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Penalty drama for Under-18s against Prague

Posted on 6 April 2015  - 14:35

Our Under-18s rounded off their participation at the Bellinzona Tournament in Switzerland with a penalty shootout defeat to Slavia Prague on Monday.

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A brace from Shayon Harrison, following an earlier penalty save by goalkeeper Harry Voss, saw us draw 2-2 with the Czech side in the competition’s fifth place play-off.

However, a 5-3 defeat on spot kicks meant we finished sixth in the overall standings.

“It was good experience to have a penalty shootout at the end of the tournament, even though it wasn’t massively important in terms of the final placings,” said Under-18s Coach Kieran McKenna.

“The match itself was a similar story to our previous games in that once again we really imposed ourselves on the game, played in our style and tried to take the initiative, but we weren't able to kill the game off once we got to 1-0.

“We had a lapse in concentration at the other end which allowed them back into the game so that was disappointing, but it was a really good learning curve overall.”

Ismail Azzaoui was denied by the Prague goalkeeper twice in the opening stages of the 60-minute game – first when he tried a shot after being played in by Harrison and then again following a quick free-kick from Cy Goddard.

Slavia Prague were awarded a penalty on 23 minutes when the referee spotted some shirt pulling in the box as we tried to defend a set piece, but Voss was equal to the spot kick to keep the scores level.

We had another good chance before the break when Goddard’s shot was blocked and a scramble ensued in the area, Azzaoui’s effort from the resulting loose ball being blocked by the keeper.

We took the lead five minutes after the interval with a stylish goal, switching play from left to right with Chris Paul overlapping Marcus Edwards and crossing first time to the back post for Harrison to fire in.

Prague equalised 10 minutes later as we pushed for a second goal ourselves, a long ball going in between Christian Maghoma and Paul with Voss being beaten as he came off his line.

We regained the lead on 48 minutes when Josh Onomah played Azzaoui in behind the defence and he squared for Harrison to tap home, but Prague levelled virtually straight away as they broke forward and evaded a couple of challenges before Voss was beaten.

We might have grabbed a late winner, but Azzaoui’s header from Armani Daly’s cross went straight at the keeper.

Penalties ensued with Harrison and Paul scoring before Anton Walkes’ effort hit the bar and went over the top. Onomah stepped up and scored, but Prague made no mistake to secure a 5-3 win.

Spurs: Voss, Paul, Georgiou (Muscatt 57), Owens, Maghoma, Walkes, Edwards (Daly 43), Onomah, Harrison, Goddard (Stylianides 43), Azzaoui.