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#U18 #MatchReport #WestBrom

Under-18s lose out to Baggies

West Bromwich Albion 3-1 Spurs (Under-18 Premier League)

Sat 01 May 2021, 13:39|Tottenham Hotspur

Three goals in three minutes and 24 seconds saw West Bromwich Albion take the points from Saturday’s Under-18 Premier League clash at the Birmingham County FA ground.

Leading 1-0 after 13 minutes through the returning Dane Scarlett, we had goalkeeper Aaron Maguire to thank for saving Mo Faal’s penalty in the first period before the Baggies took control with Reyes Cleary’s equaliser added to by a quickfire brace from Lino Da Sousa in the second half.

Scarlett subsequently missed a penalty for us as the hosts claimed a 3-1 win.

Both teams fielded vastly-changed line-ups from those that met in the FA Youth Cup last month and it was us who started brightest, Jamie Donley’s header from Roshaun Mathurin’s corner hitting the crossbar seven minutes in, before Scarlett – playing his first game after getting injured in the aforementioned cup meeting with the Baggies – slotted us ahead from close range after skipper Michael Craig won the ball in West Brom’s right-back area and squared it across the box.

Centre-forward Faal was a handful at the other end, narrowly firing wide from the left angle before winning a penalty under Marqes Muir’s challenge just inside the area. Faal stepped up to take it but Maguire dived low to his left to tip his shot onto the post and away to safety with 24 minutes played.

Yago Santiago went close after Jordan Hackett sent him scurrying down the left channel with a free-kick while the impressive Donley was unlucky not to score in the lead-up to half-time as his shot from just inside the box was brilliantly saved by West Brom goalkeeper Ronnie Hollingshead following good work from Michael and Matthew Craig in the build-up.

Faal and Jesse Wangussi were narrowly off-target with headers for the hosts either side of half-time, while Maguire made himself big to block Cleary’s shot as he latched onto a long ball over the top and surged through on goal. But after standing up so well to West Brom’s challenge, a three-goal blitz settled the game in their favour. Cleary spun in behind our defence following Mat Richards’ free-kick to drill across Maguire and in from the left angle on 64 minutes, Da Sousa latched onto a diagonal pass and fired in from a similar position just over a minute later before the same player collected Faal’s pass and scored again from the left angle in the 67th minute.

We continued to play forward and were thrown a lifeline on 74 minutes when substitute Jez Davies played in Donley and he was upended in the box by Dan Ngoma, but Scarlett planted the resulting penalty wide of Hollingshead’s left-hand post. Maguire saved again from Cleary and Mackenzie Lamb as the second half wore on while Donley tested Hollingshead at his near post at the other end, but there was no way back.

‘A crazy three minutes but on the whole I was pleased’

In spite of the final scoreline, Under-18s Coach Matt Taylor took plenty of positives from the game, especially around the way the team adjusted to compete with the hosts before the interval.

“In the first half we were very good,” he reflected. “We’ve been speaking to the players throughout the week about competing better and I felt that in the first 45 minutes we did that, we won lots of our duels and tackles, the pitch was not conducive to playing our style of football so we had to adjust and I thought the players did that exceptionally well in the first half, so the half-time conversation was really positive. In the second half we didn’t win as many of those duels and ultimately when you don’t do that and you make slight errors in terms of positioning, you get punished and that was what happened today. It was probably a crazy three minutes (for their goals) but on the whole I was pleased with the response that we’ve had from our players this week. I thought that the ones who played showed a real steel and grit and determination to fight and that’s what they’re going to have to do to be professional footballers.”

West Bromwich Albion 3-1 Spurs (Under-18 Premier League)

Spurs: Maguire, Torraj, Hackett, Matthew Craig (J Davies 73), Muir, Dorrington, Mathurin (Cassanova 70), Michael Craig (c), Scarlett (Haysman 80), Donley, Santiago. Substitutes (not used): Solberg, Mundle.