A breezy, but bright, sunny
afternoon at the Liverpool Academy at Kirkby saw the two young teams
take to the field. Both teams were sat third in their
respective regional leagues and a tight game was ahead.
Because of injury and players being used in the Spanish U16 side, 15
year old Dhanda became the first player of Indian descent to play
for Liverpool, although he has played for England U15s.
Some familiar faces could be
seen around the Liverpool Academy. Former Spurs Under-21 coach
Alex Inglethorpe was helping out on the bench with Liverpool, as
Kenny Dalglish looked on from the balcony of the Academy building.
Liverpool kicked off, with the home teamís signing from MK Dons -
Ojo Ė winning an early corner that Priestley fumbled under pressure,
but grabbed at the second attempt. Dhanda put in a fast cross from
the left and as it bounce dup, there were appeals for a handball
against Vincent-Young and in the next phase of play a cross to the
far post saw Liverpoolís centre half Brewitt unable to get a better
contact with his head on it. Hart went right through
Walker-Peters with a bad challenge, but didnít even get a yellow
card, but the Spurs full back was good enough to go past two
Liverpool boys to put in a good cross that nobody had read. The
referee did speak to the Liverpool captain when former Chelsea
youngster Matthew Virtue fouled on the edge of their box and Goddard
took it, but could not beat the wall.
Liverpool had been knocking the ball around well on the ground, but
their best chance came when OíHanlon took the ball off Ross and bent
a shot a couple of yards wide with ten minutes gone. Five minutes
later, Vickers-Carter played in Vincent-Young on the left and his
cross bent in saw Ross and Pritchard could not quite reach it at the
far post. Within a minute the same left back got in space, but his
cross was just too high this time.
The wind, which was swirling against them and towards Tottenhamís
left wing did not make it easy to keep the ball down, but neither
side played the ball long, but Spurs were getting their full-backs
in behind the Liverpool back four and the main threat to Spurs
seemed to come from Ryan Kent on the Redsí left. A good tackle by
Walker-Peters stopped a mazy run by Kent and then Christian Maghoma
had to retrieve his twice sliced into the air clearances around his
own penalty spot.
Ojo turned past Maghoma 35 yards out and raced away, leaving Walkes
to bring him down as he got to 25 yards out. Nothing came from the
free-kick and Spurs broke, winning a corner, which Goddard played
into the near post and Maghoma and Randall went for the ball,
leaving the Liverpool full-back on the floor while play went on and
Goddard put in a cross that Akindayini just failed to get a head on.
Just over the half hour, Kent found OíHanlon with a cross-field
pass, but he hit the ball into the ground from the edge of the box
and Priestley was right behind it. Liverpool appealed for another
penalty in the 37th minute, but nothing was given and in their next
move, Maghoma stopped Ojo getting onto Hartís low left wing cross.
When Spurs moved the ball to the other end, they won a corner that
was played in low to the near post, where Maghoma missed his kick
when left in space. Then Pritchard picked out Akindayiniís run into
the right hand channel, but Cleary stopped his run. Towards the end
of the half, Liverpool started going longer, which made it easy for
Spurs, but then a ball from the right side across the box by Dhanda
found Kent and his shot was blocked by a good advance from Liam
Priestley, although the whistle then went for offside. The Spurs
keeper didnít know that and the save showed a good reading of the
The second half started with Shayon Harrison replacing Ross and Joe
Pritchard screwing what looked like a cross in on goal from just
outside the box, but it turned out to almost be a lob that the
Liverpool keeper Wheeler could only watch drop just over his bar.
With the wind at their backs, Tottenham pressed further up the pitch
and looked for balls in behind the back four.
Cameron Carter-Vickers looked a lot like Steven Caulker and was calm
when Ojo threatened to run at him and in the move OíHanlon injured
himself and was replaced by left back Roberts, shifting Ojo to the
right and Kent playing through the middle, with his place taken by
Hart. A long kick by Priestley was won by Harrison and Goddard
in midfield and fed right to Walker-Peters on the overlap. In space,
he played a low ball into the near post area, where Harrison had
continued his run. He failed to make contact and the ball ran to the
far post, where Joe Pritchard had moved into, leaving him free to
slam the ball past Wheeler with his left foot in the 57th minute.
Just after the goal, Spurs had a series of corners and with the wind
blowing towards the Liverpool goal, it made it difficult for the
Redsí defence. This brought Waldron on for Dhanda, with the
sub going to right back and Ojo going back to centre-forward, with
Kent pushing back to wide left. And Ojo had a good opportunity when
Carter-Vickers gave the ball away to Kent and he sent the
centre-forward through, but cutting in from the right, his shot was
weak and easy for Priestley to dive to his right to stop.
In the 73rd minute, Harrison played the ball to Walker-Peters on the
right and his low driven cross was touched just wide by Wheeler.
From Goddardís corner, Akindayiniís shirt was pulled stopping him
getting a header on it and Harrison could not turn it back on target
at the far post.
Ojo went down the left and put in a dangerous cross, which Maghoma
did well to clear, as Liverpool pressed to get back into the game in
the last 15 minutes. Spurs had a chance when Harrison shot from 10
yards out and forced a save from Wheeler, with Liam Priestley
producing a fantastic save from Kent, who drove a shot across the
goalie from the right, but there was a good push on the save to push
it wide of the goalmouth. As the game entered stoppage time, Walkes
challenged Grifffin for a ball on the halfway line and earned a
booking as the Liverpool man hopped away. When he went to ground,
the medical staff got around him before he was taken off on a golf
buggy having been given gas and air. It turned out he had broken his
ankle in two places and we wish him a full and speedy recovery.
Like the first team, Tottenhamís main problem was giving the ball
away leading to opposition attacks, but the full backs were
while Liverpool had scored 69 goals this season, but didnít look
like a side who had been that prolific. The home teamís passing was
poor and although the conditions did not help, they were failing to
complete even short passes. Ojo looked a decent player and Kent was
busy, but the final pass was missing from their game, while, in
Walker-Peters, Tottenham had a player who was the best on the pitch
and also was a constant threat finding space on the right hand side
of our team.
This win showed a progress in the sideís development and the
introduction of younger players will give them the experience to
serve them well in the future.