Arsenal U18s 0-2 Spurs U18s
Report from London Colney
Fri 17 October 2014, 15:00|Tottenham Hotspur
Ismail Azzaoui opened his goalscoring account with a brace as our Under-18s took the North London Derby spoils on Friday morning.
The Belgian youth international scored either side of the break to seal a 2-0 win at Arsenal with the result never looking in doubt, despite the second half dismissal of Anton Walkes for a second bookable offence.
The game, at the Gunners’ training ground, marked a welcome return to winning ways in the Barclays Under-18 Premier League after Saturday’s heavy defeat to Brighton – with the lads wasting little time in getting that result out of their systems.
Shayon Harrison’s shot-on-the-turn tested home goalkeeper Brad House early on, before we capitalised on a defensive mix-up to take a ninth-minute lead. A breakdown in communication between House and left-back Elias Hatzitheodoridis on the edge of the box allowed Azzaoui to send the ball into the empty net from 20 yards out for his first league goal in our colours.
Zenon Stylianides volleyed Anthony Georgiou’s left wing cross over the bar two minutes later, while goalkeeper Tom Glover dived low to his left to keep out Savvas Mourgos’ left-footed swipe at the other end.
We nearly grabbed a fortuitous second just before the half-hour mark when Azzaoui’s attempted cross took a wicked deflection off Hatzitheodoridis’ heels and darted towards the near post, but House leapt to his left to keep it out.
Centre-half Christian Maghoma then made a fine last-ditch block to deny Stephy Mavididi at point-blank range, thwarting the Gunners in perhaps their best chance of the game.
Mavididi lashed over the top 11 minutes into the second period after Kyle Walker-Peters’ headed clearance fell kindly for him just outside the box, while Georgiou mirrored his rising shot at the other end after good work by Joe Pritchard to intercept the ball on the half-way line.
Pritchard was involved again in the build-up to our second goal, which arrived on 65 minutes. He collected a clever reverse-pass from Harrison inside the centre circle and sent Azzaoui running into space down the right channel, the attacker clipping across House and into the bottom corner of the net to double his tally.
We were reduced to 10 men three minutes later as right-back Walkes received his marching orders for a second bookable offence, midfielder Stylianides assuming duties in the back four as we reorganised to cope with the loss.
But rather than sitting in due to the disadvantage in personnel we had no hesitation in continuing to press the Gunners at every opportunity, with substitute Marcus Edwards working his way into a shooting position inside the box before unselfishly sending the ball towards the back post for Azzaoui to tap in. He duly found the net, but the off-side flag denied him his treble.
Both sides went close with headers from corners, Renny Smith and Pritchard both off target, with substitute Ryan Loft forcing House to tip his shot low around the post in between. Loft might have added a third goal four minutes from time, but his powerful right-footed drive flew beyond the far upright.
Spurs U18s: Glover, Walkes, Walker-Peters, Amos, Maghoma, Carter-Vickers, Azzaoui (Goddard 75), Stylianides, Harrison (Loft 72), Pritchard, Georgiou (Edwards 65). Substitute (not used): Voss (GK).