Two second half strikes from winger Michael Olakigbe secured a convincing win over Tottenham for Fulham’s under 18s as Steve Wigley’s side started the season in fine style at Motspur Park.
A new-look home side made the perfect start, having survived an early spell of Spurs possession, when Ollie Sanderson curled home a fine opening goal in the top corner with just six minutes played. A beautiful ball from Stefan Parkes freed Devan Tanton down the right flank but the marauding full back’s cross had a little too much pace for Jaylan Wildbore in the centre.
American goalkeeper Alex Borto made two smart saves to preserve Fulham’s advantage – pushing a low drive from Rio Kyerematen around the post and then denying the Tottenham midfielder brilliantly in an one-on-one situation. Olakigbe’s pace was causing serious problems for the visitors and the winger could count himself unfortunate not to have doubled the lead when he shot straight at Adam Hayton after stealing possession from Max McKnight.
There was a touch of fortune about Fulham’s second, which arrived just after the half hour mark. Delano McCcoy-Splatt located Imani Lanquedoc with a precise pass and the attacking midfielder’s deflected finish ended up into the far corner – with Hayton having no chance.
Spurs came roaring back in a lively second period that saw sixteen year-old Jamie Donley drill home a penalty to reduce their arrears eight minutes after the interval. The dangerous Williams had been pushed to the ground for a clear spot-kick. Olakigbe quickly re-established Fulham’s two goal lead with a thumping finish off the underside of the crossbar after excellent approach play from Lanquedoc, but the away side set up a nervy finale when Jaden Williams tucked in from close range to finish off a flowing move down the left flank.
Fulham survived a strong penalty appeal for handball with a quarter of an hour to play and Donley drove a follow-up over the bar as the ball dropped his way in the area. The young Whites eventually made sure of the points with six minutes to play, courtesy of another impressive Olakigbe strike. The lively left winger found the far corner from an acute angle to cap another eye-catching individual performance.
FULHAM U18s (4-2-3-1): Borto; Tanton (Antonsson 45), Araujo, C. Robinson, Parkes; Okkas (Caton 80), McCoy-Splatt; Wildbore, Lanquedoc, Olakigbe; Sanderson (Works 60). Subs (not used): de Fougerolles, Trialist.
GOALS: Sanderson (8), Lanquedoc (33), Olakigbe (56, 84).
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR U18s (5-3-2): Hayton; McKnight (Bryan-Waugh 58), Linton, Hackett, Dorrington, Cassanova; Kyerematen, Owen (Bloxham 74), Torraj (Mathurin 53); Donley; Williams. Subs (not used): Krasniqi, Haysman, Bloxham.
GOAL: Donley (pen 53), Williams (60).