Tottenham U18's v Newcastle U18's - Report, Thoughts & Ratings
A thoroughly entertaining game & well deserved win for Tottenham's young guns on Saturday morning which unfortunately was not a sign of things to come later in the day.
It took 5 mins or so for the Spurs lads to settle into the rhythm of the game but once they did they started to cause Newcastle many problems. And it was Spurs who fashioned the first chance of the game. Newcastle gave the ball away in the middle of the park and it was quickly moved out to Darren McQueen on the right. He whipped a great ball in, finding the unmarked Kenny McEvoy at the back post, who unfortunately couldn't keep his shot down.
But it wasn't long before we took the lead. A foul inside the 'D' on the edge of the area gave us a good attacking free kick. With both Laste Dombaxe and Harry Winks stood over the ball it was Dombaxe who took his time to compose himself, before curling an effort into the keeper's left hand corner.
Dombaxe thought he had scored again 5 minutes later out muscling the centre half before rounding the keeper and scoring. However the linesman had flagged to indicate a shirt pull in the build up, a decision which looked slightly harsh.
Spurs continued to press and create chances. McEvoy had another chance after being well found by Winks but while his shot beat the keeper, it also beat the far post, rolling just wide. A wonderful flowing move brought another chance. Slick one touch passing in the midfield gave Shaq Coulthirst his first sight of goal and he brought a fine save by the Newcastle keeper.
But Coulthirst wasn't to be denied a goal for much longer. Minutes later Dominic Ball, with a great through ball, found him 12 yards out and he made no mistake.
Spurs finished the half strong & McEvoy had another chance, this time the keeper getting a hand on it to tip it round the post.
But his goal finally came minutes into the second half. Another great ball through found him behind the defence yet again and this time he slotted home between the keeper's legs.
Newcastle, who up to this point had only created one chance of note, started to come back into the game and were awarded a penalty on the hour mark, Tom Gardiner adjudged to have brought the winger down. For a moment it looked as though he may receive his marching orders, so there was relief when only a yellow was produced. And there was then relief when Luke McGee pulled off a brilliant save, diving low to his right to smother the ball.
Newcastle continued to have more possession without really testing McGee again and indeed we nearly scored again when Rueben Lameires fired just wide after a strong surging run by Alex McQueen found him on the edge of the box.
But the scoring was not finished and with only a few minutes left on the watch, Darren McQueen took advantage of a slip in the Newcastle defence to race clear and score at the second attempt.
Final Score : Newcastle U18's 0 Tottenham U18's 4
My first ever view of Spurs at this level and a really enjoyable one it was too. Of the starting line up I only really knew of Shaq Coulthirst and the McQueen cousins prior to kick off. However there was so many strong performances across the entire team that I don't think it will be too long before some of these guys are pushing for a place in the U21's.
The formation used fluctuated between 3-4-3, 4-3-3 and 4-3-2-1 and it was in the first half when it was basically 3-4-3 that we had our best moments.
Luke McGee - 7 - Confident keeper, safe when called upon & good stop for penalty. Looked very comfortable with the ball at his feet and not afraid to come out and play as a 'sweeper keeper' when needed.
Alex McQueen - 6 - Didn't get forward that much, being asked to stay and cover more. But the one time he did come out he produced a strong and powerful run and created a good chance.
Sam Smith - 6 - As with Alex he didn't get forward much as he was asked to cover. Wasn't tested a great deal but solid when he was. Very no nonsense.
Laste Dombaxe - 8 - Great goal but it was his presence and general midfield play that impressed. Played just in front of the defence but produced strong forward runs and big tackles when needed. Very good prospect.
Tom Gardiner - 6 - Give away penalty which looked to shake his confidence for a bit but either side of that looked comfortable with what Newcastle threw at him.
Dominic Ball - 6 - Seemed to move between Centre Half & a Defensive Midfield role. Again not tested but solid when needed and a great through ball for the second goal.
Darren McQueen - 7 - Played wide right in an attacking role and was prominent a few times going forward. Great cross early, looked quick and dangerous.
Ruben Lamieres - 7 - Worked hard in midfield without the ball and produced some great passes to split the defence on a number of occasions.
Shaq Coulthirst - 7 - Strong, led the line well and took his goal with aplomb. Looked very confident in his ability and caused problems all day for the defence.
Harry Winks - 7 - Always wanted the ball, which was great to see, and dropped deep to get it on a number of occasions. Passing sometimes went astray but never lost confidence in his ability. Real potential.
Kenny McEvoy - 9 - Playing left wing, constantly got behind the defence and his pace and dribbling were always a threat. Probably needs to work on his shooting as could've had a hat trick but exceptionally good game.