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West Ham Reserves v Spurs Reserves, 09.10.07

(At Upton Park)

Boa Morte, 9

Referee: - Mr. A. Halliday

Attendance: - Est. 350

West Ham (4-4-2):- Wright; Pantsil, Tomkins, Davenport, Spector; Stanislas (sub Hines, 67), Collison (Capt.), Stokes, Reid; Boa Morte, Jeffrey

Subs not used: - Hales, Stech, Widdowson, Fitzgerald

No bookings

Spurs (4-5-1):- Forecast; Riley, Archibald-Henville (sub Mtandari, 68), Mills (Capt.), Hughton; Routledge, Boateng, Maghoma, Livermore, Hutton (sub Obika, 46); Dawkins

Subs not used: - Butcher; Hutchins; Townsend

No Bookings

After falling foul of an early Luis Boa Morte goal, Spurs defended stoutly against a lively and threatening West Ham team, and as the game wore on gained more and more of the possession. Despite hitting the post and having a shot cleared off the line in the second half, the inexperienced Spurs side suffered their first defeat in their 5-game season.

West Ham fielded the more experienced side with 4 established Premier League players (Wright, Davenport, Spector and Boa Morte), and the majority of their remaining players having a wealth of Reserve experience behind them. Spurs had Boateng and Routledge in their side, but the remainder are either recent graduates or still active members of the Academy.

Spurs lined up in a 4-5-1, with Routledge and Hutton on the flanks and supporting Simon Dawkins when going forward. Boateng, Maghoma and Livermore held up the midfield, each part of Clive Allenís creative plans too, whilst the young defence featured Riley, Archibald-Henville, Leigh Mills, and Cian Hughton. Tommy Forecast was in goal, and apart from a quite spectacular diving save from Boa Morte, Tommy was well protected by his defence, although the West Ham team was always lively in attack, and gave us plenty to think about. They had the chances, but didnít force the saves.

Unfortunately for Spurs they failed to test Richard Wright to any great degree, and over the course of the game, failed to make best use of the ball, often passing short or into congested areas, where they were too easily harried off the ball before they could make a decent final pass. Boateng usually had two or three claret and blue shirts around him when receiving the ball, and as a result failed to impose himself upon the game. Routledge had a couple of decent free kicks, but played behind the right back at times, and was playing deep for a lot of the game. Again, he seemed restrained and could have impressed more, I feel.

The Spurs formation did not best suit Simon Dawkins, trying to play with his back to goal.

For West Ham Boa Morte was often to the fore, but in the second half Jack Jeffrey got through a lot of work, and had plenty of chances, without threatening the keeper to a great degree. Kyel Reid also impressed, as did substitute Zavon Hines, who had a couple of very good efforts late in the game.

It was Boateng who had the first shot on goal after 4 minutes, trying from 30 yards but hitting the ball outside the right post. Five minutes later, Spurs fell behind as Reid hit a good cross into no-manís land. Forecast was stuck on his line; Mills was a little slow to react, and Boa Morte made ground to hit a powerful header into the net. Stokes then had a 25 yard effort go low and wide after a cross from the right was only half cleared.

Maghoma made a powerful run down the middle after 14 minut4es, when he was blocked and the ball ran to Hutton who fed Hughton, who hit a powerful shot which Wright parried then held. Tommy Forecastís spectacular diving save came after 29 minutes, when Boa Morte went on a charge from the right channel. Forecast pushed the powerful shot out for a corner. Just before the break, Spurs made ground after a good challenge by Archibald-Henville, sending the ball to Jake Livermore who passed to Boateng from a central position. Boateng did not cross as early as he might have done, and when it was delivered the ball was too heavy for Hutton. The first half finished on a Spurs corner, but the score was unchanged.

Jonathan Obika replaced Hutton at half-time, but sadly he rarely managed to control the ball well tonight. Both players had 90 minutes with the under 18s on Saturday. After 52 minutes, the Spurs defence failed to deal fully with a West Ham cross from the right, heading the ball only as far as Boa Morte who hit a powerful shot that was deflected over the bar. Then Leigh Mills rattled the post with a super header from Routledgeís corner. Routledge took a free kick on 64 minutes, and Dawkins stooped to head home, but only into the arms of Wright.

Stanislas was replaced by Hines, and Troy Archibald-Henville had to be replaced by Takura Mtandari, who has just started playing at centre-back for the Academy, after formerly playing at full back. Maghoma conceded a free kick just outside the area, and it was Boa Morte who stepped up and again had a shot deflected over for a corner. Jeffrey had one of his best chances from a Pantsil cross, heading from the near post onto the top of the net. Maghoma gave Wright his hardest save of the night, after carrying the ball into the middle, making room for himself before hitting a curler towards the far post. Wright made the save. Maghoma won another free kick outside the box, taken by Routledge. This time, Wright had to rely upon former Spur Calum Davenport to head the ball clear.

Hines had the best chance at the end of the game, hitting a left foot shot close to the left hand post after Boa Morteís work. The game once again ended on a Spurs corner.

Spurs approach to the Reserve League really is one of developing their young players these days, and results are not held to be all-important. There is no doubt that under Clive Allen, plenty of progress is being made by individuals, but as a team they should still have done better with the ball tonight, in my opinion. Their next game will be in two weeks time at ďhomeĒ (Leyton Orient) to Portsmouth. The Academy are at Leicester this Saturday, and Spurs Odyssey should carry an exclusive report on that game too.

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