Under-18s blitz Baggies to advance in FA Youth Cup
Spurs 6-1 West Bromwich Albion (FA Youth Cup)
Fri 21 January 2022, 15:35|Tottenham Hotspur
Our Under-18s produced a rampant display to march on in the FA Youth Cup at the expense of West Bromwich Albion on Friday afternoon.
Having lost 5-0 at home to the Baggies in the competition last season, we completely flipped the script this time around at Hotspur Way, cantering to a 6-1 victory in the fourth round to book a trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers at the next stage.
Striker Jaden Williams got us off and running with two goals in five first-half minutes, before a fine solo effort from Alfie Devine - the sole survivor from last year's defeat - put us firmly in control.
Reyes Cleary pulled one back for the visitors from the penalty spot but, crucially, we reacted quickly to restore our three-goal cushion, defender Charlie Sayers arriving at the far post to bundle home Rio Kyerematen's effort with 25 minutes still to play.
Lively attacking midfielder Tom Bloxham, who had been involved in the build-up to three of the four goals until that point, then bagged a double himself to take his tally to four goals in three games as Stuart Lewis' team rounded off one of their best performances of the season in style.
There was more good news in the closing stages with striker Jamie Donley returning to action off the bench after two months out with a wrist injury.
We had a couple of early near-misses with Devine's header from Bloxham's corner hitting the side netting and Williams just unable to capitalise on a stray pass in the box from Baggies defender Alex Williams, while it needed a smart intervention from left-back Jordan Hackett to deny Cleary with a fierce shot at the other end.
The breakthrough arrived on 26 minutes when Bloxham's curler from outside the box hit the post and Williams was able to bundle home at the second time of asking after his first attempt was saved by goalkeeper Ronnie Hollingshead. And five minutes later it was two as Bloxham found Max McKnight on the right-hand edge of the box and his dangerous low cross was turned home by Williams in the middle.
McKnight had a chance himself moments after the break but saw his rising shot tipped over by Hollingshead, while Cleary looked to impose himself at the other end on a couple of occasions, but to no avail. Devine then embarked on an excellent solo run before scoring from the left angle inside the box, putting us firmly in command with 54 minutes gone.
Cleary did managed to get his name on the scoresheet on 63 minutes, scoring from the spot after Alfie Dorrington was adjudged to have fouled him in the box, but within two minutes we were celebrating again as Bloxham found Rio Kyerematen on the right side of the area and his driven ball towards the far bottom corner was swept over the line by the arriving Sayers for his second goal in six days. Bloxham subsequently got in on the act himself, collecting Williams' pass and converting from inside the area on 72 minutes, then deftly steering in Kyerematen's cut-back four minutes later to bring up number six. The determined Cleary had one final attempt for West Brom, but goalkeeper Luca Gunter was equal to it.
'The boys were outstanding'
Under-18s Coach Stuart was delighted with the manner of the display from his team: "I thought the boys were outstanding, it was an excellent team performance and we thoroughly deserved the victory," he said. "The boys have worked really hard for this result and it's great that we've got our just rewards. It was a tough opening 20 minutes, we had to withstand that but then I felt we really built into the game and there were some excellent moments in the final third, some really outstanding performances.
"We'd spoken a lot all week about having to stand up to West Brom and match their physicality, to win the first balls and show a real intent on the second balls. Once we had done that, we had to make sure that we played our game and I thought we competed excellently throughout, we showed real composure, were very good in possession and showed a real cutting edge to our game - our intent to play forward, run forward and affect the opposition was brilliant. Our final pass, final little bits of movement and our ruthelessness were all very pleasing and all of those elements contributed to us having so much success within the game. It was a really good day for the lads and for the Academy, and it's great that we've been able to advance in the Youth Cup because it gives the lads an opportunity to play in another big game, which they thoroughly deserve."
Spurs 6-1 West Bromwich Albion (FA Youth Cup)
Spurs: Gunter, Bryan-Waugh, Hackett, Willhoft-King (Donley 77), Dorrington, Sayers, McKnight (Heaps 82), Kyerematen, Williams, Devine (c), Bloxham (Amo-Ameyaw 77). Substitutes (not used): Maguire, Andiyapan, Linton, Abbott.
West Bromwich Albion: Hollingshead, Williams, Shaw, Heard, Machisa (c), Chidi, Okoka, Richards, Cleary, Wangusi (Phillips 73), Richards (Walker 85). Substitutes (not used): Hudd, Ngoma, Lamb, Oliver, Humphries.
Goals: Spurs - Williams 26, 31, Devine 54, Sayers 65, Bloxham 72, 76; West Brom - Cleary 63 (pen).
Yellow card: West Brom - Richards 58.
Referee: Mr I Searle.
Venue: Hotspur Way, Enfield.
Weather: Bright, four degrees.