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Under-18s roar back to beat Norwich

Spurs 5-2 Norwich City (Under-18 Premier League)

Tue 04 May 2021, 15:15|Tottenham Hotspur

A dominant second-half display saw our Under-18s breeze past Norwich City as we came back from 2-0 down to win 5-2 at Hotspur Way on Tuesday afternoon.

Trailing to Tony Springett’s brace in a wind-swept and at times very open first period, Dane Scarlett got us off the mark with the last kick of the first half before Romaine Mundle’s excellent delivery was headed home by fellow substitute Roshaun Mathurin within two minutes of the restart.

Striker Jamie Donley then scored twice to earn just rewards for his hard-working recent displays – either side of defender Marqes Muir’s tap-in – and secure a first win in five games in all competitions for Matt Taylor’s side.

Goalkeeper and captain Thimothee Lo-Tutala returned from injury to start between the sticks, but was kept busy in the opening exchanges as both teams gifted each other chances amid blustery conditions, the stopper saving Springett’s shot from inside the box and then coming out to the edge of his area to deny the onrushing Harry Brooke, while opposite number Sam Blair kept out Scarlett’s angled drive at the other end.

Norwich’s early forays forward paid off when Springett fired across Lo-Tutala and into the bottom corner from Tom Dickson-Peters’ pass in the seventh minute, while the keeper subsequently tipped another Springett effort onto the base of the left-hand post before pouncing on the rebound in another good chance for the visitors. Yago Santiago fired over the bar for us mid-way through the first half, but we struggled to fully assert ourselves on the game during that period and when Springett latched onto a long ball over the top and sped away from Maksim Paskotsi, he stroked home a second goal for Norwich on 39 minutes.

Lewis Shipley had the ball in the net once more for the Canaries but saw his effort ruled out for off-side but Scarlett, who had crashed a header just over the bar moments earlier, gave us a lift going into the break when he produced a sublime first touch to control Dane Cassanova’s long ball into the right channel before carrying it around Blair and slotting home, the half-time whistle blowing seconds later.

Mundle and Mathurin made an instant impact after coming off the bench for the second half, the former crossing for the latter to head us back level within two minutes of the resumption and we went up through the gears from there, Mathurin testing Blair with a sharp rising shot and Mundle causing nightmares for the Norwich defenders with his domineering runs in possession. Cassanova’s deliveries from the right side were also proving problematic for the Canaries and from one such cross, Santiago’s effort from point-blank range was somehow kept out by Blair. Seconds later, though, we were ahead as central midfielder Michael Craig collected the ball and curled a perfect in-swinger into the area for Donley to glance home just before the hour mark.

Mundle cruised past another defender to get a fierce shot away from the left angle inside the box that was turned away by Blair before we extended our lead on 69 minutes, Mathurin’s free-kick fumbled by the keeper and knocked back across the six-yard box by Paskotsi for his centre-back partner Muir to convert into the empty net for his first Under-18 Premier League goal.

We completed the scoring 18 minutes from time as Mundle worked the ball through to Mathurin, his shot was saved and Donley was on hand to fire home the loose ball. Sean Stewart might have bagged a late third for Norwich, but his free-kick was turned over the bar by Lo-Tutala.

‘We got what we deserved’

Under-18s Coach Matt Taylor was pleased with the impact of our substitutes as we took full control of the game in the second period. He said: “In the first half we were not as tidy in possession as I would have wanted, we probably abandoned the basics which allow you those moments to produce brilliance because you’ve earned the right to do that, but in the second half I felt the changes we made were positive and those players who came on probably had a point to prove and performed exceptionally well. For the whole of the second half we were in complete control, we were in possession for the majority of the time and we made better decisions and valued the basics that allowed us to have that control with the ball and produce some key passes and goals in big moments.

“I’m really pleased for the players because for them it’s been a tough period of time lately, we haven’t picked up the results that we’ve wanted and the performances haven’t been at the level at which we expect, so today hopefully fills the players with confidence because as coaches we have that level of confidence in them, it’s just now from their perspective about learning that there will be tough moments and tough times but it’s how you work through those on a daily basis. We got what we deserved today and it was nice not to concede any goals during the second half as well.”

Under-16s striker Donley has impressed of late at Under-18 level and Matt added: “Jamie has deserved his opportunities, as have the other Under-16s who have come up into the group this season. Jamie probably hasn’t scored the goals that his play has deserved, however it’s taken him time to adjust because to go from the Under-16s to the Under-18s is a jump and Jamie at the moment is in a good place in terms of his confidence and he’s integrating into the group well. For those boys who have played up at this level, it gives them a flavour of what’s to come for the beginning of their scholarship because next year, we know the way that it works and it’s the same at every club – we’ll have new players coming into the building and it’s the job now of people like Jamie and our current first-years to help the Under-16s when they come up as scholars next season.”

Spurs 5-2 Norwich City (Under-18 Premier League)

Spurs: Lo-Tutala (c), Cassanova, Hackett, Haysman (Mundle 46), Muir, Paskotsi, Torraj, Michael Craig, Scarlett (Mathurin 46), Donley (Turner 79), Santiago. Substitutes (not used): Maguire, J Davies.