Under-18s report: Tottenham Hotspur 4 Chelsea 6

Highlights: Tottenham U18s (A) 14/15


Our Under-18s produced an impressive display and recorded an important away victory as they started the elite play-off round of their league campaign with three points. In a game that swung from end to end for 90 minutes, Spurs took the lead through striker Shayon Harrison after six minutes.

Ruben Sammut’s header brought the Blues level before schoolboy striker Ike Ugbo fired Joe Edwards’ side into the lead midway through the opening half. Harrison drew the scores level at 2-2 five minutes later, however the visitors secured a lead at the break as Ugbo found the back of the net from distance.

Tottenham restarted brightly and netted from the penalty spot four minutes into the second half, with Harrison completing his hat-trick, before the forward added a fourth goal to put his side 4-3 up. However, Tammy Abraham ’s introduction from the bench proved decisive and the striker grabbed a hat-trick of his own after coming on just after the hour mark to hand his side the points.

First half

A lively start set the tone for the morning’s action and, following Ugbo’s early effort wide from Wakefield’s cross, Tottenham were in front after six minutes. Marcus Edwards escaped in behind Clarke-Salter down the right channel and supplied for striker Harrison, who remained composed and finished comfortably beyond Thompson.

Yet the Blues were level within seven minutes and their equaliser arrived courtesy of a set-piece delivered by Musonda. The young Belgian floated an inviting free-kick into the box from the right that Sammut rose highest to meet and the midfielder’s thumping header at the back post left goalkeeper Harry Voss helpless.

Ugbo and then Cy Goddard fired over as both sides enjoyed spells of pressure before Chelsea took the lead for the first time. Another set-piece from Musonda, this time a corner from the right, brought danger to the Tottenham penalty area and Ugbo was on hand to prod the loose ball into an unguarded net after Clarke-Salter’s header had been pushed on to the bar by Voss.

The visitors’ lead lasted just five minutes as Harrison struck again, his left-footed strike proving too powerful for Thompson as it trickled agonisingly over the line to bring the scores level at 2-2. There was still time remaining one side to take an advantage into the break and that goal was notched by Ugbo on the break. The striker accelerated beyond Christian Maghoma, the last covering defender, and finished brilliantly into the bottom far corner.

Second half

The second period started even more eventfully as the first had and Tottenham were level again four minutes after the restart courtesy of a soft penalty decision by the referee. Suljic was penalised for a foul as the hosts advanced into the Chelsea penalty area and Harrison stepped up to beat Thompson emphatically from 12 yards and complete his hat-trick.

Ugbo had a penalty shout of his own waved away moments later but it was Spurs celebrating again after 52 minutes as Harrison advanced towards goal and found the back of the net via the inside of Thompson’s far post.

The introduction of three new faces for Edwards’ team after an hour proved significant and spurred them on to turn the game around again. Abraham (pictured top) was on the scoresheet within 10 minutes of entering proceedings as he beat two defenders coming inside from the left flank and rifled a shot into the bottom corner. Four minutes later, the striker had his second and Chelsea’s fifth as Kyle Scott stole possession high up the field and supplied him to fire in off the underside of the crossbar.

There was time remaining late on for Musonda to bring an excellent flying save from Voss and then Harrison to drag a good opportunity wide, however it was Chelsea with the final say in the game as Abraham again benefited from Scott’s assist and beat Voss with a lovely chipped finish. It was the striker’s 32nd goal of a prolific campaign to date and secured all three points for the young Blues.

Manager reaction

Joe Edwards praised his side’s performance and ability to win a high-quality game of academy football. Speaking to the official Chelsea website after an eventful morning, he said: ‘Sometimes after these crazy, open games you can come away disappointed with some defending or a bit of naivety but I think anyone who watched the game today can see it’s full of quality and a great advert for academy football.

‘I thought we had a bit of control in the game coming in ahead at half-time but then we have an experience that the boys have to get used to in football because the referee makes a really poor decision on the penalty. That shook us a bit and then them scoring another goal quickly after was a big blow.

‘But when you have the squad we brought today and the options on the bench then that can give you a massive injection and it did. We’re fairly pleased with the play-off round draw and obviously playing one of our three away games today and winning here at Tottenham is a great way to start. It keeps our momentum going after a strong finish in the south section and hopefully we can keep building on it.’

The Under-18s are next in action this Wednesday 18 March at Stamford Bridge as they face Tottenham once again. This time, the two sides meet in the second leg of the FA Youth Cup semi-finals, with Spurs holding a 2-0 lead from the first game at White Hart Lane. Tickets are currently on general sale (maximum 10 per person), priced at £5 for adults and £3 for juniors and seniors.

In other youth team fixture news, our Under-18 home league game with Middlesbrough has been rearranged. The match, originally scheduled for Saturday 11 April, has been moved to Saturday 4 April due to our Under-19s’ involvement in the UEFA Youth League semi-finals.

Chelsea: Jared Thompson; Charlie Wakefield, Ali Suljic, Jake Clarke-Salter (c) (Jay Dasilva 63), Josh Grant; Ruben Sammut, Mukhtar Ali, Jeremie Boga (Tammy Abraham 63); Kasey Palmer (Kyle Scott 68), Ike Ugbo, Charly Musonda.
Unused subs: Nathan Baxter, Fikayo Tomori
Scorers: Sammut 13; Ugbo 23, 35; Abraham 74, 78, 90
Booked: Sammut, Scott

Tottenham: Harry Voss, Chris Paul, Joe Muscatt, Luke Amos, Christian Maghoma, Anton Walkes, Zenon Stylianides, Cy Goddard (Charlie Hayford 61), Shayon Harrison, Marcus Edwards (Ryan Loft 81), Kazaiah Sterling (Armani Daly 66).
Unused subs: Lloyd Ross, Thomas Glover
Scorer: Harrison 6, 28, pen 49, 52