Reading U18s 0-0 Spurs U18
Report from Hogwood Park
05 December 2015|Tottenham Hotspur
Our Under-18s battled out a goalless draw with Reading at a windswept Hogwood Park on Saturday (December 5).
Marcus Edwards conjured up arguably our best two chances of the game at either end of the first half, but the closest we came to a breakthrough was when the attacking midfielder’s 40th-minute solo run ended with his sweetly-struck effort coming back off the crossbar.
Goalkeeper Brandon Austin made one noteworthy stop to deny Tyler Frost in the second period but it was our lads who finished the game in the ascendency with the determined Edwards again going close in stoppage time.
Ultimately, though, our calendar year in the Barclays Under-18 Premier League came to a close with the spoils shared.
Ryan Loft went striding through with less than a minute played at the Royals’ training base but his shot flew high and wide, while Sam Smith directed a free header off target for Reading as the teams put their feelers out early on.
Loft couldn’t quite get on the end of Edwards’ 10th-minute cross but 60 seconds afterwards the latter created a glorious chance for himself as he pounced on a loose pass and zipped in on goal through the middle, but his eventual shot was narrow enough for goalkeeper Luke Southwood to block low down to his right.
Josh Chattee’s angled drive for the hosts grazed the outside of the far post on its way behind as the first half developed into a tight battle. Southwood was seeing a lot of the ball but he was always able to distribute it calmly as Loft and Keanan Bennetts tried to close him down.
Frost advanced down the right for the hosts in the 39th minute but, after his initial cross was well repelled by Jon Dinzeyi, his shot from the same side nestled in the side netting.
Our best opportunity of the game followed a minute later as Edwards twisted and turned his way through the Reading defence before letting fly from inside the box. Southwood was beaten but the ball cannoned back off the crossbar and the combative George Marsh saw his effort from the rebound blocked by defender Tom Holmes as the hosts escaped without conceding.
Indeed, there might have been a goal at the opposite end in the 44th minute but, while Dan Akinwumni’s low driven ball across the box from the right side was dangerous, nobody was there at the back post to tuck it home.
We started the second half purposefully with the wind in our favour but when Zenon Stylianides (pictured, above) picked out Bennetts on the right side of the box on 47 minutes, the latter couldn’t get a clean shot away and his effort drifted wide of the near post.
Two minutes later, substitute Kazaiah Sterling robbed Holmes and played the ball square to Charlie Owens at the edge of the box but he dragged his effort off-target.
Our next chance arrived mid-way through the second period as Sterling’s cut-back found its way through a crowded area to Bennetts, but his low shot was routinely gathered by Southwood.
It was then Reading’s turn to enjoy a spell of pressure, with Frost twice wriggling free in the left channel. The first occasion saw him played in by Chattee, only to shoot high and wide, while the second time he got into a similar position inside the box on the left side but Austin made himself big to keep his rising effort out.
The closing moments were played out in the hosts’ territory but our attackers seemed to meet a Reading body at every turn as they probed in search of an opening.
Our appeals for a penalty were waved away by the referee when Nick Tsaroulla invaded the area from the left and took a tumble under pressure from two defenders on 86 minutes, but when we finally managed to get a shot away after several minutes of trying through Edwards in stoppage time, Southwood was there to make a save.
As usual at this time of year, our youngsters now turn their attentions to overseas tournaments before returning to Barclays Under-18 Premier League action in January.
Spurs U18s: Austin, Muscatt, Tsaroulla, Owens, Dinzeyi, Brown, Edwards, Marsh, Loft (Sterling 46), Stylianides (Shashoua 60), Bennetts (Duncan 70). Substitute (not used): Whiteman (GK).