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Aston Villa U-21s v Spurs U-21s, 17.12.12
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]

        FA Premier U-21 League, Group 2
           Villa Park, Birmingham
         Monday 17th December 2012, 7pm

         ASTON VILLA    v    SPURS 
        (Claret/Blue)      (All White)

            4-4-2            4-3-3

             0(0)             3(2)

           Craig Hill   1  Lawrence Vigouroux
       Janoi Donacien   2  Ryan Fredericks
     Derrick Williams   3  Jack Barthram
     Samir Carruthers   4  Massimo Luongo(C)
            Josh Webb   5  Grant Hall
       Daniel Johnson   6  Ryan Mason
      Marc Albrighton   7  Tom Carroll
        Jordan Bowery   8  Scott Parker
      Michael Drennan   9  Jonathan Obika
         Graham Burke  10  Andros Townsend
       Andras Stieber  11  Yago Falque

          Josh Barton  12  Souleymane Coulibaly
       Callum Barrett  13  Liam Priestley
                       14  Kevin Stewart
           Brad Lewis  15  Giancarlo Gallifuoco
        Jack Grealish  16

                           Mason 31
                           Parker 44
                           Donacien o.g. 87

        Webb 81(Late)

        G. Cowans          T. Sherwood

Attendance:- 170

Referee:- A. Hendley
Assistants:- T. Hollidge & A. Howson
Fourth Official:- P. Hardisty
The last group game at Villa Park was sparsely attended due possibly to Villa showing the match live on their club site when they needed the crowd to cheer them on. A point from the game would have seen them displace Chelsea from the Elite group in the next phase. The game was played in heavy rain although the players on both sides still produced some good football.

Spurs lined up with Luongo and Hall at the back with Fredericks at right back and Barthram on the left. Parker (Ed:- Up to three over-age players are allowed in this competition!)anchored the midfield trio with Mason and Carroll. Obika led the line with Falque starting on his right and Townsend on his left.

Spurs kicked off attacking the Holte End with both sides showing attacking intentions. Fredericks was playing down the right cutting in to draw a save from Hill. Burke fired over and Albrighton drove wide. Johnson set up Bowery for an effort that he put over the bar.

Spurs began to pass the ball with purpose making inroads in the home defence while Villa relied on Johnson's passing and Albrighton's pace on the right. Parker got forward to drive over the bar. Townsend began to show his class on the left with a run and shot that hit a defender at the far post before going out for a corner. He followed that with a drive that was wide.

Johnson fired over before Albrighton playing in Drennan who lifted it over the bar. Johnson had another strike that flew over before Spurs took the lead. Townsend got down the left and squared the ball into the path of Mason who scored with a sharp finish.

Albrighton attempted a long range effort that Vigouroux held easily. Falque played the ball in from the left to Obika who laid it off for Parker to drill low into the net and increase Spurs lead just before the break.

Villa made one change for the second half and started quickly in an attempt to get a goal back. Johnson hit a free kick wide and Albrighton played in Stieber to fire over. Falque was released through the middle and was stopped by Hill on the edge of the area. He recovered the ball but the chance was gone.

Mason fired wide and Vigouroux saved from Bowery before Barthram exchanged passes with Mason and got down the left to cross to Falque at the far post. The spaniard turned the ball back for Obika to hit the bar with a shot on the turn. Obika laid the ball out to Townsend and got into the area to head over the return ball. Townsend went on his own to draw a save from Hill.

With Spurs controlling the game, Sherwood made two changes. Coulibaly replaced Obika up front and Gallifuoco came on for Parker going into the back four with Luongo stepping into midfield.

Albrighton got down the right and fired in a shot that Vigouroux saved. Mason tried a shot from 30 yards that Hill pushed over the bar for a corner. Albrighton got down the right and crossed for Bowery to fire wide. Townsend attacked down the left and whipped in a cross that Donacien tried to clear only for the ball to bounce up and into the net with Coulibaly helping it into the net.

When a Villa attack broke down, Townsend was released only to be taken out by Webb as he pushed the ball past him just yards into the Villa half. Townsend did get down the right again and saw his effort deflected over the bar. Townsend's next raid saw him cross to Falque at the far post who worked a half-opening to fire over. Coulibaly played in Mason who drove wide. Carruthers drew a save from Vigouroux before Coulibaly was playing in on the right and saw his effort saved.

Falque saw his drive saved for a corner and when Townsend saw his effort saved by Hill, the loose ball fell for Coulibaly to finish only for the linesmans flag to rule it out. With time running out Coulibaly whipped the ball in from the left and Albrighton, attempting to clear, hit the ball straight into his keeper's arms. When the ball was played down the other end Bowery intercepted the shot turning it to safety.

It was a champions' performance from the group winners once they had the two goal cushion. They took their foot off the gas and played the ball around keeping it away from the "Villans" until an opening appeared. They did become complacent giving away the ball at times trying to be too clever. They could have scored more but it could have been interesting if Villa had scored a goal.

Spurs progress to the Elite group in the New Year where they will be joined by Man Utd., West Ham, Arsenal, Chelsea, Wolves, West Brom and former coach Alex Inglethorpe's Liverpool. Finally, there will be some local derbies to play. The top three from the group play in the semi-finals at the end of the season.


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