The third round tie had been hastily brought forward from its scheduled evening slot at Stevenage after the Lamex Stadium pitch succumbed to the arctic weather, but that didn’t stunt our youngsters’ rhythm as we kept a game Preston side – quarter-finalists last year – at bay and took our chances well, attacker Rodel Richards bagging his second hat-trick in a week-and-a-half to add to strikes from Paris Maghoma and Phoenix Patterson.
Coach Scott Parker named an unchanged side to the one that drew 4-4 with Chelsea in the Under-18 Premier League on Saturday and the goals kept on coming, although Jonathan De Bie had to pull off a couple of key saves to prevent the visitors from getting off the mark.
It means we’ll advance to face AFC Bournemouth, who beat Hull City 3-0 last week, away from home in round four on a date to be confirmed.
GOAL: SPURS 1-0 PRESTON NORTH END – PARIS MAGHOMA – 19mins
Preston were stubborn early on and we struggled to string anything meaningful together in their half. But on 19 minutes we had lift-off as J’neil Bennett raced down the left flank after good work by Jamie Reynolds and Patterson, sliding the ball across for Maghoma to run onto and convert at the first time of asking.
GOAL: SPURS 2-0 PRESTON NORTH END – RODEL RICHARDS – 39mins
De Bie pounced on Oscar O’Neil’s dangerous drive across from the left while Richards dragged wide and Maghoma rattled the crossbar from 20 yards before the second goal arrived on 39 minutes. Maghoma reacted quickest after a mix-up at the back for Preston and laid the ball out wide right to Reo Griffiths. He drilled across goal and Richards stuck out a leg to divert it inside the near post from six yards. Griffiths should have bagged a third in first half stoppage time but was denied by the legs of goalkeeper James Cottam.
Above: Oliver Skipp goes up for a header.
GOAL: SPURS 3-0 PRESTON NORTH END – PHOENIX PATTERSON – 52mins
De Bie made a fine save from Jack Baxter with the second half less than a minute old, giving us the impetus to go on and add to our advantage. It was 3-0 on 52 minutes when left-back Reynolds played in to the feet of Griffiths, keeper Cottam rushed out to deny him and the ball was picked up by Patterson, who carried it wide before lashing past two defenders on the line.
GOAL: SPURS 4-0 PRESTON NORTH END – RODEL RICHARDS – 64mins
Preston’s Michael Howard was just off-target with a free-kick, but any hopes they had of staging a comeback were extinguished with our fourth goal on 64 minutes. Griffiths was involved on the edge of the area as the ball was worked out to Bennett on the left, he fizzed the ball into the danger zone and Richards helped it over the line from close range.
SAVE: MAGNIFICENT STOP FROM DE BIE – 73mins
Preston were left wondering how they hadn’t scored on 73 minutes as Adam O’Reilly picked up the ball 22 yards from goal, left of centre and unleashed a fantastic strike that went arrowing towards the top corner. Fortunately for us, Belgian youth goalkeeper De Bie matched it with a stunning save, diving high to his left to claw the ball out.
GOAL: SPURS 5-0 PRESTON NORTH END – RODEL RICHARDS – 84mins
Cottam smothered Bennett’s effort before Richards completed the scoring – and his hat-trick – with six minutes left. Substitute Dilan Markanday picked him out in the box and he evaded a challenge from behind before bundling past the keeper, who got his fingertips to the ball but couldn’t keep it out.
COACH SCOTT PARKER SAID
“What with the game being changed, there were little disruptions but I thought the boys applied themselves really well. In these sorts of games, the first goal is crucial. Preston were really game, they came with high energy and put us under pressure but I thought the boys were brave in possession and obviously once we scored the first and second goals, we moved on a bit so it was really pleasing.
“RJ (Rodel Richards) probably doesn’t want Christmas to come to be fair! He’s in such a good vein of form but it’s a little break in terms of games now, although I think all of the boys have been a credit really. I mentioned it at the weekend but after that bad result we had at Arsenal a couple of weeks ago, the players have really rolled their sleeves up and gone on to another level which has been really pleasing.”
Spurs: De Bie (c), Hinds (Dinzeyi 72), Reynolds, Skipp (Bowden 81), Eyoma, Lyons-Foster, Richards, P Maghoma, Griffiths, Patterson (Markanday 66), Bennett. Substitutes (not used): Oluwayemi, A Shashoua.
Preston North End: Cottam, Fensome (c), Campbell, Baxter, Stead, Lyons, Smart (Wood 56), O’Neil, Garstang (Walker 56), O’Reilly, Howard (Brannigan 81). Substitutes (not used): Lenton, Armer.
Goals: Spurs – Maghoma 19, Richards 39, 64, 84, Patterson 52.
Yellow cards: Preston – Lyons 63.
Referee: Ivan Gelov.
We’ll travel to face AFC Bournemouth in the fourth round after the Cherries beat Hull City 3-0 last Friday night. Our next Under-18 Premier League match isn’t until Saturday 6 January when we host Leicester City at the Training Centre, kick-off 11.30am. There is still a Premier League 2 match this side of Christmas, though, as we host Sunderland in the Under-23 competition at Stevenage next Tuesday night (December 19), kick-off 7pm.