United 2 (2) Tottenham Hotspur
Premier Under-21 League
Friday 23rd August 2013 Kick off 19:00
McCartney (o.g.) 56
|Crowd : 798||Weather : Warm|
|Referee : Mr. Carl Fitch||Assistant Referees : Mr. Alistair Wilson, Mr. Alexander Guy|
|Fourth Official : Mr. Ray Wells||-|
|West Ham United kicked off and played towards the Trevor Brooking stand in the first half.|
|Dinamo Tbilisi :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
|Manager : Nick Haycock||Manager : Chris Ramsey|
|Sponsor : Alpari Trading FX||Shirt sponsor : Hewlett Packard|
|Kit Supplier : adidas||Kit Supplier : Under Armour|
Spurs made an unlikely comeback
to preserve their 100% record in the Under-21 league, after turning
around 0-2 down to the Irons at Upton Park to claim victory 3-2 at
the end of the game.
There were few familiar names in the home team. George McCartney was having a run out in defence after injury, Spiegel in goal has been a sub in the first team, but isn't a regular, while winger Blair Turgott had featured strongly in Bradford City's League Cup run last season. Other than that, it was all sons of previous West Ham players. Dan Potts is the son of tiny former defender Steve and George Moncur in midfield is the son of former Irons and Spurs midfielder John. Just to make one thing clear ... centre-half Pelly Ruddock is not the son of Neil, the former Spurs and West Ham central defender. The Hammers started Danny Whitehead, their big summer signing from Stockport County, but I must admit, it was only when I looked at the programme after the game that I realised he had been playing.
With Bank Holiday weekend just beginning, I thought that there would be a big turn out, but an official figure of 798 just about summed up the crowd numbers. In the big main stand at West Ham, even though we were squeezed into the central section, there still seemed to be lots of empty seats. But on a warm summer's evening, West Ham kicked off as the night began drawing in and attacked the goal on the left. With both teams feeling each other out to start with, West Ham might have been the more nervous, as Spurs had done well on their last two visits to the Boleyn Ground in the Youth Cup and in the league. However, the home side looked the more settled by passing the ball around and finding gaps in the Spurs defence to create scoring chances.
Spurs moved the ball well, but the final ball lacked accuracy, whereas, West Ham's more direct approach won corners from which they were a threat against a short Tottenham team. Potts had headed wide when he won a cross from a corner and then Elliot Lee was released down the left, but Dominic Ball slid in to stop him getting into a dangerous position. After about a quarter of an hour, there were two comical moments. A cross from the right saw Laste Dombaxe try a flying scissors kick, but completely miss the ball, which lead to the home team breaking forward and centre forward Paul McCallum tried an overhead kick that he made contact with, but it was a harmless effort in the end. McCallum was also in when Elliot Lee played him through. With Vigouroux coming out, he tried to lob the bal over the keeper, but the ball went to the right and Zeki Fryers got back to clear as Turgott closed in.
Giving away a corner from a West Ham free-kick, Spurs sloppy defending handed the home side the lead in the 23rd minute. it was worked short to Lee, who put in a low cross that Spurs didn't deal with and Potts had the simple task of prodding the ball in from a couple of yards out.
Tottenham's response was quick, with Veljkovic firing a 25 yard shot narrowly over the bar and then McCartney went to ground to block a shot on goal from Holtby, but Spurs were looking susceptible to aerial attacks at the back and Lletget headed wide when well placed and winning the ball cleanly in the air, just after he had played Potts through, but the defender couldn't get his shot away before Vigouroux was diving at his feet to gather the ball. Some indecisive play at the back by the Irons handed Shaq a shooting chance and his low shot was saved one-handed by Spiegel diving to his left with five minutes left until the interval. It was this spell that saw west Ham pile pressure on the Spurs goal.
Lee was through on goal with only the keeper to beat, but put his shot just wide, then McCullum won a header from a corner and it was going in the bottom corner until Coulthirst kicked the ball off the line at the post he was defending. Then, right on the stroke of half-time, a Moncur cross from a dead ball was won at the far post by Ruddock and his header back across the six yard box was tucked away by another header from Lletget to make it 2-0 to the Irons.
Spurs' weakness in the air at the back had been exploited and while we had our chances, the score was not an unfair reflection of the first 45 minutes play. There was not enough width in Tottenham's game and down the middle of the pitch, it became very congested, which didn't suit Tottenham's play.
So, at the start of the
second half, it was pleasing to see Spurs start at a higher tempo
and this seemed to set West Ham back a little. Holtby's
through pass opened it up for Coulthirst on the left and his quickly
taken shot flew a foot wide of the top corner of the goal with
Spiegel left standing. With the step up in intensity, Lewis
Holtby came into the game more. It suited his busy style of play and
he was keen to run with the ball and find some passes that opened up
the West Ham defence. However, when he moved forward with the ball
and decided to shoot from 25 yards out, the ball failed to stay down
and it rose high into the Trevor Brooking Stand. His next
involvement was a bit more decisive, with a fine through pass that
put Simon Dawkins free on the edge of the box, but a slight mis-control;
allowed Ruddock to get back and dispossess him.
Marco van Hip
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