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Donley nets long-range stunner as Under-18s go second

Spurs 3-0 Norwich City (Under-18 Premier League)

Tue 29 November 2022, 14:20|Tottenham Hotspur

A 40-yard lob from Jamie Donley set the seal on another fine win for our Under-18s against Norwich City at Hotspur Way on Tuesday lunchtime, which sent Stuart Lewis’ side up to second in the league.

Already two goals to the good following first-half strikes from Jaden Williams and Oliver Irow, our youngsters completed a 3-0 victory when Donley intercepted a short free-kick from Norwich substitute Harrison Thompson and sent a swirling shot into the net from long distance with just over an hour gone.

Unfortunately, the goal was marred by an injury to Norwich stopper Caleb Ansen, who collided with the far post as he back-pedalled to try to keep the ball out and was carried off on a stretcher after a lengthy delay. He became the third casualty of the game for the Canaries after they lost Ben McCabe and then Alfie Pinyoun in the first half – we wish them all well.

Coach Stuart made three changes from the 3-1 win at Crystal Palace at the weekend with Kieran Morgan, Irow and Han Willhoft-King coming into the starting XI, but it was Willhoft-King’s central midfield partner Tyrese Hall who was in the thick of the action early on, firing a shot at the goalkeeper before playing a key role in our 11th-minute opener – he played Will Lankshear through on goal in the right channel, the striker’s shot was saved by Ansen but Williams came following in to slot the rebound through the keeper’s legs.

Norwich had a spell in the ascendancy after that but we soon regained the initiative and doubled our lead on 28 minutes when Williams invaded the box from the right side and set the ball back for Irow to fire home with venom, Ansen getting his hands to the ball but unable to keep it out.

Pedro Amadou got into some good positions for Norwich as the game continued, forcing Luca Gunter to make a vital save with his foot in the lead-up to the break, while Lankshear’s arching header was comfortable for Ansen on the stroke of half-time. But after Hall fired over and Donley’s free-kick glanced behind off the post, a moment of magic led to our third goal as Donley collected an under-hit Norwich set-piece just yards from our dugout before spotting Ansen off his line and sending a superb lofted shot inside the far post from distance.

The game took a while to get going again following the unfortunate injury to Ansen in the wake of the goal, but when it did, we needed good saves from Gunter to again deny Amadou on two separate occasions as the visitors tried to rally. In general, though, we retained the upper hand without fuss and there was almost another spectacular moment in stoppage time when George Abbott tried to lob substitute goalkeeper Leon Giller from the half-way line, but Norwich defender Waylon Renecke made a superb last-ditch challenge to deny him.

Reaction on SPURSPLAY

‘You have to try those moments’

Coach Stuart praised third goalscorer Donley for the way he took his opportunity in the post-match reckoning on SPURSPLAY: “We could see where the keeper was and someone of Jamie’s quality and talent, we know what he’s capable of,” he said. “Obviously the execution was outstanding. When you’re developing as a young player, you have to try those moments, you have to be creative and for him to execute that and score was a really outstanding moment for him and the team. We’re thinking about the Norwich keeper because that was a really long stoppage afterwards so hopefully he is okay, but for that goal, I’ve seen Jamie score some good ones on this pitch but that was probably the pick!”

As for the overall performance, Stuart added: “It was a brilliant result for the boys, good to keep a clean sheet and score three really good goals. We spoke to the lads afterwards and mentioned that we played really well against Chelsea, the performance was outstanding but we didn’t get the result, but today we felt there were moments in the performance that could have been better, but to be saying that after a 3-0 victory is really positive.”

Highlights on SPURSPLAY

Spurs 3-0 Norwich City (Under-18 Premier League)

Spurs: Gunter (c), Abbott, Andiyapan (King 83), Dorrington, Morgan, Willhoft-King (Linton 60), Williams, Hall (Kyerematen 90+1), Lankshear, Donley, Irow (Akhamrich 83). Substitute (not used): Krasniqi.