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Spurs U-21s v Man Utd U-21s, 27.10.12
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]

        Premier U-21 League 2012-3, Group 2
         Hotspur Way, Bulls Cross, Enfield
         Saturday 27th October 2012, 11am

          SPURS       v  MANCHESTER UNITED
       (All White)         (Red/Black)
          4-3-3               4-5-1

           4(1)                2(1) 

     Jonathan Miles   1  Sam Johnstone
    Ryan Fredericks   2  Freddie Veseli
      Jack Barthram   3  Sean McGinity
     Massimo Luongo   4  Tom Thorpe
       Dominic Ball   5  Michael Keane
    Kevin Stewart(C)  6  Michele Fornasier(C)
     Alex Pritchard   7  Larnel Cole
       Dean Parrett   8  Ryan Tunnicliffe
     Jonathan Obika   9  Joshua King
    Milos Veljkovic  10  Jesse Lingard
  Cristian Ceballos  11  Robbie Brady

Giancarlo Gallifouco 12  Chani Ekangenane
         Luke McGee  13  John Sutherland
     Nabil Bentaleb  14  Tyler Blackett
         (3)82Mins.      (4)82Mins.
Soulyemane Coulibaly 15  Reece James
                     16  Tom Lawrence

     Veljkovic 24        Lingard  16
     Ceballos  6         Lawrence 85
     Bentaleb  84
     Obika     85

     T. Sherwood         W. Joyce

Referee:- D. Woolford
Assistants:- A. Moody & S. Lewis
It was a cold windy morning with bright sunshine at the start of the game but the wind drove clouds over to allow a spot of rain. The wind did affect the game as it swept towards the east goal especially for the keepers who found kicks dropping vertically into the centre circle. With United playing in London tomorrow there were quite a few of their fans at the pitch side. Fergie was also sitting in the dug-out during the first half. Steffen Freund stood next to me for the second half.

Spurs lined up with Miles in goal behind Stewart and Ball with Fredericks at right back and Barthram on the left. Veljkovic protected the back four with Parrett and Luongo alongside him. Obika was the target up front with Ceballos and Pritchard supporting him. For some this was their third game in six days, having played Southampton U-21 on Monday and Wolfsburg U-19 on Wednesday.

Spurs defended the West End in the first half but Ceballos won the ball when United were moving the ball across the back from the kick-off, but shot straight at the keeper. United started the game keeping nine men behind the ball when Spurs had possession looking to break quickly with numbers at pace. This made them dangerous as Spurs pushed players up while moving the ball sideways looking for the right ball into the area.

An early break produced a corner from which Keane had a header cleared off the line by Barthram. Pritchard was played in down the left and he fired in a shot that hit the crossbar.

A ball out of defence found King on the right who got round the back and found Lingard near the penalty spot to drive home for the opening goal. Another break saw Tunnicliffe fire wide as United continued to look dangerous on the break.

Fredericks got down the right and won a corner with a shot that Johnstone saved at the near post. King ended a good run with a drive that was wide. Spurs equalised when Ceballos got down the left after a turnover and crossed for Veljkovic coming in un-marked from the right.

Brady fired over from a free kick before Obika put Luongo's cross wide. Tunnicliffe sent Brady away to hit the the outside of the near post for a corner. When the corner was not cleared it fell to King who saw his effort saved by Miles.

Parrett had two efforts that he fired wide and Barthram also drove wide having stayed up following a run down the left. Another break saw Miles save from Brady who had his follow up blocked for a corner. Brady was on hand to float a corner to the far post for McGinity to head wide. Fredericks got down the right but his effort was wide and Obika drove in from the left for a corner when Johnstone tipped it over. Miles saved from Tunnicliffe and Brady fired wide as the half ended.

United made a change for the second half as Lawrence replaced King. The change was good for Spurs as it eased pressure on the backline.

Obika had an early chance that was fired wide. In the second half Okiba became pivotal playing with his back to goal as he laid the ball off for Luongo to drive wide. Ceballos saw his free kick saved, following a foul on Pritchard by Tunnicliffe. Pritchard played in Cebellos with a cross-field ball but having got into the area his effort was blocked.

Pritchard again played in Ceballos, who this time stayed wide and put in a cross that Johnstone touched onto McGinity's head for a corner. The corner came out to Veljkovic who played in Luongo for an effort that was blocked. Spurs were keeping the pressure on the visitors who were not able to break as much as during the first half.

Spurs went in front when Pritchard played in Ceballos who advanced and slotted it past the advancing keeper. Ceballos got down the left and crossed for Obika to meet with a diving header that hit the ground and bounced over the bar. Obika fired wide just afterwards, before United won a corner from which Lingard drove over.

Miles saved from a free kick by Brady before Parrett played the ball into Pritchard who knocked it into the path of Ceballos running through to draw a save from Johnstone. Another United free kick saw Miles saving from Brady at his right post with Lawrence putting the rebound over the bar.

Spurs made their first change bringing on Bentaleb for Barthram while Thorpe had to be replaced by Blackett for United. The change affected the visitors' organisation as Spurs scored almost immediately. The ball was played into Obika on the edge of the area and his lay-off was driven low into the net by Bentaleb with his first touch of the game. Soon after the restart Spurs won the ball and Bentaleb played in Obika who held off his marker to score under the keeper.

From the restart Blackett was released down the right and his pass inside was met by Lawrence who drove it in from outside the area. That goal stopped Spurs from taking their foot of the pedal as they could not relax. Coulibaly came on for Pritchard to play on the left side and soon had a chance when he shot wide having been played in by Ceballos. Lingard drew a save from Miles from a cross by Blacklett in the dying seconds.

There were three goals in the space of two minutes in this match between Spurs and United. Such an event is so unlikely, but it has happened twice already this season with Spurs coming out on top both times. (The other of course was the Premier League game at Old Trafford on September 29th)

This game looked like it was going the same way as the previous meeting at Altrincham where United picked off Spurs on the break to win 2-1. That evening they had the experience of Fletcher and Evans in their side and the running up front of King. Today they only had King who was replaced at half-time. It is no coincidence that Spurs were better in the second half without having to contend with the threat of King on the break. Spurs' passing game finally broke down a stubborn defence to get the goals that their dominant possession warranted. It was good to see Luongo and Fredericks available to play from their loan clubs.

Two wins in a week have moved Spurs up to third in the group above United having inflicting on them their first defeat. We are now above Villa, who play twice next week, before we play group leaders Newcastle at Hotspur Way on Saturday morning. With a run of five games unbeaten we should be in the mood to avenge the opening day 6-4 defeat suffered at Newcastle. Spurs will have the problem of also playing the U-18 academy game at the same time which gives me the problem of which game to watch.


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