Coach Scott Parker rung the changes during a busy week for our Academy but, while Swansea’s Alex Lang was the busier of the two goalkeepers, we didn’t fashion enough clear-cut chances to really take the upper hand.
Rayan Clarke and Phoenix Patterson – the latter pulling double duty after playing the second half of our UEFA Youth League defeat to FC Porto less than 24 hours earlier – were denied by a fine double-save from Lang while Jamie Bowden and Dilan Markanday weren’t far away in the first period, with striker Troy Parrot going close a couple of times after the break on his debut, but it wasn’t to be and the game finished goalless.
Goalkeeper Jonathan De Bie was largely a spectator as we controlled the first half, with opposite number Lang denying Clarke and then Patterson with shots from the left angle on 24 minutes.
Bowden, up from centre-half, struck the top of the bar with a free-kick seven minutes later while the lively Markanday headed straight at Lang from Clarke’s centre as a good chance went begging.
Markanday was winning the ball in midfield and driving forward a lot and he set up Parrot for a shot from the right angle of the box just after half-time, but Lang made a good save.
Above: Troy Parrot shoots at goal.
The Swans were starting to find a few openings as the game went on but their best chance came on 53 minutes when substitute Jayden Reid latched onto a route one kick from Lang but was denied by De Bie’s flailing arm.
Substitute Maurizio Pochettino broke down the right and squared for Parrot midway through the second period but the striker’s low shot was saved by Lang and that’s how it stayed.
COACH SCOTT PARKER SAID
“It’s frustrating. They were a strong, physical team and we didn’t really get going today. At times we had some passages of play that were good but it was windy and with the conditions, everything was a bit flat. We had a couple of chances but nothing to really turn the game in our favour. A lot of teams come to play us, sit off it and it’s hard to break them down. We tried to probe as much as we could but it’s difficult. That’s what the boys have got to face.
“I thought Dilan Markanday did really well, Jamie Bowden too, and Troy Parrot on his first game for the Under-18s applied himself well, so there were a couple of positive individual performances.”
Spurs U18s: De Bie (c), Statham, Lyons-Foster, Bowden, Dinzeyi, A Shashoua, Markanday, Patterson (Pochettino 61), Parrot, Richards (Lock 85), Clarke. Substitutes (not used): Oluwayemi, Thorpe.
There’s a chance to lift some silverware this weekend as we face Chelsea in the inaugural Under-18 Premier League Cup Final. We’ve had some cracking victories against the likes of Aston Villa, Liverpool and Arsenal in our run to this stage, but there’s sure to be a determination among the players to go one better and finally beat the Blues after they knocked us out of the FA Youth Cup in three of the last four seasons. The match takes place at Chelsea’s Cobham training base at 2pm on Sunday.