West Ham 2-0 Spurs (U18s) - report from Little Heath
Wed 28 March 2018, 15:58|Tottenham Hotspur
Glaring chances put wide and two shots blocked on the line – it just wasn’t our Under-18s’ afternoon at a rain-drenched West Ham on Wednesday.
After a first half devoid of any clear chances, partly due to the amount of surface water and the continuing rainfall, the match came alive shortly after the restart with Odysseas Spyridis giving the Hammers the lead.
Substitute Dilan Markanday and striker Reo Griffiths were both left kicking themselves after missing glorious chances to level the scores, but when Oliver Skipp was penalised for a challenge on Spyridis in the box, Korrey Henry struck a killer second from the penalty spot with 15 minutes left.
Still we waded forward at Little Heath with Griffiths and substitute Maxwell Statham denied by goal-line clearances, but ultimately we sank to a 2-0 defeat and our first Under-18 Premier League loss since November.
Neither keeper was really tested in the opening 45 minutes, although the hosts managed to find a couple of openings down their right-hand side, while Jamie Reynolds got forward from left-back to launch an effort just wide from long range for us on 28 minutes.
Spyridis seemed clean through on goal in the opening exchanges of the second period but Skipp denied him in the box with an excellent tackle from behind.
We had a couple of half-chances but, despite controlling much of the game up to that point, it was the Hammers who took the upper hand on 54 minutes when Jeremy Ngakia’s dangerous delivery from the right was beaten out by Jonathan De Bie, but only as far as Spyridis who fired high into the net.
Reynolds was producing some excellent crosses from our left flank, one of which found Markanday free at the back post just seconds after coming on, but he somehow missed the target. Griffiths then drilled wide before meeting another Reynolds delivery, only to direct his downward header straight at goalkeeper Joseph Anang.
We were made to pay on the 75-minute mark when Skipp was adjudged to have fouled Spyridis as he stepped through into the box and, with a long run-up, Henry confidently dispatched the resulting penalty.
De Bie saved Rosaire Longelo’s dangerous low drive from the left angle but we kept pushing forward at the other end and saw more chances go begging. Griffiths committed the goalkeeper and carried it around him before cutting back inside and seeing his shot blocked on the line by Mason Barrett, while the same player fired just wide, with Sean Adarkwa prodding a falling ball just off-target for the hosts.
Griffiths saw a good low shot deflected behind on the 90-minute mark and Phoenix Patterson found the unmarked Statham six yards out with the resulting corner, but this time it was Longelo who was in the way in what proved to be the last action of the game.
Spurs U18s: De Bie (c), Hinds, Reynolds, Oakley-Boothe, Skipp, Dinzeyi, Mukendi (Markanday 60), A Shashoua (Statham 72), Griffiths, Patterson, Richards. Substitutes (not used): Freeman, Lock, Thorpe.
Some of the younger players from this age group will now head off to Italy for an Under-17s tournament, with the next Under-18 Premier League fixture taking place at Fulham on Saturday 7 April (11am).