Spurs U18s 4-1 Fulham U18s
Report from the Training Centre
21 February 2015|Tottenham Hotspur
Two goals in the last two minutes stamped out any lingering doubts over the destination of the points as we returned to winning ways in the Barclays Under-18 Premier League with a 4-1 win over Fulham on Saturday.
Goals from Ryan Loft and Armani Daly put us comfortably in front at the Training Centre but, after Luca Della Torre pulled one back for the Cottagers, it needed a one-on-one save from goalkeeper Tom Glover to keep our lead intact.
The visitors pressed for a leveller but substitute Samuel Shashoua – the latest debutant stepping up from the Under-16s – and Loft made sure of the victory in the closing moments.
The response from the players following our last league outing – a disappointing 3-1 defeat at Reading – was positive, with the ball being moved about with zest in the first half.
Ismail Azzaoui’s early shot was straight at Cottagers goalkeeper Magnus Norman, while Glover had to be alert at the other end to beat Della Torre to Stephen Humphrys’ cross at his near post.
Loft’s fierce effort was blocked away for a corner by Shane Elworthy on 10 minutes, before Humphrys tried his luck after running through the middle – Glover getting himself in the way of his shot to avoid conceding.
We then made two dangerous runs to the right byline within the space of a few minutes, first with Daly whipping in a low cross that nobody was in the six-yard box to meet and then with Paul floating the ball in and forcing Norman to turn it over the crossbar at the expense of a corner.
Ryheem Sheckleford got down Fulham’s right shortly afterwards, his cross grazing the top of the woodwork on its way behind.
Having controlled most of the possession and put Fulham under a fair amount of pressure, we took the lead on 36 minutes when Azzaoui tricked his way to the edge of the box through the middle and fed Loft, who smashed a rising shot high into the net from just right of centre.
Daly pulled the trigger from a much more acute angle after getting into the box two minutes later, but his effort hit the bar and skimmed away.
The visitors started the second half purposefully, Aaron Redford testing Glover with a downward header five minutes in, but it was the men in Lilywhite who scored the next goal with a well-worked move.
Joe Muscatt shrugged off a challenge and surged down the left before passing infield to Azzaoui. He nudged the ball through the legs of his marker to Daly, with the latter carrying it further into the centre before pulling a right-footed shot back across Norman and low into the corner of the net to extend our lead.
Loft’s tame first-time effort from a Lloyd Ross ball in went wide on 62 minutes, before the front man was denied by Norman from six yards out after Daly’s right-sided cross was flicked on by substitute Kazaiah Sterling three minutes later.
Sterling then fed Ross, whose shot was deflected wide – and it appeared we might come to rue those missed chances as the second period wore on.
Glover saved at his near post from Della Torre, while it was a combination of centre-halves Anton Walkes and Christian Maghoma – plus the grounded Glover – who prevented Josh Walker from netting from close range in a prolonged goalmouth scramble.
The Cottagers did finally pull a goal back on 79 minutes when Sheckleford’s low cross from the left took a wicked deflection in the box and landed perfectly for Della Torre to blast home.
Glover then had to dive to his left to keep out a deflected drive from Humphrys, while Sterling made inroads into Fulham’s area after latching onto a loose ball – only to shoot wide.
The visitors very nearly snatched an 87th-minute equaliser when we gave away possession cheaply and substitute Dennis Adeniran burst through on goal and squared for Humphrys in space in the box – but Glover denied him with a low block.
We grabbed our third goal on 89 minutes to thwart any Fulham fight-back, Charlie Owens playing the ball to Shashoua and the youngster twisting and turning his way into the box before firing low into the corner.
We weren’t finished, though, and Loft slotted home his second of the game just 60 seconds later after Shashoua won possession in the centre circle and played the ball in to the striker’s feet – thus completing an impressive team performance in style.
Spurs: Glover, Paul, Muscatt, Owens, Maghoma, Walkes, Daly (Shashoua 76), Stylianides (Sterling 62), Loft, Ross, Azzaoui (Hayford 54). Substitutes (not used): Harrison, Whiteman (GK).