Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List.
NI Milk Cup 3rd match
Tuesday 24th July 2012, 7pm
SPURS v OTAGO
(All Navy) (All Gold)
Spurs:- Priestley, Vincent-Young(Campbell-Young 36), Ogilvie(C), Lyons-Foster, Walkes,(Amos 48) Miller, Winks, Harrison, Oduwa(Goddard 50), Walton-Owens(Pritchard 50), Sonupe
Scorers:- Harrison 15, Sonupe 34, Miller 70, Winks 70+12
Otago:-Tucker(Glendining 70+1), Schwarz(Wilkie 58), Meglinski(Passang 66), Mitchell, Kelley, Attwood, Cochran, Breslin, Fearn, Marshall(Di Loreto 36), Moore
It had been a mainly dry day but there was a long spell of rain leading up to the game. Alex Inglethorpe was in charge of the team for the first time. Spurs' boys played against fellow strugglers Otago.
Spurs had Priestley in goal behind Ogilvie and Lyons-Foster with Vincent-Young on the right and Walton-Owens on the left. Sitting in front of the centre backs was Walkes who was behind the other two midfielders Miller and Winks. Oduwa was up front with support from Harrison and Sonupe on either side of him.
Spurs kicked off the first half attacking to my right, and settled into a pattern of controlled football, not taking too many chancey passes, passing backwards if a pass was not on rather than a difficult forward one.
Walkes sat in front of the back line providing extra defensive cover, but also provoking the Spurs attacks. Otago themselves played a more open game which allowed the more skillful Spurs players the space to operate.
It took a while before the first strike at goal was made and then it was a weak effort from Sonupe easily saved by Marshall. Harrison received a through ball that found him in space in a central position that allowed him to advance on the keeper and slot home the first goal.
Otago responded with a long range effort from Mitchell that Priestley palmed away at the far post. Priestley then saved from Moore before Oduwa got down the right and crossed for Winks to hit the outside of the far post with a low drive. Kelley's shot came off a defender and fell nicely for Tucker who brought a good save from Priestley. Otago were made to pay for that miss when Winks put in a high ball that the keeper failed to catch, and the ball dropped for Sonupe to put away and double the lead.
Both sides made a change for the start of the second half. Spurs replaced Vincent-Young with Campbell-Young at right back while Otago changed the keeper.
Early in the half Schwarz suffered a bad head injury at a free kick which held up the game for a while until he could be moved. His replacement drew a save from the keeper as soon as the game was restarted and Moore fired over.
Spurs replaced Walkes with Amos as the midfield began to take control. Winks saw his weak effort saved and Inglethorpe saw the opportunity to make more changes with Pritchard replacing Walton-Owens at left back. Goddard went into midfield in place of Oduwa as the team went to 4-4-2.
Moore got behind the defence and as Priestley rushed out, the Otago striker lobbed the ball over him only to see it cleared by Lyons-Foster getting back. Kelley fired over before Pritchard managed to create a chance for himself on the left side but shot over. Miller made the game safe with a run and shot.
With the game moving into the added time for the injury to Schwarz, Wilkie fired over for Otago and Harrison did the same for Spurs. In the dying seconds Amos found Winks at the far post. It looked like the little midfielder had missed his chance, taking a touch to control the ball, but he stopped it going out of play and moved it onto his right foot to fire in a fourth goal from the tightest of angles.
This win moved Spurs up to 10th and a place in the Vase semi-finals. More inportant was that they played more like a team and not a group of individuals. The passing was better and movement off the ball provided space which was lacking in previous games. They are beginning to come together.
At the draw for the Vase semi-finals, Spurs were drawn to face CSKA Moscow who won their first game 6-0 and then lost the next two. Co. Down play Co. Londonderry in the other semi. The Spurs match kicks off at 5pm tomorrow (25.07.12) in Castlerock.
Here are Ray's other reports on this tournament:-
Spurs youngsters to take part in the Northern Ireland Milk Cup
Co. Armagh 1 Spurs (U-17s) 1 - Spurs' penalty miss costs two points
Spurs (U-17s) 1 South Coast Strikers 7 - Spurs' lads trounced
Spurs (U-17s) 1 CSKA Moscow 2 - Russian strength wins it
Spurs (U-17s) 2 Co. Londonderry 1 - Spurs boys win their 3rd/4th place final
Ray's reflections on the tournament
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