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Match Reports
Watford U-19s v Spurs U-19s, 27.03.04

Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
FA Premier Academy League U - 19, Group D
London Colney (Watford) Herts.
Saturday 27th March 2004, ko 10.30am

WATFORD (4-4-2) - 2(1) - 10, 7

SPURS (4-4-2) - 1(0) - Malcolm

Watford (Yellow/Black) - Team unknown

Spurs (White/Blue) - Eyre, McKenna(C), Wright, Maghoma, Sammy ?, Lee, Mascarenhas, Barcham, Malcolm, O'Hara, Price(Daniels)

unused subs included Foster.

Booked - Lee(late)

This is not a complete report as I missed the kick-off and the team sheets that Watford supply, but I also did not have a watch for time keeping.

The morning was overcast with sleet which made the pitch soft and slippery. There was a small crowd of around forty with thirty or so behind us watching the Watford U-17 play Bristol City. The pitches were close enough for ball going out of play landing on the other pitch.

Spurs had lined up with Charlie Lee at the back with a new lad to me whose first name was Sammy. They were flanked by Kieran McKenna on the right wearing the captain's armband and Mark Wright on the left. Jamie O'Hara was joined in central midfield by Jack Maghoma with Brian Mascarenhas wide right and Owen Price on the left with Andy Barcham returning to partner Micheal Malcolm in attack.

The home side opened the scoring as I arrived when the 10 came in at the far post to slot a low ball across Eyre. For the rest of the first half it was the home side making the running with both wide men pushing down the wings supplying good balls into the front two. Despite giving away height and weight to both strikers, Lee had a good share of the ball, he has a great leap for his height. The midfield was also quick and strong, giving O'Hara no time to dwell on the ball. Barcham and Malcolm were stranded up front with little supply from the midfield. Most of the balls they got were long balls from a pressurised defence which with a very tall number 4 made little of. Nicky Eyre in goal did not have a good first half as his handling was poor in trying conditions, but then the Watford keeper also had problems in the second half so it may not have been all down to him. He was called upon to make some good saves blocking or turning over some good strikes while I can't remember the home keeper doing anything.

The second half was more even with both sides carving out chances and both keepers having to make saves. Eyre did not drop anything as his handling was improved even holding on when shoulder charged. The keeper at the other end while not holding every shot did make important saves. Price who seemed to hold back during the first half started taking on the defenders and showed bits of his skills and it was his centre that we equalised. The ball fell to the advancing Malcolm whose header was parried by the keeper but he followed up to head it into the empty net. This came in a spell of good spurs pressure which was patchy during the half and was fueled mainly by quick raids down the flanks.

The Hornets were still buzzing and Eyre had to be alert. Lee who was having a good game in defence dived into a 50:50 challenge with the 3 and got a yellow card, either of them could have got the caution, but the ref ruled that he was last in. Pat Holland took off the disappointing Price for Charlie Daniels who did more in the time left than Price did before. I don't want to knock Owen as he has just recovered from a broken leg but I think it is still in his mind.

It was becoming end to end stuff as both sides were looking for the win with our attempts looking the more dangerous as Nicky Eyre made it look easy at his end. Unfortunately with about ten minutes to go Watford won a free kick just outside the box on the left. Standing behind a four man wall Nicky did not see the ball curled low around the right side until too late which also bounced just in front of him. A superb strike from the 7 to win the game.

Spurs threw caution to the wind in the closing minutes as they pushed forward in search of a goal forcing the keeper to make saves from Barcham and Malcolm as the home side held out.

We were outplayed in the first half but matched them in the second. With being only one down at the interval it looked like we could snatch a win as we looked the more dangerous in front of goal. They had the more attempts but we handled them better. Again I was impressed by Lee who battled well against bigger opponents. There were a few of the U-17's, in fact as I check, all of them playing today qualify for the U-17's which is good experience for them next season as there will only be a U-18 side meaning a lot of the U-19's will have to get into the reserves or move on.

The U-19's last game is next Saturday at the Lodge when they entertain Leicester City. I will not be there as Chelsea are the visitors to the Lane on that day. The reserves will be away next week (April 6th) to second placed Derby.

Ray

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