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Oxford v Spurs U-21s (Checkatrade Trophy), 18.12.18
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]

        Checkatrade Trophy, Round 2.
     Kassam Stadium, Grenoble Rd. Oxford
     Tuesday 18th December 2018, 7.45pm

Oxford United 3(2)  0(0) Tottenham Hotspur U-21

Oxford(4-2-3-1): Eastwood(C); Garbutt, Nelson, Hanson,Brannagan(Heap 78), Smith, Whyte(Holmes 59), Henry(Browne 59), Raglan, McMahon, Little

Unused Subs:- Stevens, Mousinho, Mackie, Long

Scorers: Raglan 12, Smith 16, McMahon 48

Spurs(4-1-4-1): Austin(C); Hinds(Reynolds 85), Tanganga(C), Marsh, Brown; Oakley-Boothe, Bowden(Tracey 73), Duncan, Roles, Clarke (Cooper 90); Sterling

Unused Subs: De Bie, Thorpe, Okedina

Referee: Kevin Johnson
Assistants: Ian Dudley & Anthony Da Costa
Fourth Official: Craig Hicks

On a cool rainy evening Spurs youngsters travelled to Oxford to play third division United who after a poor start to the season are unbeaten in their last three outings. Spurs got here by virtue of one win in their group and favourable results elsewhere. The nice thing is that Oxford's manager Karl Robinson likes to play open, passing football with which our youngsters are familiar.

Spurs lined up with Austin in goal behind Tanganga and Marsh with Hinds at right back and Brown on the left. Bowden anchored the midfield with Duncan and Roles ahead of him. They were flanked by Oakley-Boothe on the right and Clarke on the left in support of Sterling up front. It was good to see Tracey on the bench having recovered from his injury early in the season playing for the U-23 side. Also on the bench was Okedina who played the previous evening at Millwall and Cooper who has only had two games for the U-18's. Jonathan Obika, a former young Spur, missed the game for Oxford due to injury.

Spurs defended the open South end in the first half and were immediately put under pressure by the home side with McMahon hitting a free kick wide and Smith heading over before they took the lead. The goal came from a free kick headed in at the near post by Raglan. The second goal quickly followed when Smith headed in a corner at the far post. United kept the pressure on, having more chances, before Spurs' first chance after half an hour when Bowden found Sterling with a through pass but the striker's effort was saved. That was the only chance that the United defence allowed before the break.

There were no changes for the start of the second half which saw the home side continue to dominate and increase their lead early when a cross went through the area to McMahon to drive in from the left.

Spurs kept plugging away and were almost rewarded when neat play on the left of the area gave Roles a chance which hit the inside of the far post. Sterling got through but his effort went for a corner. A Roles free kick after a foul on Sterling deflected over for a corner from which Sterling's shot was blocked.

Sterling won another corner which came to nothing before changes were made. Spurs took off Bowden for Tracey with Roles falling back in front of the defence. From his new position Roles played in Sterling for a chance that was saved. After Hinds had taken a knock, Reynolds came on to replace him. United continued to play within themselves content to move the ball around and attacking when the opportunity appeared whilst also stopping Spurs' attacks. Spurs' final change saw young Cooper come on for Clarke with just added time remaining which saw two more chances for the home team.

Having played three games in the competition already you would have expected the development players to realise that league football is tougher and offers them less protection than they are used to in their league. Spurs have won only one of the seven games they have played in this competition so far. While it is good for them to gain experience in their development I feel that more players should go out on loan before playing these games to give them more of a chance. It was very much a boys against men kind of game with Sterling, who had a brief spell on loan last season, standing up well. The development squad now have a break until the 7th January when they are back in action against Liverpool U-23 at Stevenage.


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