Both sides pressed high for spells in the game and hit the woodwork as the two teams cancelled each other out and although we had a good spell of pressure late on with right-back Matt Lock and substitute midfielder Paris Maghoma at the forefront, we were undone by a late set-piece.
Goalkeeper Jonathan De Bie tipped Kipras Kazukolovas’ header from an initial corner onto the bar and behind once more, but the same player got on the end of the second corner, nodding down for Shihab to bundle in from six yards.
It was a bitter pill swallow and made it back-to-back defeats going into the international break following last week’s reverse at Leicester.
Brighton keeper Tom McGill got in the way of shots from Tariq Hinds and Reo Griffiths in the opening stages, but the visitors prevented us from playing out from the back for much of the first period.
Teddy Hoare’s free-kick cannoned off the far post on 39 minutes while Ryan Longman also went close for Brighton as half-time approached, although Griffiths might have sent us in ahead when he got on the end of Phoenix Patterson’s ball across from the right, but he let it run across the goalkeeper and ended up steering wide.
Dilan Markanday caused problems for Brighton in the early exchanges of the second period, motoring down the right and hooking in a cross which Griffiths couldn’t get on the end of. Then, after good work from Patterson on the left, Markanday latched onto the ball at the far post and when his initial ball back across was repelled, he was denied by McGill from the angle.
An acrobatic volley from Brighton’s Danny Cashman flew wide as the game opened up, while Alex Cochrane hit the base of the post after climbing above Lock in the area to get on the end of Hoare’s deep free-kick midway through the half.
Above: Jamie Reynolds surges forward.
Lock shone at the other end, though, as he and Maghoma drove at Brighton in possession and forced them back. The former crossed for the latter to head goalwards, saved by McGill, before Lock turned his marker inside-out and laid the ball in to the feet of Markanday, whose 22-yard curler from the right side sailed over the keeper but hit the top of the bar with eight minutes left. Armando Shashoua was also crafty with the ball at his feet as we looked to force our way through a packed defence.
But then came the sucker-punch. With 90 minutes on the watch, De Bie pushed Kazukolovas’ header from a corner onto the bar and behind, but the Brighton defender was there again to nod down the second one for Shihab to ram home. Brighton might have grabbed a second in stoppage time but De Bie was having none of it, saving one-on-one from substitute Tyrese Fornah.
COACH SCOTT PARKER SAID
“Last week I didn’t think we matched our opponents for effort at times and that’s what disappointed me. Today it was a typical game where they’ve come here, set up to try to hit us on the break and score but I thought we played well, we controlled the game but we didn’t have that killer instinct which we needed. I think if you score the first goal it could be three or four but we missed big opportunities to score and every time you miss that opportunity, extra weight gets added on your shoulders, they get a bit more of a lift because they’re still in the game and in the end they hit us with a sucker-punch.
“They were trying to stop us from playing out but I thought we played so well that we were beating their press. In the first half, Reo Griffiths had a couple of good chances but that’s what happens in those games. They were hard to break down but as I said to the boys, the worst, worst case scenario is you have to walk off the pitch with a point. You can’t lose the game in the manner we did on a set-play.
“At 18, these are the learning curves that the boys need. Sometimes you just need to stay in the game and be switched on, but the set-play did us in the end which was disappointing. Last week I was disappointed with a lot of aspects, this week I’m disappointed because we didn’t win but there were still massive positives. Matt Lock came into it in the second half, Armando Shashoua has been first class, his attitude was bang-on and I thought Brook Lyons-Foster at the back was very good as well.”
Spurs U18s: De Bie (c), Lock, Hinds, Bowden, Omolabi, Lyons-Foster, Markanday, Reynolds (P Maghoma 69), Griffiths (Richards 76), A Shashoua, Patterson (Mukendi 82). Substitutes (not used): Statham, Oluwayemi (GK).
There’s no game in the Under-18 Premier League next weekend due to the international break, meaning our Under-18s return to action with a trip to Southampton on Saturday 9 September, kick-off 11.30am.