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Stoke U-21s v Spurs U-21s, 17.01.14
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List.

          Premier U-21 League 2013-4
             Clayton Wood, Stoke
         Friday 17th January 2014, 1pm.

         STOKE CITY    v     SPURS
         (Red/White)       (All Blue)
            4-5-1           4-2-3-1

             2(0)             0(0)

            Dale Eve   1  Jonathan Miles
      Elliot Wheeler   2  Alex McQueen
       Ryan O'Reilly   3  Kevin Stewart(C)
        Lucas Dawson   4  Milos Veljkovic
          Alex Grant   5  Dominic Ball
      Edward Sanders   6  Giancarlo Gallifouco
         Adam Thomas   7  Ruben Lameiras
        Charlie Ward   8  Aaron McEneff
       James Alabi(C)  9  Souleymane Coulibaly
        Eddy Lecygne  10  Grant Ward
         Karin Rossi  11  Kenneth McEvoy

         Sam Westley  12  Anton Walkes
      Daniel Gyollai  14  Darren McQueen
         Joel Taylor  15  Roman Michael-Percil
           (3)80Mins      (8)68Mins
     Derice Richards  16
     Keiran Monlouis  17 

            Grant 60
           Taylor 90

           G. Hodges      J. McDermott 

Referee: A. Hendley
Assistants:- D. Russell & G. Hubbard

Spurs' second game in three days saw them travel to Stoke for a tough game missing players from their 4-1 demolition of Newcastle through injury and the first team. Having arrived early, I had to wait outside in the car park due to the Stoke first team squad having their last training session before leaving on the coach for Crystal Palace.

Spurs lined up with Miles in goal behind Ball and Gallifouco with Alex McQueen at right back and Stewart on the left. Veljkovic anchored the midfield with McEneff with Ward in front of them between Lameiras on his right and McEvoy on his left supporting Coulibaly up front.

Spurs kicked off the first half attacking the South end but the home side defended deep getting players behind the ball and not allowing the opposition to run with the ball. While they defended like West Ham they did have a presence up front in the massive frame of Alabi who was like a tank, especially when he hit people.

As they did against West Ham, Spurs had problems breaking down the opposition. The first chance came after five minutes when McEneff fired wide from distance with Stoke winning a corner from a deflected shot and then Grant heading a free kick over. Gallifouco got forward to drive over before Grant Ward got into the area only for his effort to hit the crossbar. Coulibaly headed over a free kick by Lameiras as Spurs continued to have more of the ball. Rossi had a chance that was deflected wide for a corner. Veljkovic saw his drive blocked and at the end of the half Coulibaly fired wide.

There were no changes for the start of the second half which continued in the same vein as the first, but the Stoke counter attacks began to get through. Thomas drove wide before they took the lead from a free kick. With so many tall players in the side it was always going to be their best weapon. The ball fell to Grant at the far post who when he missed his header had time to recover and lob the ball into the far side of the net.

Spurs responded quickly with McEvoy getting down the right and crossing for Coulibaly to head over. Thomas got through again firing wide before both sides began to make changes. Michael-Percil replaced McEneff to add width on the left as McEvoy had switched to the right. Coulibaly tried to work some room in the area but his shot on the turn was blocked for a corner.

Thomas headed over before McEvoy produced another cross for Coulibaly to head over. Striker Darren McQueen came on for Ward as Spurs began to push more people forward in search of the equaliser. McEvoy came inside to test the keeper before Walkes replaced Veljkovic. Spurs pushed more players up until there were twenty one players in the Stoke half which led to them being caught out when Taylor won the ball just inside his own half and was able to get past McQueen to fire home a second goal on ninety minutes.

Just like against West Ham, Spurs were not able to break down a packed defence which led to them pushing forward and exposing themselves to counter attacks. The Stoke side were like the Stoke of old in that they stopped you from playing and with a tall team relied on chances from free kicks and corners. They do it well and Spurs did not have the answer to it. McEvoy managed a few runs and crosses and Lameiras had the ability to trick his man and get past with the ball but Spurs had to pass sideways and backwards a lot looking for an opening.

If the rain holds off then the U-21's next game will be at Bishop's Stortford on Monday 27th January when they play Reading in a game kicking off at 7pm. The pitch gets water-logged very easily and we have had several cancellations already. Failing that then we face Everton the following week.


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