September 3, 2011
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Jack Barthram (17) Kevin Stewart (17) Daniel Day (17) Grant Ward (16*)
Jack Munns (17) Ronnie Hawkins (17)
Freddie Champion (17) Lee Angol (17) Rueben Lameiras (16*)
Shaq Coulthirst (16)
Kenneth McEvoy (16) for Freddie Champion, 46 minutes.
Victor Zapata-Caceido (16*) for Rueben Lameires, 46 minutes.
Sam Smith (16*) for Ronnie Hawkins, 83minutes.
*age unknown, so best estimate given.
The Spurs Academy were sent back down to earth with a bump this morning, following Wednesday’s 7-1 win against Inter. Of those that started on Wednesday, only Day, Barthram, and Stewart remained, whilst Hawkins, who was a sub in that game, started this one.
The rest of today’s team was made up of a mixture of second years (Munns, Champion, Angol) and first years (Lameiras, Ward, Coulthirst), for whom it is still early in their apprenticeships. In goal was Jonathan Miles, who carried on to a third year of his apprenticeship in the summer.
Daniel Day started in an unfamiliar centre-back position, and it took him a few minutes to settle early on. There were early openings at either end – Stewart misjudging a bouncing ball allowing Lee to get in but head over the bar, and Ward putting in a dangerous cross which was well defended. West Ham took the lead when they played through our deep midfield and defence worryingly easily, before 16-year old Kieran Sadlier turned well and slotted his shot into the bottom left corner.
There was then a stoppage whilst Declan Hunt, who injured himself in fouling Munns, had to be replaced by Lamarr Hurley.
Ronnie Hawkins was looking useful in midfield – picking out Grant Ward with a superb pass, which he failed to control, and also working well as a defensive shield. Angol ran from the right touchline across the penalty box, but his lay-off to Munns resulted in a wayward shot, well over the bar. A firm Lameiras effort from distance was then well blocked, before the game went into a very congested, cagey spell, where the two 4-2-3-1 formations seemed to cancel one another out.
With five minutes to go until the break, things suddenly became more open. First, Barthram made a bustling run to get himself into a great position, before wasting his crossing opportunity, before Ronnie Hawkins against switched play brilliantly to Freddie Champion, who found Barthram in space, but his low cross into the box was stabbed clear. Champion then played a cross-field, and Ward found Coulthirst, who couldn’t quite make space for himself to shoot, and the move fizzled out. At the other end, Dominic Vose overlapped well, and Miles made a good stop at his near post.
Spurs changed things at half-time, taking off the ineffective Champion and Lameiras, and replacing them with first years Kenneth McEvoy and Victor Zapata-Caceido. They played much higher up the pitch, McEvoy to the right and Zapata-Caceido to the left, with Angol a little deeper in more of a 4-3-3. Spurs started the half strongly, and Coulthirst had a superb run down the left channel – he didn’t have too many options, but a ball across the face of goal seemed the best bet. Instead he tried to sneak it in at the near post, and the goalkeeper saved. Hawkins again switched play beautifully to find Barthram, who drove forward and found Zapata-Caceido, who had a shot deflected wide.
Blair Turgott, West Ham’s right winger, who had looked the best attacking player on display, ended the game as a contest on 63 minutes. He turned well, made space for himself, and found the back of the net from outside the box. The ball didn’t find the corner, but it had enough power to easily beat Miles.
On 67 minutes, Day intercepted well and charged forward, finding Coulthirst. He drove forward well and this time he did smash it across the face of goal, but Zapata-Caceido was unable to get on the end of it.
It was 3-0 on 70 minutes, and this one was all down to Miles. He rushed out of goal to meet a loose ball but, presumably wary of picking the ball up on the edge of the box, let the ball run past him. Stewart made a desperate lunging challenge on the eventual scorer, but the ball fell kindly into his path and he tapped home from a couple of yards out.
Spurs nearly pulled a goal back when a typically powerful Munns run ended in him being brought down, and Hawkins drew a good save from the goalkeeper. Minutes later, a Stewart effort from the edge of the box landed at the feet of Zapata-Caceido, whose shot was blocked. It came back out to Stewart, but he fired wide and over.
It was 4-0 with ten minutes remaining, and it was Miles again who made a mess of things. He came out to the edge of the box to try to deal with a high ball that Stewart and a forward were underneath. He missed the ball totally and, as it popped up off the striker’s head, it ran kindly and left him with a tap-in.
Sam Smith replaced Hawkins in midfield as Spurs searched for a consolation. Lee Angol’s high shot was tipped over the bar, and Sam Smith found Coulthirst with a firm pass to the edge of the area. Coulthirst laid the ball off to Zapata-Caceido, who couldn’t beat the keeper from a great position.
Jonathan Miles 3 – I don’t like to be too critical of young players, but this was a bad day at the office for Jonathan. He made a couple of decent saves in the first half, but there are question marks over whether Turgott’s strike should have beaten him, and his two blunders in the second half gave West Ham a scoreline that really flattered them.
Jack Barthram 6 – Put in a typically hard-working display, and did well defensively. Will be a little disappointed with his delivery having got into some decent areas.
Kevin Stewart 6 – Made a slight misjudgement early on, but was otherwise calm and composed. Uses the ball well from the back.
Daniel Day 6 – After a slightly iffy start he settled in well, and worked nicely with Stewart. Won headers despite being significantly shorter than Elliot Lee (who had, incidentally, scored a hat-trick in each of his previous three league games!).
Grant Ward 5 – Struggled a little defensively against the excellent Blair Turgott, but got forward well in support. I look forward to seeing more of him.
Jack Munns 5 – Worked hard, and put in some import challenged, but his passing was quite erratic.
Ronnie Hawkins 6 – When he’s good, he’s very good – his vision and passing are to be admired, and he is a useful defensive screen – but his head seems to drop quite easily at times.
Freddie Champion 4 – Dallied on the ball too often, which was a shame as he has a decent touch and seems to have a reasonable range of passing.
Lee Angol 4 – Struggled today. In the first half we needed him to pull deeper to receive the ball and help link play, but he always seemed to be on the periphery.
Rueben Lameiras 4 – My first look at him, and he didn’t particularly impress today. Seems to have a good touch, but was unable to impose himself on a decent full-back.
Shaq Coulthirst 5 – Lively as ever, but unable to get a clear sight of goal. Had one chance to score, but really should have gone across the keeper.
Kenneth McEvoy 5 – Struggled to get the better of Daniel Potts.
Victor Zapata-Caceido 5 – Had a couple of openings where he may have done a bit better.
Sam Smith – showed some composure and assured touches/sensible passing.
Not a day to remember for the young Spurs side, but certainly not as one-sided as the score suggests.