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Match Reports
Spurs U-18s v Leicester U-18s, 25.02.06

Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List.

  FA Premier Academy League South
   Spurs Lodge, Chigwell, Essex
   25th February 2006, ko 12noon

   SPURS         v      LEICESTER CITY
(White/Blue)          (Blue/White)
   4-4-2                 4-4-2

    0(0)                4(4)

  David Button   1 Carl Pentry
Takura Mtandari  2 Jay Smedley
     Joe Martin  3 Joe Mattock
Stuart Lewis(C)  4 Adam Wykes
     Alex Smith  5 Scott Lycett
  Nathan Peprah  6 Connor Franklin
    Jamie Davis  7 Max Gradel
 Jake Livermore  8 Andy King
   Radwan Hamed  9 Eric Odihambo
 David Hutton   10 Ashley Chambers
Jacques Maghoma 11 Tom Tejan-Sie

 Richard Heller 12 Rochester
     (9)67Min     (10)78Min.  
 Frasier-Allen  14 Billy Mckay
    (11)83Min.     (9)82Min.
    Adam Smith  15 Ryan Beswick
     (2)75Min.     (11)63Min.

Scorers            Odihambo 8
                   Chambers 26
                   Smedley 41
                   Mattock 45+

On a bright sunny morning where sun-glasses were needed we were attacked by a freezing wind that swept over the ground from the North end. Not suprisingly, only a small handful of watchers were present as I was joined by Paul Smith on a bad day for our youth team.

Because of a long injury list, Pat Holland again had a makeshift side with Peprah partnered by full back Alex Smith at the back with schoolboy Takura Mtandari making his home debut at right back and Martin at left. Lewis and Livermore lined up in centre midfield with Davis wide right and the returning Maghoma on the left. Hutton partnered the returning Hamed in attack.

The visitors won the toss and wisely defended the North goal with the wind at their back. Their confidence from a run of three wins (taking them clear in second place in the table) showed as they attacked with pace and were quick and strong in the tackle, while the home side tried to play their normal game of passing to feet which in the conditions was not coming off.

The Foxes took an early lead when Odihambe netted with a low drive from the right which Button got a hand to. Spurs responded with a run through by Davis who tried a delicate chip over the advancing keeper only to see the wind blow it back. With the visitors closing down in midfield and the wind preventing long clearances - Button normally kicks well into the opposing half - the home side found themselves pinned into their own half with just a few breakouts. Leicester went further ahead when Chambers freekick found the top left corner from well over 20 yds.

Davis was always a threat down the right and his run and cross from the goal line was the closest we came to a goal as it was scrambled away from under the bar. The visitors killed off the game in the last five minutes of the half with two goals from the fullbacks. First Smedley headed in unmarked at the far post from a corner and Mattock's volley from the edge of the box, following another corner, into the bottom rightside corner in stoppage time finished the scoring.

Button had made two or three good saves to keep the score down as well as making a couple of blunders in presenting the ball to the opposition. Thankfully he was able to prevent them being turned into goals.

Unlike the visitors, Spurs could not make use of the wind in the second half and despite the Foxes sitting back they failed to put any sustained pressure on them. Hutton had a close range effort blocked with Heller and Lewis going close. Both sides made changes as the half wore on. Heller came on for Hamed playing down the left with Hutton in the centre. Frasier-Allen replaced Mtandani at right back and Smith came on in place of Maghoma for their first run outs at this level. With Spurs giving the ball away cheaply in the final stages Leicester could have scored more with one cross hitting the crossbar a goal disallowed and McKay firing just wide with his first kick.

A makeshift side well beaten by a side on a good run is not the only excuse for todays result as the weather did not help, nor the tactics used. Short of practising in a wind tunnel you cannot prepare for a game like this. Anyway when the weather is bad they go inside the inflatable tent. We just did not have a clue on how to play in windy conditions as shown by Davis chipping into the wind in the first half and Martin lofting a back pass towards Button in the second. Needless to say neither ball reached their intended targets.

Holland did not play any of the eligible players from the reserves(they play the gooners on Monday) having to use U-16 players - four plus two subs with little experience at this level.

The next two games are away at Birmingham and Palace with the next home game being against the gooners on the 18th March.

Ray Lo

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