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Match Reports
Spurs U19s 3 Arsenal U19s 5, 13.09.03

Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List

This morning was my first youth game for this season which coupled with new lenses means I may not get all the details correct.

        U-19 Academy League
Spurs Lodge, Luxborough Lane, Chigwell, Essex
Saturday 13th September 2003, 11am

      SPURS      V   ARSENAL 
   (Blue/White)      (Red/White)
   3-5-2/4-4-2       4-4-2
       3(1)          5(3)

     Nicky Eyre  1  Mark Howard
     Phil Ifil   2  Hassan Suliman
   Liam Francis  3  Ashley Probets
 Danny Foster(C) 4  Patrick Cregg
   Andy Hodges   5  Justin Hoyte
   Ricky Dobson  6  Dorian Small
 Kieran McKenna  7  Sebastien Larsson
     Jon Black   8  Stephen Bradley
 Michael Malcolm 9  Quincy Owusu Abeyie
  Jamie Slabber 10  Ryan Smith
  Jamie O'Hara  11  Stephen O'Donnell

 Gareth Jenkins 12  Dean Shiels
                    (7) 70 Mins.
  David Hicks   14      
  (7) 55 Mins.
  Owen Price    15  Sam Oji
  (5) 35 Mins.      (9) 80 Mins.
  Joe Watson    16  Dean McDonald
                    (10) 80 Mins.
  Andy Barcham  17

Scorers - Hodges og 5, Smith 27, 80, Bradley 43, Malcolm 44, 82, Dobson 65, Shiels 75

It was a lovely warm sunny morning with a good crowd for this local derby game. Spurs lined up with Foster, Hodges and Dobson at the back with Ifil on the right and Francis on the left and McKenna, Black and O'Hara in Central midfield with Malcolm and Slabber up front, basically last seasons U-17 side.

This game was like a continuation of the Reserve game on Monday in that the "gooners" dominated the game giving the home side no time on the ball who could not maintain possession under the pressure. This Spurs side will take a while to settle at this level as shown by the way they conceded the first goal. Bradley caught Black in possession and played it through for Smith, but Hodges got in first and played the ball passed Eyres right hand into the net from just inside the box.

The home side were not allowed to settle as the game was being played in the middle third in the Spurs half. The Gunners always had time to find a teammate while deigning space to the home side and hassling the man on the ball. With the front two being isolated there was little for the visiting keeper to do although Eyre was not stretched until Smith curled a ball past the far post after 26 minutes.

It was not long before Smith fired home after getting behind the defence. Holland had seen enough and subbed Price for Hodges and changed to 4-4-2 with Price starting on the left. This allowed the midfield to become more effective and began to pressure the visitors into making mistakes. It did not stop the Gooners going further ahead from a free kick in the 43rd minute. Bradley curled the ball low around the outside of the wall into the bottom right hand corner. The game was over as a contest when a minute later Black won the ball and played a through ball for Malcolm to outpace Small and beat the advancing Howard to keep the home side in the game.

The second half started with the Gooners winning the first corner of the game as they continued to dominate. Holland gave it ten minutes before making his second change by bringing on Hicks for McKenna which improved the midfield. Price had switched to the right at the start of the half but moved to the left side and it was his run and shot that produced the first Spurs corner when Howard saved at the foot of his right hand post. From O'Hara's corner Dobson headed in at the far post to reduce the deficit and give them some hope. That was to last for all of ten minutes before the sub Shiels was played in to slot the ball in at the far post and five minutes later Smith volleyed home from the edge of the area. That was the signal for the visitors to take off both strikers and giving the subs a run out. The hard working Malcolm had the last say when he ran onto O'Hara's through ball to beat Howard from the right.

This was a very one-sided match with the visitors unlucky not to run out with double the number of goals. They go forward quickly and play the ball quickly around the midfield. They close down their opponents before they have a chance to control the ball and tackle hard which caused our lads to give the ball away cheaply, but if closed down themselves can be vulnerable. The Spurs lads will get better as the season goes on but it shows the gap they have to bridge.

Next Saturday the U-19's will entertain Reading at the Lodge and the U-17's will play Bristol City at Myddleton House. I will be at Stevenage on Monday to report on the Reserves who play West Ham.

Ray Lo

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