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Spurs U-18s v Reading U-18s, 25.10.14
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]


               Premier U-18 League,
              Southern Group,2014-15
         Hotspur Way, Bulls Cross, Enfield
        Saturday 25th October 2014, Midday

             SPURS     v     READING
         (White/Blue)      (Black/Red)
             4-3-3            4-3-3

              2(2)             1(0) 

        Thomas Glover  1  Lewis Ward
     Christopher Paul  2  Tennai Watson(C)
       Joseph Muscatt  3  Jake Sheppard
            Luke Amos  4  Harrison Bennett
  Christian Maghoma(C) 5  Gabriel Osho
         Anton Walkes  6  Marc Ethelston
   Kyle Walker-Peters  7  Conor Davis
     Joseph Pritchard  8  Noor Husin
      Shayon Harrison  9  Josh Barrett
           Cy Goddard 10  Andlija Novakovich
     Anthony Georgiou 11  Sam Smith

    Zenon Stylianides 12  Zac Jules
            (2)55Mins
       Alfie Whiteman 13  Luke Southwood
   Tash Oakley-Boothe 14  Amadu Waritay
           (11)78Mins
         Aremide Oteh 15  Omar Richards
            (8)78Mins
                      16  Harry Cardwell
                          (9)46Mins

Scorers:- 
         Goddard 8        Novakovich 90+2
         Harrison 20 

Booked:- 
      Paul 51(Holding)
    Walkes 86(Holding)

Coach:-  
         K. McKenna       D. Dodds

Referee: C. Vick
Assistants: P. Frank & S. Higgins

It was a sunny morning with a chilled wind for this game which was preceded by a one minute silence for the passing of club historian Andy Porter. Reading were the visitors today arriving with only one win to their name, while Spurs recorded their second win of the season last week at Arensal. The spectators' ranks were swelled by a group from the Swedish Spurs supporters club. I was honoured by the team shaking my hand as they entered the field of play which caught me by surprise.

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 trio with Pritchard and Goddard supporting Harrison up front flanked by Walker-Peters on the right and Georgiou on the left. With an U-21 game to come on Monday, two new faces made the substitutes' bench.

After the minute's silence, Spurs kicked off attacking the East end and soon put the visitors' defence under pressure using both wings. An early cross from Georgiou saw Pritchard fire over. A good move down the left saw Muscatt and Watson challenge for the ball with it coming out well for Harrison to collect and cross to give Walker-Peters a chance that was blocked for a corner. The corner was cleared only to Walkes lurking just outside the area. He hit a right footed volley that was going wide until Goddard connected to send it over Lewis into the top far corner of the goal.

Reading nearly scored from a corner themselves which was cleared off the line by Amos when the Spurs defence failed to clear. The "Royals" kept dropping off, allowing Spurs to play their passing game. Goddard had too much room to play his passes, sweeping the ball out to the wings where Georgiou especially tormented the Reading defence.

Goddard fired over and Harrison saw his effort blocked. Both chances came from from crosses. Walker-Peters linked well with Paul on the right and the full back's cross was turned in at the near post by Harrison to extend Spurs' lead.

Reading responded through their best player Davis, who forced Glover to make a save. Goddard fired wide from a Georgiou cross before Harrison was played through. Harrison's first attempt was a chip which Lewis got a hand to, before getting a second chance that was again saved by Lewis.

Paul headed wide at the far post from Georgiou's cross. Amos drove over from the edge of the area when Lewis punched the ball out from a corner. Harrison fired wide of the near post from another Georgiou cross. Another corner was played to the far post by Paul for Muscatt, but his effort was blocked for yet another corner. Walker-Peters cut inside before finding Goddard who drove wide.

Reading made one change from the first half bringing on the experienced Cardwell as they switched to 4-4-2 to put pressure on the Spurs centre-backs.

A good run by Walker-Peters saw Harrison fire wide before a long clearance by Maghoma found Walker-Peters clear on the right. His cross was headed wide by Pritchard.

Reading were now defending higher up the pitch, looking to counter quickly and when Ethelston tried to get away from Paul he was pulled back by the full back, who was booked by the ref. This was not good for Paul who sold himself to allow Sheppard to get through and fire over. After Novakovich headed wide at the far post Paul was replaced by Stylianides who went into midfield with Walker-Peters dropping to right back and Pritchard going to the right flank.

Glover saved Novakovich's flicked near post header, before Walker-Peters collected a cleared corner to attack two on two before playing the ball to Georgiou who fired over. Reading had now concentrated their attacks on playing balls over the back line for the two strikers - Novakovich and Cardwell - which exposed Walkes' poor ability in the air. Novakovich laid the ball off for Davis to force a save from Glover.

Pritchard forced a save from Lewis and later closed him down blocking his kick before hitting a weak shot from a Georgiou cross. Spurs made a double change taking off Georgiou and Pritchard to give Oakley-Boothe and Oteh their first taste of academy football.

Glover saved Novakovich's header from a free kick before Cardwell got past Walkes in the area and was pulled back by the defender. Anton was lucky only to receive a yellow card as the referee awarded the spot kick. Glover saved Walkes' blushes by saving the penalty diving to his left to turn Novakovich's kick around the post. Novakovich fired wide in the last minute before finally finding the net from a cross by Davis, firing in across the keeper in the second minute of added time. That was the last chance of the game as the ref blew for time less than a minute later.

This had been a good performance by Spurs who had been allowed to play in the first half and will be kicking themselves for not getting more goals. Reading changed things in the second half closing them down more but the pace of Walker-Peters on the break should have produced more. Maghoma and Walkes had no problems in the first half but against two strikers in the second, they had their hands full. With Walker-Peters dropping to full back and Georgiou subbed, Spurs lost their main attacking threat. The two youngsters showed little bits of skill but were not strong enough to hold the ball up against determined defending.

Spurs are now sixth in the table a point ahead of Fulham who did not play today and are Spurs' next opponents. They go to Motspur Park next Saturday for an 11am kick-off.

Ray

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