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Portsmouth U-18s v Spurs U-18s, 17.03.12
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]


     FA Premier Academy League, Inter-group
   Wellington Sports Ground, Eastleigh, Hants.
      Saturday 17th March 2012, 12 noon

         PORTSMOUTH   v     SPURS
         (All Blue)      (White/Blue)
            4-5-1           4-5-1

             2(1)            1(1)

       Matt Gledhill  1 Billy Granger
   Jordan Fitzharris  2 Kevin Stewart
          Dan Butler  3 Samuel Smith
       Josh Warren(C) 4 Giancarlo Gallifouco
           Sam Magri  5 William Ekong
          Alex Grant  6 Ronnie Hawkins
      Elliot Wheeler  7 Kenneth McEvoy
         Jed Wallace  8 Laste Dombaxe
             Hartson  9 Victor Zapata-Caicedo
    George Brandford 10 Ruben Lameiras(C)
        Jack Maloney 11 Grant Ward

                     12 Darren McQueen
          (9)63Mins.    (4)63Mins.
                     13 Luke McGee
                     14 Alex McQueen
          (7)69Mins.    (3)65Mins.
                     15 Mason Bush
                        (6)46Mins.
                     16
          (5)85Mins.

Scorers:-
    Grant 36            Zapata 26
    Warren 56 

Booked:-
    Butler 90+4(Dissent)

Coach:-
    P. Hardyman         A. Inglethorpe
It was a cool cloudy morning in Southampton. Having driven down through rain, this was a pleasant surprise. There were no team-sheets so I had to enquire with some locals to get the home side. Hopefully I got the Spurs side correct.

Spurs lined up with new boy Gallifouco alongside Ekong at the back with Stewart at right back and Smith continuing on the left. Hawkins and Dombaxe returned to the centre of midfield having been in Sherwood's NextGen squad. McEvoy was on the right flank and Ward on the left. Lameiras had the captain's armband and played behind Zapata up front.

Spurs attacked the west end in the first half but found the home side in a combative mood allowing them very little time on the ball. Most of the game was played in the middle of the park as Spurs were denied the space or time to settle and did not create the first chance of the game until twenty minutes into the game when Ward crossed to the far post where McEvoy turned the ball wide of the post.

The Portsmouth side was full of big lads and it was no surprise that they posed a threat from set pieces. Magri saw his header from a corner saved by Granger with Wallace putting the rebound over the bar. Gledhill saved from Ward before Spurs took the lead. A long ball from the right found Zapata in the Dee with just one defender. He controlled the ball taking it away from his marker and lifted it over the advancing keeper into the net.

The home side responded with Warren drawing a save from Granger at another corner. Portsmouth equalised from a free kick out on the right. Butler flighted the ball into the six yard box where Granger jumped to collect but failed to hold it under pressure from an attacker. The ball dropped behind him where Grant poked it into the net. Zapata laid back a cross for Lameiras to draw a save and Hawkins drove wide as the half ended.

Inglethorpe replaced Hawkins with Bush for the start of the second half. Bush started on the left side of midfield with Ward moving to right back. Stewart moved into the middle to allow Gallifouco to move up into midfield.

Spurs continued to create chances with McEvoy finding only the keeper to beat from a deep cross, but he shot straight at him. Gallifouco drove wide before Portsmouth had the ball in the net. It came from a free kick on the left which was headed against the crossbar by Grant and the rebound poked home but the linesman flagged for offside. They did score a minute later from another free kick that was not cleared and Warren fired home.

Hartson pounced on a loose ball from Gallifouco but was foiled by Granger. This prompted Inglethorpe to replace Gallifouco with Alex McQueen who went to right back with with Bush coming inside so as to allow Ward to return to the left side. Almost immediately Smith was replaced by Darren McQueen who went into the attack with Ward filling in at left back.

Lameiras was playing in on the left and drove the ball across the goal-mouth but just wide of the far post. A free kick by Lameiras was deflected to the far post where Ekong headed towards goal but saw Gledhill save. McEvoy had an effort that was saved before Wallace got through to fire wide. McEvoy got down the right and fired in a low cross that was deflected goalwards only to be cleared off the line and put behind for a corner. Ekong had another attempt that went wide as Spurs continued to push for an equaliser. As time was almost up Butler was shown a yellow card for saying something to the referee when a free kick did not go Portsmouth's way.

This was a tough game with the home side out-muscling Spurs in most challenges on the pitch. When Spurs did manage to pass the ball they showed that they were the better side. Unfortunately they were not allowed to pass the ball for much of the game. Dombaxe and Hawkins showed signs of staleness as they are good passers of the ball and I think that the pace and mobility of Munns and Coulthirst were missed. Coulthirst has had the protective boot removed and was doing some sprints before the game. Portsmouth were without their leading marksman and were only dangerous at deadball situations form which they scored both their goals. McGee helped the U-16's to a 4-0 victory.

There is no Academy game next week so the next match is on the 31st March at Spurs Lodge when the visitors will be Ipswich Town.

Ray

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