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#U18 #MatchReport #Norwich #RioKyerematen #JamieDonley

Under-18s make it three in a row with victory over Norwich

Spurs 2-1 Norwich City (Under-18 Premier League)

Fri 15 April 2022, 14:40|Tottenham Hotspur

First-half goals from Rio Kyerematen and Jamie Donley proved enough to see off a stubborn Norwich City side as our Under-18s made it three consecutive wins for the first time this season on Friday lunchtime.

After a couple of near misses for both teams at a sunny Hotspur Way, we scored twice in quick succession around the half-hour mark to take control of the game, Kyerematen’s shot from the edge of the box squirming beyond goalkeeper David Aziaya, whose attempted clearance 90 seconds later was charged down and deflected in by in-form striker Donley.

Bottom-of-the-table Norwich refused to relent and after their captain Brad Hills headed home with the last action of the first period to halve our lead, they made life difficult for us during the second 45 minutes, although their best chance to equalise was of our own making as goalkeeper Adam Hayton’s clearance was collected by substitute Finley Welch, but he fired wide of the near post under pressure from the retreating Billy Heaps.

Kyerematen and substitutes Leo Black and Max McKnight went close for us, but we’d already done enough to claim three more points following our recent away wins over Reading and West Ham.

Indeed, having beaten the Under-18 Premier League’s leaders in the Hammers last weekend, we found ourselves up against the division’s basement side this time around, but it was a challenging encounter as always with the visitors having the first attempt at goal inside five minutes, Oscar Thorn firing wide of the far post from the right angle inside the box.

Kyerematen brought a good save out of Aziaya away to his left shortly afterwards but when the same player let fly from the 18-yard line in the 29th minute, the keeper got down to it at his near post but couldn’t prevent it from spilling in. Less than two minutes later, Aziaya was again left kicking himself as he took too long in possession, allowing Donley to charge down his clearance and knock the ball straight back into the net from a tight angle.

Norwich recovered, though, and on the stroke of half-time, a free-kick was headed on in the box and Hills nodded across goal and into the far top corner to reduce the arrears for his side, with Welch going close to an equaliser in the 63rd minute following a momentary lapse from Hayton.

Kyerematen and the impressive Black both fired wide in the last 15 minutes as we tried to put the game beyond doubt, with the same two players combining to set up the arriving McKnight for arguably our best chance of the second period at the end of normal time, but his rising shot was tipped over by Aziaya. Nevertheless, we managed the closing stages diligently to make sure of the victory.

‘We showed good character to get over the line’

Under-18s Coach Stuart Lewis said: “The boys dug deep to get the win and it’s good to keep that momentum going in the league – that’s four wins in five now, which is positive. I think performance-wise, we could have been a bit more dominant but it was a tough game, the goal just before half-time killed our momentum and we couldn’t quite get back a hold of it in the second half. Credit to Norwich, they were very honest, really pressed us and got after the ball and I probably wanted us to be a little bit calmer and show a bit more composure at times to dominate the game, but the boys showed really good character to get over the line and win. I’d hope that in the next few weeks, we can continue to improve performance-wise and have a little bit more control at times, plus a bit more effectiveness in the final third.”

Spurs 2-1 Norwich City (Under-18 Premier League)

Spurs: Hayton, Bryan-Waugh (McKnight 58), Linton, Abbott, Chaplin (Black 72), Sayers, Heaps, J Davies, Donley (c), Kyerematen, Owen (Bloxham 67). Substitute (not used): Maguire.