Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Spurs at NI Milk Cup 2010

Tottenham Academy (Under-17) Squad:

1 Reece Samuels 2 Kevin Stewart 3 Daniel Day 4 Ronnie Hawkins 5 James Yeboah 6 Ramil Sheriff 7 Laste Dombaxe 8 Freddy Champion 9 Alasan Ann 10 Lee Angol 11 Kenneth McEvoy 12 Luke McGee 13 Thomas Gardiner 14 Janoi Donacien 15 Samuel Smith 16 Victor Zapata Caicedo 17 Oliver Modeste 18 Alexander McQueen

The opening match was played at the Limavady Showgrounds on the Monday evening.

Tottenham 4 Co. Londonderry 0
Spurs played well and won comfortably against a committed Co Londonderry youth team who were dangerous on the break when they got the opportunity to run at the Spurs defence.

Both teams started brightly with Spurs looking dangerous on the right with Kenneth McEvoy showing speed and a good touch.  After initial pressure from Spurs, Co. Londonderry showed they were going to make a game of it and Thomas Gardiner tipped over a long range shot.  Both teams had a number of corners and after twenty minutes Spurs went ahead with a goal from captain, Laste Dombaxe, with a fine shot from 20 yards which the goalkeeper got a hand to.

Spurs played a constructive, patient, passing game - playing the ball out from the back in an effort to create an opening and never resorted to thumping the ball down the pitch.

A good crowd enjoyed the game and there were many Spurs supporters present.

1-0 at half time Spurs started very quickly at the start of the second half and almost scored with an attack down the right but they were not to be denied as two minutes later, Ronnie Hawkins who controlled the centre of midfield picked up the ball and shot from 30 yards.   At first it looked as if the goalkeeper had pushed the ball away but it dropped into the net.

Derry continued to show endeavour and made some changes to their team with the new strikers giving the Spurs defenders something to think about but Spurs were always comfortably in control, the only danger came from over confidence in passing out of defence and the possibility of giving the ball away in a dangerous position as the Derry players closed them down quickly.

A third goal came from Lee Angol after Spurs worked the ball forward with pace and the fourth near the end came from a header from a corner, scored by substitute, James Yeboah.

Near the end Gardiner made a good save to keep a clean sheet.

A very enjoyable match, the first time I've seen a Spurs youth team.

Tuesday at Riada Stadium, Ballymoney

Tottenham Hotspur 1 KV Mechelen 0
Team: Thomas Gardiner; Ramil Sheriff, James Yeboah, Janoi Donacien, Daniel Day: Laste Dombaxe, Kevin Stewart, Ronnie Hawkins, Freddy Champion, Lee Angol; Victor Zapata Caicedo.

Kenneth McEvoy who started the first game didn't feature tonight while Alasan Ann came on as a striker in the 2nd half and brought some more pace to the team.  Samuel Smith replaced Hawkins, Oliver Modeste replaced Yeboah and Luke McGee replaced Sheriff.

A much more difficult game against much stronger opposition.  The Belgian team started much the better and had an early chance from a free kick but the header went past the far post.   Spurs were finding it difficult to play their short passing game as the opposition immediately closed them down and stepped in to take the ball away from the Spurs player and then move forward with pace.   Spurs had another let off when a mistake in central defence gave away the ball but under pressure from the defender and goalkeeper the Belgian striker shot against the post.  Thomas Gardiner in goal dealt comfortably with everything that came his way and he threw the ball out quickly to his defenders to start off another Spurs move.  Playing into a light breeze, Spurs found it difficult to make a telling final pass as the ball often fell behind the intended player.

However, it was only late in the half that Spurs started to get a little more room and Laste Dombaxe, Spurs best player, forced a good save from their goalkeeper.   From a corner Freddy Champion injured his ankle as he fell and although he played on for the final few minutes, he was replaced at half-time by Alexander McQueen.

Spurs were much better in the second half and played the ball much more quickly to create space and also played some longer cross field passes to open up their opponents.  Lambaxe hit the post with a good shot and Ronnie Hawkins forced the keeper to push over another long range shot.

Midway through the half a clumsy tackle on Dombaxe saw Spurs gain a penalty which the captain took himself and coolly sent the goalkeeper the wrong way and shot strongly to his right.

The final minutes required stout defending with no quarter given by either side and tackles flying in as the Belgians tried to rescue the game.  Gardiner marshalled his defence well - he made a good save, pushing over a strong drive and Spurs saw out the final minutes without any real scares.

Spurs captain Laste Dombaxe is obviously their best player - creating and working in midfield while looking to get forward to strike at goal.  He was booked in the first half for a challenge on the goalkeeper - the ball was free when he tried to play it but made contact with the goalkeeper's hand. He is so involved that he receives harsh treatment from the opposition but isn't afraid to tackle either. Were he to receive another yellow card, Spurs would miss him greatly.  Yeboah was comfortable in defence and Gardiner was always comfortable without having to make any very difficult saves.

Wednesday: A Q/F game at Limavady Showgrounds.

Tottenham 1 Donegal Schools 2
Spurs put out a changed team, resting Laste Dombaxe who has been the main player in the past two games and Daniel Day.  They found it difficult to make progress against a very direct team who put Spurs under pressure as soon as they received the ball and forced them into errors.  It was from a mistake that Spurs conceded the first goal after twenty minutes.  Donegal intercepted a pass out of defence and Spurs found themselves two against three as the local team moved forward and when the ball was played into the penalty Gardiner had no chance with the powerful shot.

Spurs' best chance of the first half was a powerful shot from a free-kick by Hawkins which the goalkeeper pushed over.

The re-introduction of Dombaxe and Day at half-time saw Spurs be more creative as the captain was more able to run at the defence and create space for others.  The hard tackling Donegal side were still dangerous on the break and a comedy of errors nearly led to them getting a second goal.  The goalkeeper took a free kick on the halfway line but Spurs gave the ball away and with him way out of goal a long shot was just wide as he scrambled back into position.  Then from the quickly taken goalkick the ball was given away again and with the Donegal player clean through Spurs blushes were saved when the referee decided the ball had been moving when the goal kick had been taken.

With time running out, in added on time, and Spurs looking unlikely to score, Dombaxe received the ball on the edge of the penalty and with his back to goal he controlled the ball and turned in one movement to crash a great shot to level the scores.   It looked as if the match would be going to penalties but in the dying moments Donegal were awarded a free kick which was launched high towards the Spurs goal.  It went over everyone but Day headed it back towards the goal and it was played out to a Donegal player who hit a thunderous shot to win with only seconds left.

A disappointing end to the tournament but Spurs made too many mistakes and were forced into errors by the constant pressure of the opposition.  It was another tough game for the young players following last night's hard match against KV Mechelen and they just couldn't get away with making mistakes this time.

Laste Dombaxe was definitely the best Spurs player in the three games and the team rely greatly on him for a creative spark from midfield and going forward on goal.

Spurs will now play matches to decide placings from 5th to 8th in the Milk Cup.

Thursday at Broughshane (5th - 8th play-off) v Porto Draw 0 - 0 [Lost 4 - 5 on penalties]

Friday at Portstewart (7th - 8th play-off) v Belvedere (Dublin) Won 5 - 0

NI Milk Cup 2011 - Results


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