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MK Dons v Spurs XI, 26.07.11
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List.

          Spurs XI Pre-Season Friendly
           StadiumMK, Milton Keynes 
         Tuesday 26th July 2011, 7.30pm

           MK DONS    v    SPURS XI
         (All White)     (All Purple)
            4-4-2           4-4-2

             3(0)            5(2)

         David Martin 1 David Button
        Alan Chicksen 2 Nathan Byrne
    Dean Lewington(C) 3 Danny Rose
      Stephen Gleeson 4 Jake Livermore(C)
      Garry Mackenzie 5 Milos Veljkovic
       Shaun Williams 6 Vedran Corluka
        Daniel Powell 7 David Bentley
        Darren Potter 8 Niko Kranjcar
          Sam Baldock 9 Roman Pavlyuchenko
          Jay O'Shea 10 Jermain Defoe
       Luke Chadwick 11 Andros Townsend

           Lewis Guy 12 Ryan Mason
      Ian McLoughlin 13 Jordan Archer
           (1)80Mins.   (1)85Mins.
        Tom Flanagan 14 Tom Carroll
           (8)46Mins.   (6)82Mins.
      George Baldock 15 Harry Kane
          (6)75Mins.    (10)75Mins.
         Jabo Ibehre 16 Jonathan Obika 
                     17 Massimo Luongo

       Chadwick 48      Pavlyuchenko 8, 35
       Ibehre 73, 84    Kane 80, 90
                        Kranjcar 82

         K. Robinson    T. Sherwood

Ref:- J. Adock
Assistants:- J. Brooks, M. Coy
4th Official:- G. Kinnear

Attendance:- 16,189

This friendly fixture produced the highest gate for the the Dons for a football match. Judging by the noise of the crowd it was swelled by a large contingent of Spurs supporters. This led to traffic congestion around the ground that delayed the start of the game. I still missed the first ten minutes of the game and the first goal.

Spurs lined up with Button in goal behind a defence that had Corluka at its heart. Alongside of him was trialist Veljkovic with Byrne at right back and Rose on the left. Livermore started alongside Kranjcar in the centre of midfield with Bentley to the right and Townsend on the left. Up front we saw the first team pairing of Pavlyuchenko and Defoe. A strong line-up considering the game at Brighton on Saturday.

As I took my seat(soft and wide) the ball flew high over the Dons goal, a quick glance at the big screen told me that I had missed the first goal and had to ask who scored it. Ed:- quote from Spurs updates - "Kranjcar inch-perfect pass from deep released Pavlyuchenko, beat offside trap, steadied himself and planted into top corner from 14 yards.") I was pleased to hear that it was one of our strikers who got it and knew that it was likely to be a good game.

O'Shea was played through but Button saved well. Defoe was then sent through but was dis-possessed before he could get a shot off. He had another chance when Townsend provided a lovely low cross to the far post but he failed to connect. The home side looked to pass their way through the midfield rather than just lump the ball up field and this did provide a few chances which were not taken, such as when O'Shea fired over.

Pavlyuchenko fed Defoe but his effort was wide and then he went through the right channel himself to fire into the side netting. Baldock got behind the defence only to see his strike hit the inside of the near post and run clear. Chadwick then wriggled his way to the edge of the area but his effort was saved. Townsend provided another good cross that Pavlyuchenko could not convert and then fired over himself as Spurs began to press. Defoe saw his effort saved from a Rose cross and then had a shot deflected for a corner. The corner was played back to Byrne who drove the ball wide of the goal. Kranjcar then played a great through ball for Pavlyuchnko to run on to and score well for his and Spurs second. Button saved from O'Shea at the expense of a corner before Defoe drew a save from Martin before the end of the half.

Both sides made one change for the start of the second half with Sherwood making a straight swap of Luongo for Livermore. Before the young Aussie had settled in the home side took advantage when Chadwick picked up a loose ball and was able to curl it into the top right of the goal from the edge of the area. Chadwick saw his next effort saved before Townsend finished off another run with a shot that was saved for a corner. From the corner Bentley laid the ball back for Kranjcar to blast over. Kranjcar drew a save from Martin as Defoe was stopped on the edge of the area which would not have counted if it had gone in, as the referee had blown for the foul - Defoe fired over from the free kick.

Button saved a header from Mackenzie but then spilled the ball which was cleared after a moment of panic. The Dons drew level when a shot from Baldock that was going wide was turned in by Ibehre at the far post. This encouraged the home side and Williams headed over from a corner just before he was replaced. At the same time Defoe made way for Kane as both managers started to ring the changes.

Kane was only on the field five minutes when he got on the score-sheet. Kranjcar had driven the ball in low from the edge of the area. Martin saved diving at his right-hand post. The ball spun across goal with Mackenzie and Kane in pursuit. Mackenzie could not shield the ball from Harry who poked it in to put Spurs back in front.

The Dons replaced their keeper and as the new man took his place in goal wearing a fetching cerise coloured kit, the Spurs supporters let him know what he looked like. I don't think that they will use that strip again. The new keeper was soon in action to foil Kane but could not prevent the best goal of the night a minute later when Kranjcar curled the ball in from over twenty yards out on the left wing.

Carroll came on for Veljkovic and went into the midfield with Luongo dropping into the back four. Luongo is not a defender and he was exposed after Powell had his effort saved and he was caught in possession by Ibehre who left him on his backside as he went on to score past the un-protected Button. As the home side pushed forward in search of another goal Spurs looked to take advantage as Rose got forward to try his luck but McLoughlin saved his effort and Pavlyuchenko headed wide. Button made way for Archer as Bentley fired wide. When Flanagan dwelt on the ball Kane stepped in to take it off him and strolled on to beat McLoughlin for his second. Baldock fired wide just before the final whistle.

This was a good performance all round as the senior players did not take it easy. Bentley and Pavlyuchenko both showed lots of movement, Kranjcar was involved in most things. Corluka stood up well at the back and Defoe got stuck in despite looking a little slow. Rose and Townsend worked well on the left side showing plenty of pace. It was a different type of game on the other flank of course because of the way Bentley plays but pace was shown by Byrne on the overlap. Livermore worked hard behind Kranjcar to allow the Croat to do his thing.

Sherwood has another Spurs XI game on Friday against Orient which is not likely to include any of the senior players who should be in Brighton the following day. It will be interesting to see who plays in defence as we still look short at the back.


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