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Match Reports
Spurs U 17s v Arsenal, 25.01.03

Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]

     Premier Academy League Under 17, group D
	  Spurs Lodge, Chigwell, Essex
      Saturday 25th January, 2003, k.o. 11am

         (White/Blue)   (Red/White)
  	        3-5-2   4-4-2

		3(1)    1(0)

	   Nicky Eyre 1 M. Howard
	  Charlie Lee 2 K. Gilbert
	 Liam Francis 3 M. Suliaman
       Kieran McKenna 4 P. Gregg
	  Andy Hodges 5 D. Small
	 Ricky Dobson 6 S. Oji
	   Joe Watson 7 M. Arty
	 Jamie O'Hara 8 N. Killkenny
	 Andy Barcham 9 D. McDonald
	  Owen Price 10 R. Smith
      David Hicks(C) 11 S. O'Donnell(C)

      Gareth Jenkins 12 I. Hojsted
      Tommy Forecast 13 S. Thomas
         Tommy Welch 14 Quincy Owusu
          (11)90Mins    (9)59Mins
         Mark Wright 15 S. Lewis
                     16 D. Shimin

Scorers:- Barcham 45, 86, Owusu 60, Price 65

Booked - Gregg 50 (persistent fouling), Small 84(late tackle)

On a morning that started with rain and ended appropriately in sunshine, a good sized crowd turned up for this North London derby and saw a good game of fast good natured football.

Spurs lined up with Hodges flanked by Lee and Dobson at the back, with Francis on the left as a wingback. The midfield trio of Hicks, McKenna and new signing O'Hara (facing his old clubmates) had Watson on the right with Price partnering Barcham in attack.

We defended the left end in the first half with new boy O'Hara adding more physical presence to our midfield from the start as both sides set a fast pace which was maintained thoughout. The Gooners had the first chance inside five minutes when the very quick Gilbert got to the line and his centre was volleyed just wide by McDonald. Five minutes later Price ran onto a through ball and lifted it over the advancing Howard and the bar.

Both sides produced good approach play which in most cases was nullified by good defending with Spurs having slighty the better of the play. The pacy Gilbert was stopping Francis getting forward which meant that most of our wide play was down the right. Barcham had a good game up front despite not being very tall. He caused problems for the Arsenal backline, forcing a number of corners, and Price seemed to have a shoot on sight policy whenever he got within 30 yards.

They say that the best time to score is just before the interval and that is what Spurs did. Price picked up the ball on the right and put in a deep centre, Barcham out-paced two defenders to meet the ball at the near post to head strongly past Howard on the line.

The visitors started the second half with more effort as they sought a quick reply going to three at the back and nearly scoring when Smith pushed the ball past Eyre and McDonald fire wide. This led to his substitution and their equaliser. Spurs had a free kick on the left deep in our own half which Dobson played short to Francis near the halfway line but was intercepted and played into the area. Owusu who had just come on and taken up position behind Hodges and so was on his blind side when the ball was played through and took full advantage to beat Eyre from ten yards.

The Gooners' joy was short lived when the quick thinking of Price allowed him to nick the ball off a defender and hit a dipping volley from 25 yards. It was a stunning strike that lifted the side and drew applause from the crowd. It was one of about six long range shots that Owen had during the game, all of which were good efforts.

The pace told on O'Hara and Francis who both had to be replaced as the game continued to flow until the game was settled in the 86th minute. Price's near post corner was headed on by McKenna for Barcham who had his back to goal, but hooked the ball over the keeper into the net for his second and Spurs' third.

This was a good result for Spurs as both teams played good football and on the day were well matched. There were good performances. Firstly from Lee in defence, who was quick and strong despite giving away a few inches in height. In addition, O'Hara who may have had a point to prove was well worth the money paid for him, and of course Price who made one and scored one.

There are no games next week with both teams playing away the following Saturday (U-19 at West Ham, U-17 at Watford) so I will be having a lie-in next week.


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