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Under-18s lose out to Cottagers

Spurs 2-5 Fulham (Under-18 Premier League)

Sat 15 April 2023, 13:04|Tottenham Hotspur

Tyrese Hall and Oliver Irow were on target but it wasn’t enough to see our Under-18s take any points from Saturday morning’s clash with Fulham at Hotspur Way, the visitors running out 5-2 winners.

Trailing 2-0 towards the end of a tough first half, we pulled one back through Hall on 44 minutes – only to be hit with a sucker punch as Callum Osmand bagged his second of the game to immediately restore the Cottagers’ two-goal cushion going into the break.

We came out much more on the front foot after the restart and Irow produced a great finish into the bottom corner – his fourth goal in three games – to get us right back into it at 3-2. Both sides had chances thereafter, but two late goals from Aaron Loupalo-Bi and Tom Olyott – the latter a mere 30 seconds after coming off the bench – gave the final scoreline an unflattering look.

With the men’s first team and Under-21s also in action and some of the more experienced members of our high-flying Under-18 side needed in those matches, coach Stuart Lewis had to rotate in certain areas and in truth we struggled in the first period, finding it difficult to play out of our own half at times. After a couple of near-misses, it was all too easy for Fulham to forge ahead as Oliver Gofford strolled through the middle into space and fired in from the edge of the box in only the 10th minute, Osmand subsequently arriving at the back post to convert Terrell Works’ in-swinging cross from the right to double his side’s advantage 17 minutes later.

Irow had our best chance of the opening half-hour just after the second goal, but Fulham goalkeeper Alfie McNally blocked his angled shot from inside the box and Hall couldn’t capitalise on the follow-up. Lemar Gordon subsequently tested Luca Gunter at the other end on a couple of occasions, with Jonathan Esenga’s corner hitting the top of the crossbar on its way behind as we crucially remained in the game.

Hall gave us a big boost when he rammed home to make it 2-1 in the 44th minute, but within 60 seconds Osmand had stamped out any hopes of an equaliser when he poked home after Gunter had saved Works’ low drive in from the right. It was a blow for us, but in fairness we responded very well after half-time and after Rio Kyerematen’s low shot following a short free-kick deflected through to McNally, we deservedly got off the mark in the 61st minute when the same player cut back from the left to find Irow and he took a touch before guiding a well-placed shot across McNally and into the far bottom corner.

We certainly looked capable of getting back on level terms after that but Fulham still carried a threat and actually had the better chances in the latter stages, Chibby Nwoko and Osmand both having opportunities before Gunter saved well from Loupalo-Bi. Unfortunately, though, despite another good save from our goalkeeper to deny Osmand, he was powerless to prevent Loupalo-Bi from tucking in the rebound to effectively kill the game off with three minutes remaining. And it got even worse two minutes later as Olyott, who had only just come on, saw his deflected shot fly inside the near post to make it 5-2. Osmand had one final chance to complete a hat-trick in stoppage time, but again was denied by Gunter with his foot after Brad de Jesus had crossed from the right side.

Spurs 2-5 Fulham (Under-18 Premier League)

Spurs: Gunter (c), Andiyapan, King (Morgan 7), Linton, Chaplin, Willhoft-King, McKnight, Kyerematen, Irow, Hall (Rowswell 88), Akhamrich. Substitutes (not used): Bloedorn, Simons, Olusesi.