Under-18s five alive at Swansea!
Swansea City 1-5 Spurs
Sat 18 August 2018, 14:30|Tottenham Hotspur
J’Neil Bennett bagged a hat-trick and Dennis Cirkin scored twice on his full debut as our Under-18s ran rampant at 10-man Swansea City on Saturday.
Usually causing problems for opponents from a wide position, Bennett was deployed through the middle as our number nine at Landore and was electric as we recovered from conceding inside the first minute to register a 5-1 victory against a south Wales outfit that saw midfielder Will Rickard sent off for a second bookable offence with 15 minutes remaining.
That made it two wins from two in the Under-18 Premier League.
We scored five during our visit to Swansea at this level last season, winning 5-2 on that occasion, but it looked to be a different story early on as Shaquille Wynter-Coles closed down goalkeeper Josh Oluwayemi as he received a back-pass, won possession and converted from close range.
Their lead lasted less than four minutes, though, as Cirkin got forward from left-back and combined with Bennett, Cirkin carrying on his run before firing past goalkeeper Scott Reed.
We were dominating the play as the first period went on with the hosts rarely able to get out of their own half and we deservedly took the lead on 28 minutes. Jamie Bowden exchanged passes with Armando Shashoua on a wide free-kick on the left before delivering into the box, Luis Binks forced a save from Reed before Bennett converted the rebound.
Bennett doubled his tally 10 minutes later with a swivelled finish in the box after Shashoua had headed the ball into his path while Dilan Markanday blazed over at the back post in another good chance shortly before the interval.
We continued on the front foot with Bennett going close, before the Swans were reduced to 10 men with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining, Rickard picking up a second yellow card for hauling back Cirkin on the counter.
Thoroughly enjoying his first start at this level after coming off the bench during last week’s 6-4 win over Brighton, Cirkin doubled his tally on 88 minutes when he latched onto Harvey White’s through ball to poke beyond the onrushing keeper and it was 5-1 in the last minute of normal time as substitute Maurizio Pochettino made a good run down the right and cut back for Bennett to complete his treble.
Our response to the early setback of conceding was almost instantaneous, Cirkin’s fourth-minute goal allowing us to get swiftly back on the front foot and go on to secure a high-scoring win.
“It was disappointing to concede a goal in the way that we did with an individual mistake off of a back-pass, but the bravery and character we showed in response to that was important and we didn’t let it break our rhythm,” said Under-18s Coach Matt Wells.
“We had a very good belief about the way we played and after that it was quite a comfortable victory. It speaks volumes that we actually came away a bit disappointed in terms of our final third efficiency – it’s brilliant that the lads are looking at things that way.”
Bennett got his reward for a fine display deputising for Troy Parrott at centre-forward, the latter having started along with midfielder Paris Maghoma in Friday night’s 1-1 draw at Liverpool in the Premier League 2.
“In the hotel last night, we all sat down and watched the Under-23 game and it was brilliant for the boys to see Troy and Paris starting at Anfield,” explained Matt. “It shows the depth and hunger in our squad that J’Neil can play there at centre-forward and get a hat-trick. J’Neil knows that he can improve, he could have scored more goals today so moving forward it’s about capitalising on our chances as we approach another big game against Chelsea next week.”
Swansea City 1-5 Spurs (Under-18 Premier League)
Spurs: Oluwayemi, Tainio (Okedina 72), Cirkin, White, Walcott, Binks, Markanday, Bowden (Pochettino 76), Bennett, A Shashoua (c), Patterson (Mukendi 80). Substitute (not used): Kurylowicz.