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Under-18s foiled by late Leicester leveller

Spurs 1-1 Leicester City (Under-18 Premier League)

Sat 28 November 2020, 14:56|Tottenham Hotspur

An 89th-minute equaliser from Leicester’s Wanya Madivadua saw our Under-18s held to a 1-1 draw at Hotspur Way on Saturday.

We’d taken a first-half lead in a cagey affair when Under-16s striker Jamie Donley, making his Under-18 Premier League debut having played and scored for Matt Taylor’s side in pre-season, finished off a good move involving Maksim Paskotsi and Max Robson, with Tarrelle Whittaker having a further effort ruled out just before the break.

But we didn’t impose ourselves on the game as strongly as we have done recently and after a couple of missed opportunities for us, Leicester’s persistence eventually paid off when Madivadua cut inside from the right and curled a left-footed shot inside the far post to secure his side’s first point of the campaign.

In addition to Donley, there were first league starts of the season for goalkeeper Adam Hayton and midfielders Michael Craig and Max Robson, the latter going close early on when his first-time shot from Whittaker’s knock-down went just the wrong side of the post. Moments later, Craig, partnering his twin brother Matthew in midfield, sent Donley weaving forward on a solo run, with only a last-ditch sliding block from full-back Daniel Obi denying him a goal.

Donley eventually found a breakthrough on 38 minutes, but it was all thanks to the determination of centre-back Paskotsi, who found himself barrelling down the right flank, keeping the ball despite a couple of challenges before ferrying it inside to Robson, who laid it off for the striker to produce a precise finish into the bottom corner.

The Foxes fashioned a couple of half-chances in the run-up to half-time while Whittaker had the ball in the net from Romaine Mundle’s cross, only to be denied by the off-side flag. Mundle himself tested goalkeeper Arlo Doherty from either angle in separate attempts around the hour mark, but Leicester looked more of a threat than they had done earlier and we had a let-off mid-way through the second half when the superb Marqes Muir tackled Brandon Cover in the box, with Hayton denying Kian Pennant on the follow-up.

Both sides saw headers drop narrowly wide before two big chances came for us that we’d later regret, substitute Dane Scarlett firing across goal and wide from the left angle before Donley fizzed a shot over from distance after Whittaker had challenged keeper Doherty at the edge of his area and the ball ran loose to him.

We’d remained defensively resolute for the most part, but when Madivadua cut in from the right and found a slight gap to curl his shot through in the 89th minute, the ball crept inside the far post to ensure the spoils were shared.

‘We weren’t good enough with those innate, finer details’

Under-18s Coach Matt Taylor said afterwards: “We didn’t use the ball as well as I would have liked – at times we didn’t move it quickly enough. The work off the ball was hard and the boys put a lot of effort in, but at times our quality let us down and I think that was the disappointing thing considering that recently we’ve praised the players a lot for their quality when we’re attacking.

“It’s disappointing to draw today but on the balance of the game, Leicester were fully deserving of their point. Too many times we weren’t good enough with those really innate, finer details in our play that allow you the best opportunity to win a match and ultimately we got what we deserved, which was a point. Hopefully we can use this as a valuable lesson for the players.”

Spurs 1-1 Leicester City (Under-18 Premier League)

Spurs: Hayton, Cesay, Hackett, Matthew Craig (Haysman 68), Muir (c), Paskotsi, Whittaker, Michael Craig (Scarlett 68), Donley, Robson (John 54), Mundle. Substitute (not used): Maguire.