Spurs U18s 2-3 Villa U18s
Report from Hotspur Way
28 November 2015|Tottenham Hotspur
There was a dramatic finish to our Under-18s’ clash with Aston Villa on Saturday as substitute Aramide Oteh appeared to have rescued a point for us with a late penalty – only for Callum O’Hare to secure a 3-2 win for the visitors in the 90th minute.
We’d earlier taken the lead at the Training Centre when Keanan Bennetts’ shot went in off Villa defender Anes Omerovic, but we were undone on two set pieces as Omerovic and Kianan Davies put the away side 2-1 up.
Oteh then netted from the spot on 87 minutes for his second Barclays Under-18 Premier League goal of the season, but O’Hare had the last laugh as we switched off at the back in the closing moments.
The first half was a tight affair, with defender Jaden Brown in particular making a couple of important interventions to keep Villa at bay.
After Davies climbed above Japhet Tanganga to send an early header over the bar, Brown was there with a good covering tackle as Corey Taylor burst into space on the left side. Jake Humphries then picked up possession and played in O’Hare, but he could only flick tamely at Alfie Whiteman in our goal.
Our first opportunity arrived mid-way through the first half when Villa stopper Matija Sarkic spilled the ball in his area but Kazaiah Sterling’s shot after picking up the loose ball was blocked by Easah Suliman, with Joseph Linley then getting himself in the way of Samuel Shashoua’s effort as we tried without success to find the net.
George Marsh saw a shot deflected behind for a corner on the half-hour mark while Shashoua coaxed a fine save from Sarkic seconds later, but Whiteman had to remain alert as the visitors broke forward – the keeper just getting enough on the ball to take it away from the feet of the advancing O’Hare.
Brown made another vital covering challenge to prevent the same player from receiving Davies’ cushioned header in the box on 37 minutes, but it was our lads who would enjoy a spell of pressure in the closing stages of the first period – going closest when Shashoua’s drive was blocked by Mitch Clark.
Whiteman had to make a low save from Jake Hayes in stoppage time before the break but we came out on the front foot for the second half and, after Charlie Owens (pictured above) lashed a shot over the top, we took a 55th-minute lead.
It was a great passing move that led to the goal, starting with Shashoua on the left and going through Marcus Edwards and Sterling before reaching Bennetts in space on the right side of the box. His shot across goal appeared to be destined to hit the back of the net, but retreating defender Omerovic helped it on its way.
Dylan Duncan, who was filling in at right-back, got forward and saw a shot blocked as we sought a second goal, but we had Nick Tsaroulla to thank for keeping Villa out on 63 minutes. The left-back made an excellent last-ditch block to prevent Moustafa Zeidan from receiving O’Hare’s cut-back in the six-yard box and we were able to clear our lines.
One minute later, though, the visitors did find an equaliser as Omerovic’s in-swinging free-kick from the right wing position sailed past everyone in the box and nestled in the far corner of the net.
Owens saw a set piece of his own punched out by Sarkic, but it was from another free-kick that we fell behind for the first time in the game with 80 minutes played. Hayes’ initial effort was blocked by the wall but Marsh, within the mass of bodies, was penalised for handball and consequently another set piece was awarded. Hayes stepped up again and saw his effort touched onto the crossbar by Whiteman, but Davies was on hand to slide home the rebound from close range.
Not to be denied, we went back on the offensive and found a route back into the game with three minutes of normal time remaining. Bennetts played the ball down the right side for Oteh, but he was sent flying in the box by Sarkic’s challenge and the referee pointed to the spot. Oteh dusted himself down to shoot low into the corner, despite the keeper diving the right way.
There was to be one last, decisive twist in the game, though. With 90 minutes on the watch, O’Hare exchanged passes with substitute Kelsey Mooney in the box before lashing home from a tight angle on the left to restore the visitors’ lead.
Owens sent another free-kick into the box in stoppage time, but Villa cleared their lines in the last action of the match.
Spurs U18s: Whiteman, Duncan (Roles 71), Tsaroulla, Owens, Tanganga, Brown, Bennetts, Marsh, Sterling (Oteh 78), Edwards, Shashoua. Substitutes (not used): Mukena, Griffiths, Austin (GK).