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Late Irow Leicester leveller sees Under-18s share spoils on final day

Spurs 3-3 Leicester City (Under-18 Premier League)

Sat 29 April 2023, 13:30|Tottenham Hotspur

Oliver Irow scored a late, late penalty to help our Under-18s finish their league campaign with an entertaining 3-3 draw with Leicester on Saturday afternoon.

Having been in complete control of proceeding at the break, leading 2-0 thanks to goals from Han Willhoft-King and Tyrese Hall in the final eight minutes of the first half, we then squandered that advantage before falling behind to the Foxes, conceding three times in 21 second-half minutes.

We showed resolve though and pushed right until the end for an equaliser, and we deservedly found that in the third of four additional minutes as the bright Kieran Morgan was brought down in the box before Irow showed immense composure to roll the ball home from the spot.

In the second of three matches to be broadcast on SPURSPLAY across the weekend (Friday 28 - Saturday 29 April), we took the game to Leicester as we looked to round off our league campaign on a high. And we could have been ahead with just seven minutes on the clock as Hall saw an effort from the angle deflect into the side netting. James Rowswell was then just inches away from breaking the deadlock 11 minutes later as he looked to connect with a teasing delivery from the midfielder.

Despite enjoying the lion's share of possession, it wasn't until the 37th minute that we were able to make that dominance count. Irow was the instigator, crossing in from the left, and Willhoft-King was the finisher, taking the ball down exceptionally in the box before hitting it on the half volley, across the goalkeeper, and into the far right-hand corner. On the stroke of half-time, we doubled that advantage. Irow showed persistence to progress through a couple of challenges, he moved the ball into Rio Kyerematen who in turn slipped in Hall and the midfielder did the rest, curling in from 16 yards out to beat the goalkeeper at his front post.

Missing a number of our regulars at Under-18 level - the likes of Alfiie Dorrington, George Abbott, Damola Ajayi and Mikey Moore having been in action for our Under-21s away at Manchester United on Friday night - we made a less than ideal start to the second period as, on 49 minutes, Josh King was picked out in acres of space inside our defensive line before he progressed, rounded Elliot Krasniqi and applied the finish to halve his side's deficit.

Despite that slight setback though, we still looked in firm control at our Enfield training base and we should have restored our two-goal advantage on 57 minutes as Callum Olusesi clipped in a delightful ball into Max McKnigh, but the midfielder could not beat the 'keeper from 10 yards out. And we were made to rue that missed opportunity four minutes later as Amani Richards got the visitors back on terms, firing home from close range after Krasniqi had done well to deny Trey Nyoni. The Foxes should have then completed their turnaround on 65 minutes, only from Krasniqi - who was making his competitive debut for our Under-18s - to produce a superb save at close range to prevent substitute Toby Ononaye turning the ball home from a yard out.

However, the goalkeeper would not deny the midfielder from finding the back of the net five minutes later as a loose ball at the back was picked up by Ononaye just inside the box, and he had the simple job of rolling the ball into an empty net.

A substitute of our own though would see us get back on terms and see a share of the spoils. While Leicester still showed a threat on the break with Krasniqi required to produce a number of saves as we pushed for an equaliser, the introduction of Morgan proved significant. With a knack of being able to switch the ball to open up the play, it was his sheer energy and drive that got us level. Having been spectacularly denied a goal of his own moments earlier via a terrific reflex save from the goalkeeper, he then showed his impetus on the ball to burst into the box in additional time to win a penalty as he was dragged down by Alfie Fisken.

The referee pointed to the spot and Irow stepped up with just seconds remaining to roll the ball home and earn us a point against the Foxes. The draw sees us finish fifth in the league with attentions now turning to Thursday night's Under-18 Premier League Cup Final against Aston Villa.

Spurs 3-3 Leicester City (Under-18 Premier League)

Spurs: Krasniqi, Andiyapan, Linton (Akhamrich 64), Chaplin, Rowswell, Willhoft-King (Owen 68), McKnight, Kyerematen (c), Irow, Olusesi (Morgan 74), Hall. Substitutes (not used): Bloedorn, Simons.

Match data

Goals: Spurs - Willhoft-King 37, Hall 45, Irow 90+3; Leicester - King 49, Richards 61, Ononaye 70.

Yellow cards: Spurs - Linton 64

Venue: Hotspur Way.

Weather: Sunny, 18 degrees.