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Under-17s taste glory in Premier League Cup!

Nottingham Forest 1-5 Spurs (Under-17 Premier League Cup final)

Wed 19 April 2023, 21:10|Tottenham Hotspur

Our Academy scholars did themselves and the Club proud as they lifted the Under-17 Premier League Cup after a 5-1 victory over Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on Wednesday evening.

Full of confidence from the off, the team recovered from the early setback of conceding to Danny Aniskjo and never looked back, putting five past a Forest side rocked by two red cards, one either side of half-time.

Under-16s attacker Mikey Moore put in a starring performance, his quick thinking on a free-kick eventually leading to Oliver Irow's opener before he produced a magical solo run to fire us ahead five minutes before the break.

To their credit, Forest stayed in the game for a spell despite their disadvantage in numbers, but Tyrese Hall put the tie beyond any doubt with just over a quarter-of-an-hour remaining with Moore and Irow later doubling their respective tallies to complete a resounding victory.

Captain Luca Gunter, who had made a crucial, outstanding save to deny Jack Thompson in the early stages, subsequently stepped up to lift the trophy as our whole group, including several non-playing squad members and staff, celebrated a terrific achievement.

In the first of two League Cup finals for Stuart Lewis' side this season - we face Aston Villa in the Under-18 version at the start of May - we controlled the game from the first whistle, although Forest stunned us with an 11th-minute opener with their first real attempt as George Hemmings' cross from the right found its way through to Anisjko and he finished low across Gunter into the far corner.

It took only three minutes for parity to be restored, however, as Moore's quickly-taken free-kick on the left flank played fellow Under-16s starlet Callum Olusesi into space down the side of the box and his cut-back found Irow, who fired home on his right foot from 12 yards out.

The teams traded big chances within seconds of each other as a rip-roaring game continued, Gunter superbly tipping Thompson's free header from a corner onto the post and away before Olusesi slid a shot wide when well placed in the box at the other end. Jimmy Sinclair's low cross spun dangerously wide off defender Maeson King before a key moment in the game arrived in the 36th minute as Forest's Kyle McAdam was sent off for collecting two yellow cards in as many minutes for challenges on Moore and Damola Ajayi.

Moore punished the hosts further with five minutes to go until half-time with a wonderful solo goal, picking up the ball on the edge of the box, skipping past Anisjko and weaving into a pocket of space around three defenders in the box before guiding a low shot into the bottom corner - a superb effort from the 15-year-old.

Jamie Donley went close in the six-yard box in the opening exchanges of the second period before Forest were reduced to nine men in the 52nd minute, captain Connor Brown shown a straight red for clashing with left-back King on the ground. From that moment, we simply had to bide our time and after Olusesi's angled shot was well saved by Keehan Willows, midfielder Hall had a golden chance to put daylight between the sides when he ran onto Ajayi's lay-off in the box, but again Willows produced an excellent save to keep us at bay. Just 60 seconds later, though, on 74 minutes Hall made no mistake as George Abbott's cut-back from close to the byline on the right found him in space in the box and he drilled home to seal the deal.

It got even better for us three minutes later when Donley's low delivery from the right after a fluid passing move was bundled home by Moore, despite the best efforts of defender Sinclair on the line to keep it out. And as we cantered to victory, Donley set up Irow to blast high into the net from a tight angle and round off a memorable night in the 90th minute.

Reaction on SPURSPLAY

'A brilliant feeling'

Having been on the wrong end of a heavy scoreline in the equivalent final 12 months ago against Manchester City, coach Stuart - a lifelong Spurs fan and himself a product of our Academy system - was delighted to see his young charges lift the trophy.

"It's a brilliant feeling for the staff and the players, a great evening in a fantastic football stadium - there's a lot of history here - and to win a trophy for all the players, their families and our loyal Academy supporters who have travelled here as always, it's a brilliant evening for us that is real testament to the boys' hard work this season.

"The scoreline is obviously pleasing, there were some key moments in the game and, in a final, to go 1-0 down and show that character and resilience to come back from that, along with the goals we scored, it was great. Some passages of play were outstanding so I'm really proud of the boys' efforts. Some individual performances on the night were outstanding as well, so it was a good all-round display and to get that in a final is especially pleasing. Our ultimate goal is to produce players who can play in our first team but at the same time on that journey it's so important to create young winners and young champions, so to do that this evening along with the performances we had was a great moment."

Nottingham Forest 1-5 Spurs (Under-17 Premier League Cup final)

Nottingham Forest: Willows, Sinclair, Robinson, Abbott (Gbopo 78), Thompson (Lister 86), McAdam, Whitehall, Hemmings (Adueni 86), Osong (Clarke 78), Brown (c), Anisjko. Substitute (not used): Bott.

Spurs: Gunter (c), Abbott, King (Akhamrich 70), Dorrington, Chaplin (Rowswell 79), Hall (Morgan 86), Irow, Olusesi (Willhoft-King 70), Ajayi, Donley, Moore. Substitute (not used): Bloedorn.

Match data

Goals: Nottingham Forest - Anisjko 11; Spurs - Irow 14, 90, Moore 40, 77, Hall 74.

Yellow cards: Nottingham Forest - McAdam 34, 36; Spurs - Chaplin 29.

Red cards: Nottingham Forest - McAdam 36, Brown 52.

Referee: Lee Hible.

Venue: City Ground, Nottingham.

Weather: Clear skies, fresh breeze, nine degrees.

Attendance: 2,227.