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A Penalty Apiece

PUBLISHED

18:00 5th February 2013

Under 18s share spoils with Spurs.

The Academy under 18s shared the points with Spurs on Saturday at the Londoners training ground with each side converting a penalty in a tight contest.

David Moli struck first for the visitors but Tottenham hit back after the break when Nabil Bentaleb converted from the spot.

Coach Mick Halsall said: The game with Spurs proved to be another big test for our players as they were up against a very good side that worked hard and moved the ball quickly when in possession.

“It took our lads around ten minutes to get into the game and they had to keep their shape and not allow the opposition to play between them. But, when we got a bit of a foothold, we needed to keep the ball better than we did as we could have countered much more clinically if we had taken more care when on the ball.

“It was always going to be like that as Leeds were having more possession although we restricted them and should have gone in front when we pressed well and nicked the ball around their 18 yard line. Ibrahim Keita went through and should have scored but he put the ball wide of the far post. 

“We did take the lead, though, and once again we won possession after closing Leeds down and picking up a loose ball which was played through for Keita who was upended in the box. The resultant penalty was put away by Dave Moli which gave us a 1-0 lead at half time.

“The second half was very similar as Spurs had much more possession than us once more and, as in the first half, we had to work really hard at defending in our own half. We did have some really good opportunities to counter but, as in the first half, our selection of passes, and the ability to keep the ball under pressure, let us down.

“If this had been better we could have hurt Spurs more than we did. They drew level after playing through us and getting in behind and winning a penalty for themselves. It was matter of us trying to get that one counter in which would be successful but we could not produce enough quality to do so and we came away from the game with a single, hard earned point.

"It was obvious once again that the quality we are playing against each week will be very testing and unless we are totally focused in and out of possession we will find it difficult to win games. It is within these boundaries the players have to learn how and when to defend – whether to press or delay out of possession and, when in possession, to decide what attacking option is the best, to counter or build up play.”

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