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Spurs U-21s v Arsenal U-21s, 23.02.13
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]


            Premier U-21 League 2012-3, 
                  Elite Group
         Hotspur Way, Bulls Cross, Enfield
         Saturday 23rd February 2013, 11am

              SPURS    v    ARSENAL
           (All White)    (Red/White)
              4-3-3          4-5-1

               4(2)           2(1) 

       Jonathan Miles  1  Lucasz Fabianski
         Nathan Byrne  2  Hector Bellerin
       Ezekiel Fryers  3  Martin Angha
      Milos Veljkovic  4  Issac Hayden
 Giancarlo Gallifuoco  5  Sead Hajrovic
        Kevin Stewart  6  Ignasi Miquel(C)
       Kenneth McEvoy  7  Zac Ansah
    Massimo Luongo(C)  8  Kris Olsson
           Jack Munns  9  Cubba Akpom
         Dean Parrett 10  Serge Gnabry
        Laste Dombaxe 11  Conor Henderson

       Nabil Bentaleb 12  Josh Rees
            (4)46Mins.    (7)73Mins.
   Lawrence Vigouroux 13  James Shea
         Dominic Ball 14  Jordan Wynter 
            (6)46Mins.
           Mason Bush 15  Elton Monteiro
            (7)73Mins.
       William Miller 16  Nigil Neita

Scorers:-
       Fryers 27          Akpom 9, 63
       Dombaxe pen29
       Munns 53, 90+1

Booked:-
       Parrett 84(UGC)    Hayden 85(Late)

Coach:-
       T. Sherwood        S. Gatting

Referee:- M. Blackledge
Assistants:- M. Goldsmith & R. Smith

It was a very cold morning, with a touch of snow falling which greeted the large group of fans and parents for this North London Derby in the inaugural season of the U-21 League.

Both sides had young players included in their teams. Spurs rewarded some of the NextGen players after their mid-week penalty win over PSG in Paris while the visitors had a few players from the Youth Cup defeat to Everton. The main change for Spurs was due to Kane and Obika going out on loan, leaving no U-21 strikers for today's match.

Spurs lined up with Miles behind Stewart and Gallifuoco with Byrne at right back and Fryers on the left. Veljkovic anchored the midfield with Luongo and Dombaxe while Sherwood gave a start to Munns on the left of Parrett and right winger McEvoy.

Because it was so cold the players stayed inside for as long as they could, which meant that the match started a little late. Spurs defended the east end and soon began to dominate with their quick passing and movement off the ball. There was good approach play but no final ball in the opening ten minutes so it was a bit of a surprise that the visitors had the first chance. A weak pass from Veljkovic was intercepted by Akpom who held off Gallifuoco to get clear through on goal but Miles was out quickly to save his effort.

Akpom made no mistake however, when Gnabry threaded a pass for him to finish low across the keeper. The visitors started to string passes together and force Spurs back. Akpom was played in on the left but his rising drive hit the crossbar and dropped to Ansah at the far post. He took a touch before shooting which enabled Miles to save.

Ansah had another chance straight afterwards, which he fired wide. Parrett got round the back on the left and drove in his cross, which just missed two white shirts in the six yard box, as Spurs responded. Munns was the next to get to the byline pulling the ball back for Dombaxe to drive. Fabianski saved but Spurs were pressing more now.

Munns came inside along the edge of the area from the right and when the ball was not cleared, Fryers drove the ball low through Fabianski into the net to draw Spurs level. It did not stay that way for long as Munns drove into the area on the left side to be stopped by Miquel - unfairly in the ref's opinion - and Spurs were awarded a penalty. Dombaxe stepped up to drive the ball low into the right corner sending the keeper the wrong way.

The gooners were on the back foot now as Fabianski saved a volley on the turn from Munns. Parrett took a free kick from Bale range and curled it round the outside of the wall just wide of the near post before the half ended.

Sherwood took off two of the NextGen heroes replacing them with two others for the second half. Veljkovic was replaced in the midfield by Bentaleb and Ball went into the back four in place of Stewart.

The visitors made a strong start to the half with Gnabry forcing a save from Miles to win a corner. Spurs had been trying to get McEvoy into the game with long balls during the first half and now it paid off when Betaleb sent him away down the right. When McEvoy's cross came in, Hajrovic failed to cut it out at the near post. The ball fell invitingly for Munns on the edge of the six yard box and the little man drilled it home to open up a two goal lead.

McEvoy played in Byrne for a drive which the keeper saved, before Henderson latched onto a loose ball to draw a save from Miles. McEvoy provided Munns with another chance that Fabianski saved.

Gallifuoco cut out a through ball but was then mugged by Akpom who got through to score his second of the game and give the visitors a chance of a comeback. Henderson popped up to drive wide before Spurs pushed forward. McEvoy created another chance for Munns which flew wide, and also a chance for Parrett that was also wide of the target.

McEvoy was replaced by Bush to play alongside Munns up front allowing Parrett to drop deep in a 4-4-2 formation to see the side home. Parrett got into a clash with one of the defenders and they put their heads together. After they were parted the referee booked Parrett.

Parrett played a diagonal ball to release Bentaleb through the left channel to bring a good save from the keeper turning his effort away at full stretch. Angha was booked for a late tackle. Miles gave the ball away to Rees but redeemed himself by saving his shot conceding a corner.

Spurs made the game safe at the end of normal time when Bush was played in on the left. When Bush's drive was saved by Fabianski, Munns was on hand to score from the loose ball. That was not the end of the action as Akpom was played through and drew Miles chipping the ball over him only for Byrne to make a goal line clearance, hooking the ball clear. Hayden got into the area crashing his shot off the underside of the bar following up to hit the rebound over for the last action of the game.

The visitors came close to snatching a point from a game in which they were second best. Their one danger man could have had a hat-trick as well. Spurs started strongly and after a wobble when they conceded a goal against the run of play they came back to win it. It could have been so much better if they had had a striker on the pitch to finish some of the other chances created. Jack Munns was the player of the game as he had a hand in all Spurs goals despite giving away a lot of height to the visitors.

Spurs are still 7 points clear of Liverpool who won in the week at WBA. The next game for the U-21 side is on the Monday 4th March away to Wolves. This will be their first away game and it is being held at AFC Telford kicking off at 7pm.

Ray

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