29/03/14 Liverpool U18s 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur U18s, Kirkby Academy
Liam Priestley (18)
Kyle Walker-Peters (16) Christian Maghoma (16) Cameron Carter-Vickers (16) Kane Vincent-Young (18)
Anton Walkes (17) Filip Lesniak (17) Lloyd Ross (17)
Joe Pritchard (17) Daniel Akindayini (18) Cy Goddard (16)
Shayon Harrison (16) for Lloyd Ross, 46.
Channing Cambell-Young (17) for Joe Pritchard, 67.
Armani Daly (15?) for Cy Goddard, 81.
I had a nightmare this morning – I was all set up ready to watch the game, only for some building works next door to knock my power out! Fortunately I have a very understanding girlfriend, who rescued me by pausing the match and letting me come over to pick up where I left off.
Spurs set up with a formation something between a 4-3-3, and a 4-1-2-2-1. Lesniak held in front of a back four, but it was fluid, and personnel changed positions throughout the game. When the subs were made, it became increasingly difficult to tell who was playing where.
In the opening minute young Liverpool winger Kent had a good touch on the left leading to a free kick which Liverpool played a cross-field pass. Ojo attempted a cross but it was blocked out for a corner, which Priestley claimed at the second attempt.
On 7 minutes, Akindayini switched to Walker-Peters who rampaged down the right but slightly over-hit his cross.
Goddard was fouled on the edge of the box on eight minutes and stepped up to take the kick himself – he hit it straight into the wall but did then manage to work a crossing opportunity, albeit the ball was cleared comfortably.
An unfortunate slip from Ross led to O’Hanlon curling an effort narrowly wide on 11 minutes.
Then, a fine delivery from Vincent -Young – cutting back onto his right in an advanced area – caused mayhem, but Pritchard was caught on his heels and perhaps could have got the finishing touch. It was cleared out for a corner which Goddard slightly over-hit.
Another good ball from Vincent-Young on 16 minutes – this time with his left – just evaded Goddard at the back post. Not to be outdone, Walker-Peters whipped in a cracker himself a couple of minutes later, but nobody attacked it.
Walker-Peters and Ross linked well to get the full back clear into an area to cross the ball, but it was an awkward ball for Pritchard to meet at the back post, and he couldn’t get his header anywhere near the target.
Lesniak’s shot was a weak one on the 21 minute mark – one of few shooting opportunities for Spurs.
A fantastic run from Ryan Kent from Liverpool’s left took him into the box, but Kyle Walker-Peters nipped in just in the nick of time to take it off his toes.
Liverpool then had a decent spell of possession where they moved the ball well but didn’t create anything clear-cut – much like a lot of Spurs’ possession play this season.
Maghoma played himself into trouble by letting the ball run across his body and then trying to beat the attacker; instead, he looped his clearance awkwardly into the air and had to head it clear.
Pritchard spread the play first time to Goddard but Akindayini gave up possession and Liverpool broke – Ojo drove forward and was fouled by Walkes; a foul he had to make. O’Hanlon struck the ball into the ball with his left.
From that move, Spurs went right up the other end with Walker-Peters yet again marauding forward, and Pritchard playing him in behind. The full-back’s cross was blocked for a corner, which Goddard took. Maghoma charged to meet it at the near post but a fantastically brave block led to the ball being cleared. The blocking player – Hart – stayed down, but play continued and Spurs carved out a fine chance for Akindayini with a fabulous cross from Walkes that the forward totally missed when in space.
With Hart back on his feet, play continued. Kent and Walker-Peters resumed their ongoing battle when Kent charged at him, but Walker-Peters battled back to win the ball and begin another Spurs attack – as he so often does.
On 32 minutes, Priestley played a poor pass out which gave Liverpool the ball and O’Hanlon should then have put Liverpool into the lead when he controlled Kent’s cross in space but hit his shot into the ground.
Kane Vincent-Young turned fabulously in the left back area and was fouled resulting in a free kick which Spurs took short, as usual. They rarely hit anything long, and only result to a clearance when truly necessary, preferring to play out from the back.
A cracking delivery from a free kick led to Akindayini heading the ball out at the back post, but Maghoma cleared the resulting corner. The ball bobbled around and an eventual shot was blocked inadvertently by a hand – no penalty was given.
Hart beat Walker-Peters and delivered a low cross for Ojo, which was well blocked by Carter-Vickers.
Kent and Dhanda linked well to try to get Dhanda in, but Maghoma got rid in a no-nonsense fashion.
A lovely first-time cushioned pass from Pritchard sent Walker-Peters down the right – the cross was over-hit but worked wide to Vincent-Young on the opposite side who had a cross-shot blocked for a corner. Goddard’s ball caused problems, but Maghoma couldn’t quite turn on it to get a shot away.
Pritchard cut in from the right and picked out Akindayini, but Cleary came across to make a fantastic last-ditch challenge; it looked like a corner to me, but the referee deemed it to be a goal kick.
Pritchard had an opportunity after a clever touch from Akindayini but his loose control meant that the chance was lost.
Dhanda, Liverpool’s 15-year old Indian number 10, worked so hard to win possession in the midfield, picked out O’Hanlon who found Kent at the back stick, but he struck his shot straight at the keeper, Priestley, although he was offside anyway.
That was that for the first half – an even contest, with Liverpool improving as it went on, aided by a strong wind behind them.
Shayon Harrison – who scored 30 times for the Under-16s last season – replaced Lloyd Ross for the second half. He went to the right, with Goddard dropping deeper.
The first chance of the second half came when Pritchard tried to stand a cross up to Harrison with his left foot, but didn’t wrap his foot around it, and it sent Liverpool keeper Wheeler scuttling backwards, eventually drifting over the bar.
Walker-Peters fired a dangerous ball in low towards Goddard, but Liverpool cleared the ball well. Play switched straight down to the other end where Carter-Vickers outmuscled Ojo and carried the ball out from the back.
O’Hanlon – impressive for Liverpool in the first half – went down with an injury two minutes into the half, which led to full-back Roberts coming on. Liverpool had to totally change their team shape with Ojo moving out to the right and Kent moving into the central striker role.
On 53 minutes, Walker-Peters made yet another fine run down the right, but his cross was sent high and over the bar, mishit this time.
Spurs took the lead on 56 minutes when Cy Goddard got stuck in in central midfield, showing great tenacity. Shayon Harrison took the loose ball and played in Walker-Peters who strode forward and sent in a curling, low cross into the “corridor of uncertainty” which Akindayini and the Liverpool centre-back both missed in the centre, but from which Pritchard made no mistake, smashing home at the back stick.
Goddard was fouled out on the right and Harrison’s low, whipped-in cross struck Roberts and went out for a corner. Harrison’s low corner was poor but the front post clearance went out for another corner. The next one was a much better ball, curled left-footed towards Pritchard at the back post, but the big midfielder was just out-muscled. The third corner went straight out for a goal kick.
The wind was causing a few problems, and Walkes was able to easily control Wheeler’s goal kick as it caught in the wind. Akindayini ran the ball straight out of play, though.
Virtue was booked for a strong challenge on Pritchard – or a totting up of a number of fouls, perhaps – which upset the Liverpool co-commentator, Mark Wright.
Maghoma played Spurs into trouble with a loose ball across to Carter-Vickers. Ojo ran from halfway, with Walkes on the back foot, but could only fire his shot high and wide when he cut in from the right.
Waldron replaced Dhanda for Liverpool, with Randall pushed forward from right-back and Ojo moving forward again into a position more familiar to him.
Walkes picked a fine pass for Walker-Peters, who kept the ball in play, worked himself into a useful position, and played a pass back for Walkes to cross. The ball was blocked, but it was yet another illustration of Walker-Peters’ fantastic attacking ability and constant runs in behind.
Carter-Vickers went to ground to stop a Liverpool attack, commanding as ever.
Channing Cambell-Young replaced Joe Pritchard on 67 minutes. He went to play at right-back, with Walker-Peters moving in-field. Akindayini went to play more towards the left, and Goddard/Harrison/Walkes each had a turn at leading the line.
Ojo missed a good chance on 71 minutes after Carter-Vickers’ presented the ball to Kent. Kent picked out his strike partner, but he cut in and hit a weak shot straight at Priestley.
Walker-Peters nearly made it 2-0 won 72 minutes. He played the ball into Harrison, made a run around the outside, received it back and then burst through, hitting a low shot across the goalkeeper which was touched wide for a corner.
Goddard’s corner from the left was curled in beautifully but missed by Maghoma and then put over by Harrison at the far post.
Walker-Peters had another effort at goal from a Walkes pass before Ojo carried the ball forward on the left before being seen out by Mahoma.
Liverpool put together a very tidy and incisive move involving Ojo, Kent and Randall, but Spurs got the block in again. Randall then nearly slipped Kent in, but his pass was a little too ambitious.
Campbell-Young almost picked out Walker-Peters, but the square ball was just cut out as Walker-Peters approached.
At the other end, Ojo made progress again down Liverpool’s left, beating Goddard but unable to beat Maghoma this time.
Burke volleyed a ball well over when Waldron had dallied too much with his cross.
Armani Daly was introduced for his debut at this level on 81 minutes, with Goddard heading off. Daly got his first touch when the ball fell to him on the left, and he used the ball well, bringing it under control and playing it to Walkes.
Little Daly went to play mostly centrally, with Harrison wide on the right, and Akindayini on the left, although all three were pretty fluid. In midfield, Walkes, Walketer-Peters and Lesniak patrolled centrally.
Harrison picked up a booking for not retreating for a free-kick. The eventual free-kick came to Burke who switched wide to Waldron. He did well to beat Vincent-Young, cut inside, and found Randall out wide. He played a one-two and worked a yard well but his cross came off Carter-Vickers and rebounded back off him for a goal kick.
It was nearly two when Harrison carried another loose ball forward, played a delightful reverse pass to Daly, got it back first time, but couldn’t quite find the corner with his shot.
On 90 minutes, Liverpool possession led to a fantastic Randall strike across goal bringing out an even better save from Priestley, who had done little up until that point.
Walkes picked up a booking for a very strong challenge on Griffin. He was stretchered off and given gas and air, and there was a five-minute delay whilst he was put on a buggy and taken away. Spurs defended the resultant free-kick well and there were no further chances for either side.
Liam Priestley 7 – Had little to do until the end, where he made a fantastic save. He deserves huge credit for that, it’s not easy to stay alert!
Kyle Walker-Peters 9 – A constant threat throughout the game; a very progressive right back who got the vital assist. A real gem of a performance. Once he moved inside we lost a lot of our attacking impetus.
Christian Maghoma 6 – Maghoma’s just come back from a long-term injury, so it’s nice to see him back. Not his finest game, but he was mostly solid nonetheless.
Cameron Carter-Vickers 7 – Like Maghoma, he didn’t have his best game (giving the ball away more often than usual), but he made some solid interceptions and was a commanding presence on the whole.
Kane Vincent-Young 6 – In the first half he was a threat with his crossing, but he drifted out of the game as it went on. It was not easy playing on his wrong side, so he deserves credit for that.
Filip Lesniak 6 – Metronomic figure in the middle who used the ball intelligently and broke play up with good positioning.
Anton Walkes 7 – Seems to be improving nicely; a strong presence in the centre who used the ball well today.
Lloyd Ross 5 – Struggled to impose himself on the game today and was withdrawn at half-time for a slightly more physical player.
Joe Pritchard 5 – Got the vital goal, but looked a little out of sorts playing in an advanced wide role.
Daniel Akindayini 5 – Missed a great chance in the air, but kept running and chasing things down throughout.
Cy Goddard 7 – Very good, technical player who frequently got us out of trouble with his quick feet in tight spaces.
Shayon Harrison 7 – Made a good impact and was heavily involved in the goal, as well as other good moves in the second half. Now needs to do it consistently.
Channing Campbell-Young – Was relatively steady at right-back.
Armani Daly – Looked lively although didn’t see much of the ball.