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Stoke U-21s v Spurs U-21s, 18.11.12
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]

          FA Premier U-21 League , Group 2
              Weaver Stadium, Nantwich
           Sunday 17th November 2012, 3pm.

           STOKE CITY     v       SPURS 
           (Red/White)          (All Blue)
              4-4-2              3-1-3-3

               1(1)                4(1)

        Daniel Bachmann   1  Jonathan Miles
            Ben Glasgow   2  Ryan Fredericks
       Michael Clarkson   3  Milos Veljkovic
        Diego Arsimendi   4  Massimo Luongo(C)
           Ben Heneghan   5  Grant Hall
         Jordan Keane(C)  6  Dean Parrett
           Andy Musungu   7  Alex Pritchard
      Jordan Richardson   8  Ryan Mason
            James Alabi   9  Jonathan Obika
           Lucas Dawson  10  Andros Townsend
          Mamady Sidibe  11  Cristian Ceballos

                         12  Souleymane Coulibaly
                         13  Lawrence Vigouroux
               Dale Eve  14  Kevin Stewart
         Immanuel Parry  15  Giancarlo Gallifuco
            Karim Rossi  16
         James Campbell  17
        Peter Makrillos  18

         Sidibe 15           Pritchard 6
                             Ceballos 48
                             Mason (pen) 57
                             Townsend 58

        Alabi 67(Late)       Mason 42(Foul)
        Dawson 86(Late)
        Heneghan 90(Late)

        D. Kevan             C. Ramsey

Referee:- Ms. S. Garratt
It was a bright clear afternoon in Nantwich for this group match of top against bottom. There was a good sized crowd in attendance for the game.

Spurs lined up with Fredericks, Hall and Veljkovic at the back in front of Miles. Luongo swept in front of them and supported the midfield trio of Parrett, Pritchard and Mason. Up front Obika was flanked by Ceballos and Townsend.

Spurs kicked off attacking the west end sought to play through the middle with quick passing, while the home side defended in numbers, looking to release Alabi and using the height of Sidibe. It was Sidibe that had the first chance when he headed a centre over.

A foul on Luongo gave Pritchard a chance from the resulting free kick. His kick was deflected off the top of the wall past Bachmann to put Spurs ahead. A free kick wide on the right was flighted in by Ceballos and headed onto the far post by Hall. Townsend drove over the bar.

Bachmann did save from Obika with the ball coming out to Mason whose effort was blocked rebounding to Ceballos. The Spanish winger dribbled inside before seeing his shot saved. Stoke equalised when Richardson's cross was met by the head of Sidibe. Miles got a hand to it but could not prevent it crossing the line.

Ceballos played in Obika but his effort was wide. Dawson volleyed the ball from outside the area against the post with Miles beaten. Musungu then drew a save from the keeper before Obika rattled the woodwork when his shot from a corner hit the underside of the crossbar before coming out. Pritchard drew a save, before Alabi got through at the other end to force Miles into a save.

Bachmann was out quickly twice to deny Obika when he was put through one on one. Mason fired over and Ceballos headed wide before Mason was booked stopping a run through the middle. From the free kick Sidibe drew a save from the keeper.

There were no changes for the second half which saw an early effort by Richardson saved by Miles for a corner. Townsend got down the left and centred for Parrett to turn back for Ceballos to volley past Bachmann from the edge of the area to regain the lead for the visitors.

Bachmann saved a deflected volley from Parrett that was curling under the bar as Spurs put the "Potters" under pressure. Ceballos fired wide from a free kick by Townsend who also cut the ball back for Luongo to drive wide. Townsend was now getting down the left regularly and when he was chased by Glasgow into the area the full back mis-judged his tackle to concede a penalty. Mason drove the spot kick inside the right post (goalkeeper's left)to increase the lead.

Townsend got on the score-sheet himself, coming in from the left to fire home. Stewart replaced Hall on the left of the three with Veljkovic moving inside. Obika played in Pritchard to fire wide and Mason drew a save before Alabi caught Veljkovic late to go into the ref's book. Spurs' midfield were now in full flow with a high tempo passing game that had Stoke chasing shadows.

Ceballos drew a save from the busy Bachmann who also saved from Pritchard and Coulibaly, who had replaced Obika. Mason fired wide from Pritchard's pass and when Pritchard saw his effort blocked, Ceballos fired the rebound over. Parrett had a shot deflected wide for a corner. The corner came out to Luongo who drove wide. Another corner saw Bachmann save from Coulibaly and then he saved Pritchard's effort from Townsend's cross.

Stoke broke out and Dawson fired wide. Bachmann saved from Ceballos and also from Townsend when he latched onto the rebound. Dawson was shown a yellow card after he caught the tricky Ceballos. Bachmann saved from Ceballos and saved the Spaniard's follow up effort. Parrett was then fouled by Heneghan who went into the ref's book. Miles saved a snap shot by Campbell before Luongo's free kick flew wide in added time.

This was another good display from Spurs who beat Stoke 7-2 in their earlier meeting at Hotspur Way. The same scoreline could have been achieved this evening. Spurs passing cut the Stoke defence to pieces and after the fourth goal they were stringing 10-20 passes together. Obika was winning the ball despite having two markers and if he had been a bit sharper could have got onto the score sheet as well.

Spurs are now five points clear at the top of the group but Manchester United have two games in hand. The next game is away to Sunderland on Monday evening the 10th December at the Eppleton Colliery Wellfare ground in Hetton.


Editor's note:- I had the pleasure of watching this game with Ray and other Spurs fans, all of whom were buoyed immensely by the skill and pace of the Spurs team. Ray says the score could have been 7-2 again, but I'd say Spurs could easily have got into double figures. At times the pace of the midfield play was scintillating featuring some very skilful touches to retain or advance possession. If you get a chance to watch a young Spurs side play - take it!

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