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Man Utd v Spurs, (PL2 - 29.01.18)
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]

      Premier League 2, Division 1, 2017-18
            Old Trafford, Manchester
          Monday 29th January 2018, 7pm

         (Red/White)         (White/Blue)
           4-2-3-1              4-1-4-1

             1(0)                3(0)

          Joel Pereira  1  Alfie Whiteman
         Tyrell Warren  2  Timothy Eyoma
          Joe Riley(C)  3  Jaden Brown
     Ro-Shaun Williams  4  Oliver Skipp
          Lee O'Connor  5  Christian Maghoma
        Ethan Hamilton  6  Jonathan Dinzeyi
          Tahith Chong  7  Shilow Tracey
          Aidan Barlow  8  George Marsh(C)
          Joshua Bohui  9  Kazaiah Sterling
           Angel Gomes 10  Jack Roles
           Indy Boonen 11  Keanan Bennetts

      Matthew Olosunde 12  Joseph Pritchard
         Kieran O'Hara 13  Brandon Austin
     McIntosh-Buffonge 14  Dylan Duncan
            (10)78Mins     (6)56Mins
         Tosin Kehinde 15  Brooklyn Lyons-Foster
        Nishan Burkart 16  Reo Griffiths
             (8)73Mins     (7)86Mins

        Chong 50           Bennetts 59
                           Roles 62
                           Sterling 69

        Warren 84(UGC)     Bennetts 25(Foul)
                           Tracey 84(UGC)

        Ricky Sbragia      Wayne Burnett

Attendance: 1,097

Referee: Andrew Miller
Assistants: Dave Fitzpatrick & Dale Baines
Fourth Official: Matt Scholes 

Spurs travelled north to a chilly Manchester for a must win game for both sides who sit at the bottom of the league below Sunderland and are in danger of being relegated. Neither side had won in their last five and that lack of confidence showed in the first half as both sides struggled to get their game together. Spurs have never beaten United away at U-21/23 level and last season Spurs lost 3-2 at Old Trafford, but did beat them 3-0 this season at Stevenage.

Spurs lined up with Whiteman in goal behind Maghoma and the injury-hit Dinzeyi with Eyoma at right back and Brown on the left. Skipp anchored the midfield with Marsh and Roles ahead of him flanked by Tracey on the right and Bennetts on the left in support of Sterling up front.

Spurs defended the East end in the first half which saw both sides struggle to play any fluid football with mistakes a plenty. United had most of the play and had the first effort on goal with a long range effort from Hamilton that Whiteman saved. Bennetts got an early booking for a foul on Chong which probably had more to do with him not responding to the ref's call to tell him off than the actual foul.

Tracey won a penalty when he got into the area on the left and was fouled by Warren. The lack of confidence showed in the poor kick by Sterling that Pereira saved easily down to his right. Warren made amends by crossing for Boonen to head down at the far post with the ball boucing onto the far post and into the keeper's arms. At the end of the half Roles drew a save from Pereira in a poor first 45 minutes.

There were no changes for the start of the second half with no doubt both sides getting a roasting from their coaches as they began the half better. United had an early chance when Chong broke through for a two on one with Whiteman but having played in Bohui the keeper saved. Whiteman released the ball to Skipp who lost it to Chong who drove into the area to score the opening goal.

Shortly after Dinzeyi went down and had to be replaced. Duncan came on into midfield with Marsh dropping to right back allowing Eyoma to move inside. Bennetts had already swapped wings with Tracey and Spurs' equaliser came from Bennetts' run into the area. He had laid the ball out to Sterling and was still in the area when the United defence failed to clear Sterling's effort and fired in the loose ball.

Duncan's introduction had sparked Spurs' attacking quartet by adding his skill to the attack and Spurs' play got better with Roles firing over. Roles closed down the keeper when Williams played the ball back to him and the keeper's attempted clearance rebounded off the midfielder and into the goal.

Spurs were now full of confidence as the home side tried to respond. Chong played in Bohui to fire wide. Duncan played in Bennetts to shoot over before feeding Roles who played in Sterling to drill the ball in for number three.

United made their three changes with Spurs taking off Roles for Pritchard. Brown got down the left and played in Tracey who fired wide. When Tracey tackled Warren the United full back did not like it and squared up to the Spurs wideman. The result was that the referee booked both players. Sensing that the United players were losing control Spurs took off Tracey and sent on Griffiths to see out the game. Bohui had one last chance that he fired wide before the end.

This was Spurs' first victory over the hosts since the restructuring of the reserve leagues into the current development style. In a game where both sides were nervous because of their position at the bottom of the table they played badly in the first half but got better in the second. From my point of view the arrival of Duncan as an attacking midfielder turned the tide in Spurs' favour allowing them to overcome the United defence. The rejigged defence was more than capable of handling the poor United attack who only had Chong as a threat.

Next week Spurs entertain league leaders Liverpool at Stevenage. Spurs lost 4-2 at Anfield earlier in the season but were the first team to score against the Reds this season and Liverpool have lost two of their last three matches to dent their confidence. It will be a tough game but Spurs have a good chance.


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