ploughed up


Ipswich Town Youth  2    Tottenham Hotspur Youth   0      (Half-time score : 1-0)
FA Youth Cup Semi-final - First leg Venue :  Portman Road 
Friday 9th April 2005 Kick Off :  19.00 p.m.
Crowd :   4,325 Referee :  P. Crossley
Weather :  -  Cold, snow showers
Teams : - 
Ipswich Town Youth :



Craig (c)


Unused subs:

Tottenham Hotspur Youth :


Ifil (c)


Maghoma (Davis 70)

Unused subs:

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of

Ipswich Town Youth 

Tottenham Hotspur Youth
Scorers : -  

Ipswich Town Youth

Trotter 28
Clarke 76

Tottenham Hotspur Youth 


Cards : -  
Ipswich Town Youth




Tottenham Hotspur Youth


Lewis (foul) 45


Match Report : -  

A hard-working Ipswich side overcame Spurs in this FA Youth Cup semi-final first leg with a display of good passing and movement, but the match was won off the pitch with a tactical choice in flooding the midfield to bog Tottenham down and stop them playing their normal game.

Firstly, let me get my moans out of the way.  The kick off was delayed to let in a large crowd braved the chilly conditions to pack the one stand that was opened for the match.  There were fans in the main stand, but I guess they were club officials, friends, family and dignitaries.  Once most people were in (and they were still entering ten minutes into the game), I found that my short legs were pressed hard into the back of the seat in front.  Not too bad for me, but for a tall man (like Paul Smith of Spurs Odyssey fame), it must have been agony.  My other main gripe is the idiot faction of the home support, who we happened to be sat near.  Obscene songs rang out, despite a large number of (very) young fans sitting around them.  This coupled with the bloke behind me referring to a black player as a "darkie" made me feel as though I had stepped back in time as well as the footballing hierarchy.

There were a fair share of Tottenham supporters in the 4,000 plus crowd.  Unfortunately, they didn't have much to shout about after the first 20 minutes.

Ipswich lined up with four at the back, five in midfield and one player up front - Clarke - who was supported by runners from midfield.  Spurs had a traditional 4-4-2 formation, which, it soon became evident as the game went on, was not going to match the home side's set-up.

Spurs made a bright start and could have been ahead had they taken their chances, the first of which arrived after just one minute and forty-three seconds.  The lively Andy Barcham slid a pass through to winger Charlie Daniels and his shot was on target, but he picked out the keeper, who spilled his shot, but the ball was hacked away.  

Tottenham's tactic from goal-kicks became clear when the players moved to the left side of the pitch every time Forecast shaped to take the dead-ball kick.  His kicking was accurate and in the fifth minute he picked out a Spurs player ... unfortunately, he was sat in our dug-out !!  Tottenham pressed forward and Leigh Mills, the talented young defender, hit an early ball through to Barcham, but he was just beaten to the ball by Supple, the Ipswich goalie.  Daniels made a bit of space for himself on the left wing and his cross was headed over by Barcham in the eleventh minute before Ipswich started to move forward.  Spurs appeared to be giving the home players plenty of space and time to play, so when the ball reached Clarke, just left of centre, he fired a shot that he shanked a bit and it went across the goal and wide.  The Tottenham defence failed to learn from this and in the very next minute, the same player in the same position, he hit another fierce drive, but this time it went just over.

When Ipswich centre-half Collins slipped when trying to control a long O'Hara pass, Barcham was in on goal and he hit his shot low and true, but the keeper stuck out a leg to block the ball that rebounded back past the Spurs striker as his run took him on.  In the 17th minute, the best chance of the game fell to Charlie Daniels.  A long cross from the right was met by a weak punch from Supple, taking the ball to the back of the penalty area.  Barcham got the loose ball, tricked his way past a couple of defenders and played it square to Daniels, six yards out, but once more, his shot hit the place where the keeper was stood.

The misses wouldn't have been so bad, had Ipswich not taken the lead ten minutes later.  They won a left wing corner, which was half-cleared and when a cross was played back in, Knights won a header that hit a defender and dropped invitingly for Trotter to sweep home from close range with only Forecast to beat.

Spurs needed to hit back quickly and when Dawkins played the ball into Maghoma, he hit a shot on goal from a tight angle on the right and although it beat the keeper, it also went wide of the post just on the half hour.  Three minutes later, midfielder Stuart Lewis seized on a slip by Trotter and fired a fine shot in on goal, but it flew just outside the goal.  Ipswich had a strong finish to the half and could have gone in more than one up.  With five minutes to the interval, a long free-kick saw Trotter (who looks like the new Jason Dozzell) have a free header, but he put the chance wide and in the next attack Clarke tricked his way to the dead ball line, then pulled it back to Trotter.  His shot was waist high and Forecast was able to parry it and the same player was unable to hit the target with the rebound.  Right on the stroke of half-time, Lewis picked up a yellow card for a foul, which looked a little bit harsh, as it had not been a dirty game.

The half-time break gave Pat Holland the opportunity to move things about and Spurs re-emerged from the tunnel with a five man midfield and Barcham playing a lone role up front.  This was intended to counter the massed ranks of blue shirts in midfield, but left Barcham jumping for high balls against the gargantuan Collins.

Spurs settled into a pattern and the game was fought out in midfield for the first five minutes, with the ball being moved about, but not moving very far toward either goal.  A long free-kick from the left found Charlie Lee sneaking around the back of the area, but he was unable to pull the ball back and his volley went high over the top.  It took another ten minutes for Tottenham to hit the target in the second half and following good work on the right by Dawkins and Ifil, the captain's cross was met by Barcham's volley, but once more, Supple was in the right place.  From a corner, Mills rose above the keeper to win a header and Casement was on hand to kick the ball off the line.

The response was chances made by the home attack, with shots flying across the goal, the best of which saw Clarke once more hold the ball up and lay it off to Trotter, who picked his spot studiously, but put the ball a foot wide of Forecast's goal.  It was in the 72nd minute that Spurs suffered some bad luck, which might decide this tie.  The ball was worked wide and as it came into the box, Clarke shot.  The ball took a wicked deflection off Mills, who was trying to block it, leaving Forecast going the wrong way, as the ball slipped just inside his left hand post.

Spurs tried to get back in the match, with players making runs off the ball to make space, but the final ball in was nearly always disappointing and Supple had little trouble to deal with the action that came his way.  In contrast, Ipswich wasted a golden opportunity to make it 3-0 in the final minute as Clarke carved out a chance for his strike partner Knights, who was in a central position, but with only the goalkeeper to beat, he put the shot wide once more.

Will it be a miss that the Blues will regret ?  On this evidence, Spurs will have to play an awful lot better and one has to wonder if home advantage will make a lot of difference.  Only if Ipswich freeze on the night will Spurs have a chance and an early goal will be imperative in over-turning the two goal deficit.  Clarke and Knights have a good understanding up front and their movement makes it difficult for defenders to keep track of where they are, but Spurs need to stop the ball getting tot hem in the first place.  The team looked second best to almost every ball and will need to match the effort the Horses put in.  Some members of the team played well below the level of performances they have produced at this and reserve levels, so need to step it up for the home leg.  The one player who shone was central defender Leigh Mills, who was imperious in the timing of his tackling and his pace made sure that he was able to marshal his opponents away from goal.



Marco van Hip

Live radio coverage of the second leg will be available on BBC London - 94.9 FM in the London area 

Back to homepage