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Spurs U-21s v Norwich U-21s, 02.09.13
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List.

          Premier U-21 League 2013-14, 
        White Hart Lane, Tottenham, N17
        Monday 2nd September 2013, 7pm

           SPURS     v   NORWICH CITY
       (White/Blue)     (Yellow/Green)
           4-3-3            4-5-1

            1(0)             2(1) 

     Jonathan Miles  1  Remi Matthews
       Alex McQueen  2  Cameron Norman
         Grant Ward  3  Harry Barker
  Milos Veljkovic(C) 4  Harry Hodd
       Dominic Ball  5  Ewan McNeil
      Kevin Stewart  6  Adel Gafaiti
      Laste Dombaxe  7  Jacob Murphy
     Nabil Bentaleb  8  Cameron McGeehan(C)
Shaquile Coulthirst  9  Jamar Loza
       Lewis Holtby 10  Jamie Eaton-Collins
      Simon Dawkins 11  Reece Hall-Johnson

Giancarlo Gallifuoco12  Henry Randell
 Lawrence Vigouroux 13  Aston Oxborough
     Ruben Lameiras 14  Harrison Heath 
     Darren McQueen 15  Ray Grant
        (11) 68Mins
                    16  Michee Efete

       Holtby 86        Loza 36
                        Murphy 58 

                        Norman 89(Late)

       C. Ramsey        R. Martin

Referee: W. Porter
Assistants:- R. Hart & K. Seckington
Fourth Official: R. Whittaker

It was a warm evening for the U-21's fourth game amd their first at the Lane this season. The visitors were Norwich City who came with only one win from their three games. While Bentaleb returned from his suspension, Kane and Carroll joined the young England party for the game against Moldova. (Ed:- Carroll has now left the club for QPR on a season-long loan)

Spurs lined up with Miles in goal(a late change from the team sheet) behind Ball and Stewart with Alex McQueen at right back and Ward on the left. Veljkovic anchored the midfield trio with Bentaleb and Holtby. Coulthirst led the line with Dombaxe and Dawkins.

Spurs kicked off the first half attacking the Paxton Road but struggled to make inroads in the visitors defence. They closed down in all areas of the pitch giving Spurs little time on the ball. The first chance arrived when Holtby fired over from just outside the area. The referee pulled play back for a foul on the German, and from the free kick Dombaxe curled the ball wide of the left post.

McQueen got down the right and crossed for Coulthirst to guide a weak header wide at the near post. Ward cut in from the left and curled the ball in for a simple save by Matthews. The visitors won a corner which was flicked on at the near post for McGeehan to head into the side netting at the far post. Ball played a ball to Dombaxe which was driven over before, McQueen pulled the ball back for Holtby to fire wide.

Norwich then scored on the break when the ball was played out to Murphy on the right who went to the line and drove the ball across for Loza to arrive and drive low past Miles in goal. It was a bit like the goal yesterday (in the Arsenal game), except that Loza was near the penalty spot. The last chance of the half came when Holtby took a free kick to the right side near the area which he drove in but it was blocked by a defender for a corner.

There were no changes for the second half which saw Spurs push forward more with Holtby playing in Dombaxe for an effort that was saved. Holtby fired wide before McQueen was sent away down the right. He fizzed a low ball across the goalmouth with Coulthirst sliding in at the near post, failing to make contact.

Norwich then got a second goal when Loza received the ball on the left. He was closed down by two defenders who followed the ball when he played it back. This left the striker in acres of space for the return ball and he took it down the line and crossed for Murphy to volley home.

After Dombaxe fired wide Spurs made a couple of changes with Gallifuoco coming on for Ward taking the defensive midfield position, with Veljkovic dropping into the back four and Stewart moving to the left. Darren McQueen replaced Dawkins on the left.

Norwich were content in defending their lead in depth, looking to break when the opportunity arose which with Spurs pressing more became less and less. Holtby received the ball from Bentaleb and played in Coulthirst for an effort that was saved. Ball played the ball forward to Dombaxe who played it through to Coulthirst who was again denied by Matthews for a corner.

The Canaries began to concede free kicks as they had to contain Spurs and from one kick Matthews had to tip over from Dombaxe. Spurs pressure finally told when Dombaxe played the ball up to Holtby comimg in from the right and he was able to direct the ball into the right corner. The only booking was picked up by Norman for a late challenge on Darren McQueen deep on the left side. As the game went into added time Alex McQueen got down the right and pulled the ball back to Dombaxe to curl into the area where Bentaleb got his head to it but could not direct it on target.

This was not a good performance by Spurs, and Norwich deserved their victory. They defended well, forcing Spurs to play the ball square looking for an opening and when they did, too often they made one pass too many giving the defenders the chance to intercept or block. Chances were at a premium and you wanted to see someone put their foot through the ball instead of laying it off. Most of the time Spurs played too narrow as they had no natural wingers, thus relying upon the full backs to get forward, which left spaces at the back for the visitors to attack on the counter.

Because of the Internationals, the next U-21 game is on the 16th September when Spurs travel to Aston Villa. The game will actually be played at the Pirelli Stadium in Burton. The U-18's are now the only unbeaten Spurs side and will play two games before the next U-21 game. This saturday they are away to Villa as well, before playing Bolton at Hotspur Way the following Saturday. Hopefully they will remain unbeaten.


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