Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]
Premier U-18 League, Merit Group 2 2016-17
Bodymoor Heath, Tamworth
Saturday 6th May 2017, 12 noon
ASTON VILLA v SPURS
(Claret/Blue) (All Yellow)
Kieran Boucher 1 Brandon Austin
Mitchell Clark 2 Matthew Lock
Josh Williams 3 Nicholas Tsaroulla
Alexander Prosser 4 Oliver Skipp
James Finnerty 5 George Marsh(C)
Dominic Revan 6 Moryan Omolabi
Tre Pemberton 7 Pheonix Patterson
Jack Clarke 8 Jamie Bowden
Kelsey Mooney 9 Samuel Shashoua
Jozef Pastorek 10 Tariq Hinds
Harvey Knibbs 11 Jamie Reynolds
Jordan Cox 12 Brooklyn Lyons-Foster
Louis Hall 13 Alfie Whiteman
M. Birch 14 Jack Roles
Callum Rowe 15 Rhodel Richards
Pastorek, 1 Williams (o.g.), 16
Mooney 28 Shashoua, (pen) 44
David Hughes John McDermott
Referee:– Philip Hardisty
Spurs travelled to Villa's Bodymoor Heath Training Ground on a cold windy morning for their fifth Merit Group game sitting in second place a point behind the hosts. Both sides go into the match unbeaten with Villa beating Norwich 3-0 in their last game and Spurs had a 5-2 win over Fulham. During the regular season Spurs lost at Bodymoor Heath 2-1, when both sides were fielding U-17 teams.
Spurs lined up with Austin in goal behind Marsh and Omolabi with Lock at right back and Tsaroulla on the left. In front of them sat Skipp while Hinds and Bowden were in central midfield flanked by Patterson on the right and Reynolds on the left in support of Shashoua as the false nine. There was no striker and the front five were all under six feet tall, which with Marsh and Lock at the back made this probably the smallest side Spurs have fielded. There was also a short bench which included a couple of U-16s. There were no teamsheets so the numbering of the Villa team may have mistakes in it.
Spurs defended the South end in the first half but were caught out when Pastorek got on the end of a deep cross from the right to volley into the far side after only a minute of play. With Spurs trying to settle, Villa kept the presure on with Mooney winning a corner and also heading a cross by Finnerty wide. As Spurs got into the game Patterson, Reynolds and Shashoua began to make good runs that produced an equaliser. Patterson got round the back on the left and fired the ball into the near post. Villa's Williams was under pressure from Reynolds and turned the ball into his own net.
Play became more open but Spurs fell behind again when a cross from the left by Clarke dropped behind Marsh for Mooney who had time to control it before driving past the stranded Austin. The rest of the half was played mainly in the middle with defences preventing chances until just before the break when Shashoua dribbled his way into the area and was caught by Finnerty to win a penalty. The Spurs wideman took the kick himself placing it inside the left corner beating Boucher.
Villa made one change for the start of the second half which saw the Spurs passing game improve. However, they still had problems getting through the Villa rearguard so began to fire in shots from outside the area. Boucher had to make a string of saves first from Bowden, then Skipp. Shashoua played in Patterson for a chance that was saved. Bowden had another effort saved by Boucher who then had to save from Patterson and Shashoua hit one over.
Villa broke forward and Knibbs crossed from the left. Austin failed to hold the ball under pressure from Pemberton when Marsh made contact with him. The Villa wideman reacted quickest to poke the ball into the net.
Spurs made their first change before the restart when Roles replaced Bowden. In his hurry to get on Jack put on the wrong shirt so played in the spare No.18 shirt. Reynolds drew a save before Marsh was booked for a foul on Mooney on another Villa break.
Richards made his first appearance at this level when he replaced Reynolds on the left. Roles fired wide and Richards' attempt was blocked when he was played in by Hinds. Hinds was then replaced by Lyons-Foster for his debut at U-18 level (He did play in the U-17 game against Villa).
The dangerous Pemberton got a cross in from the right that was met by Knibbs, who hit a rising drive which hit the underside of the crossbar and down onto the line before being cleared. There was no goal-line technology here, so the referee said play on! With Spurs pushing forward for another equaliser Villa took advantage to counter with Austin having to save from Pemberton. Mooney fired over and Austin also saved from Cox in added time.
It took a while for Spurs to settle with the younger players having to adjust to the higher level of play that was required. Without a proper striker the players had to move the ball around more looking for runs into the area but found the Villa defence a little too experienced for some of their tight passes. The keeper did spill some of the long range efforts but no-one was able to take advantage. There was also the problem of lack of height in the team that exposed Austin at deadball situations. Marsh's lack of height had a part in Villa's second goal.
Villa are now four points clear at the top of Group 2 with one game to play. Norwich beat Everton today to go above Spurs who play the Merseysiders next. The game is on Tuesday morning and hopefully we will have more experienced players available. Spurs then travel to Derby for their last game on Saturday.
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