October 14, 2013

12/10/13 Tottenham Hotspur U18s 2-3 West Ham United U18s, Hotspur Way

Luke McGee (18)
Kyle Walker-Peters (16) Cameron Carter-Vickers (15) Christian Maghoma (15) Connor Ogilvie (17)
Joe Pritchard (17) Josh Onomah (16) Cy Goddard (16)
Emmanuel Sonupe (17) Daniel Akindayini (17) Nathan Oduwa (17)

Subs:
Anton Walkes (16) for Joe Pritchard, 61.
Anthony Georgiou (16) for Emmanuel Sonupe, 61.
Shayon Harrison (16) for Cy Goddard, 71.

Sub not used:
Alfie Whiteman (15)

With Will Miller and Filip Lesniak missing due to international call-ups (note: McEneff is with Ireland too, but hasn’t featured for the U18s so far this season), and Harry Winks also absent (presumably through injury), Spurs lined up with a slightly unfamiliar feel to their midfield. Josh Onomah, normally a more attacking player, played large parts of the game as the holding player, although was pushed on as we chased the game in the second half.

After one early foray each, the deadlock was broken after just a couple of minutes – Luke McGee rushed out to clear, his kick hit Jordan Brown (who moved to West Ham from Arsenal in the summer) and landed kindly for captain Kieran Bywater to calmly stroke the ball into the unguarded net for 1-0.

Left-back Lewis Page then got to the byline and pulled a cross back which just evaded Josh Cullen as the visitors looked to extend their lead.

Spurs soon settled into the game, though, and started to threaten. Oduwa was put through in the left channel but had his shot from a tricky angle blocked, and then Carter-Vickers put a header over on the stretch after Spurs developed a short corner and Pritchard delivered a cross.

Walker-Peters linked well with Sonupe, playing a one-two which saw the right-back get into a position to cross, but his centre was just beyond Oduwa.

Ogilvie then charged forward on the left, holding off the challenges of three West Ham players, but his cross was cleared easily at the far post.

Pritchard picked out Sonupe, who cut in and was fouled. Cy Goddard stepped up, and ambitiously attempted to curl the ball into the near corner (with little to aim at) but, despite getting plenty of bend on the ball, it found the side netting.

Oduwa drove forward, dropped his shoulder to get to the byline and trusted his left foot, but his cross was over hit and went high and wide.

Spurs levelled after 13 minutes when they pieced together a lovely move involving Pritchard and Goddard, who were linking well. Pritchard showed an excellent first touch, fed Goddard who intelligently played in Akindayini. The striker’s shot bounced up off the goalkeeper, Sam Baxter, and was headed home by Pritchard following up.

The home side then turned up the pressure, putting several good moves together in short succession. Akindayini turned well and got a low shot away which was blocked by Baxter. Then Onomah fed Oduwa whose cross was flicked on by Goddard to Sonupe, who turned but couldn’t find room to get a firm shot away and had his effort blocked.

Maghoma played a good pass to Ogilvie, who burst forward again, but delayed his pass slightly too long and the opportunity was lost.

Pritchard had a decent chance when Goddard found him in space, but he scooped a shot over. Next, Walker-Peters sent Pritchard away with a good pass down the right-hand side on the break, he picked out Sonupe, but his effort was blocked as West Ham got bodies back.

Onomah then started another move, playing wide to Walker-Peters – an ever-willing runner. He linked well again with Sonupe whose low shot was blocked. It fell to Goddard, but defenders converged and smothered the ball. Akindayini then had a rather tame effort when well positioned.

Carter-Vickers’ mopped up well after his own slightly loose touch on the right looked like it might cause problems.

Onomah’s poor pass to Goddard meant that Goddard had to foul his man to stop a counter, and then Maghoma tried to take an extra touch on the edge of the box which allowed a shot which Onomah did well to block.

Another short corner routine between Goddard and Pritchard led to the ball being worked out to Akindayini, whose effort looped up dangerously but was hammered away. Then, Walker-Peters and Sonupe did well again to get Walker-Peters free, he hit the byline and had yet another cross cleared at the near post.

Another poor Onomah pass this time found touch, and then after a quiet period, Jordan Brown dropped off the centre-backs to show for the ball, turned well, got his shot away and the ball whistled just wide wide of McGee’s far post.

Oduwa and Sonupe swapped sides temporarily, and Sonupe instantly made a foul challenge on the left after Maghoma had lost the ball trying to play out. The resultant free kick was taken short but defended well by Spurs, who pressed the ball quickly and stopped a cross coming in.

Pritchard was the next to lose the ball trying to play out from the edge of his own box, but Maghoma stepped in to spare his blushes.

Sonupe’s driving run down the left led to him having to attempt a left-foot cross which lacked power and was intercepted and put out for a corner. Goddard’s corner was easily cleared at the neat post, but fell to Pritchard whose shot was saved.

Another good Sonupe run led to him finding Akindayini, who teed up Oduwa. His cross caused problems and Sonupe was very close to getting on the end of it.

West Ham took the lead again on the stroke of half time when Brown found Cullen, who set up Bywater to calmly slot his finish home for his second of the game. 1-2.

West Ham started the second half on the front foot, and Carter-Vickers did well to head over his own bar when Parfitt-Williams’ cross-shot looked like it was goal-bound, and Page’s free kick was then headed away by Ogilvie.

McGee made a fantastic reflex save from Makasi after he had turned a cross goal wards from close range – the goalkeeper getting a strong hand to the ball when a goal looked inevitable.

Goddard showed some neat skill in midfield, passed wide to Sonupe who whipped in a dangerous cross which was awkwardly hacked away, nearly resulting in an own goal.

Akindayini missed a terrific chance to make it 2-2 when he was found by an excellent Onomah pass after good work from Ogilvie and Oduwa. Onomah was coming into the game at this point and looked to be the key man.

As Spurs started to take a few risks, Ben Marlow robbed Goddard but Spurs regained shape quickly to snuff out the danger.

Pritchard made a few poor choices of pass on the counter – first trying to play a ball wide when there seemed to be room to slip Akindayini in through the middle, and then giving one away easily, followed by a third straight into touch.

Sonupe drew a foul on the right, but Oduwa overhit the free kick badly and it went well beyond his teammates. Onomah showed great control in midfield but his pass to Akindayini was slightly overhit, before McGee made a good save after the referee had waved play on when Cullen had clearly fouled Onomah when trying to nick the ball. Cullen charged forward unchallenged, but McGee repelled him.

Carter-Vickers threw himself at the ball to bravely block after West Ham worked a shooting opportunity from a corner, before Spurs made two changes. Anthony Georgiou replaced Sonupe, with Oduwa moving to the right, and Anton Walkes replaced Pritchard in midfield – he played more of a holding role, allowing Onomah to push on.

Onomah smashed a shot well over from distance – it seemed to be out of frustration as Spurs struggled to break down a stubborn defence.

Goddard was replaced by Shayon Harrison, who was immediately involved when he played in Onomah in a wide area. His threatening ball across the box somehow stayed out and was hacked clear for a corner. Walkes’ corner was just too deep for Akindayini, who had got up well.

Walker-Peters burst through a couple of challenges and was fouled right on the edge of the box, but Harrison’s free kick went straight into the wall.

McDermott was encouraging his players from the sidelines, urging them to stretch West Ham – “wider, wider” and to pass the ball more sharply – “quicker, quicker, quicker, now use it”.

Spurs profited soon after when Oduwa got on the end of a Walker-Peters pass and his run was halted by Page, who really didn’t need to make a challenge with Oduwa running out of pitch. Oduwa grabbed the ball and confidently put it into the bottom left corner with the goalkeeper barely moving.

It seemed that if one team was going to win, it was going to be Spurs – they’d been camped in the West Ham half for long periods of the game, without finding the vital finish.

Two more presentable chances went begging – this time Onomah had both. The first was the best, as he seemed to suddenly find some room in the box, only to fire his shot into a defender’s legs. As the ball rebounded back to him, he couldn’t adjust his body quickly enough, and lashed his shot over.

Spurs took a few risks in chasing the win, and had a warning when a counter needed Maghoma to get a block in, and Ogilvie to cover behind, clearing the loose ball.

A quick throw to Oduwa allowed him to toe-poke it past his man, but his pass to Akindayini wasn’t good enough and the move broke down. Then, a fine long-ball into the channel from Ogilvie saw Akindayini bring the ball down well and put a fantastic cross in – Harrison had done well to burst into the area, but the cross was inches ahead of him.

Then came the sucker punch. Jordan Brown had put in a real shift in the second half – often playing as the only man in the Spurs half, and he profited from a misplaced pass from Harrison and then slight lapse from Carter-Vickers. Marlow got onto Harrison’s loose pass, and found Brown, who was afforded too much room by Carter-Vickers. He took on a difficult shot, planting it firmly into the corner, with McGee getting a hand to it but unable to keep it out. It was hard to argue that Brown didn’t deserve something for his efforts.

As Spurs desperately pushed for an equaliser, Marcio Martins (who had just come on for Brown) had a great chance at the near post but put his effort wide.

The final attack saw Akindayini put through, but his cut back to Georgiou wasn’t up to scratch, and that was it – an unfortunate end for Spurs, who dominated for long periods and created lots of chances.

Spurs were missing key players and whilst Pritchard and, in particular, Goddard, did well in midfield, both were clearly flagging in the second half, and the quality of the replacements wasn’t quite good enough as we tried to unlock a stubborn defence.

Luke McGee 8 – made a couple of excellent saves, generally used the ball well (passing and throwing out) and was as vocal as ever.
Kyle Walker-Peters 8 – another very competent performance. Great attacking outlet and links brilliantly with Sonupe.
Cameron Carter-Vickers 7 – very impressive on the whole. He’s exceptionally strong, quick, but just let himself down ever so slightly by letting Brown get too much room for the winner.
Christian Maghoma 7 – got himself into bother a couple of times when trying to play out in tight areas, but was mostly very solid and made some decent interventions.
Connor Ogilvie 7 – loves a marauding run forward, but needs to release the ball a little earlier. Competent at left-back and centre-back, although I prefer him in the middle. For me, he looks the most ready to step up to the U21s.
Joe Pritchard 6 – started the game well and got an early goal when he did really well to follow up an Akindayini shot. Faded in the second half and made some poor pass selections – that was totally understandable though as he’d not featured much yet this season.
Josh Onomah 6 – started off in a deeper role with Lesniak missing, and I hoped that this would be good for him as it would encourage ball retention. Ironically he played some poor passes when under no pressure, whereas he excelled when he was pushed on in the second half. Clearly has a lot of talent, but was hit and miss on this occasions.
Cy Goddard 6 – very small and as a result he did get pushed around a lot – especially by Marlow, who seemed intent on clattering into him at every opportunity. I was impressed, though, and his teammates showed confidence in him by constantly giving him the ball in tight areas. One to watch.
Emmanuel Sonupe 8 – a real danger man throughout, and I felt that we should have kept him on (perhaps he was tired/injured). Direct and skilful with great pace.
Daniel Akindayini 7 – probably the best performance I’ve seen from him – showed some neat touches and a bit more of a willingness to involve himself in general play. Still feel that he needs to develop a “nasty” side and be more ruthless when presented with a chance.
Nathan Oduwa 7 – such a tricky customer! Reminds me of Kanu in style – he sometimes doesn’t seem fully in control of his feet, but manages to retain possession in the tightest of spaces. Got us back into the game with a good run and cool penalty, and is a genuinely handful at this level. Personally I’d like to see him play centrally more often than not. Interesting to note that he gets a *lot* of instruction from McDermott, so perhaps doesn’t quite have the natural awareness that some others possess.

Anton Walkes – came on in the middle of midfield and initially looked a little awkward and dallied a few times. Got better the longer he was on the pitch, though.
Anthony Georgiou – didn’t really have a chance to have an impact as West Ham were defending so deep by the time he came on, meaning there was very little space in behind.
Shayon Harrison – made a few progressive passes, but was the unfortunate one who gave the ball away for West Ham’s winner.

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