Spurs under 18’s 3-0 Norwich City: (match report)

Spurs under 18’s 3-0 Norwich City: (match report)

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Our under 18’s returned to league action on Saturday afternoon when they took on Paul Williams’ struggling Norwich City side, at their Colney training centre in Norfolk. Following the departure of our under 18’s head coach Matt Wells, Academy chief John McDermott took charge of the team on Saturday as Ryan Mason joined him in the dugout, as Spurs ran out 3-0 winners to keep the pressure on league leaders Arsenal. The wonder boys of Hotspur Way put in a very assured performance against the ‘ Canaries ‘ in the absence of players such as Troy Parrott, J’Neil Bennett and Rodel Richards on a day where the heavy winds made life challenging for both sides. Although it was a game that McDermott’s side would have been expected to win considering how poorly Norwich have performed in the league this season, the home side played significantly better to when we faced them in the reverse fixture at Hotspur Way, back in October. We beat Norwich 7-0 that day, completely outplaying them from the first to the final minute of the game. While this Saturday’s match wasn’t as one sided an affair, title challengers Tottenham Hotspur still did well to cut open what was a fairly solid and well structured ‘ Canaries ‘ defence. After a fairly tight opening 40 minutes, McDermott’s side took the lead shortly before halftime. The young Lilywhites most dangerous attacking player Dilan Markanday netted a superb goal after striking the ball so sweetly from the edge of the Norwich penalty area. Markanday had been a constant thorn in the Norwich defences side throughout the first half, his clever mazy forward runs through the middle of the pitch causing a number of problems for the hosts. Spurs started the second half well and they began to play a lot more fluidly as they moved the ball around the pitch faster. Spurs doubled their advantage in the 64th minute of the match after 16 year old centre forward Tarrell Whittaker had managed to win a penalty for Spurs. Our captain Armando Shashoua gave Norwich goalkeeper Daniel Barden the eyes before cooly slotting the ball home. McDermott’s side rubber stamped their victory less than four minutes later after the potent Dilan Markanday had received Shashoua’s pass on the edge of the Norwich box, before firing the ball past Daniel Barden and into the back of the Norwich goal.

Spurs appeared to lower their tempo following their third goal of the game, and this allowed Norwich to attack our defence more freely. The Tottenham defenders made some important challenges while our goalkeeper Joshua Oluwayemi made a number of late saves. Most notable of which was the penalty saving specialists save to deny Isak Thorvaldsson from the spot, after Malachi Walcott had given away a late penalty. It was a very assured team performance from Spurs with all of John McDermott’s side playing their part in the victory. John McDermott’s team lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation for Saturday’s lunchtimes game. Joshua Oluwayemi had recovered from an injury he sustained in our 5-3 league victory over West Ham to start in goal. A back four consisting of Jubril Okedina, Malachi Walcott, Luis Binks and Maxwell Statham lined up in front of him. Captain Armando Shashoua and first year scholar Rafferty Pedder partnered up in central midfield, while Maurizio Pochettino and Rayan Clarke operated out on the flanks, either side of CAM Dilan Markanday who played behind schoolboy centre forward Tarrell Whittaker. Spurs got the game underway in extremely blustery conditions at Norwich’s Colney training centre. Right back Jubril Okedina was called into action early on in the game to clear an in swinging cross from Norwich’s Atli Barkarson. At the other end of the pitch, Rayan Clarke had a deflected cross in to the Norwich danger zone claimed by the ‘ Canaries ‘ goalkeeper, Daniel Barden. Former Spurs schoolboy Anis Mehmeti attempted to lob Joshua Oluwayemi from inside the Spurs box shortly afterwards however, Mehmeti ended up clattering into his old teammate and Spurs were awarded a free kick. Malachi Walcott then made a good sliding challenge on Spanish forward Gassan Ahadme inside the Tottenham penalty area to break down a dangerous Norwich attack. It had been quite an even contest during the opening stages of the game. Makeshift left back Maxwell Statham managed to pick out Maurizio Pochettino at Daniel Barden’s cross, after putting a good delivery into the Norwich box. Pochettino managed to get to Statham’s cross but he ended up volleying it back across goal. After receiving Dilan Markanday’s pass inside the Norwich box, schoolboy centre forward Tarrell Whittaker attempted to turn and shoot however, Norwich defender Zac Dronfield managed to close him down.

Saul Milovanovic came close to setting Gassan Ahadme through on goal with a well weighted pass on the edge of the Spurs box. Fortunately for the Spurs defenders Ahadme took a heavy first touch which took the ball away from him. After Maxwell Statham had conceded a free kick out on the right flank, Norwich’s Atli Barkarson whipped the ball into the danger zone, towards Josh Martin at the back post. However, the ‘ Canaries ‘ winger could only volley the ball wide of Oluwayemi’s goal. Rayan Clarke had been lively during the early moments of the game. After winning a free kick out on the left flank the 17 year old opted to take it. Clarke pumped the ball into the danger zone where he managed to pick out centre half Malachi Walcott, who ended up volleying the ball over Daniel Barden’s crossbar, on the turn. Walcott was in action at the other end, a couple of moments later. After Anis Mehmeti had received William Hondermarck’s pass out on the right wing the Albanian youth international attempted to pick out Thorvaldsson in the centre of the Spurs box. However, his low cross was snuffed out by Walcott who cleared the ball away from the danger zone. Joshua Oluwayemi dealt comfortably with a delivery from a free kick by Josh Martin as the home side continued to grow in confidence. After Armando Shashoua had played a corner kick short to Dilan Markanday, the tricky forward whipped a menacing ball into the danger zone. His cross flashed dangerously across the face of the Norwich goal, with all of their players unable to get a head on the ball. Markanday was involved in another move a couple of moments later. The 17 year old managed to thread a pass through to Rayan Clarke down the left side of the Norwich penalty area. Clarke quickly came inside onto his right foot before firing an effort narrowly wide of Daniel Barden’s left hand post. Rayan Clarke whipped a teasing ball into the danger zone a couple of minutes later but his cross was cleared by Saul Milovanovic, before the lurking Tarrell Whittaker could get to the ball. 

Spurs came very close to taking the lead through Dilan Markanday after he tormented the Norwich defence by going on another mazy run. After latching onto Armando Shashoua’s pass down the left flank, Markanday decided to run at Ethen Vaughan. The North Londoner managed to dart past the Norwich fullback and into the penalty area, before jinking his way around Gassan Ahadme and curling the ball onto Barden’s near post from an acute angle. It would have been a spectacular goal had Markanday had managed to squeeze the ball past the Norwich goalkeeper. Paul Williams’ side tried to respond down the opposite end of the pitch. Josh Martin attempted to slip the ball into the feet of Gassan Ahadme down the left side of the Spurs box but the alert Malachi Walcott read the situation well and he managed to get in front of Ahadme in time to cut out the attack. The heavily involved Markanday managed to win the ball off of Ahadme down the left flank before darting forward and eventually entering the Norwich penalty area. It was there that Markanday tried to square the ball to Whittaker however, the young striker ended up completely missing the ball and a glorious chance went to waste. The schoolboy tried to make amends after he brought the ball into the Norwich box from the right wing shortly afterwards, but he ended up dragging an effort well wide of Daniel Barden’s goal, before Luis Binks blazed an effort wide of the Norwich goal from long range. Spurs’ fortune changed in the 40th minute of the match after the best player on the pitch gave Spurs the lead. It was a nice move which led to the goal. Pochettino passed the ball to Clarke out on the left flank, he then passed the ball to Markanday who was waiting on the edge of the Norwich box. Markanday took a touch before firing an unstoppable, swerving effort past Daniel Barden and into the top right hand corner of the goal, 1-0. John McDermott’s side tried to get a second before the half was up, after receiving Markanday’s pass out on the left flank, Clarke whipped the ball into the danger zone but it was cleared away by Atli Barkarson. The referee Mark Ames sounded his whistle for half time a couple of moments later.

Norwich got the second half underway as the strong winds continued to cause havoc for both sets of players. After receiving Josh Martin’s pass out on the left wing, Atli Barkarson whipped a teasing cross across the face of Oluwayemi’s goal. An excellent surging run from Armando Shashoua shortly afterwards saw the Spurs captain race through the middle of the park before eventually shifting the ball out to Clarke on the left flank. The pacy forward got the ball out of his feet quickly before rifling an effort across Daniel Barden’s goal, it flew a fraction wide of the mark. John McDermott’s side were now in control of the game and they were playing some nice fluid football. After pulling off a lovely piece of skill Markanday slipped the ball into the feet of Clarke who had made a run down the left side of the Norwich box. Clarke had only Barden to beat but his powerful low effort was saved by the legs of the Norwich goalkeeper. The ball then came out to the off balanced Maxwell Statham, who fired the ball into the side netting. After winning a free kick, Rayan Clarke decided to play it short to Rafferty Pedder on the edge of the Norwich penalty area. However, the midfielders resulting effort on goal was blocked by William Hondermarck. Spurs continued to test the ‘ Canaries ‘ defence, and after Maurizio Pochettino had won a free kick on the edge of the Norwich box, John McDermott’s side came desperately close to doubling their advantage. Markanday stood up to take the free kick, he curled the ball towards the far post where he managed to pick out the unmarked Jubril Okedina. The Spurs defender tried to direct his header into the bottom right hand corner of the goal however, it lacked power and it ended up coming to Rayan Clarke who was only three yards out from goal. However, the inform winger was unable to keep his effort down and it ended up cannoning off of Daniel Barden’s crossbar, much to everyone’s disbelief. The ball ended up coming out to the edge of the Norwich box where it was picked up by Spurs’ Luis Binks. However, the England under 18 internationals powerful effort was blocked by Andrew Omobamidele.

After managing to win the ball in the centre of the park Spurs captain Armando Shashoua was able to pick out the run of Maurizio Pochettino, down the right hand side of the Norwich box. The 17 year old winger was met by the outrushing Daniel Barden who was able to keep out his poked effort at goal. A couple of minutes later the referee Mark Ames awarded Spurs a penalty kick after young Tarrell Whittaker has been barged off the ball by Andrew Omobamidele, inside the Norwich penalty area. The young Lilywhites skipper Armando Shashoua stood up to take the resulting spot kick. The typically cool midfielder gave Norwich goalkeeper Daniel Barden the eyes before calmly slotting the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, 2-0. John McDermott made a double change shortly afterwards as he brought off Rafferty Pedder and Tarrell Whittaker for Nile John and Chay Cooper. Spurs essentially put the game to bed in the 68th minute of time, after the ever impressive Dilan Markanday further extended Spurs’ lead by netting his second goal of the game. The goal was created by Spurs captain Armando Shashoua after the 18 year old had managed to pick out Markanday on the edge of the Norwich danger zone, with a clever lofted pass from the left flank. Markanday came across onto his left foot before firing a low effort towards the bottom right hand corner of Daniel Barden’s goal. The ‘ Canaries ‘ goalkeeper managed to get a significant hand on the ball but he couldn’t prevent it from hitting the back of the net, 3-0. Spurs were playing some wonderful one and two touch football during the second half and McDermott’s side showed no signs that they were going to lower their tempo. Shortly after the restart Spurs went on another dangerous attack, this time it resulted in Armando Shashoua playing the ball into the feet of Pochettino down the right side of the Norwich penalty area. The ‘ Canaries ‘ midfielder William Hondermarck managed to make an important interception but he ended up sloppily passing the ball straight to Rayan Clarke on the edge of the box. Fortunately for the Norwich midfielder Clarke’s resulting effort on the turn, was kept out Barden who made a smart save.

Elliot Thorpe replaced Spurs’ man of the match Dilan Markanday shortly afterwards as McDermott’s side started to lower their tempo. Malachi Walcott did well to clear a dangerous cross from Atli Barkarson before the same player pumped a good ball into the Spurs box from a corner kick. Oluwayemi was initially unable to gather the ball and it ended up coming to Isak Thorvaldsson at the back post. The Icelandic youth international volleyed the ball up into the air and Oluwayemi was then able to claim it. Substitute Chay Cooper rolled the ball down the left wing to Elliot Thorpe who raced forward before firing the ball over Daniel Barden’s crossbar from a tight angle on the edge of the penalty area. Maxwell Statham managed to clear a free kick from Atli Barkarson at the other end of the pitch before Joshua Oluwayemi made his first save of the game, to deny Anis Mehmeti’s curling effort from long range. Luis Binks was on hand to clear Barkarson’s dangerous cross into the Spurs box, before being able to block a cross from Gassan Ahadme. The ball then ended up coming to Thorvaldsson on the edge of the box, but once again Binks was there to block his effort on goal. After Thorvaldsson had received Mehmeti’s pass down the left side of the Spurs box, after Walcott had failed to clear the ball initially the 17 year old panicked and he ended up tripping Thorvaldsson to concede a late penalty kick. Gassan Ahadme stood up to take the resulting spot kick however, the Norwich forward was unable to beat penalty saving specialist Joshua Oluwayemi who dived to his right to deny Ahadme’s curling effort, before then smothering the ball before he could get to it. After Nile John had been give the ball by Pochettino, he managed to skilfully turn his way around Zac Dronfield before darting into the Norwich penalty area. It was there that the England under 16 international let fly, his powerful low effort was parried by Barden into the path of Thorpe but he couldn’t convert, and the Welshman’s poked effort was saved by the Norwich City goalkeeper. Paul Williams’ side broke forward down the left flank, and after Mehmeti had played a one two with Thorvaldsson down the left side of the Spurs box he was met by the outrushing Oluwayemi, who managed to keep out his powerful low effort with his feet. 

Poor Armando Shashoua ended the game in great pain after he bravely blocked Isak Thorvaldsson’s stinging effort on the edge of the Spurs box. The Norwich forwards shot had hit Shashoua in a very sensitive part of his body before Anis Mehmeti fired wide, and Shashoua was forced to go off the pitch to recover, before he bravely soldiered on to complete the remainder of the match. Schoolboy Nile John blazed an effort over Daniel Barden’s crossbar in second half stoppage time, that was to be the final piece of action from the game. This was another impressive performance from title chasers Spurs, who managed to outplay Norwich on the day with John McDermott’s young side able to play their passing game to great effect, while also defending well throughout the match. Spurs remain four points behind Arsenal in the league table but we still have two games in hand. Up next for our high flying under 18’s is a historic league match against Southampton at the new White Hart Lane next Sunday. I cannot wait for that match!

Player reviews:

  • Joshua Oluwayemi: The second year scholar put in another impressive performance for our under 18’s, making three important stops against Norwich on Saturday. Oluwayemi kept his sixth clean sheet of the season for Spurs and once again his performance was faultless. The former England youth international did a good job at dealing with set pieces and crosses, and I thought that he read the game well. Joshua made his fifth save from the spot of this season to deny Gassan Ahadme before making an impressive save with his feet late on in the game, to deny Anis Mehmeti from a one on one position.
  • Jubril Okedina: The 18 year old put in a really strong performance at right back against Norwich, where he defended solidly against their left winger. This was another classy performance from Okedina on his 15th appearance for our under 18’s this season. The Greenwich born defender defended his side of the pitch well and I felt that he read the game well and he was particularly good whenever he found himself under pressure. Okedina is so, so good on the ball and when called upon this season at right back he has been faultless for our under 18’s.
  • Malachi Walcott: Although he conceded a late penalty kick the England under 17 international impressed once again at RCB. Walcott made many important clearances, blocks and interceptions throughout the match, and alongside Luis Binks he was so effective. The 17 year old cut out many a dangerous Norwich attack. Walcott did suffer from cramp during the latter stages of the game and I did notice that he was limping about the pitch.
  • Luis Binks: It was yet another rock solid performance from one of the best left sided centre backs of his age group in the country, when we faced Norwich on Saturday. Defensively speaking I thought that Binks was outstanding. Dominant in the air and strong in the challenge, the England under 18 internationals reading of the game was superb. He also tried his luck on goal from long range on a couple of occasions. As always  Binks’ passing was top class. 
  • Maxwell Statham: Playing in the unfamiliar role of left back on Saturday afternoon, the 18 year old centre back put in a very solid shift for John McDermott’s side. Not once did I see Statham put a foot wrong against the ‘ Canaries ‘. The second year scholar stayed deep for the majority of the game and he managed to keep his former Spurs teammate Anis Mehmeti quiet down the left flank. Statham made some important blocks and clearances. 
  • Armando Shashoua: The Tottenham captain was outstanding in central midfield alongside the slightly younger Rafferty Pedder, where he put in the complete midfield performance on Saturday. Shashoua had such a positive effect on the game at both ends of the pitch. Hardworking and tenacious as a midfield anchorman, Shashoua was nice and tidy in possession and he was majestic with the ball at his feet. The Spurs skipper created some excellent chances for the forwards where he impressed me with his quick feet and excellent vision. The 18 year old also went on some good surging runs through the middle of the park which helped to open up the Norwich defence. Shashoua converted from the penalty spot during the second half before going onto set up Dilan Markanday’s third goal of the game. The intricate midfielder was like a magnet to the ball and the much more physical Norwich midfielders found it difficult to deal with his movement and clever twists and turns. After bravely blocking Isak Thorvaldsson’s powerful late shot with a sensitive part of of his body, Shashoua would have been forgiven if he had decided to skip the last few minutes of the match. However, you would have had to drag Armando off the pitch and unsurprisingly he came back on to see out the final moments of the game.
  • Rafferty Pedder: This was only the first year scholars fourth competitive appearance for our under 18 side but he looked very comfortable in central midfield for John McDermott’s team. Despite his size the 16 year old imposed himself well on the game and he helped Spurs to play through the middle of the pitch. The Maidstone born midfielder impressed with his jinking runs through the midfield, he was also aggressive and he pressed the Norwich players well. The skilful midfielders passing was nice and crisp and he moved the ball around well during his time on the pitch.
  • Maurizio Pochettino: The Barcelona born winger operated out on the right flank against Norwich. Pochettino went on some nice runs down the channel and he created some good chances. He tracked back excellently after him.
  • Dilan Markanday: My motm, see below.
  • Rayan Clarke: The inform 17 year old was one of our best players against Norwich. Clarke started the game out on the left flank where his many purposeful attacking forays caused numerous problems for Norwich right back Ethan Vaughan. Clarke was tricky and direct and he had a tendency to cut inside onto his right foot and test Daniel Barden for which he did do on a number of occasions. The second year scholar got the assist for Dilan Markanday’s opener and he went onto create some good chances from out on the left flank. He would later play up top after Tarrell Whittaker was substituted but it was out wide where he had his best effect on the game. On another day Clarke could have scored on a couple of occasions, he certainly had the chances to do so on Saturday!
  • Tarrell Whittaker: The schoolboy led the line well for McDermott’s side against some very physical Norwich defenders. Whittaker impressed with his movement inside the danger zone and he made some good runs during his time on the pitch. The 16 year olds pace did cause the Norwich defenders some problems. 
  • Chay Cooper: The 17 year old came onto replace Tarrell Whittaker during the second half although he would operate out on the left flank. Cooper went on a couple of good attacking forays and he impressed me with his passing and his skill.
  • Nile John: This was the England under 16 internationals second appearance for our under 18’s. The silky midfielder replaced Rafferty Pedder during the second half and I was impressed with how the 16 year old adapted to the game. John went on some good driving runs through the middle of the park and he wasn’t afraid to drive at the Norwich defence. In addition I thought that John was good on the ball.
  • Elliot Thorpe: The Wales under 19 international enjoyed a bright cameo appearance for Spurs after he replaced Dilan Markanday in the hole. Thorpe was very positive in possession and he came close to finding the back of the net on a couple of occasions.

My man of the match: Dilan Markanday was the star of the show on Saturday afternoon for John McDermott’s side. The exceptionally skilful attacker singlehandedly tore the Norwich defence to shreds with his many mesmeric jinking runs through the heart of the Norwich defence. Almost impossible to dislodge while he was in possession, Markanday’s incredible skill, balance and vision stunned the spectators who were in attendance. The North Londoner scored a stunning goal to open the scoring right on the stroke of halftime, and he had come on several occasions before that to giving Spurs the lead. The second year scholar continued to be a thorn in Norwich’s side throughout the second half and his trickery was sublime. Markanday netted his second goal of the game in the 68th minute of time with a powerful low finish from the edge of the Norwich box. Markanday’s work rate, ability to weave his way around the Norwich defence and his vision for a pass was absolutely outstanding on the day. Dilan has now scored ten goals for our under 18 side this season, it is astonishing that he still hasn’t been called up to represent England at youth level. 

Spurs: Oluwayemi, Okedina, Statham, A Shashoua (c), Walcott, Binks, Pochettino, Pedder (Cooper 65), Whittaker (John 65), Markanday (Thorpe 70), Clarke. Substitute (not used): Kurylowicz.

Spurs under 18’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Troy Parrott – 12

Dilan Markanday – 10

J’Neil Bennett –  8

Rayan Clarke – 8

Armando Shashoua – 6

Rodel Richards – 5

Harvey White – 4

Luis Binks – 3

Paris Maghoma – 3

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Jeremie Mukendi – 2

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2

Phoenix Patterson – 2

Maurizio Pochettino – 2

Kion Etete – 2

Jubril Okedina – 1

Tarrell Whittaker – 1

Assists: Harvey White – 11

Armando Shashoua – 11

Rayan Clarke – 8

Troy Parrott – 6

Jamie Bowden – 5

Phoenix Patterson – 4

Dilan Markanday – 3

Rodel Richards – 3

J’Neil Bennett – 3

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 2

Dennis Cirkin – 2

Paris Maghoma – 2

Luis Binks – 2

Maurizio Pochettino – 1

Malachi Walcott – 1

Rafferty Pedder – 1

Maxwell Statham – 1

Jeremie Mukendi – 1

Elliot Thorpe – 1

Nile John – 1

Kion Etete – 1

Tarrell Whittaker – 1

Clean sheets: Joshua Oluwayemi – 6

Jonathan De Bie – 1

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Spurs under 18’s versus Norwich City: (match preview)

Spurs under 18’s versus Norwich City: (match preview)

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Our under 18’s are in league action for the first time since the departure of their head coach Matt Wells, on Saturday afternoon. Title challengers Spurs will travel up to Norfolk to face a struggling Norwich City side, at their Colney Training Centre. This will be viewed as a must win game for Spurs who must keep up the pace with league leaders Arsenal, who have played two league games more than them. The young Lilywhites have been missing a whole host of key players to injury of late, but they still managed to win their last league game against West Ham, 5-3. Due to the fact that we don’t have any under 23 games over the coming week John McDermott’s side should have the likes of J’Neil Bennett, Dilan Markanday and Harvey White available for Saturday’s match. This will come as a massive boost for Spurs, who will be facing a Norwich City side who have conceded a staggering 54 goals in the league this season. The reverse fixture back at Hotspur Way in October, was a completely one sided affair. In fact it was one of the most one sided under 18 games that I have ever seen. We completely dominated the ‘ Canaries ‘ on that day and they were a shambles at the back. Furthermore, they offered very little in terms of any offensive threat, and our back four that day had one of the easiest games of their lives. Paul Williams’ under 18 side have struggled with their form since the season started last August, picking up only ten points from their 17 league matches this season. The struggling ‘ Canaries ‘ did manage to win their last league game, a 5-0 home win over Aston Villa, and this will give Williams’ side confidence going into Saturday’s match. Although Norwich’s under 18’s aren’t as good as they have been in recent seasons, there still have a number of players who McDermott’s side will need to be wary of. Attacking midfielder Anis Mehmeti, left winger Josh Giurgi and Norwich centre forward Kole Lambert are some of the ‘ Canaries ‘ most potent attacking players. This is a very important game for Spurs and it is one which they will be expected to win. If we start the game well on Saturday then I have no doubts that we will go onto win the match comfortably.

Notts County centre forward Kion Etete (17) featured on trial for our under 18’s in that 5-3 league win over West Ham the other week, impressing by netting two goals and assisting one. Etete was back on the bench for Notts County’s first team in midweek therefore it is unlikely that we will see him turning out for our under 18’s again in the near future. I will be making the trip up to Norwich first thing on Saturday morning to report on our league match against the ‘ Canaries ‘. I would like to wish the team all the very best of luck for the match.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Kurylowicz, Statham, Okedina, Walcott, Cirkin, White, A.Shashoua (c), Pochettino, Markanday, Clarke, Bennett.

Subs from: Oluwayemi, Lyons-Foster, John, Pedder, Whittaker.

Injured/unavailable: Jeremie Mukendi, Maximus Tainio.

Doubtful: Jamie Bowden, Phoenix Patterson, Enoch Asante, Troy Parrott, Elliot Thorpe, Rodel Richards, Joshua Oluwayemi, Paris Maghoma, Luis Binks.

Previous meeting: Spurs 7-0.

My score prediction: Spurs 6-1.

My one to watch: Former Spurs schoolboy Anis Mehmeti is now in his second year of scholarship with the ‘ Canaries ‘ after leaving Spurs in 2017. The skilful attacking midfielder caught my eye during the reverse fixture back in October. Mehmeti has scored three league goals for Paul Williams’ side so far this season.

Spurs under 19’s 0-2 FC Porto: (match report)

Spurs under 19’s 0-2 FC Porto: (match report)

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Spurs‘ European odyssey came to an end on Wednesday afternoon after they were knocked out of this seasons UEFA Youth league by Portuguese club FC Porto, in the last 16 round of the competition. It was the second consecutive season that John McDermott’s side had been eliminated from the competition by the ‘ Dragōes ‘ after they defeated us 2-0 in the quarter finals of last seasons competition. Our under 19’s were missing a number of important players for Wednesday’s big match and they didn’t have a recognised centre forward available for the game. Porto were the better team on the day, at the Centro de Treinos e Formação Desportiva – Vila Nova de Gaīa. The home side managed the game better than us on the day, they were more physical and they were also more dangerous in the final third. Although Spurs put a lot of effort into the game they just lacked the focal point of somebody like Troy Parrott up top, he and Jack Roles were missed greatly by McDermott’s side. After a good start to the first half from the home side, Spurs grew into the game as the half went on and they managed to play some decent football. Porto may have had a goal harshly ruled out for offside early on in the game however, Spurs had a glorious chance to take the lead on the stroke of halftime through J’Neil Bennett. The 17 year old was only denied by a super save from Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa. Porto were the better side during the second period, and two goals in quick succession essentially ended Spurs’ hopes of making the quarter finals. Their first goal was scored by Angel Torres in the 52nd minute of time. Spurs were unable to respond and after TJ Eyoma was robbed of possession on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area, Porto doubled their advantage through Romário Baró less than five minutes later. The remainder of the game was controlled relatively comfortably by the home side with Spurs unable to respond. Our under 19’s have given a really good account of themselves in the competition this season and they should be proud of how well they performed to get out of what was a very tough group, to even get to this stage of the competition.

John McDermott’s side lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation against the Portuguese club, with Spurs captain Brandon Austin starting in goal. A back four consisting of Tariq Hinds, TJ Eyoma, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster and Dennis Cirkin lined up in front of him. Harvey White partnered up with Oliver Skipp who made a surprising start in central midfield, while Paris Maghoma and J’Neil Bennett operated out on the flanks, either side of CAM Dylan Duncan who was making his first appearance in the competition this season. Tricky winger Dilan Markanday led the line for Spurs. The young Lilywhites got the game underway, on a warm afternoon in Northern Portugal. It was the home side who started the game the better of the two teams. After receiving Tomás Esteves‘ pass on the edge of the Spurs penalty area, Romário Baró hurriedly blazed an effort wide of Brandon Austin’s goal. Porto were seeing more of the ball during the opening stages of the game. After Baró had received Tomás Esteves‘ lofted pass inside the Spurs box, the Porto forward attempted to get a shot away on goal, but his effort was blocked by TJ Eyoma who had done well to close him down. Mário Fernando Magalhães Silva’s side thought that they had taken the lead a couple of moments later after Fábio Silva had put the ball into the back of Brandon Austin’s goal, after volleying home Vieira’s brilliant cross at the Tottenham goalkeepers back post. Silva had been in an onside position however, the linesman on the far side had harshly ruled his goal out for him being offside, much to Spurs’ good fortune. John McDermott’s side started to grow into the game more as the half went on. A good passing move resulted in Bennett passing the ball to White, he shifted the ball out to Cirkin on the left wing. The Spurs fullback then pumped the ball into the Porto penalty area where he managed to pick out Paris Maghoma at the back post. However, the 17 year old missed most of the ball and it ended up getting away from him. At the other end of the pitch, Spurs goalkeeper Brandon Austin was on hand to gather Diogo Queirós’ low cross.

After receiving Tariq Hinds’ pass out on the right wing, Paris Maghoma whipped a menacing ball into the Porto penalty area which was headed away from danger by Diogo Leite. Shortly afterwards Maghoma conceded a free kick in a dangerous position out on the left wing after committing a foul on Tiago Lopes. However, the attentive Harvey White was on hand to clear João Mário’s resulting free kick. Dylan Duncan attempted to play J’Neil Bennett through on goal with a clever pass but it was cut out in time, by Porto defender Diogo Leite.  A couple of minutes later Bennett received a pass from Harvey White out on the left flank, the tricky winger came inside before entering the Porto box and curling an effort over Diogo Costa’s crossbar. Vieira went on a surging run through the middle of the pitch before blazing over Brandon Austin’s goal at the other end, before Porto striker Fábio Silva came close to giving the home side the lead. Vieira’s pass eventually found its way to the Porto centre forward inside the Tottenham penalty area. Silva had his back to goal when he received the ball but he quickly spun around and fired a powerful low effort narrowly wide of Austin’s right hand post. The game was becoming more and more even as the half progressed. Paris Maghoma had a hopeful cross plucked out of the air by Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa before Maghoma had what he thought was a great chance to put Spurs ahead. After Harvey White passed the ball to J’Neil Bennett on the left wing, he managed to pick out Maghoma in the centre of the Porto box with a clever lofted pass. The Tottenham midfielder found himself in space but he was unable to generate the power needed to beat Costa and the Porto goalkeeper was able to keep out his header, which was directed straight at him. Thankfully for Maghoma the linesman on the near side had raised his flag for offside. TJ Eyoma was shown a yellow card shortly afterwards after he was seen to have caught Fábio Silva with a flailing arm in an off the ball incident. Eyoma wasn’t helped by the fact that Silva had gone to the floor so theatrically.

John McDermott’s side had a fantastic opportunity to take the lead right on the stroke of halftime through the lively J’Neil Bennett. A good move resulted in Hinds passing the ball to Markanday on the edge of the Porto penalty area. The skilful playmaker sorted his feet out before threading a nice pass through to J’Neil Bennett down the left side of the box. Bennett attempted to beat Diogo Costa with a powerful low effort which was intended for the bottom right hand corner of the goal. The wingers venomous effort was well saved by Costa who managed to turn the ball behind for a corner kick with his outstretching left leg. Bennett couldn’t believe that the Porto goalkeeper had managed to keep out his effort. That was to be the final piece of action from the first half. Porto got the second half underway and they started it with a good energy about them. After Baró passed the ball to Silva the 16 year old centre forward darted down the left hand side of the Spurs box before attempting to fire the ball across the face of Austin’s goal. Silva’s shot/cross was blocked by Lyons-Foster who had closed him down well. A couple of minutes later Harvey White came close to scoring from a corner kick. The 17 year olds curling delivery into the danger zone almost ended up bending into the far corner of Diogo Costa’s goal, but for the smart reactions of the goalkeeper to tap the ball over his crossbar, at the decisive moment. White’s resulting corner kick ended up coming to Bennett inside the danger zone, he had an effort blocked by Tiago Lopes before the ball came out to Hinds on the edge of the penalty area. The right backs low, first time drive ended up deflecting off of Lopes before going behind for a corner. Spurs continued to test the Porto defence and a couple of minutes later Brooklyn Lyons-Foster rose inside the Porto box to nod a cross from Tariq Hinds wide of Costa’s goal. After João Mário had been given the ball by Angel Torres, Mário went on a marauding run through the middle of the pitch, powering past both Eyoma and Hinds before testing Austin with a powerful low effort from the edge of the box. Austin got down well to make a smart stop and to hold Mário’s effort.

The Tottenham goalkeeper could have done nothing to prevent Angel Torres strike a couple of minutes later. The Portuguese side took the lead in the 52nd minute, after Vieira had passed the ball out to Torres on the right flank the young Colombian continued forward into the Spurs box. It was there that Torres shifted the ball onto his left foot before curling the ball around Spurs centre half Brooklyn Lyons-Foster and into the far left hand corner of the outstretched Brandon Austin’s goal, 0-1. McDermott’s side attempted to respond, shortly after the restart Tariq Hinds did well to win a free kick in a promising position out on the right flank. However, Harvey White’s resulting delivery was cleared away from danger by Lopes. Spurs were dealt a big blow in the 57th minute after Romário Baró doubled the ‘ Dragōes ‘ advantage. A lofted pass from Diogo Queirós was initially cut out well by Eyoma however, the young defender was robbed of the ball by Tomás Esteves who quickly passed the ball to Silva. The Porto centre forward sprinted into the Spurs box before squaring the ball to Romário Baró who tapped the ball past the helpless Brandon Austin and into the back of the net, 0-2. Unlike last seasons match the Porto players still looked to attack the Spurs defence rather than sit back, after scoring their second goal of the game. After the dangerous Fábio Silva had latched onto Vieira’s pass on the edge of the Spurs box he tried to beat Austin by firing an effort at goal, which stung the palms of the Tottenham goalkeeper. Spurs struggled to break down the home sides rock solid defence. A decent cross from Dilan Markanday came close to picking out Bennett in a dangerous position inside the Porto box, but it was cleared in the nick of time by Leite before Bennett could get to it. J’Neil Bennett had been one of Spurs’ most threatening attacking players throughout the second period and he wasn’t afraid to try his luck on goal. After Oliver Skipp passed the ball to the first year scholar on the edge of the Porto box, Bennett cut inside onto his right foot before curling an effort on goal. However, it was deflected behind for a corner kick by Tomás Esteves.

Spurs made there first substitution of the game after they brought on Tashan Oakley-Boothe for Dilan Markanday in the 65th minute. TJ Eyoma managed to block Vieira’s shot behind for a corner kick before Brandon Austin was called into action once again, this time to deny Fábio Silva after he advanced down the right hand side of the Spurs box after latching onto Vieira’s pass. Silva managed to cut inside Lyons-Foster before curling a low effort towards the bottom left hand corner of Austin’s goal. The England under 20 international did well to hold it and to make the save. Porto went on another good attack, after Esteves had given the ball to Silva he slipped it into Torres down the right hand side of the Spurs box. However, the wingers cut back was cleared by Harvey White. Tashan Oakley-Boothe whipped a menacing ball across the face of the Porto goal at the opposite end of the pitch. Dylan Duncan then had a hopeful effort on goal blocked by Lopes, Duncan was brought off shortly afterwards for Armando Shashoua. The game had started to slip away from Spurs and the opposition were showing no signs of vulnerability within their back four. After Torres had managed to find Silva down the right side of the Spurs box, the 16 year old managed to get past Eyoma but Dennis Cirkin was on hand to cut out Silva’s resulting cross before Lyons-Foster managed to head Romário Baró’s cross clear. The potent Vieira then fired an effort wide of the Spurs goal after having a shot from edge of the penalty area. McDermott replaced J’Neil Bennett with Rayan Clarke in one last desperate attempt to try and change the game in Spurs’ favour. Brooklyn Lyons-Foster met a late cross from Tariq Hinds inside the Porto penalty however, he ended up volleying the ball over Diogo Costa’s crossbar. Porto then broke forward down the opposite end of the pitch, but the move ended after Fábio Silva had an effort on goal blocked by Brooklyn Lyons-Foster. The referee sounded the full time whistle a couple of moments later, the majority of the Spurs players collapsed to the floor, they had been overcome by disappointment. 

It must be said that there was absolutely no shame in losing to a team such as Porto. They are an absolutely top quality side who have some extremely talented young players, and I for one think that every single one of John McDermott’s players should be proud of their efforts on Wednesday afternoon. 

Player reviews:

  • Brandon Austin: My motm, see below.
  • Tariq Hinds: The right back put in a sterling shift for John McDermott’s side against Porto. The 18 year old put in a fantastic defensive performance and he protected his side of the pitch really well, against Porto winger João Mário. Hinds got up and down the right wing well and defensively speaking I thought that he was flawless. The fullback was aggressive but disciplined, he made many important interceptions and blocks. Hinds also went on some good attacking forays and he whipped some nice crosses into the danger zone. It’s also worth noting that he was very good on the ball, and he impressed me with his dribbling.
  • TJ Eyoma: On the whole it was a solid performance from Eyoma who operated at RCB in a back four on Wednesday afternoon. Apart from his mistake which led to Porto’s second goal I thought that the England under 19 international had a good game. He read the game well and he also managed to cut out some dangerous Porto attacks. 
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: Eyoma’s partner at centre back put in another solid performance for our under 19’s. Lyons-Foster made many blocks, interceptions and clearances and the 18 year old also posed a threat offensively, from set pieces.
  • Dennis Cirkin: The 16 year old put in another strong performance at left back particularly during the first half, where I thought he had an outstanding game. Cirkin read the game really well and he anticipated danger to effect, dealing well with the threat which Porto winger Angel Torres posed. It is worth noting that Cirkin picked up quite a heavy knock just before the end of the first half.
  • Harvey White: The 17 year old put in another tidy performance in central midfield, this time alongside Oliver Skipp. White was neat and tidy in possession and he made a number of important challenges and interceptions.
  • Oliver Skipp: Although it was slightly surprising to see Oliver feature for our under 19’s on Wednesday, it was great to see him play in such an important game. I thought that Skipp broke up play well and his presence in the midfield really helped us on the day. The 18 year old performed his duties as a midfield destroyer diligently, and to great effect.
  • Paris Maghoma: Despite his best efforts the 17 year old found it difficult to influence the game out on the right wing, as he was effectively playing out of position.
  • Dylan Duncan: The 20 year old operated as a CAM on his first appearance in the UEFA Youth League this season. Duncan was energetic and he impressed me with his passing and his movement.
  • J’Neil Bennett: The 17 year old put in another positive performance out on the left wing where he constantly tried to test Porto’s right back Tomás Esteves. Bennett looked to cut inside onto his right foot and test the Porto goalkeeper throughout the game, and it was good to see him so eager to try and make things happen. Bennett came so close to giving Spurs the lead on the stroke of halftime.
  • Dilan Markanday: I thought that the second year scholar did as well as he could do in the unnatural position of CF against Porto. Markanday was good on the ball and although life was made difficult for him by the two big centre halves, I thought that he still managed to put in a good shift. The silky winger created J’Neil Bennett’s glorious chance on the stroke of halftime, and he worked hard throughout his time on the pitch.
  • Tashan Oakley-Boothe: The second half substitute went on some purposeful runs down the channels during his time on the pitch. He also whipped some decent crosses into the box. 
  • Armando Shashoua: The midfielder was energetic and positive during his short cameo appearance.
  • Rayan Clarke: N/A.

My man of the match: This was a difficult choice to make because of the quality performance that Tariq Hinds put in at right back, but I’m going to give my man of the match award to our goalkeeper Brandon Austin, on what was his last ever appearance for our under 19’s in the competition. Austin made three impressive saves against Porto and he impressed me with his handling. The 20 year old goalkeeper dealt effectively with crosses and set pieces, and he also showed good leadership as our captain. However, it was the talented shot stoppers excellent distribution which impressed me the most on the night. After having a bit of trouble with his kicking against PAOK in the last round, it was great to see Austin look so composed under pressure with the ball at his feet, and he looked very comfortable with his overall distribution. The goalkeeper has played all eight of our UEFA Youth League games this season, and he has put in some fantastic performances in the competition since our first group game against Inter Milan back in September.

FC Porto: Costa, Esteves, Quieros (c), Leite, Lopes, Ndiaye, Torres (Borges 90+1), Vieira, Silva (Fomakwang 90+1), Baro (Ferreira 82), Mario (Sousa 74). Substitutes (not used): Meixedo, Matos, Justiniano.

Spurs: Austin (c), Hinds, Cirkin, Skipp, Eyoma, Lyons-Foster, Maghoma, White, Markanday (Oakley-Boothe 65), Duncan (A Shashoua 75), Bennett (Clarke 85). Substitutes (not used): De Bie, Dinzeyi, Okedina, Binks.

Goals: Porto – Torres 52, Baro 57.

Yellow cards: Porto – Silva 61, Ndiaye 85; Spurs – Eyoma 40.

Referee: Halil Umut Meler (TUR).

Venue: Estádio Luís Filipe Menezes, Porto.

Spurs under 19’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Troy Parrott – 3

Jack Roles – 2

Rodel Richards – 2

Paris Maghoma – 1

Jaden Brown – 1

Malachi Walcott – 1

Brooklyn Lyons-Foster – 1

Assists: Jamie Bowden – 3

Troy Parrott – 2

Jack Roles – 2

J’Neil Bennett – 1

Jaden Brown – 1

Paris Maghoma – 1

Harvey White – 1

Clean sheets: Brandon Austin – 3

My piece on Troy Parrott – Far more than just a goalscorer:

My piece on Troy Parrott – Far more than just a goalscorer:

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Back in the year 1897 a young man from County Wicklow in Ireland made the trip across the water to England, to try and forge a career in the beautiful game. That gentleman’s name was Jack Kirwan and he was the first ever Irishman to play for Spurs, for those of you who are good with your history then you will know that Kirwan was an important member of our 1901 FA cup winning side after joining the Lilywhites from Everton in 1899. Some 120 years later another young Irishman is following in the footsteps of the legendary outside left, at a club which has such a strong connection with the country of Ireland. This young mans name is Troy Daniel Parrott, and for many Spurs fans his name will need no introduction. I first heard the name Troy Parrott back in the February of 2017. I was at the Lamex Stadium in Stevenage waiting for our FA youth cup fifth round tie against Norwich City to start, when I decided to flick through an Irish newspaper. In this particular newspaper there was a story claiming that Spurs had signed a young Dubliner and Ireland under 15 international called Troy Parrott, from Dublin club Belvedere FC. In this article it had claimed that Spurs had fought off a whole host of top clubs to secure the young centre forwards signature. Due to the frequency of such stories which are published in tabloid newspapers I was sceptical to begin with. However, after a little bit more research I found out that the highly sought after teenager was covering a lot of inches in the sports pages of many a Dublin newspaper. I also found out that he had already been on trial with a number of top clubs in both England and Scotland, of which included Everton, Celtic and Southampton to name but a few. Parrott of Buckingham street in Dublin’s north inner city was starring for renowned Irish schoolboy club Belvedere FC on a weekly basis, the physical and highly competitive centre forward, to put it quite mildly, was scoring goals for fun and he was attracting the attention of many a top club in the process. However, it was Mauricio Pochettino’s club who had managed to convince the young Irishman to join them. Since joining Spurs as a schoolboy during the 2016/17 season the former O’Connell school pupil has seen his reputation grow amongst the Tottenham supporters despite his young age.

Parrott was a regular for our under 16’s during his first season at the club, but he would only hit the headlines for his achievements for both the Ireland under 15 and 16 national team that season. During the 2017/18 season Troy Parrott represented Ireland at the prestigious Victory Shield, he would also go on to play for their under 17 side, where he played a big part in helping them to qualify for the 2018 Under 17 European Championships in England. Parrott would go on to score three goals for his country at the tournament, helping Ireland to reach the quarter finals of the competition, I attended three of the matches that Parrott was involved in. However, I am not prepared to go on about their infamous elimination to the Netherlands! The 2017/18 season was also a big one for Troy at Spurs, after starting the season in our under 16 side the Dubliner would have to wait until the February of 2018 before he could make the step up to Scott Parker’s under 18 side, as he had to wait until his 16th birthday before he could represent them. Shortly after turning 16 Parrott made his under 18 league debut, completing 90 minutes of a 0-0 draw with Swansea City. For many Spurs fans it was the first time that they would have heard of the young Irishman. Parrott put in a very competitive performance against Swansea, impressing with his movement, work rate and willingness to get stuck in and bring other players into the game. The schoolboy would go on to feature on three more occasions for Parker’s under 18 side that season, most notable of which was his inclusion in the starting 11 for our Under 18 Premier League Cup Final against Chelsea, in the absence of our top scorer that season, Reo Griffiths. Parrott would score his first goal for our under 18’s in a 2-1 league win over London rivals Fulham, in April 2018. Troy also netted a remarkable ten goals from five appearances for a Spurs under 17 side at the Borgaro Maggioni Righi tournament in Italy that Easter. The teenager would then go on to star for his country at the Under 17 European Championships before returning to Spurs to represent our under 19 side, at the post season Terborg tournament, before he enjoyed a well earned summer break. 

Troy signed his two year scholarship at Spurs during the summer of 2017 and since returning to training at Hotspur Way in July, Parrott has made remarkable strides for Spurs so far during the 2018/19 campaign. The physical centre forward spent majority of that pre season with our development side, featuring first for them in a friendly against non league club Enfield Town, before then going on to link up with Wayne Burnett’s side in France for the annual Tournoi Europeen. Parrott was the only first year scholar to travel out to France with our development side and he got plenty of game time for Burnett’s team. Despite not managing to score from open play, Parrott impressed against much older and more physical players. He certainly held his own. The young Dubliner has come a long way since last summers tournament in Brittany. Parrott has made ten competitive appearances for our under 18 side so far this season, netting 12 goals and assisting a further six for our high flying under 18’s. In addition, Troy has already made nine appearances for our development side since making his PL2 debut against Liverpool at Anfield, back in August. The tall centre forward has also featured prominently for our under 19’s in the UEFA Youth League, scoring three goals from five appearances in the competition this season. His impressive performances at youth level for Spurs and for Ireland at under 19 level, has also resulted in him being named as the 19th man for Mauricio Pochettino’s first team on a number of occasions this season. Parrott’s statistics at youth level for Spurs during the 2018/19 campaign make impressive reading. The Ireland under 19 international has been directly involved in 24 goals from 24 appearances for the various Spurs youth teams this season. As somebody who has watched Troy play extensively for our various youth teams and for his country at youth level, I will be going in to great detail about Parrott the footballer in the following piece, as I talk about this special young talents qualities as one of Spurs‘ most promising Academy players.

Although Parrott has played in numerous positions he is a traditional centre forward in the Harry Kane mould. However, he has also shown that he is adept at playing in central midfield, out on either flank and as a number ten or CAM. The 17 year old from Dublin’s north inner city is a very physical and tall centre forward who doesn’t allow centre backs to bully him. I don’t like to draw comparisons with young players to household names in the game however, one of Troy’s footballing heroes is a certain Harry Kane. And it is the Tottenham centre forward who he reminds me of the most in regards to his style of play. Young Troy is a centre forward who possesses a tremendous work rate, and he has a wonderful understanding of the game for somebody so young. Parrott is an aggressive and tigerish number nine who likes to get in the faces of opposition defenders. Parrott is what I would call a confrontational centre forward and he manages to do that without being arrogant. He is constantly high pressing and always on the move. Like Kane he likes to drop deep to influence the game and he can often be seen all over the pitch, particularly inside his own half helping out the defenders. Some of the Dubliners most impressive traits include his ability to hold the ball up well, his razor sharp movement, unselfishness, versatility, vision, passing and his clinical finishing. It’s very difficult to describe Parrott as a centre forward because he is such a well rounded player who is always very adaptable to games. He scores all different kinds of goals, from instinctive poachers finishes to bullet headers and  outrageous free kicks. I like how he plays with both flair and grit, although he is still a student of the game I personally find it quite remarkable how good his all round game is. In terms of his finishing ability I think that he is one of the best finishers from his age group in the country alongside Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood. Parrott is a very intelligent striker and if like me you watch his off the ball movement during matches, then you will appreciate just how good his positioning and awareness is. He likes to mix up his game but no matter what kind of game it is he always makes sure that he is involved in the thick of the action.

Parrott is a good poacher and a lot of his goals come from inside the oppositions penalty area. He is constantly on alert, peeling off the shoulders of defenders or trying to make runs in and behind them. He has the ability to sort his feet out quickly and to adjust his body in time, the 17 year old is also relatively quick over four or five yards, just like a certain Robbie Keane was. He likes to strike the ball early and when he finds himself in a one on one situation with the goalkeeper, I like how composed he manages to be. Another Kane-esque trait of Troy’s is his ability to get the ball out of his feet quickly before striking it. Parrott is good in the air and he has scored a number of goals with his head this season, he is also an expert penalty taker and a real threat from set pieces with his trademark, side footed, up and over the wall free kicks. The first year scholar is good at timing his runs and he reads the game well, and he is one of those players who is constantly looking over his shoulder. The vast majority of Parrott’s goals this season have been what you would call poachers finishes. In addition to his clinical finishing and movement, Troy is a very positive player who likes to try his luck on goal from long range. However, the Dublin born centre forward is a lot more than just a goalscorer. So often when I’ve seen Parrott play I’ve been impressed by how unselfish he is, and how he try’s to bring other players into the game. Linking back to his footballing brain, the 17 year old who can always play as a number ten, has quite often been the game changer for our under 18’s this season. He is a very creative player who is good at spotting and picking out teammates, who are in good positions (Troy has assisted nine goals in all competitions so far this season). He also has a good range of passing, as well as an impressive array of skills. Parrott is a good dribbler and his close ball control is yet another of his many impressive traits. On the field Troy is a very confident young man who is a natural born leader and an effective communicator, he is also a very passionate player who won’t stand for any nonsense from the opposing teams players. Some of you may remember Troy getting himself sent off for our under 23’s in their PL2 match against Arsenal back in August, after he decided to shove the ‘ Gunners ‘ captain Julio Pleguezuelo to the floor in second half stoppage time.

For all of Parrott’s natural talent and his impressive goal scoring statistics and assists that have helped get him to where he is today, there is one part of his game which is even more impressive. That aspect of his game is his extraordinary work rate and stamina. Like his fellow countryman James McClean, Parrott is one of the hardest workers you’ll ever see on a football pitch. He is always on the move, pressing players aggressively and tracking back after him to help out the team. Troy is a real team player and it is his unselfishness and desire to get stuck in and go out of his way to help out his teammates, which is something which leave him in very good stead over the coming years, as it’s something that Mauricio Pochettino will love. Back in December our under 18’s faced Leicester City in a league game at the ‘ Foxes ‘ Belvoir Drive training centre. Deep into the second half of the game we were were leading 4-0 with Troy scoring two of our goals. The Dubliner had worked his socks of all game and even though we were in total control of the game he could be seen tracking back the whole length of the pitch to make a challenge on a Leicester player inside the Spurs box, before then driving forward with the ball. That is just one of many examples of Troy’s excellent work ethic, which I could use from this season alone. The proud Irishman has demonstrated extraordinary maturity during his time at the club, he has shown that he can do the unexpected in games, score goals and create chances while also working his socks off like a young Harry Kane. Once a keen GAA player Troy seems to have incorporated that toughness into his game as a footballer. There is a lot of hype which has been surrounding young Troy this season from the media as well as from Spurs fans. And while the hype is completely justified some of it is a bit too much to heap on such a young and developing player. Parrott is currently recovering from an operation on one of his toes, after he sustained an injury in our under 23’s 2-0 defeat to Brighton last month. When you take into consideration the fact that he is away from his country in a big city like London and plying his trade with one of the biggest teams in Europe, I think that he should be extremely proud of how well he has done for Spurs so far this campaign considering all that he has achieved.

The former Belvedere FC schoolboy has all the attributes he needs to become a top class centre forward in the future. However, he is still very young and I think it’s remarkable how he has stepped up for both our under 19’s and 23’s, and Ireland’s under 19 side so far this season. Parrott is an exceptionally talented player and it is completely justified that he is being labelled as the most exciting young player to come out of Ireland since Robbie Keane. His maturity, footballing intelligence and ability to get himself into good positions to score goals, is of the very highest quality. Fans of both Spurs and Ireland should appreciate just how special a player the first year scholar is. He has been an absolute privilege to watch play this season.  I wish Troy a speedy recovery from his injury and I hope to see him back in action in the near future.

Spurs under 19’s versus FC Porto: (match preview)

Spurs under 19’s versus FC Porto: (match preview)

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Our under 19’s have a big European game to look forward to on Wednesday when they take on Portuguese giants FC Porto, in the last 16 round of this seasons UEFA Youth League. Following the departure of our under 19’s head coach Matt Wells I would expect John McDermott to take charge of the team on Wednesday morning. After beating PAOK 1-0 in the last round to progress to this stage of the competition, Spurs will be expecting a far tougher game against renowned Academy side FC Porto. Mário Fernando Magalhães Silva’s side qualified for this round of the competition after finishing top of Group D. Porto topped a group containing Schalke, Galatasaray and Lokomotiv Moscow after picking up 13 points from their six group stage matches. This is a very tough game for Spurs who are missing so many of their most important players to injury. Porto made the semi-finals of last seasons competition where they were knocked out by Chelsea, after beating us 2-0 in a particularly dour quarter final at Hotspur Way. It was dour, only because the Portuguese club managed to nullify our most potent attacking players for the entirety of the game, as they looked to catch Scott Parker’s side on the break. That was a very good under 19 side that we had that season, but unfortunately for that team, they came up against a Porto side who managed the game far better than them. I wasn’t particularly impressed by Porto’s attacking play that day, in fact they were pretty unremarkable in how moved the ball around the pitch. However, it was the Portuguese clubs physicality, maturity, discipline and solidity at the back which is was outdid us on the day. Silva’s side appear to being doing well in their own domestic league this season and last weekend they recorded an impressive 5-1 victory over rivals Sporting Lisbon. Wednesday’s game will be played at the Centro de Treinos e Formação Desportiva – Vila Nova de Gaīa. That is a venue that the Portuguese club haven’t lost a European game at since 2016. 

Wednesdays game (kick off is At 11 AM) is being shown live on BT Sport 2 for those of you like me who can’t make the trip to Northern Portugal, it is very convenient. Some Porto players to watch out for are their 16 year old centre forward Fábio Silva and 19 year old forward Romario Baro (Porto like to play with two centre forwards) as well as their talented defender Diogo Bessa. I think it is going to be a very difficult game for our youngsters on Wednesday and it doesn’t help that we will be without key players such as Troy Parrott and Jack Roles, but this exceptionally talented young team can beat any team in Europe on their day. And they needn’t look any further than their superb performance away to Barcelona in the group stages of the competition, as inspiration for Wednesday’s big game. I would like to wish the lads all the very best of luck for the game and I am sure that they will do us all proud no matter what the final score is. My in-depth match report of Wednesday’s European game will be published in the early hours of Thursday morning.

My predicted lineup: (4-3-3) Austin (c), Hinds, Eyoma, Lyons-Foster, Cirkin, White, Oakley-Boothe, A.Shashoua, Markanday, Bennett, Maghoma.

Subs from: De Bie, Okedina, Walcott, Binks, Pochettino, Cooper, Whittaker.

Injured/unavailable: Jack Roles (suspended), Jamie Bowden, Jeremie Mukendi, Rodel Richards, Phoenix Patterson, Troy Parrott.

Doubtful: Joshua Oluwayemi, TJ Eyoma, Elliott Thorpe, Tashan Oakley-Boothe, Enoch Asante.

Previous meeting: Spurs 0-2 Porto.

My score prediction: Spurs 2-1.

My one to watch: The ‘ Dragōes ‘ 16 year old centre forward Fábio Silva, who has scored four goals from six appearances in the competition this season.

Spurs under 23’s 2-1 Leicester City: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 2-1 Leicester City: (match report)

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Our under 23’s traveled up to the East Midlands on Friday to face Leicester City at Holmes Park, for what was another important PL2 game for Wayne Burnett’s side. It was a night to remember for Burnett’s struggling side, who fought back from going a goal down to beating the ‘ Foxes ‘ 2-1 thanks to a glorious brace from Jack Roles. The young Spurs lads dug deep, battled extremely hard but above all else they played well as a team. And it was that fighting spirit which helped the young Lilywhites to overcome a very well structured, and a very physical Leicester City side. It was an eventful and fast paced game at Leicester’s Holmes Park, and it was a game that had a very competitive edge about it right from the very start. Burnett’s injury hit side made only one change from their 1-1 draw with Chelsea the previous Friday, once again he named a number of under 18’s in the match day squad. With scholars such as Dennis Cirkin, Harvey White and J’Neil Bennett all starting the match. The game was played at a high tempo and there was a competitive edge about it right from kick off. The ‘ Foxes ‘ created a number of good chances, really testing the Spurs defence during the opening stages of the match. Steve Beaglehole’s sides pressure paid off in the 20th minute of the game, after midfielder Khanya Leshabela volleyed an effort past Austin and into the back of the goal, from the edge of the Tottenham penalty area. Burnett’s side tried to respond, Jack Roles replaced Tashan Oakley-Boothe as Spurs switched formation. However, the home side continued to dominate, and the Spurs back four did well to prevent them from extending their lead before the break. The introduction of Jack Roles  around the 30 minute mark of the game had noticeably improved Spurs’ overall play. Burnett’s side played with a lot more energy about them during the second half, and the game started to become a lot more even. It took Spurs less than four minutes to find their leveller in the second half. An excellent surging run from young Dennis Cirkin down the left wing helped to open up the Leicester defence. Cirkin then slipped the ball into the feet of J’Neil Bennett down the left side of the ‘ Foxes ‘ penalty area. Bennett’s low pass was met by the sliding Jack Roles who managed to jab the ball off of the bottom of the right hand post and into the back of the net.

Both sides really went for the win during the remainder of the game, and both teams came close to finding that all important third goal. However, it was Burnett’s battling young men who managed to find the winner. A slick attacking move late on in the game, which started and ended with Jack Roles, helped to secure a massive three points for the club from North London. It was a really classy finish from Roles who managed to turn home Tariq Hinds’ low cross with a clever back heel from inside the Leicester penalty area. The combative Spurs players managed to see out the remaining minutes of what was a very lively game. Leicester ended the match with ten men after Calvin Ughelumba was shown a straight red card in second half stoppage time, for squaring up to Spurs captain George Marsh. However, Burnett’s young side managed to see out the remaining moments of the game to record a hugely important three points. Friday’s win lifts Spurs up to ninth place in the league table, six points clear of the relegation zone. Although it is worth noting that 11th place West Ham do have two games in hand. Wayne Burnett’s side lined up in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation for Friday’s PL2 game in the Leicestershire countryside. Brandon Austin started in goal while a back four consisting of Tariq Hinds, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster, Jonathan Dinzeyi and Dennis Cirkin lined up in front of him. George Marsh and Harvey White teamed up in the centre park, with wide men Tashan Oakley-Boothe and J’Neil Bennett playing either side of CAM Paris Maghoma who played behind lone centre forward Shilow Tracey. Leicester got the game underway on a cool and wet evening at Holmes Park, and Steve Beaglehole’s side impressed early on in the game with their energy and aggressive pressing. Almost straight from kick off Layton Ndukwu tried his luck on goal after driving forward through the middle of the pitch, before firing a low effort towards goal, which Jonathan Dinzeyi managed to block on the edge of the Spurs box. Shilow Tracey won a free kick in a promising position at the other end of the pitch a couple of minutes later. However, Harvey White curled wide from long range, from the following free kick.

After Brandon Austin had sloppily passed the ball straight to Leicester’s Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall on the edge of the Spurs box, the ‘ Foxes ‘ midfielder slipped the ball into the feet of Ndukwu down the right side of the penalty area. Dennis Cirkin attempted to win the ball off of him by sliding in, but he missed and Ndukwu tried to cut the ball back across goal, but Harvey White was on hand to head it away from danger. Spurs broke forward through J’Neil Bennett who went on a positive driving run down the left flank before cutting inside onto his right foot and dragging an effort wide of Eldin Jakupović’s goal. The game was being played at a high tempo. The alert Brandon Austin did well to tip Lamine Kaba Sherif’s powerful effort from long range, over the crossbar. Steve Beaglehole’s side almost took the lead from the resulting corner kick, after the unmarked Taylor Allen (on trial for Leicester) was picked out at the back post from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s corner kick. However, Allen decided to head the ball into the ground, and it ended up bouncing harmlessly over Brandon Austin’s crossbar much to the Spurs goalkeepers relief. A couple of minutes later Callum Wright managed to twist and turn his way around Harvey White down the left flank, before entering the Tottenham penalty area. Wright attempted to test Austin with a powerful effort, but Lyons-Foster was in a good position to block his shot. The game continued to be played at a high tempo, a cross from Calvin Ughelumba almost managed to pick out Admiral Muskwe inside the Spurs penalty area however, the brave Dennis Cirkin had managed to get in front of the Leicester striker in the middle of the box, to win a free kick. Shilow Tracey went on a promising attacking foray through the middle of the pitch a couple of minutes later, before blasting the ball over Eldin Jakupović’s crossbar from long range. The ‘ Foxes ‘ continued to put pressure on the young Spurs defence. After Leshabela had shifted the ball out to Callum Wright on the right wing, the wide man whipped a menacing ball into the Spurs box which Lyons-Foster was forced to clear behind for a corner kick. From Dewsbury-Hall’s resulting corner kick the ball ended up coming to Layton Ndukwu inside the penalty area. Ndukwu had two shots on goal blocked by Jonathan Dinzeyi in quick succession.

Tariq Hinds then conceded a free kick right on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area. However, Leicester’s Layton Ndukwu curled his resulting effort high and wide of the Spurs goal. Wayne Burnett’s side tried to respond, Harvey White passed the ball to Cirkin on the left flank. The left back played the ball down the line to Bennett who came inside before having a pop on goal. Bennett’s powerful low effort took a hefty deflection off of Leicester defender Alex Pascanu before going narrowly over Eldin Jakupović’s crossbar. Harvey White managed to pick out Brooklyn Lyons-Foster at the near post from the following corner kick however, the defenders headed effort on goal was blocked by Alex Pascanu who had closed him down well. The Tottenham defence had to be alert at all times against Steve Beaglehole’s well structured side. A dangerous in swinging cross from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall came to Layton Ndukwu inside the Spurs penalty area. The Leicester City striker sent a looping header towards the Spurs goal, where Calvin Ughelumba ended up heading it up in the air. The ball was eventually cleared, but only to Khanya Leshabela who was waiting on the edge of the penalty area. The Leicester midfielder set himself up well before volleying the ball past Brandon Austin and into the back of the net to give the home side the lead, 0-1. Burnett’s side tried to respond, Dennis Cirkin played a clever pass down the left flank towards Shilow Tracey however, Jakupović came out to claim the ball before the 20 year old could get to it. Jonathan Dinzeyi was on hand at the opposite end of the pitch to clear Calvin Ughelumba’s dangerous cross. However, the 19 year old centre half didn’t deal so comfortably with the same players cross a couple of minutes later. Dinzeyi completely missed the ball while trying to clear Ughelumba’s cross however, he did manage to recover well to clear the ball in time. The impressive Brooklyn Lyons-Foster did well to cut out Khanya Leshabela’s intended through ball to Layton Ndukwu as the ‘ Foxes ‘ maintained their high tempo. 

After Ughelumba had done well to find Taylor Allen down the right hand side of the Spurs penalty area the winger tried to get a shot away quickly however, J’Neil Bennett had tracked back well to close him down and block his resulting effort. Leicester continued to dominate the match, after Ndukwu had received Kaba Sherif’s pass down the right wing he advanced forward, beating Cirkin for pace before whipping the ball into the danger zone towards Ughelumba at the back post. Fortunately for Spurs, Tashan Oakley-Boothe was there to knock the ball behind for a corner kick. After being allowed to run unopposed through the middle of the pitch Layton Ndukwu forced a comfortable save out of Brandon Austin to deny his powerful low effort on goal. With a little over ten minutes of the first half remaining Wayne Burnett decided to make a substitution. He brought off Tashan Oakley-Boothe for Jack Roles who would play up top, with Shilow Tracey switching out on to the right flank as Spurs played in a 4-3-3 formation. J’Neil Bennett had a cross cleared away by Leicester captain Sam Hughes, before George Marsh managed to clear Kaba Sherif’s cross at the other end of the pitch. Spurs went on a good attack shortly afterwards, Cirkin passed the ball to Bennett who then passed it to Roles. The Cyprus under 21 international gave the ball to Tracey who then passed to Bennett on the edged of the Leicester penalty area. The wingers resulting effort on goal was blocked by Lamine Kaba Sherif. After receiving Jack Roles’ pass midfielder Harvey White fired a hopeful low effort wide of the Leicester goal, from long range. The game continued to excite, after doing well to meet Alex Pascanu’s low cross on the edge of the Tottenham box, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall fired a first time effort over Brandon Austin’s crossbar to waste a great chance for the home side. The Spurs goalkeeper was called into action a couple of minutes later to keep out Taylor Allen’s powerful effort after he had received Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s pass down the left wing before Callum Wright fired an effort over Austin’s goal. Harvey White’s corner kick in first half stoppage time did cause quite a bit of panic inside the Leicester City penalty area. Eldin Jakupović resorted to punching White’s delivery into the air, Kaba Sherif managed to head the ball away from the goal but only towards Maghoma on the edge of the box. Where the Spurs midfielder volleyed the ball wide of the relieved Jakupović’s goal. Bringing to an end a difficult first half for Wayne Burnett’s young side.

Spurs got the second half underway but once again it was Leicester who managed to create the first decent chance of the half. Callum Wright managed to pick out Sam Hughes inside the Spurs box from his free kick. However, Hughes’ powerful low header was tipped behind for a corner kick by Austin who made another impressive reflex save. Thanks mainly to a wonderful surging run from Dennis Cirkin, Burnett’s side managed to net a surprise equaliser less than three minutes into the second half. The adventurous left back picked the ball up down the left flank before going on an excellent surging run. Cirkin sprinted past both Lamine Kaba Sherif and Layton Ndukwu as he brought the ball forward before passing the ball into the feet of Bennett who made a run down the left side of the Leicester box. The speedy winger tried to cut the ball back to Roles in the centre of the box. His pass deflected off of Alex Pascanu before the alert Roles came sliding in to poke the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, courtesy of it coming off the bottom of the post on its way in, 1-1. Jack Roles went in search of a penalty kick shortly after the restart, when his effort on goal appeared to strike the hand of Layton Ndukwu inside the Leicester box. Spurs were playing a lot better during the beginning of the second half and they continued to create chances. After receiving Lyons-Foster’s pass, Shilow Tracey attempted to slip Jack Roles through on goal with an ambitious pass, but Jakupović came rushing off his line to claim it before Roles could get to it. Incidentally Jack Roles came close to playing Tracey through on goal a couple of minutes later. Dennis Cirkin did well to block Lamine Kaba Sherif’s low drive at the other end of the pitch, after the ‘ Foxes ‘ fullback had pounced on Lyons-Foster’s sloppy pass out from the back. J’Neil Bennett was given a yellow card for a late challenge on Sam Hughes, before Cirkin did well to head Calvin Ughelumba’s dangerous in swinging cross away from danger, at Brandon Austin’s back post. After managing to latch onto Kaba Sherif’s pass down the right side of the Spurs box Layton Ndukwu attempted to catch Austin by surprise with a quick effort. However, the attentive Lyons-Foster managed to block his effort behind for a corner kick.

After White had passed the ball to Maghoma the Tottenham midfielder decided to have a pop on goal from just over 20 yards out. Maghoma’s effort deflected off of Alex Pascanu and it almost ran through to Marsh inside the penalty area, but Jakupović managed to smother the ball in the nick of time. Dennis Cirkin made an excellent sliding challenge on Layton Ndukwu to win the ball off of the Leicester forward down the left channel, before Tariq Hinds managed to block Callum Wright’s effort on goal. The game was anybody’s to win as we entered the final stages of the second half. J’Neil Bennett whipped an excellent cross into the Leicester penalty area but it was cleared behind for a corner by Sam Hughes. Beaglehole’s side came close to regaining their lead after Wright managed to pick out Ndukwu in the centre of the Spurs box with a clever pass. However, the Leicester striker couldn’t convert from close range and he somehow ended up jabbing the ball over Brandon Austin’s crossbar. Burnett’s battling young men then went on an attack down the opposite end of the pitch and it would end in Jack Roles netting what turned out to be the winner in the 82nd minute of time. After Roles had done well to win the ball with his back to goal, on the edge of the Leicester penalty area, he passed the ball to Marsh. The Spurs captain shifted the ball out to Hinds down the right flank. The fullback spotted Roles who had made a run into the penalty area, before sending in a low cross towards the makeshift centre forward. The intelligent playmaker managed to flick Hinds’ pass underneath Jakupović and into the back of the net, courtesy of a clever, improvised back heel to net the winner, 2-1. Paris Maghoma was replaced by Dylan Duncan shortly afterwards as Spurs switched to a more defensive formation. Shilow Tracey got booked for time wasting before Jonathan Dinzeyi did well to clear Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s cross. Khanya Leshabela had an effort on goal blocked by Lyons-Foster before Austin comfortably gathered the ball. Spurs made their last substitution deep in second half stoppage time when they brought off J’Neil Bennett for 16 year old centre half Malachi Walcott.

Brandon Austin did well to claim Kaba Sherif’s late cross before there was a late confrontation between Alex Pascanu and Shilow Tracey. There was to be another more serious confrontation a matter of moments later, this time it involved Calvin Ughelumba and George Marsh. After not liking a challenge that the Spurs captain had made on him, Ughelumba squared up to Marsh and the two put their heads together with Marsh ending up throwing himself on the floor, claiming that Ughelumba had head butted him. The Spurs captain had milked the situation and the Leicester City full back was shown a slightly harsh straight red card, before the referee Peter Gibbins showed Marsh a yellow card. The Tottenham captain did well to clear Callum Wright’s late free kick as Burnett’s combative side held on to record a hugely important three points. It was an excellent second half performance from the considerably younger team (Spurs) and it was a good all round performance from the lads who really needed to record a win on Friday. Spurs’ next PL2 game is not until Monday the eighth of April when they host Blackburn Rovers at our brand new 62,000 seater stadium. We are now in a good position to avoid the drop into division two.

Player reviews: 

  • Brandon Austin: The Tottenham goalkeeper made five saves on Friday evening as he helped Spurs to record their first PL2 win of 2019. As always, Austin put in an assured performance, dealing well with crosses and set pieces. He also made a number of smart stops which proved to be very important on the night. The 20 year old will be hoping to be included in the England under 20 squad for the upcoming international break. 
  • Tariq Hinds: It was another solid performance from the 18 year old right back who dealt well with the threat that Leicester’s left winger Taylor Allen posed. Hinds protected his side of the pitch well, and he made a couple of important blocks and interceptions.
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: Operating at RCB the second year scholar put in another very solid performance for our under 23’s on Friday evening. The classy ball playing centre half formed a particularly strong partnership with his former under 18 teammate Jonathan Dinzeyi. He was dominant in the air, he also made some good passes and some important interceptions. However, it was the the 18 year olds almost impeccable positioning and ability to be in the right place at the right time, which impressed me the most on the night. I lost count at the number of blocks that Lyons-Foster made against Leicester.
  • Jonathan Dinzeyi: The 19 year old made his first start for Burnett’s side of 2019 on Friday. Dinzeyi put in a very assured defensive performance alongside Lyons-Foster. He read the game well and he really grew in to the game as it went on. The Islington born defender made some really important defensive interventions, and throughout the game he performed his role diligently and to great effect. Dinzeyi was excellent in the air and I thought that he did a good job at bringing the ball out from the back.
  • Dennis Cirkin: My motm, see below.
  • Harvey White: The star of the following Friday’s 1-1 draw against Chelsea, put in yet another impressive performance in central midfield for Burnett’s side on the Friday just gone. It was a more combative performance from White who did a good job at breaking up play and recycling possession. The 17 year old made some brilliant crunching challenges, and he asserted himself well on the game.
  • George Marsh: Playing in a slightly more advanced role against Leicester, Spurs captain George Marsh put in a tidy performance in central midfield alongside Harvey White. The hardworking and motivational midfielder was involved in the build up play to our late winner.
  • Tashan Oakley-Boothe: Once again the Under 17 World Cup winner started out on the right wing. However, the 19 year old only completed 34 minutes of Friday’s match before being replaced by Jack Roles. Oakley-Boothe saw very little of the ball during his time on the pitch however, he could well have been carrying an injury.
  • Paris Maghoma: The England under 18 international started the game as a CAM although he would later drop back to play in a midfield three. It was a tireless performance from the North Londoner who always made himself available to receive the ball and attempt to create chances for his teammates by going on driving forward runs. Maghoma’s surging run through the middle of the pitch contributed to us netting our late winner.
  • J’Neil Bennett: This was another very good performance from the tricky winger out on the left flank. Bennett’s direct style of play caused problems for Leicester right back Lamine Kaba Sherif. The Camden born forward created a number of good chances for Spurs on the night, he also tracked back well to help out the defence, once again linking up well with left back Dennis Cirkin. Bennett got the assist for Jack Roles’ first goal, the 17 year old has now made ten appearances for Wayne Burnett’s side so far this season.
  • Shilow Tracey: The 20 year old started the game as an out and out striker although he would later play out on the right wing following the introduction of Jack Roles. Tracey worked exceptionally hard throughout the match, using the ball intelligently, and going on many purposeful, lung bursting forward runs.
  • Jack Roles: It was a quite magnificent from the first half substitute who totally transformed Friday evenings game after he was introduced in the 34th minute of the match. It was a seriously intelligent performance from Roles who put in a great shift as a number nine. He linked up play well and he played with a real confidence about him. Constantly getting himself into good positions and managing to link up well with the likes of Bennett, Tracey and Maghoma. Roles scored both of our goals, the first was a poachers finish to turn home J’Neil Bennett’s cut back from inside the penalty area. His second started and ended with the 20 year old who managed to convert Tariq Hinds’ low cross with a classy back heel from close range. Roles has now scored ten goals for our development side this season!
  • Dylan Duncan: The 20 year old helped to bolster the midfield during the late stages of the game. It was a good cameo from Duncan who pressed the Leicester players well during his time on the pitch.
  • Malachi Walcott: The 16 year old PL2 debutant helped out the Spurs defence after coming on in second half stoppage time.

My man of the match: Dennis Cirkin put in yet another assured and highly efficient performance at left back for Burnett’s side, in their 2-1 win over Leicester City on Friday. Cirkin put in a typically faultless performance where he was intelligent, dominant, aggressive and decisive. Cirkin defended extremely well against Leicester’s Callum Wright and he made numerous interceptions, blocks, challenges and clearances. What I liked about the England under 17 internationals performance was that he always wanted to be first to every ball, and it’s that Rose-esque aggressiveness which is one of his greatest attributes. Cirkin played a massive part in our opening goal after he went on a superb surging run down the left flank, before passing the ball to J’Neil Bennett inside the Leicester penalty area. I couldn’t sing the first years scholars praises high enough. He is a special young talent and the fact that he is England under 17’s first choice left back says a lot. Offensively, he reminds me a lot of our former Academy player Nick Tsaroulla who was another favourite of mine.

Leicester City: Jakupovic, Sherif, Ughelumba, Dewsbury-Hall, Hughes (c), Pascanu, Wright, Leshabela, Muskwe, Ndukwu (Loft 80), Allen (Shade 76). Substitutes (not used): Heaven, Johansson, Tavares.

Spurs: Austin, Hinds, Cirkin, White, Lyons-Foster, Dinzeyi, Oakley-Boothe (Roles 34), Marsh (c), Tracey, Maghoma (Duncan 84), Bennett (Walcott 90+2). Substitutes (not used): De Bie, Markanday.

Goals: Leicester – Leshabela 20; Spurs – Roles 49, 82.

Yellow cards: Leicester – Ndukwu 69; Spurs – Bennett 61, Tracey 90.

Red card: Leicester – Ughelumba 90+4.

Referee: Peter Gibbins.

Venue: Holmes Park, Leicester.

Spurs under 21/23’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Jack Roles – 10

Shayon Harrison – 5

Kazaiah Sterling – 5

Paris Maghoma – 4

Jaden Brown – 2

Vincent Janssen – 2

Samuel Shashoua – 1

Marcus Edwards – 1

Dylan Duncan – 1

Phoenix Patterson – 1

Harvey White – 1

Tashan Oakley-Boothe – 1

Shilow Tracey – 1

Anthony Georgiou – 1

Assists: Jack Roles – 6

Kazaiah Sterling – 3

Vincent Janssen – 3

J’Neil Bennett – 3

Paris Maghoma – 2

Jaden Brown – 2

Tariq Hinds – 2

Troy Parrott – 1

Shayon Harrison – 1

Oliver Skipp – 1

Tashan Oakley-Boothe – 1

Dylan Duncan – 1

Jamie Bowden – 1

George Marsh – 1

Anthony Georgiou – 1

Shilow Tracey – 1

Dennis Cirkin – 1

Clean sheets: Brandon Austin – 2

Alfie Whiteman – 1

Spurs under 18’s versus Southampton: (match preview)

Spurs under 18’s versus Southampton: (match preview)

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Matt Wells’ under 18 side recorded an emphatic 5-3 league victory over London rivals West Ham last Saturday. It was a victory which was made even more impressive by the fact that Spurs were missing so many players for the game. Most interesting of all was the inclusion of Notts County striker Kion Etete in Matt Wells’ side for the London Derby against West Ham. Etete (17) has already featured for Notts County’s first team on a number of occasions this season but the highly rated centre forward is currently on trial at Spurs and he could well featured for our under 18’s again on Friday. Unfortunately I and so many others were unable to attend last Saturday’s match due to being at the North London Derby, at Wembley on the same day. I did hear that our under 18’s put in another impressive performance against West Ham particularly during the first half when they managed to score four goals, it was another dominant performance from Wells’ side. A win against the ‘ Saints ‘ on Friday morning would see Spurs go back to the top of the under 18 Premier League South, providing that Arsenal don’t win on the same day. This match was supposed to be played last month however, it fell foul to the weather. Friday’s rearranged match will be a difficult one for Spurs to win considering all of the injury problems that they currently have. Paul Hardyman’s Southampton side have been doing quite well lately. They sit in fifth place in the league table, and from their last five league games they have picked up ten points. They have a squad which is brimming with attacking talent and while we did beat them 5-2 in the reverse fixture back in September, Hardyman’s side showed their attacking quality during that game. With pacy forward and former Spurs schoolboy Rio Glean impressing along with tricky Irish winger Will Ferry. Technically speaking Southampton’s under 18’s have been one of the best in England over the last five or so years, and they are never afraid to attack teams.

The ‘ Saints ‘ have a number of players who I like, of which include Irish fullback Kameron Ledwidge, French centre half Allan Tchaptchet and Southampton’s top scorer this season with nine league goals, Christian Norton. It’s difficult to predict what side Matt Wells will field on Friday however, I would imagine that we will see a number of schoolboys feature once again. I am very confident that Spurs will continue their excellent league form by beating Paul Hardyman’s side. I would like to wish the lads all the very best of luck for the game and I look forward to reporting on it.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Kurylowicz, Clarke, Statham, Okedina, Binks, Pedder, Bowden (c), Pochettino, Cooper, Markanday, Etete.

Subs from: Lo-Tutala, John, Patterson, Asante.

Injured/unavailable: Jeremie Mukendi, Maximus Tainio, Troy Parrott 

Doubtful: Joshua Oluwayemi, Jamie Bowden, Rodel Richards, Elliott Thorpe, Enoch Asante.

Previous meeting: Spurs 5-2.

My score prediction: Spurs

My one to watch: Ireland under 19 international Will Ferry is a young man who possesses outstanding skill and balance. Ferry is a winger who primarily operates out on the left flank. The Bury born second year scholar has tremendous dribbling and crossing ability and he has found the back of the net on seven occasions for Paul Hardyman’s side this season.

Spurs under 23’s versus Leicester City: (match preview)

Spurs under 23’s versus Leicester City: (match preview)

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After putting in a heroic performance against Chelsea last Friday evening to record a 1-1 draw despite playing with ten men for the majority of the game, Wayne Burnett’s side will be hoping to go one step further on Friday when they travel to the East Midlands to face Leicester City. Our match against the ‘ Foxes ‘ at Holmes Park is the first of four cup finals for our under 23’s who will be hoping to secure their first division status before their final league game against Derby County in April. Steve Beaglehole’s Leicester City side occupy fourth spot in the league table, ten points off of league leaders Everton. Beaglehole’s side have lost their last three PL2 matches but they will be hopeful that they can return to winning ways against Spurs. Leicester’s home form has been good this season, and the 2017/18 PL2 title contenders have won an impressive five of their nine home league matches this campaign. Spurs on the other hand have the worst away form in the league. The reverse league fixture back in October was one of our under 23’s best performances this season. They overcame a Leicester side which fielded both Andy King and Danny Simpson, the young Lilywhites put in a superb defensive performance that day. One player who struggled to make an impact against our defence in that match, was former Spurs player Ryan Loft. Many of you will remember the burly centre forward from his time in our under 18’s side. Loft is yet to find the back of the net for the ‘ Foxes ‘ in the PL2 since making the move from North London last summer. The former Ebbsfleet schoolboy has made 16 league appearances for Beaglehole’s side so far this season, and his aerial presence will make like difficult for the young Spurs defenders on Friday. Some of the ‘ Foxes ‘ other danger men include attacking midfielder Layton Ndukwu who has scored three goals from six league games this campaign. 18 year old winger Tyrese Shade is another player to keep an eye on, as are defenders Calvin Ughelumba and Alexandru Pascanu.

Over recent seasons Leicester’s development side have had a very strong defence and they have been historically difficult to break down. Last season Beaglehole’s side defeated us 6-1 at Holmes Park, in a game which Spurs ended playing with nine men following the second half dismissals of Oliver Skipp and George Marsh. Wayne Burnett’s side will most likely include a number of players from the under 18 squad on Friday, with first year scholars J’Neil Bennett, Harvey White and Dennis Cirkin all likely to play. All three of those players were excellent against Chelsea in our last match. I will be heading off to to Holmes Park on Friday afternoon straight from Hotspur Way, as I will be reporting on our under 18’s league game against Southampton in the morning. I would like to wish Wayne Burnett’s side all the very best of luck for this important league match.

My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Austin, Hinds, Lyons-Foster, Dinzeyi, Cirkin, White, Marsh (c), Oakley-Boothe, Maghoma, Bennett, Tracey.

Subs from: Glover, Walcott, A.Shashoua, Duncan.

Injured/unavailable: Luke Amos, Jamie Reynolds, Japhet Tanganga (suspended), Troy Parrott, Phoenix Patterson, Maximus Tainio.

Doubtful: Alfie Whiteman, TJ Eyoma, Jack Roles, Jamie Bowden, Rodel Richards.

Previous meeting: Spurs 1-0 

My score prediction: Spurs 3-2.

My one to watch: The ‘ Foxes ‘ target man and former Spurs Academy player Ryan Loft. The 21 year old will be eager to impress against his old club on Friday, and his physicality and aerial presence will cause problems for the Spurs defence in the absence of the suspended Japhet Tanganga.

Some notes on Spurs loanee Anthony Georgiou’s performance against CD Castellón:

Some notes on Spurs loanee Anthony Georgiou’s performance against CD Castellón:

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Spurs loanee Anthony Georgiou was in action for Spanish third division side Atlético Levante on Sunday afternoon when the ‘ Granotas ‘ B team faced local rivals CD Castellón at a packed out Nou Estadi Castàlia. The Cyprus international started Sunday’s league game out on the left wing in a 4-2-3-1 formation, Georgiou would complete 64 minutes of the match. This was a difficult game for Luis Tevenet’s Levante side, who came up against a very well structured and solid Castellón defence who did their best to nullify the wide men. This made Georgiou’s task that little bit more difficult and it meant that he couldn’t really express himself out on the left flank. The home side were the better team for large periods of the game and after they took the lead in the first half through Rubén Díez they looked as if they were going to win the game however, Levante battled well and they were able to net an equaliser late on in the game to gain a vital point. There was a good atmosphere for Sunday’s Derby match at the Nou Estadi Castàlia, this would have been one of the best atmospheres that young Anthony Georgiou would ever have experienced. The 22 year old caught the eye during the opening stages of the match with his tracking back and defensive work to help out Levante left back Rulo. Georgiou’s first real attacking involvement in the game occurred after the winger exchanged passes with Pepelu down the left channel before laying the ball off to Eneko on the edge of the Castellón penalty area, but the ‘ Granotas ‘ striker fired wide of Campos‘ goal. Georgiou made his first important defensive intervention of the game around five minute later. The deep lying winger did well to cut out Rubén Díez’s pass through to César Díaz down the the right flank. It’s a good job that Georgiou was there to make their interception as Díaz would have had a clean route through to goal, if he had received the pass. Despite a fairly even start to the game it was the home side who took the lead through Rubén Díez after his deflected effort on goal had managed to creep past Levante goalkeeper Cárdenas and into the back of the net.

It had been difficult for Georgiou to influence the game from an attacking perspective during the first half as Levante weren’t playing with much width about them. After a free kick for Luis Tevenet’s side had amounted to nothing, the ball came to Pepelu on the edge of the Castellón penalty area. The Levante midfielder teed the ball off to Georgiou who struck the ball first time on his left foot. However, his powerful low drive went wide of the Castellón goal. A couple of moments later Georgiou received the ball from Pepelu out on the left wing, he continued forward before pumping the ball into the danger zone in an attempt to pick out Levante centre forward Eneko. However, the youngsters cross ended up going straight down the throat of Castellón goalkeeper Campos, who claimed the ball. I noticed that Georgiou’s English speaking teammate Shaq Moore gave him some advice after a break in play, a couple of minutes later. Georgiou was the victim of some cynical fouls from the Castellón defenders who were intent on stopping the pacy winger from going on surging forward runs down the left wing. His movement during the opening stages of the game had been good and he had been doing well to keep up with the pace of the game. A corner kick which was whipped in by Joan, managed to find its way to Georgiou down the right wing after he had won the ball off of Satrústegui. The skilful Cyprus international managed to hold off the Castellón defender before sending a low cross into the penalty area, however, it was cleared behind for a corner kick by Gálvez. Less then a minute after the resulting corner kick was taken, Georgiou could be seen defending down the opposite end of the pitch, the referee blew his whistle for time a couple of moments later. Blesa came close to finding an equaliser from a free kick, shortly after the restart. After Joan had managed to win a free kick out on the right flank, Georgiou elected to take it. He whipped an excellent pacy ball into the danger zone, managing to pick out Genís whose looping header on goal was saved relatively comfortably by Campos. Georgiou delivered a decent corner kick into the box shortly afterwards but it was cleared away from danger by Castellón defender Muguruza.

Georgiou was working hard, to try and create chances for his struggling teammates down the left hand channel. After Genís had shifted the ball out to the Lewisham born winger down the left flank, Georgiou managed to dart past Muguruza as he powered forward. However, the Castellón fullback caught the Spurs man from behind, but he was able to keep his balance and eventually whip the ball into the danger zone. Eneko almost managed to meet it at Campos’ back post. Georgiou was enjoying a decent spell in the game and after he had managed to make a good run down the left side of the Castellón penalty area he received Joan’s pass. Georgiou took a touch before blazing an effort over Campos‘ crossbar, it was to be his final involvement in the game as he was replaced by Joel straight afterwards. Anthony looked disappointed to have been brought off so early on in the second half, but despite the circumstances of the game and the solidity of the oppositions defence, Georgiou should be able to hold his head high after putting in another battling performance for the Spanish club, on only his third appearance for them. Georgiou did very well considering that he was essentially living off of scraps down the left hand side of the pitch. From a defensive perspective I thought that the 22 year old had a very good game. He really helped out Levante’s left back Rulo by making some important defensive contributions throughout the match. Georgiou’s willingness to track and stay deep frustrated Castellón winger César Díaz. And from an offensive point of view I was proud of how he was constantly getting himself into good spaces and positions out wide, and making some good forward runs. Georgiou pumped some good crosses into the danger zone, and he was involved in a number of good attacks for Luis Tevenet’s side. His high work rate, tigerish pressing and willingness to get stuck in were all positive things which I noticed from Anthony’s performance. The ‘ Granotas ‘ B teams next match is on Sunday when they host Alcoyano at the Ciudad Deportiva de Buñol. With an international break coming up towards the end of the month, I would be very surprised if Anthony wasn’t called up to the Cyprus senior team for any international friendlies that they might play.

Anthony Georgiou for Atlético Levante this season:

Appearances: 3

Goals: 1

Assists: 0

Spurs under 23’s 1-1 Chelsea: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 1-1 Chelsea: (match report)

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Our under 23’s took on London rivals Chelsea on Friday evening at the Lamex Stadium, in the PL2. Wayne Burnett’s side put in a fantastic performance against the ‘ Blues ‘ under testing circumstances, after our captain Japhet Tanganga was sent off towards the end of the first half. Once again Burnett’s side had to turn to their under 18 squad, as they were without a whole host of their most important and experienced players for Friday’s match. A total of five scholars were involved against Joe Edwards‘ Chelsea side. It was a fast paced London Derby in which Spurs started well. J’Neil Bennett came close to giving Spurs an early lead, while the visitors did manage to create some promising chances down the other end of the pitch, before the deadlock was broken in the 17th minute of the game. A sharp and incisive attacking move from Spurs resulted in the majestic Harvey White shifting the ball out to Dennis Cirkin on the left flank. The 16 year old left back managed to skip past Wales international Ethan Ampadu before whipping the ball across the face of the Chelsea goal. The ball took a cruel deflection off of the ‘ Blues ‘ skipper Richard Nartey who ended up turning the ball into his own net to give Spurs the lead. After going ahead Spurs continued to play some nice attacking football as they looked to extend their lead. Although they did come close to doubling their advantage on a couple of occasions throughout the first half, it was to end in disappointment for Burnett’s hardworking side after Japhet Tanganga was sent off in the 41st minute. The Tottenham captain had failed to deal with a long ball from Chelsea’s Marc Guehi, which ended up looping over the Spurs defence before setting the speedy Daishawn Redan through on goal. The former AJAX schoolboy easily managed to get around Tanganga and dart into the Tottenham penalty area. However, Tanganga lost his composure and he panicked, blatantly catching Redan from behind to concede a penalty. The referee Sam Allison showed the 19 year old his second yellow card of the game. Billy Gilmour converted from the spot to draw Chelsea level, and for the rest of the game Spurs would have to compete with ten men.

The young Lilywhites battled hard during the second period and some heroic defending from the likes of Marsh and Lyons-Foster, as well as a number of crucial saves from Brandon Austin helped Spurs to cling on, to record a hugely important point. It was a very impressive performance from a very young and inexperienced Spurs side, against a Chelsea team who had some very good players out on the pitch. Spurs played some really good attacking football on Friday evening, but it was their togetherness and solidity at the back which proved to be most important of all. Wayne Burnett’s side lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation for their league game against mid table Chelsea. Brandon Austin retained his place in goal, while a back four of Hinds, Lyons-Foster, the captain Japhet Tanganga and Cirkin lined up in front of him. First year scholar Harvey White started alongside second year pro George Marsh in central midfield, while Tashan Oakley-Boothe and J’Neil Bennett started out wide, either side of Paris Maghoma who operated as a CAM. 20 year old forward Shilow Tracey led the line for Spurs in the absence of Troy Parrott. Spurs got the game underway at the Lamex Stadium, and it was the home side who started the game brightly. After cutting inside from the left flank, the lively J’Neil Bennett curled an effort narrowly wide of Jamie Cumming’s goal from 25 yards out. A couple of minutes later Paris Maghoma cleared Tariq Uwakwe’s corner away from the danger zone, but only into the path of Conor Gallagher who fired an effort wide of Brandon Austin’s goal on the half volley. Juan Castillo came close to picking out  Martell Taylor-Crossdale after whipping an inviting ball towards Austin’s back post however, Taylor-Crossdale was unable to get to the ball before it went out of play. Chelsea went on a dangerous attack shortly afterwards, defender Ian Maatsen went on a driving run through the middle of the pitch before passing the ball to Taylor-Crossdale down the left flank, right on the edge of the Tottenham box. However, the Chelsea forward set himself up wrong for the shot, and his first time curling effort ended up going into the car park behind the stadium.

The match was being played at a high tempo during the opening stages of the half, and it meant that both defences had to be alert. After Ethan Ampadu played the ball down the right flank to Castillo, the alert Brandon Austin was quickly on the scene. The 20 year old had come rushing out of his box clear the ball before the speedy Dutchman could get to it. A couple of moments later Conor Gallagher shifted the ball out to Castillo on the right flank. The Chelsea winger traveled forward with the ball before cutting inside onto his left foot and testing Austin with a curling effort, which the Tottenham goalkeeper was able to hold. Spurs went on a promising attack down the opposite end of the pitch, after Harvey White had passed the ball to Tashan Oakley-Boothe down the right flank. The former England under 18 international passed the ball to Marsh on the edge of the penalty area but, the Spurs midfielder was intercepted by Ampadu just before he was about to have a pop on goal. The Welshman then cleared the ball away from the danger zone. Wayne Burnett’s side took the lead in the 17th minute of the game thanks to some good work from young Dennis Cirkin down the left wing. A good passing move from Spurs resulted in the ever present Harvey White picking out Cirkin on the left flank. The England under 17 international travelled forward with the ball at speed, darting past Ethan Ampadu before whipping a dangerous low cross into the Chelsea box. Chelsea captain Richard Nartey attempted to clear Cirkin’s cross however, the ‘ Blues ‘ defender ended up turning the ball past Cumming and into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, 1-0. Brooklyn Lyons-Foster received the first yellow card of the game in the 20th minute after fouling Conor Gallagher. Burnett’s side continued to play some really good football as the half progressed. After the alert Paris Maghoma managed to intercept Ian Maatsen’s pass, the Tottenham midfielder went on a mazy forward run through the middle of the pitch. Maghoma then passed the ball to Bennett who had made a run down the left side of the Chelsea box. The winger took a couple of touches before curling an effort towards the far corner of Jamie Cumming’s goal, but the Chelsea goalkeeper managed to somehow, tip the ball behind for a corner kick.

The resulting corner kick was whipped in by set piece specialist Harvey White, the 17 year olds dangerous delivery caused some confusion amongst the Chelsea defence before Tariq Uwakwe managed to frantically clear the ball in time. After doing well to pounce on a loose ball, the lively J’Neil Bennett darted forward before bending a delightful effort narrowly wide of Cumming’s goal, from just over 20 yards out. Chelsea then went on a promising attack down the opposite end of the pitch. Gallagher did well to thread a pass through to the so far uninvolved Daishawn Redan down the left side of the Spurs box. However, the Dutchman’s attempted shot was blocked by Lyons-Foster before being gobbled up by Brandon Austin. A couple of of minutes later Paris Maghoma received the ball from George Marsh, he then went on a surging run through the middle of the pitch. The silky midfielder managed to gracefully skip around Billy Gilmour before passing the ball to Shilow Tracey down the left side of the Chelsea penalty area. However, the makeshift centre forward was closed down well by Richard Nartey who managed to block his resulting effort on goal. However, just a matter of moments later the game was turned on its head after Spurs were reduced to ten men, after skipper Japhet Tanganga gave away a penalty. A long searching pass from Marc Guehi looped over the top of the Tottenham defence, this set the pacy Daishawn Redan through on goal after he  had managed to get around Tanganga before entering the Tottenham penalty area. It was there that the Netherlands youth international was cynically caught from behind by Tanganga to prevent him from getting his shot away. The referee Sam Allison immediately to the spot, he then pondered for a moment before showing Tanganga a yellow card (his second of the game) before pulling out a red card much to the Spurs captains surprise. Scotland under 21 international Billy Gilmour stood up to take the penalty, before clinically curling the ball past the outstretched Brandon Austin and into the bottom left hand corner of the goal, 1-1.

Joe Edwards’ side tried to pull off the same trick a couple of minutes after the restart, after Gilmour attempted to set Redan through on goal once again, with another long pass. However, the composed Lyons-Foster was on hand to cut out Gilmour’s pass. Brandon Austin did well a couple of moments later to claim Juan Castillo’s dangerous, in swinging cross before Taylor-Crossdale could get to the ball. A disappointing end to the first half could have been even worse after Shilow Tracey conceded a free kick right on the edge of the Spurs penalty area as the ‘ Blues ‘ begun to dominate the game. Conor Gallagher’s resulting curling effort, managed to get up and over the Spurs wall before flashing narrowly wide of goal, much to the relief of the diving Austin. That was the final piece of action from the first half. The visitors got the second half underway against a Tottenham side who had changed to a 4-4-1 formation. George Marsh who was now filling in at centre half, did well to clear Juan Castillo’s cross into the Spurs box. A heavily deflected cross from the same player a couple of moments later managed to come to Ian Maatsen down the right side of the Tottenham penalty area. Maatsen then managed to pick out Taylor-Crossdale in the centre of the box with a lofted pass however, the Chelsea teenagers header on goal was saved relatively comfortably by Austin. George Marsh did well to clear another dangerous cross from Tariq Uwakwe a couple of moments later. Connor Gallagher fired an effort narrowly wide of Austin’s goal from long range as the ‘ Blues ‘ continued to dominate possession. After Tracey passed the ball to Bennett down the left wing, the 17 year old played the ball through to Maghoma. However, the midfielder didn’t have anybody in support and he was forced to take the ball into the Chelsea penalty area and cut inside before having a shot at goal, but his curling attempt was blocked behind for a corner kick by Richard Nartey. Spurs had a penalty shout waived away by the referee a couple of minutes later. After Cirkin had shifted the ball out to White down the left flank the midfielder whipped a promising cross into the box where he managed to pick out Shilow Tracey. However, the forwards header came straight off of Ampadu, possibly striking the 18 year olds arm.

After receiving Marc Guehi’s pass out on the left flank Chelsea substitute Luke McCormick whipped the ball across the face of the Spurs goal. Tariq Uwakwe then pumped the ball into the danger zone from the right wing, but the attentive Lyons-Foster managed to clear the ball to Gallagher on the edge of the penalty area. The Chelsea midfielder fired the ball past the helpless Austin and into the back of the goal however, the linesman on the far side had ruled it out for offside. Shilow Tracey went into the book a couple of minutes later for a foul on Gilmour. Marc Guehi saw his powerful low drive on goal deflect behind for a corner kick off of Marsh as the visitors continued to cause us problems. After Juan Castillo had managed to beat Tariq Hinds for pace down the left flank, the wide man whipped the ball into the Tottenham box. Lyons-Foster managed to head the ball away but only back into the feet of Castillo on the left flank. However, the Dutchman ended up curling the ball well wide of Brandon Austin’s goal. Chelsea continued to attack our defence, after Gallagher had passed the ball to Uwakwe down the right flank the ‘ Blues ‘ midfielder managed to race past Dennis Cirkin before crossing the ball for McCormick who had made a run into the Spurs box. The Chelsea substitute caught Uwakwe’s cross on the half volley, but he could only fire wide. A couple of minutes later George Marsh did well to cut out Ian Maatsen’s through ball before it reached Daishawn Redan. The Tottenham players had been doing a superb job in defence despite only having ten men on the field. Brandon Austin came out to authoritatively claim a corner kick from Billy Gilmour, before then doing well to gather Conor Gallagher’s powerful low effort from the edge of the Spurs penalty area. Brooklyn Lyons-Foster then managed to clear Juan Castillo’s resulting corner kick away from danger. After Paris Maghoma had done well to win a free kick out on the right flank, Harvey White delivered the ball into the Chelsea penalty area, forcing Ethan Ampadu to nod the ball behind  for a corner kick. Shilow Tracey then conceded a free kick in a dangerous position, at the opposite end of the pitch. However, Conor Gallagher curled his resulting effort over Brandon Austin’s crossbar.

The ever threatening Paris Maghoma went on an excellent surging forward run through the middle of the pitch after picking the ball up in central midfield. The Chelsea players couldn’t touch the skilful midfielder who took the ball to the edge of the Chelsea box before firing an effort narrowly over Jamie Cumming’s crossbar. After Gallagher received McCormick’s pass on the edge of the Spurs penalty area the Chelsea midfielder had a pop on goal, but his powerful effort was headed away by the alert George Marsh. Shortly afterwards Martell Taylor-Crossdale nodded over from Tariq Uwakwe’s cross. Wayne Burnett made two changes when he brought off J’Neil Bennett for Dylan Duncan, before then introducing centre half Jonathan Dinzeyi in the place of Shilow Tracey. Interestingly the 19 year old defender would play up top as a number nine. Chelsea continued to put our defence under pressure as the second half progressed. Brooklyn Lyons-Foster did well to clear Luke McCormick’s cross into the Spurs penalty area a matter of moments before Chelsea came close to taking the lead, for the first time in the game. After picking the ball up on the edge of the Spurs box, Tariq Uwakwe opened up his body before curling a spectacular effort off the underside of Austin’s crossbar. The ball bounced off the line and back into the air. Taylor-Crossdale left the ball for Castillo but the left winger wastefully blazed the ball over the bar, much to Taylor-Crossdale’s disbelief, and our relief. Chelsea came close to taking the lead again, a matter of moments later. After Uwakwe passed the ball to McCormick down the right hand side of the Spurs box the Chelsea player forced a good save out of Austin from his powerful low effort. Purposeful attacks were becoming few and far between for Burnett’s side who continued to focus their efforts on defending. Tashan Oakley-Boothe whipped a promising ball into the Chelsea box from the right flank, but the diving Jonathan Dinzeyi couldn’t get to the ball despite his best efforts. Young Dennis Cirkin was harshly booked for simulation after Ampadu won the ball off of him in the Chelsea penalty area. The Dubliner could then be seen sprinting down the other end of the pitch to make a crucial block to prevent Tariq Uwakwe from crossing the ball into the Spurs box. 

Ian Maatsen silenced the stadium after he managed to set Luke McCormick through on goal with a sublime pass to McCormick down the right side of the Spurs penalty area. The Chelsea youngster had only Brandon Austin to beat, but the Spurs goalkeeper spread himself well and he somehow managed to keep out McCormick’s thumping effort on goal, by making a superb reflex save at his near post. However, the danger wasn’t over there and the ball ended up coming back to McCormick whose powerful low drive was blocked on the line in the most incredible way, by the sliding George Marsh. Chelsea continued to put pressure on the Spurs defence, after McCormick sprayed the ball out to Castillo on the left flank, the Dutchman cushioned the ball down for Conor Gallagher on the edge of the Tottenham box. However, Gallagher’s powerful effort on the half volley was held well by Austin who made another important save. The Tottenham goalkeeper then did well to claim first Conor Gallagher’s corner kick, and then Luke McCormick’s cross. Spurs made their final substitution in the fourth minute of stoppage time after they brought off Paris Maghoma for Armando Shashoua for the final seconds of the game. A late cross from Juan Castillo into the Spurs box forced Jonathan Dinzeyi into heading the ball away. However, it came down for substitute George McEachran at the back post but Austin bravely managed to come out and claim McEachran’s lofted pass. The referee sounded his whistle for full time a couple of seconds later, rarely will a point have felt so sweet and deserved for Burnett’s defensively heroic side then it did on Friday night. That point could prove to be crucial for Burnett’s side come the end of the season. Up next for our under 23’s is a trip to the East Midlands to face Leicester City next Friday evening, that is also a PL2 game.

Player reviews:

  • Brandon Austin: The talented shot stopper made some crucial saves against his former club on Friday evening. Austin put in a fantastic performance, making six saves in total against the ‘ Blues ‘. The most important one was his excellent reflex save to deny Luke McCormick who was one on one with Austin in the penalty area, late on in the game. This was a very good performance from the 20 year old who although he was unlucky at times with his distribution, he dealt with crosses, set pieces and general play to great effect.
  • Tariq Hinds: The right back put in another solid performance for Wayne Burnett’s side where he defended his side of the pitch well against the speedy Juan Castillo. Hinds maintained good positioning throughout the match and he needed to against the tricky Castillo.
  • Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: The second year scholar operated at RCB against Chelsea and it was there that the classy defender put in an outstanding performance. Faultless from start to finish, Lyons-Foster rose to the occasion following the dismissal of Tanganga. The Islington born defender was superb in the air, winning the vast majority of his aerial duels. Lyons-Foster also made some crucial interceptions, challenges and clearances which saved Spurs on more than one occasion against their London rivals. The 18 year old read the game well and he cut out a couple of very dangerous passes. It was a very solid performance from Brooklyn.
  • Japhet Tanganga: It was a night to forget for the skipper Japhet Tanganga on Friday. Although the 19 year old centre back put in a solid performance for the majority of his 41 minutes on the pitch, a single rash decision to block Daishawn Redan a clear goal scoring chance ended in his untimely dismissal, and his absence put Spurs under great pressure.
  • Dennis Cirkin: Once again the tigerish left back put in a sterling performance for Wayne Burnett’s development side. Cirkin (16) performed diligently down the left side of the pitch, managing to keep Chelsea’s Conor  Gallagher in check for large periods of the game. The Dublin born defender made some vital defensive contributions, of which included last ditch challenges, blocks and interceptions. Cirkin’s hard work, determination and willingness to help out his teammates at both ends of the pitch, was priceless. The first year scholar was classy on the ball and he used his dribbling ability to great effect, going on some good surging runs down the left flank, and getting into some good positions to receive the ball in the first place. The England under 17 international created our goal after going on a good darting run down the left wing before whipping a quality cross into the danger zone, which was turned into the back of the Chelsea goal by Richard Nartey. Cirkin has been directly involved in five goals for Spurs this season.
  • Harvey White: My motm, see below.
  • George Marsh: After doing a good job in central midfield during the first half, it was after the dismissal of Tanganga which forced Marsh to slot into the back four, where he operated at LCB. While in that position Marsh was absolutely outstanding. He formed a particularly strong partnership and understanding with Lyons-Foster at centre back. The Pembury born teenager made some heroic challenges, blocks and clearances. His sliding block to deny Luke McCormick late on in the game was breathtaking!
  • Tashan Oakley-Boothe: The 19 year old completed the entirety of the game out on the right wing where he worked hard to try and make an impact on the game. Oakley-Boothe went on some good attacking forays and delivered some nice crosses into the Chelsea box. He also tracked back well after him.
  • Paris Maghoma: The silky central midfielder started the game as a CAM but he would revert back to CM for the beginning of the second half. This was a very good performance from the 17 year old who impressed both in his defending, and in in his attacking play where he was a constant pain for the Chelsea defence. Maghoma’s many driving and mazy runs through the middle of the pitch helped to open up the oppositions defence and he caused Chelsea a number of problems on the night. The central midfielder came close to finding the back of the net after going on one such surging run during the second half. Maghoma’s work rate and off the ball work was top class. He also impressed with his passing and his positioning.
  • J’Neil Bennett: Another player who had a really good game for Burnett’s side, the 17 year old had a lively game on the left flank. On another day Bennett could have had a hat-trick inside the first half. The winger looked very sharp against Chelsea and with his skill and pace he really worked Ethan Ampadu down the left side of the pitch. Bennett had a couple of very good attempts on goal, he also linked up well with left back Dennis Cirkin.
  • Shilow Tracey: The 20 year old put in a good shift up top as a number nine. Tracey completed 83 minutes of the match. He held the ball up well and brought others into the game while getting himself into some good positions inside the danger zone.
  • Dylan Duncan: The second half substitute had a lively cameo in central midfield. Duncan was involved in a couple of good counter attacks.
  • Jonathan Dinzeyi: The centre half replaced Shilow Tracey with less than seven minutes left on the clock. For the second time this season Wayne Burnett sent Dinzeyi on as a centre forward. The Islington born defender held the ball up well during the final moments of the game and his aerial presence helped us to defend corner kicks and set pieces.
  • Armando Shashoua: The 18 year old only came on in the dying seconds of the game, but he showed good energy during his short time on the pitch.

My man of the match: First year scholar Harvey White appears to have taken to under 23 football like a duck to water since making his debut back in November. On Friday, White made his third competitive appearance at this level and it was the 17 year olds best performance yet, for Wayne Burnett’s side. Operating as a CDM alongside both Marsh and Maghoma through different stages of the game, the classy midfielder stamped his authority on the game from the very start. He put in a dominant performance in central midfield as both an anchorman and as a midfield technician. White was so composed on the ball and he moved it around the pitch well, never holding on to it for too long at any given time. His passing was crisp and accurate, and apart from being involved in the build up play to our goal, the Maidstone born midfielder created a number of good chances for the attacking players. With his set pieces and crosses all spot on, on the night. As well as being nice and tidy in central midfield, White was also a shield in front of the back four. Mopping up well and breaking up play, Harvey White could be seen everywhere in Chelsea’s final third. Anticipating danger well and making some important defensive interventions throughout the game. This was another very mature performance from the young man who pulled the strings from midfield on Friday evening.

Spurs: Austin (c), Hinds, Cirkin, White, Tanganga (c), Lyons-Foster, Oakley-Boothe, Marsh, Tracey (Dinzeyi 83), Maghoma (A Shashoua 90+4), Bennett (Duncan 81). Substitute (not used): Glover.

Chelsea: Cumming, Ampadu, Nartey (c), Guehi, Maatsen (McCormick 60), Gilmour, Gallagher, Uwakwe (Colley 90), Redan (McEachran 75), Taylor-Crossdale, Castillo. Substitute (not used): Ziger.

Goals: Spurs – Nartey (OG) 17; Chelsea – Gilmour 42 (pen).

Yellow cards: Spurs – Lyons-Foster 20, Tanganga 25, 41, Tracey 64, Maghoma 83, Cirkin 88; Chelsea – Ampadu 89.

Red card: Spurs – Tanganga 41.

Referee: Sam Allison.

Venue: Lamex Stadium, Stevenage.

Spurs under 21/23’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Jack Roles – 8

Shayon Harrison – 5

Kazaiah Sterling – 5

Paris Maghoma – 4

Jaden Brown – 2

Vincent Janssen – 2

Samuel Shashoua – 1

Marcus Edwards – 1

Dylan Duncan – 1

Phoenix Patterson – 1

Harvey White – 1

Tashan Oakley-Boothe – 1

Shilow Tracey – 1

Anthony Georgiou – 1

Assists: Jack Roles – 6

Kazaiah Sterling – 3

Vincent Janssen – 3

Paris Maghoma – 2

J’Neil Bennett – 2

Jaden Brown – 2

Troy Parrott – 1

Shayon Harrison – 1

Oliver Skipp – 1

Tashan Oakley-Boothe – 1

Dylan Duncan – 1

Jamie Bowden – 1

George Marsh – 1

Tariq Hinds – 1

Anthony Georgiou – 1

Shilow Tracey – 1

Dennis Cirkin – 1

Clean sheets: Brandon Austin – 2

Alfie Whiteman – 1