Spurs Under 18’s 1-2 West Bromwich Albion: (match report)

Spurs’ Under 18 side faced West Bromwich Albion at Hotspur Way, in game-week two of the Under 18 Premier League South season, on Saturday afternoon. Spurs lost the match 2-1, but it was a close and fairly even game of football. Stuart Lewis’ side lined-up with captain Luca Gunter in goal, as George Abbott, Alfie Dorrington, Will Andiyapan and Jahziah Linton started in defence. Billy Heaps and Rio Kyerematen started in midfield, as Maxwell McKnight and Yusuf Akhamrich started out wide on the flanks, either side of CAM Leo Black. Jaden Williams led the line for Spurs, who got the game underway. Early on in the match Maxwell McKnight headed Jahziah Linton’s cross into the West Brom box, to Yusuf Akhamrich, who controlled the ball well, before seeing his effort deflect over the goal, off of West Brom defender Jenson Sumnair. Spurs took the lead shortly after that chance, after Maxwell McKnight received Alfie Dorrington’s pass on the right flank, he then continued forward with the ball before delivering a good low cross into the West Brom penalty area. Rio Kyerematen had made a good run into the box to meet McKnight’s cross, and he finished well with a good first time effort into the goal, 1-0.

After a West Brom free-kick wasn’t cleared from the Spurs penalty area, Luca Gunter made an impressive reflex save to stop Jenson Sumnair’s effort from going into the Spurs goal. Following a good move from Spurs, Billy Heaps hit an effort over the West Brom goal from distance, before Luca Gunter did well to save Harry Whitwell’s effort from distance, at the other end of the pitch. Layton Love’s ambitious effort from distance went wide of the Spurs goal, and then Spurs went forward with the ball. Heaps passed the ball to Williams on the edge of the West Brom penalty area, but Jaden Williams’ effort went over the goal. A couple of minutes later and after winning the ball off of Jenson Sumnair, Jaden Williams went forward with the ball before squaring it to Yusuf Akhamrich on the edge of the West Brom box, but his effort went over the goal. A loose pass inside the Spurs penalty area resulted in Luca Gunter doing well to save Fenton Heard’s effort, before Alfie Dorrington bravely blocked Layton Love’s powerful effort on goal.

After receiving the ball, Maxwell McKnight went on an excellent forward run with the ball at pace down the right side of the pitch, before putting the ball across the face of the West Brom goal. Thomas Bloxham replaced the injured Rio Kyerematen shortly after, just before the referee sounded his whistle for half-time. Archie Chaplin, James Roswell and Damola Ajayi replaced George Abbott, Alfie Dorrington and Jaden Williams respectively for the start of the second half, which West Brom got underway. Jenson Sumnair blocked Damola Ajayi’s effort inside the West Brom box, before Ajayi received a yellow card a couple of minutes later. West Brom managed to get an equaliser on 57 minutes, after Akeel Higgins received the ball on the edge of the Spurs box, before finding the top right hand corner of Luca Gunter’s goal with a good effort, 1-1. Leo Black headed over Yusuf Akhamrich’s corner-kick, and then shortly after that chance, Leo Black was shown a yellow card for a challenge that he made on Harry Whitwell on the edge of the Spurs box. Layton Love’s resulting low free-kick was saved by Luca Gunter.

Oliver Irow came on to replace Billy Heaps, before Maxwell McKnight had an effort blocked on the edge of the West Brom box. After James Roswell had picked up an injury to his head, Billy Heaps was allowed to be substituted back on to the pitch. Yusuf Akhamrich had a free-kick effort from distance saved by Beau Hudd, before a well delivered free-kick from Thomas Bloxham on the left flank, into the West Brom penalty area was just missed by Archie Chaplin. Will Andiyapan did really well to clear Harry Whitwell’s effort off the line, from inside the Spurs box. However, in the 95th minute of the game West Brom scored the winning goal of the game. After receiving Fenton Heard’s pass on the edge of the Spurs box, Layton Love managed to find the bottom left hand corner of the Spurs goal, leaving Luca Gunter with no chance to make the save. Layton Love had a very late effort saved by Luca Gunter from a similar position, not long after, just before the referee sounded his whistle for full-time. Spurs’ next game at this level is another league fixture, this time away to Arsenal next Saturday.

Player reviews:

  • Luca Gunter: The Spurs captain and goalkeeper made some really fine saves today, against West Brom. Luca was commanding inside his penalty area, and he was vocal throughout the match.
  • George Abbott: Starting the match at right-back, George Abbott completed the first half of the match, and he had a solid game.
  • Alfie Dorrington: The central defender made a very brave block which resulted in him being substituted at half-time, but he had a defensively solid game for Spurs.
  • Will Andiyapan: The left sided central defender completed the whole of the game against West Brom. The second year scholar made a very good clearance during the second half.
  • Jahziah Linton: The left-back really got forward well on occasions, but he stayed deep when he had to.
  • Billy Heaps: Starting the match as the defensive-midfielder, Billy Heaps completed 77 minutes of the match, before returning to the pitch shortly afterwards, to replace the injured James Roswell.
  • Rio Kyerematen: The central midfielder took his early goal well and he got on the ball on a good number of occasions during his time on the pitch in the first half, before unfortunately having to be substituted after picking up an injury.
  • Maxwell McKnight: Starting the match on the right flank as a winger, Maxwell McKnight went on some good forward runs with the ball and he got the assist for Rio Kyerematen’s goal. Maxwell went into central midfield late on in the first half.
  • Leo Black: The midfielder started the match in the CAM position, but he would finish the match as Spurs’ defensive-midfielder. The first year scholar did some good defensive work, and he also brought the ball forward well on occasions. 
  • Yusuf Akhamrich: My man of the match, see below.
  • Jaden Williams: The centre-forward led the line well during the first half and he also dropped deep to link the play well, on occasions. 
  • Thomas Bloxham: The substitute came on late on in the first half to replace the injured Rio Kyerematen. The Republic of Ireland youth international did a lot of defensive work on his side of the pitch (the left flank) but he also got forward well as well.
  • Archie Chaplin: The second half substitute went in to central defence during his time on the pitch.
  • James Roswell: Despite entering the pitch for the start of the second half, James Roswell (he went to right-back) had to leave the pitch to be substituted later on during the second half, after picking up a head injury.
  • Damola Ajayi: The second half substitute went to the centre-forward position, and he made some good runs off the ball.
  • Oliver Irow: The late substitute went to the CAM position, late on in the match. 

My man of the match – Yusuf Akhamrich. He might not have scored a goal or provided an assist today however, first year scholar Yusuf Akhamrich impressed on his first competitive start for the Spurs Under 18 side. Starting the match on the left flank as a winger but later moving to the right flank, Yusuf was very vocal throughout the match, but he was always looking to go past the defender on his side of the pitch, and he showed good pace with the ball, and he was direct with it. He had a couple of chances to score a goal against West Brom, and I was impressed with his all-round play.

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