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Match Reports
Spurs U-17s v Southampton U-17s, 15.11.03

FA Academy Under 17 League
SATURDAY 15TH NOVEMBER, 2003
SPURS U-17s 2 (1) SOUTHAMPTON U-17s 4 (1)

Spurs scorers:-
Stevens, 35
Lee, 83

Southampton scorers:-
No. 4, 28
No. 11, 76, 88
No. 12, 90

Teams:-
Spurs (4-4-2):- Forecast; Kyriacou, Riley, Lee, Wright; Mascarenhas (sub Preece, 63), Maghoma, Lewis, Daniels (Capt) (sub Seanla, 90); Stevens, Thyer (sub Dawkins, 72)

Subs not used:- Button; Peprah

Booked:- Lewis

Sent off:- Lewis (2nd Yellow - 56 minutes)

Southampton (4-1-4-1):- 1; 2,4 (Capt), 5,3; 6; 7,8,10, 11; 9 (sub 12 , 68)

Booked:- No. 8 - too close to free kick

NB:- As is usual these days, no team sheets are issued by the club, hence I have no details of the visiting team. As Ray was watching the under 19s, I had to crib the Spurs team off the photographer, and it is possible I have one or two names and spellings wrong.

Following a stormy Friday night, it was a surprisingly sunny and mild November's day for this hard fought game at Spurs Lodge. Saints brought a strongly built side with players bigger than the Spurs, particularly in midfield. Having done well to get back in the game, Spurs tried gamely, but never really recovered from the early loss of midfielder Stuart Lewis who was a little unfortunate to be sent off for two bookable offences. Neither of the tackles were what I would call malicious, but technically of course, the referee was right. Southampton took advantage eventually, then Spurs got another equaliser, but then they were scuppered by two late goals that secured victory for the visitors.

Spurs were missing one or two of their stronger players such as Jamie O'Hara, who was needed for the under 19s side playing away to West Ham. Philip Ifil, and Andy Barcham, who also qualify at under 17 level were also with the older lads. Hence Spurs struggled to contain the stronger, powerful midfield, and it was the Saints' number 8 and 10 who gave them most trouble coming from deep positions to threaten Riley and Lee. Lee was making injudicious use of his elbow a couple of times and was a little fortunate that the referee chose to advise him, rather than book him.

Saints nearly took the lead after 14 minutes, when Tommy Forecast lost out to number 9, who slid the ball to his left for 11, whose shot was cleared off the line by John Kyriacou, who was to rescue his keeper again later in the game. Saints' 10 then had a powerful drive tipped over by Forecast. Having been on the back foot until this time, Spurs started to find their way forward and it was the diminutive Danny Stevens who led the way. First he had a decent cross diverted for a corner, then he made a good turn and shot in one movement to test the keeper.

Southampton took a 28th minute lead, when their Captain - number 4 - rose to meet 11's corner to head high into the net. Saint's 8 was then on his own at the back post to 3's cross, but hit the ball wide when he should have hit the target at least. This Spurs team is going to have to work hard to gel as a defensive unit. However, one of their members - Charlie Lee - created the equaliser in the 35th minute, when his long ball was collected by Stevens who raced away from the defenders, and with just the keeper to beat, he coolly chose hit spot with a well struck drive to the keeper's left.

There was some exciting end to end play, as Kyriacou crossed for Stevens, who tried to set up his partner, Scott Thyer, but the ball was well-cleared, and at the other end number 9 gave 8 an easy chance, but he managed to hit the ball wide again. Lewis got his first booking before the break, and Saints' number 8 got in the book for closing down a Spurs free kick too early.

After the break, Spurs had a period of good pressure, when Thyer crossed for little Stevens to rise and head the ball on target, to be saved by the keeper. Charlie Lee spent a minute or two off the pitch following injury, but returned with his wrist strapped up. After Lewis was sent off, Stevens withdrew to the midfield, and Spurs started to give Thyer plenty of work to do to hold on to long balls forward. To Thyer's credit he worked incredibly well, and was replaced by Dawkins in the 72nd minute. Forecast had made a good save from another well driven shot by number 8, and in the 74th minute Kyriacou came to the rescue again, as the ball was quickly returned into the Spurs area and number 7 shot past Forecast, before the ball was cleared off the line just inside the right post.

Spurs did fall behind in the 76th minute, when 7 came out of Riley's strong tackle with the ball, slipped it to his left for 11 to have an easy finish. Spurs equalised again with a cracking free kick from Lee. From all of 25 yards on the left corner of the box, he hit a rasping right foot unstoppable drive that brought plenty of applause from the gathered few. Within a minute, skipper Daniels crossed from the left and Simon Dawkins set the ball up nicely for Maghoma, who fired over.

That was Spurs' last chance though, and perhaps they were guilty of thinking they had saved the game, because they conceded two late goals. Firstly, Spurs failed to clear their lines from the left, and I think it was Wright's poor clearance that fell at 11's feet for him to fire home, before the substitute (number 12) rose to glance home a corner in the last minute to give the visitors a flattering two goal margin.

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