Spurs under 18’s 3-4 Leicester City: (match report)

Spurs under 18’s 3-4 Leicester City: (match report)

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Our under 18’s played their final league game of the 2018/19 season on Saturday when they welcomed Leicester City to Hotspur Way. John McDermott’s side were still in with a chance of winning the Premier League South title going into Saturday mornings game against the ‘ Foxes ‘ however, it wasn’t to be for the wonder boys of Hotspur Way who surprisingly lost their final game of the season 4-3 to Leicester while Arsenal defeated Fulham 3-0. Today’s game was a strange one not only due to the importance of it, but more so because it was really a game of two halves. Spurs dominated the game from start to finish but they were sloppy on occasions during the second half, and they let the scrappy nature of the game get the better of them in the end. McDermott picked a strong team for the game of which was made up predominantly of second year scholars, with Paris Maghoma and J’Neil Bennett dropping down from the under 23’s. After a good start to the game which had seen some lovely early passing and movement from the young Spurs lads, McDermott’s side took the lead in the 13th minute of the game. Rodel Richards who had only just returned from a long spell on the sidelines, was the man to give Spurs the lead. Richards had been able to tap Rayan Clarke’s pacy low cross past Leicester goalkeeper Oliver Bosworth from close range to put Spurs ahead. Spurs continued to dominate the game and less than seven minutes later J’Neil Bennett doubled McDermott’s sides advantage. However, Leicester managed to pull a goal back against the run of play after Malachi Walcott conceded a penalty less than three minutes later. The ‘ Foxes ‘ Dempsey Arlott-John stood up to fire the ball past Tottenham goalkeeper Kacper Kurylowicz and into the middle of the goal. However, Spurs managed to regain their stranglehold on the game and after creating a number of good chances throughout the remainder of the first half the clinical Rodel Richards scored his second and Spurs’ third of the game on 38 minutes with a smart finish, after taking the ball around the Leicester City goalkeeper. Although Spurs did continue to dominate possession throughout the second half, McDermott’s side started it poorly.

Ethan Fitzhugh pulled a goal back for the visitors shortly before the hour mark before the ‘ Foxes ‘ managed to draw level from the penalty spot through Ed Elewa-Ikpakwu, after Kurylowicz had conceded the penalty. Ethan Fitzhugh then scored his second of the game in the 71st minute to cap off a disappointing day for the wonder boys of Hotspur Way who despite creating some good late chances were unable to respond. John McDermott’s side lined up in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation on Saturday morning as Kacper Kurylowicz made a rare start in goal, while a back four of Jubril Okedina, Malachi Walcott, Luis Binks and Maxwell Statham lined up in front of him. Captain Armando Shashoua and Phoenix Patterson partnered up in central midfield behind the attacking trio of Rayan Clarke, Paris Maghoma and J’Neil Bennett. 18 year old Rodel Richards made his first appearance for our under 18’s since January as he led the line following his return from injury. Leicester got the game underway on a windy morning in Enfield and it took a good piece of defending from Spurs’ Luis Binks to prevent an early Leicester attack. Binks did well to make a timely challenge on Ollie Ewing inside the Tottenham penalty area to stop the Leicester midfielder from advancing down the right hand side of the box. Malachi Walcott did well to head clear Liam Loughlin’s resulting corner kick before Spurs looked to break forward down the opposite end of the pitch. A corner kick from Phoenix Patterson hit off the heads of both Rodel Richards and Lukas Husek before it was attacked by Walcott whose headed effort deflected off of Ollie Ewing and behind for another corner kick. Spurs were seeing considerably more of the ball during the opening stages of the game and they were creating some decent chances. After embarking on a surging run through the middle of the pitch Luis Binks passed the ball to Rayan Clarke on the right wing. Clarke continued to come forward down the flank before cutting inside onto his left foot and firing a powerful low effort wide of Oliver Bosworth’s goal. A couple of moments later Clarke picked the ball up again, this time on the edge of the Leicester penalty area but once again he fired the ball wide of the mark. 

Spurs continued to threaten the Leicester defence and after Armando Shashoua managed to pick out J’Neil Bennett inside the ‘ Foxes ‘ box the Spurs winger tried to test Bosworth. However, the wingers header lacked power and it was saved comfortably by Oliver Bosworth. The wonder boys of Hotspur Way continued to control the game and on 13 minutes John McDermott’s side made the breakthrough. After Maghoma managed to shift the ball out to Rayan Clarke on the right flank, the winger darted forward before whipping the ball into the Leicester penalty area where he managed to pick out Rodel Richards in the middle of the Leicester box. The alert Tottenham striker managed to sort his body out well before tapping the ball past the helpless Oliver Bosworth on the volley and into the back of the net with a clever first time finish, 1-0. Tottenham goalkeeper Kacper Kurylowicz did well to gather a corner kick from Ollie Ewing shortly afterwards, and the Polish youth international came close to setting J’Neil Bennett through on goal at the other end of the pitch with a long kick up field. However, Leicester goalkeeper Oliver Bosworth was able to gather the ball before Bennett could get to it. A couple of minutes later Kurylowicz did well to gather a dangerous low cross from Terrel Pennant. Spurs were playing some wonderful one and two touch football and it was only a matter of time before they doubled their advantage. Spurs’ second goal of the game duly arrived in the 21st minute of the game after J’Neil Bennett managed to turn home Phoenix Patterson’s free kick. After Paris Maghoma had won a free kick out on the right wing, Patterson whipped a menacing ball deep into the penalty area, it came to Malachi Walcott who was lurking at the far post. Walcott attempted to shoot on the turn but his shot was blocked by Ed Elewa-Ikpakwu but the loose ball was snapped up by J’Neil Bennett who managed to sweep the ball past Bosworth and into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, 2-0. However, less than three minutes later the ‘ Foxes ‘ managed to pull a goal back. After Leicester’s centre forward Will Russ had received Liam Loughlin’s pass inside the Spurs penalty area Russ managed to get around Malachi Walcott who ended up bringing Russ down from behind. With little hesitation the referee pointed straight to the penalty spot. 

Leicester’s Dempsey Arlott-John stood up to take the resulting spot kick and he confidently fired the ball past Kurylowicz and straight down the middle of the goal, 2-1. McDermott’s side tried to respond and after the high pressing Paris Maghoma managed to win the ball off of Ollie Ewing the 17 year old went on a surging run through the middle of the park. Maghoma played a clever one two with Bennett inside the Leicester box before being taken clean out by the sliding Lukas Husek who got nothing of the ball however, the referee chose not to give the penalty despite being placed in a perfect position when the challenge was made. Shortly afterwards Rayan Clarke played a quick one two with J’Neil Bennett on the edge of the Leicester penalty area before firing the ball over Oliver Bosworth’s crossbar. A couple of minutes later Leicester’s Ed Elewa-Ikpakwu blasted the ball off of Maxwell Statham inside the Leicester penalty area but fortunately for him it came back to Oliver Bosworth who managed to gather it. Spurs continued to put pressure on the Leicester defence and after Maghoma had passed the ball to Patterson inside the Leicester box the Spurs midfielder tried to beat Bosworth with a curling effort but it was blocked by Ollie Ewing before Bosworth was able to gather the ball. Luis Binks made a good interception on Will Russ at the other end of the pitch before Spurs regained their two goal cushion through Rodel Richards. It was a lovely move which started with Phoenix Patterson passing the ball to Maghoma who then slipped a perfectly weighted pass through to Richards to run onto inside the Leicester box. Richards took a good first touch as Bosworth came rushing out to meet him, he then managed to successfully round the Leicester City goalkeeper before clipping the ball into the empty net, 3-1. A couple of minutes later the influential Paris Maghoma managed to find J’Neil Bennett down the left side of the Leicester box. Bennett tried to pull the ball back across goal for Richards but his pass was cleared by Justen Kranthove. Malachi Walcott then did well to clear a dangerous cross from Ed Elewa-Ikpakwu at the other end of the pitch. The referee blew his whistle for half time a couple of seconds later to bring an end to an eventful first half. 

Spurs got the second half underway and it was the young ‘ Lilywhites ‘ who managed to create the first chance of the half. After Rodel Richards had passed the ball to Rayan Clarke on the right flank the Spurs winger whipped a low ball into the Leicester penalty area where he managed to pick out Richards, who volleyed the ball against the base of Oliver Bosworth’s left hand post. A dangerous cross from Phoenix Patterson was turned back to Bosworth by Justen Kranthove, luckily for the Leicester defender Bosworth managed to catch the ball. A couple of minutes later Paris Maghoma passed the ball to Rodel Richards inside the Leicester box. Richards took a couple of nice touches before firing the ball straight at Lukas Husek. The ball then came back to Richards who slipped the ball into the feet of Bennett down the left side of the box but he ended up firing the ball into the side netting. The beginning of the second half had been very end to end and McDermott’s side had been unable to regain their stranglehold on the game. Unfortunately the ‘ Foxes ‘ managed to pull a goal back through Ethan Fitzhugh on 59 minutes. A good passing move resulted in Will Russ passing the ball to the newly introduced Adam Leathers who slipped the ball into Ethan Fitzhugh down the left side of the box. Fitzhugh took a touch before tucking the ball past the out rushing Kurylowicz at his near post, and into the bottom left hand corner of the goal, 3-2. Less than six minutes later Ethan Fitzhugh set Johnny Yfeko racing through on goal with a well weighted pass into the Tottenham penalty area. Yfeko was met by Kurylowicz who attempted to close him down and get to the ball however, as Kurylowicz attempted to get the ball he ended up colliding with Yfeko and for the second time in the game the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Ed Elewa-Ikpakwu stepped up before firing the ball past Kurylowicz and into the bottom left hand corner of the goal, 3-3. John McDermott responded by making a substitution, he brought off Maxwell Statham for left back Dennis Cirkin. Jubril Okedina nodded a corner from Phoenix Patterson over Oliver Bosworth’s crossbar a couple of minutes before McDermott made his second substitution. This time he brought off Rodel Richards for Maurizio Pochettino as J’Neil Bennett moved up top. A slightly disorganised looking Spurs team tried to fight back against the Leicester resurgence. After receiving Malachi Walcott’s pass Phoenix Patterson came close to beating Bosworth with a thumping effort from 22 yards out, but his dipping effort came crashing off the crossbar after Bosworth had managed to get a touch on the ball. 

Things got even worse for McDermott’s side after Leicester City completed the comeback in the 71st minute of the game through Ethan Fitzhugh’s second goal of the game. Ed Elewa-Ikpakwu’s deep swinging cross managed to find its way to Fitzhugh at Kurylowicz’s far post, the Leicester man hadn’t been picked up and he was able to slot the ball across Kurylowicz and into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, 3-4. Shortly after the restart Elewa-Ikpakwu came close to turning Jubril Okedina’s cross into his own net before Rayan Clarke fired an effort over Oliver Bosworth’s crossbar on the turn after receiving J’Neil Bennett’s pass on the edge of the Leicester box. It was a very scrappy game of football, substitute Dennis Cirkin did well to clear a free kick from Terrel Pennant before then blocking Ed Elewa-Ikpakwu’s cross a matter of moments later. Leicester continued to catch us on the break. After Lukas Husek had managed to find Ethan Fitzhugh down the left side of the Tottenham penalty area the Leicester midfielder was closed down by Kurylowicz who subsequently made a smart stop to keep out his low effort. A corner kick from Ethan Fitzhugh picked out Ollie Ewing inside the Spurs box and the Leicester midfielders resulting looping header looped dangerously onto the top of Kurylowicz’s crossbar before going over. Elliot Thorpe came onto replace Rayan Clarke for the final stages of the game. After winning the ball off off Spurs captain Armando Shashoua, Liam Loughlin fired a low effort narrowly wide of Kacper Kurylowicz’s goal. A dangerous cross from Dennis Cirkin was clipped onto Thorpe at the back post by Bennett but the Welshman just failed to connect with the ball and it subsequently went behind for a goal kick. Terrel Pennant blazed an effort wide of Kurylowicz’s near post after picking up the ball down the right side of the Spurs box. A couple of minutes later J’Neil Bennett had a late goal ruled out for offside after he managed to turn home a free kick from Phoenix Patterson after it was nodded on by Thorpe. Spurs came desperately close to scoring a dramatic late equaliser in second half stoppage time after Maghoma passed the ball to Patterson down the left side of the Leicester box. Patterson pulled the ball back to Cirkin who fired a venomous effort at goal which was somehow kept out courtesy of a stunning reflex save from Oliver Bosworth, who parried the ball. 

The referee blew his whistle for full time a couple of moments later to bring an end to a disappointing final game of the season for the wonder boys of Hotspur Way. However, this incredible season has been anything but disappointing and I have felt truly privileged to travel the length and breadth of the county to watch this special group of players, all of whom have so much to be proud of for their achievements this season. 

Player reviews: 

  • Kacper Kurylowicz: On only his third ever appearance at this level I thought that the first year scholar had a good game inbetween the sticks. Kurylowicz only made one save on the night but it was an impressive one to deny Ethan Fitzhugh from scoring a hat trick. Kurylowicz distribution was impressive and he dealt well with crosses and set pieces, he also communicated effectively with the back four. He was very unfortunate to concede a penalty. I look forward to seeing a lot more of Kacper for our under 18’s next season.
  • Jubril Okedina: I thought that the 18 year old put in a solid shift at right back where he defended well against tricky Leicester winger Dempsey Arlott-John. Okedina made some important interceptions against the ‘ Foxes ‘.
  • Malachi Walcott: Another player who had a solid game was RCB Malachi Walcott who apart from giving away a first half penalty had a very good game alongside Luis Binks. Walcott got the assist for J’Neil Bennett’s goal and the 17 year old was excellent in the air against Leicester.
  • Luis Binks: On his return from suspension Binks slotted seamlessly back into McDermott’s back four for our final league game of the season. The LCB made two crucial interceptions and I thought that his all round game was impressive.
  • Maxwell Statham: The 18 year old defended well against Leicester’s potent winger Terrel Pennant who I thought he managed to keep in check for the majority of the time that he was on the field. 
  • Armando Shashoua: The Spurs captain performed his duties as a CDM with great diligence, winning many balls in the centre of the park Shashoua recycled possession effectively and he made some clever passes throughout the match.
  • Phoenix Patterson: Operating at both CM and later CAM Patterson had a good game for McDermott’s side. He was energetic and lively throughout the match, whipping some good crosses into the box and creating some good goal scoring chances. Patterson also came close to finding the back of the net during the latter stages of the game. 
  • Rayan Clarke: The right winger had a good game particularly during the first half where he really caused problems for Leicester defender Johnny Yfeko with his many driving runs down the right flank. Clarke did well to assist Rodel Richards’ opener. 
  • Paris Maghoma: So many of the chances which Spurs created on Saturday stemmed from the vision of 17 year old midfielder Paris Maghoma. The central midfielder started the game at CAM before later dropping deeper. Maghoma’s surging forward runs through the middle opened up the Leicester defence on several occasions and his eye for a pass was second to none. Maghoma created more chances than any other player on the pitch and he unsurprisingly chipped in with the assist for Rodel Richards’ second goal. It was an excellent performance from the skilful second year scholar.
  • J’Neil Bennett: The 17 year old made a positive impression on Saturday’s game out on the left flank. Bennett used the ball well and he went on some nice attacking forays down the left wing. His hard work and good tracking back was rewarded when he scored his tenth goal of the season in the first half. 
  • Rodel Richards: My motm, see below.
  • Dennis Cirkin: It was an impressive cameo from the 17 year old left back, Cirkin made some important blocks and interceptions but from an offensive  point of view he offered Spurs something different after he came on, through his many lung bursting and overlapping runs down the left flank.
  • Maurizio Pochettino: N/A.
  • Elliot Thorpe: N/A.

My man of the match: On his return from injury centre forward Rodel Richards put in a superb performance for our under 18’s on Saturday afternoon. Richards looked as sharp as ever and the skilful forwards excellent movement and anticipation resulted in him netting a well deserved brace against the ‘ Foxes ‘. Richards took both of his goals with aplomb and he was unlucky not to have scored more. It was a really positive performance from a player who you would never have thought had been out injured for over three months. Richards’ off the ball work was very, very good on the day.

Spurs: Kurylowicz, Okedina, Statham (Cirkin 65), A Shashoua (c), Walcott, Binks, Clarke (Thorpe 83), Patterson, Richards (Pochettino 69), Maghoma, Bennett. Substitute (not used): Lo-Tutala.

Spurs under 18’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Troy Parrott – 15

Dilan Markanday – 12

J’Neil Bennett –  10

Rayan Clarke – 8

Armando Shashoua – 7

Rodel Richards – 7

Harvey White – 6

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 – 9

Troy Parrott – 6

Dilan Markanday – 6

Jamie Bowden – 5

Phoenix Patterson – 4

J’Neil Bennett – 4

Rodel Richards – 3

Chay Cooper – 3

Paris Maghoma – 3

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Luis Binks – 2

Elliot Thorpe – 2

Malachi Walcott – 2

Maurizio Pochettino – 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 – 2

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