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Under-19s: Spurs 2-3 Arsenal

Posted on 19 November 2002  - 12:00

U18 Academy South

Second half goals from Mark Hughes and Dean Marney were not enough to prevent our under-19 side falling to a 3-2 defeat to Arsenal on Saturday in a game where goals were conceded at crucial times.

Arsenal took the lead just before the break after a period of Spurs pressure and managed to double their advantage after the interval. The under-19s rallied following Hughes' goal, but were left with too much to do when Arsenal extended their lead.

Even though Marney reduced the deficit with four minutes remaining there was not enough time to salvage reward from the game.

Coach Pat Holland takes up the story...

"As you would expect, both sides were motivated because it was a big game - especially with the first teams playing each other in the afternoon.

"I thought, initially, Arsenal started the game a little bit better than us, but then we had a really good 20 minutes.

"We could have had three goals, we hit the post, Jamie Slabber had a header cleared off the line, two free headers from set pieces and we played well.

"Nearing half-time Arsenal broke, crossed the ball and, credit to the boy, it was an excellent finish. Two minutes later the whistle went so we were 1-0 down at half-time.

"We went in and spoke about keeping our discipline and I think the kids were a little bit upset.

"Within a minute of the re-start they scored their second and it became a real uphill battle. After that I felt Arsenal did take charge of the game and their confidence was high.

"We clawed our way back into the game from a Dean Marney free-kick which led to an excellent diving header from Mark Hughes on 75 minutes.

"We thought 'this is it' and then we went to sleep in midfield a little bit and their boy ran at our defence and slotted it in.

"Again we came back with a free-kick from Marney, a good near post finish. We ran out of time basically and I think the damage was done either side of half-time. To concede just before and straight after against a good side was the problem.

"Overall, it was disappointing that we didn't get the first goal when we should have done and conceded at such a crucial stage. I think the boys are disappointed with it - as we all are."