Wolves 3 (Keto-Diyawa 17, Roberts 63, 71) Tottenham 0
Wolves under-18s put on an awe-inspiring show in front of their supporters at Molineux, beating Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 in the FA Youth Cup fifth round to progress through to the quarter-finals.
Aaron Keto-Diyawa opened up the scoring for Steve Davis’ side with a low driven header before the break. Wolves then saw Tyler Roberts score another brace, including a brilliant solo effort to complete the scoring, in the second-half.
Much of the early attacks in the opening 20 minutes came from Wolves. Kam Kandola cleverly read a Tottenham pass and intercepted the ball on the halfway line. He burst down the right before feeding Nathan Fraser through. The number nine’s low driven effort was dragged just wide of the far-left post.
Fraser would attempt a similar effort just minutes later, this time from the left side. Roberts would do the dirty work dispossessing Alfie Dorrington and playing the Wolves striker through. Once again, his effort was dragged wide of the far-right post.
Dexter Lembikisa ran riot throughout the first-half down the right wing and was the provider to Wolves’ opening goal. Harvey Griffiths picked out the wing-back with a brilliant sprayed pass setting him down the right. Lembikisa’s footwork saw him breeze past his marker before clipping a ball towards the far post. Keto-Diyawa was unmarked and met the cross with a low header. His attempt was nodded across goal and nestled in the bottom right corner giving Wolves the lead.
Tottenham looked to reply quickly when the ball was set up for Rio Kyermaten inside the area. The 16-year-old’s first-time effort forced Palmi Arinbjornsson into a great reaction save at his near post.
The home side were close to making it two if it was not for a vitally important block by the Spurs defence. Lembikisa found his opposite number out wide with a ball across field. Keto-Diyawa drilled a low pass into the feet of Harry Birtwistle inside the box who side-footed his shot first time. The shot was blocked and trickled out for a corner.
Fraser looked to finally get his goal after a mix up between the goal keeper Luca Gunter and his defence. The error saw Gunter stranded as Fraser had his back to goal. The Wolves striker pivoted and chipped an effort goalward, however, Dorrington read the situation well and was able to clear the shot off the line.
Spurs had one last effort on the stroke of half time to try and equal the scores. The away side worked the ball out well down the right-hand side and slid a ball across the box to the feet of an arriving Alfie Devine. The number 10 hit a strike first time but saw it blaze over the bar.
Half-time | Wolves 1-0 Tottenham
The old gold began the second-half with aggressive intensity, pinning the visitors back in their own half. Fraser came close yet again with a header but saw it saved brilliantly by Gunter after Keto-Diyawa curled in a delightful cross from the left towards the far post.
Roberts looked to continue his scoring form from the third round at Molineux with more goals against Spurs. The number 11 doubled the lead after sliding to get onto the end of Birtwistle’s cross. The Singapore international glided past his marker out wide and drilled a low cross into the six-yard box from the right. A flurry of players slid to get a touch but Roberts was the one to tap in at the far post.
Davis’ side continued their second-half rampage and Roberts was soon to grab his second. Picking up the ball on the right, the tricky winger darted into the penalty area breezing past Spurs defenders. He cut onto his left and curled a brilliant solo effort into the bottom left corner.
The chances did not stop there and Fraser was hungry to add his name to the scoresheet but was denied once again by Gunter in goal. After Birtwistle broke free of the Spurs defence and cut in from the right, his shot rattled off the near post and fell to the feet of Fraser who blasted towards goal and forced an incredible save by Gunter who dived across the goal to deny Wolves their fourth.
The tempo of the game slowed and Wolves controlled the remainder of the 90 to progress through into the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup where they’ll face Brighton & Hove Albion back at Molineux.
Full-time | Wolves 3-0 Tottenham
Head coach Steve Davis was proud of his side as they executed their game plan perfectly, he said: “I thought they were excellent. We’d done our planning on the terms of analysis on what we were up against.
“We knew they were good ball manipulators and carriers so we knew we needed to get tight, stop them playing and use our physicality. I thought we dominated large periods of the game; we just couldn’t force that extra goal in the first half. They [Spurs] had a great chance to level but Palmi [Arinbjornsson] made a save and it could’ve been 1-1 going into half-time with us having a lot of chances and not putting them to bed.
“At half-time we talked about playing a little bit higher, putting them under a little bit more pressure and not being sloppy, starting well and try and get that second goal. I think we had three or four chances in the first eight minutes but in the end, we managed to get a second goal which was crucial to take us onto the next goal.”
On under-23 players returning to his squad
“Some of them recently went up [to under-23s], others have been there for a little while now and they play regular for the 23s. You can see that it helps them gain a better understanding of the game and how the game should be played and the momentum of the game, how you can quicken it and slow it down.
“When they play up and then come down, the biggest thing is what is their attitude like, how will they approach the game and I can’t fault the way they approached the game today. I thought they were spot on. They didn’t have any periods in the game where they dropped off apart from maybe the last 15 minutes of the first-half but I thought their attitude and the way they approached the game today was fantastic.”
On Dexter Lembikisa’s performance
“He’s a top player, he’s showing in a very short space of time how good and how quickly he can improve and develop. He’s a great example to the other lads.
“He’s showed that he has started to listen and do the right things, living the right lifestyle and doing what you’re told to do in terms of when he goes down to the first-team and they tell him to do particular things, that’s what he does.
“I thought he was outstanding today, he caused them a lot of problems. Him and Harry [Birtwistle] down the right-hand side, who play together in the 23s, I thought that relationship was incredible and caused a lot of problems today.”
With their win against Spurs, Wolves progress through to the quarter-finals of the competition and have themselves a home tie against Brighton. Davies spoke on the exciting Cup journey ahead.
“I think we’ll just enjoy the games, it’s nice to be back at Molineux afte starting the tournament here against Salford and then we had such a tough, though game at Crystal Palace. It was nice to get here and put on such a good performance today.
“I think the next game will be in a couple of weeks’ time so in that time hopefully we can see a bit more of Brighton, see what they’re like, and just enjoy the journey.
“The lads are very confident they can progress so as long as we are getting the experience of playing at Molineux, which is fantastic, and Brighton, I’m sure, will give us a good game in a couple of weeks’ time. The lads have a few 23s and 18s games before that so hopefully they all get through that and then we’ll have a full squad to pick from in a few weeks.”
19/02 Liverpool (A)
TBC Brighton & Hove Albion (H) FAYC
26/02 Derby County (A)
03/03 Sunderland (H)
12/03 Newcastle United (A)
Wolves: Airnbjornsson, Lembikisa, Kandola, Tipton, Hubner, Keto-Diyawa (Esen 89), Birtwistle, Griffiths, Fraser, Rees (Mabete 80), Roberts (Farmer 80).
Unused Subs: Storer, Francis-Burrell, Ashworth, Reynolds.
Tottenham Hotspur: Gunter, McKnight, Bryan-Waugh (Linton 67), Willhoft-King, Dorrington, Sayers, Donley, Kyermaten, Williams, Devine, Bloxham (Torraj 55).
Unused Subs: Hayton, Heaps, Abbott, Owen, Andiyapan.