Spurs Under 18’s 2-4 Crystal Palace: (match report)

Spurs’ Under 18 side faced Crystal Palace in the Premier League South, at Hotspur Way on Saturday. Spurs lost the match 4-2, but it was a very competitive game of football. However, Crystal Palace were more clinical than Spurs in-front of goal on the day. Luca Gunter started in goal, while George Abbott, Brandon Bryan-Waugh, Alfie Dorrington and Jayden Meghoma started in defence. Han Willhoft-King and Rio Kyerematen teamed up in central-midfield, as Maxwell McKnight and Thomas Bloxham started out wide, either side of CAM Jamie Donley. Jaden Williams led the line for Spurs. Crystal Palace got the game underway, but it was Spurs who took an early lead, through defender Alfie Dorrington. The Spurs defender made a run to the near post of Crystal Palace goalkeeper Owen Goodman’s goal, as from a Thomas Bloxham corner-kick he connected well with the ball to head it into the back of the goal, 1-0. However, the visitors managed to score an equaliser less than six minutes later, after Ademola Ola-Adebomi managed to win the ball off of Brandon Bryan Waugh on the edge of the Spurs box. He then continued into the Spurs box, before finishing with a low effort to the left of Luca Gunter, 1-1.

Thomas Bloxham and a number of his teammates looked for a penalty kick from the referee, after Bloxham’s lofted pass inside the Crystal Palace box appeared to hit the arm of one of their players, but the referee waived away the Spurs penalty appeals. After receiving a through-ball pass, Jadan Raymond hit an effort over from inside the Spurs box. A couple of minutes later the same player managed to win the ball off of Spurs’ left-back Jayden Meghoma, before finding Ademola Ola-Adebomi inside the Spurs penalty area. Ola-Adebomi managed to slot the ball past Luca Gunter in the Spurs goal, 1-2. Spurs looked to respond, as Rio Kyerematen cut inside with the ball from the left flank. He went past Jadan Raymond and then David Ozoh inside the Crystal Palace box, but his attempted pass to a teammate was put behind by a defender, for a corner-kick. Another good delivery from a Thomas Bloxham corner-kick, resulted in the ball finding it’s way to Maxwell McKnight inside the Crystal Palace penalty area. McKnight’s resulting effort deflected into the path of Spurs captain Rio Kyerematen, who finished low past Owen Goodman, 2-2.

Another promising Crystal Palace through-ball pass, this time to Victor Akinwale, resulted in the forward, who had seemed to just stay onside, bring the ball into the Spurs box, before finishing low past Gunter, 2-3. After receiving Jamie Donley’s pass down the left side of the Crystal Palace box, Thomas Bloxham cut inside onto his right foot before seeing his resulting effort blocked by a defender. The half-time whistle was sounded by the referee moments later. Spurs got the second half underway. Rio Kyerematen’s volleyed effort at Owen Goodman’s near post, from a Thomas Bloxham free-kick, was saved by the Crystal Palace goalkeeper, early on in the half. Brandon Bryan-Waugh then managed to block behind Ademola Ola-Adebomi’s effort inside the Spurs box. Luca Gunter did well to tip behind the resulting corner-kick, before Jadan Raymond hit an effort narrowly wide from distance. Billy Heaps came on to replace Jamie Donley, before Jahziah Linton and Renaldo Torraj replaced George Abbott and Thomas Bloxham, respectively. After Billy Heaps laid the ball off to Alfie Dorrington just outside of the Crystal Palace box, Dorrington hit the ball over the Crystal Palace goal. 

Late on in the game a long ball over the top of the Spurs defence meant that Luca Gunter had to come rushing out of his goal to try and clear the ball away from Ademola Ola-Adebomi. However, Gunter didn’t manage to get much on the ball, and the Crystal Palace forward managed to get past two Spurs defenders inside the penalty area to pass the ball into the goal, and get his hat-trick, 2-4. After meeting Maxwell McKnight’s cross from the right flank, Renaldo Torraj’s headed effort bounced up off the ground, but Owen Goodman was able to make the save. The final score from Hotspur Way was Spurs 2-4 Crystal Palace. Spurs’ next game at this level is next Saturday, when they travel to the English Midlands to face Wolverhampton Wanderers in an FA Youth Cup fifth round tie.

Player reviews: 

  • Luca Gunter: The first year scholar was alert and he came rushing out of his goal on a couple of occasions during the match. Gunter dealt particularly well with crosses and set-pieces.
  • George Abbott: Playing at right-back, first year scholar George Abbott made his first ever competitive start at this level today, and he was very busy and involved in defending during his time on the pitch.
  • Brandon Bryan-Waugh: The Spurs defender started the game on the right hand side of central-defence, where he teamed up with Alfie Dorrington. However, he would later end up playing the final stages of the match at right-back.
  • Alfie Dorrington: Taking his early headed goal well, Alfie Dorrington had a lot of defending to do along with Brandon Bryan-Waugh during parts of the match.
  • Jayden Meghoma: The left-back was making his first competitive start at this level, and he liked to get forward when he could.
  • Han Willhoft-King: The defensive-midfielder read the game well at times, and he always made himself available to receive the ball and go forward with it. Han Willhoft-King seems to be adapting really well to playing football at this level. 
  • Rio Kyerematen: My man of the match, see below.
  • Maxwell McKnight: The Spurs winger put in a tireless performance out on the right flank. He was as always very direct in his play, both on and off the ball, but the footballer from Colchester showed a real determination on the pitch. McKnight tracked back well when he had to, but he was always looking to get on the ball and get forward with it, before looking to get a cross into the Crystal Palace box. Maxwell was involved in Rio Kyerematen’s first half goal.
  • Jamie Donley: The Spurs CAM got some important minutes (69 in total), in what was his first start at Academy level for quite a while. 
  • Thomas Bloxham: The left winger started the game well, and showed some good quality whenever he was on the ball. Bloxham was also involved in both of Spurs’ goals today, as a result of his two well delivered corner-kicks.
  • Jaden Williams: Jaden Williams led the line for Spurs against Crystal Palace, and he was unlucky not to have more chances created for him on the day.
  • Billy Heaps: The second half substitute went into midfield following his introduction, and I thought that he did well during his time on the pitch.
  • Jahziah Linton: The second half substitute played in central-defence after he came on late on in the game.
  • Renaldo Torraj: The late substitute was always looking to take players on during his time on the pitch, and he was inventive with the ball.

My man of the match: Rio Kyerematen. The midfielder and England Under 17 international had a fine game in central-midfield for Spurs today. Spurs’ captain for the game was always nice and direct with the ball, and he went on some good forward runs with it. Kyerematen also took his first half goal well, his fourth of the season.

Spurs Under 18’s versus Crystal Palace: (match preview)

Spurs’ Under 18 side will face Crystal Palace in the Premier League South, on Saturday morning (the game starts at 11:00am) at Hotspur Way. Crystal Palace are in fifth place in the Premier League South, with 25 points from 13 matches played. Last season Crystal Palace finished as runners up in the Premier League South, to Fulham, and in the last two competitive meetings between Spurs and Crystal Palace at this level, Crystal Palace have won both games 3-0. This will be a very difficult game for Spurs, who have an important FA Youth Cup fifth round tie against Wolverhampton Wanderers the following Saturday. However, it would be great for Spurs’ confidence going into that FA Youth Cup game, to get a good result against Crystal Palace tomorrow. My match report of the game will be out tomorrow, and I would like to wish Spurs all the very best of luck for the game.

My predicted lineup: Gunter, Bryan-Waugh, Dorrington, Sayers (c), Hackett-Valton, Willhoft-King, Kyerematen, McKnight, Donley, Bloxham, Williams.

Subs from: Maguire, Linton, Andiyapan, Heaps, Amo-Ameyaw.

Injured/unavailable: N/A,

Doubtful: N/A.

Previous meeting: Spurs 0-3.

My score prediction: 1-1.

My one to watch: Victor Akinwale. The Crystal Palace player and England Under 18 international, has scored 11 league goals and provided one assist from 12 Premier League South appearances this season.

Where are they now? Former Spurs Academy player Maximus Tainio:

Maximus Tainio predominantly played for Spurs’ Under 18 side as a right-back, during his time at the club. The son of former Spurs player Teemu Tainio, Auxerre born footballer Maximus joined the Spurs Academy full-time in the summer of 2017, having previously been with Finnish side HJK Helsinki. He made his league debut for the Spurs Under 18 side in a Premier League South game against West Ham United, which Spurs won 3-1, back in the October of 2017. Tainio would make an additional five league appearances for Scott Parker’s side, during the rest of that season. Also capable of playing in midfield, as a central-midfielder, Maximus made his competitive debut for the Spurs Under 23 side during the same season, when he came on as a late substitute in an away Premier League 2 game with West Ham United. During the following season, and during the early parts of it, then second year scholar Maximus made a good number of appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side. He played really well and really made that right-back position his own, during the first part of the season. Really good at making forward runs off the ball, the Finland youth international put in some excellent defensive performances.

Always playing the game at a really good intensity, and having a good balance to his game as well, Tainio captained the Spurs Under 18 side to a highly impressive 9-0 league win over West Ham United during the first half of 2018/19. In total Maximus made 14 competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 18 side during 2018/19, and it would have been a lot more had he not been unfortunate enough to miss the second half of the season because of injury. He also made two competitive appearances for the Spurs Under 23 side before missing much of the second half of the season, and he even went in goal during the latter stages of a Premier League International Cup game with Norwich City, making two good and important saves during his time in goal. Maximus left Spurs at the end of the 2018/19 season, after his contract came to an end. He joined Finnish Veikkausliiga side FC Haka, soon after leaving Spurs. His dad Teemu is the manager of FC Haka. Maximus then joined then Finnish second division side AC Kajaani, on a short loan. He made two competitive appearances for them, before returning to FC Haka, where he made 14 Finnish Veikkausliiga appearances, during the 2020 season.

The former Spurs Academy player enjoyed another good season of development at FC Haka, during the recent 2021 Finnish Veikkausliiga season. The now 20 year old footballer made 24 Finnish Veikkausliiga appearances for FC Haka during the 2021 season, scoring two goals and providing four assists, as he helped them to achieve an eighth placed league finish. Maximus seemed to be playing in a good variety of positions during his time at FC Haka. Last month he signed for fellow Finnish Veikkausliiga side HIFK on a permanent transfer. Maximus made his competitive debut for HIFK in the Liigacup, on the 28th of January, when he completed 77 minutes in central-midfield, as they won 1-0 against FC Inter. It’s great to see Maximus doing well for himself in the game, and I wish him a very successful 2022 season with his new club.