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Norwich U-18s v Spurs U-18s, 16.03.19
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]

  Premier U-18 League, Southern Group, 2018-19
        Colney Training Centre, Norwich
       Saturday 16th March 2019, 12 noon

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

            0(0)                3(1)

          Daniel Barden  1  Joshua Oluwayemi
          Ethan Vaughan  2  Jubril Okedina
         Atli Barkarson  3  Maxwell Statham
     Andrew Omobamidele  4  Armando Shashoua(C)
        Zac Dronfield(C) 5  Malachi Walcott
       Saul Milovanovic  6  Luis Binks
           Anis Mehmeti  7  Maurizio Pochettino
    William Hondermarck  8  Rafferty Pedder
      Isak Thorvaldsson  9  Tarelle Whittaker
          Gassan Ahadme 10  Dilan Markanday
            Josh Martin 11  Rayan Clarke

          Ante Berkeley 12  Chay Cooper
              Sam Blair 13  Kacper Kurylowicz
         Tony Springett 14  Elliot Thorpe
             (11)65Mins     (10)70Mins
        Nelson Khumbeni 15  Nile John
              (8)85Mins     (8)65Mins
     Tom Dickson-Peters 16 

                            Markanday 40, 68
                            Shashoua 64 (pen)

          David Wright      John McDermott

Referee: Mark Ames
Assistants: Adam McAndy & Charles Bowen 

Spurs travelled to Norwich on a very windy morning which affected the game as the wind drove diagonally across the pitch. Norwich won their last game 5-0 against Aston Villa to climb off the bottom of the table, while Spurs beat West Ham 5-3 in a game of two halves to maintain their unbeaten season. Last season the "Canaries" beat Spurs 5-3 in a topsy-turvy game where the lead changed three times with the league's top scorer Reo Griffiths hitting a hat-trick and still finishing on the losing side. This season Spurs hit Norwich for seven at Hotspur Way and were looking to continue their unbeaten run by doing the double over their hosts. I had an operation on one of my eyes during the week which will have affected my veiwing of the game especially at the far end of the pitch.

Spurs lined up with Oluwayemi in goal behind Walcott and Binks with Okedina at right back and Statham on the left. Shashoua anchored the midfield with Markanday and Pedder ahead of him. They were flanked by Pochettino on the right and Clarke on the left in support of Whittaker up front. Some players who played in Porto were rested for this game so Nile John was on a short bench for a second time. Troy Parrott has been selected for the Irish U-21 squad for the midweek game against Luxembourg so may return to the team soon. Ryan Mason was in the dugout with McDermott.

Spurs kicked off the first half attacking the West end into the wind. Both sides struggled with the wind at the start with Norwich using it for long balls over the top and Spurs keeping the ball on the deck which suited their passing game. Ahadme ran onto one of those long balls to draw a save from Oluwayemi. A cross from the left found Whittaker with his back to goal so he attempted a back-heel which was easily dealt with. Clarke cut in from the left to curl an effort just wide thanks to the wind.

Markanday got into the box but hit the post before he got down the left and whipped in a cross that just evaded Whittaker at the far post. The Spurs striker fired wide as did Binks when he got forward. Spurs finally scored when Markanday sent Clarke away down the left and collected his pull-back on the edge of the area to lift the ball over Barden in the Norwich goal. The Spurs midfield continued to move the ball well under the conditions until the break.

There were no changes for the start of the second half which saw Spurs add balls over the top to their passing game. Shashoua hit a long ball for Clarke on the left to advance and fire wide. Clarke drew a save with another effort before hitting the crossbar from close in. That came from a free kick out on the right taken by Markanday. Okedina headed the ball down for Clarke to nip in. Shashoua played in Pochettino to draw a save before Whittaker won a penalty when he was barged over. Shashoua stepped up to hit the spot kick into the bottom right corner to double Spurs' lead.

With the two-goal cushion Spurs made a double change with Cooper and John coming on for Whittaker and Pedder. Cooper went to the left side and John more central with Clarke going up front. Shashoua hit a long ball over the top for Markanday to race clear and score with a low drive. Barden got a strong hand to the ball, but saw it loop up and over him.

John had a long range effort saved for a corner before Spurs made their last change that saw Thorpe replace Markanday. Thorpe had a shot fly wide before Mehmeti forced Oluwayemi to save at his near post. With Spurs looking to see out the game, Norwich pushed for a goal. Walcott conceded a penalty forcing Thorvaldsson wide. Ahadme stepped up and hit the spot kick straight down the middle and Oluwayemi made the save - his fifth penalty save this season. Barden saved from John and then the follow-up by Thorpe. Thorvaldsson played in Mehmeti to draw a save from Oluwayemi and Barkarson had the last chance for the hosts which was well over the target. Shashoua took a hit to that tender part of a man's anatomy which saw him come off but he was able to finish the game thanks to encouragement from McDermott.

This was a good performance in difficult conditions with Spurs adjusting better than the home side. Shashoua and Markanday dominated the midfield and were rewarded with the goals that keep Spurs just behind Arsenal at the top of the table. The gooners have opened up a four point lead but Spurs have two games in hand. One of those is the Southampton game to be held at White Hart Lane next Sunday with an expected crowd of around 30,000. Lets hope that they rise to the occasion and close the gap on the leaders.


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