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Spurs U 17s v Ipswich, 14.12.02

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Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]

      Academy Premier League U-17, Group D
  Spurs Lodge, Luxborough Lane, Chigwell, Essex
    Saturday 14th December 2002, kick-off 11am

               SPURS v IPSWICH
        (White/Navy)   (Blue/White)
               3-5-2   3-5-2

                1(0)    1(1)

          Nicky Eyre 1 F. Croll
         Charlie Lee 2 B. Pickford
        Liam Francis 3 Henry Sobolewski
         David Hicks 4 G. Mash
         Andy Hodges 5 A. Collins
     Ricky Dobson(C) 6 J. Krause
          Iyad Ahmed 7 D. Glack
      Kieran McKenna 8 Liam Manning(C)
        Andy Barcham 9 G. Musson
         Owen Price 10 B. Mahmoud
     Gareth Jenkins 11 S. Barron

          Joe Watson12 D. Knights
           (2)85Mins.  (10)65Mins.
     Tommy Forecast 13
        Tommy Welch 14 L. Hunn
                      (3)75Mins.
        Danny Jones 15 J. Kawaguchi
        (9)85Mins
        Mark Wright 16 L. Webster
Scorers - Sobolewski 31, Ahmed 90

Booked - Price 68(kicking ball away), 70(swearing at ref) - and sent off.

On a cold damp morning the Juniors entertained Ipswich Town who are just below them in the group. I was joined by Paul Smith for the last game before the Christmas break, also in evidence was Andy Porter, David Pleat and Dean Marney.

Spurs lined up with the improving Hodge in the middle of defence flanked by Dobson on his left and Lee on the right. The midfield trio of Hicks, McKenna and Jenkins had Ahmed wide on the right and Francis continuing as wingback on the left. Barcham starting the game with Price up front.

Spurs attacked the right-hand side goal in the first half and dominated for most of the half with the Tractor boys only having three decent atempts on goal. Man of the match Iyad Ahmed was always a threat down the right with pace and ball control, but with a tendency not to look up for a better option(he is improving) was getting stuck in early and it was from a clash of heads jumping for a high ball that lead to the visitors first substitution. He does link up with Price well and it was noticable that he came in for some tough tackling during the second half.

Despite all the possession during the first half the visitors scored first when Mahmoud broke through playing a one-two only for Eyre to block his effort. Unfortunately the ball fell to the feet of Sobolewski who was following up. That was their second attack of the half which was completely against the run of play, but the home side were not able to capitalise on the chances despite the large number of corners and crosses.

Ipswich came out for the second half more determined to make a game of it and managed to keep the play more in the middle of the park with more resilient tackling and closing down quickly(one of the mothers got upset after seeing her son tackled). Not so many chances were coming our way and this induced some frustration which probably led to what happened in the 70th minute. Price was shown two yellow cards in the space of three minutes leaving the team to play the final tweny minutes a man short as well as a goal down.

As seems normal, the ten men stepped up a gear and played better than with eleven. Hicks came close to equalising when his free-kick hit the bar with ten minutes to go. Jimmy Neighbour did not make any changes but Ahmed pushed up a little more until with five minutes left he brought on Jones to play up front and Watson pushing into midfield. The ninety minutes were up when Ahmed got the ball 25yds out on the left, turned, and hit a speculative effort which curled in at the far post to gain a point.

This had been a good performance by an improving team which had by far most of the ball failing to finish the chances that they made. Ipswich put up a strong defensive display to keep them out in the first half taking a suprise lead and almost holding on.

People have been asking how Owen Price is doing as the hype had him as the great hope for the future. There is no doubt that he is an extremely skilful player, someone who can win games, who is a good deadball kicker, has lots of tricks up his sleeve and has good close control enabling him to run at defenders, but this is the second time that he has been sent off this season.

The first time was for two late tackles(one deliberate), on this occassion it was for non-footballing reasons. His first yellow was for kicking the ball away. He had the ball in his hands when the ref awarded a throw-in to the visitors and he kicked the ball over the Ipswich player on the bye-line. The second yellow followed a freekick awarded against him for a 50/50 challenge. Swearing directly at the ref left him with no other option.

Throughout the game the ref explained his decisions to the players to make sure they knew where they stood. Price let his teammates down when they needed his skills most. I hope someone at the club puts him in his place as I think he believes the hype as well.

The academy now has a three week break before the next game which is Aston Villa on the 11th January. The U-17 will play them away with the U-19 entertaining at the Lodge. Because the Everton game has been moved to sunday I will be able to see this one.

Ray

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