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West Brom U18s 3-0 Spurs - report from Baggies' training ground

Posted on 2 May 2015  - 14:55

Goalkeeper Harry Voss had a busy afternoon but was powerless to prevent our Under-18s from suffering a 3-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

Zenon Stylianides runs through the midfieldRyan Loft tries a shotArmani Daly on the ballHarry Voss makes a save

The young custodian pulled off a handful of impressive stops, including a couple in quick succession, but goals from Andre Wright in the closing moments of the first half and first exchanges of the second left us with it all to do in the Barclays Under-18 Premier League contest.

Kyle Edwards dived in to head home a third just before the hour mark to give the Baggies a comfortable victory at their training ground.

Our line-up included Under-16s left-back Nick Tsaroulla, making his first start at the higher level, while fellow youngster Joy Mukena came on at centre-half for his Under-18s debut and played the last half-an-hour alongside skipper Anton Walkes.

The hosts gave an early indication of what was to come when Edwards curled just wide following Jack Hallahan’s pass, Walkes having done well to shepherd Wright away from goal as the Baggies broke forward quickly in the fourth minute.

Tsaroulla’s well-timed tackle from behind and Walkes’ subsequent clearance thwarted Edwards again 10 minutes later as he invaded the six-yard box, while Danny Barbir flicked just over after latching onto James Smith’s first-time cross.

We were seeing a lot of the ball in between West Brom’s chances without really creating much ourselves in the early stages. Joe Muscatt made a number of lung-busting runs down the right side to help Armani Daly on the overlap but the efforts of the pair didn’t lead to any clear goalscoring opportunities.

Walkes had to escort Wright to the byline at the expense of a corner after the Baggies’ striker turned away from Chris Paul as the home side once again got forward with purpose, with the centre-forward going close again when he drilled wide just after the half-hour mark.

Voss then intervened, making a fine stop to deny Chay Scrivens from the right side of the box, while a deflected shot from Ryan Loft in the 36th-minute forced home goalkeeper Matthew Hall into meaningful action for the first time – the stopper diving low to his left to keep the ball out.

A minute later we almost snatched the lead as the hard-working Zenon Stylianides chested Daly’s right wing cross down at the edge of the box and steered a low shot towards the bottom corner of the net. Hall looked beaten, but the ball struck the base of the post and the Baggies escaped without conceding.

Voss reacted quickly to deny Smith from close range in the 38th minute, then saving from Smith and Edwards in quick succession as the home side cranked up the pressure.

They finally broke the deadlock two minutes before the break as Wright finished off a fluid move involving Edwards and Scrivens, sweeping beyond Voss from eight yards.

The second half was less than 30 seconds old when the hosts doubled their lead, Wright again taking responsibility. He won possession and stormed through before finishing from an acute angle on the left to make it 2-0.

It could have got worse but for a double save from Voss to prevent Hallahan from getting on the scoresheet while, at the other end, Anthony Georgiou dragged a low shot just wide of the back post.

Charlie Owens’ 22-yard effort took a deflection on its way behind before West Brom further extended their lead on 58 minutes, Edwards diving in to head home Scrivens’ right-sided cross at the far upright.

Stylianides and Loft shot high and wide from a similar position just outside the box within a minute of each other as we sought a breakthrough, but it was once again our goalkeeper who was in the thick of the action as the game drew to a close.

First Voss kept out a fierce shot from Smith before beating away Hallahan’s speculative effort in the next passage of play – authoritatively preventing the home side from grabbing a fourth in the 90th minute.

Spurs U18s: Voss, Muscatt, Tsaroulla, Owens, Paul (Mukena 61), Walkes, Daly, Stylianides, Loft, Goddard (Marsh 61), Georgiou. Substitute (not used): McDermott (GK).