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#U18 #Matches #Southampton #KionEtete #YagoSantiago

Under-18s put six past Saints

Spurs 6-1 Southampton (Under-18 Premier League)

Sat 29 February 2020, 14:32|Tottenham Hotspur

Our Under-18s notched up their biggest league victory of the season, winning 6-1 in a weather-affected clash with Southampton at Hotspur Way on Saturday.

Three goals either side of half-time saw Matt Taylor’s troops return to winning ways, Kion Etete’s brace added to by a fine solo strike from J’Neil Bennett, Yago Santiago’s first goal for the Club, a well-placed drive from Nile John and a penalty from the returning Chay Cooper.

Southampton’s only reply came via Lucas Defise in the second period, just after a sudden hailstorm had caused the game to be suspended for nearly a quarter of an hour.

Visiting goalkeeper Ollie Wright was kept busy throughout as we dominated proceedings, although his opposite number Kacper Kurylowicz had to make a smart early save to tip Jack Turner’s header over the crossbar.

Bennett spectacularly fired us into a 16th-minute lead when, after exchanging passes with Matthew Craig deep inside our half, he embarked on a solo run through the middle, was tackled from behind as he slowed to assess his options, only to then thump the loose ball past Wright from 25 yards! Santiago gave us breathing space seven minutes later when he intercepted Wright’s scuffed clearance and shot into the empty net.

John, Bennett, Romaine Mundle and Craig all went close while Kurylowicz made a superb one-v-one block to deny Turner at the other end, before our third goal arrived a minute before the break, Etete bundling home John’s cut-back from six yards after a defence-splitting through ball from holding midfielder Craig.

The latter picked out John once more to fire low into the net from outside the area for 4-0 on 52 minutes but as we approached the hour mark, an unexpected and ferocious hailstorm saw the match suspended for 13 minutes as players and match officials ran for cover.

We were caught napping on the resumption as Marco Rus cut back for Defise to score for Southampton in the 59th minute but, after substitute Rafferty Pedder’s shot was saved and Etete put the rebound over the bar, our four-goal cushion was restored from the spot on 71 minutes. Etete was bundled over by Caleb Watts but stayed down for medical treatment in the aftermath, so up stepped Cooper – off the bench in place of Bennett earlier in the second half – to mark his return from injury with a goal.

We’ve spent all week working on our decision-making in the final third and today we made some very good decisions and scored some very good goals.

Under-18s Coach Matt Taylor

Cooper could have added another but his shot following a solo run was well saved by Wright on his line, but he was there once more to provide the cross for Etete to slide home and complete the scoring seven minutes from time.

Key moment

We were on top for much of the first half and deservedly led 2-0, but the third goal just before the break ensured the Saints had a mountain to climb. Craig split their defence with a perfect through ball into the left channel, John latched onto it and his cut-back was converted at the near post by Etete. We didn’t let up after the break, either, in what was the ideal response to last week’s loss at West Ham.

Coach’s view

Under-18s Coach Matt Taylor said: “The performance levels throughout the team were good, there were one or two individuals who were exceptional, but what pleased me more than anything was that we’ve spent all week working on our decision-making in the final third and today we made some very good decisions and scored some very good goals through the right cross or pass selection.

“We moved the ball quite well in difficult conditions, we were dominant in the majority of areas of the pitch, if not all of them and it was important that we turned our possession statistics into goals because we’ve been keeping the ball very well, but then not defending our penalty box well enough and not attacking in the opposition’s penalty box with the kind of desire and finishing that I would like. So for us to put in what I would say was more of a complete performance today was pleasing for all of us. The boys deserve a lot of credit for taking on all the information we’ve been giving them for nigh-on eight months. If there was anything disappointing it would be that we didn’t manage to keep a clean sheet but a 6-1 win at home… we’re all thoroughly pleased with that.”

Spurs 6-1 Southampton (Under-18 Premier League)

Spurs: Kurylowicz, Lusala, Hackett, Matthew Craig, Skinner, Muir, Mundle, John (Robson 76), Etete (c), Santiago (Pedder 64), Bennett (Cooper 59). Substitute (not used): Lo-Tutala.