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Under-18s run rampant in big FA Youth Cup win

Spurs 6-2 AFC Bournemouth (FA Youth Cup)

Tue 06 February 2024, 21:20|Tottenham Hotspur

Our Under-18s led in 90 seconds, scored four in the first half and never looked back on the way to demolishing AFC Bournemouth 6-2 in the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday evening.

Ellis Lehane's high pressing led to early goals for Callum Olusesi and Mikey Moore, with Oli Irow soon getting in on the act and Moore adding another in only the 33rd minute as our irresistible attacking play proved simply too much for the Cherries to handle.

Remy Rees-Dottin's second-half strike for the visitors only seemed to anger us into scoring a fifth through Damola Ajayi, with Irow later sliding home number six at the back post. Substitute Jonny Day headed home a consolation for Bournemouth who, to their credit, could have scored more, but for some wayward finishing and a couple of fine one-on-one saves from Carey Bloedorn.

The only real disappointment on the night was an injury to Moore, who hobbled off in the latter stages, leaving us to finish the game with 10 men. The result puts us into the quarter-finals of the prestigious youth competition, where we'll play away to either Manchester City or Reading, who meet next week.

Hosting the fifth-round tie at the Cherry Red Records Stadium in Wimbledon due to a number of factors around venue availability, we quickly made ourselves at home by forging ahead with just a minute-and-a-half gone as Lehane chased down visiting goalkeeper Callan McKenna and forced him into a mistake, Moore intercepting the ball and teeing up the arriving Olusesi to blast home from the edge of the box. And we repeated the trick five minutes later, Lehane again pressing the keeper into a wayward clearance which Moore latched onto, drove forward centrally and fired high into the net.

Lehane himself subsequently volleyed wide before being denied by McKenna but just seconds afterwards, in the 26th minute, another high press saw Moore square for Irow to convert from the left angle inside the box. Leo Black almost found the net shortly afterwards, his shot towards the empty net deflected agonisingly wide after he'd carried the ball around McKenna, but on 33 minutes we extended our lead even further, Irow advancing down the right and feeding Moore, who turned onto his right foot and slid low inside the near post from the edge of the area.

Bournemouth might well have responded before the first half was out with Ryan Carroll's effort blocked by Black, before Bloedorn made vital stops to deny Jonny Stuttle and Rees-Dottin, but we remained a real threat with every attack, Tyrese Hall pulling the strings in midfield with Olusesi coaxing a flying save out of McKenna and Moore cracking a speculative shot off the crossbar in first-half stoppage time.

Hall made it look easy as he breezed past challenge after challenge before testing McKenna at the start of the second period, but Stuttle reminded us of the importance of focus at the back as he got in behind with a free shot at goal, only to put it wide. Rees-Dottin did manage to pull one back for the Cherries on 56 minutes, nodding in a left-wing cross at the back post, but we simply dusted ourselves off and restored the four-goal cushion within 60 seconds as Ajayi cut inside from the right and fired low into the net from 18 yards out.

Moore went to ground in the middle of the pitch clutching his ankle in the 86th minute and appeared to be in some discomfort, but play continued as we scored a sixth, Ajayi's shot from the left angle parried by McKenna which Irow sliding in at the far post to force the ball over the line despite the Bournemouth defenders pushing to clear it. With all three substitutions made, we were forced to continue with 10 men and Bournemouth managed to grab another goal back as Day powered home a header following Jack Holman's deep free-kick in the 89th minute. Hall subsequently fired just wide for us, while Josh Salmon perhaps should have further reduced the arrears but Bloedorn was there again with a superb block as we marched on into the last eight.

Reaction on SPURSPLAY

'A great night for the players and their families'

Under-18s Coach Stuart Lewis was naturally proud of his players' efforts, telling SPURSPLAY: "We're delighted with the result and the performance - we're into the quarter-finals now so it's a great night for the players, their families, the staff and the Academy overall. On nights like this in the Youth Cup, you have to start the game fast and on the front foot and we spoke to the boys over the weekend about that, about how important the start was in terms of really getting after the ball and pressing high early on, and obviously that showed where we capitalised with two early goals and I think that settled the boys down.

"We spoke about a clean sheet, it's a little bit disappointing we didn't reach that objective but there were some great moments and the score could have probably been even more than it was at times. We spoke about the concentration levels as well, because Carey (Bloedorn) had to make a big save in the first half, we maybe got a little bit sloppy at times in the second half but with the scoreline... we'll reflect on that, but overall it was a good performance. Some of the finishing was top and that's reflective of us a little bit - we won 6-3 at Southampton on Friday and then 6-2 tonight, but with some brilliant individual displays in there as well."

Spurs 6-2 AFC Bournemouth (FA Youth Cup)

Spurs: Bloedorn, Black, Akhamrich (Logan 68), King (Willhoft-King 83), Chaplin (c), Hall, Ajayi, Olusesi, Lehane (Adewole 68), Moore, Irow. Substitutes (not used): Archer, Arganese-McDermott, Egan-Riley, Morgan.

AFC Bournemouth: McKenna, Holman, Morgan (c) (Parkes 70), Gregory, William, Eagle (Williams 46), Salmon, Osborne, Stuttle, Carroll, Rees-Dottin (Day 80). Substitutes (not used): Crisp, Sills, Ogunleye, Stevens.

Match data

Goals: Spurs - Olusesi 2, Moore 7, 33, Irow 26, 86, Ajayi 57; AFC Bournemouth - Rees-Dottin 56, Day 89.

Yellow cards: Spurs - King 35; AFC Bournemouth - Holman 41, Stuttle 72.

Referee: Morgan Conn.

Venue: Cherry Red Records Stadium, Plough Lane, Wimbledon.

Weather: Light winds, rain showers, 12 degrees.

Attendance: 350.