Spurs U18s 4-2 Norwich U18s
Report from the Training Centre
16 August 2014|Tottenham Hotspur
Ryan Loft netted a brace as our youngsters saw off Norwich City 4-2 on the opening day of the Barclays Under-18 Premier League season.
The towering front man, who carried his good pre-season goalscoring form into the new campaign, was joined on the scoresheet by Anthony Georgiou and Kyle Walker-Peters as we controlled the possession for large parts of the game at the Training Centre on Saturday.
Despite our first half dominance it was the visiting Canaries who had the first sight of goal as Benard Ashley-Seal wriggled free behind the defence and found himself one-on-one with Harry Voss, but our goalkeeper confidently gathered the Norwich player’s low drive as he advanced off his line.
Cy Goddard was pulling strings in the middle of the park early on, while Norwich struggled to deal with our attacks down the flanks. The opening goal originated from a central area, though, as skipper Joe Pritchard evaded his marker and rolled the ball in for Loft to clip low beyond sprawling stopper Aston Oxborough with seven minutes gone.
The visitors levelled on 20 minutes when Ashley-Seal capitalised on a defensive lapse to fire home, but the quick thinking and determination of Anthony Georgiou ensured parity lasted less than 20 seconds. We attacked straight from the kick-off, with Georgiou collecting the ball on the left and skipping his way into the area before sliding beneath Oxborough and into the centre of the net.
Georgiou tested the Canaries keeper with a long-range curler on 25 minutes, Oxborough forced to parry the ball upwards before scrambling back to gather as it threatened to bounce over the line.
Goddard sent a free-kick wide and Pritchard’s deflected shot was comfortable for Oxborough, before the Norwich custodian got two strong hands to Loft’s rising shot in the 34th minute as we sought to increase our lead.
Norwich reminded the hosts that they were still in the game when Todd Cantwell’s low drive coaxed a low stop from Voss following a fast-paced counter-attack involving Ashley-Seal and Lewis Jamal, although a mix-up at the back 60 seconds later almost led to the ball being poked into his own net by a visiting defender as Georgiou’s ball in caused panic in the area.
Georgiou cut in from the left and fired straight at Oxborough as the second half got underway, before the Norwich keeper rushed off his line to seize possession at the feet of Loft as the front man tried to latch onto Pritchard’s through ball.
Voss made a low save to deny Jamie Eaton-Collins as the Norwich winger tried to apply the finishing touch to a speedy burst down the right, but the next goal went in at the other end as Georgiou’s useful cross from the left was met first-time by Loft – his effort squirming under the goalkeeper and over the line just as the game approached the hour mark.
Lloyd Ross steered substitute Armani Daly’s lay-off at Oxborough, before Walker-Peters capped a fine display by cracking in a 20-yard shot off the underside of the bar to further stretch our lead with 14 minutes remaining.
The visitors showed spirit in the closing stages, Jamal’s left-sided cross running just behind the arriving Kieran Higgs. And it was Jamal who had the final input, his delightful curler from 20 yards out flying beyond the diving Voss and nestling into the net two minutes from time.
Spurs: Voss, Ross, Walker-Peters, Amos (Paul 77), Maghoma, Stylianides, Harrison, Pritchard (Hayford 66), Loft, Goddard, Georgiou (Daly 66). Sub (not used): McDermott (GK).