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West Brom U-18s v Spurs U-18s, 27.04.13
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List.

           Premier Academy League, Group1
        West Bromwich Albion Training Ground
         Saturday 27th April 2013, 12 noon

           WEST BROM    v    SPURS 
          (Blue/White)    (Grey/Black)
             4-4-2           4-3-3

              1(0)            0(0)

           Alex Palmer  1  Luke McGee
        Jordan Francis  2  Kane Vincent-Young
             Tom Smart  3  Grant Ward
          Callum Jones  4  Aaron McEneff
          Kyle Howkens  5  Cameron Carter-Vickers
       Reiss Greenidge  6  Dominic Ball(C)
       Rees Wedderburn  7  Emmanuel Sonupe
             Ryan Pace  8  Joshua Onomah
            Alex Jones  9  Victor Zapata-Caicedo
              Joe Ward 10  Joseph Pritchard
        Jack Hallaghan 11  Darren McQueen

       Shaun Donnellan 12  Connor Ogilvie
            Ethan Ross 13  Liam Priestley
     Matthew Buchannon 14  Ruben Lameiras
           Ged Oldnall 15  Anthony Georgiou
            (9)58Mins.     (11)58Mins.
          Danny Barrow 16  Kyle Walker-Peters

          Howkens 86 

          J. Shan          J. McDermott

Referee: S. Lane

It was a morning of mixed weather with bright sun and showers and a strong wind to affect the goal kicking from the south end. The pitch itself has a slope across the field of play and down to the south end. This was Spurs' last game and a victory would see them qualify for the play-offs. Having played yesterday at Sunderland there were changes made with some younger players coming in.

Spurs lined up with Ball and Carter-Vickers at the back, Vincent-Young started at right back and Ward at left back. McEneff anchored the midfield with Onomah and Pritchard alongside him. Up front Zapata-Caicedo again led the line with Sonupe on his right and McQueen on his left. The teamsheets provided were very difficult to read so if I have made any errors then I apologise.

Spurs defended the south end kicking into the wind which caused problems for McGee in the first half. With so many changes Spurs' passing was poor and not helped by the home side closing down with tough tackling led by Pace who was not one from pulling out of a challenge he could not win.

Most of Spurs' attacks went down the left with Ward over-lapping well, getting the better of Francis. Spurs' first chance came from that side as Ward played a one-two with Zapata-Caicedo before putting in a shot that Palmer saved easily. McGee saved from Jones for a corner before a free kick by Onomah to Pritchard saw the midfielder's effort saved.

Ward saw his drive deflected wide of the Spurs goal for a corner and Alex Jones fired wide from his namesake Callum Jones' centre. Palmer saved from Sonupe getting around the back on the right with the ball being put back in for Pritchard to draw a save from the keeper. Jones got through the right channel and drove the ball across the box for a corner as it must have been saved by McGee. Grant Ward got down the left and drew another save from Palmer before Wedderburn had the last chance of the half for the "Baggies" with an effort that flew wide.

There were no changes for the start of the second half. The first chance of the half came from a foul on Sonupe by Pace that McEneff hit over. Sonupe got the better of Greenidge out on the right of the area and whipped in a cross that Zapata-Caicedo just failed to reach at the far post. As Spurs began to take control Pritchard had an effort cleared off the line for a corner. Francis got forward to try his luck but McGee saved comfortably before both sides made their first change. Georgiou came on for McQueen to work the left side.

Joe Ward hit over before Grant Ward crossed for Onomah to head wide. A foul on Sonupe in the right corner by Smart resulted in a free kick that was taken by Lameiras who came on before the kick was taken in place of Pritchard. His first job was to take the kick which was played to McEneff on the corner of the area. He curled the ball into the centre for Zapata-Caicedo to shoot goalwards. The shot was deflected wide for a corner that Lameiras also took.

Another free kick by Lameiras was headed over by Ball. After a break saw the ball fly over McGee's goal, Spurs made their last change replacing Vincent-Young with Walker-Peters at right back. With Spurs pushing for the goal they needed, it left gaps at the back for the home side to counter and Ball blocked Oldnall's effort in the area. I think it was Howkens who chased a long ball with Ball and as they came together with McGee in the area he benefited when the ball popped free to tap in. Spurs kept pushing for a goal with Walker-Peters drawing a save as the game went into added time.

The changes affected the smooth passing that is the basis of Spurs play. The young players called into the side did well especially Carter-Vickers at the back and Sonupe on the right. There was no flexibility up front were Sonupe and McQueen stayed on their sides of the pitch. McEneff, while doing a great job in front of the defence, looked hesitant in committing himself to challenges in the middle. I feel that the young players who played will step up next year and continue to improve as they get more regular U-18 football.

This was Spurs' last group game and by not gaining more points they leave the door open for Sunderland who need a win over third placed Liverpool to finish top of the group and advance to the next phase. Liverpool need to beat Sunderland and also win their other game in hand by 11 clear goals to top the group because they lost today. We will have to wait until 4th May when the two sides meet to find out if Spurs go into the play-offs where Newcastle are the likely opponents.


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