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Under-18s suffer stoppage-time defeat to Baggies

Spurs 1-2 West Bromwich Albion (Under-18 Premier League)

Sat 20 August 2022, 14:03|Tottenham Hotspur

Layton Love’s 95th-minute strike led to heartbreak for our Under-18s as West Bromwich Albion recovered from a goal down to clinch a late, late victory at Hotspur Way on Saturday lunchtime.

Leading through Rio Kyerematen’s well-taken opener inside four minutes, we had chances to extend our lead as we sought to build on last week’s opening-day win at Leicester.

But the visitors had other ideas as a thunderbolt from Akeel Higgins shortly before the hour mark saw parity restored, before Love fired home deep into stoppage time to claim a 2-1 win for his side.

We also lost Kyerematen and James Rowswell to injury, with Under-18s Coach Stuart Lewis having to make a handful of changes on what turned out to be a bitterly disappointing day for our youngsters.

Yusuf Akhamrich, making his first Under-18 Premier League start after featuring off the bench against the Foxes, saw an early shot deflect over before Kyerematen arrived in the box to sweep Max McKnight’s low delivery inside the near post and give us the upper hand with only four minutes played. West Brom’s Harry Whitwell forced a flying save from goalkeeper Luca Gunter at the other end, with Gunter again saving well from Fenton Heard at close range after Akhamrich had blazed a great chance over the top for us.

We made changes at the break and it was the Baggies who made the most of their efforts at the start of the second half, Higgins turning onto his right foot at the left-hand corner of the box and arrowing a shot into the far top corner in the 57th minute to level the scores.

Akhamrich went close again, this time with an excellent free-kick that was clawed away by Beau Hudd in the Albion goal, but in truth we didn’t do enough in the second half to really threaten to retake the lead and in the end, we were undone in the fifth minute of stoppage time as Heard squared for Love to fire home from the edge of the box.

‘We need to be able to see the game out’

“To not come out of the game with a point was disappointing and conceding so late was a real learning curve for the players,” said Stuart afterwards. “We need to be able to see the game out and keep going until full-time – we’ve spoken about the importance of playing right up until the end of the game and the concentration that is required – so it was disappointing that we couldn’t do that today. We started well and on the front foot, we looked dangerous and we were probably unfortunate not to make it 2-0 in the early stages, but we have to be better in the final third and put our chances away. We had to make changes throughout as well – some enforced ones, some injuries – so there were some changes in personnel but to concede late is very disappointing for us all. It’s important for the boys to do their jobs in those key moments and see the game out.”

Spurs 1-2 West Bromwich Albion (Under-18 Premier League)

Spurs: Gunter (c), Abbott (Rowswell 46 (Heaps 80)), Dorrington (Chaplin 46), Andiyapan, Linton, Heaps (Irow 75), McKnight, Kyerematen (Bloxham 45+3), Williams (Ajayi 46), Black, Akhamrich.