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Under-18s secure memorable win at City

Manchester City 0-1 Spurs (Under-18 Premier League Cup)

Sat 04 February 2023, 15:00|Tottenham Hotspur

Our youngsters went marching on into the semi-finals of the Under-18 Premier League Cup after a well-deserved 1-0 victory at Manchester City on Saturday.

Playing for over an hour with a man advantage following the dismissal of City defender Jahmai Simpson-Pusey for a second bookable offence, we put on a terrific display against the league's northern division leaders, having three efforts cleared off the line and hitting the woodwork through Jamie Donley in the opening period alone before Mikey Moore's corner was turned into his own net by Lakyle Samuel in first-half added time.

We had to dig in at times after the break but still conjured up a couple more opportunities, substitute Will Lankshear controversially flagged off-side as he helped Jaden Williams' goalbound shot over the line before the striker missed a golden chance in the box with just over 10 minutes to go. You sensed we could and should have won by more but nevertheless, having withstood some City pressure in the second half, we were worthy winners as we joined Sheffield United, Aston Villa and Charlton Athletic in the draw for the last four.

After a solid start, we were left wondering how we hadn't taken a 14th-minute lead after having two efforts cleared off the line. With goalkeeper True Grant stranded in the centre of the box as City scrambled to clear a corner, Archie Chaplin hooked the ball over his head, Williams helped it on towards goal and Simpson-Pusey blocked it on the line before Isaiah Dada-Mascoll did likewise from Donley's angled shot on the follow-up. Moore later embarked on one of a number of trademark solo runs forward from deep, playing Donley in behind the defence at the end of it, but the striker guided his low shot the wrong side of the post.

City captain Nico O'Reilly squandered a couple of opportunities to fire his side ahead before Simpson-Pusey received his second yellow card and subsequent marching orders after only 29 minutes for bringing down Donley on the counter, having earlier been penalised for a tackle on Moore. Rio Kyerematen later squeezed a tame shot past Grant but the ball was again cleared before it could cross the line, while Donley's superb free-kick was tipped onto the crossbar as we entered first-half added time. We took full advantage of the resulting corner, though, with Samuel accidentally turning in Moore's delivery under pressure from Donley at the near post, ensuring we went in at the break in front.

Dada-Mascoll skewed a free header wide for City at the start of the second half while Lankshear fizzed an angled shot over the bar with his first touch after coming on following an excellent turn from Kyerematen and forward pass from Williams. We did finally have the ball in the net again on 63 minutes after a corner wasn't cleared and Williams guided it towards the far corner, but Lankshear was flagged off-side as he made sure it crossed the line at the back post and the goal didn't stand.

The hosts tried to respond, Dada-Mascoll and Will Dickson testing Luca Gunter in goal, before another big chance for us went begging when Donley's free-kick was headed back across goal by Alfie Dorrington, but the unmarked Lankshear turned the ball wide from eight yards out. Try as they might, City couldn't find a way through our solid defence in the closing moments, although Gunter had to make one more smart stop when Jahziah Linton's momentum saw him divert a low City cross back towards our own goal with seven minutes left.

'A great day for the players, for the staff and the Academy'

"I thought we thoroughly deserved the victory," said Under-18s Coach Stuart Lewis. "We had some big opportunities in the first half and a couple more in the second half to make the scoreline more convincing, but to get a win like this in a big cup quarter-final away to Manchester City in a stadium with the performance that we had means it's been a great day for the players, for the staff and the Academy. We had the one-on-one with Jamie Donley in the first half after some great play from our goalkeeper which we've worked on all week, plus numerous other chances, the off-side goal included. At the other end, as a group of staff we've worked hard all week on the importance of defending our box and being really disciplined in our defensive shape while still being aggressive and on the front foot, so to show that discipline and togetherness at times was really important. To get a clean sheet away at Manchester City, who are top of their league, with the determination that we showed, we did really well and I'm really proud of the boys for their efforts."

Manchester City 0-1 Spurs (Under-18 Premier League Cup)

Spurs: Gunter (c), McKnight, Linton, Dorrington, Chaplin, Abbott, Williams (Ajayi 86), Kyerematen, Donley (Willhoft-King 90), Olusesi (Lankshear 60), Moore. Substitutes (not used): Krasniqi, Andiyapan.