It was derby defeat for our youngsters in the Under-18 Premier League as a goal in each half from Spurs striker Troy Parrott inflicted a fourth league defeat of the season on Andy Myers’s side.
After an encouraging start from the young Blues, they found themselves behind early on as Parrott squeezed in a confident finish from 15 yards out before adding to the tally on the hour mark to put the visitors in charge. While there was reason to be encouraged by a spirited response in attempting to claw back a two-goal deficit, the hosts ultimately drew a blank for the fourth time in five games.
Myers made two changes from the weekend draw with West Ham, drafting Sam McClelland back into the heart of central defence and Marcel Lewis in attack. It was 3-4-2-1 from the start again with a back three of Dynel Simeu, Pierre Ekwah Elimby and McClelland protecting Jake Askew in goal, while James Clark and Marcel Lavinier continued at wing-back. Further forward, Armando Broja led the line supported by Thierno Ballo and Lewis, with Clinton Mola partnering Jon Russell in central midfield.
Spurs had suffered their first league defeat of the season at the start of the month, a damaging loss at Arsenal that dented their title ambitions, so they knew a win was required to take the fight into the final weeks of the campaign. Yet it was the Blues who threatened first on a sunny afternoon in Surrey, with Broja’s rasping drive stinging the palms of Jonathan de Bie.
Askew was then called into action down the other end as the visitors broke on the counter-attack, though our keeper reacted quickly to keep Phoenix Patterson’s shot out with his legs. The breakthrough came after 16 minutes and it was an incisive exchange that unlocked the door for Tottenham as Dilan Markanday threaded a pass forward for Parrott. The Irish striker’s first touch set the ball neatly in his path and the finish left Askew with no chance.
Myers’s men responded with a header wide from McClelland but Askew remained the busier of the two keepers in the first half, thwarting Brooklyn Lyons-Foster with an important stop from close range. Markanday planted a header inches wide in the later stages of the first period, while a header of his own in the opposite 18-yard box from Lewis was comfortably held by De Bie.
With a third-place finish in the league practically secured, the Blues were left to play for pride and capital bragging rights. However, besides from Mola’s bending effort that flashed narrowly wide, it was Tottenham creating the more presentable opportunities again after the break.
Maurizio Pochettino, son of the manager, angled an effort just over from the right, before Parrott was denied a second by the post and the crossbar in quick succession. The Dublin-born forward was not to be kept out for much longer though and he doubled the Tottenham tally after 62 minutes, arrowing a free-kick into Askew’s top corner.
Chelsea showed spirit to keep on fighting and De Bie did well to parry away Lewis’s dangerous drive from a free-kick, while Ekwah Elimby skewed wide after Russell’s corner fell invitingly into the Frenchman’s path.
Myers introduced fresh legs in the form of Henry Lawrence and George Nunn, changes which added to an improvement in our overall play. Hopes of a comeback were boosted when Spurs were reduced to 10 men after 80 minutes. Dermi Lusala, the covering defender, hauled down Ballo on the edge of the box with the Austrian running clear through on goal, though Mola’s attempt from the resulting free-kick failed to trouble the goalkeeper.
The midfielder then stabbed a good sight at goal wide from eight yards as the Blues pushed forward without finding the back of the net. Nunn went closest in the final minutes with a looping header that required pushing over the crossbar by the retreating De Bie but it proved another day where it wasn’t to be for Myers’s side.
Chelsea (3-4-2-1) Jake Askew; Sam McClelland, Dynel Simeu, Pierre Ekwah Elimby (Jordan Aina 76); Marcel Lavinier, Clinton Mola (c), Jon Russell, James Clark (Henry Lawrence 57); Thierno Ballo, Marcel Lewis; Armando Broja (George Nunn 62)
Unused sub Lucas Bergstrom
Tottenham Jonathan de Bie, Dermi Lusala, Max Statham, Armando Shashoua (c), Jubril Okedina, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster, Maurizio Pochettino (Chay Cooper 77), Jamie Bowden (Rayan Clarke 71, Troy Parrott, Dilan Markanday, Phoenix Patterson (Elliot Thorpe 89)
Unused subs Kacper Kurylowicz, Rafferty Pedder
Scorer Parrott 16, 62
Sent off Lusala 80
-Additional pictures courtesy of Mark Sandom and Dan Davies