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#U18 #MatchReport #Brighton

Under-18s defeated by Brighton

Spurs 2-3 Brighton & Hove Albion (Under-18 Premier League)

Sat 17 August 2019, 15:42|Tottenham Hotspur

Despite a late resurgence, our Under-18s were unable to find an equaliser and fell to a 3-2 defeat at home to Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.

The encounter at Hotspur Way had started perfectly for our youngsters as we were ahead within a minute through Kion Etete’s penalty. But the opposition worked their way back into the game with Stefan Vukoje firing them level on 20 minutes. Lorent Tolaj then hit a second-half brace to make it 3-1, putting them firmly in control.

We did get ourselves back into the match late on as Kallum Cesay tapped in on 86 minutes, but ultimately that proved just a consolation as we were unable to grab a third.

Coming off the back of last Saturday’s 4-0 defeat to Fulham, we started with the perfect response as, within a minute, we had the lead. Max Robson was taken down in the box and Etete did the rest from the spot, sending the ball out of the reach of Seagulls stopper Fynn Talley. The visitors, however, were quick to make their presence known in the game and just three minutes later, Jack Leahy came within inches of levelling the scores.

On 20 minutes, Brighton found their equaliser. Vukoje broke away down the right and, once he was into the box, he slid the ball past the on-running Kacper Kurylowicz and into the net. It was a goal that our visitors immediately looked to build on and they would have done that within minutes of their leveller had it not been for a superb save from Kurylowicz, who parried away Tolaj’s fierce near-post drive.

Within nine minutes of the second period starting, the south coast outfit again came close to taking the lead. This time, defender Marc Leonard skewed his effort from distance wide of the left upright. Shortly after, we almost capitalised on that missed opportunity but, like Brighton’s Leonard, Nile John was unable to keep his curling strike on target.

On 62 minutes, Brighton took the lead. In similar fashion to their equaliser, they sent a long, searching ball forward and over the top of our defence. This time, it was Tolaj on the receiving end of the pass and the striker followed Vukoje’s earlier effort, placing the ball out of Kurylowicz's reach and into the far corner.

It was a setback, but we pushed on and came so close through substitute Cesay, but the defender’s close-range effort cannoned off the post. Six minutes later, though, it was 3-1. The impressive Tolaj doubled his tally for the day after he turned neatly in the box before slotting the ball into the opposite corner of the goal.

It was disappointing to lose in the manner that we did but this is another opportunity for us to learn and to grow.

Under-18s Coach Matt Taylor

In spite of that, we were dominating in possession and pressing hard to get back into the game. Clear-cut chances were few and far between, but we eventually reduced the deficit on 86 minutes as Cesay tapped in. A delightful chipped cross from Rafferty Pedder was headed onto the post by Luis Binks and the rebound fell kindly for Cesay who reacted quickly to rattle the ball in from close range.

With time running out, we pressed for a third, but we were ultimately unsuccessful. John came closest to finding an equaliser, but his late strike flew over the bar.

Key moment

In the periods before Brighton’s two second-half goals, we were enjoying the lion's share of possession. We were looking comfortable but just couldn’t turn that control into a numerical advantage.

Not converting that command of the game into a lead saw the visitors soon hit us on the break and score two match-winning goals.

Coach’s view

Under-18s Coach Matt Taylor was encouraged by the positive start to the game by his side, but was disappointed by the manner in which they conceded the three goals: “We started the game on the front foot. I had asked the boys for a positive reaction (following last Saturday’s 4-0 defeat to Fulham) – that’s what they gave me and that’s what they gave each other,” he said.

“We scored early and I thought Kion Etete took his penalty really well but obviously we didn’t deal with the balls over the top of the defence today very well and, ultimately, that is what has cost us on more than one occasion.

“It was better than last week, which is a positive, but still, in the end, it wasn’t good enough. It was disappointing to lose in the manner that we did but this is another opportunity for us to learn and to grow and for the team to have a positive result next week against Norwich.”

Spurs 2-3 Brighton & Hove Albion (Under-18 Premier League)

Spurs: Kurylowicz, Matthew Craig, Lusala, Cooper (Pedder 72), Muir (Cesay 46), Binks (c), Robson (Asante 66), Michael Craig, Etete, John, Whittaker. Substitute (not used): Lo-Tutala.