Late Sterling goal gives Tottenham hope of a FA Youth Cup final spot
PUBLISHED: 21:22 14 March 2017 | UPDATED: 21:22 14 March 2017
Night games under the lights at White Hart Lane has passed into something of a cliche. But if this is to be the last one, it won’t be one to remember – despite a frantic last few minutes.
Tottenham U18s were left outclassed by Chelsea for the majority of the first leg of their FA Youth Cup semi-final but somehow they left with just a 2-1 defeat.
That was because of Kaziah Sterling’s late goal, which preceded a bit of push and shove, a missed Chelsea penalty and a late chance for Tottenham that was clawed over the bar.
It means the second leg at Stamford Bridge in Saturday evening is finely poised.
The opening exchanges were fairly cagey but Spurs arguably had the better of them.
Keanen Bennetts and Nick Tsaroulla were looking menacing down the left with the former showing some neat touches.
But slowly Chelsea started to show why they are considered one of the best at this level.
Mason Mount hit the outside of Brandon Austin’s right-hand post and although that was it as far as clearcut chances went in the opening 30 minutes, Chelsea pinned their hosts back for long periods.
Too often clearances, whether from the defence or goalkicks, were met by a Chelsea head with the second ball invariably falling to a blue shirt as well.
Their first goal came from one of many corners as Reece James got a flyer on his marker and steered a looping header into the far corner.
It was two four minutes later thanks to Ike Ugbo who headed home from about six yards.
But it owed much to Dujon Sterling who cushioned the ball beautifully back across goal after a deep cross.
A change at half-time had no immediate impact and Austin was called into a number of saves to keep the score at two.
The fact they couldn’t get a second seemed to give Spurs belief. A bullocking run by Japhet Tanganga brought a rise in the volume and Sterling tested Jamie Cumming after dancing into the box.
Much was made before the game about Spurs captain George Marsh but he was withdrawn with 16 minutes to go.
The man who did catch the eye was keeper Austin and two saves in a minute were probably the best of the bunch, both seeing him leap at full stretch to save low shots.
All that was before the frantic finish precipitated by Sterling’s goal, steering in a George Roles cross.
It might not be one of the classic games under the lights but the finish was certainly worthy of some of them.
Tottenham: Austin, Eyoma, Tsaroulla, Marsh (Roles 74), Dinzeyi, Tanganga, Shashoua (Duncan 46), Skipp (Griffiths 68), K.Sterling, Oakley-Boothe, Bennetts
Subs (not used): Whiteman, Hinds
Goals: K.Sterling 88
Chelsea: Cumming, James, Chalobah, Grant, Castillo, Uwakwe (McCormick 72), D.Sterling, Maddox, Ugbo (Sinclair 83), Mount, Hudson-Odoi (McEachran 62)
Subs (not used):
Goals: James 34, Ugbo 40
HT: Tottenham Hotspur U18 0 Chelsea U18 2
Referee: Lee Swabey