Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List.
Gwen and Jim Mann Academy Challenge Match
Stadium MK, Milton Keynes
Friday 26th April 2019, 7pm
MK DONS v SPURS
(All Red) (All Blue)
Alfie Mumford 1 Aaron McGaguire
Charlie Smith 2 Ben Watt
Louie Gill 3 Oliver Turner
Jack Empson 4 Hamid Abdul-Salam
Joe Riley 5 Alfie Dorrington
Jaden Ogwuazor 6 Ferdinand Okoh
Harvey Stock 7 Dante Cassanova
Romario Martin 8 Khaylon Haysman(C)
Ryan Holmes(C) 9 Jamie Donley
Arnold Matshazi 10 Tom Bloxham
Brooklyn Ilunga 11 Roshaun Mathurin
Jesse Wangusi 12 Max Hudson
Ronnie Sandford 13 Adam Hayton
Jamie Box 14 Axel Piesold
Austin Collins 15
Kenzie Cross 16 Max McKnight
Lucas Denny 17
Joel Anker 18
Jacob Anderson 19
20 Renaldo Torraj
Matshazi 3 Dorrington 23
Box 46 Haysman 61
John Bitting Bradley Allen
Spurs went to the Stadium MK for this U-15 showcase game which puts the young players into the spotlight before they are inducted into the Academy system. The game was a full 90 minute game with rotating substitutions which is more than they are used to. Spurs played in an U-16 showcase game here in 2011 when Deli Alli was in the home side that won 4-2. Because of their young age, both sides made plenty of mistakes with timing and strength of pass but showed great willingness to complete. Spurs' style of play was similar to the higher level teams at the club which because of their inexperience caused problems at the back against long balls over the top for quick counter-attacks.
Spurs lined up with McGuire in goal behind Dorrington and Okoh with Watt at right back and Turner on the left. Abdul-Salam anchored the midfield with Haysman and Bloxham ahead of him. They were flanked by Cassanova on the right and Mathurin on the left in support of Donley up front. I believe there was one change to the teamsheet as Torraj was listed as 15 but wore the number 20 when he came on unless I have the wrong information.
Spurs kicked off the first half attacking the South end with Dorrington having an early header from a corner over the bar. The home side grabbed an early goal when a cross by Gill was not cleared and Ilunga played in Matshazi to score.
Holmes was sent away down the left with only the keeper to beat, but McGuire saved at his near post. An Ogwuazor header was saved from a corner before Mathurin fired wide. Spurs took the game to their hosts with their passing game and they got the equaliser when a corner was not cleared and Watt dribbled into the area and drove into the far post with Dorrington getting the final touch.
Cassanova fired over and Bloxham drew a save as Spurs pushed forward. Matshazi forced a save on the break before Cassanova headed a cross wide. Watt had another shot saved before Holmes headed wide. This was followed by Matshazi, who had two efforts saved in a minute. As the half drew to a close Donley had a header saved from a Bloxham cross before the striker set up Mathurin to draw a save and then had another header go wide from a Turner cross.
Both sides made two changes for the start of the second half. Spurs replaced McGuire with Hayton in goal and Abdul-Salam was replaced by Piesold as midfield anchor. They also moved Okoh alongside him with Watt moving into the centre of defence.
Spurs were behind again 30 seconds after the restart when Holmes got through with Hayton out quickly to save but Box followed up to score from the rebound.
Donley was replaced by Torraj with Mathurin moving up front. Torraj was involved quickly, playing a pass into Bloxham who played in Watt to fire wide. Mathurin laid the ball back for Haysman to strike the crossbar with his effort. Spurs did equalise soon after when Mumford spilled a cross and Haysman tapped in.
Spurs immediately made a double change with Hudson replacing Turner and McKnight coming on for Haysman.
Cassanova saw his header saved from a Watt cross before Anderson fired over at the other end. Piesold fired wide before Spurs took the lead for the first time when Torraj put in a centre which was turned into the net by Mathurin. The Dons responded with a free kick by Wangusi that was saved and Hayton also saved from Box before more changes with Donley and Abdul-Salam returning for Bloxham and Mathurin.
Spurs were now on top with Dorrington defending the long balls better and controlling the play. Torraj fired wide before Box got through but fired over. Abdul-Salam had the last chance of the game with an effort that was saved.
Both sets of players wanted to show off their skills early in the game which drew cheers from the crowd but little product on the field. Once they settled down the game got better and as the smaller Spurs lads got the hang of the bigger Dons they began to show that they were better at playing the ball. They did not handle the long balls over the top for the Dons attackers to chase until in the second half when they were on top. There is a long way for these lads to go as well as growing up physically before we see how they will develop, but this was encouraging.
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