Fulham’s under 18s kept their hopes of progressing from the group stages of the Premier League Under 18 Cup alive after thrashing Tottenham Hotspur at Motspur Park this morning. The young Whites were dominant from the first whistle with goals from Jaylan Wildbore, Ollie Sanderson, George Okkas and Imani Lanquedoc securing a comprehensive win.
A shuffled starting line up, with Michael Allen in goal, Murphy Parker and Okkas in midfield and young Lemar Gordon out wide, got to work quickly after soaking up a period of early Spurs pressure. A neat move down the right saw Gordon and Parker combine before Okkas skied over from an inviting position. Tottenham forward Renaldo Torraj failed to get a clean connection when he saw a sight of goal, whilst at the other end Sanderson glanced a header wide from a dangerous Lanquedoc free-kick.
The hosts went ahead just after the quarter of an hour through a brilliant strike from Wildbore. The former Burton forward turned majestically away from two Tottenham defenders before tucking a composed finish beyond Adam Hayton as the visiting goalkeeper rushed off his line. Fulham doubled their lead eleven minutes later when Lanquedoc weighted a lovely through ball behind the static Spurs defence and Sanderson stroked in his ninth goal of the campaign. It was three ten minutes before the break when Okkas latched onto a poor clearance from Hayton and lobbed the stranded Tottenham custodian.
Spurs did start the second half stronger with Jez Davies headed a marvellous Max Knight cross against the post, but Fulham ruthlessly added a fourth ten minutes after the interval. Parker and Wildbore linked up smartly before Lanquedoc drove home for a deserved goal that capped an energetic individual performance. That was the cue for Ali Melloul to make changes, with Thorsteinn Antonsson replacing Xavier Benjamin, who completed more than an hour as he continues his comeback from a longstanding injury.
Also making a welcome return from a prolonged spell on the sidelines was Stefan Parkes, who made two terrific blocks in quick succession to preserve Fulham’s clean sheet. Lanquedoc might have added a fifth but shot disappointingly over after bright play from Gordon, before the teenage winger had his own effort blocked. Substitute Terrell Works nearly put the icing on the cake by finishing a flowing move in the closing stages of the game, but he shot wide.
Fulham are temporarily top of Group B, with six points from three games but they face an anxious wait to see whether they will qualify for the last eight as their progress depends on the result of the final fixture between Stoke City and Leeds United, which was postponed today due to the stormy weather.
FULHAM UNDER 18s (4-3-3): Allen; Tanton, de Fougerolles (Parkes 75), Benjamin (Antonsson 63), Araujo; Parker, Okkas, Lanquedoc; Gordon, Wildbore, Sanderson (Works 69). Subs (not used): McNally, Olakigbe.
GOALS: Wildbore (16), Sanderson (27), Okkas (34), Lanquedoc (56).
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR UNDER 18s (4-3-1-2): Hayton; Bryan-Waugh, Linton, Dorrington, Cassanova; Sayers, Haysman, McKnight; Davies (Hackett-Valton 75); Williams (Owen 69), Toraj (Bloxham 57). Subs (not used): Krasniqi, Heaps.
REFEREE: M. Smith.