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Villa Reserves v Spurs Reserves, 08.09.08

Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]

     Premier Reserve League, South
        Villa Park, Birmingham
     Monday 8th September 2008, 7pm

    ASTON VILLA      v        SPURS

   (Claret/Blue)           (White/Blue)

      4-4-2                    4-4-2

       1(0)                    0(0)

     Elliott Parish  1 Ben Alnwick
        Eric Lichaj  2 Takura Mtandari
       Ciaran Clark  3 Cian Hughton
         Chris Herd  4 Daniel Hutchins
         Zak Knight  5 Dorian Dervite(C)
     Carlos Cuellar  6 Ricardo Rocha
    Wayne Routledge  7 Kyle Fraser-Allen
    Isaiah Osbourne  8 Kevin-Prince Boateng
    Marlon Harewood  9 Andy Barcham
  Nathan Delfouneso 10 Adel Taarabt
     Zoltan Stieber 11 David Hutton

    Marc Albrighton 12 David Button
         Thomas Dau 13 Yuri Berchiche
       Barry Bannan 14 Adam Smith 
         (9)66Mins.    (2)64Mins
  Tobias Mikaelsson 15 Alex Olsen
        (10)81Mins.    (6)84Mins.
      Matthew Roome 16 Andros Townsend

    o.g. Hutton 22  

 Osbourne 43(Trip)     Rocha(47)Late

    K. MacDonald       C. Allen

Referee:- S. Ross
Assistants:- M. Chester, A. Green, S. Brown

Attendance:- 250
Villa Park was cloudy and a touch cool for Spurs' first away game of the season. The trip to last season's champions saw the return of Taarabt and Boateng for their first game. Both sides had won their opening fixtures.

Spurs lined up with Dervite and Rocha at the back with Mtandari at right back and Hughton on the left. Hutchins and Boateng started in the centre of midfield with Fraser-Allen on the right wing and Hutton on the left. Taarabt played behind Barcham in a free role. Villa had new signing Cuellar and Knight in the middle of a tall back four. They also had experience in the form of Harewood up front and former Spur Routledge on the right wing.

Spurs defended the West End in the first half with early pressure from the home side. With the pressure and quick closing down of players in possession, Spurs could not string passes together and resorted to hitting the ball long looking for Barcham who was giving away a lot of height to Knight.

Taarabt had the first chance when he fired wide. Harewood blasted wide, and Alnwick saved a Cuellar header at a corner. Delfouneso saw his drive deflected for a corner and Stieber put the ball in the net but was ruled off side.

Spurs were unlucky to concede when Stieber hit a low corner which went through a host of legs before Herd connected from six yards out. Alnwick reacted quickly to save but the ball flew in off the shins of Hutton on the line.

Villa kept the pressure on and came close to increasing their lead when Spurs failed to clear and Osbourne struck the crossbar. Alnwick saved a free kick by Stieber and Parish did the same at the other end to hold Hutton’s kick. Osbourne and Herd were breaking up a lot of the Spurs' approach play which was not helped by Taarabt and Boateng trying to put their foot on the ball and slowing the one touch play.

Osbourne received a yellow card for being too tight on Taarabt. Hutchins tried to keep the game moving from his defensive position but Hutton and Fraser-Allen were having a rough time against the big full backs and Barcham was having to battle with two big defenders in the centre. Routledge put an effort wide and Harewood also sent the ball wide with Boateng going wide in added time.

There were no changes by either side for the start of the second half. When an early attack by Spurs broke down Rocha stepped in to stop a quick counter which earned him a yellow card. Taarabt got round the back on the left but pulled the ball back for Hutton who laid it back for Boateng to curl it just wide of the far post. Spurs showed a little more urgency and began to get a passing game going which allowed Hutton to get a shot in which flew over.

Boateng had an effort go wide as the home side were forced onto the defensive and it was Routledge who stopped Barcham as he was just about to shoot from about ten yards. Allen replaced Mtandari and Fraser-Allen on the right side with Smith and Townsend. Osbourne had a shot saved when Villa managed to get through. Boateng had a shot saved before Herd drove wide. With five minutes left Allen sent Olsen on in attack, leaving three at the back. Boateng hit a free kick over as Spurs went in search of an equaliser. Lichaj broke out and ran over half the length of the pitch only to fire wide.

After a slow start, when Spurs did not get going they had the better of the second half and probably deserved a point, but for the waste of possession mainly by Taarabt and some sloppy play by Boateng which could be down to lack of match practice. Hutchins was the better of the midfielders and provided the platform for the second half performance. Dervite had a good game against the lively Delfouneso and even tried to get forward later in the game. In the first half Spurs played too many long high balls which just gave away possession. Once they started passing the ball with many one touch passes, they began to get the upper hand. If only Taarabt and Boateng had kept the momentum going it is possible that we would have got something out of this game. As in the first game they had a bad first half and a good second.

The Reserves do not have another game until the 6th October when they will entertain a strong Portsmouth side at Brisabane Road. This Saturday I expect to see some of these players in the U-18 team for the game at Charlton.


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