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Donley derby double helps under-18s to victory over Arsenal

Spurs 3-2 Arsenal (Under-18 Premier League)

Sat 18 March 2023, 14:06|Tottenham Hotspur

Our Under-18s put in an inspired display to beat Arsenal 3-2 in a pulsating North London Derby on Saturday.

Striker Jamie Donley showed his class with two goals and an assist to cap a superb all-round performance, first crossing to Rio Kyerematen who volleyed home to give us the perfect start five minutes in before his glancing header doubled our lead 10 minutes before half-time.

We were caught napping after the break and two quickfire goals from Osman Kamara drew Arsenal level with half an hour remaining but, just five minutes later, Donley put us back in front from the penalty spot to earn us a deserved three points.

In typical north London derby fashion, the game got off to a fast start with both sides showing good tempo and physicality in the early stages, letting each other know that they were up for the fight. Helped by a pre-game deluge, we began to zip the ball around nicely and were rewarded five minutes in when Donley floated a cross from the left-hand side into the visitor's box which was met by an unmarked Kyerematen to volley in at the back post from close range.

The intensity ramped up further as we looked to stamp our authority on the game, George Abbott impressing at right-back with his energy and Donley leading by example with his constant harrying of the Arsenal backline. Our number nine was rewarded for his efforts when Jahziah Linton delivered a peach of a deep cross from the left channel and Donley rose high to glance his header past goalkeeper Noah Cooper to give us a two-goal advantage at half-time.

The side from N5 looked much more up for the battle in the second half and the early warning signs of a comeback became evident just one minute after the restart when forward Romari Forde was played through one-on-one only to be superbly denied by captain Luca Gunter, who pounced at the attacker’s feet to push the ball clear. The visitors made their pressure count to halve the deficit on 51 minute, Michal Rosiak sending an out swinging corner into a dangerous area to evade Gunter and find Kamara whose looping header diverted the ball towards goal. Tyrese Hall was well placed to clear off the line, but the ball was deemed to have crossed the line before the midfielder could connect.

Highlights: Spurs U18 3-2 Arsenal U18 | March, 2023

The Gunners then began to find their groove and eight minutes later Kamara doubled his tally to level the score, showing quite incredible skill to control the ball before swivelling and shooting low into the bottom corner.

As the game ticked past the hour mark, coach Stuart Lewis made a double change, bringing on Max McKnight and Damola Ajayi and shifting Abbott into central midfield. This injected some fresh energy to our play with Donley leading by example to win a penalty just four minutes later after he was brought down by visting 'keeper Cooper. With pressure on to restore our lead, Donley confidently stepped up to deftly clip the ball down the middle from 12 yards.

As legs started to tire with five minutes to play, the game opened up and the impressive Gunter was forced into action but again came out on top to deny Kamara his hat-trick with a fine save to tip the ball round the post. The Gunners had a late chance to equalise with a free-kick in a dangerous position 20 yards out, but Gunter was once more on hand to save low down to ensure we secured the three points.

Watch - Under-18s Coach Stuart Lewis on SPURSPLAY

Spurs 3-2 Arsenal (Under-18 Premier League)

Spurs: Gunter (c), Abbott, Linton, Dorrington, Chaplin, Hall (Black 71), Kyerematen, Williams (Ajayi 63), Olusesi (McKnight 63), Donley (Irow 76), Moore. Substitutes (not used): Bloedorn.

Match data

Goals: Spurs - Kyerematen 4, Donley 34, 65; Arsenal - Kamara 51, 59

Referee: Alan Cresswell

Venue: Hotspur Way

Weather: Cloudy with spots of rain, 12 degrees