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Staines v Spurs XI, 21.07.07
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List.

         Pre-season friendly    
     Wheatsheaf Park, Staines TW8
      Saturday 21st July 3.28pm
   STAINES TOWN    V     SPURS XI         
  (Yellow/Blue)         (All White)                     
     4-4-2                 4-4-2
      2(2)                 4(1)

   John Courtnage  1 Tommy Forecast
    Simon Herbert  2 Chris Riley
     Dave Sargent  3 Cian Hughton
     Danny Gordon  4 Jake Livermore  
   Matt Flitter(C) 5 Leigh Mills (C)
      Leigh Mason  6 Takura Mtandari
Gareth Risbridger  7 David Hutton
    Adrian Toppin  8 Daniel Hutchins
       Petri Elbi  9 Jonathan Obika
     Mark Nwokeji 10 Andy Barcham
      Hussein Isa 11 Andros Townsend
   Howard Newton  12 Adam Smith
   (2)46Mins         (2)58Mins.
   Jamie McClurg  13 Lee Butler
   Jordan Kiffin  14 Callum Butler
   Adam Thompson  15 Kyle Fraser-Allen
   (10)68Mins.       (9)68Mins.
     Dean Thomas  16 Sam Asajile
    Charlie Hill  17    
                  18 Yasser Kasim
                  19 Ryan Mason
    (3)69Mins.       (11)46Mins.
                  20  Alex Olsen
   Shaun Alloway
  Nwokeji 1(17Secs)   Obika 15
  o.g. Riley 45       Livermore 52 
                      Mills 55
                      Fraser-Allen 89      
Attendence Ė 661
Referee:- D.Belbin
Assistants:- V.Penfold, S.Potter
It was a warm bright afternoon at the start of this match, but it turned to heavy rainfall during both halves. I doubt that our young players have played on many good looking pitches in their time, but even this one had water on it that held up the ball at awkward moments. It didnít help that the Spurs coach arrived so late that the kick off was delayed and the players only had time for a short warm up.

With so many of the Reserves in South Africa with the first team, Clive Allen had to use mostly Academy boys, but most had had experience of the reserves last season. Mtandari, a full back, partnered Mills at the back with Riley on the right and Hughton on the left. In front of them was Livermore and Hutchins with Hutton on the right and Townsend on the left. Another winger, Obika was up front with Barcham. A quick check showed that the starting eleven were all under 20 with an even younger bench.

Spurs kicked off and quickly lost possession with the ball pushed forward by Toppin. Nwoketi blocked Forecastís clearance and was able to scramble the ball into the net. It took a little while for the young Spurs to come to terms with the more physical play of the home side and stand up to the heavy challenges to get their passing game together.

Hutchins had the first shot and Barcham headed the second corner just over. The Swans still had the better of the play with Risbridger making the most telling runs down the right. The visitors equalised when Obika picked up a loose ball 30yds out ran down the right channel into the area and scored with a low shot across the replacement keeper.

With the visitors now showing off their passing skills it became a more even contest. Risbridger was just off target with a cross shot, Obika had a shot deflected wide of the near post and Barcham had a smart effort held. Just as we approached half-time Risbridger made another run down the line and hit a good centre which Riley could only turn into the net.

Both sides made changes for the second half with Clive making three. Academy keeper Butler came on as well as Kasim in the centre of midfield and Mason for Townsend. The formation changed to 4-3-3 as Obika moved over to the left and Hutton pushed up on the right.

After an opening spell of home pressure, Spurs settled down and showed more passing and dribbling skills which began to pay dividends. Riley and Hughton began to find space in front of them as the visitors took the game to the home side. After a good run and shot by Barcham, Hutton danced down the wing and his cross was fired home by Livermore.

A couple of minutes later we were in front. Mills headed in at the near post from a Hutton corner. Allen replaced Riley with Smith who got stuck in straight away to show that he was no pushover. Fraser-Allen was also introduced and took up position on the right with Hutton moving to the left. Spurs were on top now with their approach play involving quick one-touch passing around defenders to feet, with the players making sideways and diagonal runs to collect the ball. They were trying their luck from all over the place, Mason had a couple of shots from the edge of the area, Hughton had a drive from 20yds. Barcham had a shot tipped over. Kasim and Hutton even netmegged defenders.

A Hutton dribble into the area looked to have earned a penalty when he was caught near the line. With ten minutes to go Olsen replaced the hard working Barcham. Spurs extended their lead when Mason pushed a short ball into the area for Fraser-Allen coming in from the right. He had enough time to regain his balance to sweep it low past the keeper with his second touch. There was still time for Alloway to save from Mason before the rain stopped and the ref blew for time.

This was a good all-round performance from what is basically our U-18 side for this season. Barcham, Forecast, Mills and Riley being too old, but with the likes of Dixon and Pekhart to return, it should be interesting. I had hoped to see Berchiche today as he was listed in the squad. Not only has the skills training improved them but they are a lot tougher as well.


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