Last week’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea saw the crafty midfielder net once but then squander further opportunities, but this time he was ruthless with his chances – first cutting in from the right to fire a superb shot into the far corner after Dylan Duncan had given us the lead and then adding the fourth goal on the stroke of half-time with a well-placed free-kick.
That came shortly after his cross was headed home by Japhet Tanganga as we demonstrated free-scoring resolve after a difficult opening quarter-of-an-hour.
Alfie Whiteman had to make a couple of key saves after the interval to preserve his clean sheet, but we were fully deserving of the 4-0 final scoreline as we made it seven points from our last three Under-18 Premier League games.
We had to withstand some heavy Brighton pressure in the opening stages with George Marsh, Oliver Skipp and Jack Roles all getting important blocks in as the visitors repeatedly worked the ball to the edge of our box and tried their luck from distance.
Duncan’s opener after nine minutes therefore came somewhat against the run of play as Kazaiah Sterling fed him in the box, he initially lost possession but quickly won it back and steered the ball in from 12 yards out.
Sterling headed straight at goalkeeper Bailey Vose before Shashoua doubled our lead on 24 minutes in fine fashion, moving in from the right side with the aid of some good footwork and unleashing a left-footed shot that flew across Vose and inside the far post from 22 yards out.
Both sides then squandered chances in quick succession as Albion’s Isaac Hutchinson was denied by a courageous block from Tanganga inside our box while Vose got the better of Roles as he went through one-on-one, before Tanganga leapt high in the air to head home Shashoua’s cross from the left and give us a 3-0 advantage with 41 minutes gone.
Just before the interval we extended our lead further as Nick Tsaroulla was fouled 20 yards out and Shashoua curled a free-kick inside the near post with Vose rooted to the spot.
Whiteman produced a flying save to deny Alex Cochrane eight minutes after the restart and then kept out Aaron Connolly’s shot at his near post a few moments later as the visitors tried to get off the mark and although a series of changes from the bench led to various players switching to different positions, the only other real chance for Brighton came when substitute Stefan Ljubicic fired over the bar from close range with 18 minutes left.
We had one final opportunity in the last minute when the ball fell to midfielder Jamie Reynolds in the box, but his shot was deflected wide.
JOHN MCDERMOTT, HEAD OF PLAYER DEVELOPMENT, SAID
“We’ve worked a lot this week on trying to be more effective and have more penetration so that was pleasing – we created lots of chances. I’ve often said that at times we need to be more effective in both penalty boxes and I thought we defended ours very well today and we attacked theirs particularly well, but as always you want a little bit more and I thought our build-up play and our general possession could and should have been better, especially in the second half when the game became a little bit untidy. I thought Brighton had some good players but you leave always wanting a little bit more. We made some changes and tried to make sure that lots of players had opportunities and players played in different positions today so it was always a test there. Some people had different defensive tasks and some had different attacking tasks than they normally have so all-in-all it was a good day at the office – it could have been better but overall it was quite pleasing.
“I was pleased with Samuel. He’s got undoubted quality and when he applies himself like he did today he looks a very good player. He’s worked on those finishes, he worked on those free-kicks yesterday so that’s not luck today, that’s the product of hard work. There are other aspects of his game that he now needs to add to in order to hopefully make the next step.”
Spurs U18s: Whiteman, Lock (Brown 63), Tsaroulla, Skipp, Marsh (c), Tanganga, Shashoua, Duncan, Sterling (Dinzeyi 46), Roles (Reynolds 66), Patterson. Substitute (not used): Freeman (GK).
Attentions now turn back to the UEFA Youth League as we prepare for our second home match and fourth overall in the group stage of the tournament on Wednesday, with Bayer Leverkusen coming to Hotspur Way for a 5pm kick-off. We suffered a 3-1 defeat to the German side on their own soil a fortnight ago, so the players will be determined to put on a good performance as they bid to get off the mark in the competition.