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U18s lose to Leicester at the death

Fulham’s under 18s fell to their second defeat of the season after conceding a late winner away at Leicester this afternoon. Jack Butterfil drove home the decisive goal from Kian Pennant’s cross with three minutes to play as the young Foxes climbed to the top of the southern division table.

It was a disappointing reverse for Ali Melloul’s young side, who slipped to fifth having struggled to carve out clear cut chances in the course of a frustrating afternoon. The hosts were on the front foot from the outset with the recalled Alfie McNally saving from Pennant after three minutes and skipper Joe Wormleighton lashing over as Leicester laid early siege to the Fulham goal. Harvey Araujo blocked an effort from the lively Pennant and, although Michael Olakigbe looked lively out wide, the visitors’ only serious opening arrived on the stroke of half time when Olakigbe was denied by Arlo Doherty.

Fulham began more purposefully in the second period. Olly Sanderson almost produced another superb strike from distance but Doherty pulled off an outstanding save at full stretch as the striker’s effort appeared destined for the top corner. The hosts responded with a fine run and cross from Henry Cartwright that saw a succession of shots blocked by the away defence. Olakigbe spurned a glorious opportunity when he shot straight at the keeper after excellent approach play from Imani Lanquedoc.

Pennant skied over after terrific play from Woremleighton before Fulham went close at the other end when both Jaylan Wildbore and Matt Dibley-Dias narrowly missed the target. An open finale produced a winner for the Foxes when substitute Butterfil gleefully thumped home a precise Pennant cross – and the hosts survived a desperate Fulham onslaught to claim all three points.

LEICESTER CITY UNDER 18s (3-5-2): Doherty; Wilson-Brown, Grist, Godsmark-Ford; Wormleighton, Lindsay, Cover (Butterfil 70), Dawkins, Cartwright; Popov, Pennant. Subs (not used): Chibueze, Lewis, Read, Kutshienza.

GOAL: Butterfil (87).

FULHAM UNDER 18s (4-3-3): McNally; Tanton, de Fougerolles, C. Robinson, Araujo; McCoy-Splatt, Dibley-Dias, Harris; Lanquedoc (Wildbore 71), Olakigbe, Sanderson. Subs (not used): Works, Okkas, Caton, Parker.

BOOKED: Tanton, Harris.

Fulham U18s beaten by West Brom

A first half brace from Reyes Cleary saw West Brom end Fulham’s under 18s unbeaten start to the season on Saturday afternoon.

The impressive Baggies striker put the hosts in front after just five minutes, advancing into the penalty area and firing clinically past Alfie McNally into the bottom corner. Michael Olakigbe came close to an equaliser for the visitors but didn’t get a clean connection having been found by Charlie Robinson – and his shot flew over the bar. The hosts went straight down the other end and doubled their lead with Clearly converted a free kick from the edge of the box after Robinson had been suckered into committing a foul.

Cleary could have had a hat-trick before half time but he headed a good chance over the crossbar and, although Fulham finished the first period on the front foot they couldn’t find a way back into the contest. Robinson looped a header over from a corner. Steve Wigley’s side kept pressing well into the second half but the Baggies held for their first victory of the season after Ronnie Hollingshead pulled off three fine saves to deny Delano McCoy-Splatt, Imani Lanquendoc and George Okkas.

WEST BROMWICH ALBION UNDER 18s (5-3-2): Hollingshead; Hall, Humphries, Chidi, Machisa; Higgins (Richards 64), Heard, Lamb; Love, Cleary (Okoka 50). Subs (not used): Oliver, Hudd, Hurlock, Tobi.

BOOKED: Heard.

GOALS: Cleary (5, 21).

FULHAM UNDER 18s (4-2-3-1): McNally; Tanton, de Fougerolles, Araujo, Robinson; Okkas (Canton 84), Lanquedoc (Parker 59); McCoy-Splatt, Olakigbe, Tuma; Stansfield. Subs (not used): Conway, Works, Gofford.

BOOKED: Olakigbe.

Fulham U18s put four past Villa

Ollie Sanderson scored twice as Fulham’s under 18s thumped Aston Villa 4-1 at Motspur Park this afternoon.

The young Whites took less than a minute to go in front with right back Devan Tanton racing down field and whipping in a dangerous cross that Jaylan Wildbore couldn’t turn home, but Michael Olakigbe was on hand to force home from close range. Wildbore then missed a glorious chance to double the lead when he fired a terrific cross from the lively Olakigbe wide at the back post before Sanderson was denied by a brilliant reaction save from Oliwier¬†Zych in the Villa goal.

The visitors equalised from their first serious attack. The impressive Tommi O’Reilly rifled a brilliant strike past Alfie McNally from outside the area in the bottom corner – with the home goalkeeper standing little chance. The leveller enlivened Fulham, with Wildbore restoring the lead within two minutes. The former Burton Albion forward scored a superb individual goal, driving deep into Villa territory after being found by Olakigbe, and driving home with real aplomb.

The second half was a much tighter affair, but this time Steve Wigley’s side took their chances and made sure of the win. Delano McCoy-Splatt’s rasping strike from distance rattled the woodwork, but fell kindly for Sanderson who tucked home the rebound. The pair combined again for the fourth when Sanderson got on the end of McCoy-Splatt’s lovely defence-splitting pass and poked past the stranded goalkeeper to ensure the young Whites recorded their third consecutive win.

FULHAM UNDER 18s (4-2-3-1): McNally; Tanton, Araujo, Antonsson (de Fougerelles 69), C. Robinson; McCoy-Splatt, Lanquedoc; Olakigbe, Wildbore (Parker 74), Sanderson (Loupalo-Bi 80). Subs: Caton, Allen.

BOOKED: Lanquedoc.

GOALS: Olakigbe (1), Wildbore (23), Sanderson (61, 73).

ASTON VILLA UNDER 18s (4-4-2): Zych; Barber, Ealing, McBride (Pierre 72), Munroe; A. O’Reilly, Jay-Hart, Burchill, Afoka (Moore 69); Sewell, T. O’Reilly (Alcock 78). Subs (not used): Wright.

GOAL: T. O’Reilly (21).

Loupalo-Bi’s late header beats Reading

A stoppage-time header from substitute Aaron Loupalo-Bi secured a second successive victory for Fulham’s under 18s at Reading this afternoon.

The young forward guided home Michael Olakigbe’s cross at the near post to snatch the points for Steve Wigley’s side, who were far from their fluent best but showed their resilience to preserve their 100 per cent record. The visitors had began brightly with Delano McCoy-Splatt’s free-kick blocked and Jaylan Wildbore firing wide from distance. Royals goalkeeper Matthew Rowley did brilliantly to keep out a deflected drive from Wildbore before Alfie McNally saved brilliantly from Louis Holzman’s header.

A brilliant bit of skill saw Imani Lanquedoc spin away from two defenders by the corner flag and his ambitious effort from an acute angle clipped the post on its way wide. The towering Thorsteinn Antonsson saw a thumping header saved at full stretch from Rowley but Reading almost stole the lead right on the stroke of half-time when Aston Greaver outsmuscled Antonsson but was denied by a defiant McNally.

The hosts had the better of the second half with Ben Purcell shooting straight at McNally and patiently putting together a good spell of pressure with some pretty passing. Fulham came on stronger as time ticked away with a trademark surging run from Olakigbe almost creating an opening for Wildbore before Abraham Kanu averted the danger. But Fulham weren’t to be denied with Loupalo-Bi, who had replaced Wildbore, forcing home from another excellent Olakigbe delivery to steal all three points in the second minute of stoppage time.

READING UNDER 18s (4-2-3-1): Rowley; Abrefa, Daniel-Spray (Addo-Antoine 72), Holzman (Murray 76), Kanu; Purcell, Campbell; Okine-Peters, Maunder, Vickers; Greaver (Nditi 63). Subs (not used): Borgnis, Norcott.

BOOKED: Purcell, Campbell.

FULHAM (4-2-3-1): McNally; Tanton, Araujo, Antonsson (de Fougerolles 64), Robinson; McCoy-Splatt, Caton (Okkas 80); Lanquedoc, Olakigbe, Wildbore (Loupalo-Bi 68); Sanderson. Subs (not used): Parker, Allen.

GOAL: Loupalo-Bi (90+2).

REFEREE: Benjamin Duffill.

Olakigbe brace beats Spurs

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).