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Match Reports
Spurs U19s v Leicester, 08.03.03

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

     FA Premier Academy U-19 League, Group D
     Spurs Lodge, Luxbourogh Lane, Chigwell
        Saturday 8th March 2003, 12 noon

 	 (White/Blue)     (Blue/White)
        3-4-1-2/4-3-3        4-4-2

	      1(0)            2(2)

      Paul Rutherford 1 C. Logan
          Dean Marney 2 N. Matthews
         Marcel McKie 3 G. Campbell
         Danny Foster 4 T. Williamson
      Ben Bowditch(C) 5 L. Tozer(C)
         Ricky Dobson 6 B. Mortimore 
          Lee Barnett 7 S. Dawson
           Owen Price 8 J. Doyle
      Michael Malcolm 9 T. Wright
         Mark Yeates 10 K. Larvin
      Jonathan Black 11 A. Deen

         Mark Hughes 12 C. O'Grady
        (11) 46 Mins    (10) 88 Mins
       Jamie Slabber 14 C. Howard
         (7) 46 Mins
        Daniel Perry 16 L. Dodds

Scorers:- Williamson 36, Wright 45, Malcolm 86

Booked - Marney 35(late), Foster 62(talking), Matthews 62(late)

On a chilly morning with a strong wind blowing from left to right, supplimented with driving rain in the second half, and a soaked ground, a small group of hardy souls gathered to watch the senior youth side (ten of the squad were U-17's) take on Leicester City who had the same number of points as the home side. Calderwood and young Henry were spotted along with Kerslake, watching from the sidelines.

Spurs kicked off attacking the left-hand goal and kicking into the wind with Bowditch flanked by Foster and Dobson with the returning Marney on the right and McKie on the left as wing-backs. The midfield saw Barnett and Black in the centre with Yeates just in front of them behind Malcolm and Price. The "Foxes" played a very physical style of game with all of their players closing down quickly wanting to prove that they were as good as the Premiership side. They did well, battling for the ball and breaking when they could with Dawson hitting the bar halfway through the half.

The home side were having trouble maintaining their passing game against a well organised side. I have to say the the physical aspect of the game unsettled the players which, coupled with the referee wanting to play the advantage meant that tempers became a little frayed. There were quite a few stoppages for players to receive attention, and we had seven minutes of added time.

The opening goal came from a free kick conceded by a late tackle by Marney on Larvin 24 yards out. Williamson hit the kick low through the wall into the left corner. Spurs had few chances with Yeates and Marney firing wide and Malcolm just failing to reach a couple of through balls. There was another opportunity when Yeates broke through but he delayed his pass to Malcolm and lost the chance.

Leicester increased their lead from another set-piece routine. A free kick to the far post was headed down for Wright to hit across the keeper into the far corner.

Pat Holland rang the changes at half time with McKie dropping back to a traditional full back and Bowditch moving to right back. Marney moved into midfield where Black and Barnett had been replaced by Hughes and Slabber. Slabber was pushed up front with Price moving to the wing. With the wind at their back, Spurs attacked the visitors with more purpose and with greater effect.

Marney and Hughes provided more bite in the middle and Slabber greater height up front as they set about the opposition. The referee also started to use his whistle more when no advantage was gained which had both sides appealing more loudly and the expletives increased. In the 62nd minute Matthews lauched himself at McKie as he went for a loose ball leaving both players needing treatment. Foster said something to the referee and was booked for it as did Matthews when he got up.

Bowditch, Marney and Price were linking well down the right but Owen's delivery was not good. Slabber made an amazing run into the box beating three defenders before forcing a corner and Malcolm, Yeates and Hughes all had attempts with Rutherford having to dive full length to stop a shot at the other end.

Spurs finally got a goal back when Yeates' centre was met by Slabber. Jamie's effort was beaten out by Logan but Slabber followed up and took the ball to the right-hand post before turning it into the middle for Malcolm to tap over the line. The "Foxes"' protests were waved away by the ref but Leicester increased their resolve and they pushed forward, pinning the homeside in their own half for most of the remaining time. Spurs tried to hoof the ball up field for Malcolm and Slabber, but due to the wind tended to over-hit it. Malcolm did have a confrontation with a defender having ended up inside the goal chasing one centre but the referee did not have to do anything apart from telling them to get back on the pitch.

The match ended without too much added time and the visitors left with a hard fought victory which on balance they deserved as they stopped the normal passing game of the home side and battled away in the middle to create openings to attack. Hard work was the key with Wright, (even one of their supporters called him a "dirty bugger") being the sort of player you hated, but wished he was playing for you as he left a few players on the ground in pain. On another day our skill level would overcome their work-rate as we create more chances from open play as well as from deadball situations.

The U-19's have four games left of which three are at home starting with Wimbledon next week. Thanks to the Liverpool game being moved to Sunday I will now be able to see this one.(Ed: And so will I!)


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