Barclays Under 18 Premier League southern division champions Tottenham Hotspur narrowly lost out in a nine-goal thriller last night.
A youthful Aston Villa were the victors as they beat an equally inexperienced Spurs side 5-4 with Channing Campbell-Young seeing red for the hosts.
Harry McKirdy put Villa 1-0 ahead inside the first minute after he was played in down the left by Henry Cowans and lashed the ball home from a tight angle.
McKirdy helped add a second when he chipped Spurs goalkeeper Liam Priestley and Callum O’Hare bundled the ball home at the back post.
Ryan Loft grabbed one back from distance as he beat Charlie Banister after a surging run and Anthony Georgiou leveled the scores with a neat volley from Charlie Hayford’s cross.
Kevin Toner and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy restored Villa’s two-goal advantage after half-time with a header from Toner and Hepburn-Murphy pouncing on a defensive error.
Cy Goddard and Chris Paul then put Spurs level once again but they would come undone in the closing stages as Campbell-Young brought down Hepburn-Murphy and was sent off. Hepburn-Murphy would be the player to punish Spurs as he ran through the defence and added the winner on 68 minutes.
Spurs boss John McDermott told Spurs official website: “It was a very open game with lots of exciting players on both teams.
“There were so many positives in the way the game was played and while I thought we were probably at fault for most of their goals where we just turned the ball over easily, there were lots and lots of plus-points and some good players on show.
“The red card was a turning point but the boys showed a lot of character to dig in and play 30 minutes with 10 men.
“There’s a lot that I can learn about the players and there’s a lot they can learn about playing with 10 men. Probably the next stage now for these players as they go into Under-18s football next year is to try and keep the quality that they showed and look to eliminate the amount of unforced errors.”
Spurs play in the play-off semi final at Goodison Park on Sunday against Everton. The winner of that match will then meet either Manchester City or West Ham, who play on Saturday, in the grand final later in the month.
The result sees the conclusion of the Barclays U18 Premier League regular season for this campaign with Aston Villa finishing 7th in the southern division.