A blistering hat-trick from Mika Biereth stole the headlines as Fulham’s under 18s bounced back from defeat by thrashing Tottenham Hotspur 5-0 this afternoon.
Steve Wigley’s side were narrowly beaten by Crystal Palace earlier this month but responded in the best possible fashion with a confident performance in another London derby. Jay Stansfield gained further match fitness following his long injury lay-off by starting up front and the former Exeter City forward almost played in Ollie O’Neill with just five minutes played, but the danger was dealt with by Marques Muir. Tottenham goalkeeper Aaron Maguire then made a superb save to keep out Biereth’s powerful header from Idris Odutayo’s cross, but the visitors could only survive a bright Fulham start for so long.
The Whites went in front in the seventeenth minute. O’Neill was the provider, delivering a devilish cross to the far post where Biereth fired home emphatically. The excellent O’Neill was proving a persistent menace and sent in another cross that should have led to the second. Biereth’s smart dummy created an opening for Stansfield, who unselfishly sought to find the goalscorer again, only for Maguire to intervene.
The lively Luke Harris, such a prominent presence in midfield, drove agonisingly wide as Fulham pushed for a more commanding lead but the home side soon doubled their advantage. Biereth grabbed his second after seizing on some slack distribution from the Spurs backline, nipping in to poke an assured finish past the stranded goalkeeper.
O’Neill provided another assist as Fulham went further ahead before the break. The creative midfielder’s latest cross was perfectly weighted for Harris to head home his fourth goal in seven appearances for the under 18s and effectively settle the contest before half time.
There was no let up from the Whites in the second period. Scottish forward Kieron Bowie added his name to the scoresheet, clinically tucking home from close range four minutes after the interval after more good work from Biereth. Biereth then rounded off a fantastic afternoon by completing his hat-trick after a bout of pinball at a Fulham corner. The comprehensive win leaves Fulham just a point behind Palace at the top of the table.
FULHAM U18s: Mee; D’Auria-Henry, Parkes, Bowat, Odutayo; Benjamin, O’Neill, Harris; Bowie, Stansfield, Biereth. Subs: McNally, Williams, Caton, Olakigbe, Wildbore.
GOALS: Biereth (17, 28, 53), Harris (40), Bowie (49).
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR U18s: Maguire; Cassanova, Hackett, John, Muir; Paskotsi, Mathurin (Carrington 64), Devine (M. Craig 77), Mundle (Whittaker 77); Robson, Santiago. Sub (not used): Lo-Tutala.