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Spurs U 19s v Watford, 22.03.03

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Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
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     FA Premier Academy League, Group D
     Spurs Lodge, Luxborough Lane, Chigwell
     Saturday 22nd March 2003, 11am ko.

        SPURS    V    WATFORD
    (White/Blue)   (Yellow/Red)
        4-4-2        4-4-2

          (0)1      (2)2

Team - Burch, Bowditch, McKie, Hughes(C), Henry, Foster, Barnett(Galbraith 58), Black, Malcolm, Yeates, Wettner.

Watford - unknown

Scorers - Watford No.10 (10 & 42), Malcolm 84

Booked - Watford No.4(32 Mins. Throwing the ball away), Hughes (65 Mins. Late)

As the secretary was away there were no team sheets available so cannot give the visitors team which Andy Porter felt had a few old Spurs Trainees playing for them. It was a warm sunny morning with the ground firm and a light breeze blowing from left to right. The were a few of the U-19's who were in the reserve squad watching to see how their mates were doing like Marney, Barnard, Slabber and Jalal.

Spurs lined up with Henry and Foster in the middle of a back four with Bowditch on the right and McKie on the left. Captain Hughes and Black took up position in the centre of midfield with Barnett on the right and Wettner on the left. Yeates partnered Malcolm up front against what is becoming customary in two centrebacks well over six feet, one of them, the 4 was so well built I'm sure he could have got in the ring with Lennox Lewis without being over-shadowed.

Watford set their stall out to defend with the two wide players in midfield dropping back to form a back six when we had the ball holding a high line to compress the play, and closing down quickly to frustrate the home sides passing game. As a lot of Spurs attacks are down the flanks the wide men faced two defenders all the time and when the ball was played up to the front two they had problems staying on their feet with the centre-backs' pressure.

The well organised Hornets sat back, won the ball and hit it long for the front pair to chase. Most of the game was played in the middle with not many chances for either side althought the more direct attacking game of the visitors produced more chances for them while Spurs' passing game ran into a packed defence and tended to end with a yellow shirt getting in the way of the ball, which was quickly played up field.

The signs were there when the 9 broke through early on and when Henry lost possession in the visitors half the ball was played over the back line for the 10 to run onto and shoot past the advancing Burch. The 9 had another chance just after and Burch was almost embarassed by another centre that evaded everybody. I can't remember the visitors goalkeeper being troubled by anything more than a corner or floated freekick.

The killer goal came just before the break when Henry mis-hit a backpass to the keeper under pressure from the 10 allowing the striker to nip in and score his second.

Spurs came out for the second half and continued to play the same way as the first half. They did string more passes together and Malcolm got through for a chance and Hughes and Yeates went close with efforts. Pat Holland finally made a change by bringing Galbraith on for Barnett. He moved Yeates over to the right and played Galbraith down the middle. Davey is normally a winger with good dribbling skills and he was able to use these skills to make space in the middle and either this or the Watford defence relaxing more that gave our players more room to play in.

With a little over five minutes left the ball was worked to Malcolm just outside the area who checked back gaining a yard of space, had time to look up before firing a low shot into the left corner of the goal, not a very powerful shot but enough to beat the keeper. Watford then started to run down the clock but nearly came unstuck when Hughes missed the target with his header at the far post following a corner.

This was not a good performance from the U-19's who were a little short of players. With Slabber and Marney in the first team squad and the U-17's involved in a play-off game as well as injuries and players released, it was noticeable that Bowditch and Foster were not comfortable in the positions they occupied. The team seemed short of ideas once it was clear that they were getting nowhere in the first half.

Next week the U-19's are away to Bristol City and the U-17's will have a friendly at Middleton House against Fulham.

Ray

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