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Spurs 2-3 Villa U18s - report from the Training Centre

09 May 2015|Tottenham Hotspur

Our Under-18s twice battled back to level against Aston Villa at Hotspur Way on Saturday afternoon and looked the most likely team to win in the closing stages, only to be undone by a late Villa winner.

In what was their final Barclays Under-18 Premier League game of the campaign, the lads responded to Villa’s 20th minute opener with a strike from Ryan Loft 13 minutes later and, although the visitors regained the lead shortly before half-time, Loft was on hand again midway through the second period to make it 2-2.

Despite dominating the possession and opportunities in the remaining minutes, it was Villa who snatched the points with a late breakaway goal to leave us disappointed and frustrated at the final whistle.

The first half was laden with chances and we were on the front foot immediately, Loft firing into the side-netting on four minutes and Jaden Brown drilling just wide shortly after, Anthony Georgiou the provider on both occasions.

Villa showed their intent on 13 minutes, Rushian Hepburn-Murphy hitting the side-netting with a fierce drive and, after Armani Daly and Zenon Stylianides both saw efforts saved by Villa keeper Kieran Boucher, the visitors took the lead.

Moustafa Zeidan picked up possession midway inside our half and threaded a pass through to Hepburn-Murphy which Anton Walkes failed to cut out and the striker advanced on goal before tucking a shot past Under-18s debutant Tom McDermott.

We responded well with Loft firing a loose ball over the bar and Charlie Owens testing Boucher with a 25-yard free-kick which the Villa stopper did well to save, but there were chances for Villa too and Brown produced a great piece of defending to prevent Hepburn-Murphy getting on the end of Corey Taylor’s cross.

The equaliser came on 33 minutes when Stylianides played in Daly down the right side of the area, he fired a shot towards the far post which Boucher saved but Loft was there to stretch out a leg and tuck home the rebound.

That gave the lads a real boost and we had a flurry of opportunities to go ahead. First Loft’s chipped cross to the back post was headed down into the ground and over the bar by Georgiou, Daly saw an effort well blocked by Liam Hailey and Georgiou’s right-foot curler clipped the outside of the post as the pressure mounted.

But instead it was the Villans who grabbed a half-time lead, Callum O’Hare working the space to deliver a fine cross from the left which Jordache Walters side-footed home from close range.

The second period was a quieter affair but we were certainly on top for most of it, Daly providing the first chance of note when his effort was blocked by Alex Prosser. Then came our second equaliser on 67 minutes, courtesy of some neat work from Stylianides.

He got to the Villa byline, beat a defender and cut the ball back for Georgiou to send a shot goalwards. That was blocked but the ball fell kindly to Loft at the far post and he slammed home to make it 2-2.

Clear-cut chances had dried up for both teams though, with substitute Kazaiah Sterling going close when he beat Boucher to Joe Muscatt’s cross but his header bounced just wide, while Villa’s only effort on goal was a wayward drive from Zeidan.

That was until the 88th minute however, when they broke away and grabbed the winner. A long ball over the top found Hepburn-Murphy and he delivered a low centre for substitute Jake Humphries to tap home at the back post.

There was still time for one more opportunity for us though, Owens’ 20-yard drive hitting Sterling inside the area and causing Boucher to make a save low down to his right, but that was the final action of the league season as the whistle blew seconds later.

Spurs U18s: McDermott, Paul (Roles 79), Walkes, Brown, Muscatt, Owens, Stylianides, Daly (Sterling 61), Goddard (Hayford 71), Georgiou, Loft. Substitute (not used): Voss (GK).

Aston Villa U18s: Boucher, Linley, Hailey, Simmons, Prosser (Walker 68), Sundman, Zeidan, Walters (Humphries 53), Hepburn-Murphy, O’Hare, Taylor. Substitutes (not used): Knibbs, Rowe, Hall.