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Middlesbrough v Spurs - Premier League Youth Cup, 22.12.18
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]

        Premier U-18 League Cup, Group A
          Rockcliffe Park, Teeside
       Saturday 22nd December 2018, 11am

  Middlesbrough 2(1) - 2(1) Tottenham Hotspur
    (Red/White)               (White/Blue)

Middlesbrough team unknown.

Scorers: Dodds 22, Balde 64

Booked Sykes 77(UGC), 82(Foul), No.5 79(Foul)

Sent Off: Sykes 82(2 Yellows)

Spurs(4-1-4-1): Kurylowicz; Tainio(Statham 81), Binks, Okedina, Cirkin; White(C); Pochettino(Clarke 64), Markanday, Thorpe(Maghoma 64), Cooper; Richards

Unused Sub:- Oluwayemi

Scorers: Richards 30, Clarke 79

Spurs travelled to the north-east for the last group game to play leaders Middlesbrough. Both sides have won both their other group games with the home side having the better goal difference and in the driving seat. A draw would see both sides progress into the quarter-finals as Spurs have a poorer GD than the other sides on six points. Spurs went into the game unbeaten all season while the hosts had lost ground in the Northern League conceding six goals in each of their last two games. The last time the two teams met Spurs won 3-1 in 2017 when a young Oliver Skipp was breaking into the U-18 while still a schoolboy.

Having to rotate the squad after a run of games Spurs lined up with Kurylowicz making his debut in goal behind Binks and Okedina with Tainio at right back and Cirkin on the left. White anchored the midfield with Markanday and Thorpe ahead of him. They were flanked by Pochettino on the right and Cooper on the left in support of Richards up front.

Spurs kicked off the first half attacking the West end in an open game that saw the home side breaking down Spurs moves to counter themselves. Thorpe headed over from a cross by Markanday before Kurylowicz saved from Balde when he was played in by Dodds. An uncleared corner was hit wide by Thorpe before Middlesborough opened the scoring. Spurs failed to clear an attack down the right started by Dodds who finished it driving in at the near post.

Dodds got forward again to draw a save from Kurylowicz before Spurs equalised when Thorpe worked the ball through to Richards who fired home. Sykes fired over before Markanday first hit over and then forced a save which the keeper could not hold. Richards followed up and played in Pochettino to draw a save by the keeper who had recovered to make the stop. Kurylowicz saved a free kick that took a deflection at the end of the half.

There were no changes for the start of the second half which saw Spurs' passing game begin to take hold of the game. The hosts did start on the front foot with Balde drawing a save after Sykes had fired over. Cirkin got forward to fire over before Balde shot wide for a corner and it was the Boro wideman who scored when the corner was not cleared.

Spurs quickly made a double substitution with Maghoma replacing Thorpe and Pochettino was replaced by Clarke. With the changes Markanday went to the right flank and Clarke to the left with Cooper moving inside to join Maghoma. Following a corner, White drew a save and as Spurs pressed Sykes was booked for delaying a free kick. A crossfield ball by Markanday sent Clarke away before cutting inside and scoring with a rising drive into the far side.

Middlesborough were now worried and they picked up another booking before Statham replaced Tainio as Spurs' last change. Sykes then stopped Clarke with a high tackle which saw him get a second yellow and sent off. The ten men managed to see out the game to top the group.

Without so many regulars Spurs did well without dominating and finished the calendar year unbeaten (so far this season). Spurs also go into the quarter-finals as one of the two best second placed teams, just like last season when they got to the final. This had been a tough physical battle as is the case with northern sides and they go into the last eight as the only southern league side so there will be more physical games ahead. For now they can enjoy the Christmas break with Swansea to play on the 5th January when they are back in action.


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