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Spurs U-18s v Aston Villa U-18s, 24.01.15
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]


                Premier U-18 League 2014-15
                   Hotspur Way, Enfield
             Saturday 23rd January 2015, 12 noon

                 SPURS      v    ASTON VILLA
              (White/Blue)      (Claret/Blue)
                 4-3-3              4-5-1

                  1(0)               2(2) 

             Thomas Glover  1  Dylan Forth
          Christopher Paul  2  Ryan Strain
                Lloyd Ross  3  Liam Hailey
             Charlie Owens  4  Rory Hale(C)
                 Luke Amos  5  Kodi Lyons-Foster
            Anton Walkes(C) 6  Easah Suliman
               Armani Daly  7  Moustafa Zeidan
         Zenon Stylianides  8  Callum O'Hare
                 Ryan Loft  9  Rushian Hepburn-Murphy
            Marcus Edwards 10  Harry McKirdy
           Kaziah Sterling 11  Andre Green

                Cy Goddard 12  Joe Linley
                 (7)70Mins
          Thomas McDermott 13  Charlie Bannister
          Anthony Georgiou 14  Corey Taylor
                 (3)63Mins     (7)72Mins
           Shayon Harrison 15  Harry Lewis
                 (9)63Mins
                           16  Ben Swift

Scorers:-
           Harrison 64         McKirdy 12
                               Hepburn-Murphy 29

Booked:-
           Ross 46(Late)       Hale 39(Holding)

Coach:-
           K. McKenna          T. McAndrews

Referee: D. Lawson

It was a cold windy morning for Spurs' first league game of the year. The visitors today were Aston Villa who were on a great streak having won their last two games 7-1 and 6-0 both away from home. Spurs drew 1-1 earlier in the season at Bodymoor Heath with Harrison putting Spurs into an early lead before they had to hang on for the point.

Because of the Youth Cup game on Thursday evening, Spurs made wholesale changes with only Amos and Walkes starting from that game. Glover was in goal behind Amos and Walkes with Paul at right back and Ross on the left. Owens anchored the midfield with Stylianides and Edwards while Loft led the line with Daly on the right and Sterling on the left. McKenna had a short bench as he juggled his squad having to rest players for the midweek game at West Brom. Villa had last week off and they were able to field a strong team.

Spurs defended the south end kicking into a strong wind which helped to pin them into their own half. Villa took full advantage, pressing high up the pitch. Suliman headed wide from a free kick and Hale fired over. Another free kick came out to O'Hare to hit wide just before they took the lead. McKirdy won the ball and advanced to drive in off the far post and back along the line but flagged as a goal.

It was all Villa as Spurs hardly got out of their own half. Glover saved from McKirdy's deflected shot from a corner. The keeper also saved from Green before his kick was held up in the wind and was played into the path of Hepburn-Murphy for a clear run on goal to score the visitors' second. Villa eased up a little and this allowed Spurs to begin to get into the game but when Daly was sent clear down the right Hale pulled him back and was booked. Spurs finished the half making some good approach play but without the finish.

There were no changes for the start of the second half which saw Ross booked for a late tackle on Zeidan in the opening minute as Villa pushed forward. Stylianides fired wide before Zeidan whipped the ball across the Spurs goal. Glover saved from Hepburn-Murphy for a corner from which he saved Hale's effort.

Spurs made a double change, as they tried to get into the game. Harrison replaced Loft up front, and Georgiou replaced Ross at left back but with licence to attack. Owens hit his free kick over before Spurs got a goal back. After moving the ball around the eighteen yard line with all the midfielders involved, Stylianides found a gap to play it to Harrison to strike on the turn.

Goddard replaced Daly as Spurs changed to 4-4-2, whilst Villa brought on someone to combat Georgiou on the right. Villa withdrew to defend their lead, booting the ball long to relieve the mounting Spurs pressure. They were still a threat with Green firing wide, and on a break Lyons-Foster fired wide. Goddard saw his cross shot cleared off the line and when not cleared, Forth saved from Stylianides. That was Spurs' last chance.

This was not a good performance by Spurs as they tried to play long balls to Loft against a strong head wind as they were pressed by a strong Villa side brimming with confidence. They were not allowed to settle into a passing game and became pinned into their own half. They were not able to take advantage of the wind in the second half as Villa were content to drop off and defend and hit them on the break.

The Academy return to West Brom on Wednesday to replay the fixure that was abandoned with Spurs a minute from victory in November. It should be a more experienced team than today as the younger lads will still be at school, but McKenna will still have to keep in mind the away trip to Brighton on the following Saturday.

Ray

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