Swansea U18s 2-2 Spurs U18s
24 September 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
Jack Roles scored twice in the final 16 minutes to salvage a point for our Under-18s at Swansea City on Saturday (September 24).
We found ourselves 2-0 down after an hour following two disappointing lapses in concentration at the back, but Roles continued his record of scoring in every one of his Under-18 Premier League appearances so far this term with a late brace to secure a share of the spoils.
The young midfielder has now netted six goals in five games since the start of the season at this level.
We were found wanting in our efforts to play out from the back and fell behind in disappointing fashion after only seven minutes. The ball was played back to goalkeeper Brandon Austin but Liam Cullen smelled blood, closing him down quickly with the ball ricocheting in off the forward as Austin tried to clear.
Nick Tsaroulla, playing on the left side of midfield, later dragged a long shot wide but we didn't truly test Swans stopper Ross Treacy in the first half.
We gifted the hosts a second goal just before the hour mark from another unforced error. This time, centre-back Joy Mukena tried to let the ball run across him but misjudged the pace of it, allowing Causso Darame to steal possession, drive on and slot past Austin one-on-one.
The introduction of Juan-Pablo Gonzalez-Velasco gave us some fresh impetus and he flashed a shot just wide from the edge of the box as we sought a route back into the game.
We found one on 74 minutes when Roles got in behind the full-back to convert Tsaroulla's cross from the left from six yards out and we were back level seven minutes later when Tsaroulla again played it in from the left and Swansea couldn't clear their lines, the ball running free outside the box for Roles to put his laces through it and drill through the crowded area into the bottom corner.
John McDermott, Head of Player Development, said
"It was a really disappointing first 60 minutes and it's probably the first time that I've said that this season. We never got going, we looked sluggish and what we've got to learn is that long-distance travel is part of football. Thankfully Swansea got tired a little bit, I thought Juan-Pablo (Gonzalez-Velasco) made a little bit of a difference when he came on and just injected a little bit of penetration into it, the tide turned, we had some glaring misses but even if we'd won I think we'd have left disappointed because of the manner that we played in the first hour. Credit to the players, we got the equaliser and we pushed on to try to win it, but we're so disappointed at the gifts we gave to the opponents in terms of goals. We've been guilty of unforced errors before but we usually get much more than a 30-minute performance so hopefully that'll just be a blip and we move on.
"Scoring goals is a nice habit for Jack Roles to have but there are still huge parts of his game that, if he's to fulfil his potential, he needs to start adding to – and start adding to quickly. He stepped up today when we needed him but he was part of that first 60 minutes that was so disappointing and we'll have to try to address that."
Spurs U18s: Austin, Hinds, Brown (Reynolds 74), Omolabi (Gonzalez-Velasco 56), Mukena (Tanganga 87), Dinzeyi, Shashoua, Roles, Oteh, Duncan, Tsaroulla. Substitutes (not used): Lock, Freeman (GK).
We'll look to get off the mark in the UEFA Youth League when we travel to Russia to face CSKA Moscow on Tuesday (September 27). After a 3-2 defeat at home to Monaco in a real physical test a fortnight ago, our youngsters will be keen to draw on their past experience of overseas tournaments to put on a good showing in the Under-19 competition.