before firing an effort straight at Okedina who made an important block. 

Aston Villa continued to attack our defence and they were coming close to finding an equaliser. After Philogene-Bidace latched onto Michael Tait’s pass inside the Spurs box, the winger managed to dart past Patterson but he was then intercepted by Thorpe who made a terrific tackle before he could get his shot away. Aaron Pressley headed Jack Birch’s resulting corner kick narrowly over Oluwayemi’s crossbar. John McDermott then made a double substitution as he brought off both Phoenix Patterson and Elliot Thorpe for Rafferty Pedder and schoolboy Matthew Craig. Shortly after coming on Pedder was given the ball by Statham, he then advanced through the middle by going on a surging run, before he slipped the ball through to Whittaker down the left side of the Aston Villa box. Whittaker’s powerful low, first time effort was clawed behind impressively by Akos Onodi to prevent Spurs from reestablishing their two goal cushion. Joshua Oluwayemi then did well to gather a low cross from Michael Tait. Both sides were pushing for a late goal. After Cooper received the ball from Whittaker he managed to find Pochettino down the right side of the Aston Villa penalty area. However, this time Pochettino’s effort on the half volley was blocked by Charlie McConnachie. Aston Villa had one final chance to equalise after Michael Tait whipped the ball into the Spurs box where he managed to pick out Mungo Bridge. However, the central defenders low headed effort was saved well by Oluwayemi as Spurs held on to record all three points. Spurs will play their game in hand against Chelsea on Wednesday and as long as it is mathematically possible for McDermott’s side to win the league then they will not stop believing! The young Lilywhites battled well to beat the ‘ Villains ‘ on Saturday without a whole host of experienced players.

Player reviews:

  • Joshua Oluwayemi: Once again the 18 year old had another fine game in between the sticks and he had quite a lot to do on Saturday afternoon. Oluwayemi made three saves in total and in terms of his handling, anticipation and how he dealt with corners and set pieces was top class. Unlucky to concede a penalty in the second half, Oluwayemi did make three impressive saves however, his first one to deny Ben Guy from close range was probably the most pivotal of them all.
  • Rayan Clarke: Although the winger found it difficult at times to play at right back against Aston Villa, the 18 year old tried his very best to fill in for our regular right back Jubril Okedina. Clarke had the difficult task of defending against the ‘ Villains ‘ best player on the day in Jaden Philogene-Bidace. The Aston Villa winger did cause Clarke huge problems throughout the match but I still thought that he put in a good and well disciplined shift. 
  • Jubril Okedina: Due to the absence of both Luis Binks and Malachi Walcott, Okedina got to play in his favoured position of RCB on Saturday. The ever impressive second year scholar had a solid game alongside Brooklyn Lyons-Foster who he made some crucial defensive interventions with. Okedina read the game to great effect and he made a number of important interceptions and challenges. The 18 year old was also dominant in the air and he was vocal throughout the match.
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: The Spurs captain led by example in the absence of  regular skipper Armando Shashoua. Lyons-Foster operated at LCB and I thought that like Okedina he had a solid game, and one thing which I really like about his performance was his positioning which I thought was very good. Lyons-Foster made a number of important clearances, interceptions and challenges. The second year scholar has now featured 16 times for our under 18 side this season and he is improving all of the time.
  • Maxwell Statham: Even though Statham was playing out of position at left back once again, the 18 year old filled in really well for the injured Dennis Cirkin. Defensively solid but not afraid to overlap Chay Cooper down the left flank, I thought that the second year scholar combined both of his duties really well. The tough tackling defender did a good job at defending against the speedy Colin Odutayo down the left wing and he should be proud of his performance.
  • Dilan Markanday: Interestingly the inform forward was playing in central midfield alongside Phoenix Patterson on Saturday afternoon. The slightly more advanced of the two midfielders, I thought that Markanday slotted in excellently to the role in which he was asked to play in. Not only did he help the forwards out with his driving and weaving forward runs from midfield, from a defensive point of view I thought that the 17 year old was very very good. He snuffed out danger well, was good at breaking up play and he made some crucial interceptions. His skill and balance helped him out on occasions to carry out his midfield duties so effectively. He is such a versatile young player.
  • Phoenix Patterson: This was the 18 year olds first competitive start since November but he looked very sharp alongside Markanday in central midfield. Defensively he was very good and disciplined, but he also moved the ball around the park well and his incisive passing and vision contributed to some good Spurs attacks during his time on the pitch.
  • Maurizio Pochettino: The 18 year old has been in fine form of lately for our under 18’s, and another impressive performance on Saturday resulted in him scoring his third goal of the season for John McDermott’s side. Pochettino’s skill and good close ball control caused problems for Aston Villa left back Charlie McConnachie. He did well to create space for himself out on the right flank and he whipped some good crosses into the danger zone. Furthermore, Pochettino linked up well with makeshift right back Rayan Clarke. The second year scholars second half finish on the half volley was superb, and he throughly deserved his goal.
  • Elliot Thorpe: The Wales under 19 international started the game in the hole and during the first half in particular he had a real influence on the game. It was an intelligent performance from Thorpe and for periods of the game his vision, off the ball movement and his ability to link play was something which the home side found very difficult to deal with. The 18 year old initiated and set up Troy Parrott’s opener, and he worked very hard to make an impact on the game during his time on the pitch. Hopefully he will start against Chelsea on Wednesday.
  • Chay Cooper: My motm, see below. 
  • Troy Parrott: Considering that this was the 17 year old centre forwards first competitive game of football for over seven weeks, I thought that his performance was superb. Parrott showed his usual sharpness and good movement as well as a real urge to press the defenders and drop deep in order to influence the game. The Dubliner did well to get to and score from Elliot Thorpe’s early cross. The first year scholars second goal from the penalty spot was a very composed finish and before he was replaced by schoolboy Tarrell Whittaker during the second half, Parrott managed to make such a positive impression on the game. He was ruthless in front of goal today but it was the all round intelligence of his performance and his hunger to get involved and make things happen, which was just so impressive. It is so good to see our under 18’s top scorer back playing football again.
  • Tarrell Whittaker: The 16 year old schoolboy came onto replace Troy Parrott up front during the second half. On his fifth appearance for our under 18’s this season Whittaker really impressed against Aston Villa. He was so sharp and alert in and around the penalty area, and I thought that his movement was top class. The schoolboy came desperately close to scoring today but for an excellent save from Aston Villa goalkeeper Akos Onodi.
  • Rafferty Pedder: It was another bright albeit brief cameo from the Maidstone born teenager on his 17th birthday. Operating in the CAM role he was involved in a couple of nice passages of play and he was always very positive whenever he had the ball at his feet. Shortly after he came on Pedder went on a lovely searing forward run before slipping a perfectly weighted pass into the feet of Whittaker inside the Aston Villa box, and the schoolboy came very close to scoring.
  • Matthew Craig: It was a tidy and slick performance from Matthew Craig in central midfield on only the schoolboys second ever competitive appearance at this level. 

My man of the match: On only his fourth start for our under 18 this season, first year scholar Chay Cooper (17) was my man of the match on Saturday for his excellent performance out on the left flank. The former Southend United schoolboy had a tremendous impact on Saturday’s league game. Cooper really expressed himself down the left channel and he managed to constantly get himself into good pockets of space to receive the ball. The versatile forward played with plenty of flair and he really oozed confidence. His intricate play, good first touch, vision and fancy foot work asked real questions of Aston Villa’s right back Brad Burton who he tormented throughout the match. Although he liked to dribble with the ball as well as cut inside onto his right foot to try and test the goalkeeper, I liked the fact that Cooper was difficult to read because he mixed up his game. The 17 year old was involved in two of our goals, both of which he set up. After doing well to win a penalty during the first half he went onto set up Maurizio Pochettino’s second half goal after picking him out inside the danger zone with a lovely lofted pass. It was a very exciting performance from the first year scholar on Saturday.

Spurs: Oluwayemi, Clarke, Statham, Patterson (Matthew Craig 77), Okedina, Lyons-Foster (c), Pochettino, Markanday, Parrott (Whittaker 61), Thorpe (Pedder 77), Cooper. Substitutes (not used): Kurylowicz, Muir.

Spurs under 18’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Troy Parrott – 14

Dilan Markanday – 12

J’Neil Bennett –  9

Rayan Clarke – 8

Armando Shashoua – 7

Harvey White – 6

Rodel Richards – 5

Paris Maghoma – 4

Luis Binks – 3

Maurizio Pochettino – 3

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Jeremie Mukendi – 2

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2

Phoenix Patterson – 2

Kion Etete – 2

Jubril Okedina – 1

Tarrell Whittaker – 1

Elliot Thorpe – 1

Assists: Harvey White – 12

Armando Shashoua – 12

Rayan Clarke – 8

Troy Parrott – 6

Jamie Bowden – 5

Dilan Markanday – 5

Phoenix Patterson – 4

J’Neil Bennett – 4

Rodel Richards – 3

Chay Cooper – 3

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Paris Maghoma – 2

Luis Binks – 2

Elliot Thorpe – 2

Maurizio Pochettino – 1

Malachi Walcott – 1

Rafferty Pedder – 1

Maxwell Statham – 1

Jeremie Mukendi – 1

Nile John – 1

Kion Etete – 1

Tarrell Whittaker – 1

Oliver Skipp – 1

Michael Craig – 1

Clean sheets: Joshua Oluwayemi – 7

Jonathan De Bie – 1

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