Some exhilarating one-touch football in the first period led to goals from Phoenix Patterson and Jamie Bowden with striker Reo Griffiths and attacking midfielder Dilan Markanday weighing in after the interval to put us out of sight against a battling Canaries side that tried to use their pace and power up front to work the odd opening, only to find goalkeeper Jonathan De Bie in inspired form.
Indeed, the fearless Belgian youth stopper, wearing the captain’s armband for the first time, had to work hard for his clean sheet at Hotspur Way, although his opposite number in the Norwich goal, Fergal Hale-Brown, was kept twice as busy as Markanday and Patterson ran the channels and got shots off in impressive fashion.
Markanday was eye-catching early on with his willingness to peel away from his marker and speed down the right and it was he who coaxed the first of many saves from Hale-Brown after one such attack just four minutes in.
De Bie made a smart stop from Alan Fleming at the other end but it was largely one-way traffic in the opening 45 minutes and shortly after Griffiths had a shot saved, Patterson lashed in from the left angle to give us a 27th-minute lead.
A heavy period of pressure saw Hale-Brown’s resistance finally cave in once more as we grabbed a second goal seven minutes later. After a corner that was taken short, Patterson had two shots saved from different areas around the box, Markanday then tried his luck but his two attempts were clawed away before Bowden latched onto the ball and drilled low through a congested box into the net.
Another angled drive from Patterson was parried by Hale-Brown shortly before the break, with Armando Shashoua – younger brother of Development Squad attacker Samuel – hitting the near post as he tried to head in the rebound.
The Norwich stopper was at it again six minutes after the restart with a fantastic double save to deny Patterson and Jamie Reynolds, but he was powerless to prevent Griffiths from slotting beyond him for 3-0 on 57 minutes after the striker ran through one-on-one.
The visitors were starting to find more time on the ball as the second half wore on and De Bie (pictured, above) showed lightning-fast reactions to get down in the way of substitute Brandon Oddy’s shot just seconds after coming on.
It was 4-0 on 67 minutes, though, as Hale-Brown produced heroics to acrobatically tip Patterson’s audacious top corner-bound curler onto the post, then matched that with another point-blank save from Markanday. However, he could only look on helplessly as the latter finished off the rebound.
To their credit, Norwich kept coming at us and De Bie tipped Bilal Kamal’s strike over the bar before saving Fleming’s attempt low down in the closing stages.
COACH SCOTT PARKER SAID
“I’m really happy with the lads to be fair, I thought they did really well. We’re coming off a good pre-season so it was pleasing, we worked hard and it’s always good to take on the first game and perform like that. The first half we dominated really well, the boys were very receptive of what we’re trying to do. The game faded a little tiny bit in the second half, especially the last 10 minutes when Norwich got back into it a little bit, but it’s pleasing to get a clean sheet and play as well as we did. On the scale of things, I think we probably could have seen the game right off in the first half as well.
“Especially in the last 10 or 15 minutes, Jon (De Bie) has earned the clean sheet for us really because he’s pulled off some very good saves. I think Jon represents a lot of things that I approve of. He’s a very good, level-headed young man who does things right and I feel it was only right to give him the armband today. Phoenix and the two centre-halves were all good but it would probably be unfair of me to single out one particular player for praise because as a collective we were very dominant and everyone put in their shift today.”
Spurs U18s: De Bie (c), Lock, Hinds, Bowden, Omolabi, Lyons-Foster, Markanday (Asante 83), Reynolds, Griffiths (Mukendi 61), A Shashoua (P Maghoma 61), Patterson. Substitutes (not used): Statham, Oluwayemi (GK).
We’re on the road in the Under-18 Premier League next weekend as we travel to face Leicester City at their training ground in an 11.30am kick-off.