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Blackburn U-18s v Spurs U-18s, 31.08.13
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List.

           Premier U-18 League 2013-4
        Brockhall T.G., Brockhall Village
         Saturday 31st August 2013, 11am.

          BLACKBURN     v       SPURS
        (Blue/White)         (All Blue)
            4-5-1               4-3-3

             3(3)                5(1)

Blackburn: Williams; Vicars, Langford, Butterwick, Lavelle, Wassi, Harris, Torres (sub Scott 64 mins), Rittenberg, Joel (sub Tanner 70 mins), Doyle (sub Wall 46 mins).

Subs not used: Stanford, Pierce.

Scorer: Rittenberg 5, 13, 39

Booked:- No.2, 55(Dissent)

Spurs: McGee; Walker-Peters, Ogilvie, Lesniak(C), Maghoma, Carter-Vickers, Miller, Winks(Georgiou 46), Akindayini(Harrison 62), Goddard(Amos 62), Oduwa

Scorers: Winks 45, Miller 46, Harrisonpen.68, 90, Oduwa 81

It was a bright if cloudy day up in Lancashire with a slight chill in the morning air but the spectators as well as the players were warmed by the action on the field and in Spurs case some of the decisions by the officials. A small band of supporters (Ed: including me!)had traveled up for this match hoping to see Spurs continue their unbeaten run against Blackburn who usually produce strong academy sides.

Spurs lined up with McGee in goal behind a central pairing of Maghoma and Carter-Vickers with Walker-Peters at right back and Ogilvie on the left. The midfield trio was anchored by Lesniak with Goddard and Winks back from injury. Akindayini led the attack with Miller on the right and Oduwa on the left.

Spurs kicked off the first half attacking the south end, up a small incline, but found the home side pressuring from the start. They were strong in the middle of the pitch and used the pace of Rittenberg, especially, up front. Rittenberg was a handful all game and broke through early to force a save from McGee and then arrived at the far post to convert a cross from the right full back a minute later to open the scoring.

The striker doubled Rovers' lead with another strong break through the middle ending with a strong finish. Spurs had not got their passing game going as the referee let a lot go with only a few crosses to show for it until just past the half hour mark when Akindayini fired over from Miller's centre. The striker had another effort blocked when a corner routine provided a chance at the near post.

Winks lost possession when he was pushed off the ball and it was quickly played forward for Rittenberg to get between the two centre backs and force a good save from McGee to win a corner. When the corner was played in there was a scramble at the near post before Rittenberg directed the ball across to the far post. Goddard appeared to clear it off the line but the referee awarded a goal for the strikers hat-trick. On the stroke of half time, Winks latched onto a half clearance to hammer the ball in, reducing the home sides lead.

Georgiou replaced Winks at the start of the second half and played on the left, with Miller dropping into the midfield.

From the kick off Blackburn worked the ball forward for Rittenberg to fire wide. As they continued to push players forward they were caught on the counter by Miller running down the left before coming inside and driving the ball into the top far corner to pull the score back to 3-2.

An in-swinging corner by Goddard hit the crossbar as the home side began to get the jitters. Spurs were now playing down the slope, and began to put Blackburn under pressure. Lesniak fired over before a break by Rovers saw the ball deflected over for a corner, from which McGee saved the header from the centre back.

Ogilvie made a good driving run that took him to the edge of the Blackburn area before he won a free kick. The referee showed a yellow card to the right back who argued the award. The free kick came to nothing.

Georgiou was causing the Rovers defence problems with his pace down the left and he won a corner whipping in a shot from just outside the area, and after McGee stopped another Blackburn attack, Georgiou drew another save from the keeper from similar range.

With the balance turning in Spurs favour, McDermott made a double substitution replacing Goddard with Amos in midfield and Akindayini with Harrison up front switching to 4-4-2. Carter-Vickers headed over from a corner before Rittenberg started a move that ended with one of their subs drawing a save from McGee.

Spurs completed their comeback when Oduwa drove into the area drawing a foul to win a penalty. Harrison took the kick, sending the keeper the wrong way placing it inside the right-hand post. After Rovers headed over from a corner Georgiou crossed for Oduwa to take a touch before seeing his effort saved for a corner. Georgiou took the corner and found Oduwa but the keeper foiled him again.

Amos took the next corner which saw Ogilvie fire over at the far post. Walker-Peters made a good run into the area before being sent crashing to the ground but the referee refused Spurs' appeal for what looked a good penalty. Blackburn were very much on the back foot now, as Harrison received a pass from Georgiou hitting it on the turn and seeing it come back off the crossbar.

Oduwa was in the right place when Lesniak picked up a loose ball and played it into the area, hitting it into the far corner to put the visitors in front. Spurs began to play keep-ball now that they had the lead, looking for opening, one of which saw Harrison shoot straight at the keeper and sending the rebound over the bar. The young striker then found himself in space to place his shot wide of the keeper for his second and Spurs' fifth. He had a chance for his hat-trick but fired over. Blackburn had the final effort that was fired over with the last kick of the match.

Thus Spurs have three wins from three starts, although it did not look like happening after the first half. Blackburn got off to a good start taking a deserved lead but from 3-0 up they experienced their second comeback in successive games. Last week they hung on to win 3-2 against Middlesbrough but today the jitters set in when the score got to 3-2 which led to the penalty and Spurs going on to win. Rittenberg was the outstanding player but as the Spurs defenders got to grips with him, so the home side's opportunities diminished. His third goal was hotly disputed by the Spurs players who said it had not crossed the line, which I heard later was supported by one of our coaching staff who was monitoring our keeper. We should also have had a second penalty as the second appeal looked clearer than the first. Such is life playing away.

Next week the Academy have a re-arranged fixture at Aston Villa. Kick off is at midday at Bodymoor Heath. A couple of years back the ref gave Villa a penalty for handball by Barthram when everybody including his assistant told him his was wrong. Before that the U-21's play at White Hart Lane on Monday evening when Norwich City are the visitors.


Ed:- Thanks as always to Ray for an excellent report. This was an excellent game in a fine setting. Brockall is a private village and Blackburn have seperate premises there for their Academy and the senior team. There are some nice houses there too, one of which is apparently owned by David Dunn, with fishing rights to go with the property!

I'll be at Bodymoor Heath next week too for the Villa Academy games

P.S:- At this moment the Spurs senior team, under-21s and under-18s all have 100% records. May this continue today at The Emirates!

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