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Reading U-18s v Spurs U-18s, 14.02.15
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]


        Premier U-18 League South group 2014-15
             Hogwood Park, Finchampstead
          Saturday 14th February 2015, 12 noon

              READING     v     SPURS
           (Blue/White)      (All Black)
               4-5-1            4-4-2

                3(2)             1(0)

            Lewis Ward(C) 1 Thomas Glover
           Jake Sheppard  2 Christopher Paul
           Dan Akinwunmi  3 Joseph Muscatt
        Harrison Bennett  4 Luke Amos
            Gabriel Osho  5 Christian Maghoma
               Zac Jules  6 Anton Walkes(C)
      Andrija Novakovich  7 Lloyd Ross
           Lewis Collins  8 Zenon Stylianides
          Harry Cardwell  9 Ryan Loft
              Noor Husin 10 Ismail Azzaoui
             Conor Davis 11 Shayon Harrison

               Sam Smith 12 Charlie Hayford
                            (8)58Mins
           Billy Collins 13 Brandon Austin
            Tom McIntyre 14 George Marsh
                (6)3Mins    (10)46Mins
               Ryan East 15 Armani Daly
                            (11)58Mins
           Omar Richards 16 Charlie Owens
               (4)41Mins

Scorers:-
           Novakovich 12    Ross 54
           Husin (pen)15
           Davis 49

Booked:-
       Sheppard 41(Late)    Ross 23
                            Stylianides 51
                            Marsh 67(Late)
                            Maghoma 90(Dissent)

Coaches:-
       D. Dodds             K. McKenna

Referee: L. Koskas

Spurs travelled to Reading having beat Manchester United in the Youth Cup in the week. They were trying to maintain their push for the second stage. It was a cold damp morning which meant a muddy training ground. The Reading ground drains badly which affects the pitch as much as the rest of the place. Reading went into the game on a five game unbeaten run.

With the next round of the Youth cup on Wednesday evening, Spurs rotated the squad bringing in two new U-16 players on the bench. Spurs lined up with Glover in goal behind Maghoma and Walkes with Paul at right back and Muscatt on the left. Amos anchored the midfield diamond with Stylianides and Ross wide and Azzaoui behind the front two of Harrison and Loft.

Spurs kicked off the first half attacking the South end but quickly lost the ball allowing Husin to run through the right channel and take on Glover who saw him out. Reading closed down quickly and with Spurs playing badly, giving the ball away regularly, the visitors were put on the rack.

Reading lost two players to injuries in the first half without losing momentum. Reading opened the scoring from a corner which was not cleared and Novakovich fired home the loose ball. Cardwell pounced on a loose ball from Maghoma who recovered to block his effort for a corner. A long centre into the area dropped over the heads of Maghoma and Cardwell, bouncing up to hit the arm of Paul for a penalty. Husin stepped up to score to Glover's right to double Reading's lead.

Azzaoui played in Loft for a chance that was blocked. Walkes cleared off the line from Cardwell, before Ross was booked for a combination of fouls indicated by the referee. Muscatt cleared off the line from Novakovich's header at the near post. Collins had a goal ruled out for offside as Spurs were pinned back. Sheppard was booked for a late tackle on Muscatt having lost out to the Spurs full back. As the half ended, Husin fired over for a corner from which Novakovich saw his header saved by Glover.

Spurs made one change for the second half replacing Azzaoui with schoolboy Marsh for his first game. He sat deeper in a flat midfield four and showed good passing skills as Spurs took up wider positions. They began to get into the game but fell further behind when Davis scored directly from a corner on the right.

Stylianides went into the ref's book for a foul on Davis, before Spurs got a goal back. Muscatt linked up with Harrison on the left and the striker put over a high dipping cross which beat the keeper for Ross to head in at the far post.

The home side decided to sit on their lead, and allowed Spurs more room to attack. Paul had space to cross from the right but Harrison headed wide. Spurs made a double change with Hayford replacing Stylianides on the right of midfield while Daly replaced Harrison on the left leaving Loft as the lone striker.

Daly provided real width on the left and he troubled the Reading defence as he got round the back. The first time he pulled the ball back for Marsh who drove wide. Spurs were still susceptible to the quick break. One break saw Collins fire wide from a corner and Marsh was booked stopping Osho breaking away from a Spurs corner. As Reading sat back it was all Spurs as Hayford fired over from a Paul cross and Loft drew a save from a Muscatt cross. Daly saw his long range effort saved at the near post before Maghoma was booked for talking back to the referee. In added time Loft fired over from a free kick by Paul which dropped to him in the area when he should have done better.

This was a bad defeat for Spurs who were second best to Reading who prevented them from playing their passing game. Their passing was below standard, and they gave the ball away too often to a strong running side led by the experienced Cardwell. It should have been worse for Spurs. While Spurs still have a game in hand, they drop one place to fourth in the table as Reading move up to ninth. After the Youth Cup quarter-final against Forest on Wednesday, Spurs have a home game against Fulham on the following Saturday. Fulham are only two points behind.

Ray

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