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Middlesbrough U-18s v Spurs U-18s, 01.04.17
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]

        Premier U-18 League, Merit Group 2, 2016-17
            Rockcliffe Park, Hurworth-on-Tees
             Saturday 1st April 2017, 11am.

           MIDDLESBROUGH    v      SPURS
             (All Red)          (White/Blue)
              4-2-3-1             4-1-4-1

               1(0)                 3(3)

Spurs team: Whiteman; Eyoma(Hinds 62), Marsh(C), Tanganga, Brown; Skipp; Griffiths(Patterson 62), Oakley-Boothe, Duncan, Bennetts(Shashoua 73); Sterling

Unused Subs:- Freeman; Omolabi

Scorers: Sterling 9, Duncan 15, (o.g.) 32

Booked: Marsh 68(Foul)

Referee:- Helen Conley

Spurs travelled to Middlesbrough for their second match in the second phase of this season's U-18 Premier League games. Last season Spurs also had to travel here during the second phase when they lost 1-0 in a close game. The weather was better this year so aided a good passing game. The home side had lost the first two games of this phase while Spurs lost a two goal lead to Stoke last week. There were no teamsheets so I delayed writing up to allow for the "Boro" website to publish(they have not at time of writing). We did have a female referee which is rare but usually means a well run game. The referee did miss a couple of dives but booked three players who would probably not usually have seen yellow at this level.

Spurs lined up with Whiteman in goal behind Marsh and Tanganga with Eyoma at right back and Brown on the left. Skipp anchored the midfield while Oakley-Boothe was ahead of him flanked by Griffiths on the right and Bennetts on the left in a diamond that had Duncan at its head in support of Sterling up front. It was a strong line-up that allowed Reynolds to play in an U-16 game on the pitch next to the seniors.

Spurs kicked off the first half attacking the West end and quickly took control of the midfield leading to an early corner when Brown's cross was turned behind. Brown fired wide from a cross by Duncan from the corner. Spurs went in front when Oakley-Boothe played the ball into Duncan. Duncan played the ball round the corner into the path of Sterling who advanced and scored with a low finish.

Spurs increased their lead when Skipp played the ball into Duncan on the edge of the area. The midfielder shifted the ball before driving it low into the left corner. Sterling drew a save from Griffiths' cross winning a corner from which Tanganga fired wide. Duncan hit a free kick wide before Eyoma headed over a Bennetts cross. Brown then got down the left, crossing to the far post where Eyoma again headed over.

Spurs kept the pressure on as Skipp played in Griffiths whose effort was deflected for a corner. Spurs third goal came from a corner by Bennetts that reached the far post where the defender put it into the net. Spurs have given the goal to Griffiths but the poor defender had his head in his hands and the players went to congratulate Bennetts. Whiteman had to make a save after forty minutes for a corner. From the corner Bennetts broke and played in Griffiths who fired over. In added time Boro headed over from a free kick that resulted in a corner.

The second half began in much the same way as the first with Sterling firing wide from Skipp's cross. Bennetts crossed for Sterling but his effort was blocked for a corner. Whiteman made another save as the home side began to make headway. Their striker fired over before playing in Holdsworth to force a save and another effort went wide. Griffiths had an effort blocked and Sterling fired wide before Spurs made a double change. Hinds replaced Eyoma at right back and Patterson came on for Griffiths in midfield.

Patterson was quickly into the action when his effort was blocked for a corner. From the corner Tanganga drew a save with his header. Marsh was booked when he fouled Holdsworth chasing a long ball. Spurs' last change saw Shashoua replace Bennetts on the right with Patterson moving to the left. Shashoua fired over as Spurs settled for the three points. Middlesborough won a free kick on the edge of the area and Holdsworth curled his kick round the wall and inside the right post to pull a goal back. That was the only chance the home side had as Spurs saw out the game.

This was a comfortable win for Spurs against a normally strong Academy. I don't know if Middlesbrough played a weak side but it was very one-sided match which allowed Spurs' passing game to control the result. Tanganga was dominant in the air while Bennetts and Griffiths were well supported by the full backs. Next week Spurs entertain Norwich City at Hotspur Way. They have already met three times this season, beating them in the Youth Cup but losing away and being held to a draw at home. The U-16's also won their game here with a score of 3-0.


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