Leicester U18s 0-2 Spurs U18s
Sat 15 October 2016, 14:20|Tottenham Hotspur
Two goals in a minute, deep into stoppage time, saw Leicester City’s defence finally cave in to our Under-18s’ heavy pressure as we picked up our first away win of the season in the Under-18 Premier League on Saturday (October 15).
Centre-half Japhet Tanganga planted a header past Foxes defender George Heaven – acting as a makeshift goalkeeper for the depleted hosts – in the sixth minute of the additional period to finally give us the reward our complete control of the game deserved.
Keanan Bennetts then rounded things off, showing good reactions to convert for 2-0 and cap his own dangerous showing with a goal. Indeed, he might have notched earlier along with a host of team-mates, with all our attacking players, plus left-back Jaden Brown, getting shots off in the first half alone.
Even after Heaven took over the gloves when Foxes number one Cameron Yates left the field injured just past the hour mark, the home side somehow managed to keep us at bay until our late, late double.
Leicester started quickly at their training ground and Belgian goalkeeper Jonathan De Bie, who joined our academy this year, was called upon less than a minute into his debut to thwart Kairo Edwards-John with his legs.
Tom Fielding squandered a good chance for the home side on 17 minutes too, but from that moment onwards we were largely in control. Seconds after that chance for Leicester, Brown burst down the left and went for placement with his angled shot. Yates kept his initial effort out but the full-back could only find the side netting with his attempt on the rebound.
Bennetts (pictured, below) was causing Leicester real problems with his crossing from the left side before himself going close midway through the first period, dragging a right-footed shot across the face of goal and wide.
Yates then denied both Aramide Oteh and Samuel Shashoua, with Jack Roles off target following the latter’s effort, while Oteh steered Shashoua’s 41st-minute shot into the bottom corner – only to be denied by the off-side flag.
Our dominance continued after the interval with Bennetts lifting one over the bar following a cross from right-back Tariq Hinds but the game was held up for several minutes just after the hour mark as Yates received treatment after Oteh’s challenge and was eventually helped from the field. With only three substitutes on the bench, none of which were goalkeepers, right-back Heaven assumed duties between the sticks for Leicester but, disappointingly for us, we were unable to really test him until late on.
Shashoua fired over the bar from 18 yards while striker Kazaiah Sterling, on for his first appearance of the season having been sidelined since the summer, struck the outside of the post with a shot on the turn from eight yards out with six minutes of normal time remaining.
Finally, though, six minutes into the extended stoppage time period – largely down to the hold-up following Yates’ injury – we found the breakthrough. Sterling won a free-kick down by the corner flag on our left, Shashoua floated the ball in and Tanganga leapt high in the air to power a header into the top corner. Less than 60 seconds later, Shashoua produced a fine save from stand-in stopper Heaven but Bennetts was alive to the rebound and steered it inside the far post to round off a good day’s work.
John McDermott, Head of Player Development, said
“Even if you go back to the days of Kane, Townsend, Mason, Smith and Caulker at this level, they would always say that one of the toughest games is away at Leicester so we knew it would be difficult and it would be a good barometer of where we are. Leicester were maybe a little bit unlucky with injuries today, I thought frustration might have got in the way of us playing but the result was probably a fair one and it was strange that it came in the last couple of minutes.
“Nevertheless, I thought some of our play after the first 10 minutes was back to where it should be. We minimised chances for them, we played openly, we were exciting, not cool or clinical enough in front of goal but it was quite pleasing because there were some very good performances. It’s good that Japhet Tanganga is back now after his recent time on the sidelines, I was pleased with Jonathan De Bie – he looked very composed on his debut, he’s brought his training levels into the game and deserved his opportunity – and it was great to see Kazaiah Sterling back today. He only played 30 minutes but he looked a handful and has looked a handful in training as well so there were a lot of positives.”
Spurs U18s: De Bie, Hinds (Lock 79), Brown, Oakley-Boothe (c, Marsh 60), Tanganga, Dinzeyi, Shashoua, Duncan, Oteh (Sterling 60), Roles, Bennetts. Substitutes (not used): Reynolds, Freeman (GK).
Our youngsters return to action on the continent on Tuesday afternoon, needing a win against Bayer Leverkusen to get off the mark in the UEFA Youth League. After back-to-back 3-2 defeats at home to Monaco and away to CSKA Moscow in the European Under-19 competition, a good performance in Germany will be the aim as we bid to lift ourselves up the group standings.