We’d raced into a 3-0 lead in a blistering opening 24 minutes with Dilan Markanday and Rodel Richards adding to Lukas Husek’s early own goal.
But after goalkeeper Jonathan De Bie saved Kairo Edwards-John’s 38th-minute penalty, Morgan Brown followed in to score and swiftly curled home a second from the edge of the box to bring the Foxes right back into the game prior to half-time.
Phoenix Patterson – one of several players whose driving runs caused problems for Leicester’s defence – made it 4-2 within 10 minutes of the restart but we lost some attacking impetus in the final quarter-of-an-hour and a quick one-two from Conor Tee in the 85th and 87th minutes saw the game end 4-4.
The impressive Rayan Clarke burst down the left and spotted the run of Jamie Reynolds on the inside, with the left-back’s dangerous ball across bundled into his own net by defender Husek under pressure from the influential Reo Griffiths with only four minutes played.
Clarke and Griffiths were denied by goalkeeper Rhys Davies before Markanday – making his first start since September after injury – made it 2-0 on 17 minutes, sweeping into the top corner at the near post after Patterson’s cut-back, again following a good burst down the left from Clarke.
We were piling forward at every chance and it was 3-0 on 24 minutes when Richards picked up the ball in the centre circle, ran straight down the middle of the pitch and struck low into the corner on his right foot.
Above: Brooklyn Lyons-Foster on the ball.
The game changed when centre-half Dinzeyi, another player back in the starting XI after a spell on the sidelines, was adjudged to have fouled Edwards-John in the box as he slid in and, although the same player saw his penalty saved by De Bie, Brown was quickest to the loose ball to sweep home on 38 minutes. Three minutes later he’d doubled his tally, driving towards the box and curling in from 18 yards.
The visitors were understandably lifted but we stayed focused and made it 4-2 with 55 minutes on the watch, Reynolds’ cut-back from the left finding Patterson, who curled inside the far post on his right foot, despite the best efforts of Sammy McLeod to clear off the line.
Clarke was clearly keen to add his name to the scoresheet but saw his shot repelled by Davies, while several good blocks were needed at the back to prevent the Foxes from mounting another comeback.
However, when Tee spun in behind our defence and converted from the left angle with five minutes to go, it was game on. Lo and behold, within two minutes, lightning had struck twice as Tee glanced in a header to bring his side back level.
COACH SCOTT PARKER SAID
“On the scale of things, we’d have liked to have put the game to bed. We played some lovely stuff in the first half, had some good chances, went 3-0 up but then let them into the game at 3-2, which was sloppy on our behalf. In the second half, again, we had our chances, but you’ve got to put it to bed and we didn’t manage to do that.
“Early on we played at a real pace and a real tempo and the wide players, Dilan Markanday, Rayan Clarke, RJ (Rodel Richards) and Phoenix Patterson all caused them some serious problems, but it’s disappointing in terms of the result. They got a lifeline, they went up a level and we always struggled a little bit.
“They’re a big, physical side and they got a lift in their third goal and put us under a bit of pressure, but the game of football swings momentum-wise from one way to the next and it’s during those moments that you’ve got to see it out. We tend to struggle in those times and if we have a bad patch, nine times out of 10 the ball goes in the back of our net so that’s something we need to work on.”
Spurs U18s: De Bie (c), Hinds, Reynolds, Bowden, Dinzeyi (Statham 56), Lyons-Foster, Richards (P Maghoma 79), Patterson, Griffiths (Bennett 73), Markanday, Clarke. Substitutes (not used): Oluwayemi, Lock.
The players will now dust themselves down for a big match against Liverpool on Wednesday. Aside from pre-season tournaments, we haven’t played the Reds at Under-18 level for some time, but the two sides – both coached by former England international midfielders in Scott Parker and Steven Gerrard – have been drawn together in the quarter-finals of the inaugural Under-18 Premier League Cup. Kick-off at Hotspur Way is at 11am.