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Brighton U18s 0-3 Spurs - report from Seagulls' training ground

Posted on 31 January 2015  - 15:24

Three second half goals from our latest crop of youngsters gave us a 3-0 victory at Brighton & Hove Albion in the Barclays Under-18 Premier League on Saturday lunchtime.

Josh Onomah in action at BrightonMarcus Edwards on the ballGoalkeeper Tom Glover stays alert after making a low saveThe players celebrate after Keanan Bennetts' goal

Marcus Edwards and Kazaiah Sterling each won and subsequently converted penalty kicks, before Keanan Bennetts completed the scoring with just his second touch at Under-18 level after stepping off the bench to make his debut.

In fact, the goalscorers were three of six Under-16s players who finished the game at the Seagulls’ training ground – all acquitting themselves well at the higher level.

Japhet Tanganga was restored to the centre of defence after impressing of late, with left-back Jaden Brown making his debut from the start. A further Under-18s bow followed later in the game when goalkeeper Alfie Whiteman replaced Tom Glover between the sticks.

Naturally there were some more experienced players in the side as well and one of them – recent first team debutant Josh Onomah – had the first shot after four minutes, but the midfielder could only blaze high and wide under pressure from his marker.

There were few clear opportunities in the first period, although we controlled the possession for large periods. Target man Ryan Loft did well to latch onto a high ball over the top from Tanganga in the 17th minute, but when he steered it towards goal with his second touch, Brighton goalkeeper Bailey Vose comfortably gathered at his left-hand post.

Vose saw more of the ball as the half went on, but he wasn’t overly troubled. His opposite number, Glover, made a good low save with a quarter of the game gone after Conor Tighe wriggled his way into the area, while an inviting low ball across the face of goal by Kyle Walker-Peters at the other end saw an opportunity wasted as nobody was there to turn it home.

Vose pounced on a tame near-post effort from Edwards after a clever pass from Sterling on 33 minutes, before routinely gathering a curling 20-yard effort from Anton Walkes. An in-swinging free-kick from Edwards also bounced through to the keeper on 42 minutes, but it was Brighton who had the last effort of the half as skipper Jamie Horncastle steered wide from close range after Glover was left stranded at his near post following a ball in from the left.

The same player glanced a header beyond the far upright from a James Tilley corner two minutes after the interval, before the first of a series of Onomah free-kicks in the second half took a wicked deflection in the area – only to fall kindly for the keeper to gather.

Lloyd Ross kept Vose busy, forcing the keeper to palm his rising shot over the bar, while Walker-Peters drilled through the crowd and just beyond the far post from 20 yards out within two minutes as we pushed for an opener.

One nearly arrived from another Onomah set piece – the England youth international deftly clipping the ball over towards the far top corner from 22 yards out to the left of centre, but Vose managed to back-pedal and tip it onto the bar.

We earned a chance to take the lead with our very next attack, though, as Edwards skipped his way into the box and was brought down by Horncastle, with the referee awarding us a penalty. Edwards dusted himself down to crash a left-footed shot in off the post to give us a 56th-minute advantage.

Brighton tried to hit back, Tighe acrobatically volleying over the bar from Dylan Barnett’s left wing cross – the former also forcing Glover to make a low stop with a shot from the edge of the box in the 65th minute.

Onomah went for a different approach with his next set piece opportunity – awarded for a foul on Brown – a minute later, this time adding more power and aiming for the far post – only to see the ball zip just wide.

Sterling produced another stop from Vose on 69 minutes, before winning our second penalty of the game two minutes later as he was brought down by the onrushing stopper. As before, it was the player that won the spot kick who took it – Sterling confidently firing straight down the middle to double our lead.

The hosts might have got a goal back quickly on the counter attack, but Tighe shot straight at Glover after Ben Barclay played him in on goal.

Bennetts replaced Loft with just over a quarter of an hour to play and within two minutes he had his first Under-18s goal – nodding in Walker-Peters’ right-sided cross at the far post.

Fellow substitute Whiteman was given an opportunity between the sticks for the last 11 minutes and was quickly into action, bravely diving low in the box to authoritatively gather a left wing cross from Brighton’s George Cox.

Both sides had chances in the closing stages, Sterling trying another low shot which Vose blocked, while Brown threw his body in the way of a fierce shot from 20 yards out by Barclay.

Onomah’s last free-kick of the game was his most powerful, but Vose was able to get across and palm the ball away to his left with two minutes of normal time remaining.

Brighton almost got a goal back a minute into stoppage time, but Barclay could only fire wide – the ball having fallen to him quickly after another Cox cross struck Luke Amos in the area.

Onomah and Walkes both tried their luck but were off target in the moments that followed – but we had already done enough to secure a return to winning ways.

Spurs: Glover (Whiteman 79), Walker-Peters, Brown, Amos, Tanganga, Walkes, Onomah, Ross (Stylianides 69), Loft (Bennetts 74), Edwards, Sterling. Substitute (not used): Paul.