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Rare defeat for Under-18s

Arsenal 4-1 Spurs (Under-18 Premier League)

Sat 23 January 2021, 14:33|Tottenham Hotspur

Our Under-18s slipped to only their second league defeat of the season on Saturday, losing out to Arsenal at London Colney.

Roshaun Mathurin’s third goal in our last four games had seen us draw level towards the end of the first period having fallen behind to Zane Monlouis’ fortuitous strike, but Omari Giraud-Hutchinson restored the hosts’ lead on the stroke of half-time and following Kido Taylor-Hart’s effort shortly after the restart, Mazeed Ogungbo made for an unflattering 4-1 final scoreline in stoppage time.

Midfielder Nile John was impressive throughout, but we were hampered early on when left-back Dermi Lusala was forced off injured after only eight minutes, prompting a reshuffle that saw Kallum Cesay switch sides across the defensive line and midfielder Matthew Craig drop in at right-back, his twin brother Michael coming off the bench to assume duties in the centre of the park.

Monlouis scored from close range on 17 minutes after goalkeeper Thimothee Lo-Tutala slipped on the surface as we tried to defend a wide free-kick – he still managed to save Monlouis’ initial effort before the Arsenal man tucked in the rebound – but we replied five minutes before the break when Max Robson played the ball forward for Mathurin to fire into the bottom corner from the edge of the box. But just as the first half was coming to a close, Giraud-Hutchinson cut inside from the right and restored Arsenal’s lead.

Taylor-Hart made it 3-1 within four minutes of the start of the second half, firing into the top corner from the left angle inside the box, but after young striker Jamie Donley saw a shot well saved by Arsenal’s substitute goalkeeper Hubert Graczyk at the other end, a deflected effort from a similar position by Ogungbo looped over Lo-Tutala and into the net in the second minute of added time to complete the scoring.

The exact opposite outcome occurred on Tuesday as we won 4-1 at Arsenal in our third and final group game in the Under-17 Premier League Cup, with a handful of players who played in midweek – including goalscorers Donley and Robson – also featuring on Saturday.

As previously reported, we won our opening game 1-0 at home to Leicester City before suffering a 5-1 defeat at Norwich City in November. With two wins from three matches and a neutral goal difference, we await the outcome of Norwich’s clash with Leicester next month to determine whether we’ll progress to the quarter-finals.

Arsenal 4-1 Spurs (Under-18 Premier League)

Spurs: Lo-Tutala (c), Cesay, Lusala (Michael Craig 8), Matthew Craig, Muir, Paskotsi (Donley 77), Mathurin, John, Scarlett, Robson (Mundle 55), Santiago. Substitute (not used): Hayton.