YOUTH REPORT: TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3 CHELSEA 2
The Under-18 side's run of four consecutive league wins ended with a defeat away at Tottenham on Saturday. Second-half goals from Chike Kandi (pictured) and Tammy Abraham were not enough to turn around the deficit from the first period and the young Blues suffered their second defeat of the season as a result.
Viveash was without top goalscorer Dominic Solanke, who joined up with the England Under-17s earlier in the week along with Isaac Christie-Davies, while Ambrose Gnahore and Brad Collins, regulars at this level, travelled with Dermot Drummy's Under-21 side to Sunderland.
That gave an opportunity for some schoolboys to feature and Ruben Sammut began in midfield alongside regulars Kasey Palmer and Jeremie Boga. Reece Mitchell, still on the comeback from injury, started out wide with Kandi leading the line and George Cole supporting from the other flank.
The back four was unchanged for the third game in a row, with captain Jonathan Muleba at left back, Ola Aina on the right and George Brady and Dion Conroy partnering one another in the centre. There was also a start in goal for schoolboy Jordan Beeney, younger brother of Mitchell, who was with the first team squad for their game against Cardiff.
The hosts started the game strongly, eager to return to winning ways after their first defeat of the campaign last time out against West Ham, with Daniel Akindayini proving a real handful in the opening exchanges.
That bright start was rewarded as Spurs took an early lead after a quarter of an hour. Aina was caught out of position as he went down injured after a challenge up the field and John McDermott's side took full advantage, with England youth international Will Miller providing the finish to cap off a clinical move.
Chelsea responded with an effort from Cole that was comfortable for Luke McGee in the Tottenham goal, however the Blues were struggling to match Spurs' bright start to the game and soon found themselves 2-0 down before the half-hour mark. Brady lost the ball at the back as Beeney played it out and Akindayini was presented with a simple opportunity to double the hosts' lead, finishing past Beeney via a deflection off Conroy.
It took that second goal to shake Chelsea into a response, with firstly Kandi and then Palmer testing McGee as the Blues searched for a way back into the game. They got the reward for their endeavours with a goal back just before the interval. Muleba provided a dangerous delivery from the left that eluded Boga but Kandi was on hand just behind the Frenchman to turn it home for his second goal of the campaign.
There was a change at the break for the visitors as Viveash replaced Mitchell with Abraham and the switch gave the Blues added impetus as they chased to reverse the deficit. Palmer saw an effort from over 30 yards out fly just past the post while Abraham was causing real problems down the left side.
McGee had to be alert to deny Cole as the wideman burst through from midfield however Chelsea were unable to take chances and were made to pay for their profligacy as Spurs increased their advantage just after the hour-mark. Anthony Georgiou finished smartly down low past Beeney from just inside the penalty area to make it 3-1 and give the hosts some real breathing space.
Yet that two-goal advantage lasted just a couple of minutes as the young Blues fought back to ensure a nervy conclusion to the game. In similar circumstances to the opening goal it was Chelsea this time who broke away with an opposition player down injured and substitute Abraham finished confidently over keeper McGee to net his second goal of the season.
That goal provided the setting for an action-packed last 25 minutes and both sides could have added to their goalscoring in the final quarter of an hour. Charlie Colkett and Jay Dasilva were introduced to provide fresh legs for the Blues, however it was Beeney in the Chelsea goal called into breathtaking action as he denied Pritchard with a fantastic save.
The hosts were then awarded a penalty as the referee adjudged Muleba to have fouled Nathan Oduwa inside the box, however the midfield man spurned the opportunity from 12 yards and missed the target. McGee then had to be at his best down the other end to deny an own goal and preserve the points for Tottenham.
Next up for Viveash's boys is a trip to Stoke City on Saturday 26 October.
Chelsea Jordan Beeney; Ola Aina, George Brady, Dion Conroy, Jonathan Muleba (c); Kasey Palmer, Ruben Sammut (Charlie Colkett 73), Jeremie Boga; George Cole (Jay Dasilva 73), Chike Kandi, Reece Mitchell (Tammy Abraham h/t).
Unused subs Jared Thompson, Kyle Scott
Spurs McGee; Walker-Peters, Ogilvie, Walkes, Carter-Vickers, Maghoma, Sonupe (Pritchard 61), Goddard (Oduwa 61), Akindayini, Miller, Georgiou (Harrison 75).
Unused subs Alfie Whiteman, Kane Vincent-Young
By Sam Poplett