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Match Reports
Spurs U-19s v Crystal Palace U 19s, 28.02.04

Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List

Ray Lo's report from Spurs Lodge is subject to the usual restrictions placed by the fact that Spurs no longer issue team sheets. Spurs Odyssey apologises particularly to supporters of the away side, and would welcome team information if provided.

FA Premier Academy League U-19
Spurs Lodge, Luxborough Lane, Chigwell
Saturday 28th February 2004, ko 11am

SPURS (1) 1 v CRYSTAL PALACE (0) 2

SPURS (4-4-2):-Forecast, Ifil, Francis(Thyer 76), Lee, Foster(C), Dobson, McKenna, Barcham, Malcolm, O'Hara, McKie.(White/Blue)

PALACE(4-4-2):- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5(C), 6, 7(12 68), 8, 9, 10, 11(Yellow/Blue)

Scorers:- Barcham 8, 11(pen) 72, 2 75.

It was a cold windy morning at the Lodge with the ground heavy and a little slippery. There was a small crowd, due to the U-17's playing Reading on the top pitch which took some of the usual watchers. The team lined up with Captain Danny Foster and Ricky Dobson at the back in front of Tommy Forecast in goal, with Phil Ifil at right back and Liam Francis on the left. Charlie Lee came in for the departed Hicks alongside Jamie O'Hara in midfield with Kieran McKenna on their right and Marcel McKie on the left.

The home side kicked off attacking the South goal and soon had the visiting keeper busy. O'Hara as usual was pulling the strings. Lee settled into his defensive midfield role with two quick block tackles and winning the ball and going on a 20yd. run, and with the full backs supporting the wide players Barcham had two efforts before opening the scoring.

O'Hara picked up the ball in the spurs half and carried it forward through the Eagles midfield before passing to Barcham to the right of the area. Andy collected the ball with his back to goal turned inside his marker and hit his shot low into the left corner of the net. With the visitors hardly able to get out of their own half after the opening ten minutes it was backs to the wall stuff to keep out a rampant Spurs side.

If there was anyone playing better than O'Hara and Lee it has to be the Palace keeper, he showed good handling throughout the game several times taking the ball off the head of an attacker. He was helped by almost all the home sides corners being played to the back post. 7 looked the only player to cause a problem with his good close control meant that Francis needed help to control him, but it looked at the end of the half only a matter of time before we increased the lead.

Talk about a game of two halves! Palace came out after the break all fired up and set about the Spurs side pinning them into their half for long periods. O'Hara was not finding so much space and McKenna and McKie were having to do more chasing in defence, but Lee continued to tackle hard and fast, which earned a talking to from the ref who seemed to want to keep his cards in his pocket and let the game flow.

A long ball out of defence found 11 in space on the right his run took him past Francis and into Dobson who combined to stop him, but unfairly according to the ref who pointed to the spot. 11 took the kick and placed it into the bottom right corner. We had just started to get back into the game at that point and had won a couple of corners and had been caught out by the long ball pushing forward. Palace got a second wind from the goal and again came more into the game and almost scored when 12 received the ball down the left touchline, evaded Fosters challenge, and crossed for 9 to volley a low shot which Forecast pushed round the post. From the corner, 12 rose highest to head home at the far post.

Pat Holland brought on Thyer for Francis with McKie moving to fullback and Barcham dropping to left side of midfield. Despite attacking with more urgency Palace held out with the keeper continuing to pluck the ball out of the air.

Spurs lost today because they failed to get that second goal during the first half which they dominated so completely. The main problem was deadball situations where O'Hara continually aimed for the far post and beyond. I think he only hit two to the near post where Barcham headed one just past the post. I have seen Slabber and Malcolm both score at the near post before and with a keeper so good in the air it should have been tried more often. Charlie Lee had a good game and I hope that he can continue to progress as he looked very promising in front of the back four. It was also good to see Owen Price on the bench after his broken leg.

The U-17s beat Reading 4-1 with a Stuart Lewis penalty in the first half and two from Simon Dawkins and one for Mark Wright in the second.

Next Saturday the U-19s will be away to Ipswich Town and the U-17s go to Aston Villa. With the Reserves away to Forest on wednesday, I will be having a break until the Newcastle game. (Ed: on March 13th or 14th, depending on the UEFA Cup results!)

Ray

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