Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
FA Premier Academy League U19 Group A
Spurs Lodge, Chigwell
Saturday 12th January 2002, 11am
SPURS v CHARLTON
Spurs:- Jalal; Lee, Herron, Hughes, Henry, Kelly, Noto, Bowditch(C), Sutton, Wetner, Galbraith
No subs used (subs unknown as no teamsheet available)
Scorer:- Bowditch (35)
Charlton:- Delo; St Luce (Fuller 78), P Robson, Turner, Ricketts, Snodin (Cerroni 83), A Martin, Campbell-Ryce, George, Debolla, Lewis (Deane 70).
Sub not used:- McCafferty.
Scorers:- Campbell-Ryce (10), Debolla (88,90)
Although this was the first Academy game after the Christmas break, for some of the Spurs players it was their third game in six days as Colin Calderwood used them in the reserve game on Monday and the friendly on Thursday. This could be why the team seemed a little jaded and slow against a quick attacking Athletic side. It was a chilly morning with a mist rising from the ground as a hazy sun tried to warm things up. The ground was wet and cut up easily as around 40 people watched the game as well as some of the Academy who did not have a game. Calderwood was also looking on. There was no David Pleat which is unusual ( maybe off signing a player?).
The team lined up with Kelly partnering Henry at the back flanked by Lee on the right and Herron on the left. Bowditch and Hughes played in the centre of midfield with Wetner on the left. Galbraith played basically wide left but pushed up as a third forward a lot of the time. Sutton led the attack with Noto playing wide on the right. It was a little confusing at first but I think that the idea was for Sutton to be the target supported by Galbraith and Noto playing wide but dropping off into midfield making 4 or 5 in the middle.
Charlton were quickest out of the blocks in the first half using the pace of the two wide players to make attacks down the flanks and providing balls into the centre for the midfield to support the strikers. Galbraith was doing a lot of chasing back which had the effect of Wetner making the first couple of raids down the left flank for Spurs which created openings for Sutton and Galbraith, both wasted. Our midfield was having trouble stringing passes together or just simply losing the ball. The "Valiants" were quick to close down players on the ball forcing errors one of which led to the first goal. With the defence pushing up we lost the ball and it was played down the middle where the right winger Campbell-Ryce collected it and ran through the line and fired the ball between the advancing keeper's legs from the edge of the area.
The pattern for the game was set with Spurs doing well but missing the final ball or moves breaking down due to bad passing, letting the sharper visitors get the ball. Spurs equalised from a centre that was not cleared which fell to Bowditch on the edge of the area. His crisp shot went low into the left corner in the 36th minute.
The second half followed the same pattern but a little more pressure from the home side looked to swing the game more towards them until it looked like they had the edge. Galbraith began to deliver better balls into the goalmouth and a succession of corners produced chances for Henry, Sutton and Bowditch, but the finishing was poor.
Charlton made three substitutions during the last half hour as they looked for a winner which came after 88 minutes. Campbell-Ryce made a good run down the right and his pull back was collected by the 9 who hit his shot on the turn high into the far corner. The same player put the icing on the cake with a third in stoppage time when he turned in a cross from the left. The better team on the day won as the Spurs side can play better. It was an off day which I am sure they will put behind them.
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