We were under sustained pressure for the first 10 minutes of the Barclays Under-18 Premier League North London derby but, after playing our way into the game, we pushed on after the interval and racked up the goals thanks to Samuel Shashoua, a brace from Marcus Edwards and a stoppage-time strike from substitute Ryan Loft.
It could have been more in the closing stages too, but Edwards shot wide as he looked to complete his hat-trick and Loft blazed over from a tight angle.
The opening stages very much belonged to Arsenal as we struggled to get out of our own half with goalkeeper Alfie Whiteman saving Ben Sheaf’s effort, Donyell Malen and Kaylen Hinds seeing shots fly off target and Sheaf going through on the left side – only for makeshift right-back Shilow Tracey to intervene with a brilliant tackle to take the ball off his toe.
We soon found our feet, though, and the hard-working Dylan Duncan did well to hold onto possession on the left before setting up Shashoua to test Gunners goalkeeper Ryan Huddart from 20 yards in the 18th minute.
Edwards’ running with the ball was causing Arsenal problems and on one such burst forward on 26 minutes he worked himself into a shooting position and let fly, but Kris Da Graca slid in to get a slight touch on the ball and it went spinning marginally wide of the post.
Whiteman made a smart save from Hinds after we lost possession five minutes later, while Sheaf drilled just over the top for the Gunners as we approached half-time with the scores level.
Huddart helped Kazaiah Sterling’s rising shot over the crossbar as we started the second period purposefully before we took a 53rd-minute lead. Sterling’s clever shot-on-the-turn from the right side of the box was turned away low down by Huddart but Shashoua was on hand to convert the rebound.
Malen lashed over the bar on 64 minutes in one of few shooting chances afforded to the visitors before we doubled our advantage on 70 minutes when Shashoua was fouled 20 yards out and Edwards’ left-footed free-kick deflected off the Gunners’ wall, wrong-footed Huddart and sailed into the net.
Christian Maghoma then ventured forward from centre-back but, after being played in by Duncan, he thumped a shot into the side netting.
Aaron Eyoma almost set up a goal for Arsenal within seconds of coming on as a substitute but after he sped down the right and arrowed the ball across the six-yard box, Malen couldn’t steer it on target and it went behind at the far post.
Less than 60 seconds later we made it 3-0 as Sterling broke forward and picked out Edwards in space on the right, he advanced into the box, turned onto his left foot and clipped low into the corner with 77 minutes on the watch. Huddart did get his fingertips to it, but couldn’t keep it out.
Edwards looked well placed to complete his hat-trick four minutes later but shot wide, while Loft’s rising drive cleared the crossbar from a tight angle on the right.
Gunners forward Eddie Nketiah tried to turn and volley towards goal from Da Graca’s ball over his shoulder on 87 minutes but he couldn’t get a clean connection on it and Japhet Tanganga was able to bring it clear.
We then wrapped up the scoring in the first minute of stoppage time when Duncan split the Arsenal defence with a perfectly-timed pass through the middle for Loft to run onto and he slotted past Huddart from a central position.
It was a fine way to round off the first stage of the Barclays Under-18 Premier League campaign, which saw us finish eighth in the southern section. The fifth to eighth-placed sides from the northern and southern divisions will now compete against each other in a merit group for the remainder of the campaign.
Spurs U18s: Whiteman, Tracey, Brown, Owens, Maghoma, Tanganga, Edwards, Stylianides (Marsh 84), Sterling (Loft 78), Duncan, Shashoua (Bennetts 78). Substitutes (not used): Roles, Austin (GK).