18/07/13 Kingstonian 0-4 Tottenham Hotspur XI, Kingsmeadow
Jordan Archer (20)
Ryan Fredericks (20) Dominic Ball (17) Kevin Stewart (19) Adam Smith (22)
Ruben Lameiras (18) Giancarlo Gallifuoco (19) Simon Dawkins (25)
Cristian Ceballos (20) Jon Obika (23) Ken McEvoy (18)
Shaq Coulthirst (18) for Obika, 46.
Laste Dombaxe (18) for McEvoy, 46.
Aaron McEneff (18) for Lameiras, 46.
Jon Miles (20) for Archer, 46.
Roman Michael-Percil (18) for Dawkins, 60.
Alex McQueen (18) for Gallifuoco, 61.
Darren McQueen (18) for Stewart, 65.
There was a slightly frantic start to the game, before Spurs started to control possession. A nice early cross-field pass from Cristian Ceballos found Adam Smith, but as he looked for McEvoy up the line, the young Irish winger was just starting to break forward, and Smith played the pass straight into touch.
Gallifuoco then did exactly the same on the other side of the pitch (right in front of his coaches!), perhaps with less of an excuse.
Simon Dawkins, now back with us after his loans with San Jose Earthquakes and Aston Villa, looked tidy and controlled early on, his first touch precise and close to his body, allowing him time on the ball.
The tall Australian, Gallifuoco, was robbed in midfield, but Smith was there to get his body between his man and the ball, drawing a free kick.
Shortly after, a neat turn by Ceballos was followed by a pass to Gallifuoco – he found Ceballos again, but the Spaniard crossed with his weaker right and it was over-hit; for a second it looked as though it might dip in the far corner, but eventually it sailed over the bar.
Dominic Ball conceded a free kick to the left of the box, but it was set up for a shot that was struck wildly over.
Spurs made it 0-1 when McEvoy started a break, found Obika, and got into the box to head home Obika’s well-flighted cross at the near post.
The next piece of action saw Gallifuoco play an excellent pass inside the full back – perfectly weighted for Smith to run on to. He was fouled as he tried to progress, but the resulting free kick came to nothing.
Dawkins then showed his neat touch again, before Ceballos took the ball from him and ran at the defence. As they backed off, he tried to find Fredericks on the right, but his pass was telegraphed and easily intercepted.
Another driving run from Smith ended with his cross being blocked. It fell nicely for either McEvoy or Dawkins to strike, but they got in the way of one another and Kingstonian cleared.
Smith intelligently stabbed a ball over the full back with the outside of his foot for McEvoy to charge after – he kept the pass in, cut back onto his right foot, and found Obika, but the big striker couldn’t create space for a crossing opportunity and lost possession.
Kingstonian then broke forward, but an inviting low cross was blocked by Fredericks and went out for a corner. Spurs seemed to struggle when defending set pieces – much like the first team. Unlike the first team, though, they opted to have a man on at least one of the posts.
It was 0-2 when Dominic Ball received the ball at centre back, stepped out confidently towards halfway, and slipped a pass to Obika. He strode forward and, as the defender backed off, he struck a shot which took a wicked deflection and looped over the goalkeeper, who had no chance.
Smith then carried the ball forward yet again and played in McEvoy who sent another cross in, but it was cleared at the far post.
Lameiras won possession in midfield, nipping in at just the right time. He found McEvoy, who beat his man and got a cross in with his left foot – it was met by Ceballos who took a touch, and had a low effort deflected just wide. Perhaps a first time shot may have been a better option.
Gallifuoco caught his opposing number 4 with a clumsy tackle, which he swiftly apologised for – a bit of a clash of the titans, the two tallest players on the pitch colliding.
Ceballos and Dawkins worked an opening with some nice interplay in a tight area, but Ceballos’ end product was disappointing – a common theme of the evening.
Ceballos then beat his marker with ease, but curled a right-footed shot well over the crossbar.
Soon after, Obika picked up the ball midway through the Kingstonian half, ghosted past a man as Ceballos had done just moments prior, but dragged his effort on goal tamely wide.
A nicely-played cross-field from Lameiras found Smith, who juggled the ball – showboating somewhat! – but his cross was too strong.
At the other end, Kingstonian worked a great position for their right back, but he tried to ambitiously toe-poke a long range effort into the far corner, and got it all wrong.
Lameiras showcased his passing ability with a nice ball to McEvoy with the outside of his foot just before the half-time whistle went.
As is typical in these games, there were plenty of half-time subs: Miles, McEneff, Dombaxe, and Coulthirst came on for Archer, Lameiras, McEvoy and Obika for Spurs.
I stood behind the dugout during the second half, and it was fascinating to hear the vocal input from Sherwood, Ramsey and Ferdinand. Whilst all three were quite critical of their players – Ferdinand especially with Coultirst (“don’t be a midfielder”), Sherwood with Gallifuoco, and all three with Ceballos (Sherwood: “Cristian, we need you”, Ramsey: “Cristian – you have to pass that”) – the feedback was all constructive, with instructions given of what they expected. This was very refreshing, as I can clearly remember the days of Clive Allen just yelling constant expletives.
It was also funny to see a familiar face as first team coach for Kingstonian – Martin Tyler! I had no idea that he coached them, but apparently he has done so for a while.
Gallifuoco played Coulthirst in with an intelligent pass behind which was only half blocked, Coulthirst was on to the loose ball, and found Ceballos in space on the right. He had a shooting opportunity with his right foot, but instead cut on to his left, and it was blocked.
Simon Dawkins – now playing on the left of a front three – made it 3-0 when Smith played him in, and he finished low from an angle. He was immediately replaced by Roman Michael-Percil.
Alex McQueen replaced Gallifuoco and took his place in central midfield – I’ve only ever seen McQueen play at either right back or centre back, so it was interesting to see him go in there, but it didn’t last long.
Aaron McEneff, a holding midfielder signed from Derry last year, had an effort from range which wasn’t too far off the mark.
Kingstonian probably had their best chance when they scrambled a header just over from a corner as Spurs again struggled with a set piece.
At this point Chris Ramsey instructed Ceballos to “keep moving the ball – around the box”, seemingly wanting him to try to draw players out of position. The Spaniard has a tendency to hang on to the ball for too long.
Dombaxe lost the ball in midfield, but Alex McQueen’s pace allowed him to get back and hold up the attack, and we forced Kingstonian to take on a shot in a less promising position, which was well wide.
Stewart went off after a tough tackle, replaced by Darren McQueen – his cousin, Alex, moved to centre back at this point.
Smith then limped off with what seemed to be a minor knock; as there were no subs to replace him, we went to three at the back, with Ball flanked by the very attack-minded duo of Fredericks and McQueen.
Ceballos drove forward and had an opportunity again to shoot with his right, but wanted it on his left foot. As he cut on to his left, the chance was lost, but it came back out to him and he finally hit an effort on his right foot. With bodies in front of him by now, it was blocked, and Ramsey at this point yelled that he should have passed the ball.
Roman Michael-Percil, who signed professional terms recently, whipped in a dipping shot from the left, but it was a few yards wide.
Ceballos finally got his goal when he picked up Fredericks’ back-heel and hit a low shot which struck either Coulthirst or a defender on the way in. Ceballos claimed it and seems to have been credited with it, despite some banter with Coulthirst post-match!
Jordan Archer – largely untested, but did what he needed to do.
Ryan Fredericks – as ever, better going forward than defensively, but made a timely block and was generally solid.
Dominic Ball – composed in possession, and seemed better positionally than the last time I saw him.
Kevin Stewart – calm defender who reads the game well. Went off after a strong 50/50 challenge left him shouting in pain.
Adam Smith – swashbuckling as ever. Bombs forward and reminds me of Stephen Carr. His understanding with McEvoy improved as the first half went on. A shame that he was playing left back, as I was hoping he’d be Walker’s back-up this season, and as much time at right back as possible would surely be beneficial.
Ruben Lameiras – excellent in possession, gave a ‘smooth’ passing feel to our game. We lost a bit of our midfield flow and control with his half-time departure.
Giancarlo Gallifuoco – hit and miss; very clumsy, conceding lots of free kicks, but also some intelligent and difficult passes which were played well.
Simon Dawkins – looked one of the more accomplished and calm players but, at 25, you’d probably expect that.
Cristian Ceballos – people were getting excited about him as he’s a flashy, eye-catching player, but in my opinion he mostly flattered to deceive last night, and wasted most of his good positions. I’ve seen him have much better games.
Jon Obika – mostly on the periphery, but his cross for McEvoy’s headed goal was really excellent.
Ken McEvoy – a constant threat throughout the half, but I’m reliably informed that Sherwood berated him for not tracking back – turning to the players on the bench and saying “see, that’s what he’s got to learn, he doesn’t track back”.
Jon Miles – a couple of minor handling errors, but mostly solid.
Shaq Coulthirst – didn’t manage to get too involved, and was being berated by Ramsey for dropping too deep.
Laste Dombaxe – seems to have developed into a good all-round midfield player, but was a little loose with some of his passing.
Aaron McEneff – composed and tidy in possession, I look forward to seeing more of him.
Roman Michael-Percil – didn’t see too much of the ball, but added pace and a sense of directness after Dawkins departed.
Alex McQueen – his excellent recovery pace can sometimes make up for positional indiscipline, but I do think he has some potential.
Darren McQueen – didn’t see much of the ball at all.
EDIT: Highlights available here.