Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]
Checkatrade Trophy 2018-19, Group 1
Checkatrade Stadium, Broadfield, Crawley
Tuesday 4th September 2018, 8pm
CRAWLEY TOWN V SPURS U-21
(All Red) (White/Blue)
Crawley won penalty shootout 5-3
Crawley:- Mersin; Young(C), N'Gala, McNerney, Maguire; Allarakhia(Palmer 79), Bulman(Sesay 71), Randall, Nathaniel-George(Galach 46); Poleon, Camara
Unused Subs:– Morris, Doherty, Connolly, Morais
Scorer:– N'Gala 58
Booked:– Randall 84(Foul)
Spurs:– Austin; Marsh(C), Dinzeyi, Walcott, Binks, Brown; Bowden, Maghoma, Oakley-Boothe(Bennett 81), Roles; Harrison(Parrott 77)
Unused Subs:– De Bie; Duncan, Shashoua, White
Scorer:– Harrison 49
Referee:– Tim Robinson
Assistants:– Ian Cooper & Dean Treleaven
Fourth Official:– Marc Wilson
Spurs opening game in the group was at the aptly named Checkatrade Stadium against a managerless Crawley Town. Harry Kewell left to join Notts County last week and left Jim Smith and Filipe Morais in charge. The match was delayed due to severe trouble on the M23 which my SatNav kept trying to get me to join. The hosts used the match to give new signings N'Gala and Sesay their first games as well as using their squad making seven changes from Saturday. Spurs had four U-18 players in the squad starting with two at the back in Walcott and Binks partnered with Dinzeyi. The only player with league experience, Shayon Harrison, led the line.
Spurs lined up with Austin in goal behind the three centre-backs, Dinzeyi on the right, Walcott in the middle and Binks to the left. Marsh was the right wingback and Brown the left. Bowden anchored a midfield diamond with Maghoma and Oakley-Boothe providing width and Roles at the attacking point. It was very flexible as the three attacking midfielders changed positions continually during the game. Harrison led the line but again often tracked back into the middle of the diamond.
Spurs defended the North end in the first half which saw both sides play open expansive football. Spurs concentrating on their passing while Town moved the ball forward quickly. Harrison had a first minute effort blocked with Maghoma firing wide and Oakley-Boothe hitting over. The reds gradually imposed themselves on the Spurs players with Brown making a saving tackle on Randall in the twentieth minute before Bulman fired over. Harrison drew the first save from Mersin for a corner. Austin then had to make his first save from Allarakhia turning it away for a corner. As the half ended Harrison fired over and McNeaney up from the back drove wide.
Crawley made one change for the start of the second half which saw both sides get more stuck in with the foul count rising. Brown, expecting a lay-off by Maghoma, ran into him which necessitated both players having treatment. Spurs opened the scoring when Bulman gave Harrison the ball in the area. The striker turned and drove in off the far post.
A free kick was half cleared to Marsh but he fired over. Crawley went level from a free kick that Young put into the area and the massive frame of N'Gala saw him hold off defenders to fire in.
Roles played the ball up to Harrison on the edge of the area for him to turn and shoot and bring a good save from Mersin at his left post. The outstanding Roles drew a save himself before Crawley should have taken the lead. A poor back-pass let in Poleon but Austin was out quickly to save and Binks blocked Young from scoring from the rebound.
When Harrison was caught by a tough tackle the ball ran loose to Brown who went for goal but Mersin saved his effort. Harrison had to go off and was replaced by Parrott. Spurs' second change saw Bennett replace Oakley-Boothe on the left. Crawley looked to put the ball into the area as much as possible and from one free kick Austin punched the ball away catching Binks in the face. The crowd had a go at the young defender thinking it was time wasting.
Camara fired over and Randall was booked for a foul tussling with Roles on the bye-line. Crawley pushed for a winner as the game ended with McNeaney firing wide on the final whistle. With the game ending in a draw there was a penalty shoot-out for an extra point. Young went first for Crawley scoring emphatically and was followed by Binks sending Mersin the wrong way. Poleon and Roles both netted their kicks as did Randall and Bowden. After Palmer netted for the home side Maghoma tried to place his in the top corner but Mersin saved which left Sesay to score the winning penalty to take the second point.
This was a good, fairly even game, with Spurs looking to play their normal passing game while Crawley showing what experienced players they were. Both sides got to grips with each other in the second half with less holding back. Crawley tried to impose their more physical style on the young Spurs players but they stood up to them and Roles showed that he was more than a match for them. If the Spurs players learn from this they will be better prepared for Gillingham in the next group game in October. Before that they will play in the U-19 Champions League.
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