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Match Reports
Spurs U 17s v Everton U 17s, 24.04.04

Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List

FA Academy Premier U-17 League
Spurs Lodge, Luxborough Lane, Chigwell, Essex
Saturday 24th 2004 Play-off Semi-Final, ko 11am

 (White/Blue)      (Blue/White)
       4-5-1	   4-4-2

      (0)  1	  (0)  1
Everton win 6-5 on penalties after extra time.

Tommy Forecast	 1 Sean Lake
Philip Ifil	 2 Stephen Wynne
Mark Wright(C)	 3 Patrick Boyle
Stuart Lewis	 4 Sean Wright
Tommy Welch	 5 Mark Hughes(C)
Charlie Lee	 6 Laurence Wilson
Andy Barcham	 7 Christian Seargeant
Jack Maghoma	 8 James Harris
Scott Thyer	 9 Paul Hopkins
Jamie O'Hara	 10Andrew Fowler
Charlie Daniels	 11Scott Phelan

Danny Stevens(9) 12James Vaughan(9)
David Button	 13
Chris Riley      14Victor Anichebe(10)
Simon Dawkins    15John Irving
Claude Seanla(7) 16Lee Molyneux
  		 17John Paul Kissock(11)

Scorers - Wright 116 Mins. Vaughan 120Mins.

Booked - Harris -kicking ball away, Lee - foul

On a very warm morning with the sun shining down and most of the large crowd in shirt-sleeves, the winners of one of the northern groups played against the runners up of group D in the south.

Spurs lined up with Lee and Welch at the back flanked by Ifil at right back and Wright at left. The central midfield trio of Maghoma, Lewis and O'Hara had Barcham wide on the right with Daniels on the left leaving Thyer up front on his only. This is not a formation I have seen Spurs start with but they have used it during games and I thought it surrendered the initiative to the visitors.

Spurs started the first half attacking the South goal but Forecast was the first keeper to touch the ball when the lively Hopkins fired in from the right with Barcham replying with an effort just wide. The first half went quickly with most of the play in the central third as Spurs tried to pass their way through against tough tackling while the Toffees played longer balls for their front two of Hopkins and Fowler to chase. The visitors tactics were the more effective as defending from the front meant that the strikers caused the back line to make mistakes which resulted in chances with Forecast having to make a number of saves while Lake at the other end only had one shot on target to deal with. With Seargeant hitting the crossbar and Wright making a goal line saving tackle from Hopkins I thought that we were happy to go in level.

The second half started with Danny Stevens replacing Thyer playing on the right of the midfield with Barcham up front. The tactics changed a little with the ball being played longer more than in the first half as Jimmy Neighbour pushed the lads forward more and for a short period put the visitors on the back foot. They still posed a threat with quick breaks out of defence which with our defence pushing up led to a few dangerous moments as Seargeant hit the foot of the post from 30 yards.

Chances were also coming at the other end as Barcham had a shot saved and Stevens had the ball taken off his toe as he shaped to shoot 10 yds out. Forecast was still the busier of the two keepers with pressure put on him at dead ball situations forcing him to punch out a lot of the time. It was getting to be more end to end stuff but with the visitors having more end product. The pace of the game did not drop which with the heat not seeming to affect either side until the Everton coach replaced his two strikers who had been doing so much chasing up front that it must have tired them out. The two subs came on wearing the wrong shirts and had to swap them before the Ref allowed them to continue which was the only light relief we had on the day.

Goal-less at full time, the match went into extra time with Spurs defending the North goal. The work-rate continued to be high with both teams playing more longer balls to save legs which allowed for more breakaways. Spurs looked to have the legs with the Blues pressuring from dead ball situations as we moving into the last period. Seanla came on for Barcham and Stevens pushed up more in support while Hughes pushed up for the visitors. Spurs came close on a couple of occasions with last ditch tackles on Daniels and Seanla keeping us out while goal line clearances from Lee, O'Hara and Daniels with Hughes heading onto the crossbar kept the tempo up.

Finally the deadlock was broken when Spurs won a corner on the right. O'Hara's short corner came out to Lewis who had his effort saved and the follow-up from Stevens blocked on the line with the ball coming out to Wright some 25 yds out. He hit a low shot that went through the crowd into the net. Everton came back in search of the equaliser which always looked possible despite some good defending and as we moved into injury time a long ball was headed out only to be headed forward again to Vaughan who with his back to goal 12 yds out produced an overhead kick with caught out the keeper to send the tie into penalties.

1.Lee netted to the keepers right.Hughes shot was saved to the keepers left.1-0
2.O'Hara put his to the left.Wright put his to the right.2-1
3.Ifil hit his low to the left. Boyle put his to the right3-2
4.Daniels put his to the left.Lake beat fellow keeper Forecast to his right.4-3
5.Lewis hit his shot wide.Seargeant hit his past the keepers left hand. 4-4
6.Stevens scored inside the left post. Wynne went down the middle.5-5
7.Seanla saved down the middle. Wilson hit his low to the right.5-6

It was a great effort from the U-17 lads some of whom are still school boys and against what is a strong side who will play the winners of the Blackburn v Villa tie. They were always under pressure but held out and nearly got a result. I would have liked to have seen them play with two up front as I think it allowed them to build from the back as was shown by the fact that the keeper had very little to do. The lads finished the season with a great run of results to take them into these play-offs and I will look forward to seeing them next season.


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