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Spurs U-18s v Birmingham U-18s, 15.11.08
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List.


      Premier Academy League, Group B
       Spurs Lodge, Chigwell, Essex
    Saturday 15th November 2008, 11.30am

        SPURS      v     BIRMINGHAM
    (White/Blue)         (All Blue)
        4-4-2               4-4-2

         5(3)                0(0)

     Jamie Butler  1 Dean Lyness
       Adam Smith  2 Jack Rutter
          Sam Cox  3 Shaun Timmins
      Yaser Kasim  4 Mitchell McPike
 Steven Caulker(C) 5 Jacob Rowe
      CalumButcher 6 Jordan Anderson
  Paul-Jose MíPoku 7 Jamie Dunphy
      John Bostock 8 Ashley Sammons(C)
    Jonathan Obika 9 Robert Gradwell
       Ryan Mason 10 Jake Jervis
   Anton Townsend 11 Cagri Kodalak

    Mirko Ranieri 12 Luke Rowe
                     (9)9Mins.
      Coskun Ekim 13 
       (9)73Mins.     
     Nathan Byrne 14 Shane Williams
       (7)28Mins.    (11)46Mins.
   Jake Nicholson 15 Will Packwood
       (6)73Mins.    (6)46Mins.
     Anthony Jack 16  

Coaches:-
    A.Inglethorpe    S. Spooner

Scorers:-
    Bostock 7
    Mason 32(Pen.), 66
    Byrne 38
    Obika 48    

Referee:- S. Davidson
It was an overcast morning with a heavy pitch from the rains earlier in the week. The visitors wanted a late kick-off for the game and the match was rescheduled for half an hour later that normal. They still managed to delay the start by another four minutes. It did allow for a good sized crowd to gather.

Spurs lined up with Caulker and Butcher at the back with Smith on the right and Cox on the left. Bostock joined Kasim in the centre of midfield with MíPoku on the right and Townsend on the left. Mason as usual supported Obika up front.

Spurs defended the North end in the first half but were soon on the attack and Bostock scored with a low drive from twenty yards that took a deflection into the corner. Birmingham lost Gradwell soon after, which may have upset their rhythm. Cox got down the line and put in a good cross for Obika, but Lyness saved for a corner. Bostock fired over from the resultant kick. MíPoku fired wide of the far post with Kasim hitting over and Townsend going wide in the next couple of minutes as spurs took control of the game.

Butler saved a free kick from Sammons low to his left. Spurs were soon back on the attack when Mason went wide. Townsend got past Rutter and delivered a great cross which Obika failed to connect with. Inglethorpe made an early change sending Byrne on for MíPoku. Anderson headed wide from Sammons' free kick, before conceding a penalty at the other end when he brought down Obika. Mason made no mistake from the spot.

Obikaís pace was getting him behind the visitors defence regularly and he drew a good save from Lyness and followed that with an effort wide. Mason drifted out to the left and put in a cross that Byrne was the first of two white shirts to reach at the far post to make it 3-0. Smith picked up the ball in the middle and danced through the visitors but drove wide. Butler had to make a save from Jervis in added time with Sammons off the pitch.

Birmingham made two changes for the second half but it made no difference as Spurs scored again after ony three minutes. Cox again went down the wing and crossed for Obika to control and turn in. Mason fired over before Smith played Obika through on the right and bundled the return wide at the near post. Butcher turned the ball wide at a corner and Lyness again saved from Obika.

Williams was providing pace for the visitors up front but his challenge on Smith by the side line left the Spurs defender in need of a new shirt. He played the rest of the game with the number 18 shirt. Williams forced Butler to come out and head away another long ball. Bostock sent Obika away on the right and his centre was hit over by Mason. Bostock then hit an effort wide. Caulker headed wide from Masonís corner. Obika turned his marker on the left and raced away before crossing for Mason to get his second.

Williams fired over before Obika went wide. Inglethorpe sent on Nicholson and Ekim for the Obika and Butcher. Byrne went into the back four and Bostock moved to the right of midfield with Mason and Kasim moving further forward. Bostock miss-hit an effort that Lyness collected. When Caulker slipped Williams went through but was denied by a good save from Butler. Spurs should have got another penalty when Mason was caught just in the corner of the area. The ref gave a free kick on the edge of the area which Townsend hit over. As the time was running out Ekim had a header saved.

This was another good performance from Spurs against a Birmingham side that had made a good start to the season themselves. The home side played a fast passing game with both full backs supporting well down the flanks. With plenty of balls in from the wings, the pace of Obika should have produced more goals.

Next week the under 18s have another home game against a midland team - Coventry. Next month the academy will open their FA Youth cup campaign with a home tie against Sheffield United which will be at WHL.

Ray

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