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Southampton u-21s v Spurs U-21s, 29.04.13
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]

          Premier U-21 League 2012-3,
                Elite Group
          Staplewood Training Ground
         Monday 29th April 2013, 2.30pm

         SOUTHAMPTON   v     SPURS 
          (All Red)       (All White)
           4-4-2             4-3-3

            0(0)              0(0)

      Paulo Gazzaniga  1  Lawrence Vigouroux
      Callum Chambers  2  Jack Barthram
         Matt Targett  3  Ezekiel Fryers 
           Joe Curtis  4  Steven Caulker
      Jack Stevens(C)  5  Grant Hall(C)
      Jordan Turnball  6  Giancarlo Gallifuoco
        Jake Sinclair  7  Ryan Fredericks
           Harry Reed  8  Nabil Bentaleb
          Sam Hoskins  9  Shaquile Coulthirst
          Corby Moore 10  Tom Carroll
        Lloyd Isgrove 11  Kenneth McEvoy

           Matt Young 12  Jake Nicholson
          Chris Johns 13  Jonathan Miles
            Omar Rowe 14  Laste Dombaxe
         Dominic Gape 15  Roman Michael-Percil
          Ryan Seager 16

          M. Hunter       T. Sherwood

Referee: J. O'Brien
Assistants: B. Cobb & S. Woodison

It was a warm sunny afternoon but with clouds that wanted to drop rain on the watching crowd. For a game that was behind closed doors there was a good sized crowd! The only scout I saw was the England U-21 coach Stuart Pearce. Spurs came to this game having secured top spot in the group on friday when Manchester United and Liverpool both lost. The hosts Southampton had taken a point from Spurs at Hotspur Way with a 2-2 draw and fielded much the same team today with the addition of one the first team goalkeepers in Argentine Gazzaniga. Spurs fielded four from that match.

Spurs lined up with Vigouroux in goal behind Hall and Caulker with Barthram at right back and Fryers on the left. Gallifuoco anchored the midfield trio with Bentaleb and Carroll. Coulthirst led the line with Fredericks on the right and McEvoy on the left.

Spurs kicked off attacking the south end against a very tall defence that made their presence felt and got the ball forward quickly. Bentaleb fired wide early on as the midfield were finding space limited.

Hoskins' pace up front saw his effort deflected over for a corner. Fredericks blasted over and Bentaleb also drove over before an attack down the right evaded Caulker and came off Barthram for Isgrove to have a chance which he fired over. McEvoy got past Chambers to cross for Coulthirst to head wide.

The game was becoming end to end as both sides were coming up against good defences. Hoskins was getting into good areas due to his pace and fired over before, minutes later, he drew a save from Vigouroux that resulted in a corner. McEvoy had a shot that flew over and Fredericks came inside to receive a pass that he fired just wide.

Spurs replaced Gallifuoco at half time with Nicholson for the second half. The second went the same way as the first with Spurs trying to work the ball through midfield while the "Saints" looked to get it forward as quickly as possible.

McEvoy squared the ball for Carroll to drive, which had Gazzaniga saving at full length to concede a corner. When the corner was not cleared Caulker crossed from the left for Coulthirst to head. His header was tipped over by the keeper for another corner. Carroll put in a dipping cross to the far post that went over the heads of Coulthirst and Caulker and would have gone inside the far post if Gazzaniga had not pushed it out.

Curtis headed over from a corner and Hoskins drove wide before playing in Sinclair for a chance that was fired over. Spurs made their second change with Michael-Percil came on for McEvoy on the right wing with Fredericks switching to the left.

Sinclair got through to draw a save from Vigouroux. Nicholson played in Coulthirst for a shot that was saved by Gazzaniga. Another shot by Coulthirst was deflected wide for a corner. Seager ran onto a through ball to force a save from Vigouroux. Straight away Gazzaniga had to save Coulthirst's header from a Carroll corner.

Spurs' last change saw Dombaxe replace Fredericks as they strengthened the midfield switching to 4-4-2. Vigouroux saved from Seager's effort from a Sinclair cross. A good run by Michael-Percil saw Gazzaniga save his shot from the right channel. The ref gave the home side a free kick just outside the right corner of the area. Targett curled the ball around the outside of the wall but Vigouroux pushed it out diving full length. The last chance fell to the ever-dangerous Hoskins who ran on to a pass from Sinclair, but Vigouroux saved.

This was a tightly fought game with Spurs looking to exploit their superior passing skills, but they came up against a strong physical Southampton side that closed down quickly. Hoskins kept coming into the midfield to challenge for the ball to increase the numbers and then he would get forward quickly to get on the end of balls over the top. Coulthirst was too quick for Stevens and Turnball who responded by playing him instead of the ball. Despite giving away a lot of height Coulthirst won a few headers as well. With the game becoming end to end the keepers, when called upon, made good saves throughout to keep the game goal-less. Gazzaniga had a terrible time playing for the first team but showed his worth here and Vigouroux had another fine game.

The semi-final should be on the 11th May when Spurs play the winner of the play-off between Everton and Newcastle. Spurs played Newcastle in the first phase when they lost 4-6 away in the opening fixture before taking revenge with a 6-0 thumping at home. Spurs should be strengthened by the return of loan players like Pritchard, Kane and Obika.


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