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Middlesbrough U-18s v Spurs U-18s, 22.08.09
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List.

           FA Premier Academy League
     Rockcliffe Park, Hurworth Place, Darlington
         Saturday 22nd August 2009, 11am

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

            3(3)                  2(1)
Boro':- Team unknown

Coach:- M. Proctor

Scorers:- Williams 11, 16, Gibson 32

Booked:- No.15(Trip) 88

Spurs:- Butler, Nicholson, Byrne, Cox, Durojaiye(Carroll 68), Blackwood, Fredericks(Lancaster 58), Ekim(Parrett 39), Oyenuga, Kane(C), M'Poku

Coach:- A.Inglethorpe

Scorers:- Durojaiye 17, M'Poku 81

Booked:- Blackwood (Holding) 70

Referee:- P. Thompson

As there were no teamsheets available I cannot give the home side or our unused subs. The opening game of the season was played on a sunny morning with gusts of wind blowing in from the west which meant that some high balls would stop in mid-air making it a little difficult to gauge the flight at times.

Spurs lined up with Durojaiye and Blackwood at the back and Nicholson at right back with Byrne on the left. Ekim and Cox started in the centre of midfield with Fredericks on the right and M'Poku on the left. Kane started up front with Oyenuga.

Spurs kicked off attacking the West end but soon found that the home side were more than a match for them in most parts of the pitch. They were stronger and quicker off the mark as well as better organised. Spurs did produce a couple of early chances when Ekim fired over and a move starting with Oyenuga running at the defence, before passing inside to Kane who played in M'Poku on the left side which saw his effort saved.

Spurs found themselves a goal down when the ball was worked through the right channel by Williams who played a one-two which left him clear inside the area to slot past Butler. Spurs conceded a second when Blackwood gave away a free kick near the right side-line just inside his half. When the kick was taken quickly down the line the Spurs players were caught out and Williams headed in at the far post.

Spurs got a goal back almost immediately following a corner. Cox picked up the clearance on the right and put the ball back into the area. The home side were slow to get out playing Blackwood onside. His touch fell to Durojaiye who volleyed into the net. Four minutes later Spurs had a chance to draw level when Oyenuga was brought down in the area. Kane stepped up - hit the penalty too close to the keeper - and the rebound was cleared for a corner. Another chance went begging when M'Poku rose clear at the near post to meet Ekim's inswinging corner only to head it the wrong side of the post.

Spurs were losing out in the middle of the park with Fredericks showing his inexperience and Ekim playing like Huddlestone. Oyenuga had an effort saved and Butler had to make a save. When Spurs failed to clear the ball was crossed and after a scramble at the far post full back Gibson poked the ball home to restore their two goal lead. Fredericks finally got free down the right and his cross found Oyenuga clear at the near post. His glancing header went wide of the far post. Inglethorpe replaced Ekim with Parrett to strengthen the midfield area but that did not stop the opposition having a couple of efforts that went wide and another land on top of the crossbar.

Within five minutes of the second half Middlesbrough struck the crossbar again as the ball was fired in from the left. Butler saved Williams' free kick at the expense of a corner. After the home side had another chance fly over Parrett saw his effort cleared off the line. After Butler had made another save Spurs made another change bringing on Lancaster for Fredericks to support the strikers.

Byrne fired wide and after Boro had had another chance' Oyenuga played in M'Poku to shoot wide. Carroll came on in place of Durojaiye to play in midfield with Kane dropping into the back four. Blackwood was booked after he pulled back Hawkins when he was clean through. Butler saved the resulting free kick and had to make another save after Byrne gave the ball away.

As Spurs were now pushing forward more, Proctor took off a striker to put an extra player in midfield to close out the game. He then saw his side start to drop off and defend deeper which allowed Spurs to come forward. Parrett saw his free kick saved before Oyenuga played in M'Poku to fire low into the left hand corner. Gibson did get up to put the ball wide from a free kick but Spurs were pressing for a goal. After Parrett fired over Carroll was tripped driving through the centre by the sub who was booked. With time running out the home keeper had to make saves from Lancaster and Kane.

Middlesborough were deserved winners but Spurs had their chances. Ekim is very much like Huddlestone in that he can pass over any distance with vision but is weak defensively and needs a minder. We looked better when Parrett replaced him. Our two central defenders are not strong and Blackwood does not look as good as some of the gooners' rejects we have acquired before. This was one of the better youth teams and we ran them close which gives hope as Inglethorpe has not had a long time to work with them so far.

Next Saturday we entertain Man Utd at the Lodge which should be another tough game. This will be followed a week later when West Ham are the visitors.


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