05/09/15 Tottenham Hotspur U18s 0-3 Fulham U18s, Hotspur Way

Tom McDermott (17)
Charlie Hayford (17) George Marsh (16) Jon Dinzeyi (15) Nick Tsaroulla (16)
Dylan Duncan (16) Zenon Stylianides (17)
Armani Daly (17) Sam Shashoua (16) Keanan Bennetts (16)
Ryan Loft (17)

Nya Kirby (15) for Dylan Duncan
Tashan Oakley-Boothe (15) for Armani Daly
Aremide Oteh (15) for Keanan Bennetts

Sub not used:
Brandon Austin (16)

Due to various players being away on international duty (Sterling, Edwards, Whiteman, Roles and presumably Paul and Owens) or injured (Tanganga), Spurs were able to give opportunities to younger players and fringe players in this match.

Stylianides and Loft provided the most experience in an otherwise youthful team, and Charlie Hayford – who started life as a right winger but was converted to central midfield – played at right-back. Under-16 player Jon Dinzeyi partnered George Marsh (usually a midfielder) at centre-back in the absence of Joy Mukena (also injured?).

Spurs had the first shot at goal, when Hayford’s free-kick was curled wide with less than five minutes gone.

Loft then broke forward and was half-tackled with the ball falling to Bennetts, but the keeper rushed out to block him.

Bennetts turned Fulhams’ Marlon Fossey very easily and was hauled down – the referee giving the benefit of the doubt and not showing a yellow card.

Fulham had a great chance when a cross from their right nearly fell kindly, but Hayford and Marsh managed to shepherd the ball away between them.

Bennetts skipped past his man and was fouled, the ball falling to Daly who had a shot saved by the fingertips of Taye Ashby-Hammond. Shashoua’s corner didn’t beat the first man.

Loft had a vicious strike from distance which went over the bar, before Fulham took the lead. Duncan lost the ball in midfield, and Dennis Adeniran played the ball through to Joshua Walker who showed terrific pace to get beyond Dinzeyi, and he chipped McDermott beautifully.

Dylan Duncan showed nice, quick feet to drive across the edge of the box, but was fouled in the process. The ball broke for Sam Shashoua who took a bad touch, it came to Bennetts but he skewed a shot wide with his left foot.

George Marsh won the ball, Spurs broke through Stylianides who cut in and drove wide of the near post with his right foot.

Fulham’s Adebayo put an opportunity over from a set piece with Tom McDermott prone on the ground – Humphreys had headed Thorsteinsson’s free-kick back across goal and McDermott took a whack when competing for the second ball.

Loft headed Hayford’s cross wide and then Ravi Shamsi’s corner was headed away by Loft as the first half came to a close.

Shashoua was booked for dissent a few minutes into the second half, before Keanan Bennetts had another good chance at the far post from Daly’s cross. With Loft just unable to climb high enough to reach the ball, it fell to Bennetts, but he hit the side netting.

Walker burst through our defence soon after but McDermott was out quickly to repel his shot.

Hayford’s ball from deep was attacked by Bennetts but it just went over.

Fulham won a penalty when Bennetts fouled Dennis Adeniran right on the edge of the box, but Walker’s spot kick hit the outside of the post with McDermott diving the wrong way.

Dinzeyi fouled Thorsteinsson out on the left touchline and got a talking to from the referee, before Hayford drove over the bar with his weaker left foot at the other end.

Thorsteinsson crossed for Humphreys but he smashed his shot wide at the near post.

Nya Kirby came on for his first appearance at Under-18 level, replacing Duncan and slotting into the middle of midfield.

His first involvement saw him play the ball to Hayford and then nearly get on the end of Hayford’s near-post cross. Hayford’s corner was lofted up and easily claimed by the goalkeeper.

Hayford and Humphreys had a bit of a falling out on the right when Hayford complained to the referee after a particularly strong sliding tackle from the enormous Humphreys, which led to the Fulham man giving him a rather sinister ‘watch out for the next one’ warning in full-on Northern (they hugged it out after the match).

It was 2-0 when Spurs lost possession and Ryan Sessegnon used his pace to get past Hayford and crossed for Thorsteinsson to head home. McDermott seemed to get two hands to the ball but didn’t keep it out.

Bennetts and Daly were replaced by Oakley-Boothe and Oteh but the game was out of reach when Humphreys made it 3-0; he had space to turn in the box and drove a shot right through McDermott after Spurs lacked numbers at the back post from a cross.

Humphreys then hit the outside of the post from a Thorsteinsson free-kick.

Oakley-Boothe went on a surging run forward and played the ball to Oteh on the edge of the box. He held it up and returned the favour to Kirby, who got a shot away, but Ashby-Hammond blocked it with his legs.

Tom McDermott saved a one-on-one before Humphreys put a free-kick wide.

Kirby had our final chance when he hit a fierce drive at goal after an excellent Shashoua turn, but it was easily held by Ashby-Hammond.

Spurs found a physically imposing Fulham side difficult to deal with, and couldn’t get past a very solid centre-back pairing who also had a lot of protection from midfield. We struggled to control possession with two central midfielders who seem to be more confident driving forward with the ball – Owens would have probably helped in that regard.

Our team was younger, smaller, and a lot more naive than Fulham’s, but they will have learned lessons from this match. Jon Dinzeyi at centre-back was our outstanding player & Marsh did well filling in at the back as well. 3-0 seemed harsh on the pair of them, as they largely did a good job at repelling Fulham – our issues were mainly in midfield.

My ratings look a little low this time out, but my caveat is that I’m prepared to use the full 1-10 range! So a 5 is really just a little under-par (5.5 being in the middle).

McDermott 4 – this was not a good game for the young goalkeeper, but he will rarely have come up against a team as physically strong as this.
Hayford 6 – had a tough match against some talented Fulham players. He kept working hard for the team, though, and showed some ability. At one point he cushioned a firmly hit McDermott pass beautifully over a defender on the volley, but it wasn’t read by Daly – this was the story of his day.
Tsaroulla 6 – had to be constantly on his toes against the talented Thorsteinsson, and perhaps didn’t get as much support as he needed.
Marsh 7 – read the game well and tried to compete physically despite clearly being at a disadvantage in this regrd.
Dinzeyi 8 – a player that has only come onto my radar recently, but I am told that he has been at Spurs for at least six years, starting as central midfielder and then moving to the wing. Last season he was predominantly a centre-back and this is the poition he has settled on. Tall, athletic, good on the ball. I like him a lot.
Stylianides 5 – captained the side but couldn’t get the team playing fluently. There was a lot of pressure on him as one of the eldest players in the team, and perhaps that got to him a little.
Duncan 5 – had some good touches, but had a tough time against an ultra-physical team.
Daly 5 – was often on the periphery of the action and struggled to get the better of the excellent Sessegnon.
Shashoua 6 – quick feet and a quick brain. Really looking forward to seeing more of him – an obvious talent who suffered a little against strong opposition.
Bennetts 5 – will have been disappointed not to get on the score sheet as he had a few chances, but it wasn’t really his day.
Loft 5 – I thought that his more robust, old-fashioned style might have been useful against two enormous centre-backs, but they largely negated his threat.

Kirby – a lively cameo which will show the coaches that he’s ready for early promotion to this level.
Oakley-Boothe – another massive talent. I cannot wait to see more of him over the next few years.
Oteh – difficult to judge him on this showing, but he showed good strength on the edge of the box on a couple of occasions.

As a slight aside, ex-QPR and Watford centre-back ‘One Size’ Fitz Hall was also there watching the match with a young child – perhaps his kid is in the Spurs Academy, or maybe he has ties to Fulham?

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