SATURDAY 20TH JANUARY, 2007
FA PREMIERSHIP ACADEMY UNDER 18S
Leicester U-18s 3 (0) Spurs U-18s 2 (2)
Leicester:- Pentney, Magund, Lycett, Garner, Mattock, Gradel (Rowe-Turner), King, Tejan-Sie, Beswick, McKay, Odhiambo (Rochester).
Spurs :- Button; Hughton, Archibald-Henville (Capt.), Casey, Martin (sub Mdantari); Fraser-Allen (sub Townsend), Kassim, Wells, Hutton; Pekhart, Hutchins
Subs not used:- Stroud; Mills; Medley
"Marco B. Wilde" is a member of several message boards, including Spurs Odyssey. Marco took the trip to Leicester's Belvoir Drive Training School yesterday, and has kindly allowed us to publish here his thoughts on the game. It certainly looks as if he saw a better game than I did at Craven Cottage!
I decided to pop along to Leicester City's training ground this morning to watch our U18's play the league leaders. It was a decent game although the weather played its part with strong swirling winds. We were 2-0 up at half time from a Tomas Pekhart double. The first after he closed down the Leicester keeper who was making a clearance on the egde of his own box. The ball cannoned off the Czech striker's back & flew into the far corner of the net. The second was on the stroke of half time from the egde of the box. The truth is we weren't that much better than Leicester.
Leicester's passing throughout the whole 90 minutes was crisp, effective & pleasing on the eye. We were ahead because of Pekhart's clinical finishing. In the second half Leicester were by far the more ambitious & composed. Their first goal came from a penalty, they had a shout a little before that that we were lucky to get away with after one of their strikers had been hacked down on the edge of the box. The penalty was given for an identical offence. It was difficult to see in the melee who had committed the foul but the player looking the most guilty was Chris Casey.
Leicester City's Max Gradel stepped up & put the ball into the opposite corner to Button's dive.
Their second was bundled in from a set piece. (King header) Their third by Billy Mckay came from the sheer probing from midfield. We were looking very panicky & they just sliced us open on their right hand side before the ball was placed into the far corner, although David Button seemed to have saved it before it squirmed through his hands.
You have to factor in the conditions which were pretty rough on the lads although obviously applied to both sides but ultimately we just didn't pass the ball well enough. There was nice stuff centrally at times but it was all safe little triangles that didn't really take us anywhere. Whenever we had the ball at the back we seemed to just end up hoofing it aimlessly into a pack of blue shirted Leicester players. The opposition played some nice stuff & genuinely worked our defence. The front 4 (strikers & wingers) weren't a unit, we didn't make use of opportunities in the wide areas & Pekhart & Hutchins were essentially trying to do the same holding up job up front.
I'm sure we can play better & I know we will do but Alex Inglethorpe (who was in the dug-out along with Academy director John McDermott) needs to get the players believing in the passing game. It was that lack of belief that cost us in the end, as well as some sloppy defending when it really counted. Its also important to remember that there were one or two players missing & quality players at that, in Terry Dixon, Jake Livermore & Jamie Davis. We missed all of those today.
As an aside, the U16's were playing their Leicester City equivalents on the upper pitch & ran out 1-0 losers.
David Button - Goalkeeeper - Jekyll & Hyde performance as they say. Safe pair of hands coming for crosses & getting down at the feet of the Leicester strikers but once or twice he went completely AWOL. Couldn't do much about the penalty or the second but the third trickled through his hands into the corner which was dissapointing. In general his kicking was okay although he did have one nightmare moment where he sent everyone upfield for a big punt & barely managed to send the ball further than the 18 yard box, luckily the Leicester City strikers wasted the clear cut chances they had.
Cian Hughton - Right Back - Versatile full-back started on the right & along with Fraser-Allen in front of him really didn't get going until the second half. Cian is usually a reliable attacking outlet but today his touch wasn't quite good enough & his passing was too hit & hope.
Joe Martin - Left Back - Seemed to be struggling early on & developed full on sickness as the half progressed. Joe did well enough offering our only real route out from the back in the first half. Played some nice intricate passing with Hutton & Kassim but didn't really have the pace to get ahead of his winger & pose a threat. Wasn't troubled going back the other way. Was taken off after the hour due to illness & was replaced by Takura Mtandari who went to right back with Cian Hughton slotting in at his usual left back berth.
Troy Archibald-Henville - Centre Half - 'Captain' - Troy is a big lad & moved the defence around well & seems to be developing slightly in terms of being more vocal. Should & could use his size & physique more. Made some nice last ditch tackles & won most things in the air.
Chris Casey - Centre Half - Another big lad, in the Michael Dawson mould. Kept it simple & lumped it out when needed. Was dazzled a couple of times by the movement, pace & trickery of the Leicester forwards & was quite careless with his passing.
Kyle Frazer-Allen - Right Winger - Very small, slight lad but with pace to burn. Didn't get going at all in the first half. Was easily shepherded by their left back. Came into it more in the second half with as Leicester chased the game, giving Kyle more room to run into behind. Was brought off with about 15 minutes left for Andros Townsend who went to left , allowing David Hutton to switch across to his more natural right side.
David Hutton - Forward - Another little 'un. Played from the left today although not naturally left footed. He was one of our better outlets in the first half although he didn't have the pace to make use of Leicester's more vulnerable fullback. Challenged for absolutely everything & took a few knocks without complaint. As has been said was switched to the right late on in the game but was largely quiet.
Matt Wells - Defensive Midfielder - Not a great performance from Matty. His passing has never been a strong point & today he gave a lot of possession away, isn't the sort to do dive in, instead tends to intercept. Sort of Carrick without the passing. Didn't offer enough of anything today.
Yaser Kassim - Midfielder - U16 player, has been used from the bench so far this season & made possibly his first start. Bundles of energy & always an option for a pass. His short passing was very tidy & he linked well with everyone around him, the only area that really let him down was his decisive passing, he wasn't able to move us forward & send any of the forwards through.
Danny Hutchins - Striker - Usually a midfield link player, today he was deployed alongside Pekhart. For a little lad he challenged for most things in the air & really got stuck in. The advantage of playing a player of Danny's ability up front is that the ball stuck, what width didn't give us was a threat in behind. Neither Pekhart or Hutchins were going to beat anyone in a race to the ball so much of our play stuck 25 yards out but we couldn't get any higher.
Tomas Pekhart - Striker - Showed some class in his hold play & moved very elegantly but really needed & wanted a player buzzing in & around him for knock downs & slide throughs. Showed good determination for his first goal & took his second very well indeed but today demonstrated Pekhart is what you make him. Play to him & build the side to suit him & he's a very fine player indeed, but expect him to play an alround game & he'll come up short. He's not pacey & he's not overly mobile.
Takura Mtandari - Right Back - Replaced the ill Joe Martin. Had a couple of opportunities to open his legs down the right but his control in difficult positions let him down.
Andros Townsend - Left Winger - Replaced Frazer-Allen in the second half but couldn't really offer anything down the left flank, to be fair he didn't get much service.
Thanks again to "Marco B. Wilde" for his comprehensive report The Under 18s next game will be at home to Cardiff, at Spurs Lodge on Saturday 3rd February. Spurs Odyssey will be represented there too!
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