The livewire front man grabbed a first-half hat-trick in our third round tie at the Lamex Stadium – coincidentally against Stevenage – and he showed similar levels of performance to net twice in the opening half-an-hour of this fifth round meeting against a physically powerful Canaries outfit that had got the better of us in league action back in December.
Tirelessly running up front throughout the contest, he came up with two excellent finishes against a team that had really pressed us back in the opening exchanges, giving us the platform to go on and register another excellent victory and book a trip to Newcastle United in the last eight.
Goalkeeper Alfie Whiteman was largely a spectator, although he did save well from substitute Alan Fleming in the closing stages while left-back Nick Tsaroulla stepped in with two crucial, well-timed challenges to help us keep a clean sheet.
GOAL: SPURS 1-0 NORWICH - KAZAIAH STERLING - 17mins
Norwich got in our faces from the first whistle – a real indication of the test of strength that was ahead. Yet we soon began to dominate the possession and after Samuel Shashoua tested goalkeeper Fergal Hale-Brown with our first opening we produced a sumptuous team goal to take the lead. Shashoua, heavily marked, turned inside and picked out the run of skipper George Marsh who burst forward and found Sterling with a pinpoint pass between the Norwich defenders. The forward expertly took the ball in his stride and thumped it low across Hale-Brown and into the net.
GOAL: SPURS 2-0 NORWICH - KAZAIAH STERLING - 30mins
Wide attackers Shashoua and Keanan Bennetts switched flanks and the latter proved particularly dangerous on the right with his trickery, yet it was from the centre where our second goal originated. Dylan Duncan sent Sterling racing through on the keeper and he made no mistake, slotting low into the net. Sterling was sprung in again four minutes later but took a fraction too long and Norwich's Toby Syme was able to get back and block.
Above: Kazaiah Sterling jumps for joy.
CHANCE: TANGANGA CLOSE AFTER RESTART - 47mins
We began the second period still in the driving seat and within two minutes we went close to a third. A clever exchange between Bennetts and Shashoua on the right saw the latter lift over a cross that defender Japhet Tanganga – still up from an earlier corner – headed over the bar. Shortly before the hour mark, Shashoua picked out Bennetts in the six-yard box after a counter-attack and despite losing his footing he jabbed towards goal, but Hale-Brown blocked on his line.
SAVE: WHITEMAN KEEPS CLEAN SHEET INTACT - 83mins
A number of players found their way into the referee's notebook as the full-blooded nature of the contest continued, but the only real clear shot at goal the visitors managed in the latter stages, from the boot of Fleming on the right side of the box, was well kept out by Whiteman. Tsaroulla then made two good late challenges in as many minutes as we resisted Norwich’s attempts to find a breakthrough.
JOHN MCDERMOTT, HEAD OF PLAYER DEVELOPMENT, SAID
“We’re really happy that we’ve progressed. It was an unusual game, we were a little bit flat at the start, then got some real momentum going as the first half progressed – we were on top, half-time probably wasn’t what we really needed because we had that momentum but at 2-0 up we created lots of chances. In the second half I thought the game was quite ugly. We were very tough, some of the defensive displays were excellent and it was almost the polar opposite of the game at Chelsea on Saturday (a 3-2 defeat in the league) where our midfield play was very good but the boxes weren’t – it was the other way around today. You’re always trying to find that right balance but we’re getting there and to win ugly sometimes is not necessarily such a bad thing.
“Obviously Kazaiah Sterling scored two goals and he worked really hard so I was pleased with him. Defensively, as well, we showed a real passion not to concede. Norwich are a powerful side, they’re very strong and they’ve got the better of us in the last couple of league games so overall we’re really pleased that we’ve progressed and it was nice in the changing rooms at the end with the celebrations – it really showed how much this competition means to the boys and how much they want to do well for themselves and the club.”
Spurs: Whiteman (GK), Eyoma, Tsaroulla, Marsh (c), Dinzeyi, Tanganga, Shashoua, Duncan (Skipp 77), Sterling, Oakley-Boothe, Bennetts (Griffiths 68). Substitutes (not used): Hinds, Brown, Austin (GK).
Norwich City: Hale-Brown, Aarons, Syme, Sambu (Fleming 75), Wallis, Odusina, Spyrou, McIntosh, Ashley-Seal, Hlynsson (Kamal 62), Middleton. Substitutes (not used): Payne, Ellesley, Dickenson (GK).
Goals: Spurs - Sterling 17, 30.
Yellow cards: Spurs - Tanganga 64, Eyoma 65, Tsaroulla 73, Oakley-Boothe 90+4; Norwich - McIntosh 39, Sambu 71.
Referee: J Smith.
We're back in Under-18 Premier League action at home to Leicester City on Tuesday (February 7), in a game pushed back from this coming Saturday due to both clubs' FA Youth Cup endeavours. Kick-off will be at 12noon at the Training Centre and we'll be looking for a similar outcome to the reverse fixture earlier in the season, which saw us run out 2-0 winners thanks to two late goals.