In a battle of contrasting styles, we produced some eye-catching stuff in the opening stages at the Foxes’ training ground and deserved the ninth-minute lead given to us by striker Reo Griffiths.
But by the time the same player netted our second goal in the last minute of the game, the damage had been done. Three goals in 17 first-half minutes all came from avoidable situations while a simple set-piece five minutes after the interval saw Leicester take a 4-1 lead.
The powerful hosts seemed to be one step ahead of us for the middle part of the game but an improved late spell, which included a fine save from substitute goalkeeper Josh Oluwayemi and Griffiths’ well-taken second, was scant consolation for a final scoreline of 4-2 in Leicester’s favour.
Only one change was made to the side that won 4-0 against Norwich City on the opening day with Jon Dinzeyi slotting in at centre-half. It was he who drove out from the back in the build-up to our opener. The ball was eventually worked to Jamie Reynolds, who laid it in for Griffiths to convert from a tight angle on the right.
For all our good play, chances were rare in the first quarter of the game, but Leicester fashioned and took one all of a sudden on 24 minutes when Tyrese Shade broke away down the right channel and shrugged off the attentions of Phoenix Patterson before rounding goalkeeper Jonathan De Bie to tap in.
Griffiths was denied by Foxes stopper Cameron Yates after pulling Jamie Bowden’s excellent ball forward down with one deft touch, but from there it was downhill. A ball in from the left was nodded down and bounced between centre-halves Dinzeyi and Moroyin Omolabi, allowing Conor Tee to ram into the net on 37 minutes, before Bowden was adjudged to have tripped Calvin Ughelumba in the box after we lost possession in the right-back area and the same Leicester man stepped up to score the resulting penalty four minutes before the break.
Above: Paris Maghoma in action.
Keeper Oluwayemi, on for De Bie at half-time, eventually gathered amid a goalmouth scramble that saw him initially lose the ball before Omolabi made a crucial block, but Leicester kept pushing and added a fourth goal on 58 minutes when Tee’s deep free-kick was easily headed in by George Heaven at the back post.
Griffiths’ attempt to chip the advancing Yates didn’t come off as the game progressed and we started to impose ourselves on proceedings a bit more, but it needed a brilliant save from Oluwayemi to keep out substitute Sammy McLeod’s fierce drive through a crowded box amid another sustained attack from the hosts on 88 minutes to limit the score at four.
Griffiths doubled his tally to reduce the arrears two minutes later, curling beyond Yates with his left foot after a break forward by Patterson, but Leicester already had the game won.
COACH SCOTT PARKER SAID
“We started really well, controlled the game, we all knew it was going to be a difficult game today and at 1-0 up we maybe had a couple of other chances but some sloppy defending gave them the opportunity to get back into it. To be honest, after 20 minutes they just looked first to more things than us and they looked to compete a little bit more, which kills me to say. We really tuned off. I don’t know whether it was because we were so dominant in the first 20 minutes and we had the ball so much that we seemed to switch off a little bit, but I just felt that we lacked the edge and that they were stronger and more competitive than us to be honest, which is not good. In football you come up against different styles and today we came up against a style that we couldn’t live with. It’s a massive learning curve for our boys and they need to understand that this is football and you need to adapt, work out how to get the best out of games and work out how to adapt yourself to the game. I felt today we didn’t do that.”
Spurs U18s: De Bie (c, Oluwayemi 46), Lock, Hinds, Bowden (P Maghoma 46), Omolabi, Dinzeyi, Markanday, Reynolds, Griffiths, A Shashoua (Mukendi 63), Patterson. Substitutes (not used): Lyons-Foster, Statham.
We return to Hotspur Way next Saturday for a clash with Brighton & Hove Albion, kick-off 11.30am. The Seagulls have won both their Under-18 Premier League matches so far this season, 3-1 at home to West Ham and 1-0 at Norwich.