Spurs under 18’s 1-0 Brighton & Hove Albion: (match report)

Spurs under 18’s 1-0 Brighton & Hove Albion: (match report)


On Saturday our under 18’s took on Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League South, at their Lancing based training facility. Matt Taylor’s side put in a good, solid team performance down on the south coast to beat a talented Brighton side by one goal to nil, courtesy of J’Neil Bennett’s wonderful goal on 73 minutes. Spurs lined up in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation as Kacper Kurylowicz returned between the sticks. A back four consisting of schoolboy Dante Cassanova, Marqes Muir, Dermi Lusala and schoolboy Jordan Hackett lined up in front of him. Captain Dennis Cirkin and Aaron Skinner partnered up in central midfield while Romaine Mundle and J’Neil Bennett operated out on the flanks, either side of CAM Rafferty Pedder. 18 year old centre forward Kion Etete led the line for Spurs. Brighton got the game underway on a very chilly morning in County Sussex. After Spurs patiently knocked the ball around the park at the back, Aaron Skinner conceded an early free kick on the edge of the Spurs box. However, Skinner managed to block Stefan Vukoje’s resulting effort. Ben Wilson then headed wide James Furlong’s cross, before Wilson prodded wide Vukoje’s cross. Spurs goalkeeper Kacper Kurylowicz was then on hand to gather Ben Wilson’s hopeful cross into the Spurs box. After receiving Dennis Cirkin’s lofted pass down the right hand side of the Brighton box, Kion Etete fired the ball over Fynn Talley’s crossbar.

After surging forward past Brighton’s Ayo Tanimowo down the left flank, J’Neil Bennett whipped the ball into the Brighton box where he managed to pick out the unmarked Dennis Cirkin. However, the Spurs captain headed the ball wide of the Brighton goal. Spurs were playing well and a couple of minutes later J’Neil Bennett had a cross cleared away by Luka Cocoracchio before Bennett darted past Marc Leonard in the middle of the pitch before forcing a save out of Fynn Talley from his curling effort. A couple of moments later Ben Wilson volleyed over Marc Leonard’s cross before Brighton again came close to taking the lead. James Furlong’s cross managed to pick out Stefan Vukoje on the edge of the Spurs box. Vukoje controlled the ball well before spinning around and forcing a fairly comfortable save out of Kacper Kurylowicz. Spurs then broke forward as Pedder passed the ball to Cirkin who managed to find Bennett down the left side of Brighton box. Bennett crossed for Pedder whose volleyed effort was well kept out by Fynn Talley. J’Neil Bennett then forced a save out of Talley with an effort from distance. After dribbling his way into the Brighton box Dennis Cirkin forced a save out of Talley at his near post. J’Neil Bennett then whipped an effort wide from the edge of the Brighton box, before Cirkin fired narrowly wide from range in what was the final piece of action from the first half. 

Spurs got the second half underway and Brighton soon came close to taking the lead after Stefan Vukoje prodded Ayo Tanimowo’s cross narrowly wide of Kurylowicz’s goal. Shortly afterwards Kion Etete saw his deflected effort on goal go just wide of the Brighton goal after connecting with Dennis Cirkin’s cross. Rafferty Pedder’s resulting corner kick was punched clear by Fynn Talley before he had another corner kick almost headed home by Brighton’s Antef Tsoungui however, Talley managed to produce the save. Talley was then in a good position to punch away Spurs left back Jordan Hackett’s cross as the game continued to be an even one. After surging forward through the middle of the park Odeluga Offiah had a shot blocked by Marqes Muir before Kion Etete appeared to be pulled back by Antef Tsoungui in the Brighton box however, no penalty kick was given. After Cirkin had passed the ball to Bennett down the left side of the Brighton box the Spurs wingers powerful effort was pushed behind by Fynn Talley before Romaine Mundle volleyed J’Neil Bennett’s cross against Antef Tsoungui, before Etete then had a shot on goal blocked by the same Brighton player as Spurs continued to push the ‘ Seagulls ‘. Matt Taylor then introduced Roshaun Mathurin and Matthew Craig in place of Rafferty Pedder and Romaine Mundle. After receiving Jordan Hackett’s pass on the edge of the Brighton box Roshaun Mathurin forced a save out of Fynn Talley from his curling effort. Matthew Craig was on hand to clear Stefan Vukoje’s corner kick before Spurs finally broke the deadlock in the 73rd minute of the game through J’Neil Bennett.

After receiving Jordan Hackett’s pass J’Neil Bennett looked up at goal from some 25 yards out, before whipping a wicked effort into the top left hand corner of the helpless Fynn Talley’s goal, 1-0. Shortly afterwards and after receiving Aaron Skinner’s pass down the right hand side of the Brighton box, Roshaun Mathurin forced an excellent reflex save out of Talley from his powerful effort before Yago Santiago came onto replace Dante Cassanova. J’Neil Bennett was then shown a yellow card for kicking the ball away before Santiago had a free kick cleared away by Ayo Tanimowo. Kion Etete then cleared away a Stefan Vukoje free kick before Marqes Muir conceded a free kick on the edge of the Spurs box. However, Matthew Everitt’s resulting effort was blocked by the Spurs wall. Aaron Skinner then cleared away Ayo Tanimowo’s cross before Matthew Everitt received Luka Cocoracchio’s pass in a promising position of the pitch however, his effort deflected off of Muir before being saved by Kurylowicz in what was the final piece of action of the game. This was a good performance from Spurs whose next game is at home to Swansea City on Saturday the 18th of this month.

Player reviews:

  • Kacper Kurylowicz: The Spurs goalkeeper only made two save on the day however, his leadership and organisation of the back four was first class. Kurylowicz was commanding inside his penalty area, his distribution was good (he often went long) and he swept up well on a couple of occasions.
  • Dante Cassanova: The schoolboy put in a solid showing at right back against the very talented Stefan Vukoje. Cassanova defended solidly and he kept good positioning throughout the game. This was a good debut under 18 performance.
  • Marqes Muir: The RCB defended very solidly alongside Dermi Lusala at the back. Muir made countless important blocks and interceptions, and he brought the ball out well from the back. Muir also kept good positioning throughout the game.
  • Dermi Lusala: Another player who hardly put a foot wrong, LCB Dermi Lusala put in a very good performance at centre half. Lusala read the game well and he defended by example.
  • Jordan Hackett: The schoolboy and England under 16 international who was making only his second competitive appearance for our under 18’s, put in a solid performance down his side of the pitch. Hackett stayed deep but he also got forward and overlapped winger J’Neil Bennett when he needed to. 
  • Dennis Cirkin: The Spurs captain played in the unfamiliar position of CDM for today’s game against Brighton. However, Cirkin (17) put in a good performance, and he carried the ball well while also going on some good and skilful forward runs. Cirkin made a couple of strong challenges.
  • Aaron Skinner: My man of the match, see below.
  • Romaine Mundle: The right winger was tidy and he rarely lost the ball out on the right flank. Mundle came close to finding the back of the net in the second half.
  • Rafferty Pedder: This was another good performance from Pedder who mixed things up in the number ten position. Pedder came deep to receive the ball and link the play, in addition he went on numerous good forward runs while also dropping into nice little pockets of space on the edge of the Brighton box. Like Mundle, Pedder also came close to getting on the scoresheet.
  • J’Neil Bennett: The skilful winger did a good job down the left flank where he tested the impressive Ayo Tanimowo by going on several good darting, forward runs. In addition Bennett worked hard for the team and he scored a peach of a goal in the second half.
  • Kion Etete: The 18 year old centre forward did an excellent job at holding the ball up and laying the ball off to his teammates. Furthermore, Etete worked hard up top.
  • Roshaun Mathurin: The schoolboy and second half substitute came close to finding the back of the net on two occasions, and he was nice and direct in his play. 
  • Matthew Craig: The second half substitute came on in central midfield where he made a string of good, forward passes.
  • Yago Santiago: N/A (he was on for too short a time to really influence the game).

My man of the match: Reminding me very much of George Marsh when he played for Spurs at under 18 level, the versatile Aaron Skinner put in a very good performance in the middle of the park against Brighton. Skinner anticipated danger really well in the central areas of the pitch and he was tidy, and mopped up well. Furthermore, the Salford born defender got stuck in and he made some strong and well timed challenges before he later slotted into RB where he did as equally good a job. Skinner’s  work rate was very, very good on the day.

Spurs under 18’s statistics 2019/20:


Tarrelle Whittaker – 7

Max Robson – 5

Chay Cooper – 4

Kion Etete –  4

J’Neil Bennett – 4

Enock Asante – 3

Harvey White – 3

Kallum Cesay – 2

Rafferty Pedder – 2

Troy Parrott – 2

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Dane Scarlett – 1

Romaine Mundle – 1


Max Robson – 5

Chay Cooper – 5

J’Neil Bennett – 4

Tarrelle Whittaker – 3

Dermi Lusala –  3

Romaine Mundle – 3

Kion Etete – 2

Troy Parrott – 2

Rafferty Pedder – 2

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Harvey White – 2

Enock Asante – 2

Luis Binks – 1

Michael Craig – 1

Eddie Carrington – 1

Kallum Cesay – 1

Marqes Muir –  1

Yago Santiago – 1

Jordan Hackett – 1

Clean sheets: 

Kacper Kurylowicz – 3

Josh Oluwayemi – 1

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