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Leicester City U-18s v Spurs U-18s, , 20.09.14
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]

BARCLAYS U-18 PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 20TH SEPTEMBER, 2014
(1 PM)
LEICESTER CITY U-18s 1 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR U-18s 1 (0)
(at Leicester city Academy ground)

Leicester Scorer:-
Rowe, 69

Spurs scorer:-
Harrison, 75

Officials (no details)

Teams:-
Leicester (4-2-3-1):- Smith-Varnham; Johnson (sub Kipke, 79), Anderson, Moore, Chilwell (Capt.); Miles, Choudhury; Bailey, Lowe, Ndukwu; Dusabe (sub King, 63)

Subs not used:- Bramley; Dombrauskis, Barnes

No bookings

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Voss; Walker-Peters, Maghoma, Walkes, Muscatt (sub Paul, 75); Owens (sub Stylianides, 50), Goddard; Ross (sub Hayford, 75), Onomah (Capt.), Azzaoui; Harrison

Subs not used:- Glover; Daly

Booked:- Goddard (alleged simulation)

Plucky youngsters earn a point

Your regular reporter, Ray Lo, was held up by severe delays on the M1. As I was in attendance, and in time for the kick-off, I have stepped in to report on what was a hard-fought and entertaining game, with plenty of young footballing talent on show. If you ever get a chance to watch either our under-21s or this U-18 side, then please do take the opportunity, because you will see plenty of skill, enthusiasm, and not a little effort and application!

Spurs fielded a slightly younger than usual side, as some players who do appear at this level will be stepping up on Monday night in the under-21 game at Sunderland. Ray Lo will be reporting on that game.

The kick-off was moved back from 12 noon to 1 pm, because Leicester are sensitive about we mere mortals being in the presence of their superstar first team squad, who would have been in attendance, training for tomorrow’s home game against Manchester United. The Leicester Academy is also sensitive about letting you know who is playing, because they don’t issue team sheets, and during the second half, my group (which included club statistician Andy Porter) were challenged about taking notes, and asked if we were scouts. Scouts are apparently the scourge of Academies!

Once upon a time, I used to see far more of our young sides. Nowadays, it is a rare treat for me, because of my move “oop North”, but Leicester is within easy reach for me. The pitch was no doubt of a far better quality than that offered in Belgrade for Thursday night’s Europa League game, and similar to that at Hotspur Way.

The weather was overcast, with a little drizzle, and little breeze. Spurs featured Belgian winger Ismail Azzaoui, who they signed earlier this year from Anderlecht, and who is only 16, coming on 17. Not that he is the only bright star in the Spurs line-up, but Azzaoui certainly caught my eye, with plenty of exciting and penetrating runs and passes down the left flank. He no doubt caught the eye of the home bench too, as their second half substitution of Kipke for right back Johnson was no doubt made with an eye to controlling Azzaoui. By that time, Spurs full back Kyle Walker-Peters (what a name!) had switched from right to left back, and therefore offered even more of a threat to the Leicester right flank.

Spurs right winger Lloyd Ross lost out to Chilwell, who forced his way into the Spurs area, and crossed low and hard, but in front of his striker.

Azzaoui got into the box after two minutes, and went down under challenge, but no penalty was offered by the referee, who often favoured the home side. After 6 minutes, when Muscatt pushed Azzaoui forward, the winger got to the bye-line and crossed to the back post, eluding his team-mates, but winning a corner. A shot by Spurs skipper Josh Onomah from just outside the box stung the goalkeeper’s hands. Azzaoui made another exciting run, forging his way into the left side of the box, offering a pass to Shayon Harrison, whose effort was saved.

After 17 minutes, Azzaoui was shoved a clear two yards within the area, by a defender. No way was this a shoulder barge, but no way was the referee (who even had a blue whistle!) giving a penalty! More good combination play down that left flank by Muscatt, Onomah and Azzaoui led to another cross by the winger, but only a corner resulted.

Leicester’s number 4, defensive midfielder Choudhury, had already escaped punishment for a heavy challenge on Onomah, but the referee simply had “words” with Choudhury when he was so, so late on Harrison in the tackle. How Choudhury escaped a card, I do not know. By the way he sported a distinct 70s “disco-style” Afro hair style.

Spurs had dominated the opening passages of play, but failed to get a reward. They started to be subject to pressure by the home side, who won several corners, without really forcing goalkeeper Harry Voss into a meaningful save. Leicester’s best chance in the first half came from the skipper Ben Chilwell, who raced from the left back position on a long run, skimming the crossbar with his shot from about 20 yards.

Leicester had a good half-time pep talk, and started the second half with power and desire. After a cross from the left Miles hit a good low shot, held by Voss. Charlie Owens was replaced by Stylianides, who promoted several Spurs attacks in the remainder of the game. Muscatt had a shot held after 54 minutes, but for a while, Spurs were on the back foot against the home team.

Leicester’s Danny Rowe held off challenges from Onomah and another Spurs defender, as he got into the right side of the box, before he beat Voss with a low right foot drive. At the other end, Onomah tried desperately to create an equaliser. He was in the right side of the area; lost the ball once, but fought back to win the ball, hitting a cross beyond the back post, eluding everyone. Azzaoui made ground down the inside left channel and won a corner with his shot.

Spurs got a deserved equaliser with a great team goal, which started near their own bye-line following good defensive work by Walker-Peters. As the ball came forward, Stylianides fed Goddard, who passed the ball onto Azzaoui. The Belgian’s final pass was well controlled by Shayon Harrison, who had showed good feet and close control throughout. Harrison gleefully fired home.

Spurs had John McDermott on the bench, and he made a double substitution on 75 minutes, replacing Muscatt with Paul, and Ross with Hayford. That’s when Kyle Walker-Peters switched to left back.

Harry Voss made a great diving save from Rowe after 78 minutes, conceding a corner. Harrison teed up Hayford with good skill and a neat pass. Hayford hit a curling shot towards the keeper’s top right corner, but the Leicester keeper made a comfortable save. Amazingly, to those of us of a Spurs persuasion, Cy Goddard was given a yellow card for simulation, after it looked as if he had been fouled as he got the ball forward to Azzaoui. We were upset, because we thought the referee had failed to give Spurs a proper advantage, but he had decided that Goddard was cheating.

By now, the game had truly opened up, as both sides were going all out for a win. Stylianides took a quick free kick, and fed the ball to Hayford on the right. Hayford crossed to the near post where Harrison met the ball, but just scooped it over the bar. Walker-Peters made a good win of the ball in his own half, and the move was developed through Hayford, and a headed pass by Harrison to Azzaoui, whose effort was blocked at close range.

The draw was a fair result, in a game that could have been won by either side. I was genuinely excited by this young Spurs team.

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