For a season at least, Chelsea have had to surrender their title as the undisputed Kings of the Under-18 Premier League South. Whether it’s Arsenal or Tottenham who official dethrone them at the end of the month, it will be entirely on merit, as Spurs showed with a battling but ultimately comfortable 2-0 win at Cobham on Wednesday lunchtime.
Follow Dan Davies for photos from the match.
The North London duo have led the league from almost start to finish, scoring at a stupendous rate, and leaving a good but not great Chelsea side struggling to keep up. Just as it was at Arsenal a month ago, the Blues didn’t lack for effort in defeat here, but sometimes you have to hold your hands up and admit that the other team are simply better.
They were better where it truly mattered too; top scorer Troy Parrott continued to affirm his reputation as one of the finest forward prospects around with a pair of superbly-taken goals. His first showcased a silky first touch to turn Dilan Markanday’s pass into an assist, shifting it around Sam McClelland before slotting past Jake Askew with the confidence of a striker ten years older, and he added a second-half free-kick for good measure, while also hitting both the post and the crossbar along the way.
It was that cutting edge Chelsea lacked, and have lacked all season. Arsenal have scored 83 goals, Tottenham 78, while Andy Myers’ boys have just 36 to their name. An early chance fell Armando Broja’s way without being taken, and although Marcel Lewis and Clinton Mola in particular did their best to conjure an opening, Jonathan De Bie was rarely threatened. A late red card for Dermi Lusala gave the Blues hope, but Spurs held firm, and their Belgian goalkeeper was only truly called upon three minutes into stoppage time to keep out a header from substitute George Nunn.
Had their finishing been better, Spurs could have left with a more emphatic winning scoreline. Armando Shashoua and Dilan Markanday were superb in a first half they dominated, and when Chelsea came at them in the second, they were stoutly marshalled by Jubril Okedina and Brooklyn Lyons-Foster at the back, and were fairly solid all the way through the side.
Their title hopes now rest on Arsenal dropping points at Fulham on the final day, where they’ll also need to beat Leicester to stand a chance of usurping their rivals. Chelsea themselves welcome Fulham to Cobham on Saturday for their final home match of the season, before signing off away to Leicester on April 27th.
Chelsea: Askew, McClelland, Simeu, Ekwah Elimby (Aina 76), Clark (Lawrence 58), Mola (c), Lavinier, Russell, Broja (Nunn 63), Ballo, Lewis
Sub not Used: Bergström
Tottenham Hotspur: De Bie, Lusala, Statham, Shashoua (c), Okedina, Lyons-Foster, Pochettino (Cooper 77), Bowden (Clarke 71) Parrott, Markanday, Patterson (Thorpe 89)
Subs not Used: Kurylowicz, Pedder
Goals: Parrott 16, 62
Sent Off: Lusala