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Spurs U-18s v Arsenal U-18s, 20.02.16
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List.

           Premier U-18 Southern League 2015-16
            Hotspur Way, Bulls Cross, Enfield
            Saturday 20th February 2016, 11am

                  SPURS     v     ARSENAL
              (White/Blue)      (Red/White)
                 4-2-3-1          4-2-3-1

                   4(0)             0(0)

            Alfie Whiteman  1 Ryan Huddart
             Shilow Tracey  2 Jordi Osei-Tutu
               Jaden Brown  3 Ilias Chatzitheodoridis
             Charlie Owens  4 Ben Sheaf
       Christian Maghoma(C) 5 Kris Da Graca
           Japhet Tanganga  6 Kostas Pileas
            Marcus Edwards  7 Donyell Malen
         Zenon Stylianides  8 Josh Da Silva
          Kazaiah Sterling  9 Eddie Nketiah
              Dylan Duncan 10 Kaylen Hinds(C)
           Samuel Shashoua 11 Yassin Fortune

              George Marsh 12 Aaron Eyoma
                 (8)83Mins    (6)75Mins
            Brandon Austin 13 George Philips
                Jack Roles 14 Savvas Mourgos
           Keanan Bennetts 15 Nathan Tella
                 Ryan Loft 16 Vlad Dragohir
                 (9)77Mins    (10)62Mins

           Shashoua 52
           Edwards 70, 76
           Loft 90+1

           K. McKenna         F. De Kat

Referee: O. Butcher

It was a cool morning with rain in the clouds as the wind rose in the second half. The visitors to Hotspur Way for the last league game were old rivals Arsenal who had moved up the table to sixth. The "Gunners" needed a win to make the top four and group 1 for the play-offs. Spurs were stuck in eighth and set for group 2 in the next phase.

The visitors won the away fixture 5-3 in September and progressed to the European Youth League play-offs where they lost out to Anderlecht. Last season Spurs won comfortably 4-1 thanks to a hat-trick by Harrison and one from Loft with the reply from Mourgos.

Spurs lined up with Whiteman in goal behind Maghoma and Tanganga with Tracey at right back and Brown on the left. Owens anchored the midfield with Stylianides and Duncan was in front of them flanked by Edwards on his right and Shashoua on his left behind Sterling up front.

Spurs kicked off the first half attacking the North end but were put under pressure by a high pressing "Gunners" side who pinned them in their own half for the opening ten minutes before they began to pass the ball. Fortune drew a save from Whiteman after five minutes when a corner was not cleared from the left and followed that with an effort that was wide from the right. Hinds saw his shot deflected for a corner that was well defended by Tanganga.

Spurs finally got out of their half and Shashoua had a long range effort saved by Huddart easily. Edwards had a chance that went for a corner which was only cleared to Owens who fired over. Hinds drew a save from Whiteman winning a corner. Oesi-Tutu and Malen combined on the right to provide a cross that was played back by Fortune for Sheaf to drill wide. Fortune had the last chance of the half, firing wide.

There were no changes for the start of the second half which was a little more open, allowing Spurs more room to pass the ball. Edwards played in Stylianides for a chance that was saved before he had a hand in the opening goal. Edwards cut inside before slipping the ball through for Sterling to shoot across goal from the right which was finished off by Shashoua.

Spurs gained confidence from the goal and their passes began to flow and the visitors made a change in attack. Malen fired wide as the looked for an equaliser pushing players further forward. This left more space for Spurs to exploit and when Shashoua attacked through the left channel he drew a foul on the edge of the area. Edwards took the kick which clipped off the top of the wall on its way into the far side of the goal for 2-0.

Malen had a chance fly wide before Maghoma carried the ball out from the back all the way to the "Gunners" area before being stopped. He was still there when the ball was played to him by Duncan from the right to fire wide. Arsenal then went to three at the back sending on a second striker who played in Malen with his first involvement to fire wide.

The change allowed Spurs to get on top and when the ball was worked down the left to Sterling he found Edwards coming in unmarked from the right. The wideman had time to control the ball before curling it into the left side of the goal for his second and Spurs' third. That was the signal for Spurs to make a double change with Bennetts replacing Shashoua on the left and Loft taking over from Sterling up front.

Edwards popped up on the unmarked on the right again but this time fired wide. Loft fired over before the visitors' last chance from Dragohir was wide after Nketiah laid the ball back. Spurs replaced Stylianides with Marsh to see out the game which was wrapped up in added time by Loft when he was played through by Duncan to make it 4-0.

Spurs did well to get to half-time level as the gooners put them under intense pressure. Good defending especially by Maghoma and Tanganga in the centre allowed Spurs to make the break. Once they broke the deadlock they got better and the opponents lost faith.

Spurs' victory means that Arsenal finish in sixth place and will join Spurs, Leicester and Aston Villa in group two of the play-offs when they are joined by Middlesbrough, Wolves and West Brom from the Northern League. The final place in the group will be either Sunderland or Blackburn. The "Mackems" have to beat Liverpool in their last match to overtake Blackburn and qualify for Group 1. All teams play each other once either home or away in the play-offs.


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