Spurs 4-5 Villa U18s - report from the Training Centre
06 May 2014|Tottenham Hotspur
Our Under-18s shared nine goals with Aston Villa as both sides gave run-outs to a handful of up-and-coming players at the Training Centre on Tuesday evening.
We twice came back from two-goal deficits, before the dismissal of Channing Campbell-Young for bringing down Villa dangerman Rushian Hepburn-Murphy as the last man gave the visitors a numerical benefit.
Hepburn-Murphy then ensured the scoreline reflected that advantage when he fired home Villa’s fifth goal mid-way through the second half.
Both sides chose to field a number of younger players, in our case further exposing them to Under-18s football ahead of next season.
The game exploded into life when Henry Cowans played Harry McKirdy in down the left and the Villa midfielder lashed high into the net to put his side in front within a minute of kick-off.
The match proceeded to continue along similar lines, both sides enjoying plentiful chances while learning defensive lessons at the other end.
Ryan Loft slid in to meet Anthony Georgiou’s ball in from close to the left byline but could only find the side-netting, before Villa doubled their lead when McKirdy chipped stranded goalkeeper Liam Priestley and Callum O’Hare bundled home at the back post with 10 minutes gone.
Undeterred, we pressed forward and pulled a goal back fine minutes later when Loft strode through the midfield and worked himself into a shooting position before confidently smashing the ball across goalkeeper Charlie Banister and into the net.
Kevin Toner craned a header towards goal from Cowans’ corner but could only find the roof of the net – but the goals continued to come at five-minute intervals as Georgiou met Charlie Hayford’s deep cross with a neat left-footed volley that sailed past Bannister and into the net to bring us back on level terms.
Charlie Owens fired over the top, while Joe Muscatt embarked on a weaving run that ended with Bannister making a low save as we continued to grow into the contest heading into the half-time interval.
We came to rue those missed chances, however, as the second half began in similar fashion to the first, with Villa opening up another two-goal advantage.
First it was Toner who rose highest in the box to power in a header from Cowans’ corner on 48 minutes after Priestley had tipped McKirdy’s 30-yard effort over the bar.
It was 4-2 five minutes later when Hepburn-Murphy seized on the loose ball after Anton Walkes’ square pass to Campbell-Young never reached its destination, the Villa striker surging forward and gratefully thumping home.
We reduced the arrears within a minute when Muscatt expertly flicked the ball into the path of Georgiou on the left, the winger racing to the byline before crossing for Cy Goddard to sweep home from a central position.
And just before the hour mark it was all square once again as Chris Paul pounced on a defensive slip by Ryan Strain to fire low into the net.
We were reduced to 10 men within a minute as the referee showed Campbell-Young a straight red card when he was adjudged to have brought down the onrushing Hepburn-Murphy as the last man.
The latter forced Priestley to save with his legs after tricking his way into a shooting position soon afterwards – and it was the same player who was there again to run through the middle and slot home Villa’s fifth goal with 68 minutes on the watch.
Substitute Armani Daly forced Bannister to palm away his fierce shot as we sought another equaliser, while Priestley did well to deal with another blistering run from Hepburn-Murphy, eventually deflecting the striker’s shot away for a corner with his left leg after first forcing him wide.
Goddard lofted a speculative effort just over the bar from wide on the left, before Priestley made another low stop to deny Hepburn-Murphy as both sides traded chances in the closing stages.
But it was Villa who saw out the game to take the three points from what was our Under-18s’ final domestic outing before Sunday’s play-off semi-final at Everton.
Spurs: Priestley, Paul, Muscatt (Amos 63), Owens (Stylianides 70), Campbell-Young, Walkes, Hayford, Goddard, Loft, Ross, Georgiou (Daly 70). Substitute (not used): Voss (GK).