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Man City v Spurs (PL2), 15.12.19
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]

     Premier League 2, First Division 2019-20
          City Academy Campus, Manchester
         Sunday 15th December 2019, 12 noon 

             MAN CITY     v     SPURS
         (All Light Blue)   (All Dark Blue)

              4-2-3-1          4-1-4-1

                2(1)             0(0)

            Gavin Bazunu  1  Joshua Oluwayemi
          Alpha Diounkuo  2  Tariq Hinds
          Rowan McDonald  3  Harvey White
         Yeboah Amankwah  4  Tashan Oakley-Boothe(C)
        Nathaniel Ogbeta  5  Japhet Tanganga
               Iker Pozo  6  Luis Binks
              Ben Knight  7  Dilan Markanday
           Tommy Doyle(C) 8  Paris Maghoma
           Keke Simmonds  9  Rodel Richards
           Lewis Fiorini 10  Armando Shashoua
            Jayden Braaf 11  Phoenix Patterson

   Taylor Harwood-Bellis 12  Brooklyn Lyons-Foster
               (4)46Mins     (2)46Mins
               Tom Scott 13  Jonathan De Bie
     Fisayo Dele-Bashiru 14  Rayan Clarke
           Morgan Rogers 15  Jonathan Dinzeyi
           Nabil Touaizi 16  Maurizio Pochettino

            Knight 6
            Fiorini 80 

 Harwood-Bellis 73(Foul)     Tanganga 86(Foul)

           Paul Harsley      Wayne Burnett

Referee: Lewis Smith
Assistants: Jonathon Bickerdike & Matthew Sowerby
Fourth Official: Stephen Rushworth 

Spurs travelled to Manchester to play bottom side City at their training ground. The match was played on one of the Academy pitches as the City's women team were playing in the Campus Stadium. Due to a mix-up over my application to attend I was forced to miss the first fifteen minutes because the stewards at the gate could not use common sense. Spurs had won their last game 4-0 over Liverpool while City had lost at Southampton. Last season Spurs won here 2-1 with a brace from Sterling who is currently on loan at Doncaster Rovers. Spurs have already beaten City 3-1 at Stevenage earlier in the season.

Spurs lined up with Oluwayemi in goal behind Tanganga, in for the suspended Walcott and Binks with Hinds at right back and White on the left. Oakley-Boothe anchored the midfield with Shashoua and Maghoma ahead of him. They were flanked by Markanday on the right and Patterson on the left in support of Richards up front.

Spurs defended the South end in the first half but conceded an early goal when Knight curled in from the right. From what I could see the teams were fairly evenly matched as the game had good movement and approach play with good defending by both. City were making most of their attacking while Spurs troubled Bazunu very little.

Markanday played in Hinds to fire over before Braaf and Fiorini had efforts wide. Oluwayemi saved from Fiorini before Richards had a great chance to equalise when Maghoma got down the right and crossed but the Spurs striker was slow to get his shot off and Bazunu was out to block. Doyle fired over before the break from a cross by Fiorini.

Both sides made a change for the start of the second half with Hinds (who had a knock) being replaced by Lyons-Foster at right back. City were more adventurous in this half as they needed to win and they put the Spurs defence under more pressure than in the first half. Braaf fired over from a Fiorini ball in before Oluwayemi made a great reaction save to prevent Simmonds' close range header from going in.

Spurs second change saw Pochettino replace Patterson and go to the right flank with Markanday switching to the left. Another good save by Oluwayemi from Simmonds kept Spurs in the game before Spurs made their last change, taking off Richards for Clarke. Sub Harwood-Bellis struck the right post from over thirty yards before he was booked going forward. Rogers fired over for a corner before City got their second. Spurs gave the ball away playing back which left an opening for Fiorini to run through and score. Tanganga was booked for blocking the run of Ogbeta as City looked to add to their score but Oluwayemi had one more save to make in added time from Simmonds.

Having missed the opening goal I thought the game was scoreless until Fiorini scored and had been expecting it to finish goal-less or by a single goal from the way both sides were playing. Spurs looked to be patiently waiting for an opening without taking chances which Richards spurned in the first half. It was not a surprise when a mistake gifted City the goal in the second half. I did not find out until later that it was a second goal when I did my checks before writing this report.

City deserved their win as they were more committed to attack than Spurs and therefore moved off the bottom of the table. After the Christmas break, Spurs' first game will be against unbeaten leaders Chelsea at Stevenage on Monday 6th January. Last season Spurs got a 1-1 draw playing most of the game with ten men after Tanganga was sent off when Spurs were in danger of relegation. A result and performance like that will be needed.


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