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Spurs U-18s v Norwich U-18s, 12.08.17
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List.

        Premier U-18 Southern League 2017-18
         Hotspur Way, Bulls Cross, Enfield
         Saturday 12th August 2017, 12 noon

              SPURS     v   NORWICH CITY
           (White/Blue)    (Yellow/Green)
             4-1-4-1          4-2-3-1

               4(2)             0(0) 

     Jonathan De Bie(C) 1  Fergal Hale-Brown
         Matthew Lock   2  Dylan O'Donnell
          Tariq Hinds   3  Bradley Catton
         Jamie Bowden   4  Isak Thorvalasson
      Moroyin Omolabi   5  Louis Lomas
Brookman Lyons-Foster   6  Aaron Ekumah
      Dilan Markanday   7  Anthony Spyrou
       Jamie Reynolds   8  Bilal Kamal
        Reo Griffiths   9  Alan Fleming
     Armando Shashoua  10  Agust Hlynsson
    Phoenix Patterson  11  Connor Parsons

        Paris Maghoma  12  Brandon Oddy
           (10)61Mins      (7)63Mins
     Joshua Oluwayemi  13  Jon McCraken
      Jeremie Mukendi  14  Finlay Barnes
            (9)61Mins      (11)63Mins
          Max Statham  15  Anis Mehmeti
         Enock Asante  16  Jaden Thompson-Blissett

         Patterson 27
         Bowden 34
         Griffiths 57
         Markanday 67

          ScottParker      David Wright

Referee: Conor Farrell
Assistants: Edrit Malaveci & Joseph Gray

It was a warm morning for the opening game against visitors Norwich City. Last season they did the double over Spurs while Spurs knocked them out of the Youth Cup at Carrow Road. Both sides fielded young players with the visitors having experienced players in attack. Spurs gave new scholar Dilan Markanday (from Haberdashers Askes school, Elstree) a start along with the other lads who have progressed from the U-16s.

Spurs lined up with De Bie behind Omolabi and Lyons-Foster with Lock at right back and Hinds on the left. Bowden anchored the midfield with Shashoua (younger brother of Samuel) and Reynolds ahead of him flanked by Markanday on the right and Patterson on the left in support of Griffiths up front. All but Shashoua have had experience of the seniors if only for a couple of appearances off the bench. On the bench only Maghoma and Mukendi have played for the U-18 team before.

Spurs defended the North end in the first half but quickly took control of the game. They attacked with pace playing quick one touch passes, and the Norwich players could not keep up. Spurs also closed down quickly with tigerish tackling to win back the ball. There was an early chance for Markanday when he got down the right onto a pass from Reynolds and came inside to fire in a shot the keeper could not hold, leading to a scramble on the line before it was cleared.

Fleming had a running battle with Lyons-Foster for most of the game seeking to exploit his inexperience. The Norwich player got in a shot that De Bie saved before Griffiths saw his effort saved at the other end. The Spurs striker had an assist in the opening goal when he returned Patterson's pass for the winger to score with a rising shot. Patterson tried to return the favour when his free kick was hit wide by Griffiths who had fired over minutes before.

Shashoua played in Markanday for an effort that went wide for a corner. From the corner Patterson had a shot saved at the far post by Hale-Brown who saved the follow-up by the same player and then had to race to the other post where he saved twice from Markanday before it came out to Bowden who drove home for 2-0. Bowden had another chance to score when his header from Hinds' cross was saved. Hale-Brown had to save from Patterson at his near post again in added time at the end of the half.

There were no changes for the start of the second half which saw Norwich continue to chase shadows. Lock won a clearance and got down the right to put over a cross that was defended but fell to Shashoua who played in Reynolds for a chance that was saved. Spyrou fired wide before Patterson got through to force a save from Hale-Brown with the ball coming out to Reynolds to head but the busy keeper saved that as well.

Hale-Brown then saved a free kick from Patterson before Griffiths finally got on the scoresheet when Reynolds found him on the edge of the area. Griffiths took two touches to make space before firing low to the keeper's right.

Both sides made changes with Spurs replacing Griffiths with Mukendi and Shashoua with Maghoma. One of the Norwich subs, Oddy, got the better of Lyons-Foster to draw a save from De Bie as his first contribution. Spurs got a fourth when Patterson fired in from the left for Hale-Brown to tip onto the crossbar and Markanday, following up from the right, drew a save from the keeper before drilling in the rebound.

Kamal won a corner when De Bie saved his drive. Hinds made a break down the middle but fired well over before pressure from the visitors saw Fleming draw a save from De Bie who also saved from Barnes while Fleming fired over when put in by Kamal. Markanday was replaced by Asante for the final minutes which saw Hale-Brown save from Reynolds before the final whistle.

This was a great performance from the young Spurs side that played with pace and vigour from start to finish. While the visitors concentrated on keeping Griffiths quiet due to the goals he scored against them last season, Markanday and Patterson ripped them to pieces on the flanks. Hale-Brown should pick up the trophy for most saves made in a season thanks to his display today. Omolabi was enormous at the back, much better than I saw from him last season. Lyons-Foster alonside him did well having to battle with Fleming for most of the game. Bowden filled in well for Skipp as the anchor while Reynolds sparked the attacks with some good passing.

Other teams will not give Spurs as much time or room as Norwich but it has been a good start to the season. Leicester City next week should be a tougher test at Belvoir Park. I don't know if it was the Scotty Parker effect but the players were performing 360 and 180 degree turns quite often, getting caught late in the game as Norwich closed them down.


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