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Reading U-18s v Spurs U-18s, 24.02.07

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

      FA Premier Academy League  South
    Reading Training Centre, Hogwood Park  
     Saturday 24th February 2007, 11am
         READING     v     SPURS     
 (Blue&White hoops/   (Light Blue shirts/
    Blue shorts)        Navy Blue shorts) 
          4-4-2            4-4-2

           2(1)            1(1)
       Alex McCarthy 1 Richard Stroud
       Daniel Spence 2 Adam Smith
      Oliver Bozanic 3 Cian Hughton
      Jem Karacan(C) 4 Jake Livermore(C)  
         Patrick Cox 5 Joe Martin
         Alex Pearce 6 Troy Archibald-Henville
         Tom Hateley 7 Andros Townsend
    Gylfi Sigurdsson 8 Daniel Hutchins
    Viktor Illugason 9 Kyle Fraser-Allen
       Simon Church 10 David Hutton
        James Henry 11 Jonathan Obika
           ?        12  
                    13 James Dalton
           Josh Web 14 Takura Mtandari
         (8) 76Mins.   (9) 57 Mins
Coach:-  E. Dolan       A. Inglethorpe
       Sigurdsson 33    Mtandari 74
         Karacan  75  

The weather was changeable in deepest Berkshire with rain, wind and sunshine as a small crowd gathered for this important game. I watched this clash in the company of Paul Smith. There were no team-sheets so I apoligise in advance for any mistakes.

Spurs lined up with Martin and Archibald-Henville at the back with Smith at right back and Hughton on the left. Livermore and Hutchins in the centre of midfield with Townsend on the right wing and Obika on the left. Hutton and Fraser-Allen continued up front in the absence of Pekhart.

Spurs kicked off in a game they needed to win but were soon put under pressure from the home side. They tried to play a passing game but were closed down quickly and knocked out of their stride. The Royals are a big side and used their strength to physically put us under pressure. The ref obviously knew the Reading players as he seemed to accept how they played, while not letting the visitors get away with the same things. For example a two footed lunge at Smith went un-punished but not a raised foot by Smith moments later.

Spurs were under the cosh for the opening twenty five minutes before they started to make in-roads into the Reading defence. Just as the tide looked to be turning they conceded a free kick just outside the area which Sigurdsson curled around the wall into the left corner of the net.

Spurs had stemmed the flow and showed more good approach play as the midfield pushed up.

The second half started with Spurs on the attack and putting the home side on the defensive as Townsend switched to the left and we were making progress down the wings. Inglethorpe brought on Mtandari to play on the right with Obika moving up front. Hutton dropped deep which allowed him to run at the defenders as well.

Spurs were causing problems with the attacks down the wings and from a centre by Hughton which the Reading defence failed to clear Mtandari hooked the ball into the net. The joy was short-lived as Spurs failed to clear the ball which came to Karacan some twenty five yards out. His dipping shot caught Stroud off his line to put them in front for a second time.

Spurs were still on top as with Hutton and even Archibald-Henville running through the centre and Townsend and Mtandari down the wings the home side were always being forced onto the back foot. Livermore had an effort hit the bar and shots from Hutchins and Hutton go just wide. With most of the game being played in the Reading half and them happy to concede corners they were glad to hear the final whistle and increase the gap between the two teams.

We started slowly, not being allowed to dwell on the ball and being knocked off it too often, but adapted and using the pace of Townsend and Hutton, took the game to them. We were unlucky not to get something from the game in the end. Next Saturday we play MK Dons at Spurs Lodge with a good chance to get back to winning ways.


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