November 8, 2009

07/11/09 Tottenham Hotspur U18s 6-0 MK Dons U18s, Spurs Lodge

Another small crowd (made up mostly of parents and friends) at Spurs Lodge for this game. On paper, it looked like a simple game for Spurs – MK Dons’ record before this game read P10WOD3L7. Last season we beat them 6-0, with Obika, Townsend and Mason, now all out on loan, getting on the scoresheet.

Inglethorpe again went with a 4-1-4-1 formation, with Nicholson sat just in front of our defence. It was good to see Durojaiye back in the side after suffering a head injury that required a medical helicopter to land on one of the other pitches the last time he played (againt Birmingham). Just the one “overage” player this week (Blackwood). Presumably we felt that we had enough to win against MK without the likes of Smith, Cox, Butcher, Parrett, and Bostock being involved (or perhaps there are loans pending/behind-closed-doors friendlies this week?).

Butler (17)
Waller-Lassen (16) Durojaiye (17) Byrne (17) Francis-Angol (16)
Nicholson (17)
Fredericks (17) Carroll (17) Kane © (16) McBride (17)
Oyenuga (16)

Subs:
Blackwood (18) for McBride, 58.
O’Neill (18) for Nicholson, 67.
Pritchard (16) for Fredericks, 73.

Not used:
Ranieri (17)
M’Poku (17)

Spurs started slowly and, whilst we struggled to find a pattern of play, the passing was generally neat and tidy, and MK Dons weren’t exactly threatening in their 4-5-1 formation. Tom Carroll, getting a start in central midfield, was inititally getting totally bypassed, and he looked nervous. He had a chance to settle those nerves early on when put through on goal, but he fired well over with his right.

Spurs started to get a foothold, and carved out a couple of chances – the ball was flashed just beyond Harry Kane in the box, whilst Paul McBride was put in down the left, but couldn’t find a finish. Carroll started to show some nice touches and a good weight of pass with his left foot, and began to demand the ball.

Zaine Francis-Angol was getting some joy on the left, coming forward frequently, and was basically untested defensively. The right-winger for MK Dons, Igor Coronado, had a few nice touches, but is very small and slightly built, and struggled to get the beating of our strong left-back.

The opening goal came after some good play down the right from Fredericks. The ball eventually broke to Kudus Oyenuga in the box, and he smashed the ball in low to the right of the keeper with his right foot – a crisp finish.

From then on, it was all Spurs, and we hit the post shortly afterwards when Oyenuga’s header from a corner beat the keeper. The second goal came when Francis-Angol took on his man and was fouled in the box. Captain Harry Kane stepped up confidently, and planted the ball high into the keeper’s right-hand corner. He is becoming known for missing penalties, so it was nice to see him score one.

Jesse Waller-Lassen, predominantly a midfield player, linked well on the right with Fredericks and, after some good interplay between the two, he brought a good save out of the MK Dons keeper. Fredericks was then played in by Kane, but he couldn’t finish with his weaker left foot.

The third goal came at the start of the second half. Oyenuga beat the offside trap, confidently rounded the keeper, and cockily chipped the ball into the top of the net from about 2 yards! His finish was the equivalent of bending down and heading it over the line.

Paul McBride picked up a knock, and limped off, with Anton Blackwood coming on. He moved to right-back, with Jesse Waller-Lassen pushed out to the left of midfield.

Tom Carroll, who had grown into the game and showed plenty of nice touches, got a well-deserved goal shortly after. Fed by Oyenuga, he cut back on to his left, beating a defender with ease, and curled a firm finish over the keeper’s shoulder from just inside the box. All of his team mates celebrated with him – a popular guy it seems.

Harry Kane then won himself a penalty but, this time, his strike was far too predictable, and the goalkeeper saved it. Perhaps he should have given the ball to Oyenuga, who was on a hat-trick. I believe Kane has now missed four penalties this season!

A worrying moment minutes later – a loose ball prompted a 50/50 challenge, which Nicholson certainly didn’t shirk. Both players seemed to have good intentions, but the MK Dons player went over the top of the ball and caught Nicholson in the face. He was clearly in agony, and the physios sprinted on shouting “stay still”, and there was an ominous silence as it seemed he could be seriously injured. He was substituted, but thankfully was on his feet and holding an ice pack to his cheek on the bench after a few minutes.

His replacement, Chace O’Neill came over to the right of midfield, with Fredericks moving into the centre. Kane dropped back into the holding role.

Kudus Oyenuga wrapped up a fine hat-trick, with a powerful finish into the top of the net with his left from the left hand side of the penalty area. It was an excellent goal, and displayed a good variety of finishing for the 16-year old.

Alex Pritchard, a debutant and by far the smallest player on the pitch, came on for Ryan Fredericks, who had had another good game. Pretty much his first involvement was a shot that cannoned off the bar.

Oyenuga seemed to pull a thigh muscle, but struggled into the box as an attack developed down the left. The ball eventually broke to Harry Kane, who tried an overhead kick. The ball looped up awkwardly, and landed sharply over the goalkeeper to make it 6-0.

Spurs finished the game with nine and a half men! Oyenuga limped off, and Carroll was struggling on with a knock from an earlier tackle. However, we still carved out chances, and O’Neill had an excellent opportunity one-on-one, which the keeper did well to save. MK Dons couldn’t take advantage of the numerical advantage, and lacked an attacking edge without top scorer Charlie Collins.

Butler – was barely tested, but never seems to take the ball cleanly, and has issues with his kicking. A very vocal goalkeeper, who gives plenty of encouragement to his team mates. 6/10

Waller-Lassen – the first time I’d seen him play at full-back, and he got forward very well. Difficult to judge his defensive qualities, as they were rarely tested, but he wasn’t beaten too often. Looked equally lively when he moved over to the left. 7/10

Durojaiye – tends to rely on his physical attributes a little too much for my liking, and needs to work on his reading of the game. 6/10

Byrne – quiet afternoon for Nathan, and I do feel sorry for him playing at centre back regularly. He seems to have all the necessary qualities of a right-back, but he’s playing here due to lack of numbers. Brought the ball out well several times, but also got caught ball-watching on a couple of occasions. 6/10

Francis-Angol – another promising game for a player that seems to be steadily improving. Still capable of defensive errors, but is keen to get forward in support. 7/10

Nicholson – steadying influence who is showing signs of becoming a very useful holding player. Good distribution. 7/10

Fredericks – constant threat, more through pace than tricks, though, and could do with adding that to his game (he should spend some time with M’Poku!). Puts in some useful crosses, favouring to feed them in in front of defenders. 8/10

Kane – another steady game with plenty of good passes and neat touches. 7/10

Carroll – after a slow start he showed plenty of good technique. At one point he brought down a difficult ball before curling a beautifully weighted reverse pass with his left foot in the same movement. Will struggle physically as he’s very small, but deserves another start in midfield on this showing. 7/10

McBride – very quiet, struggled to have an impact on the game. 6/10

Oyenuga – excellent finishing, but needs to work on showing more aggression when battling with defenders. He also seems to be really quite negative (and grumpy!) in the way he talks to his team-mates, and I noticed that he celebrated his hat-trick goal on his own… Compare this to the likes of Byrne and Butler who are constantly shouting advice, praise and constructive criticism. 8/10

O’Neill – showed some reasonable touches, but also missed a one-on-one and had a bit of a naughty “coming together” with an MK Dons player.


Blackwood – keen to get forward, and untested defensively.

Pritchard – showed signs of promise, although he’s very small. Hit the bar with a good chance.

Overall, it was good to see such an inexperienced side win so convincingly, but MK Dons looked very poor. Strangely (given the scoreline), their goalkeeper Ashley Harrison looked their best player, claiming corners well, and also shot-stopping on a number of occasions.

Worth mentioning the referee at this point. He was very fair with the players, giving them plenty of warning and often shouting “keep it clean” when it looked like a tackle was about to come in. At one point it looked like he could lose control, but generally he did an excelleny job.

Spurs Od report.

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