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#U18 #MatchReport #Leicester

Under-18s win at Leicester

Leicester City 1-4 Spurs (Under-18 Premier League)

Sat 11 November 2023, 13:45|Tottenham Hotspur

Two well-taken goals in each half gave our Under-18s a deserved 4-1 victory at Leicester City on Saturday.

Again missing a handful of regular starters due to international duty and injury, we rallied together and responded well to last week's 5-2 home defeat to Crystal Palace and in truth could have scored even more, Herbie James hitting the woodwork twice in the first half and Oli Irow denied by a superb save from Foxes' goalkeeper Stevie Bausor in the second period while a handful of other chances also went begging.

Our goalkeeper Carey Bloedorn made a good early stop from Mirsad Ali's free-kick but a series of set-pieces at the other end – all corners from Kieran Morgan – caused Leicester real problems as we began to take control of the game. James didn't get a clean connection on the first one but still managed to nudge the ball against the near post, but a second one in the 10th minute paid dividends as the ball was cleared to Yusuf Akhamrich at the edge of the box and his cushioned volley through a crowded area deceived Bausor and sailed all the way in.

It was largely one-way traffic for the remainder of the first half as we knocked the ball around with confidence, the impressive Tyrese Hall going close a couple of times before setting up striker Ellis Lehane with a through ball, but Bausor denied him from a tight angle in the box. Leo Black saw a low shot blocked off the back of the resulting corner but eventually we were able to grab a second goal, counter-attacking after a rare Leicester assault on our box as Hall sent Irow away down the right flank, his low cross converted by Damola Ajayi as he arrived in the middle with 37 minutes played.

Morgan found James – making his first Under-18 start – with another corner three minutes later but again he could only head against the woodwork. That might have proven costly at one stage as Leicester changed shape at the start of the second half and had a spell in the ascendancy, although Irow nearly put an end to that on 52 minutes as he latched onto one of a handful of cut-backs from the left by the marauding James, only to be denied by a fine save from Bausor. The hosts duly capitalised on their upturn in play to make it 2-1 in the 55th minute, Kirsten Otchere forcing the ball home from inside a congested area after Chey Loureiro's effort was well stopped by Bloedorn.

Hall and Ali had chances at either end but a third goal for us in the 66th minute gave us back the upper hand, James again bursting forward down the left with his low cut-back converted by lively right-back Black for his third goal in four league games. Irow and Morgan both subsequently went close while Otchere lifted a shot over the bar for Leicester after Bloedorn had punched out substitute Yassine Toure's cross, but another dazzling solo run and subsequent finish from Hall put the icing on the cake a minute from time, the midfielder collecting Morgan's pass just inside Leicester's half and gliding forward into a shooting position before firing back across Bausor into the bottom corner to complete a well-earned victory.

'Our work in the week was evident'

After again being forced into a reshuffle of his starting line-up, Under-18s Coach Stuart Lewis was pleased with the character and performance on display from his players: "We've worked really hard this week on some of our out-of-possession principles and that was evident at times today," he said. "We really dominated with the ball as well, and there were some outstanding patterns of play and some excellent goals, so it was an all-round improved performance where the work in the week was evident. We spoke this week about the importance of the group as a collective and the players who haven't had as much of an opportunity this year – it was their chance to take and they did that today. We're disappointed to have lost James Rowswell for a period of time after starting a number of games for us at the beginning of the season, but I was really pleased with the application and efforts of the players who played today. In terms of the back line, we really squeezed the pitch at times and the way we defended our box and our one-v-one work as well was very good. That's credit to the players because they've shown real application in the classroom and on the pitch this week, so all in all it was a really good, positive display at what is a tough place to come."

Leicester City 1-4 Spurs (Under-18 Premier League)

Spurs: Bloedorn, Black, Akhamrich (Logan 73), King, Chaplin (c), Hall, Irow (Orr 90), Morgan, Lehane (Adewole 82), Ajayi, James. Substitutes (not used): Archer, Egan-Riley.