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Spurs v Blackburn, 12.03.02
AXA FA Youth Cup, 6th Rd

AXA FA YOUTH CUP 6TH ROUND
TUESDAY 12TH MARCH, 2002
(at White Hart lane)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (0) BLACKBURN ROVERS 0 (0)

Scorers:-
Barnard, 63
Sutton, 66

Referee:- Mr S. Habgood

Teams:-
Spurs (4-4-2):- Burch; Kelly, Henry (Capt), O'Donoghue, McKie; Barnard, Marney, Hughes (Bowditch 75), Wettner; Sutton, Slabber (Galbraith 89),

Subs not used:- Rutherford; Herron, Thomas,

Booked:- Marney, Barnard (fouls), Wettner (Handball)

Blackburn: Renton; Cole (Bruce 75), Martin, McEveley, Davey (Black 75); Watt, Donnelly, Nelson (Capt), Morgan; Bell, Johnson (Gallagher 65),

Subs not used: Drench, Harkins.

Booked:- McEveley (foul)

Spurs' Youth team showed the senior side how to advance into an AXA Cup semi-final with two goals from Lee Barnard, and John Sutton (younger brother of Chris) against a battling physical Blackburn side that had reached this stage by beating Chelsea, Swindon and Arsenal.

The game was played in front of an enthusiastic crowd of some two thousand, which occupied the lower and upper West Stand Tiers. All credit to Spurs, as it looked like local schools were well represented and there were plenty of complimentary tickets dished out. A professional 4 page programme was produced, and the under-18s must have enjoyed this, their first match of the campaign in front of a home crowd of such numbers.

Perhaps the level of the crowd made both sides a little nervous, as there were few chances in the early stages, and a very physical battle in the middle, with Lee Barnard (playing on the right) enjoying a good contest with Morgan and Davey on Blackburn’s left flank. Our own Mark Hughes and Dean Marney found it difficult to get their distribution right in those early minutes, but Dean Marney in particular was to have more and more influence on the game, as he created both goals from free kicks.

Rob Burch’s handling in goal was good, whilst right back Stephen Kelly, and left winger Nicky Wettner also impressed. Henry and O’Donoghue were strong in the middle at the back. The first shot fell to the visitors as their left winger, Morgan hit a powerful lifting shot from 25 yards, which was always going over the bar. Marney was booked for a foul outside the box, and Morgan shaped to take the kick, but left it to Watt, whose curling dipping shot also went over the bar.

Watt was on target with his next free kick (conceded by Kelly on the right), but hit it straight at Burch.Mark Hughes lost the ball in a dangerous position; Donnelly fed Watt, who hit a deflected shot into the side netting. Just after the half-hour mark, Marney also lost out in the danger zone, but Blackburn’s shot was well saved by Burch, but parried. Luckily the rebound shot went over the goal.

Just before half time, Lee Barnard showed great skill on the right, with a clever flick over the left back, before sending a low powerful cross in front of Slabber, which the striker just failed to contact.

The opening phases of the second half, followed the pattern of the first, before Spurs took a dramatic lead on the 63rd minute. Dean Marney took a free kick from near the corner flag on the right. Sutton challenged in the box, and the ball reached Barnard about 10 yards out. Lee made no mistake with his right foot strike, and the celebrations showed just how much this tournament means to these young men.

The game inevitably opened out, and Marney won the ball 35 yards out, exchanged with Slabber, then hit a powerful shot across the goal and just past the post. Within minutes, Spurs were two up. Marney took another free kick from the right, and this time Sutton threw himself forward at the near post to send a great glancing header home. Blackburn used all their substitutes, but never really threatened goal, except when a striker was allowed by the referee to almost kick the ball out of Burch’s hands, and it was Spurs who came closest, when Sutton controlled the ball well and laid off to Barnard, whose long cross was met at the far post by Wettner, forcing a diving save from the keeper with his shot.

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