Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Milk Cup Match Report. Tottenham 4-0 Otago 24/07/12

Vincent-Young (C) (2), Lyons-Foster (4),  Ogilvie (3), Walton-Owens (16)
Walkes (6)
Miller (11), Winks (12),
Sonupe (18),               Harrison (14)
Oduwa (15),

Substitutes: Magbadelo (5) Campbell-Young (7) Pritchard (8) Goddard (9) Amos (10) Georgiou (17)

After a competition shocking 7-1 defeat at the hands of American side South Coast Strikers on Monday night, Tottenham reverted to a similar line-up that started the first game, a 1-1 draw with local side County Armagh, and reaped the benefits.

Kodi Lyons-Foster, who impressed on Saturday at right-back, swapped positions with skipper Kane Vincent-Young, both showing their versatility, while Shayon Harrison came in for Anthony Georgiou, in the only changes from the opening game's line-up.

Spurs started brightly, obviously hurting from the previous night's heavy defeat, and kept the ball superbly in the opening 10 minutes, with their Kiwi opponents struggling to get the slightest touch on the ball.

It took almost 10 minutes for the first shot to come, a reasonably tame effort from Emmanuel Sonupe that was easily gathered by Otago's goalkeeper. But the opening goal wasn't far away, as the impressive Nathan Oduwa played Shayon Harrison through, and he finished calmly when one-on-one with the goalkeeper; low into the bottom corner with the inside of his left foot.

Otago began to get on the ball more soon after, and their bright number 12 forced a good save from Liam Priestley low to his right. A second chance fell to the New Zealand team from the next phase of play, and another low shot, this time from the yellow number 28, forced Priestley down for a relatively routine save.

Oduwa, a strong presence up front, continued to cause problems. He was willing to play on the shoulder of the oppositions defence and use his pace, but just as comfortable dropping deep to get on the ball. It was Tottenham's number 15 that carved open Spurs' next opportunity, as he tricked his way past two opponents before feeding William Miller, but his shot whistled just past the post for a goal kick.

A rare defensive slip gave the travelling Otago supporters something to get excited about, but a fine through ball was eventually gathered by Priestley. The young stopper continued to look calm and composed between the sticks, as well as being able to act as a 'sweeper keeper', tidying up any lose balls behind his defence and offering himself for passes from his team.

A second, deserved Tottenham goal arrived before half-time, as Harry Winks played a pacey through ball over the Otago defence and a defensive mix up between defender and goalkeeper allowed Sonupe to tap home from a couple of yards into an open net.

Leading 2-0 at half-time, coach Alex Inglethorpe brought off Kane Vincent-Young, replacing his captain with Channing Campbell-Young, just as he had in the first game of the competition. This led to a slight re-shuffle in defence, as Lyons-Foster moved to right-back, Campbell-Young partnering new captain Connor Ogilvie in the centre of defence.

The second half was interrupted almost immediately, as following an Otago corner, their number 10, Gabriel Schwarz, landed awkwardly and was given treatment on the pitch for over 10 minutes. Both teams tried to keep themselves warm and sharp during the stoppage, while having obvious concern for Gabriel. He was unfortunately stretchered off and given a loud round of applause from the crowd, we wish him well during his recovery.

Otago responded to the injury well, and enjoyed their best spell of the game, firstly forcing Priestley to add to his string of saves when he palmed a shot wide before their number 16, Tommy Kelley, tried his luck from range but saw his shot sail just over the crossbar.

Holding midfielder Anton Walkes, after a solid performance, was then replaced by Luke Amos, a player of immense skill, despite his small frame. Walkes caught my eye due to his game awareness, often covering for one of the centre-backs should the venture up field, or covering for an overlapping full-back. The Tottenham academy coaches will undoubtedly be impressed by this mature performance.

Harry Winks had the games next chance, but his tame shot was easily gathered by Otago's substitute 'keeper Brian Di Loreto.

Two quick changes for Spurs followed, as left-back Amon Walton-Owens was replaced by Joe Pritchard, who had started in central midfield on Saturday. Cy Goddard also took to the field in place of Nathan Oduwa, clearly upset that he wasn't able to add to his goal on the opening day.

A long ball from Otago, a ploy which was becoming a common thing for the Kiwi's as they tired, caused a moment of panic for the otherwise outstanding Priestley. He raced out of his box to meet it but was beaten to the ball by the Otago striker who cleverly lifted the ball over his head, but didn't have the pace to retrieve the ball and Campbell-Young and Ogilvie combined to remove any danger.

Ogilvie stood out for me against Armagh, and impressed once again as he showed composure and confidence on the ball, way beyond his years. The knowledgeable Windy , mentioned he has always been impressed by the red-headed youngster when he has watched him, and that he looks as comfortable all across the back four as he does in midfield. This is in no doubt down to how comfortable he looks on the ball, an invaluable asset for a defender, who shows his versatility by bringing the ball out of defence and stepping into midfield. Connor Ogilvie is definitely one to watch for the future.

With time running out and Otago looking out on their feet, Pritchard, cutting in from the left, gave them a taste of things to come as he flashed a shot from distance just over. The young Tottenham side discovered their ruthless streak, finishing their New Zealand opponents off with two quick goals.

The outstanding William Miller grabbed the third after some poor goalkeeping from Di Loreto in the Otago goal, as he flapped at a cross and the ball fell nicely for Miller to pass the ball into the bottom corner.

The game was done and dusted with almost the last kick of the game as Amos found Harry Winks at the back post, who controlled the ball majestically before cutting inside his marker and firing through Di Loreto from a near impossible angle. Winks was more than deserving of his goal, as he shone throughout the game alongside Miller in the centre of the pitch.

4-0 didn't flatter Spurs, who dominated the game, and despite the odd defensive lapse, were more than comfortable.

Next up for Tottenham are CSKA Moscow in the Milk Cup Vase semi-final, a game I am unfortunately missing. Should they defeat their Russian opponents they will face a local side in the final, County Londonderry or County Down.

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