Under-18s report: Tottenham 3 Chelsea 4
news Sat 3 Oct 2015
Chelsea Under-18s moved to the top of their league with a hard-fought victory on Saturday.
Mukhtar Ali fired the visitors in front before Spurs responded with goals from Ryan Loft and Charlie Owens either side of half-time. The Blues hit back with two goals in five minutes, Isaac Christie-Davies finding the back of the net before Ali grabbed his second.
Ike Ugbo extended the advantage before Loft converted a late penalty to ensure the contest was fought until the last kick. Goalkeeper Nathan Baxter made an excellent late save to ensure his side secured all three points on the road.
Baxter started in goal, protected by a back four consisting of captain Josh Grant, Ali Suljic, Fikayo Tomori and Cole Dasilva. Ugbo led the line up front and was supported by Charlie Wakefield, Miro Muheim and Christie-Davies, while Ruben Sammut partnered Ali in central midfield.
The Blues started brightly on a misty morning in Hertfordshire and Ali had the crossbar shaking after just three minutes as his free-kick ricocheted off the top of the woodwork. Wakefield's effort from the left was charged behind before home goalkeeper Alfie Whiteman denied Muheim with his feet.
Down the other end, Baxter raced quickly off his line to deny Ryan Loft, yet it was Chelsea fashioning more opportunities and enjoying the better of the play.
Christie-Davies's free-kick whistled inches past the post and Dasilva's left-footed effort was gathered comfortably by the goalkeeper. The referee also waved away two strong penalty appeals for challenges on Ali and Ugbo.
Muheim helped create an opportunity for himself on the break, sliding in Ugbo down the left and then receiving a pass back to release him one-on-one with the keeper. However, the Swiss forward's touch was too heavy and Whiteman was grateful to pounce on the loose ball.
Moments later it was 1-0 to Chelsea. The ball was won high up the pitch and Joe Edwards's side made it count as Ali turned Christie-Davies's pass neatly into the back of the net.
Spurs responded swiftly as Owens fired a free-kick over before they equalised, somewhat against the run of play, four minutes before the interval. Zenon Stylianides released Loft in behind with a clinical pass and the striker kept his composure to finish confidently past Baxter.
The hosts restarted well and were in front inside a minute. Owens curled a free-kick towards goal from the left and its flight evaded everybody before nestling in the far corner.
That kickstarted a decent spell but they failed to trouble Baxter seriously and were made to pay as Chelsea fired back with two goals in five minutes.
Christie-Davies struck the equaliser, his second in successive games, after Wakefield had done well to deliver from the right, before Ali netted his second of the morning with an arrowing finish from the edge of the box into the bottom far corner.
The Blues continued to battle in a hard-fought contest and Ugbo added a fourth after 77 minutes, pouncing on a loose pass back to the goalkeeper from substitute Aramide Oteh before squeezing his finish inside the near post.
Yet Spurs ensured there was late drama as substitute Joseph Colley was adjudged to have fouled Dylan Duncan in the box and the referee awarded a penalty. Loft stepped up and slotted his finish into the bottom right corner.
That ensured a grandstand finish and Baxter produced an excellent save deep into stoppage time, clawing a looping header away from danger. With eight minutes of added time played, Edwards's side had to keep composed and they demonstrated game maturity to keep the ball and secure an impressive away win.
After the game, Joe Edwards reflected on a pleasing morning for his side and praised the character shown by his players. Speaking to the official Chelsea website, he said: ‘Tottenham away is one of the games we look forward to every year; it’s always a high-level game and today didn’t disappoint in that respect.
‘We were disappointed with our lack of aggression and hunger in our last away game at West Ham so we placed a big onus on that today and I felt that was clear to see in the boys.
‘Some of our football, particularly in the first half, was outstanding, and our second-years in midfield really showed their experience and dominated the game. We had to control our frustration at times with a couple of early penalty decisions going against us and finding yourselves 2-1 down having played so well is always a test of character.
‘That sums up the day for us; our character let us down at West Ham but we showed it in a big way today. We had to fight it out a little bit at the end but we got the result our performance deserved.’
Chelsea Nathan Baxter; Josh Grant (c), Fikayo Tomori , Ali Suljic (Joseph Colley 69), Cole Dasilva; Ruben Sammut, Mukhtar Ali; Miro Muheim (Hubert Adamczyk 90+8), Isaac Christie-Davies, Charlie Wakefield (Harvey St Clair 80); Ike Ugbo
Unused subs Alex Kozakis, Jacob Maddox
Scorers Ali 34, 64; Christie-Davies 59; Ugbo 77
Tottenham Alfie Whiteman, Chris Paul, Nick Tsaroulla (Joe Muscatt 80), Charlie Owens, Japhet Tanganga, Christian Maghoma, Marcus Edwards (Aramide Oteh 64), Zenon Stylianides, Ryan Loft, Dylan Duncan, Kazaiah Sterling
Unused subs Tom McDermott, Keanen Bennetts, George Marsh
Scorers Loft 41, (pen) 85; Owens 46